Mountain Biking - What am I missing with my intro-level MTN bike?
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08-27-06, 08:27 PM
I've been perfectly happy with my intro-level steel-framed Gary Fisher Mamba so far. Sure, it's heavy as heck (30+ lbs) and doesn't have clipless or fancy XT/LX Shimano stuff, but it climbs like all heck and eats the downhills as well. I don't do any big drops or jumps, so that probably helps.
Obviously the more expensive bikes are lighter and I'd probably go faster, but I like the extra workout. I can't imagine needing more braking power than the brakes on this bike - they stop like a rock! Even the intro level derailleur does it's thing with aplomb on the climbs, especially the rear shifter, which has never acted up on me on a climb.
Just wondering if I'll REALLY appreciate a bike upgrade, to say, a bike over $1200? I don't need to go any faster on my trails (passing most of the folks around on their $2000 bikes on the uphills already!) and I'm not into superduper lightweight. (I usually carry a 5-7 lb water-filled Camelbak anyway - kind of destroys the point of nonracing ultralight!) I've become a pretty dedicated, regular mountain biker, and definitely don't consider myself a beginner anymore.
For anyone who's upgraded, let us know what you REALLY loved about your upgrade!
08-27-06, 08:41 PM
Upgrade the parts on it.
08-27-06, 08:55 PM
well, when i upgraded my fork, i really liked the fact that it wasnt cracked at the crown. also when i upgraded wheels, i was happy that the joining point of the rear wheel was not coming undone and it isnt flat.
Many of the better parts do the same job, better, for a lack of a better explaination.
Some of the supposed better parts dont make much of a difference at all imo.
08-27-06, 10:34 PM
One of the biggest differences between entry level and mid to upper level components is Stiffness and Adjustability.
For example, after riding a bike with an upper end fork with a 20mm thru axle and lots of setting, if you get on an entry level fork, you'll notice how wobbly the front end is. When standing and hammering, you'll look down and see the front wheel moving side to side and wonder, "Wow, the better fork didn't do that!"
After you've used a bike with stiff cranks, the entry level cranks flex. You never really thought they did until you ride a bike where they don't.
Upper end shifters will shift instantly with no hesistation (if adjusted correctly) and still be smooth. Lower end shifters (even when adjusted perfectly) will have a slight hesitation, or the shift is sloppy and you have to really push the shifter to make it go.
There are so many little nuances that as a novice rider you might not even be able to recognize when you ride an upper end bike. Many of these nuances are learned over time, sometimes years of riding. And most likely, you aren't even aware of the learning process.
One day, however, you ride a friends bike that is entry level and go "WOW!" My bike is sooooooo much smoother than this!
I don't think that everyone / anyone should immediately jump to an upper end bike. There are so many reasons that an entry or mid level bike is important to start with. Plus, as a beginner,you are going to go through parts. Until you learn how to land smoothly from a jump or body steer your bike, you will bash things with your wheels. When your learning how to ride fast, you WILL clip that branch or tree and go down. Until you learn how to do certain things, your bike is going to take the brunt of your abuse. A heavier, beefier bike is better suited to hold up than an expensive lightweight (read fragile) XC race bike.
08-27-06, 10:38 PM
I liken the learning process to smoking cigars. I like to smoke cigars every once in awhile. I can tell the difference between a $2.00 cigar and a $20.00 cigar. But I honestly can't tell the difference between a $15.00 cigar and a $18.00 one! That will take years of experience.
If you don't like cigars, pick something else, wines, whiskey, beer, snowboarding....etc. Until you really learn the "whatever" you can't appreciate the differnce.
08-27-06, 10:43 PM
Whiskey is easy.
The cheap stuff won't eat through the plastic. The good stuff is in glass bottles.
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