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  1. #1
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    Opinions On This Bike?

    I just recently got back into mountain biking (first time I've been serious about it) and for now, all I have is a Mongoose XR-75 from Wal-Mart (gag me) and I'm planning on getting a new bike soon but I have limited funds. My main gripe with the crappy Wal-Mart bike is that the front suspension doesn't take my weight well (I'm 6'1" 190) when going off of a high jump and my V-Brakes don't really "stop" me so I need (want) disc brakes. I don't think I need anything extreme and my budget will be around $350-$450. I'm not too picky whether I get a hard tail or full suspension.

    I checked out that link on this site for BikesDirect.com and saw this one..

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._cliff4500.htm

    And I like that bike a lot although I may decide to look for a bike of a different color or something. Is this a good deal for this bike? Is Bikes Direct reputable? If I went to my LBS instead, what should I expect to pay for a bike of this quality?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by matthewalan8
    Is this a good deal for this bike? Is Bikes Direct reputable? If I went to my LBS instead, what should I expect to pay for a bike of this quality?
    Dont let colour (spelled correctly ) influence you too much.

    The bike itself seems solid enough with a fairly sensible component set (though a couple of things are slightly unusual), and is a pretty decent offer for the price.
    It is absolutely not, however, a "$750 list" bike.
    If you went into your LBS you may end up spending about $150 more for something similarly specced, though you get quite alot for that extra money (a chance to try for size, assistance with fit, support with any minor setup that you may not know how to perform). That said a more experienced rider who doesnt need that help could get a really good deal with no drawbacks using BD, but for a beginner those LBS advantages really help.


    When you ask whether BD is reputable or not, that depends on what you're asking exactly.
    If you're asking if they sell pretty decent parts hung on pretty average frames for a very competitive price - yes.
    If you're more interested in customer service (for which there have been several horror stories here), honesty (falsely and massively inflated "list" prices to make it appear that some kind of ridiculous discount is applied to EVERYTHING) and a genuine "screaming" deal (ie: a genuinely large discount on something worth alot more than its sold for).... well, honestly, look elsewhere.


    Honestly, I really dont think I'd bother with BD.
    The dishonesty over "list" prices really turns me off, despite them having a decent enough product at a sensible price.

  3. #3
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    ^^^

    I don't know why it's BD in particular that draws such enmity for the bogus "list" price issue. Can you ever pay full price for a Scattante (Performance store brand) Sette (Pricepoint) or Nashbar bike? They all also list a bogus MSRP that you always get a discount on. I just don't see anyone griping about Performance, Pricepoint or Nashbar for the exact same practice.

    As to customer service, I don't doubt that BD has had problems, but my own experience was that after e-mail communication and some video evidence of my problem with the wheels that came on my bike, (rear wheel WAAY out of true), they sent me a new and much nicer wheelset with a RA to return the old one on their dime. Jeez, Fox wanted me to pay to ship a clearly defective fork back to them for warranty repairs, so in that aspect BD did better by me than a major suspension manufacturer. Ultimately with Fox the bike shop I bought from took care of me, but I promise Fox was not willing to bend on shipping.

    Having said all that, my thoughts are still the same as yours. If you're not really sure you know exactly what you want and can wrench a little bit too, the LBS is the way to go.

    David B.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbeinct
    ^^^

    I don't know why it's BD in particular that draws such enmity for the bogus "list" price issue. Can you ever pay full price for a Scattante (Performance store brand) Sette (Pricepoint) or Nashbar bike? They all also list a bogus MSRP that you always get a discount on. I just don't see anyone griping about Performance, Pricepoint or Nashbar for the exact same practice.
    I think its mostly because BD inflates them SO far (where PP, performance and nashbar dont go quite so silly with it) and because they use brands with FAR more cache, experience and reputation to justify the ridiculous "list" price in question (eg: comparing their Fly Ti to $5k+ Litespeed, $6k+ Moots/Seven...


    Nice to see you noticed the important bit though, which is that for beginners the LBS has an awful lot to offer and that the physical parts you get are not the only component in actual "value".

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the responses! I think it's best for me to stick with a LBS for my purchase for all of the reasons you mentioned. I think the customer service portion of it will be big for me and the ability to get a bike at the correct size when I would otherwise not know what size to get. Thanks again!

  6. #6
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    To add to this, are there any specific models of bikes that you guys would suggest? There are so many, and I have seen so many, that I really don't know what I'm looking for. I don't have a huge amount of cash, so as stated in first thread, $350-450 is probably my limit but I'd be interested to hear ideas and if it's a little out of my range, I could save longer if I like the bike enough.

    I guess I prefer full-suspension, but I like hard tails also.

  7. #7
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    To get into a decent FS bike you are going to need at least a grand but even then the most start at around $1200. In your price range you could look at the specialized hardrock. My LBS only sells specialized but I think Trek 820 or the 4300 series is in your price range. Good luck!
    Last edited by Simtech78; 07-30-2010 at 04:47 AM.

