Looking for advice on entry HT mountain bike.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Looking for advice on entry HT mountain bike.

    Ok so my friends have been talking me into getting back into riding and I don't want to spend a ton until I know I am going to be riding regularly. That said I am looking into a few HT mountain bikes. They both decided to go with dual-sport bikes, but the ones I test road just weren't for me. I feel much more comfortable on a MB (my current junker in a FS mountain bike) with the heavier tires and suspension. So I am looking at purchasing an entry level hardtail. I have a couple LBS in my area and they have a decent selection. I plan on doing a fair bit of trail riding, but I also do a lot of street riding as well.

    Currently I'm looking at 3 possible options. The first is a Giant Revel 0 for ~$600, the big thing going for this one is that is comes with decent mech disc brakes and a RockShox fork. The second option is a Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc also ~600, similar in most respects to the Revel, but is has a Suntour fork and a slightly different frame geometry, which I like a bit better than the Revel. Third option is a GT Aggressor 1.0 for ~$450 and swapping out the front fork with a RockShox, which would put it at ~$600 total. I like the lower frame on the Aggressor, but it has notably lower quality parts.

    I would really like to hear opinions on these options if anyone has any insight. I figure if I get into riding more I could start swapping out components on any of these frames for higher end parts or trade in for a mid-range bike.

  2. #2
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    Last edited by crclawn; 02-21-2012 at 10:02 PM.
    When the **** did we get ice cream?

  3. #3
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    Just another suggestion (although biased) Felt Nine Flow. 29er for $600.
    Please donate to IMBA or your local IMBA chapter. It's trail karma.

  4. #4
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    The Aggressor is not a real mountain bike, it is more of a commuter/bike path bike. It has a short top tube (more upright riding position) and a short travel fork (63mm). If you put a fork with over 80mmthe travel on it the handling gets funky and the frame is way over stressed. Personally I would pass on that option. Other than that, pick the one that feels best to you. Since your friends are on "dual sports" I think either you wont be doing much real trail riding, or they will be rebuying soon.

    But I wouldnt get caught up in the planned upgrade thing. It is ALWAYS cheaper to buy a complete bike than parts.
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  6. #6
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    I ride a Trek Gary Fisher Marlin 29er that was a bit under $600 that I like.

    What I don't like about my Trek, which is a component shared by the GT, is the Tektro Novela disc brakes. The other 2 options have Avid BB5s, but I don't know much about those, but my Novelas have been terrible from Day 1.

  7. #7
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    What I don't like about my Trek, which is a component shared by the GT, is the Tektro Novela disc brakes. The other 2 options have Avid BB5s, but I don't know much about those, but my Novelas have been terrible from Day 1.
    Check out this article on how to adjust BB5. Your entry level Tektro are most likley very simular to the BB5.

    How to dial-in Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes | Blue Collar Mountain Biking
    When the **** did we get ice cream?

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the tip...I've tried most of that technique, but I see a step I didn't do.

  9. #9
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    Ok thanks for the info. I'm planning on buying from my LBS for this bike as I don't have any experience with the fitting and maintenance. So at this point it is really down to just the Hardrock and the Revel 0 unless there is something better I'm not seeing. What do you guys think has the better frame? Is the XC28 RockShox on the Revel a lot better than the Suntour XCM fork on the Hardrock? Also is there any other model i should be looking at in the $600 range?

    The brands I have to chose from at the 2 LBS near me are: GT, Marin, Raleigh, Scott, Giant, Specialized, Trek, Felt, Eastern, Redline and the lower end brands.

    EDIT: The shop a couple dozen miles away also carries Felt, should I consider the Q series? I'm not familiar with that brand really.
    Last edited by JonasV; 02-22-2012 at 03:18 PM.

  10. #10
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    Check out or search my latest post on the Airborne Spectre from Sun and Ski sports. If you don't have a store close they will ship it for free. I test rode a Hard Rock yesterday from the LBS and while shifting the front derailer, the chain wrapped around the sprocket and it ripped a chunk of paint out of the brand new bike. It was also discounted to $460 which to me was still a little much for a pretty no frills bike.

    The Airborne Spectre is $399, down from and original price of about $760. Bang for the buck I think it was great. Sadly I've noticed that many here are not interested in helping people find a decent starter bike, too many just want to bash what you get. I understand I am not buying a $2500 bike and that my bike will not compare to theirs, I don't want it too. I want to get some exercise with my friends and family and be more healthy, not simply broke! LOL! I also have too many other expensive other hobbies so to me, value is more important......

  11. #11
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    Last year I got the Trek Marlin SS 29er, it's been GREAT! I live in Boulder and it can tackle every trail and rock garden I can throw at it and other than those crappy brakes someone else mentioned, nothing has broken or worn out!

