I hate to keep chaning my mind on the bike I want to buy but its a good thing because I am only finding better bikes and better prices.
I had settled on a Specialized Rockhopper at my only LBS that sells Specialized for 520$ full MSRP, very strong and aggressive frame, and good components for its price range. I thought it was the perfect bike for me and would take me on any trail I want.
But just as a finalization before I went to buy it, I went to the last few LBS in my area and I came across one in new Tampa that sells Gary Fisher/Trek I was not very impressed with there product line from when I saw the trek 4900 and the wahoo at another store but this place has a really neat bike, the Kaitai.
Here is what has persuaded me to buy this bike (as of now) instead of the Rockhopper.
1st and formost, this was the most friendly and down to earth shop so far, it felt very much like going to a place where you know and can talk to sombody instead of walking into a business, the other shops so far made me feel like im just a customer and they are just sales people, not so much like they really understood what I was looking for or were willing to work with me.
2nd this is the ONLY shop that sells bikes below MSRP so far! This bike would have been out of my price range at a MSRP of 620$ but with no haggling at all they have it marked to buy at 550$ and are offering me great mark downs on all the other stuff I need like gloves, helmet ect... offering me free classes to learn to work on my bike ect ect...
So let this be a lesson to anybody that owns a shop or works in one, that being willing to bargan some, or have a more caring and friendly attitude can really make the diffrence.
Ok now for the bike itself here is what I noticed.
First of all it has 29" wheeles! I dont know to think of this as good or bad, doing some reading it looks like its much more a good thing than a bad thing, not to mention I can be the odd' one out on the trails wich is cool.
The shifters are shimano instead of SRAM, they shifted so much easier and smoother than the Rockhopper, it was amazing I really felt like I was on a high quality bike instead of just a "tougher" wally world bike like the hopper made me feel.
The balance is much better, I could ride it with no hands like I have had the bike for years, shifting my weight forward I could get the rear tire off the ground, and it was easy to get the front up too, so the bike itself has a better geometry for me.
The components are in general even better than the Rockhopper, and it also comes with mechanical disk breaks! somthing that would have taken the hopper up to a close to 700$ price, this bike is definitly taken the lead.
So now I really need some feedback on this bike, and if you have ridden/owned a Piranha/Marlin which is the bike I was originally looking to get but they have none on hand, I will try to see if the other store has one to ride. Lastly is the Mullet it doesnt have the genisis geometry but it looks like a nice bike so feedback on that would be great.
The Kaitai feels great to me I am just skeptical that is made maybe abit more for road than offroad, since it has the skinny tires, reviews of it show its more than capable of off road and even handles jumps/drop offs with no problems but they recomend putting bigger tires on it. I will indeed be doing more road riding than off road anyways so I may benifit from this.
Transition Dirtbag, Kona Roast 2002 and specialized BMX
Ummm first off...do you really want your name to be a bunch of ascii characters?
Secondly...ok let me read this...
/90minutes later and 7 beers
1 - feeling confident in a dealer is important as they will be your shop...thats worth $$$
2 - MSRP is subjective to the company. This isn't real but these are semi-accurate examples
Kona - requires you to list msrp and allows a 10% drop in price to look like a sale
specialized - requires you list at msrp till july 31st when you can drop
Giant - List price only until close outs begin
I think you get the idea. Don't get fooled by different companies offering "sales" on product.
29" wheels...good vs bad has been covered. It comes down to personal preference and where you ride. On the terrain here with an abundance of pros I know (xc and dh) no one rides 29" wheels...period. Never seen one, the shop doesn't even try. Do a search here and ESPECIALLY mtbreview forums to get an overall feel for how and where you ride
Shimano vs Sram is also subjective. Depends on the ability of how it is setup by the mech and quality vs quality. Different levels feel different etc...
In the end...ride what feels comfortable that can handle what you can throw at it, in the end thats all the matters.
The Kaitai is a sweet Japanese-named bike. The bike feels like it is made entirely of Carbon, and I like the lockout front shock. The 29er wheels will make you fly on pavement, feeling like the bike is almost motorized. Just be careful hitting the trails, because this bike is designed only for 10% trail use.