  8. #8
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    Most of the (bigger) reputable companies have similarly spec'd entry level mountain bikes (which is what you are looking at with your price point- and there is nothing wrong with that at all).

    Some (but not all) of the brands you should consider are Trek, Giant, Specialized, Fuji, Haro, Kona, Jamis, Cannondale/GT (maybe- I'm not a fan of Dorel), etc . Visit individual company websites (most, if not all list prices) make a list of bikes you like, and find some dealers in your area. See what fits the best and feels good when you try it out.
    Now go home and get your ******* shinebox.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the advice! Are there certain things (specs) on a bike that I should definitely get? My plan is to get a good entry level MTB, and then be able to upgrade as I go. When I look at bikes online, I'm so confused on the specs because it's like trying to read Chinese! Don't know what's good and whats not, it all looks impressive when I compare it to my current bike

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by matthewalan8
    Thanks for the advice! Are there certain things (specs) on a bike that I should definitely get? My plan is to get a good entry level MTB, and then be able to upgrade as I go. When I look at bikes online, I'm so confused on the specs because it's like trying to read Chinese! Don't know what's good and whats not, it all looks impressive when I compare it to my current bike
    There are certain things I would advise you to avoid on a spec-list at that pricepoint (unless looking at closeout models - ie: previous year)

    One of them is a 27spd drivetrain - if money has been spent to get 9spd drive, its probably been skimped on elsewhere.
    Another is namebranded pieces of finishing kit (bars, stem, seatpost) - even the cheapest easton/raceface/FSA bits are going to cost alot more than housebranded (or unbranded) bits. Yes, they're nice to have but assigning cost to them means the money has had to be saved elsewhere.
    Hydraulic brakes is a third big no-no at that pricepoint - not only would it mean money has been saved elsewhere but they'd be bottom-line hydros and probably perform pretty poorly and need alot of maintainance.


    There are certain things I would definately look at as important.
    1) Fork - darts are better than pretty much any suntour fork you're likely to see in that pricerange.
    2) Mechanical disc brakes - much better in wet weather than V's, but much easier (and require less part-specific tools) to work on and maintain.
    3) Wheels - if a bike looks too good to be true, you probably havent looked at the wheelset (as this is where ALOT of companies save money). Unbranded hubs arent neccesarily a dealbreaker but unbranded rims almost always are - heavy and/or flexy rims will have a huge impact on your ride quality and enjoyment. MAKE SURE THE WHEELS ARE GOOD! *
    <In fairness to BD, the bike you linked to has all these bases nicely covered, but I still feel a good LBS would be a better move for you>


    * Brands to look out for on the rims:
    - Mavic (probably 117 but maybe 317 if lucky - the first number denotes the quality, 117 being their cheapest, 317 a bit better, 717 being their race rim, 8~ are UST)
    - Sun-ringle
    - Alex (fairly budget, but good)

  11. #11
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    OP, as others have said, look at the 3 big brands. Specialized, Trek and Giant. If there is a Performance Bike in your area, GT and Mongoose become options as well.

    There is a LOT of value in being able to sit on a bike and test ride it. Once you've been around a while, you will be able to size a bike based on geometry but you are not there yet.

    Also, if you go out and test some bikes and you find that even the entry bikes (Rockhopper, Hardrock or Trek 4300, ect.) are truely out of your price range, begin looking on craigslist. There are a lot of people that bought entry level, and better, bikes and NEVER rode them. Sometimes you can find a deal.

  12. #12
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    to the OP, followed you over from the duthie thread. looks like you're in federal way, i'd check out bicycles west in tukwila. they had a big parking lot sale not too long ago with a ton of good deals on closeout models. they're pretty good about sizing you up and letting you test-ride in their lot. i'm about the same height as you and feel more comfy on bikes with an ETT in the 24-24.5" (610-622 mm) range, though i tend to run shorter stems (85/90 mm).

    cycle therapy in kent is a great shop, too, and is where i take my bikes for service. bought my monocog from them. they offer free tune-ups for life on bikes you purchase through them. the guys there are laid back and helpful, i like to recommend them whenever i get a chance.

    lastly, there's center cycle by ikea that has a huge selection of bikes from specialzed, kona, trek, redline, etc. my neighbor bought his enduro and demo from there and he highly recommends them.

    if you're interested, you could try a couple of my bikes. i've got a, '08 19.5" IH MKIII and a '10 19" monocog 29er that you could swing a leg over, should those 3 shops not have enough options. good luck!
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  13. #13
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    Wow, thanks everyone that's exactly the type of information I was looking for. I feel much more prepared to shop for a bike now

    kanai - I do live in Federal Way, but I know exactly which bike stores you are referring to in the Tukwila area. That Bicycles West is across the street from Goodwill in the industrial area. Next time I'm around South Center mall, I'll make sure to stop in! Too bad I missed the close out sale....

    Thanks again you all, I really appreciate the information.

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