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  1. #1
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    Advice on bike purchase

    I'm looking to get back into Mountain Biking after several years away from the sport. As a result, I'm looking for a new mountain bike. I'm wondering if there is a bike in existance that will even meet my needs, as they are so diverse.

    First, what I don't plan to do with my mountain bike:

    1) Race
    2) Ride really fast
    3) Downhill (I just don't have the insanity to do this, although I do crazy things on skis)

    What I do plan to do with a mountain bike:

    1) Put a lot of miles on it
    2) Off road touring/camping
    3) Leiserly and slow meandering enjoying the scenery and freedom of a bike

    With that said, I know many of you are going to suggest I get a hardtail. I'll consider a hardtail, but I really have my heart set on a dual suspension mountain bike. Why? Honestly, I'm not the type of person who is going to derive pleasure from going through a technical area taking the best possible line over various obstacles, etc. Secondly, I want to have fun, and it seems like an awful lot of fun to ran over rocks and roots, and enjoy the wonder of the shocks absorbing most of the bumps. Third, I want comfort, and I want to be able to enjoy the sport, and to not have to get off my saddle to absorb the various bumps along the way.

    The fun factor is really the main reason I want a dual suspension bike. I not only enjoy the sport, I very much enjoy the fact that I'm using a machine that I am supplying the power for, and can bring me virtually anywhere I want to go. I don't want to have any limits, I want to feel the freedom, and pleasure from traveling off road, even if I decide to take on some pretty rough trails.

    In the past, I road a completely rigid Cannondale, so a full suspension bike would be pretty new to me. I just have a feeling it would improve my enjoyment of the sport immensly.

    I have a pretty broad budget to work with, although I know my top end isn't very high for a dualie. I would prefer to spend about $500, but I'd be willing to (although my bank account will hate me) go as high as $1500.

    The other interesting information that should help you steer me in the right direction is to let you know how diverse the terrain is this bike will be handling. I will be starting the sport up in New Jersey, where I currently live, so train riding will be mostly flat, with many dirt/mud trails. With that said, my finance and I plan to move to Colorado in a couple of years to be with her family, so I plan to also ride many a rocky, bumpy trail when I get there. I don't want to purchase another bike at that time, and sell my used bike. This is a bike purchase I want to keep for years.

    Am I being unrealistic in my expectations? Can I can a good, durable, realible dualie in my price range? Can a dualie serve my needs as a bike I can use for bike touring? Why are components of a bike so important, aside from weight savings?

    One other piece of information. The store I would probably get the bike from is Cycle Craft in Parsippany. They have been a great help when I had my two other bike purchased from that store. You can check them out at www.cyclecraft.com. They have Trek, Cannondale, and Gary Fisher mountain bikes. I would certainly be willing to go with another brand from another store, however, if it really meant I'd get a better bike, that performs better than what is offered from the three above companies.

    I would prefer a dualie with at least 5 inches of travel, since comfort, and the ability to handle technical trails with ease is a huge desire I have with my bike purchase.

    Sorry for the long post, but I really would like your help, and wanted to give us much useful information as possible. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    you called your fiance a finance, thats just awesome.

    in now way shape or form are your expectations for a bike unrealistic. the best advice i can give you is to get to your lbs and start riding. you wrote exactly what you want quite well, print this out and take it in.

    about the dual suspension, a few years ago when i got into the whole scene, ppl told me "you can get a hardtail and then when you get really serious get a full suspension". so i kept saying to myself, well why not just get a full suspension bike now and learn on it, i'll be that much better and blah blah blah. little did i know at the time, hardtails aren't the 'beginner' bike of the mtb scene. i got an old superV and liked it, but then i rode a friend's hardtail and freakin loved it. i rode a trek 6500 for awhile after that and did what you want to do now basically. when the dropoffs got bigger than 5ft i switched to a dual suspension. i honestly hate most everything about it except when it comes to drops. for the riding you want, you are going to want as much energy to the crank, and you won't get that with the rear absorping it, especially on inclines. you could get a lockout in the rear but, if you don't wanna bomb a downhill, it'll always be on lockout (mine is). and everyone can tell you how much they LOVE getting throwing some money to get it rebuilt.

    good luck and keep the post updated so we can see what you come home with.
    my signature hit a tree with no helmet buaahahaahhitdied.
    specialized enduro - swapping parts for a big hit build

  3. #3
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    if you're looking at a full susser within your budget, a 4" travel XC bike is for you...not much under $1K thats any good, But a lot of 2006's (still some 2005's out there too) are being marked down, so there will be a lot of good bikes availble in August & Sept....check out the Specialized FSR's, Giant Trance, Trek & Gary Fisher FS'ers,

    Also, there's a lot of good used bikes, that usually sell for about 50% of new, are now becomming available...I just pick up a 2004 Santa Cruz Blur in perfect shape for less than half the price of a new one. I asked my LBS to keep an eye out for several models that interested me, and one came up in about 3 months. Just stay off e-Bay as you have to look at MTB's as some are too used

    Good Luck

  4. #4
    Senior Member mlh122's Avatar
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    a dualie would help soak up the bumps, but it would soak up some to a lot of your power too. you could get a dualie with remote lockouts, so you have controls on the handlebars to adjust the stiffness of the front and rear shocks, up to and including being totally locked out. my wife tried a trek fuel ex that had these and it was awesome, it could be a rigid, hard tail, dualie etc... and it was fairly light too, the only thing that doesn't meet your needs would be the price, i think it was $2500, that was about a year ago, you might be able to find a used one under $1500. when she tested it she locked out both shocks and mashed up a hill, then unlocked them and jumped off a 3 foot ledge. also went up and down curbs, she said it felt less like going up and down curbs and more like rocking on a waterbed. I however am a hardtail fan. my legs are my rear shocks, when im on flats i sit down (locked out) when i see rocks or bumps i stand up (dualie). but then again im cheap and didn't want my bike to cost more than $500. but i understand the desire for a dualie when i don't see a bump coming and it suprises me right in the tailbone.

  5. #5
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    If I can't find a good bike under 1k with a lot of travel, I'd be willing to spend 1.5k. I'd rather get the bike I want now, then to regret my purchase later, sell it for half of what I bought it for, and spend 1.5k anyway.

    With that said, MLH, you've intrigued me by letting me know a bike exists that gives me practically the ability to have everything I want. If I need to, I can make the bike rigid, hardtail, or full suspension. That's quite interesting. I'm going to look into that. Maybe I can find a bike like that in my price range. It's really amazing how far mountain biking has come since I last participated in the sport.

    As for calling my fiance my finance, it must have been a Fruedian slip.

    I'll do some research, see what I dig up, and run it by you guys since you are the experts. I appreciate your help!

  6. #6
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    MLH, I must say, your a freakin genius! Unfortunately, it also appears that this sport has a way of making people spend more then they wanted. Are there any other bikes that have this feature aside from the Trek EX series? Also, I didn't find the Trek EX 6 sold anywhere. I'll keep looking, but is it somehow a discontinued model?

    Sorry for all of the questions, just want to get the right info to make the right purchase.

  7. #7
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    Why not try a Specialized Epic, they are just like what mlh said, except the rear shock is "intelligent", you should give that a go too.

  8. #8
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    The Specialized Epic looks quite amazing, although I'm looking at a minimum of 2k for one. Also, with the Trek I get more control over what I want, it seems. Of course the Specialized suspension works when needed. Hmmmmmmm. Also, the Trek bikes come with disk brakes. How much of a difference does that make over cantilever brakes?

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