Best Value for around $350? - Total n00b here, please help :)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Best Value for around $350? - Total n00b here, please help :)

    I'm trying to determine what the best way to acquire a SS MB is. Unfortunately I'm on a budget, so my priority right now is a nice frame - I don't mind shoddy components as long as I can switch them out later, I'd rather have a nice frame to build on.

    My question: What is the best value for around $350? Is there a lot more value if I expand to under $500? feel free to make comments here also. My main use will be riding on gravel or dirt trails and sometimes on the road. Probably an even mix of trails and road, but someday I'd like to get into more real mountain biking

    Ok so here are my questions:

    1. Is it better to buy a real complete SS bike outright or to buy a MB and change the transmission to SS yourself? How hard is it to do? I have a friend who is a gearhead who can help me, but I don't want to overly burden him.

    2. For true durability, which is really better, steel or aluminum? I've done some reading on this but haven't been able to really determine. Steel seems more sturdy obviously but I read it isn't as good for bad weather? I don't mind a little heavier, I'm most interested in the bike lasting me a long time


    http://jayscycles.com/product/09-trek-820-47363-1.htm
    I was looking at this bike, it has a steel frame and some poor reviews but they seem to be more related to the transmission (which would I be getting rid of anyways). I'm curious how well / easily this would convert to SS?

    Thanks x 1,000,000!!!

    Matt
    Last edited by machx; 04-30-2010 at 08:38 AM.

  2. #2
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    You can't get much for $350, but you get what you pay for. There is alot more value by going to $500. The wheels might be where you notice a bigger difference in addition to any custom components (bars, grips, pedals etc)

    Also, how much do you weigh? That might determine quality. If you are a smaller guy you might be able to get away with things that I (at 230) can't. Also, 29er SS might be best suited for you, that is why I am going to be selling a SS 26" On One Inbred if you are interested. The 26 was a blast, but my 29er fits and rides better for my size.

    PM if you are interested in my Inbred.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by phpeter
    You can't get much for $350, but you get what you pay for. There is alot more value by going to $500. The wheels might be where you notice a bigger difference in addition to any custom components (bars, grips, pedals etc)

    Also, how much do you weigh? That might determine quality. If you are a smaller guy you might be able to get away with things that I (at 230) can't. Also, 29er SS might be best suited for you, that is why I am going to be selling a SS 26" On One Inbred if you are interested. The 26 was a blast, but my 29er fits and rides better for my size.

    PM if you are interested in my Inbred.

    What would you recommend for $500? At this point I just want to get a bike for the summer but my budget stinks. I guess for $150 more it's not a big deal since I'm going to have the bike for a long time (hopefully!)

    I'm 6'1 195 lbs.

  4. #4
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    I would check out the Redline Monocog, here is a review. It runs about $450-$500, but a reasonably good bike for the money IMO. You can make custom changes/upgrades as you ride and wear stuff out, or never if it works for you out of the box.

    http://www.bikemag.com/gear/bikes/Redline-Monocog-29er/

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by phpeter
    I would check out the Redline Monocog, here is a review. It runs about $450-$500, but a reasonably good bike for the money IMO. You can make custom changes/upgrades as you ride and wear stuff out, or never if it works for you out of the box.

    http://www.bikemag.com/gear/bikes/Redline-Monocog-29er/
    Oh wow I heard about those and saw them before but I always thought they were more expensive. Would definitely be nice to buy it and have it work out of the box... I bet I'd have to spend a little bit to convert to SS anyways so it might be just as good of a value.

    Thanks a lot!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by machx
    Oh wow I heard about those and saw them before but I always thought they were more expensive. Would definitely be nice to buy it and have it work out of the box... I bet I'd have to spend a little bit to convert to SS anyways so it might be just as good of a value.

    Thanks a lot!
    The Monocog comes SS, so no conversion at all. It, along with the Inbred, are specifically designed for SSing so no issues with tensioner or anything. You would obviously need to invest in some pedals, but the LBS might work with you on that.

    I have been riding a Redline Mono-9 29er for a while now and just added a Redline Monocog flight SS. It just depends on what you want, for me the 29er feels right so I went that route with the SS ride over the 26.

