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  1. #1
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    Around $400 Hardtail

    looking to get back into mountain biking, ive had a raliegh m-55 for several years and it treated me really well. i have hit the trail in several years. i really enjoy uphill and downhill rides, and plain trail rides. I like hitting some small jumps. I can spend around $400. I would like a nice front suspension bike, with good components, that will hold up. I hear that disc brakes might want to be avoided because they are not worth it for this price range and downplay the quality of the rest of the bike. So if this is true, i suppose v-brakes will be fine. I do not know much about what derailers or shifters are good or what kind of fork i should look for.... I went and looked at a trek 4300 and the gary fisher opie, both seemed nice, but i dont really know what i am looking at. I also saw the ibex 450 online which looks pretty nice. Are one of these bikes for me, or is there one out there i am missing that will work for me. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member FreeRidin''s Avatar
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    The Trek 4300 would be a good choice, but also look at the Specialized Hardrock or maybe even the Rockhopper.
    Quote Originally Posted by Killer B
    The way I ride requires the most advanced, toughest wheelset's available.

    Chicago Freeride

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeRidin'
    The Trek 4300 would be a good choice, but also look at the Specialized Hardrock or maybe even the Rockhopper.
    Trek 4300 +1
    '07 Trek 4300

  4. #4
    rider of the east sherpaPeak's Avatar
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    dont have any personal experience, but the Diamondback response sport and comp looks good. and at the end of the season, they may be in your price range. Also, Iron Horse worriers and GT Avalanche series (2.0 and 1.0) are pretty good bikes at this price range. I hate the new hardrock with passion, they are good for nothing. and the boxy and heavy frame looks disgusting.
    "....You are never lost, if you dont care where you are...."

  5. #5
    Senior Member FreeRidin''s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sherpaPeak
    dont have any personal experience, but the Diamondback response sport and comp looks good. and at the end of the season, they may be in your price range. Also, Iron Horse worriers and GT Avalanche series (2.0 and 1.0) are pretty good bikes at this price range. I hate the new hardrock with passion, they are good for nothing. and the boxy and heavy frame looks disgusting.
    I completely disagree! I would stay far away from Diamondback, GT, and the low end Iron horse bikes. And sorry to break it to you but the new hardrock hasent really changed for about 4 years now.
    The Hardrock IS the heaviest of the 3 frames I listed but is also by far the strongest, but I can't imagin that the hardrock is any heavier then the Diamondback response, Iron Horse worrier or the Gt Avalanche.
    Quote Originally Posted by Killer B
    The way I ride requires the most advanced, toughest wheelset's available.

    Chicago Freeride

  6. #6
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    Treks/Gary Fishers rock. Kona Fire Mountain or Lana'i are good as well, though the MRSP on the Fire Mountain is $499.

    Best thing to do... Narrow down your choice of bikes, test ride them, then pick one.

  7. #7
    rider of the east sherpaPeak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeRidin'
    I completely disagree! I would stay far away from Diamondback, GT, and the low end Iron horse bikes. And sorry to break it to you but the new hardrock hasent really changed for about 4 years now.
    The Hardrock IS the heaviest of the 3 frames I listed but is also by far the strongest, but I can't imagin that the hardrock is any heavier then the Diamondback response, Iron Horse worrier or the Gt Avalanche.

    let me guess...you ride a hardrock!!!

    whats wrong with diamondback, GT or Ironhorse. at the price level, they are decent bikes. there is not much difference between say GT avalanche 2.0, Iron Horse Worrior Sport, or Diamontback Response Sport and Specialized Hardrock. except from the fact that Hardrock owners think that it is absolutely the best answer to every bike question, at least thats my experience for last few years.

    Also, your comments explains your relative newness in mountain biking (at least in terms of time), cause the change that Hardrock went through during 2002-2003 model years are relatively new change to me. boy, I am feeling old at 27.

    I would argue that amongst the bunch we have discussed, GT avalanche 2.0 and Iron Horse worrior are a better choice in my opinion, specially if the intended use is XC or trail riding.
    "....You are never lost, if you dont care where you are...."

  8. #8
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    Not all low end Iron Horses are that bad. This one is actually quite decent for $340
    http://www.rscycle.com/s.nl/it.A/id....=7&category=56 ...However, if you're just getting into the sport you probably don't want to buy a bike you can't ride first. Good luck!

