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  1. #1
    RatedZ
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    Which bike is right for me?

    My wife and I are looking into getting bikes. We just had a nice bike trail open up in our neighborhood, and there's no excuse to not take advantage of it.

    While my wife plans to stay on the asphalt, I'm the type of guy that sees something interesting and has to jump it; at least I did when I was 14 years old. In my mind, things haven't changed much in the past 22 years. I still reminisce about that rush of jumping "Devil's Pit," a 4 foot-high ramp in front of a 6-foot long ditch (Hey, I was 14, I know it ain't that extreme, okay? ). Well, til this day, "Devil's Pit" remains, and once again, I plan on slaying the Devil, but only this time it'll be about 70 more lbs of me.

    I'm looking for a bike that I can ride on the asphalt with my wife, and then impress her when the time arises. I like dirt trails that have some roots, but more importantly, I want something that can withstand some jumping of dirt ramps, holes, and other obstacles, sort of like BMX-ish ramps. I'm also looking for something in the $400-$600 range.

    I'm not going to hide it; I am a GT fanboy. I have my heart set on a GT bike, so recommending a Mongoose, Schwinn, Diamondback, etc. is just going to go in one ear and out the other.

    I've been seriously looking into a GT Avalanche 1.0, 2.0, or 3.0. I've read the specs and reviews on each, but if I can get away with a bike that's fairly light and will withstand the abuse, and has parts which will handle some abuse, I don't need the "top model." Would there be a different GT out there that I should be looking at for what I plan on doing with this bike?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    RatedZ
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    Hello? No help?

    Well, in hopes that sooner or later someone responds, I looked into Cannondale F5s and Trek 4300s. Would either of these work for what I'm looking for?

  3. #3
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    I am sure the GTs will be fine for you, but you will really impress your wife if you buy her a bike that costs $200 more than the one you buy for yourself.

  4. #4
    RatedZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
    I am sure the GTs will be fine for you, but you will really impress your wife if you buy her a bike that costs $200 more than the one you buy for yourself.
    So a GT Avalanche 1.0 can handle a 3-4 foot landing off a ramp? If that's what you're saying, I think I'll snag me a GT Avalanche 1.0.

  5. #5
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    Are you dead set on a GT? They are part of Pacific Cycle now, which in turn is owned by Dorel Industries. I personally feel that their bikes now are not of the same quality as before. If you are looking for a $400-600 bike, I would suggest getting a good used hardtail mountain bike for half that amount. Something that is of a better quality.
    All dogs want to be lap dogs doesn't matter the size
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  6. #6
    RatedZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by *Scuba View Post
    Are you dead set on a GT? They are part of Pacific Cycle now, which in turn is owned by Dorel Industries. I personally feel that their bikes now are not of the same quality as before. If you are looking for a $400-600 bike, I would suggest getting a good used hardtail mountain bike for half that amount. Something that is of a better quality.
    No longer set on GT. After finding out the "same as the old GTs," I've sort of lost the wind in my sails for them.

    Other bikes I've been looking into, and I've bumped my price-range up a little bit, are the Cannondale F5, Trek 4300/6000, Specialized HardRock, and Fuji Tahoe/Nevada 1.0.

    I've never heard of Specialized, and I'm not real familiar with Fuji, so I don't know how their bikes compare in quality to other "mainstream" brands like Cannondale and Trek. I'm not super-comfortable buying something from a company I don't know anything about, but I've been doing a bit to try to find out some info on Specialized and Fuji.

    What are your opinions on my other potential purchases?

  7. #7
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    Specialized is one of the "big names" like Trek. Maybe not quite as big, but up there. You might also look at Giant.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kimmitt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
    you will really impress your wife if you buy her a bike that costs $200 more than the one you buy for yourself.
    +1
    I see unexamined people. All the time. I don't think they know they're unexamined.