  7. #7
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    Try this:

    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...r+Bike+09.aspx

    $315 before shipping, including a free pro build.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by popsicleian
    Try this:

    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...r+Bike+09.aspx

    $315 before shipping, including a free pro build.
    Wow that's a nice price... I haven't been able to find reviews for this bike - is SE a good brand? what would the redline monocog offer as advantage to this bike? If I can get the same thing for cheaper that is always great lol

  9. #9
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    Also for the Redline Monocog - I can't find any place to buy this online then I read someone say they're not allowed to. I guess you just have to go from store to store? but it seems like not many places carry SS.

  10. #10
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    +1 MC 29er

    +1 for the Monocog 29er. I found one used in perfect shape for $200 with disk brakes. I had an On-One Inbred before it which was a great bike. I just like the geometry of the MC better.

  11. #11
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    http://completed.shop.ebay.com/i.htm..._fsct=&guest=1

    Here is a link to some recently completed auctions on Ebay. Also, look up the dealers on the RL website or call around. I bought mine from a dealer so I know they are out there. As with most new bikes, internet sales are a no-no.

  12. #12
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    Found mine doing a Craigslist search.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by adamfss
    +1 for the Monocog 29er. I found one used in perfect shape for $200 with disk brakes. I had an On-One Inbred before it which was a great bike. I just like the geometry of the MC better.
    Curious... what do you like better about the MC's geo? I have an On-One, it's a good bike but I didn't realize how quickly it steered until I got a Salsa Big Mama, which is one of the best tracking bikes I've ever owned, yet isn't sluggish.

    --Sparty
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    We don't quit riding because we get old.
    We get old because we quit riding.

  14. #14
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    Ok now I'm confused - between the Redline, the SE, and this Dawes, what are the largest differences?

    I did a lot of reading in the Dawes DeadEye thread in this forum and it seems like a good bike too for $319 - I wonder what the difference is between the Deadeye and the Monocog:
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/dawes/deadeye.htm

    Also how do the other SS bikes on bikesdirect compare?
    Are these bikes good for riding around on the street too?

    Sorry for all the questions :-/
    Last edited by machx; 04-30-2010 at 11:01 AM.

  15. #15
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    I recently purchased a GT Peace SS 26 from Performance Bike for $440.00....best $$$ I have ever spent. I wanted to give SSing a try with very little investment in case I hated it. I was not expecting much for $400 but the bike far exceeds my expectations. Definately worthy of future upgrades like better wheels/hubs. Today was my very first ride and i had the most fun I had in years. Best of all, it will definately build your strength for when you get back on your geared bike.

  16. #16
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    Monocog 29er, from Craigs or eBay. Best bang for the buck. I loved mine. Plus, if you get used, usually the previous owner already swapped out some of the "lesser" components.
    mountainbikefaq.com - See my 2x10 to 1x10 conversion (lots of pics!)

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    Thanks for the link!

    Hmmmm I wonder how much do these go for new? I've seen people refer to getting them for $400-550.. $550 for used seems steep if people are getting them new for that much or less..

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by machx
    Wow that's a nice price... I haven't been able to find reviews for this bike - is SE a good brand? what would the redline monocog offer as advantage to this bike? If I can get the same thing for cheaper that is always great lol
    SE is a pretty decent brand, mostly know for their BMX bikes but they started getting into fixies and a little bit of mountain bikes in recent years. That SE Stout is very similar in spec to the base Monocog model

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    SE is a pretty decent brand, mostly know for their BMX bikes but they started getting into fixies and a little bit of mountain bikes in recent years. That SE Stout is very similar in spec to the base Monocog model
    Thanks again!

    How would you compare the SE to the ones on BD, like the DeadEye? They're all Cromoly frames so does that mean it's mostly minor differences in components? I'd like to save money if the difference is small. This stuff is gibberish to me, I have much to learn!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by machx
    Thanks again!

    How would you compare the SE to the ones on BD, like the DeadEye? They're all Cromoly frames so does that mean it's mostly minor differences in components? I'd like to save money if the difference is small. This stuff is gibberish to me, I have much to learn!
    other than some slight differences in the frame (mostly the shape of the rear dropouts and how the frame joins there) the DeadEye *is* the SE Stout. The listed specs for the two are identical other than the name given to the generic components (stem, seatpost, etc)

    The biggest difference between similarly priced SS frames can be is the method of SS chain tensioning. The most common is the reliable track end like a bmx bike or fixie has, as do these particular bikes. There are still differences, such as weight, strength, stiffness and geometry, that can affect how you fit on the bike and how it feels when riding.

