Decent FS bike possible for $600 max?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Trail Cubist
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    Decent FS bike possible for $600 max?

    I'm looking to buy my wife a new MTB. She's been riding a 10-year-old (or older) Trek 6000 hardtail. It works, but hey—it's old and heavy.

    She has back issues...so I'm thinking an FS bike (26") would be great. I realize you get what you pay for (I ride a GF HiFi Pro)...but I don't have a ton of money to spend. I can spend up to $600, that's about it.

    So I'd love to hear if it's possible to buy a decent FS bike new for $600...or if that's being unrealistic? I'd consider a better bike second-hand too.

    She's not a hardcore rider and weighs about 140lbs, so she's not likely to beat the heck out of whatever she rides (though she'll definitely hurl herself at some tough trails sometimes!).

    I figure for $600 I could get something better than the old Trek she's riding now.

    Any ideas/recommendations are appreciated!

    Scott

    EDIT: Bikes Direct has some bikes that *look* fairly decent, but I don't know much about the components (particularly rear shocks with springs, since I've only ridden a Fox Float shock. Here's one, for example—how does this look?
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...cane/600ds.htm
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  2. #2
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    I'm looking to buy my wife a new MTB. She's been riding a 10-year-old (or older) Trek 6000 hardtail. It works, but hey—it's old and heavy.

    She has back issues...so I'm thinking an FS bike (26") would be great. I realize you get what you pay for (I ride a GF HiFi Pro)...but I don't have a ton of money to spend. I can spend up to $600, that's about it.

    So I'd love to hear if it's possible to buy a decent FS bike new for $600...or if that's being unrealistic? I'd consider a better bike second-hand too.

    She's not a hardcore rider and weighs about 140lbs, so she's not likely to beat the heck out of whatever she rides (though she'll definitely hurl herself at some tough trails sometimes!).

    I figure for $600 I could get something better than the old Trek she's riding now.

    Any ideas/recommendations are appreciated!

    Scott

    EDIT: Bikes Direct has some bikes that *look* fairly decent, but I don't know much about the components (particularly rear shocks with springs, since I've only ridden a Fox Float shock. Here's one, for example—how does this look?
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...cane/600ds.htm
    New $600 FS bikes are low end and heavy. Her 6000 hardtail is probably better and lighter. Look for a reasonable used bike.
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  3. #3
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    Call the glass half empty---- but I would be in the NO camp. It is hard to find a decent hardtail for 600 let alone FS. If you are set on FS and that amount- go to the used market and you could probably do ok. I was on a kick of trying to get a new hardtail, so I did lots of looking around at many manufacturers and the "decent" HT's start around 1k.

  4. #4
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    I saw a couple of decent GTs on eBay the other day. They were new but closeouts. One was an XS Marathon Sport and the other was a small Marathon Elite women's specific. They may still be listed.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  5. #5
    Trail Cubist
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy
    New $600 FS bikes are low end and heavy. Her 6000 hardtail is probably better and lighter. Look for a reasonable used bike.
    Thanks shiggy—so would you say the Motobecane at Bikes Direct (see link above) is low end and heavy too? (I never know what to think when they say "Retail: $1200, On Sale for $559.")

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  6. #6
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    In my opinion. Decent FS bikes start around $1000.

  7. #7
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    Better in that price range to buy a good used higher end bike, I think.

    Great deals can be had yeilding $1500 performance for much less paid.

    eBayyyy......

  8. #8
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    I'm still hoping someone knowledgable can look at the specs on that Motobecane I linked in the original post and tell me if they think it's crap or decent?

    I have this notion (not sure where it came from?) that any rear shock with a spring is gonna be total crap...but then I remember than DH bikes have springs...

    There's also this Motobecane for $799...
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...trail_ds08.htm
    Different suspension design, maybe better?

    Again, she won't ride nearly as often as I do, so I don't think durability is as important (but sure, I don't want a piece of junk that will break on the 10th ride...)

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  9. #9
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    You may also want to consider a 29er hardtail. The big wheels can smooth things out quite a bit, however, given your wife's weight, she may not be large enough for a 29er to be a good choice for her.

    Given her back problems, I believe the proper fit will be the most important factor for her comfort. The effective top tube length is usually the most crucial fitting point. The wrong length can cause or agitate back problems as well as bike handling issues (such as if a longer stem is used to compensate for a too short top tube).

    -Pete
    I can barely get my mouth around it.