  12. #12
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    Id suggest Craigslist, but that seems like finding a needle in a haystack nowadays. Get some seat time on one at the LBS that doesnt BS you. That'll help you narrow it down some.
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  13. #13
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    Yeah I'm pretty set on LBS presently. I looked on Craigs and there is very little postings in my area within a radius of about 50 miles. Plus I don't know anything about maintenance or upgrades and would like to learn the ropes before having to mess with stuff.

    I'm really really wondering if the quality between those Giant, Specialized and Felt bikes are significantly different or if they will all be roughly the same in terms of reliability/quality. Do any of them have a better warranty or will they all cover any damage that isn't normal? I don't intend to do anything heavy, but having the repairs available would be good.

  14. #14
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    Jonas, I can't really speak to the warranties of the brands you mentioned, but I imagine they are all pretty similiar. As to the quality, do a little digging and you will discover that while there are tons of companies that sell bicycles, there are only a small handful of factories that build them, all of them, from the high Specialized to the Walmart stuff. This is not to say the design is not a factor, the big brands do design their own frames. But honestly quality between huge players like Trek and Specialized and second tier brands like Felt, Diamondback and KHS will not differ very much.
    Quote Originally Posted by STT GUY View Post
    Screw the search function... you're new, ask the question(s). If anyone gets thier undies in a bunch it's thier problem.

  15. #15
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    Alright, well I appreciate all the advice. I have ridden the Revel 0 and I'm hopefully going to get on the Hardrock and Felt this weekend and then mull it over. I want to wait a couple more weeks before buying so I don't hit the 30 day tune-up without actually riding it.

  16. #16
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    You cannot go wrong on a Giant. Lots of success stories here on the forums with Giant bikes. I have one and I love it.

    As for forks, well id go with any bike that has a RockShox over a Suntour.
    People ask me all the time "who beat you up"? I tell them "a tree". They just look at me funny....

  17. #17
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    Damn the only LBS in my area that carries Felt doesn't carry the hardtails. Guess it is down to the Hardrock or the Revel unless one of them has a used Rockhopper, a new one is a bit outside my range.

  18. #18
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    Well I went to the last LBS in my general area and was able to get on a Rockhopper, which I really liked. Unfortunately the weather was not conducive to riding today, but overall it felt more comfortable than the Revel 0. So I am almost sold on Specialized. However, the guy at the shop (who is about the same height and build as me) had me on a 29er, which I hadn't considered up to this point, but it fit pretty well. So I now have a couple more questions.

    If I am going to riding probably 70-75% road vs ~25% trail, which would be better? The 29er or the 26in? I am pretty sure the 29er is better for trails, but with the increased tire contact and lower pressure tires, will it be a chore to ride it on the road? I could use some advice on this point.

    Also, should I just bite the bullet and get the entry level Rockhopper instead of the top model Hardrock? Is the ~$250 increase in price really going to net me a huge improvement? The Rockhopper is outside of what I was planning on spending by quite a bit.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonasV View Post
    Well I went to the last LBS in my general area and was able to get on a Rockhopper, which I really liked. Unfortunately the weather was not conducive to riding today, but overall it felt more comfortable than the Revel 0. So I am almost sold on Specialized. However, the guy at the shop (who is about the same height and build as me) had me on a 29er, which I hadn't considered up to this point, but it fit pretty well. So I now have a couple more questions.

    If I am going to riding probably 70-75% road vs ~25% trail, which would be better? The 29er or the 26in? I am pretty sure the 29er is better for trails, but with the increased tire contact and lower pressure tires, will it be a chore to ride it on the road? I could use some advice on this point.

    Also, should I just bite the bullet and get the entry level Rockhopper instead of the top model Hardrock? Is the ~$250 increase in price really going to net me a huge improvement? The Rockhopper is outside of what I was planning on spending by quite a bit.
    Giant's Talon 29er looks pretty good. I was in the same boat as you a year ago, and was encouraged by an experienced friend to get a 29er hardtail since I didn't want to spend a lot more on a full-suspension bike. I bought Trek's entry-level 29er for about $600 and other than the brakes, I've been very happy with it. The Giant (Talon 0) looks like it's similarly equipped...room for improvement, but probably a good start until you decide how into riding you are.

  20. #20
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    Have you considered the other stuff you'll need to buy for maintenence like extra tubes, pump, helmet etc.? You dont wanna "blow your wad" and not be able to ride a week later cause of a flat. Im speaking from experience here. Im pretty far from an LBS and had to wait a week or so to get a new tube cause I "blew my wad."