    With a rigid SS bike there aren't too many components too worry about (nice, huh?) but anything that moves is worth a look. Headset are generally all a little meh in this price range. V-brakes are pretty simple so not much can be bad about them except the pads. If you're sticking with the v brakes I recommend upgrading the Kool Stop pads right away.. they're much better. Crank arms are good for the price but heavy. However the stock ISIS bottom bracket bearings probably won't last you a year. When it dies replace it with an SKF of the same spec and you might never have a problem again. This leaves the biggest and most expensive moving part: the wheels. The rims are unbranded but they are at least double wall (stronger, a necessity for mountain biking). The hubs are probably a bit heavy but they have sealed cartridge bearings, which is a big plus for me. Loose ball bearing hubs can be damaged if the bearings go bad, cartridge bearings can be completely replaced with newer and better bearings. The hubs are also disc ready (they have the mounting holes for a rotor) so you can upgrade to disc brakes without replacing your wheels.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by machx
    Thanks for the link!

    Hmmmm I wonder how much do these go for new? I've seen people refer to getting them for $400-550.. $550 for used seems steep if people are getting them new for that much or less..
    There are some upgrades on this already though.

  23. #23
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    Have you looked at www.bikesdirect.com?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    Have you looked at www.bikesdirect.com?
    + 1
    Decent quality for a novice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by machx
    Thanks again!

    How would you compare the SE to the ones on BD, like the DeadEye? They're all Cromoly frames so does that mean it's mostly minor differences in components? I'd like to save money if the difference is small. This stuff is gibberish to me, I have much to learn!
    If me, I would go with the Stout. If there is any warranty issue, you can take it into SE dealer and have it taken care of quickly. Dealers like doing business with SE as they stand behind their products. Btw, I have test ridden the Stout and it's a well made frame with decent components. I'd be all over that Jenson deal.
    I like big bars and I cannot lie

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    Hey guys, Bikes DIrect seems like a good deal, so does that SE Stout. How do I narrow down amongst these for the best deal? They all seem the same! I was looking at the Dawes Deadeye, The WIndsor, Motobecane, They all seem really nice I just don't know how to pick amongst them. At this point I am leaning towards the Dawes Deadeye... the thread seems like everyone had good experiences and BD seems to be popular / reputable as well. Anyone see a better bike deal than this? I want to do some trails and road also.. and eventually some harder trails. Really appreciate the advice!!

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/dawes/deadeye.htm

    also the Windsor - is this the same bike but with disc brakes? Seems like disc brakes are worth the $50 But it also looks like it's an aluminum frame... grrr tradeoffs lol

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._cliff29_1.htm
    Last edited by machx; 05-02-2010 at 10:00 AM.

  27. #27
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    I got a 19 inch Dawes Dead Eye. Never had any interest in running it with flat bars. I replaced the cheap @$$ stock wheel set. I also replaced the stock chain tug for two Redline's.




  28. #28
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    Sweet looks nice! so you are happy I take it?

  29. #29
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    Thanks. Yes I am. Can't wait to get some gear for some bike packing/ultra-light touring.

  30. #30
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    OK so I tracked down a 2009 Redline Monocog 29er for $310. Do you guys think this is a better deal than the Deadeye / SE Stout? I'm tempted to pull the trigger.. It's at a bike shop about 4 hours from me but I'm willing to make the drive.

    Also, I'm 6'1 and I think I'd prefer riding lower than higher... could always adjust the seat up rather than down. Think there's anythign wrong with me getting a 19 inch as opposed to 21?

    Thanks again for all the help. Excited to get started!

  31. #31
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    Personally, I'd go for that 09 Monocog. Among many reasons, one big one being that you can actually ride it and physically see it before purchasing. And since you're buying it from a bike shop new, you get the lifetime frame warranty.

    As for sizing, you SHOULD be fine on a 19". That's what I ride and I am 5'11", but I could've gone with a 17", too.