  9. #9
    Senior Member FreeRidin''s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sherpaPeak
    let me guess...you ride a hardrock!!!
    Haha ya I use to

    Quote Originally Posted by sherpaPeak
    whats wrong with diamondback, GT or Ironhorse. at the price level, they are decent bikes. there is not much difference between say GT avalanche 2.0, Iron Horse Worrior Sport, or Diamontback Response Sport and Specialized Hardrock. except from the fact that Hardrock owners think that it is absolutely the best answer to every bike question, at least thats my experience for last few years.
    True the bikes are somewhat similar. I also never recommend these brands because they are often sold through Performance Bikes, and I will do what ever it takes NOT to support the Performance store that is near me. I have had many bad experiences with Performance such as swapping out/ stealing parts of my bikes that are in perfect working condition and then charging me for them.

    Quote Originally Posted by sherpaPeak
    Also, your comments explains your relative newness in mountain biking (at least in terms of time), cause the change that Hardrock went through during 2002-2003 model years are relatively new change to me. boy, I am feeling old at 27.
    Well i guess it depends what your definition to "new" is, mine is about 2 years. And like I said the frame hasent changed in about 4 years, meaning the change occured 02-03

    Quote Originally Posted by sherpaPeak
    I would argue that amongst the bunch we have discussed, GT avalanche 2.0 and Iron Horse worrior are a better choice in my opinion, specially if the intended use is XC or trail riding.
    If the buyer knows for sure that he will only be doing XC and trail riding than sure give those a try, but since he is just getting back into biking I would suggest the HR because they are sooo versital.

    Sportnmud: I suggest you at least try all the bikes listed and see what fits YOU the best!
    Quote Originally Posted by Killer B
    The way I ride requires the most advanced, toughest wheelset's available.

    Chicago Freeride

  10. #10
    Member cyberace's Avatar
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    I've put my Trek 4500 through hell and it loves it! I can only assume the 4300 frame is durable as well. Of course, it's JMHO.

  11. #11
    unofficial roadie DirtPedalerB's Avatar
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    The cheap mech discs are not bad.. avid, hayes or shimanos should do just as good or better than any v brake.

    I like the gadget factor.

  12. #12
    Old School Rad mtnbiker66's Avatar
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    Awsome....all those bikes rock hard!
    Like a circus monkey on a stolen Harley......

  13. #13
    Hey guyz? Guyz? Wait up!! Siu Blue Wind's Avatar
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    ^^^^Clever way of suggesting a Specialized....
    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha
    We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.
    Quote Originally Posted by making View Post
    Please dont outsmart the censor. That is a very expensive censor and every time one of you guys outsmart it it makes someone at the home office feel bad. We dont wanna do that. So dont cleverly disguise bad words.

  14. #14
    Old School Rad mtnbiker66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind
    ^^^^Clever way of suggesting a Specialized....
    No,just my generic reply to "what bike" post. What he really needs to do is go out and buy a Nomad.
    Like a circus monkey on a stolen Harley......

  15. #15
    Hey guyz? Guyz? Wait up!! Siu Blue Wind's Avatar
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    Oh. I thought you were in a sly way saying (hardrock)
    Quote Originally Posted by Buddha
    We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.
    Quote Originally Posted by making View Post
    Please dont outsmart the censor. That is a very expensive censor and every time one of you guys outsmart it it makes someone at the home office feel bad. We dont wanna do that. So dont cleverly disguise bad words.

  16. #16
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    since i posted, i came across the hardrock sport and it seems to be a pretty good deal. Im going to go test ride the hardrock and the trek 4300 and see what i think. Is there any big difference between the 2 quality wise. I read something about the hardrock being very versatile and more receptive to upgrades than many other bikes in this price range. Is that true? I have yet to understand the new style of shifters, or atleast it is new to me. I used to have the twist kind that were built onto the handle grips, kind of like a motorcycle throttle. I liked those. all i see now is the kind with two levers. have i been missing out on something or are they just as effective? Thanks for all of your responses.

  17. #17
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    I hate the Hardrock. I rode 3 from two different dealers, and they were all the same: shifting was poor, the chain slap drove me crazy, and they felt sluggish.

