Which one of these 3 FS bikes should I buy?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Which one of these 3 FS bikes should I buy?

    Advice, please. REI is having it's annual Labor Day sale. I have a choice of three full suspension bikes that they have on sale. They are all priced at $1399, marked down from $1799. Here are my choices:

    1. Novara Method 2.0 (Novara Harmony suspension platform, four-bar linkage, big bearings and a cold-forge main pivot, Fox FR 100mm suspension fork and Fox Float R rear shock, Avid mechanical disks, Shimano Deore XT/LX 27-speed drivetrain, Truvative FireX Team crankset with Giga X Pipe external bearing ball-bearing system, WTB LazerDisc wheels)

    2. Kona Dawg Deluxe (Fox Float R rear, Marzocchi Fond Race 1 Lock-Up 120mm fork, Hayes Hydraulic disk brakes, Deore drivetrain, RaceFace Ride XC ISIS cranks, Sun S.O.S. P1 rims)

    3. K2 Apache 5.0 (Linear Link suspension w/ four inches of travel, Answer Manitou Radium R rear shock, Answer Manitou R7 Comp Air fork, Hayes Sole hydraulic disc brakes, SRAM X-7 shifters and X-Gen front and X-9 rear derailleurs, Truvativ crankset, Wheelset includes Shimano Disc hubs fore and aft, Sun DS2-XC rims and Kenda Nevegal 26x1.95 tires)

    I'm an experienced road rider, but not an experienced mountain biker. I do have an old totally rigid Stumpjumper. I demo'd a FS bike all this week and enjoyed it enough to decide to buy one. I weigh 195 lbs. I'm not a racer, hucker or downhiller, just a guy who enjoys trail riding, but I do like to go fast up and down hills, and I also enjoy playing around a little in the bumps.

    I would really appreciate any words of advice or wisdom. Thank you.

  2. #2
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    I'd say get the Dawg.

  3. #3
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    Another vote for the dog
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  4. #4
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    Method vote

    Of the three mentioned I like the method. Fox damping front and rear. Four bar linkage. The best mechanical discs money can buy. Above average drivetrain components.

    Second choice would be the Apache, only becuase I believe Manitou still as issues with their QA. By all accounts, the R-7 is a great fork, but it hasn't been out long enough to assess long term reliability ( a sore spot with Manitou, IMO). I like the SRAM X.7 and X.9 combo better than the LX/XT on the Method, but not so much as to negate my concern of the "Manitou factor".

    A distant thrid is the Dawg. Frankly, Kona has done a terrible job in outfitting their bikes with the right forks. A quick look at the Marzocchi web site will tell you that the Fondo series forks are designated for "trekking". In essence, this fork isn't even worthy to be put on technical singletrack, according to Marzocchi. The deore drivetrain, while nice, doesn't quite measure up to the LX/XT on the Method or the X.7/X.9 on the Apache.

    The recommendations are purley based on what I feel is the quality of the component spec. You need to determine which bike feels best when you ride it, and which fits in your budget.

    Best wishes in finding the right bike for your needs.

    Bob
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  5. #5
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    I'd go with the Dawg. I know a few people who have ridden the heck of the Fondo, and have had no issues with it this year. Granted, the Fox is a nicer fork, but the Kona frame far outweighs the Novara. Yes, you are paying for a frame. The frame is really what makes a bike act like it does, not the drivetrain. You are still getting solid components on the Kona. Get the Kona, ride the crap out of it, and upgrade as you go! The Manitou R7 and Radium blow. You will be thouroughly dissappointed with both of them, and the K2 frames are nothing to write home about.

    Get the Kona and start riding right now!
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  6. #6
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    Good points

    Frame construction and geometry are key. I would add that the OP needs to decide themselves if they will be sorely disappointed in a frame based on their own test rides and how each of the bike's individual geometry fit's their own body, and responds on the trail.
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  7. #7
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    You probably already bought your bike, hopefully your out ripping it up right now. I bought the Novara Method 2.0 in May and I've been riding it pretty hard all summer. I have nothing but good things to say about it, I love the suspension and the mech brakes. No complaints. I looked at the Dawg too, but at the time I had an REI dividend and a 20% off coupon that made this bike too good to pass up.

  8. #8
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    I'd have to suggest the Apache based on the quality of the components. With that said, you might want to consider a Cannondale Prophet 800, which you would find on end of the year sale for like $200 more then the bikes you are considering. Best frame and fork of the bunch, and decent components at that. I own the Prophet 1000 and the thing is a beast.

  9. #9
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    Get the Dawg, and forget the quality of compenents thing. With a fs bike you buy for the frame and suspenion design. The Dawg is spot on, and well equipped.

  10. #10
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    I'm sure the Dawg is a good pick as well, but do you really expect anyone to "forget the quality of the components thing"? Do you work for Kona or something, cause that is just flat out BAD advice. Look at the Dawg; look at the Method, same shock position, same 4-bar linkage. The best advice to give someone is "Ride all three and pick the one that feels the best" cause each bike will feel different to each rider, but for that kind of money, and don't kid yourself, $1200-$1800 is a lot of money for most people, you should feel confident in the frame AND the components.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by waocinak
    I'm sure the Dawg is a good pick as well, but do you really expect anyone to "forget the quality of the components thing"? Do you work for Kona or something, cause that is just flat out BAD advice. Look at the Dawg; look at the Method, same shock position, same 4-bar linkage. The best advice to give someone is "Ride all three and pick the one that feels the best" cause each bike will feel different to each rider, but for that kind of money, and don't kid yourself, $1200-$1800 is a lot of money for most people, you should feel confident in the frame AND the components.
    Ok, but, most components are replaced more often than the frame, so other than the fork and wheels, the frame should be the main choosing point. If you have it down to two bikes that are very close in price and frame/suspension, then the components are worth looking at (say one bike has XT and one has X9, so you choose your preference rather than planning to upgrade them within a year).

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by waocinak
    I'm sure the Dawg is a good pick as well, but do you really expect anyone to "forget the quality of the components thing"? Do you work for Kona or something, cause that is just flat out BAD advice. Look at the Dawg; look at the Method, same shock position, same 4-bar linkage. The best advice to give someone is "Ride all three and pick the one that feels the best" cause each bike will feel different to each rider, but for that kind of money, and don't kid yourself, $1200-$1800 is a lot of money for most people, you should feel confident in the frame AND the components.
    Your right, fit is very important. Components are replaced through the life of a full suspension frame. If you do not like the type of suspension and and geometry of the frame doesn't fit you your stuck with it. I don't work for Kona. If you have the choice between a refined suspension design that gets good props with LX components and the other that gets not so good props with XT, you would be a fool to buy just becasue it has XT components. This advice is for full suspension bikes. Hardtails are different in that you don't have to consider rear suspension design.

  13. #13
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    I have ridden a dawg and didn't really care for it.

    If it were my choice I'd go with the K2.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by crankpuller
    I have ridden a dawg and didn't really care for it.

    If it were my choice I'd go with the K2.
    What didn't you like about the Dawg? What bike do you ride now? Why k2?

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