Bike Choice Help- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Bike Choice Help

    Hello forum! Iím in a bit of a situation. My bike that was great was stolen last week and Iím searching for a replacement. I did some research and made the spreadsheet attached (screen shots because exel is not accepted). Could you guys double-check my info? I got everything for the manufacturerís website except for the Fuji. Could you also share your opinion on which bike to choose? Try to mention all of the bikes if you can. Iím asking you guys because I am assuming youíll have knowledge and reviews about brands and components. The most tough terrain will be Kettle Moraine in Wisconsin. Thanks a ton!

    Disclaimers: 1. I have searched the reviews but not many people have the stuff in question
    2. Prices are actual and from local bike shops
    3. These bikes are my only choices and what I want (so far)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Bike Choice Help-screen-shot-2011-11-18-11.51.57-pm.png  

    Bike Choice Help-screen-shot-2011-11-18-11.52.30-pm.jpg  

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  2. #2
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    The Bikes in Question

    Here are some pics:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Bike Choice Help-3900disc_blue.jpg  

    Bike Choice Help-novara.jpg  

    Attached Images Attached Images   
    Last edited by nhlpat; 11-23-2011 at 12:09 AM. Reason: updated choices
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  3. #3
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    If it were me, I would get the Novara. The components seem the most solid across the board. Second would be a tie between the Jamis and the 3900, with a slight edge to the 3900 because of $$$. But that's my opinion. I really like the way SRAMs react under load for their MTB stuff.

  4. #4
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    I have tried the RST Gila fork and I found it to be a deal breaker. Big loud clunk bottom out and big loud clunk top out, and that was in the car park!

    Suntour XCT is just as good as the Dart 1. Both have progressive spring rates. They react fast to small bumps but will not bottom out. Smooth action all the way but very bouncy on the way back up because no oil dampening.

    From my experience with Acera and Alivio, I can recommend them. You will have fast simple reliable indexed shifting. I have also used the sram and I like it even more!

    With anything less than Acera parts you will have problems like the chain not wanting to change gears, premature wear and nuts and bolts working loose while riding. (This has been my personal experience)

    Thay all have the tektro novela which (surprise surprise) I have used. They don't have the stopping power I would like and they will make loud squeaking sounds but they feel predictable and accurate and reliable and I like them. (you can make the squeaking stop to. pm me)

    First choice Novara Bonanza
    Second chioce Fugi Navara 2.0 (price)
    Very close third Trek 3900 disc

    Dont buy Trek 3700 (bad gears) or Jamis Trail x3 (bad fork)

  5. #5
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    Jamis.

    Or save up for something in the less than 30 lb. range.

  6. #6
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    Awesome help! Keep it coming
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tigerider View Post
    If it were me, I would get the Novara. The components seem the most solid across the board. Second would be a tie between the Jamis and the 3900, with a slight edge to the 3900 because of $$$. But that's my opinion. I really like the way SRAMs react under load for their MTB stuff.
    I agree with the Novara. Better spec and it looks good, too. Worth upgrading over time.

  8. #8
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    The fact that the Novara has Sram X5, should I be worried that the deraileur will break?
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  9. #9
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    No. Why? I have SRAM x.5 on my Heckler and I haven't had any issues other than bending the derailleur when I fell off of a bridge and landed on my derailleur. That would have broken any derailleur. SRAM x.5 is good stuff. Not the lightest or quickest, but it works well. Comparable to Shimano SLX in my opinion.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mountainbiker24 View Post
    No. Why? I have SRAM x.5 on my Heckler and I haven't had any issues other than bending the derailleur when I fell off of a bridge and landed on my derailleur. That would have broken any derailleur. SRAM x.5 is good stuff. Not the lightest or quickest, but it works well. Comparable to Shimano SLX in my opinion.
    That's what I was trying to get at. You won't see too many guys at high end XC races with x.5 stuff, but you won't hear your LBS mechanic giving you flak for running x.5. Solid stuff.