  9. #9
    Senior Member KungPaoSchwinn's Avatar
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    Trek 4500.
    2009 Trek FX 7.3

  10. #10
    RatedZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcanum View Post
    Specialized is one of the "big names" like Trek. Maybe not quite as big, but up there. You might also look at Giant.
    Funny you mention Giant. I looked at a few Giants today to see which one came in close to the Cannondale F5 specs, because I've heard nothing but good things about that bike (the F5). The salesman said that the Giant is a larger company, therefore they can afford to equip their bikes with just as good or better equipment than the F5 and sell their bikes a little bit cheaper. He also said the Giant frames are slightly stronger and slightly lighter, but probably not enough to make much of a difference either way. The Giant bike I looked at was like an XT-2 or XTC-2, or something like that...

  11. #11
    Pint-Sized Gnar Shredder Zephyr11's Avatar
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    Depending on how hard you plan on jumping this bike, you might want something burlier than those bikes you mentioned. Any of those bikes would be fine for your wife, since they'll all be fine on asphalt (especially if you pick up some slicks), and will also be fine if you can convince her to do some trail riding with you (bah, stay on the asphalt. Stay on the asphalt until she sees how much fun you're having). But you'll want something where you won't be taco-ing rims and cracking frames if you intend to be playing with it like a BMX bike. At the same time, you won't want a dedicated dirt jumper if you're going to be riding around with her. What you *really* want is a Jamis Komodo. Still has a double up front and will do better with riding with your wife and trial riding than a dirt jumper, but a lot harder to break than a weenie XC bike. Plus it's cheap...costs a lot less than a lot of other FR HT's on the market. If you're short, there are closeout Bruzzas and Brutes on Brodie's page that are ~$700. Last option that I can think of that falls close to your budget is the GT Chucker. Personally I didn't like this bike when I tried it, and I went with the Komodo over this guy, but you did say you were a GT fanboy back in the day. Ideally, you'll get your hands on a couple of these to try them and see what rides well for you.

  12. #12
    RatedZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephyr11 View Post
    Depending on how hard you plan on jumping this bike, you might want something burlier than those bikes you mentioned. Any of those bikes would be fine for your wife, since they'll all be fine on asphalt (especially if you pick up some slicks), and will also be fine if you can convince her to do some trail riding with you (bah, stay on the asphalt. Stay on the asphalt until she sees how much fun you're having). But you'll want something where you won't be taco-ing rims and cracking frames if you intend to be playing with it like a BMX bike. At the same time, you won't want a dedicated dirt jumper if you're going to be riding around with her. What you *really* want is a Jamis Komodo. Still has a double up front and will do better with riding with your wife and trial riding than a dirt jumper, but a lot harder to break than a weenie XC bike. Plus it's cheap...costs a lot less than a lot of other FR HT's on the market. If you're short, there are closeout Bruzzas and Brutes on Brodie's page that are ~$700. Last option that I can think of that falls close to your budget is the GT Chucker. Personally I didn't like this bike when I tried it, and I went with the Komodo over this guy, but you did say you were a GT fanboy back in the day. Ideally, you'll get your hands on a couple of these to try them and see what rides well for you.
    I looked at the Jamis Komodo and it looks more comfortable than a Chucker. Can you give me some info on it, like weight, how much abuse it can handle, quality of the parts, how it rides on the asphalt?

  13. #13
    Pint-Sized Gnar Shredder Zephyr11's Avatar
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    It's a pig of a hardtail. I think mine (2009) weighs in around 33 lbs. I would expect the 2010 to be similar. That's not necessarily a bad thing though, since it's due to it being overbuilt for beating on and abusing.

    It's classified as a freeride hardtail. It's a beast of a bike that's meant to be abused. You'd probably break it if you took it down a black at Whistler or if you hucked it off a 20 foot cliff. But if those are your plans, you're going to want to spend a lot more money than $600. It sacrifices weight, climbing ability, and speed for a slack HT angle and a burly overbuilt frame.