    I bought the 4300, and it's fantastic. No chain slap, super smooth shifting, no creaks or clanks, and it rides very nimbly for me. Not to mention I liked the paint job better as well. I got the Yellow/Charcoal gray, and really like it.

  18. #18
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Along with the other good choices named above, the Gary Fisher Wahoo or Marlin (06 closeout deals should put it right around $400) should be considered.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  19. #19
    thelonious bewg10's Avatar
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    Try a Haro V4.

  20. #20
    rider of the east sherpaPeak's Avatar
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    I like GF Marlin, if you can get it at a sale price and within your budget.

    there are a few things we have to focus on before making positive and negative remarks about this level of bikes.....all the bikes mentioned above including Hardrock and Trek 4300...now, I am not talking about the bikes that are made in USA like cannondale or rocky mountain...

    - all the bike frames are made in south east asia (similar labor cost, expertise, technology, etc.)
    - all are made of aluminum alloy (6000 series or 7000 series)
    - all uses pretty similar geometry (at least it is getting more homogeneous) 70 or 71 degree head tube and 73 degree seat tube. some other specific measurements may be a little different.

    upto this point cost of a bike from any of the above manufacturer is very close, if not equal. now, there are few factors that drives up the cost and makes each product different:

    - marketing, advertisements, promotion, sponsorship etc.
    - components and accessories (fork, cranks, shifter, derailleur, wheels, etc.)

    so, for the sake of argument, at $400 price level a hardrock is not a better bike than a similarly equipped bike from any of the other brands mentioned above. i would even argue that a smaller or less known brand like iron horse would give you a better value at the same price level than hardrock. Cause, iron horse would want to undercut the price to get a bigger market share.

    so, if you are buying a $400 bike, following are the steps I would recommend:

    - go to a local or regional bike shop and try as many bikes as you can. I have nothing against performance bikes. if they can give you the best value for what you want and assist you with a proper fitting and maintenance, why not.
    - before going to the bike shop figure out what you really want, you can even list down in a paper. and make your priority. it could be like : quality frame, decent fork, good crankset, quality of the drivetrain (you can decide if you dont want to go anything less than Acera. and you also can decide if you NEED the XT drive train for your rides around the park).
    - keep in mind that - you know yourself the best. cause, the moment you walk into a store you will be blown away by the buzz words and hypes that surrounds the mountain biking industry. LX, XT, XTR, marzocchi, 888, this rocks, that sucks.....and almost all the bike shop representative will pretend that you are missing out on something really amazing, if you dont buy the one they have recommended (which may be true, but often not. the ones they usually recommend are the one that they are promoting at this point or the bike that individual like to own). So, keep your focus on your needs and budget. nevertheless, bikeshops are often helpful in figuring out your sizing and fitting. and its in you best interest to stick to your basic needs and take any recommendation with careful scrutiny.

    finally, buy the bike that fits you and you like. dont buy the bike that just looks cool. cause looking cool does not come first, enjoying mountain biking is often the most important. If I look cool enjoying the sport, it’s a bonus....at least for many of us.

    sorry for a long lecture.... i am finally getting old.
    Last edited by sherpaPeak; 10-18-06 at 08:15 AM.
    "....You are never lost, if you dont care where you are...."

  21. #21
    Commited Suicide WannaGetGood's Avatar
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    Hardrock.

  22. #22
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    +1 for Trek 4300. It is holding surprisingly well under my 285 lb ewight

  23. #23
    unofficial roadie DirtPedalerB's Avatar
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    I'd opt for the trek 4300 over the hardrock if your doing mainly XC. It's lighter.

  24. #24
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    Giant Yukon goes for 469-500ish and is nice for the price.

    If you don't mind spending a bit more Haro V4 = Hayes brakes/full deore for 560.

  25. #25
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    I bought a Diamondback last January and have put it through the paces this year. I'm 215 Lbs and push this bike. Although I wasn't very knowledgable about bikes when I bought it, I have since found out that I got a great deal. For $400 (on sale, list was $600), I got Hayes discs, Deore front and rear, and great Alex Rims/Deore Hubs that have withstood much abuse (trued once). It's a bit heavy (@29 Lbs) but who cares, I lost 20 Lbs since I started riding it. Almost all my riding is intermediate/difficult singletrack.

    Diamondback's current lineup still has the higher level components than other bikes in a similar price range.

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