Hello all. I suppose I should start this thread by saying I used to do a LOT of cycling in the mid-late 90's. I was on the cycling team in highschool and did some racing but after graduating I suddenly found myself with noone to ride with and lost interest in the sport. My friends are all like me. We're geeks, we're not very active, and we're growing (not in numbers).
My last bike was a Mongoose something (funky red frame) that I purchased back in 2000 or 2001 for way too much money and only ended up using it 2-4 times. My first ride out I had fun, but when I went to use it again a couple days later my ass screamed in protest. It was audible. I got a few blocks away and went home. A few days later I tried again but my ass still hurt, so I parked the bike in the basement and didn't touch it again except to sell it instead of doing the logical thing and look for a new seat.
It's 2007, I'm finally making decent money at a new job but find myself even less active than before because the job has me sitting in a chair answering phones all day. A year ago when I started I think I was around 250lbs and through what I can only describe as magic, have only gained 10-15 pounds and now sit at 260. It was a small gain but I've definitely noticed the difference, and enough is enough.
BACK-STORY COMPLETE, read on for my bike questions...
My first step was to hit up my old favorite bike shop. The main bike guy there is this short little fat guy that was always awesome to me and everyone else back in my racing days so I knew he'd be the best place to start. Seems they don't sell any of the brands I was expecting these days and when I walked in and told him I weigh 260 and need a bike He asked me how much I wanted to spend and whether or not I planned to ride hard. I don't plan to ride hard, no drops more than curb height (for a long time at least until I've lost a lot of weight), and probably 70/30 road/offroad use, and he pointed me at the 2006 Marin Nail Trail. He likes this bike for strength and better components over other bikes in the price range. He did say right away though that he would take off the stock wheels and build me some better ones for the same price or possibly even a bit less. This bike will run around $1100 canadian before tax with the custom wheels.
However, reading through various Clydesdale sub-forums here and on other websites I haven't seen anyone talking about any Marin bikes, let alone the Nail Trail. What I have seen has been a lot of people talking about the Kona Hoss Deluxe and Caldera as an alternative, as well as the Specialized Rockhopper with the Hardrock being another alternative I've seen mentioned.
So talking with the guy at the shop and being directed to the Marin Nail Trail, but seeing no mention of that model or even brand on Clydesdale forums, I begin to wonder what's up.
I do like the look of the Kona Hoss Deluxe more and have seen people say many good things about it, but the only Kona dealer in town that I know about doesn't have the Hoss Deluxe listed on their website. If the MSRP is to be believed, even if they do it's going to be a couple hundred more. That's a couple hundred I could spend on a helmet, bib (if I can find any), camelback, and computer. This is also without even talking to them about upgraded wheels, which might end up costing more.
The Kona Caldera on the other hand is around $125 less than the Nail Trail, but I haven't even been down to talk to them about upgraded wheels yet. This bike is listed on their website so they should normally have them.
Oh wow, I haven't even talked about Specialied yet. '07 Rockhopper Comp Disc can be had for around the same price as the Nail Trail, while 06 and 05's can be had for a lot less, down to $900 for the 05 from a place in Winnipeg (granted, I'd have to have it shipped since I'm 400 miles away)
I think it's time I end this epically long first post and simply ask the question... Marin Nail Trail w/ custom wheels for $1100+tax, or should I attempt to find a good price on the Kona Hoss Deluxe/Caldera or Specialized Rockhopper? P.S. I will replace the saddle right off the bat
I noticed a place in Winnipeg has the non-deluxe Hoss for around $899ca. hmm.