    The components are about par for that price level. Nothing outstanding, but it's not junk either. The shifters/derailleurs and brakes will do just fine for most purposes. The bike will shift fine as long as it's properly adjusted, though it won't hold proper adjustment as long as a bike equipped with higher level componentry. Brakes lack the feel and power of hydraulic discs, but they'll still stop you just fine. Fork is crap, but you'll have to pay much more up front to get a bike equipped with a better fork, and you can always upgrade it later if you want. Frame is bomber. Overbuilt and the best part of the bike IMO. Saddle is pretty nice actually, or at least it fits my butt pretty well. Pedals are miserable, I'd replace them either with quality platforms or clipless. Moving up to the Komodo II gets you Stroker Ryde hydraulics and a DJ1 (higher quality fork with a 20mm TA, though it also has 30mm less travel than the Komodo I's Launch) which is cool, but it's also almost double the price. If I had the money for the Komodo II, I'd probably get the Komodo I and then put the money towards a TALAS (or look for a closeout Pike which is probably less money than the difference between those two bikes), but that's just me... You'd probably need a new front hub for either of those forks though.

    On asphalt, it may as well come with a homing device that seeks out stairs and ledges. Obviously it's not as good as a 24" DJ or BMX for urban assault, but it can certainly hold its own. For just riding on asphalt...ehhhh...that's not what the bike's made for, and it'll be slow, but it can still do it. Technically, a DJ can still do it, and a Komodo is a million times better for general riding around than a DJ. But then again, is just riding on asphalt really what you're priority is? You can get yourself a weight weenie XC bike that climbs like a billy goat and flies on asphalt almost as well as a hybrid and taco the wheels the first time you jump it, or you can get yourself an overbuilt AM HT that's a little slower but can take the abuse.
    Last edited by Zephyr11; 03-31-10 at 08:47 PM.

  14. #14
    RatedZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephyr11 View Post
    It's a pig of a hardtail. I think mine (2009) weighs in around 33 lbs. I would expect the 2010 to be similar. That's not necessarily a bad thing though, since it's due to it being overbuilt for beating on and abusing.

    It's classified as a freeride hardtail. It's a beast of a bike that's meant to be abused. You'd probably break it if you took it down a black at Whistler or if you hucked it off a 20 foot cliff. But if those are your plans, you're going to want to spend a lot more money than $600. It sacrifices weight, climbing ability, and speed for a slack HT angle and a burly overbuilt frame.

    The components are about par for that price level. Nothing outstanding, but it's not junk either. The shifters/derailleurs and brakes will do just fine for most purposes. The bike will shift fine as long as it's properly adjusted, though it won't hold proper adjustment as long as a bike equipped with higher level componentry. Brakes lack the feel and power of hydraulic discs, but they'll still stop you just fine. Fork is crap, but you'll have to pay much more up front to get a bike equipped with a better fork, and you can always upgrade it later if you want. Frame is bomber. Overbuilt and the best part of the bike IMO. Saddle is pretty nice actually, or at least it fits my butt pretty well. Pedals are miserable, I'd replace them either with quality platforms or clipless. Moving up to the Komodo II gets you Stroker Ryde hydraulics and a DJ1 (higher quality fork with a 20mm TA, though it also has 30mm less travel than the Komodo I's Launch) which is cool, but it's also almost double the price. If I had the money for the Komodo II, I'd probably get the Komodo I and then put the money towards a TALAS (or look for a closeout Pike which is probably less money than the difference between those two bikes), but that's just me... You'd probably need a new front hub for either of those forks though.

    On asphalt, it may as well come with a homing device that seeks out stairs and ledges. Obviously it's not as good as a 24" DJ or BMX for urban assault, but it can certainly hold its own. For just riding on asphalt...ehhhh...that's not what the bike's made for, and it'll be slow, but it can still do it. Technically, a DJ can still do it, and a Komodo is a million times better for general riding around than a DJ. But then again, is just riding on asphalt really what you're priority is? You can get yourself a weight weenie XC bike that climbs like a billy goat and flies on asphalt almost as well as a hybrid and taco the wheels the first time you jump it, or you can get yourself an overbuilt AM HT that's a little slower but can take the abuse.
    Maybe that's going extreme. The more I've thought about it, the less I think I'm going to encounter instances where I'm going to need this type of bike. I think in the end, I'll be happier with something that's more than a "one-trick pony." As I think about it, I think what I'm really after is something I can ride on trails in the mountains, where I'm going to encounter some roots, dirt, and and occasional set of dirt/wood stairs. In the end, I just want something that I'm not going to grenade.

