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Old 08-18-06, 06:12 PM   #1
cardiackid1924
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Help a Noob with first purchase

Hey everyone,

I'm 35 and haven't ridden a bike in earnest since I was about 16, but want to get serious about my fitness (I've had to stop running due to some knee problems). One of my best friends is a serious MTBer, and has convinced me to join him. I'm planning on making my purchase within a few days time.

Based on his reccomendations and my research, I've kinda zeroed in on a Gary Fisher Hardtail - specifically the Tassajara. I originally looked at cheaper models like the Wahoo or Pirahna, but my buddy says they have mostly entry level parts that I'll need to upgrade pretty quickly, and that I'm best to get a bike that I can grow into.

So here's my question:

The Tassajara comes with or without disc brakes, and the difference is $180. That seems like a lot to me, especially since I'm fairly budget concious and because the bike shop owner says he's pretty ambivalent about the advantages of disc brakes.

What does everyone here think? Would I regret not getting the discs, especially since I'm purposely trying to get a bike I can grow into and enjoy for many years? On the other side, I'm not very mechanical at all, and I know disc brakes require more maintenance.

I'm really quite confused. Any guideance from knowledgabe and experienced riders would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a lot!
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Old 08-18-06, 07:03 PM   #2
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Might as well...You'll spend more than the difference in upgrading later. If youre getting a Gary Fisher, might as well get some brakes with some real stopping power.
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Old 08-18-06, 07:48 PM   #3
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Just remember some times biking causes sore knees.
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Old 08-18-06, 09:07 PM   #4
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I dunno, I think it depends on what type of riding your doing. I thought about upgrading the basic V's on my Rockhopper to discs but held off. Now I have an XC Comp with Avid discs. They're real nice, but now that I've tried discs, if I upgrade anything on the Rockhopper, it will be the fork. I'd recommend moving up to the next level GF bike and buying a better fork. But then, as I said, I don't know what type of riding you're going to do.
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Old 08-18-06, 10:01 PM   #5
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V-brakes have as much stopping power as discs. Think logically, it's easier to stop a spinning wheel grabbing it from a side than from the middle. V-brake never fails, forget about these baby stories such as "mud and rain are leading to v-brake failure", what a myth!

good luck with the purchase
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Old 08-19-06, 12:49 AM   #6
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Hey thanks for the replies guys...

I don't really even know enough about biking to tell you what kind of riding I'll be doing. But given my experience, I seriously doubt I'll be doing anything too hardcore for the forseeable future. What kind of riding would really require the disc brakes?

I'm sorta feeling like there's no real consensus on whether disc brakes are worth it or not, and if there isn't, I'm wondering if I should just save myself the $180.
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Old 08-19-06, 05:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cardiackid1924
Hey thanks for the replies guys...

I don't really even know enough about biking to tell you what kind of riding I'll be doing. But given my experience, I seriously doubt I'll be doing anything too hardcore for the forseeable future. What kind of riding would really require the disc brakes?

I'm sorta feeling like there's no real consensus on whether disc brakes are worth it or not, and if there isn't, I'm wondering if I should just save myself the $180.
If nothing else.....discs are worth their money in cool-ness.

I like mine better than v-brakes.....my braking isn't affected if my rim gets wet....and much less squeeking for mee. Also makes wheel removal easier for us lazy folk.
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Old 08-19-06, 05:40 PM   #8
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i think v-brakes will be fine
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Old 08-19-06, 05:44 PM   #9
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Discs are nessesary for any type of MTB riding these days...V Brakes are for kids bikes and hybrids. Thats all. Wether its XC or Hardcore Freeride Discs just have an all around better feel. More stopping power, more reliable, longer lasting pads and they look cool.. Now wether you need Hydraulic or mechanical is up to you. Personally i like hydraulic better because its been more reliable in my experiences. Bottom line, you'll be glad you did, the $180 is negligible compared to how much you'll enjoy the ride and the feeling of safety.
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Old 08-19-06, 06:12 PM   #10
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Discs are nessesary for any type of MTB riding these days...V Brakes are for kids bikes and hybrids. Thats all.
I strongly disagree. V's can be used for any part of MTBing except extreme freeride and Downhill.
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Old 08-19-06, 06:14 PM   #11
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V-brakes stopped just fine before discs. If you are not doing anything hard core, just stick with the V-Brakes. (HE'S A BEGINNER HERE PEOPLE...KNOCK IT OFF WITH ALL THE MARKETING HYPE THAT YOU SWALLOW SO EASILY)

This gentleman with discs is like buying a Monster Truck to drive on the gravel road to Grandma's house.

