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  1. #1
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    ?? About Specific XC Hardtails

    Been looking into getting my first new bike in ten years (last new bike was an '04 Stumpjumper Comp now gathering dust in my bro's apt.) After looking hard at cyclocross bikes done up with flat bars as an all rounder - I really think a mt. bike is gonna give me more usage and satisfaction. Riding will be some (not much) around town and lots of dirt roads and rolling single track in S.E. Mass. I rode fairly hard when I was younger (i.e. 10 years ago) - but lost the urge while living in the city.

    Narrowing it down towards the following flavors:

    Kona Caldera or Kula
    Gary Fisher Big Sur (or Big Sur disc)
    Specialized Stumpjumper (Stumpjumper Disc)

    Any key differences I may have missed (aside from the price diff.) Any particulars as to the way these manufs. fit that might make a difference? I'm 5'11 180 with a 31" inseam (short legs, longish torso)

    Gonna have to sell a mandolin to fund this, so I wanna get it right. Might mention that I find single speed kind of appealing too.

  2. #2
    Superman With Silver Guns bbarend's Avatar
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    Big Sur is made in the USA.
    "I'm your huckleberry."

    MTB, SS MTB, and Road

  3. #3
    Superman With Silver Guns bbarend's Avatar
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    Plus you get carbon stays on the '05. Genesis geometry is sweet. These are the only great American hardtails left that are below $1500.
    "I'm your huckleberry."

    MTB, SS MTB, and Road

  4. #4
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    Short legs, long torso types might want to stay away from Kona. Their XC bikes have short top tubes for added agility, so they might be kind of cramped for those with long arms/torso.

    Classic advice: test ride as many bikes as possible, you'll know what you like and what works for you.

  5. #5
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    I'm a little taller than you, but with a similar inseam and with my body dimensions (and yours) you would think the Genesis Geometry would be great! I HATED it!

    I'm a big fan of Specialized bikes. Their geometries work really well for me. You really just need to test ride as many different brands as you can.

    A lot of people don't like Cannondale's, but as far as XC bikes goes, they have perfected the art of lightweight XC bikes. Definately check them out.

    There are so many great XC hardtails available these days you really need to shop around a lot more before investing $1,500.00. Less popular brands will buy you more bike and you end up with a far superior bike in my opinion. Brands like Jamis, Marin, and Iron Horse and knocking out some great bikes these days.
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
    "Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger

  6. #6
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    Gonna try to ride as many as I can - but my free time is really limitd because of work - and I;d rather spend the time recreating than looking to recreate . . .

    Most of the bikes I'm looking at have a disc or no-disc option? Nay compelling reason to go one way or the other?

    Also - I've always ridden in the past on clips and straps - should I move towards clipless or are clips and sraps still a real option?

    Wanna get these all narrowed down before I git the shops so I don't feel like a giant weenie.

  7. #7
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    I'm 5'8" with a similar inseam.
    You'll have several very good bikes to choose from in your price range. With the terrain you've described, I would recommend a hardtail XC with a suspension lockout feature (great for road rides). I ride a Cannondale F600 with a 31" standover height. I absolutely LOVE this bike but like a2psyklnut said "A lot of people don't like Cannondale's" so if you're looking for advice on Cannondale's be prepared to take it with a grain of salt.

  8. #8
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    If you ride in muddy conditions, I would recommend the discs. A lot of bikes will come with U-brakes but have hubs set up to install discs. You'll save $ by getting a bike with U-brakes and if you end up hating them you can switch to discs for about $100-$150 more.
    As far as pedals go...that's really a matter of preference. If you havent ridden in a while I would go with platform pedals. You can get yourself in a lot of trouble with clipless.

  9. #9
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    Thanks BErad (I double-posted and then double-deleted - so your post looks like it's repsonding to thin air).

    I don't think I really need discs, and platform with clips would probably be more in the comfort zone for now. Plus, it's nice to have the street shoe/sneaker option.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for letting me know about the double-delete...I thought I might be going crazy for a minute there (not that I'm not, but at least I know I'm not seeing things that never existed)!

  11. #11
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    Hey Mugnut, you deleted your and at the same time I deleted the other one, but I fixed it now.

    Discs. I think they're overated. Granted I have them on 3 of my bikes, but when you work at a shop, get the employee discount...etc. You end up with 3 sets on your bikes.

    Linear Pull (Vee) brakes work great for probably 90% of the people riding. Discs work better, but have an initial cost and a weight penalty. Usually the "cool" factor outweighs these and a lot of people end up with disc brakes. It's an unnecessary option for a lot of people.

    Pedals. Stick with platform pedals for at least 3 to 6 months of riding. You want to get comfortable riding your bike without the added complexity of worrying about clipping in and out. Plus, learn to bunnyhop with platform pedals and you'll be a better rider as a result. It's harder, but worth it.

    As far as clip pedals go, same thing as the clipless. Just stick with platforms until you feel like you and your bike are "as 1". Then throw off your groove and change pedals.

    After almost 10 years of riding clipless I'm back to platforms!
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
    "Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger

  12. #12
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    ...back to platforms?! Overrated disc brakes?!....are you a retro-grouch or what?!

    It's actually good advice. You'll save $ and weight by getting V-brakes and you'll save some skin by riding platform pedals.

  13. #13
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    Yes and No.

    I'm a bit retro-grouchy. I HATE 9-speed and LOVE my 8 speed stuff.