    I also want something that I'll be able to ride comfortably (and maintain some type of speed) on asphalt, and then if I see a big dirt/rocky hill, I can say, "Hey, I wanna go ride down that!"

    Given those qualifications, I guess I want more of a reliable trail bike. The ones I'm seriously looking into are the following (in no order), all equipped with disc brakes....

    Cannondale F5
    Trek 6000
    GT Avalanche 1.0
    Giant XTC-2
    Specialized Hard Rock

    Out of these bikes, which do you feel is equipped with the best hardware from the factory, and would these bikes work for some rough terrain like roots and stuff like that? Based on your knowledge and experience, which would you choose if you were the person making the decision?
    Last edited by RatedZ; 03-31-10 at 09:15 PM.

  15. #15
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    ya Im a GT man as well, and Ill ya, I wouldnt trade my RTS-3 for anything, they just dont make them like they used to, the nice bit for me, is I saved a couple triple triangles...want me to find you an old school GT? Rock shox Judies? heheh....

  16. #16
    Pint-Sized Gnar Shredder Zephyr11's Avatar
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    Hm, don't get me wrong, the Komodo is still a worthy bike for riding trails. I've taken it on plenty of trails. It's just not as fast or as good a climber as an XC bike.

    This is kind of cool. It's burlier than a lot of other entry level bikes, but still has the big ring up front instead of the bashguard that the Komodo has (big ring = higher gearing = more speed). BB5's and a DJ3 aren't bad either.

    None of the bikes you named will explode on your average rocks/roots/dirt that you find on a "normal" trail. There's actually a guy in the Mountain Bike forum that tricked out a Hardrock with an expensive fork and absolutely beats on the thing, and it's fine. If you can try out all those bikes you listed, do so. One of them will fit better than the others or ride better than the others. That's your bike, right there.

  17. #17
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    Dorel owns lots of bike brands and they aim different models at specific markets. Funny that you should mention Cannondale, because that is also owned by Dorel. How well the GT would stand up to 3 ft jumps would depend on how well you could land. You should spend a bit of time rebuilding your skills before you try the big jumps. Dont get a bike with twist grip shifters for your wife.

  18. #18
    RatedZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
    Dorel owns lots of bike brands and they aim different models at specific markets. Funny that you should mention Cannondale, because that is also owned by Dorel. How well the GT would stand up to 3 ft jumps would depend on how well you could land. You should spend a bit of time rebuilding your skills before you try the big jumps. Dont get a bike with twist grip shifters for your wife.
    Don't get me wrong, after having not been on a bike for 22 years, I'm not just going to hop on and go jumping. I've never ridden a bike larger than a 20 inch GT Pro Performer; no, not even a classic 10-speed. It's definitely going to take some used to riding something larger, and it will be an all-new experience.

    When I had my GT Pro Performer, I could land pretty well. Sure, if I was going to be hitting jumps every single day, I'd probably look into a dirt/jump bike, but I need something that's not going to be a pain to put some distance on when riding asphalt.

    Someone mentioned I'd know the bike when I sat on one. I sat on a Cannondale F5 (I think it was the large frame) and it fit like a glove. It just seemed like the right one. I've driven myself crazy trying to compare the bikes I mentioned in my previous post and I'm just not getting anywhere. All I've heard is that the Shimano drivetrain is superior to the SRAM drivetrains. It's pretty much coming down to who equips their bikes with the finest components for the money. While I like the Cannondale F5, the Giant XTC-2 is looking pretty tasty because of its Shimano drivetrain.

    I still need to see a Trek 6000 in person, but based on suggestions and reviews I've read, this seems to be a very sturdy bike also. I sat on a Specialized Hard Rock and I just didn't feel like I connected real well with it, but it seemed to have a fairly light weight, which is appealing.

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