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  1. #1
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    Klien Mantra Race Dilemma

    My aging Mantra has reached the point where I need to sink some $$ into it to replace some major worn out components. I believe that it would be better to replace components vs. spending the same amount of $$ on what woyuld be an entry level bike. I'm thinking I could upgrade fork, drivetrain including crankset (xt level), bottom bracket, and headset for $8-900, with 2/3 of cost being fork and crankset. What are your thoughts??

    I'm intending to retain the v-brakes and 8spd, so I can use my existing brakes and wheelsets in order to keep the project under $1K. The old Manitou SX fork (mcu type) is rock hard, and I have been unable to find rebuild parts etc ... I haven't been happy with the options on current gen forks that support v brakes. (although todays bottom end/budget forks are probably better than the old SX forks) Who makes a good fork around $3-400 that supports v brakes. I ride only cross country, 200lbs, and ride at a good pace (if this info helps).

    I typically have used pricepoint.com. Any other worthwhile places worth looking at?

  2. #2
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    The current $$value$$ fork is the Manitou Match, and it is available with brake studs and 80 or 100mm travel
    (either will be fine). Price Point doesn't carry them but here is a link to Speedgoat who carries them. The fork will be about a pound heavier than a SX but the performance will far exceed it and make up for the difference.

  3. #3
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    That seems like a lot of money to sink into such an old bike. Suspension has come a long, LONG ways since the URT days. Wheels & brakes have, too. I'd recommend uping your budget just a bit and trying to find a ~2 year old bike in good shape, like a Giant Anthem or Specialized FSR.

    If you really want to stick with that bike, I recommend you get some inexpensive chainrings on the existing crank and try to find a lightly used fork. The older Fox Floats had V-brake posts (I have one in my garage, too). You could get that bike rolling for a couple of more years for about 1/3 of what you're currently planning to spend.

  4. #4
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    Boy, if you're sensitive about your bike I would stop reading right here.

    I don't mean to be rude but that bike was and is an absolutely awful bike. You're really just going to be sinking money into it with minimal improvement. You spend piles of money on parts and a new fork and brakes, but it will never change the fact that you are basically riding a pogo stick with that rear suspension design. And inevitably, the rear suspension will fail with little to no hope of being replaced or serviced. I'm frankly shocked it hasn't cracked yet because I've seen several old Mantras crack over the years.

    I am completely for you keeping the Mantra as a cool, unique old bike, but updating it is not worth the money because I don't see the frame lasting much longer. Add to that the fact you need a V-brake fork with 65mm travel, very difficult to find and you're opening up a bunch of nasty bag of difficult prospects.

    You can get a very respectable hardtail bike that will perform much better than your Mantra for the price you are looking to spend on parts. Sadly, it's time to move on from your trusty steed. The current crop of bikes are light years ahead of where bikes costing thousands more were when you got your Mantra and it's, at the very least, worth looking in to.

    /$.02
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  5. #5
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    I am not sensitive about my bike (good thing I didn't mention my wife's 3500 proflex!), so thanks for the input.

    I have seen no cracks in my frame. If there is a location that is prone to showing the crack, then I'd like to know. My Mantra race is pre trek ownership (last year it was really klein). I always heard klien quality fell when trek took over. I recall that the mantra was a love/hate opinion. I've had no complaints, or I wouldn't still be riding it. It tracks up hills without po-going like the early full suspension bikes did at the time.

    I figured that an 80mm fork would not increase trail too much to hurt the handling.

    So ... does anyone have a Turner cheap??

    Thanks again.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barnapkin
    I am not sensitive about my bike (good thing I didn't mention my wife's 3500 proflex!), so thanks for the input.

    I have seen no cracks in my frame. If there is a location that is prone to showing the crack, then I'd like to know. My Mantra race is pre trek ownership (last year it was really klein). I always heard klien quality fell when trek took over. I recall that the mantra was a love/hate opinion. I've had no complaints, or I wouldn't still be riding it. It tracks up hills without po-going like the early full suspension bikes did at the time.

    I figured that an 80mm fork would not increase trail too much to hurt the handling.

    So ... does anyone have a Turner cheap??