    As for the 29/26" fued, I did go with the 29" bc I found a good deal on it. Sometimes I regret it bc finding things like tires is a PITA. Ive been out of work and "need" new tires. Chainlove doesnt put 29er tires up much and sales rarely get under $30 a piece. I DO like the 29er ride and dont regret buying it at all. I just wonder if in my case Id have been better off with the 26er.
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  21. #21
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    Which one will be more efficient on the road? I know there is an increase in contact area on the 29er. Does it have a big impact on road riding? Also are there a decent variety of tires available for the 29er?

  22. #22
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    I really dont think it will matter on road. I think having the right tires will be more impotant. I ride the road in town and am looking for some thing like Maxxis Crossmark 29er Folding Tire at Price Point this for it.

    There are a lot of choices for tires. I think the problem is that they dont stock alot of them so theres not really a need to put em on sale. I think Im gonna have to settle on whatever I find on sale. Im not to worried about after all, more rolling resistance equals a better workout.

    Also check out the 29er forums. Theres always alot of ummm, coversation about the 26/29er pros & cons. Browse ALL the forums for some great info. Down at the bottom are the regional and manufacturer forums. Good luck.
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  23. #23
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    Hi, sorry to jump on this thread. Not sure if it is appropriate but not sure where else to post this question. I am new to this forum. I am researching new bikes. Looking to buy one this week. I currently have a low-end Giant 'mountain bike' but am looking to upgrade a bit. My budget is 500 (I live in the UK). I have narrowed my choices down to two, that are slightly above budget (typical!). One is the Fuji Taho 4.0 2011 and the other is the Specialized Myka HT Elite 2011. Both are now 550 with the Fuji previously being 749 and the Specialized previously 679.

    Looking through the buying advice in the Mountain Bike World website it seems that the Fuji has a better standard of rear derailleur and perhaps a bette make of forks. All of the other components read like a foreign language to me.

    As both bikes are on sale in a national retailer (with only one shop within 80 miles of me) I am not able to test them out for myself. Also, their reduced price also means reduced stock so I need to act fast to get a bike in my size.

    I am a woman of 5 foot 3 inches. I will be using the bike for trails, (a little) bumpy downhills and on road/pathways/cycle tracks.

    I would like a bike that offers the best quality value for money and would really appreciate your advice.

    Thank you : )

  24. #24
    1/2 fast or 1/2 assed?
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    Id be hard pressed to suggest a bike designed for a man over a womans specific design even if it has better components. Yeah, the componentry seems alittle better on the Fuji but that doesnt mean its better. Id suggest going down to the bottom of the forum menu to the Womans Lounge and repost.

    Here ya go, http://forums.mtbr.com/womens-lounge/

    Good luck and maybe post pics here once you buy. http://forums.mtbr.com/beginners-cor...es-446424.html
    I'm a ******bag in real life so I dont have to be one on the interwebz.

  25. #25
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    That is kind of you. I will try there. Thank you

  26. #26
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    I love my '09 Jamis Komodo 1. It was a last year model when I got it so I got it for under $600. The components are crap but honestly, anything at that price point will have low end components.

    The frame is solid and a great platform to upgrade around. The bottom bracket height makes it fly through rock gardens. The chainstays and stem make it nimble in the air. The slack head tube angle makes downhills more fun and less likely to go over the bars.

    You'll hear this a lot but what kind of riding do you want to do? As long as you buy a bike that is suited for your needs and its sized to you, you probably can't go wrong. The reviews section on mtbr is priceless. Good luck and have fun.

  27. #27
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    I have a giant revel 1 in great condition if your interested.

  28. #28
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    JonasV, I just recently went thru all the same seemingly stressful decisions you are currently going through. I just bought my first MTB ever and couldnt be happier. But I learned alot in the process. My advice would be to get a 29er if your thinking HT. Its the future after all and if you are truly a "newb" you'll never know the difference, all you will know is how great your 29er is.

    Ride as many bikes as you can. When you find one you like, familiarize yourself with its geometry and what those measurements mean. Its not as hard as you think. This makes comparing bikes on the internet possible. If you really like a 68 degree HA then you may not like the 71 degree HA on a specialized. But ride the bike anyway, there are many factors in sizing bikes and its important not to get stuck on any one figure. I did, I was so adamant about a slack HA I never considered ETT. This could have opened up many more bike options for me.

    But whatever bike you get, stop comparing bikes on the internet to it immediately. Ride the bike, have fun. You made a great choice, its so addictive you'll want to ride it every day, no matter what bike you choose.

    Good luck!

  29. #29
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    Minimum

    When you've ridden a bit, you'll know how much bike you need. In the meantime, go for disk brakes because stopping is the most important thing you can do when you really need to stop. My brake cable slipped on the ridge trail at Black Diamond mines on the steepest drop you could put into a fire road. I didn't get hurt too badly. Then I bought a Specialized bike with hydraulic disk brakes. Full suspension is nice, but the brakes are the real deal. Wouldn't go back for anything, at least in the backcounty.

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