    I LOVE my discs, but again think that 90% of the people who own discs don't "NEED" discs, they just "want" discs. I "sorta" fill into that category. I'm a big guy (250lbs), so I kinda "need" discs.

    I LOVE my full suspension bike with discs. However, I have just as much fun riding my single speed with linear pull brakes and a flat bar.

    We as a whole tend to be equipment junkies. We forget it's not "WHAT" you're riding, but the fact that you "ARE" riding!
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
    "Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger

  14. #14
    Shreddin' heaven on his 20" the wonginator's Avatar
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    what's your opinions on rocky mountains?

  15. #15
    1/2 a binding 1/2 a brain telenick's Avatar
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    I realize you're probably already anchored on a XC bike. But, from what you described I would give a solid look at either the cross bike (you already did) or even better a 29" wheeled hardtail mtn bike.

    I'm building up a Surly karate Monkey. Check it...

  16. #16
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    Telenick (which I assume means you're a telemarker - amen) looked closely for a while at several varieties of Surly frames - the idea of a rigid single-speed hearkening back to my BMX days as a kid seemed ripping, but I think a Mt. Bike and gears are gonna have to be a concession to my creaky knees and desk-jockey physique. Are the Monkeys geared? I thought they were SS/Fixed (not that I have ruled that option out absolutely . . . )

  17. #17
    Shreddin' heaven on his 20" the wonginator's Avatar
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    monkey's are geared.

  18. #18
    Shreddin' heaven on his 20" the wonginator's Avatar
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    "Options galore. Single-speed? Sure. Like gears? Use some. The Karate Monkey will accommodate a standard or compact mountain triple up front , and a cassette full o' cogs in the 135mm-spaced rear. Our Surly horizontal dropouts are cast with a derailleur hanger, so you have several drivetrain options. Disc brakes or cantilevers? Once again, it's up to you. The Karate Monkey comes with International Standard disc mounts and removable canti pivots. Rigid or suspended front end? We provide a unicrown, tapered straight blade, suspension-corrected rigid fork. Do as you wish."

    http://www.surlybikes.com/karatemonkey.html

  19. #19
    1/2 a binding 1/2 a brain telenick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mugnut
    Telenick (which I assume means you're a telemarker - amen) looked closely for a while at several varieties of Surly frames - the idea of a rigid single-speed hearkening back to my BMX days as a kid seemed ripping, but I think a Mt. Bike and gears are gonna have to be a concession to my creaky knees and desk-jockey physique. Are the Monkeys geared? I thought they were SS/Fixed (not that I have ruled that option out absolutely . . . )
    Yes! Half a binding, half a brain.

    The Karate monkey is cool for a lot of reasons.
    It can be SS or geared.
    It has both cantelever bosses and disc tabs on board.
    It has cable routing for both styles of brakes too.
    The frame accepts fatties and the seat tube has a bend that allows the chain stay to remain short for aggressive climbing traction.
    The geometry is compatible for a 100mm front shock.
    The geometry is adjusted for no toe overlap on the front tire (probably not true for huge feet though.)

    It has a new age and retro cool factor all in one bike.

  20. #20
    1/2 a binding 1/2 a brain telenick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by revmonkey
    "Options galore. Single-speed? Sure. Like gears? Use some. The Karate Monkey will accommodate a standard or compact mountain triple up front , and a cassette full o' cogs in the 135mm-spaced rear. Our Surly horizontal dropouts are cast with a derailleur hanger, so you have several drivetrain options. Disc brakes or cantilevers? Once again, it's up to you. The Karate Monkey comes with International Standard disc mounts and removable canti pivots. Rigid or suspended front end? We provide a unicrown, tapered straight blade, suspension-corrected rigid fork. Do as you wish."

    http://www.surlybikes.com/karatemonkey.html
    The monkey beat me to it.

  21. #21
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BErad
    A lot of bikes will come with U-brakes but have hubs set up to install discs. <snip> You'll save $ by getting a bike with U-brakes
    Err it's not 1992 anymore. The only bikes coming with U brakes are BMX bikes and they don't come with disc hubs.

    Discs are a nice thing to have, but I personally feel hydro''s are overkill for what most people actually ride. A set of Avid BB7's is plenty for most people

  22. #22
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    To continue the drifting of my own thread - the other alternative to a hardtail XC bike I was considering was some kind of ultra-utilitarian single speed cross bike (like a Cross Check) set up with flat bars and a set of slicks and a set of knobbies for road or trail respectively. I don't have a lot of hills to contend with and thought this would be a great all-arounder.

    But then I got bitten by the mtb bug again . . . argh.

  23. #23
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    Why limit yourself to just one bike?

    I have a road bike, a cyclocross bike, a full suspension mtn bike, a hardtail, and a single speed.

    I also have a DJ in build up stage, and I just sold my 24" BMX Cruiser to my buddy, but I want a new one now!
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
    "Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger

  24. #24
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    [QUOTE=Raiyn][color=blue]Err it's not 1992 anymore. The only bikes coming with U brakes are BMX bikes and they don't come with disc hubs.


    Hey...he said he hasnt bought a bike in 10 years....I was just trying to keep with the lingo from yesteryear.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by a2psyklnut
    Why limit yourself to just one bike?
    hmmm, marital harmony and generalized lack of funds due to massive percentage of income devoted to cost of living here in Cost-alot-achusetts are two reasons (but I can find ways to work-around those in a time of need).

    I could see having more than one in a little while, assuming I get back into it. But gotta get the first one first.

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