  10. #10
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    Good points Pedalphile. I ride a 29er and she's a big roadie too...so she might like a 29er. I want this to be a surprise...but that's looking more and more difficult to pull off! LOL Might be better to just tell her—then we can go test some bikes—better for her in the long run.

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  11. #11
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    For that price you obviously can't expect too much and, like you said, your wife isn't going to be DHing it so my guess the Motobecane would be OK but not great depending on what your definition of a tough trail is. I don't think I'd choose Motobecane as my primary ride for serious AM for 5-6 day a week riding longterm but that doesn't sound like what your wife is intending.

    That being said, it looks a little heavy, pedals might be a somewhat flimsy (steel and resin plastipedals), and I've heard some people don't care for Dart forks (while others apparently like them). Overall, I've met people who really like Motobecane and others who think that they're only a few steps above big-box bikes (their interpretation - not mine).

    IMO and like others have said, if you're willing to be patient and know what you're looking for, buying a somewhat higher-end (gently) used FS rig might pay off in the longer run in terms of satisfaction and for not much more coin.
    Last edited by roxnroots; 01-20-2011 at 02:05 PM.

  12. #12
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    This is the old Trek 6000 she has now...(but without the toeclips—we put SPDs on it). Manitou forks, center-pull brakes.



    I could always upgrade this bike...but it might not be worth it (as other said, looking for a used quality bike is prolly best...)

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  13. #13
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I think that Motebecane 600 looks like crap.

    A Y-frame!? and it's got one of those extra stays, too - at least the Treks and Specializeds that had that frame style made an effort. I wouldn't consider the full-suspension aspect to be value-added. The spec looks like a $700 hardtail to me, which is much more in line with what I think bikesdirect's real savings are.

    The 800 looks a little more realistic, I suppose, but I'd be disinclined to trust an off-brand coil-over shock.

    A friend of mine picked up a Giant Trance a while ago for $600. He's pretty happy with it, and it has a nice build. I was mad at him - it's nicer than my bike.

    It's "that time of year" so maybe after you do your taxes, your budget will change.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
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    First up, ignore the "list" price on the bikesdirect website. They're the only seller, so list price doesn't really matter. Just compare components based on actual prices.

    Regarding the Fantom trail DS: It's an ok bike for the price. The Dart 3 is fairly common on beginner bikes, and quite a bit nicer than the dart 2 or some of the suntour options you'll find on bikes in similar price ranges. My wife's myka hardtail has a dart 3 and it's a lot nicer than the suntour that came on my giant hardtail.
    General pros: If you're absolutely set on FS and on a new bike, then the bikesdirect bike will probably get you the most for your money (short of finding crazy closeout deals).
    Cons: No ability to test fit before buying, unknown rear shock, a hardtail at the same price will have better components

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the input.

    Here I was hoping someone would post up with "Yeah man, I bought a cheapo FS bike for $500 and hammered the heck out of it for three years and it worked great—I even won a couple races on it!"

    But that's fantasy...or is it?

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  16. #16
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    Thanks shiggy—so would you say the Motobecane at Bikes Direct (see link above) is low end and heavy too? (I never know what to think when they say "Retail: $1200, On Sale for $559.")

    Scott
    Yes, I would. The fork and shock are very basic. Mostly Alivio drivetrain, 12-28 8-sp cassette, cheap crankset. Cheap brakes. Basic frame design that is not really worth upgrading. Would be very surprised if it weighs less than 30 pounds. Would consider it a downgrade from the 6000.

    The second motobecane is better, though it uses the same fork and shock.
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  17. #17
    Duck Fonald
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    How about a good suspension post for the bike she's riding now?
    "It is what it is."

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  18. #18
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    I got a used 2007 Specialized FSR XC Rim for $700, and it's great. It's probably just as light as my hardtail. The previous owner had upgraded it to discs (bb5's ) as an added bonus. I was looking on Craigslist forever before I found it. They originally wanted $1000, but I thought that was too much for a bike that retailed for $1200. Eventually (like 2 weeks later they let me know by email) they dropped the price to $700 and that's when I bought it.
    Matt

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    Thanks for the input.

    Here I was hoping someone would post up with "Yeah man, I bought a cheapo FS bike for $500 and hammered the heck out of it for three years and it worked great—I even won a couple races on it!"

    But that's fantasy...or is it?

    Scott
    I guess it's up to the rider. I've seen someone on a Motobecane 600DS holding their own at a 24 hour race. The ride quality and longevity of parts won't compare to a higher end FS, but it'll work.

