Noob seeking advice (like you've never seen that before)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Noob seeking advice (like you've never seen that before)

    I've been reading posts here for a few months now and am impressed with how helpful the members are here, and for the most part don't get annoyed with noob requests...nice to see, from my perspective.

    I haven't owned a bike since I was...well, maybe 12. 32 years later, I've decided to start riding (mainly because I hate running so much). I'm looking at three older used bikes and I was hoping to get a nudge one way or the other from you all. I'm looking at the following:

    1998 Rockhopper A1 FS
    2003 Giant Rincon
    2003-04 GT Aggressor

    They are all in equally good condition, even though I'd guess a trip to my lbs will be in order whichever I choose.

    In an effort to steer clear of subjective questions, I'm looking for some guidance as to component quality and upgradeability. What degree of "the newer bikes will have better components" comes into play here, if any? Price-wise, all are within $20 of each other.

    Any suggestions, opinions?
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    Noob seeking advice (like you've never seen that before)-00o0o_7yq2ece1lsx_600x450.jpg  

    Noob seeking advice (like you've never seen that before)-00j0j_9okxrplhyak_600x450.jpg  

    Last edited by Pseuron; 02-25-2015 at 04:08 AM.

  2. #2
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    Bike fit is important. Not standover. But the space you have when seated riding to the bars. Reach and effective top tube.
    The last one looks bigger than the first one.
    You can get an idea of fit if you know your height and your actual inseam length(not pants size).

  3. #3
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    Rincon https://www.bicyclebluebook.com/Sear...1041&year=2003

    GT https://www.bicyclebluebook.com/Sear...priceMax=20000

    The Giant seems to have been a bit more expensive. Right now, I would mostly look at the forks and the derraileurs and see which ones are better. They're both goods bikes. The best thing for you is to try both.

    The rockhopper is older and was more expensive. I don't know about the components though. I'd lean towards something newer.

  4. #4
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    Second to fit is condition.

    If the condition is equal, or close to equal, if it were me, I would go with the Rockhopper everyday all day long.

    Components are better, but you may have to see if that fork needs any servicing. Because it is old, I don't know the availability of parts. I think it is an elastomer fork.

    Overall component condition (chainrings, hubs, derailleurs, etc.) can also be an issue as ebay is the source for replacements. The good news is that it is easy to work on it.

    John
    1995 Trek 970 - 80mm Atom Race
    1992 Serotta T-Max - 70mm Z3 Light
    1993 GT All Terra - 46mm Mag 21
    (STOLEN)

  5. #5
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    Thank you both for your replies. All three are "large" frame bikes, varying .5 inch in frame size at most. The fit feels ok on all of them, so I'm struggling to pick one based mainly on that.

    Yes, the Rockhopper was over $400 pricier than the others as new, but I did wonder about how much 1998 "good" compared to 5 year newer componentry.

  6. #6
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    To me, the Rockhopper and GT look to be in better shape...with the Rockhopper looking to be in the best shape (or at least most clean). Personally, I would lean toward the Rockhopper despite it being an older bike, that assumes that all 3 bikes fit you of course. I couldn't find a full spec list on the GT, but based on a brief search it appears that the Rockhopper was a little better spec'd out of the box.

    For the most part, you can modernize these bikes decently well...it just depends on how deep you want to go with it. The big issue you'll have is with the suspension, since there aren't many 1 1/8" straight steerer V-brake suspension forks on the market that are worth a damn.

    Last Summer, I had a '96 Gary Fisher hardtail that I acquired for free and I did a little modernizing and made it into a commuter that I have since sold. Added a Surly rigid fork, new tires, new chain and cassette, new headset/shorter stem/wider handlebar, and the thing actually rode pretty well. I only sold it because it was a size too big. I wouldn't have hesitated to take that bike on trails.

    I wouldn't overpay for any of those bikes, but if you could get one cheap and put a little money into new rubber and fit items to make the bike feel good to you, you'd probably still be well under what a new base model hardtail would cost. The only difference is with the new bike you'd get updated geometry, disc brakes, and newer components.

  7. #7
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    Thanks John and owensjs. I've been wanting to lean that direction too, was just a little concerned about the 1998 vs anything newer than that...simply from a construction and advances in technology standpoint. From what I've seen they are all generally acceptable and more than adequate to fit my "just getting back into riding" status. Aside from the difference in original price point (GT, Giant, Specialized from least to greatest), there doesn't seem to be anything glaring that says to steer clear of X one.