    Thanks again.
    Just ride what you like, I demo'd a Mantra for a month (rep loaned it to me while I was waiting on a warranty from Trek) and thought it was fine though I thought the head tube angle was too steep. Running a 100mm fork would cure that. It's not up to todays full suspension frames though it rides significantly better than the Trek Y/Fisher Joshua URT designs.

    FYI-Trek purchased Klein in 1995, so no Mantra is pre-Trek...but ALL Mantras were made in Chehalis, WA in the Klein facility.

  7. #7
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    New bike got veto'd, so a rebuild it is.

    Thanks for the info.

  8. #8
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    Would you dump a bunch of money into a Ford Pinto to get the engine, suspension and interior fixed up??? Rather than spend that same amount of money on a new used car?

    Doesn't make sense does it?

    For $800-900 you can usually get a very nice used bike.....newer technology, newer parts.
    Bicycles donít have motors or batteries.

    Ebikes are not bicycles

  9. #9
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    As much as I'd like to sell you my Fox Fork (check PMs), I agree with mtnbikej; Getting a used bike (since new got vetoed) makes more sense. What's the difference between putting $900 into an old bike vs. spending that much on a less old bike? The difference is that you get to upgrade pretty much every single part, and you also have a spare bike. A quick scan of the classifieds reveals several interesting bikes in your range. Check your local Craigslist, too...

    http://classifieds.mtbr.com/showprod...ct=59997&cat=3
    http://classifieds.mtbr.com/showprod...ct=59791&cat=3
    http://classifieds.mtbr.com/showprod...ct=59889&cat=3
    http://classifieds.mtbr.com/showprod...ct=58881&cat=3

    You just need to make sure that it's been maintained and doesn't need all the same upgrades your current bike requires. Even an older bike is OK if it has had it's bearings and drivetrain replaced. Really good brakes and suspension started coming out in 2003 or so.

  10. #10
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    I'm with Zebrahum. As much as you like that bike, it's still a horrible design (one of the worst full-suspension bikes ever made by a reputable company.) Since the only value in a Klein Mantra is as a parts donor or wall-art, and your parts need replacing, I recommend the wall art option.

    You can buy a lightly-used bike for $800-900 that would beat the tires off your Mantra.

  11. #11
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    I'd be willing to bet you three have never spent any time riding a Mantra. You just see it's a URT and instantly call it a bad design. That makes absolutely zero sense as URT designs are very dependent on the pivot location. Your argument is the equivalent of saying all single pivot bikes ride the same. They don't, where you place that pivot and the leverage rate on the shock has everything to do with how it rides.

    Bad URT designs used a low pivot such as the Trek/Fisher designs along with the Walmart bikes you see. They had terrible bobbing issues which required a full lockout shock to control. The also suffered horrific brake jack that could send you flying over the bars. Then there were Sweet Spot URT designs such as the Ibis Szabo and Schwinn Homegrown (you will never see a Sweet Spot URT design at Walmart). These were very well regarded designs at the time, and did not have any of the issues of the Trek design. The Klein has even a higher pivot but acted similar to the Sweet Spot bikes. The design is very plush when seated, but stiffens when standing.

    Yes compared to FSR, DW-Link, VPP type designs it is dated. But it is NOT the POS that you guys are trying to convince the OP it is. If the OP likes his old Mantra then let him be.

    OP-you may chose to post in the Vintage forum in the future...the ignorance level is substantially lower there when it comes to older bikes.

  12. #12
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    I've ridden a Klein Mantra, as well as a Trek Y-22 OCLV. So you bet wrong.


    It's my opinion that I think they ride like crap. Significant pogo effect, and the bushings that Klein used were junk. And there's noticeable brake jack on Mantras that is very clear when riding downhill.

    The point of a FS bike, to me, is to give me more control when traveling over rough terrain (usually downhill.) The minute you get out of the saddle on a Mantra on a descent, the ride becomes awkward and negates the point of riding a FS bike in the first place.

    Sure, they may climb well (when seated) but they suffer (like most URTs) from issues that many other frame designs do not have. This opinion is shared by many others who have tried multiple suspension designs.

