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  1. #1
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    29er or Full Suspesion?

    So I'm a bit torn here trying to figure out if I should go with a full suspension 26" Jamis Parker or go with the 29" Jamis Dakota hardtail. I used to mountain bike a lot, but took an eight year hiatus when I only rode the 'road bike' (crits, centurys and so forth). Now that I'm back, I realize that the technology has changed a bit since my 26" K2 hardtail was cutting edge (maybe it was never cutting edge...probably dull edge, if anything).

    Just a bit of information about myself. I usually ride singletrack and actually enjoy hill climbing (I know, I'm a freak). I'm not gonna do any 4 foot drops or major downhill stuff, but I'd like to occasionally take this bike to Tahoe and do some downhill rides several times a year. Finally, I'm 5'8" and about 155lbs (if that makes any difference...) I hear that 29er's are not for shorter guys like me, but what the heck do I know.

    Any ways. Thanks for your input.

  2. #2
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    Reputation: borregokid's Avatar
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    I think your real question is whats the best bike for $800 or less. I probably wouldnt limit the bike to the Jamis Jenson bikes. In the same price range you could probably find a used full suspension bike like the Giant Anthem which would probably be better suited for what you plan on riding. Another alternative would be your local Performance shop. They are very competitive in the price range you are looking at.

    I think if you have a little more money the Sette Ace from Price Point for 1k is a steal .

  3. #3
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    A parker is a VERY different critter than an XC 29er. Its like you're comparing a F-150 and a corolla and asking 'ford or toyota?'

    I would hate to have to ride that 29er... but maybe you'll love it, i'd also take the corolla over the F-150.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
    Mikhail Kalashnikov

  4. #4
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    Nope. I'm not looking for just the best bike for under $800. But... you're right, I did mention two bikes in that price range, and I do like your mtbr member photo. Realistically, my cap is at about 1.5k (that's all that I have right now).

  5. #5
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    You didnt say where you live but if you live in a major population area like almost anywhere in California you could probably do well finding a used bike off Craigslist. If you like climbing hills I dont think the Parker would be the best bike. I like 29ers but mostly for someone who is looking for one bike to do everything including road riding. Some guys swap out forks and put light wheels on and use them for training and even centuries. Coming from the road side of things I think the Anthem, and Specialized Epic should get a hard look. The Parker could be a bit of a "lead sled" which if you are young and under 35 would be ok but if you are older you might want a lighter ride.

  6. #6
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    I agree the Parker and a 29er Hardtail are two very different types of bikes. I would say for 90% of what your riding the Parker it the wrong bike (climbing....). I think a 29er HT would work well if you like climbing and comming from the road you have most likely developed a decent spin so the ability of the 29er to keep things smooth on a climb would help you maintain this. But I would not rule out a good 100mm travel 26" XC/Trail bike either. at the +/-$1500 price range you do have some decent options that come with higher end frame designs but a bit lower end Fork components etc... borregokid mentioned some good ieas such as the Antem which is a tough bike to beat for the cash- but most bike makers these days have a decent $1500 price point bike- I think a Santa Cruz Superlight was somewhere around there last Iooked (though probably closer to the $1700 mark now).

    At any rate look for something with a relatively long top tube to help stretch you out on the climbs since it is what you like- this will usually come along with "XC" oriented seat and head tube angles etc... A lot of bikes today have gone to a shorter top tube and upright position- not a bad thing but really trying to juggle the ups and downs- and many loose a bit of climbing ability as a result.
    A longer top tube with "shorter" stem and 25-27" wide bars will give you room to climb and offer a more controlled feel going down vs 22" wide bars with 130mm stems of the 90's
    I Just wish I could ride more!


  7. #7
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    Thanks for all of the replies. I think that Parker is now out, and I'll look into the Anthem or Specialized Epic. btw- How does the Scott Spark 60 compare to these two? I only mention it because I have a Scott CR-1 Road bike, and have always liked their products in the past. Oh yea...I live in Marin County, Northern California. Birth place of the MTB, or so I've been told.

  8. #8
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    Reputation: borregokid's Avatar
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    I would at least check out the Anthems and Epics at the local bike shops to start with. I think the Scott would be pretty decent although its entry level but then if you are looking new that might be in your price range. Jenson has apparently gotten hold of some Scott Spark 40's that they are selling at 30% off which is attractive. North Bay would be a good place to look for a bike new or used.

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