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Old 05-15-06, 11:49 AM   #1
Jim85IROC
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Looking for a bike... it's been too long since I was into this!

My fiance and I are moving into a new house at the end of June, and due to the massive amount of dirt roads and trails around the area, we'd like to get bikes.

Back in the early 90s I had a GT Outpost that I pounded on but never broke. Once I got my driver's license, the bike stopped getting used. When I went off to college I bought a DiamondBack Sorrento Sport with some cheap no-name front shock. This was the first bike I'd ever owned with a front shock. I hated it so much that I sold it after 6 months and haven't owned a bike since.

Now that we're looking at bikes, I need to keep my cost reasonable (after all, we're buying a house!), but I don't want something that I'll be unhappy with.

One thing that seems to have the biggest impact on my impression of a bike is how soft the shock is. On that old Diamondback, I'd bottom it out riding off of curbs, and I hated bobbing up and down when I peddled.

I test rode a Diamondback Trail Response Sport that's got the RST Gila Plus T6 shock, and I like the bike except that I'd like the shock to be significantly stiffer. I don't need a bike that rides like a cadillac. I just want a fork that can provide some cushion on larger stutter bumps that could cause me to lose control of the bike.

I'm not an overly agressive rider anymore, but I'm a heavy guy (250lbs) and I want something that's going to be durable.

On to the questions:
1. Are stiffer springs available for that RST shock?
2. Is the Diamond Back Response Sport a good bike for $500?
3. Any other options in the >$500 range that I should take into consideration too?


Thanks for helping another noob.
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Old 05-15-06, 01:25 PM   #2
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Check this out:

The "around" $500 MTB thread.
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Old 05-15-06, 08:32 PM   #3
Jim85IROC
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Thanks, but that's nothing close to the type of bikes I'm looking at.

Eric,
I've read the majority of that thread, but so far all I've learned is that the people who say the most seem to think every fork that costs less than a new car is trash. I haven't been able to figure out if an entry level Marcocchi is really an improvement over an RST and other forks in the same bracket. I haven't figured out if the SRAM shifting equipment is a step above the shimano stuff. I haven't figured out if Hayes disk brakes are better than Tektro. Etc, etc.

There is such a ridiculous quantity of variations among items from the same manufacturer that it seems fairly impossible to really make a useful comparison between two bikes.
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Old 05-15-06, 08:40 PM   #4
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Jim, You will find a sticky thread by Kona rider titled 'Please Read Before Asking Questions, FAQ' on the Mountain Bike forum. It speaks directly to the decisions you are trying to make. At $500, I prefer the Specialized Rockhopper, but that is my preference and may not be yours. As Kona rider's thread states, you should ride several bikes, and choose the one you like best based on your determination and the way you ride. IMHO, I would not buy off ebay (or off the internet) if you have not been into cycling for a while. A LBS is your best bet to assure a good fit.
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Old 05-15-06, 08:50 PM   #5
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For the price range your looking at, visit your LBSs (local bike shops) and test ride a couple of different bikes. Go to all your LBSs and ride as many different manufacturers as you can.

Chances are you and your wife will not like the same brand. And, that's o.k. Heck, the chances of both of you liking the same brand are ridiculously low.

When you are there ask the salesperson if you can swap out the elastomers or springs in the forks. Tell them you want a much stiffer one for you and a less firm one for your wife.

At 250lbs. you're a Clydesdale. Welcome to the club! I always have had to change out my fork springs/elastomers. It really makes a difference. It's like night and day. You'll want the x-tra stiff springs. Your wife will want the soft.

Most stock springs/elastomers are mediums. They're designed for a 160 to 185 lb rider.

I've become one of those riders that only has top of the line stuff. But, I'm not so conceited that I don't remember getting excited about upgrading to Deore level stuff.

I don't know about new lower end forks. They are all about the same in terms of quality. The biggest difference will be if the springs/elastomers are removable. With trickle down technology I would imagine that they are.

I would look into brands like Specialized, Trek, Giant, Gary Fisher, Haro, Iron Horse, Diamond Back...etc.
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