NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS!
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: From Sarasota, FL sitting in front of a computer spewing random thoughts!
Bikes: Intense Uzzi SL, Masi Speciale, Trek 3700 Nashbar Single Speed, Old Cilo Road frame
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One of the biggest differences between entry level and mid to upper level components is Stiffness and Adjustability.
For example, after riding a bike with an upper end fork with a 20mm thru axle and lots of setting, if you get on an entry level fork, you'll notice how wobbly the front end is. When standing and hammering, you'll look down and see the front wheel moving side to side and wonder, "Wow, the better fork didn't do that!"
After you've used a bike with stiff cranks, the entry level cranks flex. You never really thought they did until you ride a bike where they don't.
Upper end shifters will shift instantly with no hesistation (if adjusted correctly) and still be smooth. Lower end shifters (even when adjusted perfectly) will have a slight hesitation, or the shift is sloppy and you have to really push the shifter to make it go.
There are so many little nuances that as a novice rider you might not even be able to recognize when you ride an upper end bike. Many of these nuances are learned over time, sometimes years of riding. And most likely, you aren't even aware of the learning process.
One day, however, you ride a friends bike that is entry level and go "WOW!" My bike is sooooooo much smoother than this!
I don't think that everyone / anyone should immediately jump to an upper end bike. There are so many reasons that an entry or mid level bike is important to start with. Plus, as a beginner,you are going to go through parts. Until you learn how to land smoothly from a jump or body steer your bike, you will bash things with your wheels. When your learning how to ride fast, you WILL clip that branch or tree and go down. Until you learn how to do certain things, your bike is going to take the brunt of your abuse. A heavier, beefier bike is better suited to hold up than an expensive lightweight (read fragile) XC race bike.
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
"Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger