best value in FS XC race frame for 135lb- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    best value in FS XC race frame for 135lb

    I hate to be one of those please tell me what frame to get kind of people, but there are just SO many choices I'm lost, and I've got no prior experience with FS

    Steel Hardtail zealot for past 15 years.
    XC race, SW Virginia. technical singletrack, rough climbs
    135lbs.

    Ideally like to mount an existing Black 80 SPV. This 80mm fork is slightly taller than the 80 Skareb but not as tall as a Skareb 100 so I might be able to put it on a frame designed for a 100mm w/o ruining the geometry.

    Looking for FS frame only. Looking for good value (highest consistent reviews+low ebay price)

    On the list so far:
    Salsa Cabellero
    Kona King Kikapu
    K2 Razorback
    Rocky Mountain Element

    Am also considering spending more $ on
    Racer-X 80
    Racer X 100 / Hammer head 100
    Santa Cruz Blur
    Yeti ASR-SL
    Turner Nitrous

    So far I've seen amazing prices on ebay for used K2s, Cabelleros, and RM Elements.

    Not sure about any of the Treks or GF. Prefer brands that are not as popular.
    Last edited by ashwinearl; 05-17-2005 at 12:40 AM.

  2. #2
    JmZ
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    At your weight, unless you abuse your equipment, you have a whole lot of choices out there. For something light the Turner Nitrous, or Racer X will both be hard to beat.

    I've had some time on the Element (well it's lesser sibling - the Fanatik) and it's a very good bike, just wasn't the right geometry for me. Very predicable, very sure handling, just too big for me. If I had one with the standover of a 15 or 16.5" and the top tube of a 18" - I wouldn't have had the excuse to get my Ventana.

    And to throw another in the mix... Mentioned you wanted something not as common, and depening on what size you need there may be a few left at a great price.

    Ventana El Feugo. Not the lightest out there but very precise. I got one after coming off of a Jamis Dakar Team (97) then a Rocky Mountain Fanatik (03) and it's stiffer. It is writing checks my lungs and body are trying to cash. Even if the rider isn't fast, the bike is. And the best part is, with a change of rockers this bike can go from 3 all the way to 5" of travel. So don't have to limit your options to just a 3" or just a 4" bike.

    Honestly though, if the Titus Racer X would have been a <i>little</i> less expensive, it would have been to close to call between the Ventana and Titus (for me).

    I'd jump into the T T & V forums and see what they have to say as well. Lots of good advice and cross overs there too.

    Good luck,

    JmZ

    Quote Originally Posted by ashwinearl
    I hate to be one of those please tell me what frame to get kind of people, but there are just SO many choices I'm lost, and I've got no prior experience with FS

    Steel Hardtail zealot for past 15 years.
    XC race, SW Virginia. technical singletrack, rough climbs
    135lbs

    Looking for FS frame only. Looking for good value.

    On the list so far:
    Salsa Cabellero
    Kona King Kikapu
    Yeti ASR-SL
    Rocky Mountain Element

    Am also considering spending more $ on
    Racer-X 80
    Racer X 100 / Hammer head 100
    Santa Cruz Blur
    Turner Burner
    Turner Nitrous

    Not sure about any of the Treks or GF. Prefer brands that are not as popular.
    JmZ

    From one flat land to another.

    Advocate as if your ride depends on it...

  3. #3
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    Salsa Caballero under $500 new

    Well,
    I pulled the trigger on a new Salsa Caballero (scandium tubeset). Seen it several places for under $500. Retail last year was $900 and it looks identical to the Rocky Mountain Element whose retail is much more than $900. From what I searched there wasn't another frame (new) that could come close to the value of this one, and the geometry is exactly what I am looking for in terms of top tube length. It comes with the Rock shox rear shock and not the 5th element but at this price can't complain. 4" of rear travel. It's all new to me anyway.

    There were some potential used frames at ebay, NRS, Razor back, but here I get full warranty and 27.2 seat post, and I can put my 80mm Black on there so all in all looks like a good find. Don't think I could have found a Racer X, or Ventana used at this price.

    Hopefully it works out.

  4. #4
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    kona king, iron horse azure

    Quote Originally Posted by ashwinearl
    On the list so far:
    Salsa Cabellero
    Kona King Kikapu
    K2 Razorback
    Rocky Mountain Element

    Am also considering spending more $ on
    Racer-X 80
    Racer X 100 / Hammer head 100
    Santa Cruz Blur
    Yeti ASR-SL
    Turner Nitrous

    So far I've seen amazing prices on ebay for used K2s, Cabelleros, and RM Elements.

