I have been lurking around here for a while now, and wanted to say thanx to all the "experts" and knowledgeable ones here that have answered many of my questions via the search engine.
However, I have another question that I could not find the answer too. I am looking to get an entry level bike (budget constraints) for both myself and my wife. She won't be doing much trail riding, probably all hardpack and road stuff so a solid frame won't cause her any problems. I am looking to get a hardtail.
Therein lies my dilemma. I am 6'7 and weigh 245 pounds. I won't initially be doing any hard riding, but I still have the childhood desire to get airborne at all times possible when on a mtb or dirt motorcycle. Therefore, I am curious as to what I need to look for in my shopping for a bike as concerns the crank and the shock setup. I have been looking at the entry level Giant and Specialized bikes at my LBS. I am migrating towards the Giants because I hate grip shift setups.
The entry-level stuff isn't made to get airborne with, as you probably can guess If you do want to get an entry-level bike but beef it up a little, one thing I used to do for heavy customers and/or heavy-use customers in that situation was to put the stock rear wheel on my rack to sell to someone else, and hand-build them an extra-strong one:
Sun RhynoLite 36-hole rim
DeoreLX 36-hole hub
DT 14ga spokes
This proved to be very cost-effective in the long run... no freewheel-type axles breaking, no cheapie OEM spokes breaking, no wheel truing (unless hit by a car, as one fellow was). The seals on the DeoreLX hub are wonderful at keeping the elements sealed out, too.
But really, I hold the position that XC mountain bikes are not really made to jump just for the sake of jumping. Sure, bunnyhop a log, take dropoffs where necessary, but gratuitous jumping... IMHO that's not the realm of XC hardtails, especially not entry-level ones. Just my 2c worth...
The type of jumping I was talking about was the simple basic stuff. I have grown in my wisdom and my level for pain tolerance has diminished over the past few years. I don't think I will be taking any major leaps over anything other then simple drop offs. I am just worried about what my size is going to do to an mid-entry level bike when i do that.
Scott Gambler, Scott Ransom, Kona Bear, Bianchi 928 Carbon/Chorus, C'Dale Rize4
I like the Kona Blast or Giant's Iguana. Both bikes are good entry level bikes and you can upgrade them when the time comes. They are both around $500.
One thing you might want to consider, if you get a bike such as these and the "addiction" hits you, you will start upgrading parts and by the time you are done (which usually does not happen) you have put another few hundred dollers into the bike. If you save just a bit longer you will be able to get a bike that should not need any upgrading for some time.
I would try to get the nicest frame you can afford. That way, if you want to upgrade some parts later on, you won't be throwing cash away. Besides, a nicer frame will hold up better under harder riding, which might decrease your medical bills should you really start to test the frame's limits.
Well, it looks as tho I have made up my mind. A LBS really impressed me w/ their service even tho they are on the other side of the city. They are in the process of trying to locate me a 2002 Giant Iguana (w/ the v-brake and better components).