I ride aggressively. I have a bike with Avid Juicy's discs and a bike with Shimano V's. My local trails have a few sections that make me feel more "in control" with discs. None of my local trails require discs. I do the same loops on either bike. If I had to choose...I would say Hydraulic Discs 1000% over anything else, but I have been riding MTB off and on for 8-10 years and I'm a tech geek. My bike has to work perfectly for me all the time. If it doesn't, I take it apart. If it makes a noise that I don't like, I take it apart. If I'm bored and my wife is outta town, I take it apart. (if I'm not riding)

I agree that there is a coolness factor there, but once that euphoria has gone...you're still $180 out and not gaining anything b/c you're not an aggressive rider. No matter what anyone tells you, you will have to learn from your own trials. I will say that my hydraulic disc brakes have much more stopping power than my V-brakes. That point has been argued by morons since their inception.

When you have spent a year in the saddle and can appreciate the technological differences between a Gary Fisher Tassajara and say a Ziggurat...then you may want to think about an upgrade. As for now, buy something inexpensive that will introduce you to the sport of Mountain Biking in a comfortable, simple way. Don't pay attention to someone who say's V-Brakes aren't good enough for a beginner.

Enjoy it.

"Konajumper" said: "Discs just have an all around better feel. More stopping power, more reliable, longer lasting pads" I agree completely. I do not agree that they are a necessity for the type of riding that you are describing for yourself.
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Old 08-19-06, 06:36 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by NuclearParanoid
V-brakes have as much stopping power as discs. Think logically, it's easier to stop a spinning wheel grabbing it from a side than from the middle. V-brake never fails, forget about these baby stories such as "mud and rain are leading to v-brake failure", what a myth!

good luck with the purchase

Drum brakes were used on cars for years and years (even on high-end marques). Therefore, they must be better than discs, right?

V-brakes have their place, for sure, and are a far more capable alternative to discs than the car analogy of drums to discs, but the basic principles are the same. Discs *are* less likely to clog, the position of "grab" on the wheel doesn't matter for much, and the discs will generally have superior ventilation and cooling properties.

For a beginner (even an intermediate), I doubt that discs should necessarily sway a decision. Get the best bike that meets your proposed needs and feels the best to you in your budget. If that bike has V-brakes, then you get to join the V-brake camp. If it has discs, your now a disc-jockey.
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Old 08-19-06, 06:43 PM   #13
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What type of riding will you be doing? how bad is your bad knee? I think if your friend is an experienced mountain biker, and you plan on riding with him, you might end up on some pretty hairy trails pretty fast, and the benefits of discs might come in handy. Though if your bad knee prevents you from ever climbing really steep hills, doing any jumps or anything that requires you to absorb a lot of shock with your legs, I don't think you'd ever need discs. And while some people say V's are useless in adverse weather, my experience has been that wet V's don't operate as well, but if you just squeeze harder they seem to do fine. And if you get mud on V's they stop just fine, and you get an awesome grinding noise, this is your rim and pads wearing away fast and you need to clean your rims and pads, I just squirt them with my water bottle and wipe them with a cloth or kleenex and its fine until i get home. I have cheap tektro V's, and I've been on some trails where discs would have helped, i was going down some steeeep switchbacks and even with the brakes squeezed as hard as i could, i still rolled pretty fast, i think i'm too heavy to make them skid. I even stopped to adjust them to make the pull as short as possible. oh which brings me to my other opinion, i've never owned discs, but from what i've heard and seen, good quality disc setups don't really need more maintenance than V's, the cheaper ones need adjusted a lot, but so do cheap V's. High end V's and High end disc's both should behave pretty well. oh also, what kind of Discs come stock on the bike you're looking at? if they're cheap it might not be worth it. my bike came with disc ready fork/frame/wheels so if i ever want to upgrade to discs it would be just the caliper/disc/cable but i haven't really wanted to yet, except for on that 1 trail.
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Old 08-19-06, 06:50 PM   #14
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I apologise for my non-acceptance of VBrakes for MTB. Its kindof a reflex action to strongly recomend Discs. Im a Bike mechanic so whenever someone asks "What should i get?" I always say Discs. 1. Because i belive they are better and 2. Because they are a great selling point.

Im sure that for a begginner such as yourself the VBrakes will do just fine...But keep in mind. MTB is very addictive and soon you will be spending money so fast that $180 wont seem like anything!

Happy Trails and enjoy whatever you decide on!

-Phil
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Old 08-19-06, 09:26 PM   #15
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Again guys, thanks a lot for the insight and opinions. It's great to be able to tap into the combined knowledge of such experienced riders.

I'm kind of leaning toward the disc brakes now because

1) I probably will be pressed into some aggressive trails because of my friend
2) my knee isn't so bad to prevent that kind of riding
3) I think I'd feel a little safer knowing I had more stopping power
4) I noticed another difference between the Tassajara w/ Discs and the one without 'em - the pedals. The Tassajara D has Shimano M505 ATB clipless, while the Tassajara has "Alloy platform" pedals. I gotta assume the Shimano's are better, right? If so, that's makes the extra $180 seem a little more worth it.
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Old 08-20-06, 07:05 AM   #16
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4) I noticed another difference between the Tassajara w/ Discs and the one without 'em - the pedals. The Tassajara D has Shimano M505 ATB clipless, while the Tassajara has "Alloy platform" pedals. I gotta assume the Shimano's are better, right? If so, that's makes the extra $180 seem a little more worth it.
If you go with clipless pedals, you'll be needing to buy new shoes. Just make sure you factor that in to the cost.

Clipless are great, but take some time to get used to.
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Old 08-20-06, 10:42 AM   #17
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So you can't ride clipless pedals with regular shoes?
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Old 08-20-06, 11:29 AM   #18
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Well you can ride...You just cant clip in.
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Old 08-20-06, 11:45 AM   #19
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It's pretty difficult to negotiate clipless pedals with no cleats unless they're clipless platform pedals like the clipless DH pedals.

There's just not much there to step on.
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Old 08-21-06, 09:24 AM   #20
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I think it's a common error for a beginner to fall into; spending money on expensive cool toys for your bike that ARE useful for a serious mountain biker but you won't appreciate for a long time. If I were you, I'd start out with just normal V-brakes.
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Old 08-21-06, 09:54 AM   #21
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I just bought the Tassajara disk a few months ago. What an awesome bike!! My opinion is to get the disk. You may not care right now, but hitting the trails with your buddy may become your newest addiction, as it has with myself. The stopping power can't be compared with traditional v-brakes. Also, you get the nice pedals, which at the time, I couldn't afford shoes so I bought a cheap pair of platform pedals. Of course the clipless are back on and so far I've been able to bail out of them before flopping over.

Good luck with your decision!
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Old 08-21-06, 10:46 AM   #22
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Here's my thoughts. If you don't think you need discs, then stick with the vee's. Vee's provide plenty of stopping power and are rediculously easy to adjust/maintain.

If you want discs, but aren't sure you want to spend the money. Spend the money! It'll be cheaper to buy them with the bike than aftermarket.

Many of us that have discs, don't NEED discs. We just WANT them.

From what you've described as your riding style you don't NEED them either.

I would however make sure that whatever brand bike you end up buying either Gary Fisher or Specialized or whatever, make sure the wheels come with Disc-ready hubs. I don't know if GF is doing this now or not. I think ALL manufacturer's should. If not, then it'll cost you BIG dollars to upgrade later on as you would need new wheels, AND brakes. If the wheels have disc hubs, then all you need are the brakes.
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Old 08-22-06, 10:07 PM   #23
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Once you'll learn breaking skills with v-brakes, you will be able to totally appreciate disc brakes.
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