    Not sure about any of the Treks or GF. Prefer brands that are not as popular.
    I just bought a kona primo scandium on e-bay and i am just amazed at the quality of construction. For $450 ($600 retail, this is a hardtail) the quality is as good as any, with perfect weldings, machined headtube, bb and disk mounts, and the attention to detail is better than most (down to the cable guides shipped with v-brakes vs disk cable routers and neat thick rubber disk cable guides instead of the "help yourself with zip ties").

    I am saying this to reccomand the kona FS, but also to suggest that any production FS of the ones you list that coss more than about $1500 is quite overpriced (The king, with scandium tubing, costs $1400 it is offered in a large number of sizes 14, 16, 18, 29, 20, 21, instead of the bizarre small medium large, and by fall you can probably get it at 30% off). If you want to go above that ballpark $ consider instead a true custom bike: ventana, titus, dean and others will build a perfect bike for your body, and that will be an advantage when racing.

    for racing ... keep an eye on the iron horse azure when it comes out ...
    Last edited by Davide; 05-17-2005 at 07:14 PM.

  5. #5
    JmZ
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    Congrats,

    Hope ya enjoy the ride. If it's close to the Rocky, it's a good ride. I think there's a few discussions down in the Custom and Other builders forum below about the Salsa's.

    For a Scandium frame it's hard to beat, for 5 bills, it's REALLY hard to beat. The standover wouldn't have worked for me, but hey... that's my problem, not yours.

    I'd be leery of any Ventan or Titus I'd get for $500 too. Might burn my fingers when I touched it. I'm not sold on Rock Shox rear's but a Cane Creek AD-12 should only be about $100 or so on E-Bay, and the 5th's pop up there now and then. If, IF, it's the same size as the Rocky, you'll most likely need a 6.5 X 1.5 Rear shock if you want to replace it.
    Good luck,

    JmZ


    Quote Originally Posted by ashwinearl
    Well,
    I pulled the trigger on a new Salsa Caballero (scandium tubeset). Seen it several places for under $500. Retail last year was $900 and it looks identical to the Rocky Mountain Element whose retail is much more than $900. From what I searched there wasn't another frame (new) that could come close to the value of this one, and the geometry is exactly what I am looking for in terms of top tube length. It comes with the Rock shox rear shock and not the 5th element but at this price can't complain. 4" of rear travel. It's all new to me anyway.

    There were some potential used frames at ebay, NRS, Razor back, but here I get full warranty and 27.2 seat post, and I can put my 80mm Black on there so all in all looks like a good find. Don't think I could have found a Racer X, or Ventana used at this price.

    Hopefully it works out.
    JmZ

    From one flat land to another.

    Advocate as if your ride depends on it...

  6. #6
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    he says an xc race bike, isn't that kona pretty heavy and beefy?
    All Mountain was so 2005

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdub
    he says an xc race bike, isn't that kona pretty heavy and beefy?
    you might be thinking about the 4" model, i am looking at the 2.5" rp3 equipped scandium 2005 the king racer. But i don't know the weight of the king and you might be right: kona might have built it on the safe, non-disposable, side. However, my Kona Primo 19" scandium is exactly 3 pounds and it is a rocket!
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    Last edited by Davide; 05-18-2005 at 01:08 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cdub
    he says an xc race bike, isn't that kona pretty heavy and beefy?
    That depends on your definition of heavy and beefy. I suspect you are thinking of one of Kona's more "all mountain" type of frames. The King is a short travel lightweight cross country racer. I don't know the exact weight either, but weightweenies lists the weight of a 2003 18" frame with Float RL rear shock as 5.22 lb. The RP3 is a bit lighter (a tenth of a pound or so I think), so the 2005 model should be a bit lighter unless they have changed something on the frame to make it heavier.

  9. #9
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    K2 Razorback

    The K2 is an excellent short travel XC design. It works very well and and has good reviews. I own one as my training/winter bike and really like it (I race a Scalpel) One of the best things is that they can pretty consistently be found $250-$350 on Ebay and classifieds. In terms of value, they are hard to beat. I have owned a Scalpel, a Racer X, 2 Giant NRSs and the Razorback is in the same league as these bikes. It just does not enjoy the popularity of the others.
    "Son, The world needs ditchdiggers, too"-Ted Knight, Caddyshack

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