Hey everyone. I need some advice on how to spend money. :-)
I bought a 2004 Specialized Rockhopper last year and have ridden the piss out of it since then. The last few months, not so much because of a busy work schedule and it was pouring down rain, but all that is over. Summer is here and it's time to ride. The deal is, my bike needs some work. I guess I'm considered a large rider (6'4" / 205#) and some of the components don't like the abuse. When I say abuse, I don't mean 5' drops, but I ride the bike hard and fast. The wheels constantly need truing (ALEXRIMS DM20) and the I've had constant problems with the bottom bracket clicking under load. I've already changed out the OE Tektro V-brakes for some Shimano LX V-brakes.
As the bike sits, I, if I chose to upgrade, would spend about $700+. This would be for a Marz. Marathon S 130mm fork, Rhyno Lite Rims w/ XT hubs, Panaracer Fire XC tires, and I'd really like to go to the Avid mechanical disc brake setup. I've felt, even with the LX vee's, that I'm not going to stop. I'm not a hardcore downhiller, but I like speed... :-)
So, I've been looking at options. It seems silly to upgrade a $450 bike with $700+ of components. Although, I love the bike and it takes my abuse with ease, but the components are what I have a problem with. Like I said, the wheels are weak. Anytime I turn, the rim flexes and contacts the brakes. The bottom bracket clicks like crazy under load. The front der. does not shift with ANY load on it despite repeat adjustment attempts. The tires blow and are worn out. The fork doesn't seem to absorb bumps all that well, but I'm sure it does more than I think.
I've been looking at bikes a little out of my budget, but don't mind paying for quality. I think it's between the Stumpjumper FSR Expert 120 (2005 @ LBS for $2400) and the Santa Cruz Blur (2004 @ LBS for $2900). The Santa Cruz obviously is the better pick, for $500 more... but before we get into that....
Is it worth throwing money into the 'hopper? What would you do in my shoes? I've got bills, so either way, it's going to be thrown down on a credit card (with a decent interest rate, however, and I'm able to make pretty hefty payments). The FSR Expert is at a BS with a 0% financing for 12 months offer (Supergo). No such offer on the Santa Cruz. Either way, biking this summer is gonna cost some bread...
What would you do? What other bikes should I consider, for maybe a little less? Say, under $2000.