I'm just getting back into mt biking and wanted to get my first full suspension bike. I've had a lot of nice high end hardtails but I'm sick of feeling so beat up at the end of a ride. I'm not sure which bike to get. I'm pretty much up for any brand but Cannondale. I don't want to spend more the 1500$. I'd like to find something used for that price, but there doesn't seem to be a lot on CL around that price point. I'm not looking for some twitchy fast xcountry bike something thats nice and cushy. I'm a heavy rider in every sense of the word. I'm 6ft and 260 now and even when I was a 180lb bike messenger I'd break spokes on a regular basis. So I guess something pretty stout would be nice. Oh and hello as this is my first post in this section.
Yeah, I plan on doing that but in the meantime I'd like to hear from some riders that share my same dimensions. Most guys at my shop don't know which bikes are good for a heavy guy. Plus I like to know what bikes to look at before I head into the shop. I'm not real big into my local bike shops. I mostly build my own bikes or buy used stuff off CL. In this case though I'm a bit ignorant as I don't know much about full suspension.
Transition Dirtbag, Kona Roast 2002 and specialized BMX
Do you know approx how much travel you want? xc bikes come in 3 to 6in derivitives depending on your needs.
Do you want an efficient bike or one with a simple lockout? If you don't know the difference try and find a bike shop in your area. I prefer efficiency over lockout for the simple reason of activation. If you are riding a trail and hit a rough spot, you need to unlock the suspension. With vpp and horst being on almost any bike, most of the bikes are very efficient.
1500$ is a bit tight for a decent dually (sorry just noticed you are looking used). At your size you definitely do not want a race type bike. A good place to start would be the allmountain category. Made for normal sized guys who ride hard, these tend to come a little tougher from the start. Kona Dawg for example.
Another thing to consider, regardless of the bike, you will need to ensure you get a proper sized spring. Stock springs will not be correctly sprung for your size. You will end up overtightening so much you will damage the shock. If you decide on the bike, bring the eye to eye length and the stroke of the shock back to the site and someone will be able to tell you the correct spring weight to use. This will be an extra cost on the top of the 1500$.
A friend of mine recently bought a Specialized Enduro, with many upgrades, for what you're looking to spend. This is a pretty stout bike with plenty of travel. His has air shock and fork on it. With these you just add air to set suspension sag. He's extremely well pleased with his bike and it is a very nice bike, IMO. I got a new Trek EX8. I really love this bike but, it's more than you wanted to spend. An EX 7 which has the same suspension setup as mine may be closer to your price. Should you look at Trek, be aware the EX 6 and down bikes don't have the ABP rear suspension which, IMO, is a huge difference. Full suspension is definitely the way to go.
Scott Gambler, Scott Ransom, Kona Bear, Bianchi 928 Carbon/Chorus, C'Dale Rize4
Just a suggestion . . .
At that price point I would say take a look at the Giant Reign 2. Nice all mountain rig with 152mm (6") of travel that can be used for easy fireroad riding or getting a bit more aggressive on the XC trails. MSRP is 1900$ but you should be able to find last years model for some where around 1300 to 1500.
The parts spec on it is not bad either.
As far as the wheels go, if they are built and tensioned correctly and YOU check the spoke tension on a regular basis they should last you a good while as long as you are not hitting mass air or huge drops.
There are others as well but I kinda like the Maestro suspension of the Giant.
I'm 280# and owned several duals. I agree that the way to go is the 4-6 inch bikes, all mountain category.
I owned a rocket 88 which was a three inch bike and it was good, but I didn't know then that the coil spring was probably for someone half my weight. The next full was a Mongoose pro that sucked and then broke. My current bike is a trek liquid which seems pretty good. Allthough some people will tell you go with coil sprung so it won't break I'd say go with air so you can tune it. In my experience I do better with a stiff spring both up front and rear.
The wheelset I bought online was machine built and came loose or broke spokes every ride. When I tensioned it myself it had no further problems.