  20. #20
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    At risk of asking a stupid question...

    OP, are you sure that it's the pounding that's aggravating your wife's back? A lot of women, especially smaller ones and especially on older bikes, are riding bikes that don't fit. That makes everything hurt, but the pain usually starts at a weak point, like an old back injury.

    Does she get pain riding her road bike? How do the riding positions compare? If her road bike works for her, her MTB position should be pretty similar. She shouldn't have an arched back riding either bike, but may get away with it on the road bike; riding trails will really punish that. Another way of asking this is, if she rode her mountain bike on the road for a while, would it hurt her?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  21. #21
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    The motobecane website shows the small Fantom is 32.3 lb. That's without pedals, and I imagine it's conservative. http://www.motobecane.com/ds/ftds.html

    They show that the 700 is lighter (30.3). It seems odd that the less expensive bike weighs less, even with a different setup. I don't know how much I would trust it.

    If you wrench, you may be able to use some of your wife's components on an ebay frame. Just another idea.....

  22. #22
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    Id say see if you can find a used 2008 to 2010 Giant Yukon fx
    Ride

  23. #23
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    Saw this today:

    http://www.blueskycycling.com/produc...Super-Bike.htm

    I know the older Otero was highly regarded for a low end DS bike. They also have the downspec'ed Otero Elite for under $600.

  24. #24
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    SWriverstone, check your private message

  25. #25
    Rebmem Rbtm
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    The Motobecane is decent. go with it

  26. #26
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    Check the new airborne bicycles lineup, i think their FS models start at 599.
    I don't post to generate business for myself or make like I'm better than sliced bread

  27. #27
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    If you have the 600 in cash, youre best bet is to wait for a good deal on the used market.

    Like the other guys said, the bike your wife already has is quite capable. There is no immediate need to chuck for a lesser bike. Your mission is noble, I'd keep at it. Something will come along.

  28. #28
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    Have you thought of replacing the frame? Check out the KHS in the link below:

    http://wheelworld.com/product/khs-20...frame-7512.htm

    They only have a small left, but maybe that would work. I Bought a frame from the same place and swapped all of my stuff over to it and I'm really happy with the results. You'd need to swap your hubs to disc hubs, and buy disc brakes (BB5's can be had cheap second hand on ebay). Other than that I think you could use what you've already got. A fork swap wouldn't hurt either. If you're mechanically inclined you could have a functioning FS bike for not a whole lot of money. If the ride is the only thing that gripes her you might want to look into it. You might be able to find a used frame on eBay too.

  29. #29
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    Yes, $600 sounds way too low for a good full suspension. But you might want to check websites or phone some Specialized dealers in whatever range you are willing to shop. I know when I was looking for closeouts for myself I would see the Myka "women specific" FS rides on closeout quite often at healthy discounts. Just a thought.

  30. #30
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    Agree with ignoring the "List" or "Compare to" prices on BD. Their bikes are worth exactly what you're paying. They are not an amazing deal or anything like that. They are what they are. They're inexpensive bikes. They will put flashy parts on a bike just to make it look better than it is, but it's still worth exactly what you pay for it because they put low end parts in less obvious places.

    That Trek 6000 could be upgraded somewhat. New wheels, brakes, and maybe suspension fork. Problem with the fork is that so many good forks around nowadays have travel that would be too much for this bike. You'd have to limit to short travel only (probably 80mm tops), and that really limits your selection.

    I'd also keep an eye on the used market for something newer, but still used. You should be able to find a good bike 2-3yrs old in your price range.

  31. #31
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    Only used. You could get a decent lightly-used FSRxc, Juliana, or Superlight for that much. Figure ~5-7 years old, where some guy bought it for his wife and it's only been ridden a few hundred miles.

    Speak of the devil, I have just such a bike for sale; a 2004 Santa Cruz Juliana w/LX parts. It's the old medium, which is a bit smaller than the current small. It's mostly sat, but my wife is getting into riding again, and this bike is too small for her at 5' 7". It'd be a better fit for someone around 5' 3" & under.

  32. #32
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    More than you say you want to spend but I have read good reviews of the Giant Yukon FX. List price is about $950. I just picked up a Giant Talon 29er list $975 got it for $900 because the LBS doesn't sell a lot of bikes in Jan. in Md. and he was happy to deal. Maybe try to find a deal on a FX.

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