    I have beaten mine around the rocky mountains and it's holding up great. They're very stout.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by p nut
    Personally, I'd go for that 09 Monocog. Among many reasons, one big one being that you can actually ride it and physically see it before purchasing. And since you're buying it from a bike shop new, you get the lifetime frame warranty.

    As for sizing, you SHOULD be fine on a 19". That's what I ride and I am 5'11", but I could've gone with a 17", too.

    I have beaten mine around the rocky mountains and it's holding up great. They're very stout.
    True, good point about being able to actually try it out. I'm tempted to have him charge my card now so no one takes it this week before I get there

    This price definitely beats $500 for a used one!

  33. #33
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    Does the Monocog have a fairly heavy frame?

  34. #34
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    Get the Cog. It's a great ride for a great price.

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    Ok I am pretty sold on this Redline.. my last question - I've been reading about 26 vs 29 and obviously when I actually try the thing it will really tell me the answer to this, but does anyone have comments on whether the 29 makes you feel like you're "on stilts" or too high up? I've read the advantages being momentum, clearance.. just wondering. Thanks guys!

  36. #36
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    If you are used to riding a geared 26er, then the 29er might seem high to you. If you are new to MTBing in general, then you have no baseline for comparison unless you road ride, then the 26 will seem small.

    Now you seem to be at the point of personal preference and there is no consensus there. Go with what works and ride the piss out of the bike. Whatever you get, check in and let us know your thoughts.

    Cheers,

    Paul

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by phpeter
    If you are used to riding a geared 26er, then the 29er might seem high to you. If you are new to MTBing in general, then you have no baseline for comparison unless you road ride, then the 26 will seem small.

    Now you seem to be at the point of personal preference and there is no consensus there. Go with what works and ride the piss out of the bike. Whatever you get, check in and let us know your thoughts.

    Cheers,

    Paul
    True I guess it's really relative to what you know already. The last time I road frequently was 10 years ago and it was a mountain bike when I was a kid (pretty sure it would have been a 26er - it was just some junk bike I'm pretty sure). I can't see it being too horrible of an adjustment to make. I guess this is why it's important that I actually go see the bike!

  38. #38
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    For a taller rider, you will likely not notice it, or if you do it will likely feel more natural than a 26er, IMO.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    Does the Monocog have a fairly heavy frame?
    It's straight gauge steel, so not the lightest. Mine weighed ~28lbs stock, which isn't bad for such a cheap and stout bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by machx
    Ok I am pretty sold on this Redline.. my last question - I've been reading about 26 vs 29 and obviously when I actually try the thing it will really tell me the answer to this, but does anyone have comments on whether the 29 makes you feel like you're "on stilts" or too high up? I've read the advantages being momentum, clearance.. just wondering. Thanks guys!
    At your height, 29er will be a match made in heaven. I love rolling on the bigger wheels. All of my 26ers are sold (except for the wife's bike). That is an awesome price for the bike, so I'd get a deposit down on it. I bet they could also ship it to you or a nearby shop for ~$30, so you won't have to waste 8 hours and gas money. Worst case, you ship it back or drive it back to the shop.

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    Thanks guys... I did some more reading about 29ers and I think I'm definitely going to prefer them.

    I'm definitely thinking of giving them another call... I don't wanna miss out on this deal especially with the summer months ahead.. hopefully I'll post back with pictures of the new bike soon!

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    do NOT buy the bikes direct outcast 29er. I have one and it fell apart after 2 rides.

    For $350 budget Id definately go with the SE Stout from jenson. Upgradable to discs, and softer riding steel.
    The mountains are calling and I must go

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan55
    do NOT buy the bikes direct outcast 29er. I have one and it fell apart after 2 rides.

    For $350 budget Id definately go with the SE Stout from jenson. Upgradable to discs, and softer riding steel.
    Thanks

    Any reason why the Stout over the Redline? I thought the Redline could upgrade to discs as well.

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    Monocog is 100% disc ready. I will also bet that the Stout is no better riding than a Monocog or any steel rigid bike in this price range.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by machx
    Thanks

    Any reason why the Stout over the Redline? I thought the Redline could upgrade to discs as well.
    Yep, it can as well. And the steel frame on the 'Cog won't be too different than the steel frame on the Stout besides geometry.