    That's not to say that all Klein FS bikes are junk, as I think their Palomino rides well, and even though it has a fragile rear triangle, the Adroit is a nimble XC rig as well.

    It's too bad though, as they often had some cool paint jobs and were interesting looking bikes in general. If you like yours, then more power to you! Not everyone rides the same, and it may serve your purposes well.

  13. #13
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    But not to sit here and lead this thread OT, I think if the OP wants to upgrade his current steed, he should look into Magura Durin MD80R that pops up on ChainLove from time to time. 80mm, extremely plush, remote lockout option, and around $325 (normally $750+) One of the best V-brake capable 80mm forks out there, in my experience.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72
    Then there were Sweet Spot URT designs such as the Ibis Szabo and Schwinn Homegrown (you will never see a Sweet Spot URT design at Walmart). These were very well regarded designs at the time, and did not have any of the issues of the Trek design. The Klein has even a higher pivot but acted similar to the Sweet Spot bikes. The design is very plush when seated, but stiffens when standing.

    Yes compared to FSR, DW-Link, VPP type designs it is dated. But it is NOT the POS that you guys are trying to convince the OP it is. If the OP likes his old Mantra then let him be.

    OP-you may chose to post in the Vintage forum in the future...the ignorance level is substantially lower there when it comes to older bikes.

    Thanks for the vote of ignorance. A carbon fiber sweet spot (Schwinn S-20) was my only bike from 1999 to 2003. While I agree it pedaled ok, and ver well when standing, everything else sucked. It was my first FS bike. I knew something was "off", but didn't realize how much until it was stolen and I replaced it with a Blur. My first technical climb on the Blur I was giggling and smiling- I said to my friends "this is like cheating!". Then came the down-hill. 7 years later and the suspension on my Blur is still competitive with modern trail bikes.

    I even have a post about the S-20 in the "what bikes have you owned and hated" thread in the all mountain forum. https://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php...&postcount=134

    The Mantra does have a higher pivot though...



    All people here are saying is that for the same money he could get an entire bike, and a superior one at that. In my first reply, I suggested he just do a minimal cost upgrade to get a few more years out of it if he wanted to keep it- a used fork, chainrings, and a few bearings.

    I didn't realize that Durin was V-brake compatible. If so, that'd be a very nice option- great deal on chainlove. If not, I still have that '03 Float RLC that is v-brake compatible.
    Last edited by @dam; 01-27-2011 at 03:40 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72
    I'd be willing to bet you three have never spent any time riding a Mantra. You just see it's a URT and instantly call it a bad design. That makes absolutely zero sense as URT designs are very dependent on the pivot location. Your argument is the equivalent of saying all single pivot bikes ride the same. They don't, where you place that pivot and the leverage rate on the shock has everything to do with how it rides.

    Bad URT designs used a low pivot such as the Trek/Fisher designs along with the Walmart bikes you see. They had terrible bobbing issues which required a full lockout shock to control. The also suffered horrific brake jack that could send you flying over the bars. Then there were Sweet Spot URT designs such as the Ibis Szabo and Schwinn Homegrown (you will never see a Sweet Spot URT design at Walmart). These were very well regarded designs at the time, and did not have any of the issues of the Trek design. The Klein has even a higher pivot but acted similar to the Sweet Spot bikes. The design is very plush when seated, but stiffens when standing.

    Yes compared to FSR, DW-Link, VPP type designs it is dated. But it is NOT the POS that you guys are trying to convince the OP it is. If the OP likes his old Mantra then let him be.