  11. #11
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    K, I was just wondering because sram has less moving parts than shimano.
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  12. #12
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    First and most importantly, test ride each bike and see which bike fits and feels best to YOU.

    The best components are on the Novara Bonanza - 27 speed Sram X5 beats out all the others, but fit and ride is more important than specs.

  13. #13
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    the best deal sounds like the REI Novara out of the list you gave

  14. #14
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    I would agree. I went to REI yesterday and I found out that I am a large, but they didn't have the Bonanza, so I shot them an email. The ranking in my view:
    1. Novara
    2. Trek 3900
    3. Fuji
    4. Jamis
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  15. #15
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    These bikes are really interchangable. You are overthinking this.

    Go with the company that can give you be best service policy.
    I don't rattle.

  16. #16
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    The REI bike is out of the picture, because the next shipment is in spring 2012. I do like the service of my LBS, as Berkeley mentioned, and when I saw it in person it looked really high quality. So here is the next question: Is the RST on the Jamis really bad? Maxforce maybe you could go in to more detail?

    Edit: The submodel of the shock is T. Full name: 2011 RST Gila T
    Last edited by nhlpat; 11-23-2011 at 12:05 AM. Reason: a little more info
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  17. #17
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    I don't really have any experience with forks but I test rode a Giant with an RST Gila fork in the car park, stood up on the peddles and bounced up and down. On the way down the fork provided very little resistance and it quickly and easily hit the bottom. It was a loud thunk and the feel though the handle bars was like the bike had just been hit with a hammer. The topout was just the same, metal hitting metal.

    I then rode the next model up Giant with a Gila PRO fork, I bounced up and down again, no bottom out. The fork actually supported my weight, did not make a sound and moved smoothly, much better

    Please remember these are all cheap and nasty forks but you can still see some that are the best of the worst.

    The Gila on the Jamis might be completely different, all I can suggest is go for a test ride and see.

  18. #18
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    You could always try and upgrade with cheaper upgrade fork. And if you want to spend a little more money, there are some of last years Marzocchi up on hucknroll.


    If you're interested, I would introduce another bike into the fray: Nashbar AT-3 Mountain Bike - Hard Tail

    I bought the model below this one and have had nothing but good things to say for an entry level bike.

  19. #19
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    Did you try to call all the REI shops in your area? I have 4 stores in about 30 miles radius, some have way more mountain bikes than the others.

  20. #20
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    Yes, all the local REIs do not have it in stock. An REI in Wisconsin has the Bonanza but they want $110 to ship it or 4 hour round trip drive to pick it up. So far I can't justify the extra money (unless it is an AWESOME bike, which it looks like).
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhlpat View Post
    Yes, all the local REIs do not have it in stock. An REI in Wisconsin has the Bonanza but they want $110 to ship it or 4 hour round trip drive to pick it up. So far I can't justify the extra money (unless it is an AWESOME bike, which it looks like).
    Yes you can. REI products can be returned at any time if you are dissatisfied. That is akin to a lifetime guarantee. In addition, they can fix things for you in their shop.

    Also remember that you will get a 10% rebate at the end of the year, which will pay for part of the shipping. So the question comes down to: would you be willing to pay $60 for a lifetime guarantee? If you are not a member already, then you will have to pay another $20 for a membership. In that case, the question becomes: would you be willing to pay $80 for a lifetime guarantee? Maybe not.

    Without that darn shipping fee, it would be an easy choice.
    Last edited by happyriding; 11-29-2011 at 08:51 PM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhlpat View Post
    Yes, all the local REIs do not have it in stock. An REI in Wisconsin has the Bonanza but they want $110 to ship it or 4 hour round trip drive to pick it up. So far I can't justify the extra money (unless it is an AWESOME bike, which it looks like).
    Can they deliver it between stores for free? I remember someone telling me about it, but not sure what was the context. Worth asking. You may have to buy it blind. In REI you can always return, so not much risk.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by happyriding View Post
    Yes you can. REI products can be returned at any time if you are dissatisfied. That is akin to a lifetime guarantee. In addition, they can fix things for you in their shop.