  8. #8
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    Rockhopper $100
    GT $130
    Giant $100 obo

  9. #9
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    I would choose the Rockhopper hands-down out of that line up.

    Hell, I'll even offer you $30 for the pedals that come on it and knock your investment down to $70. My favorite pedals of all time.
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  10. #10
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    Lol slaphead. Turns out the seller is throwing in a new chain, bar ends and a set of mounted road tires- plus reduced to $80...I'd proly pay him the full $100 just because. Seems like a deal to me.

    Thanks all!

  11. #11
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    Ok, I'm gonna muddy the water a bit...Just found a pristine 04 Trek 4300 (same price range). I've seen a few comparos between the rockhopper and the 4300. Thoughts?
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  12. #12
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    I probably can't help you on this one because I'll always pick the Rockhopper over a lower end bike because I would probably build it and ride it. I do have a tendency to gravitate to the better level older stuff and I think the Specialized frame is better.

    In all honesty, I would ride each one and pick whichever one you like more. There are a ton of people who would love to get a decent entry bike for $100, so you can't go wrong.

    John
    1995 Trek 970 - 80mm Atom Race
    1992 Serotta T-Max - 70mm Z3 Light
    1993 GT All Terra - 46mm Mag 21
    (STOLEN)

  13. #13
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    Thanks John- the 98 specialized frame is better than the newer 04 Trek? I'm kinda with you, thinking this is boiling down to a personal preference decision. I entered this thread actually hoping someone would say "heck no, don't buy that x POS" and I could whittle it down that way.

    Has anyone else had experience with any of these bikes?

    Thanks All

  14. #14
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    I'd buy that specialized all day long for $100. Where are you located? Haha.
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  15. #15
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    I have a 2002 Trek 4300. It's never been serviced and still rides very well. It's handled everything I've thrown it and then some. In fact, I haven't had rear brakes for 3 years, lol. I still ride it 3-4 times a week so it's not just sitting in my garage.

    I don't want to sway you but you should butt test these before making any decision.

  16. #16
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    agreed, James. I'm setting up rides for tonight. Awesome site!!

  17. #17
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    Well if you can afford to save more, like $200 more, then you could get a much newer bike and components. Craigslist usually has a good supply of cheaper bikes. The ones you were originally looking at are going to have horrible forks. Anything newer than those would have much improved forks that actually work. So then your wrists won't hurt. Good luck sorting through craigslist, sport.

  18. #18
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    Ok, so I'd seen an 09 Rockhopper but it was out of my price range. I called on it yesterday on a whim and...for $80 and a pair of old oakleys I never wore, I came home with this:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Noob seeking advice (like you've never seen that before)-img_13131.jpg  


  19. #19
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    It does show a bit more signs of...er, love, but just mostly cosmetic. So, if anyone's interested in that 98 rockhopper, (the pic was a found image since the ad didn't have one, but the bike is definitely a 98 A1 FS and after a wipe down would be as clean as the one above, albeit without the nice pedals) pm me and I'll put you in touch with him (So Cal). I felt badly about not buying from him, but I just couldn't pass up the 11 year difference for the same $. Motivated seller...

  20. #20
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    The '09 Rockhopper was my first mountain bike and it's a great bike. You will enjoy it and is very upgradable. After getting a full suspension bike, I converted the bike into a single speed.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pseuron View Post
    It does show a bit more signs of...er, love, but just mostly cosmetic. So, if anyone's interested in that 98 rockhopper, (the pic was a found image since the ad didn't have one, but the bike is definitely a 98 A1 FS and after a wipe down would be as clean as the one above, albeit without the nice pedals) pm me and I'll put you in touch with him (So Cal). I felt badly about not buying from him, but I just couldn't pass up the 11 year difference for the same $. Motivated seller...
    Looks like a good deal, but wondering about the fit. Frame looks like a S or even XS...
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  22. #22
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    Congrats on the score.

    $80... how can you go wrong?

    John
    1995 Trek 970 - 80mm Atom Race
    1992 Serotta T-Max - 70mm Z3 Light
    1993 GT All Terra - 46mm Mag 21
    (STOLEN)

  23. #23
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    I'm 6' 180lbs, and ostensibly I should be riding a 19er. I test rode it before I saw the frame size and it felt about right (only marginally on the small side, if that). It's a 17...optimally, I'd probably need an 18, if they ever make such a thing, but this feels comfortable for size. It'll need a new chain and front tire, but I'm pretty stoked about the deal.

    Thanks for all of you input! Now, Chino Hills State Park here I come!

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