    OP-you may chose to post in the Vintage forum in the future...the ignorance level is substantially lower there when it comes to older bikes.
    It's lovely you lump everyone together with the same blind hand of stereotyping as you accused us of having with bikes. I have rode URT bikes of many types, and I will happily defend my position of the Mantra (which I have rode) of being a substandard bike design. Sorry, the suspension is completely outdated and the frame is prone to cracking (OP, the one I remember vividly was in the seat mast area. A regular cleaning and inspection of the welds around the main body will help keep the bike safe to ride.). I'll agree with you that if the OP likes it then it's worth riding, but I will simply not concede that it is worth putting large amounts of money into.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum
    It's lovely you lump everyone together with the same blind hand of stereotyping as you accused us of having with bikes. I have rode URT bikes of many types, and I will happily defend my position of the Mantra (which I have rode) of being a substandard bike design. Sorry, the suspension is completely outdated and the frame is prone to cracking (OP, the one I remember vividly was in the seat mast area. A regular cleaning and inspection of the welds around the main body will help keep the bike safe to ride.). I'll agree with you that if the OP likes it then it's worth riding, but I will simply not concede that it is worth putting large amounts of money into.
    Maybe ALL THREE OF YOU should go back and read your comments...you were pilling on the guy with the same comments so yes, I could easily lump the three of you together. And I did say it doesn't compare to current designs, but I stand by that it isn't that bad.

    As far as prone to cracking...based on what info? I was a warranty manager for a large Trek/Fisher/Lemond/Klein dealer in up through 2003 and never once saw a cracked Mantra frame. Not saying it never happened elsewhere, but if it was "prone" I likely would have seen it. The OP says he doesn't get a new bike, so he's making the best of what he has...bagging on him for that decision isn't helping. There are plenty of happy Mantra riders in the vintage forums that will easily offset people who think they suck.

  17. #17
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    OK. I just re-read my posts. Here's what I said negative about his bike...

    That seems like a lot of money to sink into such an old bike. Suspension has come a long, LONG ways since the URT days.
    Saying current designs have come a long way is just another way of saying it doesn't compare to current designs. We said basically the same thing, so maybe you should lump yourself in, too.

    Nice assumption that we just didn't know what we were talking about when we all had experience on that bike or similar.

    Nobody here is suggesting he get a new bike- we're suggesting spending about the same amount of money on a used one, or at the very least maybe not invest all that money into the old bike & do a budget upgrade instead of a $900 one.

    I didn't mention cracking due to how long this particular frame has held up, but I have heard of issues as well. This one seems to be a durable one though. Klein did tend to make some of the lightest, but most brittle, bikes out there. I remember my LBS in the early 90's had a bunch of destroyed Klein hardtales on the wall. One had the top tube peeled open like a soda can.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by @dam
    I didn't realize that Durin was V-brake compatible. If so, that'd be a very nice option- great deal on chainlove. If not, I still have that '03 Float RLC that is v-brake compatible.

    Yeah, I believe only the 2009 models had the v-brake studs, as the newer models do not have them. I also know the 2009 SIDs occasionally came with V-brake studs, but were much more than the $300 range for not much better performance.

    I was lucky to come by a 2009 Magura Durin 80 SL for just a couple hundred on craigslist. It's so nice that it felt out of place on my primary steel hardtail, so now I'm looking at building a bit nicer bike around it .

    Here's a link showing the pic of the Durin at $320...I've seen the deal probably 5 different times over the past 2 months, just keep your eyes peeled.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=671870

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72
    Maybe ALL THREE OF YOU should go back and read your comments...you were pilling on the guy with the same comments so yes, I could easily lump the three of you together. And I did say it doesn't compare to current designs, but I stand by that it isn't that bad.

    As far as prone to cracking...based on what info? I was a warranty manager for a large Trek/Fisher/Lemond/Klein dealer in up through 2003 and never once saw a cracked Mantra frame. Not saying it never happened elsewhere, but if it was "prone" I likely would have seen it. The OP says he doesn't get a new bike, so he's making the best of what he has...bagging on him for that decision isn't helping. There are plenty of happy Mantra riders in the vintage forums that will easily offset people who think they suck.
    Easy there, if you want to attack people then fair enough but you're just twisting everyone's comments. Mantras break even if you haven't seen it. URT is gone for a reason. And the whole point most people have been trying to make is that the Mantra is not worth putting money into if it is to be compared to modern (even hardtail) bike. Had you actually read the post series, you would have read that the OP got veto'ed on buying a new bike so this whole discourse from post #8 on has been worthless.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  20. #20
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    Always love forums - always an adventure.

    I will look at the durin fork as well.

    Thanks for the input on where to look for cracks.