  46. #46
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    if the monocog and stout are the same price, then its a toss up.
    Id probably go monocog since its a well proven bike around these parts.
    The mountains are calling and I must go

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by machx
    I'm trying to determine what the best way to acquire a SS MB is. Unfortunately I'm on a budget, so my priority right now is a nice frame - I don't mind shoddy components as long as I can switch them out later, I'd rather have a nice frame to build on.

    My question: What is the best value for around $350? Is there a lot more value if I expand to under $500? feel free to make comments here also. My main use will be riding on gravel or dirt trails and sometimes on the road. Probably an even mix of trails and road, but someday I'd like to get into more real mountain biking

    Ok so here are my questions:

    1. Is it better to buy a real complete SS bike outright or to buy a MB and change the transmission to SS yourself? How hard is it to do? I have a friend who is a gearhead who can help me, but I don't want to overly burden him.

    2. For true durability, which is really better, steel or aluminum? I've done some reading on this but haven't been able to really determine. Steel seems more sturdy obviously but I read it isn't as good for bad weather? I don't mind a little heavier, I'm most interested in the bike lasting me a long time


    http://jayscycles.com/product/09-trek-820-47363-1.htm
    I was looking at this bike, it has a steel frame and some poor reviews but they seem to be more related to the transmission (which would I be getting rid of anyways). I'm curious how well / easily this would convert to SS?

    Thanks x 1,000,000!!!

    Matt
    Sent you a PM
    if you want to buy a monocog hit up bikerbob.....

  48. #48
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    Nashbar 29r SS. $399.99

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob1208lv
    Sent you a PM
    if you want to buy a monocog hit up bikerbob.....
    Quote Originally Posted by PoorBob
    Nashbar 29r SS. $399.99
    The OP found one for $310 at a bike shop.

  50. #50
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    Hey guys... Bumping this ONE more time. I'm about to pull the trigger but want to make sure I'm getting the right size - he is going to ship it for me.

    I'm guessing I need the 19 inch frame as opposed to the 21. I am 6'1 so I think I'm right in between going either way but I'm guessing with a big bike like this 19 would be better? Would appreciate any comments anyone has on that. Thanks again for all the help!

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by machx
    Hey guys... Bumping this ONE more time. I'm about to pull the trigger but want to make sure I'm getting the right size - he is going to ship it for me.

    I'm guessing I need the 19 inch frame as opposed to the 21. I am 6'1 so I think I'm right in between going either way but I'm guessing with a big bike like this 19 would be better? Would appreciate any comments anyone has on that. Thanks again for all the help!
    It is hard to tell. Go smaller and build it bigger with a seatback seatpost and longer stem if needed.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by phpeter
    It is hard to tell. Go smaller and build it bigger with a seatback seatpost and longer stem if needed.
    Maybe I better try to get there. That way I can have it in my greedy little paws right away anyways

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    I think the 19" would be good, as I've said before. Also, note that compared to the Flight model, the top tube on the 19" Monocog is equivalent to a 21" Flight. The Monocog has a longish top tube.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by machx
    Hey guys... Bumping this ONE more time. I'm about to pull the trigger but want to make sure I'm getting the right size - he is going to ship it for me.

    I'm guessing I need the 19 inch frame as opposed to the 21. I am 6'1 so I think I'm right in between going either way but I'm guessing with a big bike like this 19 would be better? Would appreciate any comments anyone has on that. Thanks again for all the help!

    I think you should get the 17 in.

    I am 6'4" tall and I get the 19in SE Stout...ended up perfect...about 2 inches stand over.

  55. #55
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    its a shame that you dont live in australia because you could have brought a fluid mayhem on special from anaconda i got one the forks arent the best but the frame is freaking awesome and so are the components

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by machx
    Hey guys... Bumping this ONE more time. I'm about to pull the trigger but want to make sure I'm getting the right size - he is going to ship it for me.

    I'm guessing I need the 19 inch frame as opposed to the 21. I am 6'1 so I think I'm right in between going either way but I'm guessing with a big bike like this 19 would be better? Would appreciate any comments anyone has on that. Thanks again for all the help!
    The 19 will be fine! I am a little taller than you and ride a 19 Good choice to go with the monocog.

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