    Also remember that you will get a 10% rebate at the end of the year, which will pay for part of the shipping. So the question comes down to: would you be willing to pay $60 for a lifetime guarantee? If you are not a member already, then you will have to pay another $20 for a membership. In that case, the question becomes: would you be willing to pay $80 for a lifetime guarantee? Maybe not.

    Without that darn shipping fee, it would be an easy choice.
    I am already a member and I am still trying to figure out a way to get it.

    Quote Originally Posted by CrozCountry View Post
    Can they deliver it between stores for free? I remember someone telling me about it, but not sure what was the context. Worth asking. You may have to buy it blind. In REI you can always return, so not much risk.
    It costs $110 to ship the bike to another REI store.

    Update: I called the REI that claimed to have the bike , but they didn't. However, REI has the best customer service.
    Last edited by nhlpat; 12-02-2011 at 08:46 PM.
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  24. #24
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    Cool-blue Rhythm Bam

    Well I finally made my decision. I ended up with the Trek 3900. Here are some random thoughts about it:
    - The paint is like vinyl you could wrap a car with. It has a matte finish and it doesnít feel glossy, kind of like the aluminum on a macbook. However it scratches a wears easily, but it looks cool.
    - Shifting is quick and direct but almost too much. It seems to throw the chain, it is not smooth. I donít know if that the derailuer itself or some cable tightness thing.
    - The crank is shaped weird, nothingís wrong with it
    - I havenít bottomed out the shock yet
    - Bontarager SSR grips are awesome!
    - The tires are great and look awesome. they have a good hum and an even, stable, and wide footprint.

    I might mod it for the fun of it, but probably not. Are all parts like derailuers or disk brake bolt paterns standardized (except for shimano center lock)?

    Ill try and answer any questions. Is it a very good bike.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Bike Choice Help-p1090258.jpg  

    Last edited by nhlpat; 12-06-2011 at 10:16 PM.
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  25. #25
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    Excellent choice!

    Here are a few things you can do just for fun:

    Turn the bike upside down and undo the two nuts holding the fork together. Slide the forks apart and apply a generous portion of grease to the stanchions and fork seals. You may have to remove the front brake to slide the forks apart.

    The fork has two stages of compression, a spring and a rubber elastomer. If you are not using all of your travel or if you are using too much travel, you can modify the elastomer. Cut a bit off or add something to the end to make it longer. I cut 1 inch of the rubber off so I gained an inch of travel. The elastomer is inside the spring which is under the preload nob.

    You could try a bit of this on your discs.

    "CRC De-Squeak prevents brake noises before they occur. Metallic formula fills grooves and imperfections in the friction surfaces that commonly cause squeaks and squeals. Use De-Squeak on new, old or freshly cut (turned) brake rotors and drums. De-Squeak is safe for use on all types of brake systems, including ABS."

    I spray a bit on a clean rag and wipe the disk surface. Does work as a mild lubricant but does make the brakes work better IMHO.

    You could upgrade to Acera 8sp trigger shifters just improve smoothness and looks a little.

    Some crazy upgrades could be carbon handlebars and stem and carbon seat post.

    Remove the kick stand.

  26. #26
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    My bike is just like the trek 3900 and I ride it everywhere and do everything with it. The only difference is I have Sram X4 8 speed trigger shifters. It's a cheap bike so you don't feel bad if something breaks, all bike shops sell parts to fix them cheap.

  27. #27
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    I also ride everywhere, anyweather, anytime. I am surprised that the brakes already squeal, but maybe that is just break in. As for lubing the suspension, I will put some truck grease on the stanchions, but I'll save modding for warmer weather. Carbon stuff is a bit crazy for a $460 bike and the kick stand stays, however I will paint it black. I just don't like my bike on the ground.
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  28. #28
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    Would Avid BB7s and G2 rotors be a simple bolt on? (would they fit?)
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