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  1. #1
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    FS or Hard Tail??? What to get...

    Hi,
    I am looking into buying a new bike. The main use for the bike will be cross-country, so I guess I need an all-mountain bike. Capable of climbing and with good control when going downhill.
    I have been mountain biking for a some years, but I never had a full suspension, and until recently, not even a front suspension. This was never a problem in terms of getting where I wanted to go. Of course, sometimes I would be left behind by my friends.
    I am not looking for a high-end racing bike. But something good for a enthusiast. I might race some day,but for fun. Not looking for the top performance bike.
    If I get a full without rear lock-out, will I have poroblems when going flat or climbing? Is the aditional weight worthy?
    Are the FSs mostly for downhill use?
    Any model you would suggest in the $500 - 700 range?
    I appreciate your help.
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Chopped Liver Dannihilator's Avatar
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    For that range, get a hardtail.
    Strike like an eagle and sacrifice the dove.
    Words and Stuff.

  3. #3
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Definately a HT...duallies in that range have poor components, cheap frames that break easily and weight more than some cars. That price will get you a SWEET ht.

  4. #4
    The Zon Is On! Middi-zon's Avatar
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    If you can find one, a 2002 Giant Rainier would difinatly be the way to go. The '03s are good but more expensive and don't look as cool. The rainer is set up perfect for beating your friends in rides, and with some minor upgrades (tires, wheels, pedals, crank) is a more than worthy racer. Most of the giant shops might still have some, and it helps if your real big or real small, because there wont be many meduims left. Good Luck!

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  5. #5
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    The Specialized Rockhopper Hardtails are in that range as well Good component spec too.

  6. #6
    I ride a REAL Schwinn!
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    I'm in agreement with the last two posts regarding bike choices. I've personally more experience and feedback from other people on the Rainier, but Specialized's have a great reputation as well.

    To answer your question regarding rear suspension without a full lockout: There are full suspension bikes on the market that are very efficient under pedaling without lockout on either end. Some that come to mind are the Giant NRS lineup, the specialized FSR and Epic lines, along with tons of other designs out there. There are many bikes that pedal terribly without some kind of way to lockout or limit the travel of the fork, and most of them that are designed for XC type riding fall into the price range you listed. The Jamis Dakar lineup has a bike under a $1000 that has been getting some more press lately, but you would be better off with a hardtail. FS's are not only for downhill. Nearly every bicycle company produces multiple models/levels of FS bike for genereal XC riding, racing, freeriding, and trail-bike oriented riding. Not all FS bikes will greatly increase the weight over a normal hardtail, but again, these models are well out of your price range for the most part. You can get a lot of bike (hardtail) for $700 now - Nice suspension, good frame, and decent parts to begin with. Go with the hardtail. Some brands to look at from my research would be Giant(I have found them to be the best in terms of value for your money in most cases - though I would avoid the cheaper FS bikes they offer), Specialized, Trek, and maybe Gary Fisher. You may find other brands of interest. You can look up the bikes you are interested in on www.mtbr.com . Good luck in your search!

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  7. #7
    member Yo MikeOK's Avatar
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    There's nothing at all wrong with a HT, in fact I ride with some real hard core riders who prefer them, one of these guys even sold his high end duallie for a HT and loves it. For your money range you can get a good one. The only thing I can add to what has already been said is to shy away from aluminum on a HT. I had one, and aluminum is too rigid for anything less than a duallie. Do some searches on some brands and come back and ask more questions. Ride on...

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    I sold my Trek Fuel 90 after less than one season as it was just TOO heavy. Am most happy to be back on a hardtail. A MUCH more efficient package. For $700 you can get a decent HT with a decent component/wheel mix. For $700 you will get a crap FS bike with nothing good about it. Won't even have a frameset worth upgrading later with better components.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Jim311's Avatar
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    Yeah, I say stick with a hardtail. As your skills and style progress you might decide to get a full suspension machine, but for the type of riding you do a hardtail should be fine. I'm hitting drops up to 6 feet on mind onto flat pavement and really don't see any problem with it... and I doubt you'll be going much bigger than that. It sprints like hell too. For 700 bucks you could probably even get a bike with disc brakes on it, and a decent set of components as well. But for 700 bucks you couldn't get much of a full suspension bike. A friend of mine has a Giant Ranier... pretty nice bike actually...
    My money pits:

    Cannondale Jekyll 500 with Avid Mechs and Sun DS2 rims with XT disc hubs.

    Cannondale F900 with SRAM XO shifters/derailler, Mavic X3.1 tubeless wheels, Avid Mechs, Race Face Next LP cranks, Time ATAC pedals, SRAM levers.