    I ride motorcycles as well, and am used to the bike preference issue.
    Often the "Harleyer-than-thou" attitude of some dilutes the experience for those hot riding a bike of similar ilk. Sometime folks forget that riding something is better than nothing at all.

    If it were a perfect world I'd have a new bike every year, and my wife would say yes to everything (in addition to looking like Jessica Biel).

    Thanks again for the input.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barnapkin
    Always love forums - always an adventure.

    I will look at the durin fork as well.

    Thanks for the input on where to look for cracks.

    I ride motorcycles as well, and am used to the bike preference issue.
    Often the "Harleyer-than-thou" attitude of some dilutes the experience for those hot riding a bike of similar ilk. Sometime folks forget that riding something is better than nothing at all.

    If it were a perfect world I'd have a new bike every year, and my wife would say yes to everything (in addition to looking like Jessica Biel).

    Thanks again for the input.

    Forums allow people to tell the truth without sugar-coating it for the sake of others. Which often comes off as elitism or ******baggery. I'm sure if I saw you riding on the trail I'd say "cool bike" but wouldn't mention how I don't really like how they ride.

    And I wasn't trying to impart a "Harleyer-than-thou" attutude...my primary ride is a late 90s steel hardtail with a bunch of old parts. I'm just very subjective when it comes to FS bikes, since I've ridden hardtails my entire life. The only way I'll love a FS bike is if it does everything right, and there are only a few bikes I've ridden like that.

    You should indicate to your wife that you can sell your Klein and subsidize the cost of the new bike, and even pick something nice up for her in the process. Every time I flip a bike for profit, I spend some of it on my GF so that she knows that she still factors into the decisions I make.

  22. #22
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    Sometime folks forget that riding something is better than nothing at all.
    Absolutely...but those aren't your only two choices.

    Selling the old bike to help finance an upgrade is an interesting idea. I'm not sure what they're worth, but there might be some Klein fans out there who'd be interested.

    And, again, nobody here suggested a new bike; just used bike in the same range as the $900 you already planned to spend or, alternatively, doing a more modest upgrade to the Mantra. What's the difference between $900 in bike parts and $900 in bike? The only difference is that you get more for you money, and then have a spare bike.

    If you still like your Klein, you might even consider a used bike just to donate parts to it. Or, even a new bike for that matter. Check this out...

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...om_elite09.htm

    You get a...
    RockShox Recon 351 WITH UTURN ADJUSTABLE TRAVEL 85-130mm fork ($550 List), Ritchey Bar, Stem AND Post. The Fantom Elite adds to those race winning specs; an FSA integrated crank and cutting edge External Bearing MegaEXO sealed BB, Ritchey Sealed bearing headset, sweet shifting Shimano XTR rear derailleur ($120 List) with WTB SpeedDisc Wheelset and amazing powerful Avid Hydraulic Juicy 5 Disc Brake system.
    All for under a grand. Oh yeah- you get a frame, too. Sell it and you hit your price point, but now you've upgraded every part of you bike except the frame. Run the fork at 85 mm and forget about the U-turn (too much stress on that frame). In a few years, pick up a used Blur (or similar) frame on ebay for $500 if you like & you'll have yourself a modern, high-end FS bike for $1500.
    Last edited by @dam; 01-28-2011 at 12:47 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by @dam
    And, again, nobody here suggested a new bike; just used bike in the same range as the $900 you already planned to spend or, alternatively, doing a more modest upgrade to the Mantra. What's the difference between $900 in bike parts and $900 in bike?
    Actually, I did suggest a new bike in the $800-$900 price range. I think it's a better investment than a used bike with a questionable history. Not meaning to stir any pots, just want to make sure all options are adequately covered.
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    My mistake, but the point is the same. I think he wants FS though, and he won't be able to get a very good new FS bike for that money.

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    Hi folks. i also have a mantra and i wouldnt swap it for any new bike, although i maybe slightly tempted by a new whyte 146 lol. i have ridden literally thousands of miles on mine and its become like a pet. it doesnt bob like a pogo stick, its plush and it turns heads and gets admiration wherever it goes. my friends have had specialised m series bikes and the new trek and marins and i wouldnt give them room in my garage. none of them ride like the mantra and its 14 years old.i admit i have spent a fortune on it over time but i would spend another fortune keeping it alive.
    i have full xtr groupset and some classic pace rc36 forks. chris king headset etc etc.
    my advice is to keep the mantra going until you have no other option. i dont think people understand what its like to own something like it.
    some muppet made a comment about a hardtail performing as well. yeah right, well it will have benefits of course but get real.

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    heres mine with some updates

    the disc brakes are really nice

    http://www.googlepixel.com/99Mantra/

  27. #27
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    To the OP, do not sell your Mantra. Take it out and jump it off as many high things as you can. I owned a 96 Mantra that cracked. Trek honored the lifetime warranty from Klein. I got this brand new EX-9 for free.
    http://www.nbbikes.com/
    ^^^Best Bike Shop of MTBR 2008^^^

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    my .02...
    Pick up a used FS Anthem X, Trance, FSR, Rush, Rize, HiFi etc for $850 - 900.
    Clean up your Mantra and hang it in a place of honor in your office!

  29. #29
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    Yikes!!! I had a '98 Mantra and I beat the crap outta it. I actually had mine "freerided" out with a 5" '99 Z1, a Vanilla coil-over shock, Hayes brakes, Berserkr saddle, riser bars and DH tires. It was a sled and the suspension was odd. However, there was a definite way to ride a URT so that you could make it work by using the seat as a rudder and putting some tension on it so the shock would not lock out. My XC hardtail riding brethren at the time thought I had lost my mind, but shut up when I could roost them on the descents. I always thought it was a cool looking bike. I eventually moved on to a Heckler and the rest is history.
    "Everything popular is wrong." -Oscar Wilde

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandmangts
    To the OP, do not sell your Mantra. Take it out and jump it off as many high things as you can. I owned a 96 Mantra that cracked. Trek honored the lifetime warranty from Klein. I got this brand new EX-9 for free.

    That's awesome, my buddy who had the Adroit that cracked got the same frame for free!

    Gotta love that Klein/Trek warranty.

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    Your value crank is this one here:
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...+Crankset.aspx

    And I wouldn't spend $400 for a fork with V-brakes. If you really want to stick with V-brakes hunt around ebay for a used one. Either that or get a new bike, because there isn't really anything made for 8-speed or V-brakes anymore. Those $1300 and $1500 Sette Razzo's look like a great deal. I even think they look nice. I'm sure there are local bikes on sale too. And you can never beat the value of a well-selected used bike deal. Hit up your local Craigslist.

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    I rode a '97 Mantra until my first Specialized FSR in '02. The Mantra definitely climbed well, but I'd have to agree that I'd be embarrassed to ride one today. Very cool design and solid as a rock, but out-dated and kind of clunky now. Sorry.

  33. #33
    Titanium junkie
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    Oct 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barnapkin View Post
    My aging Mantra has reached the point where I need to sink some $$ into it to replace some major worn out components. I believe that it would be better to replace components vs. spending the same amount of $$ on what woyuld be an entry level bike. I'm thinking I could upgrade fork, drivetrain including crankset (xt level), bottom bracket, and headset for $8-900, with 2/3 of cost being fork and crankset. What are your thoughts??

    I'm intending to retain the v-brakes and 8spd, so I can use my existing brakes and wheelsets in order to keep the project under $1K. The old Manitou SX fork (mcu type) is rock hard, and I have been unable to find rebuild parts etc ... I haven't been happy with the options on current gen forks that support v brakes. (although todays bottom end/budget forks are probably better than the old SX forks) Who makes a good fork around $3-400 that supports v brakes. I ride only cross country, 200lbs, and ride at a good pace (if this info helps).

    I typically have used pricepoint.com. Any other worthwhile places worth looking at?
    I am going to ignore all the crap flying around, If you like the bike and you enjoy
    riding it,then don't listen to anyone else. I just picked up a 2011 Manitou R7 Pro
    fork with 80mm of travel and v-brake posts with lock-out. NICE FORK!!!!
    Got mine threw my lbs, but if you look on e-bay they aren't that expensive.
    Also put on a Chris King headset while I was at it. Bike rides like a dream.
    Keep what ya got my man, keep what ya got.

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