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    Definetely get the hardtail. I just got a new Specialized HT and I love it. The aluminum is a little more harsh than my last steel bike but it is still very comfortable. If I had 700 I would buy an 03' Specialized Rockhopper for $500 and then with the extra $200 buy a nicer fork or buy some new bicycling equipment (if some of your stuff is wearing out or if you have been out of MTB for a while there can be a lot of things that you may want to buy.) Good luck.

    Matt

  11. #11
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    my suggestion would be a rockhopper. for all the reasons listed above i say HT is the way to go.
    i won't deny it i'm a straight ridah

  12. #12
    Part of the furniture math2p14's Avatar
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    another rockhopping ...eeeh sorry rockhopper user to add to this.
    Where the skid marks stop...the tree begins....:D:D:D:D:D

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    Why are people saying that the Alu frame is not good. I am afraid the steel one might get rusty cuase I live close to the beach.
    Thanks for all the help....

  14. #14
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Alum is typically harder and very stiff. This can cause a lot of pain especially if you freeride. Steel is more suptle and flexible allowing for a better ride. I have an alum ht and don't mind it but my next ht will be steel I am 100% sure of that.

    As for rust...just like a car. Take care of the frame and all will be good.

  15. #15
    Chopped Liver Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Originally posted by skuba
    Why are people saying that the Alu frame is not good. I am afraid the steel one might get rusty cuase I live close to the beach.
    Thanks for all the help....
    Actually, you'd be better off with a steel bike

    Salt does a job on aluminum frames.
    Strike like an eagle and sacrifice the dove.
    Words and Stuff.

  16. #16
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Originally posted by danka24
    Actually, you'd be better off with a steel bike

    Salt does a job on aluminum frames.
    Really...what does it do. I didn't actually know there was a chemical reation between salt and alum...oh wait yes I did...cars ... arg...of course.

  17. #17
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    to tell you guys the truth i really don't notice much of a difference going between my cromoly hardtail and my al one. course, i've rode my cromo one for the last 6 years and i think i only took my al ht out once for a test ride. but when i hopped on my friend's trek 4500 which is aluminum, i still don't notice a difference. *shrug*??
    i won't deny it i'm a straight ridah

  18. #18
    DiL
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    Originally posted by Maelstrom
    Alum is typically harder and very stiff. This can cause a lot of pain especially if you freeride. Steel is more suptle and flexible allowing for a better ride. I have an alum ht and don't mind it but my next ht will be steel I am 100% sure of that.

    As for rust...just like a car. Take care of the frame and all will be good.
    I'm a die hard chromoly fan, but its practically impossible to find these days. All the 'big players' are making alu frames these days. Specialized... Giant... Kona :\ Makes me wish I hadn't obliterated my norco back in the day.
    Give a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a night. Light a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

  19. #19
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Dil,

    There are many many chromoly frame builders making high quality frames for reasonable. You just have to billing to buy outside the box (specialized, giant, kona (they have a steel frame btw))

    Norco is another big name making steel. They are out there they are just a slacker geometry and usually freeride ht's.

  20. #20
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    Theres always the Kona Explosif.

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    But I believe that Alu resists more than steel. Right?

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    By Resists I mean against getting rusty...

  23. #23
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Originally posted by skuba
    By Resists I mean against getting rusty...
    Not if you take care of it. Patch any chips and the bike will be fine for a long time. In ten years IF there is any rust simply strip and repaint

  24. #24
    member Yo MikeOK's Avatar
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    The newer al frames that are custom butted are a huge improvement over the older harsh riding al frames. I had one of the early Trek al ht's and it would absolutely beat you to death. Good old chromo is still hard to beat.

  25. #25
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    Can't beat steel for the ride. My Scapin MTB is Columbus Nemo and it was a HUGE improvement over the Trek aluminum I was riding. Jamis and Bianchi are both still offering nice steel MTBs. Think Rocky Mountain (?) is also. You will also do well on eBay for $700. If you want to build you own there is a VERY nice Scapin OTO frame on eBay. It is also Columbus Nemo, but a couple of years newer than my Blato. Or buy mine for $300 and I'll spring for the OTO.

    As far as rust goes, do the FrameSaver thing. Is a spray can of anti-rust preservative that you spritz inside your frame. Remove the seat post and treat. Works really well. My '87 Paramount is rust-free and I live about 200 yards from the bay and about 1 mile from the ocean. Just touch up the paint chips as you find them and you will be OK.

    Aluminum reacts with salt to form aluminum-chloride compounds. It is simply aluminum's way of rusting. I served aboard a new destroyer during my Navy career and it was a real problem. Any exposed areas became severly corroded very quickly. Required constant chipping and painting to keep things together.
    And aluminum rides so harshly.

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