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  1. #1
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    buying a new bike - marin vs. kona

    A newbie is asking for advice again So I'm a beginner with bikes but I'm very intrested in them and of course riding in various conditions. I have learned a lot of bikes in the last few weeks thanks to the bike brochures and internet.

    Now I'm intrested in buying a new bike. I have a few options that I'm interested in. I would be very pleased if you could help me with these few questions.

    I would use the bike mostly on the road but also on not so smooth surfaces like gravel roads, potholes etc. I'm not sure but I might be intrested in the off-road section too in the future. Now I'm planning to use the bike also for the daily transportation. The main point to me is that bike should be light-weigth and have a reliable gearing. My budget is about 800-950 .

    In the first place I was considering Kona Nunu. specs But then I thought do I really need a hardtail because most of the use would be the road type. And there are these mechanical Shimano BR-M475 cable disc brakes that I'm not sure of, do I really need them at this point? And Shimano isn't considered the most reliable on those disc brakes if I have understood right.

    Now I have found Marin Novato . It has double butted 7005 alloy frame like Nunu and Shimano Deore as gearing system. Now I would like to know if anyone has this Marin Novato? How has it been?

    Then I would be intrested if someone knows is there a possibility to change discs brakes to this Novato frame and discs? If I consider off-road in the near future could someone tell me also is it hard to change the bike into a hardtail model by chancing the fork.

    I would be very delighted if you would answer at least some of my questions. Thanks a lot already in advance.

    -Anna-

  2. #2
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    Hey Anna, first of all I lived in Finland for a year as an exchange student in Ilmajoki very near to Ilmajoki. I also wanted to say that I love the Kona that I have. I have owned it for 7 years and it has held up well to lots of riding. I believe you should be able to switch out forks if the head angle of the bike is compatible for shocks, you would have to ask your dealer since I am no expert. I hope this has been somewhat helpfull. Joel

  3. #3
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forums Anna.

    From your description of riding style and experience, any entry level hardtail (front suspension only) will work fine. The biggest difference in ANY new hardtail in this range is geometry of the frame. Each manufacturer will build their bikes slightly different, so test riding as many different brands is critical.

    As far as the disc brakes, No, you don't need them, but if you think you'll eventually WANT some, it makes economical sense to buy them already included with your bike. It'll cost significantly more as an add-on accessory!

    Same thing with the forks. If you do buy a Fully Rigid bike, make sure the steerer tube is 1-1/8" and is a THREADLESS type, vs. a threaded with a quill stem.

    If you're considering doing any bit of off-road riding, a suspension fork will be a wise thing to get. Discs are not a necessity, but a luxury!

    Good Luck
    L8R
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    First I would like to thank you very much for the comments so far.

    cboyracer So you have been here in Finland, what a cool choice! How was the year in Pohjanmaa? I live in the southern but I have some friends there too.

    a2psyklnut I have compared the geometry of these two and they're almost the same. I have tested the Kona but not the Marin. But there can't be no significant difference. I think the biggest difference is the weight. The Kona has more weight because of the suspension fork. I must ask the dealer about the steerer type of the Marin. I'm not sure are the extra parts worth paying more (about 150 ) at this point.

    But what it comes to the suspension fork I wonder how does it work on the road especially on the uphill parts? I have heard that they tend to move the handlebar up and down :confused:

    I must consider the need of those mechanical discs brakes If I end up with the Kona I noticed that I must change the tyres, they're too off-road. And it costs again..

    I would still be intrested if anyone has any experience of the Marin "Urban" bikes, like Bear Valley, Muirwoods or Mill Valley.

    Thanks a lot again for your help.

  5. #5
    Apot. sshock4's Avatar
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    The Marin is 1 1/8 threadless, it would be easy enough to replace the rigid fork with suspension. Because of this, and that you will be on the road mostly for a while i would say go with the Marin. Having suspension will cause the bike to bob when you pedal, this reduces efficency.
    surly1x1

  6. #6
    Chi
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    I agree with a2psyklnut and his bit about the discs. Also, the Marin has the control cables going down the downtube, which if you were to take it to the dirt, they can get loaded and you might lose some smoothness in shifting/braking. Just another thing to think about. I do like the tube designs that Marin has tho, coz it's a little different.

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    Thanks again for your help

    It isn't easy to make a decision. I was beginning to think that the fully rigid one was for me but..

    Chi It was a good point that you said that in the Marin the cables are going down with the downtube. I didn't notice it earlier! Harmfully it's one of the things that I do not want because of the possible disfunction.

    Have you any other suggestions on bikes that would have a good frame and about Shimano Deore gearing? The bike should have a possibility to replace the fork. And if the bike would be disc-ready too it would be perfect

  8. #8
    Chi
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    I've always been told that the Giant Iguana makes for a really good starter platform to build from. It has disc brackets for upgradeability, or you can get the disc version, whichever. I've also been looking into Treks but I don't like any of their color schemes except for the 4500. Both of these brands have cables going through the top tube.

    In any case, another thing you should look at is how it feels for YOU. I just won a Trek 7000 bid on ebay (used) because I like how the top tube is longer than the lower level Trek bikes. It's also an extremely lightweight bike. If the top tube is longer, you will feel a little more aerodynamic (as much as you can from an MTB ) than the regular "comfort" or "recreational" style bikes. Unfortunately, this feature is only available on high-end frames.

    I won't say all, but most new bikes have the capability of swapping the fork out w/ no probs. I recommend at least a front suspension fork if you will be riding hard out on the trails in the near future.

  9. #9
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    I have a Kona Caldera.

    It's a tank (heavy) but has a really nice feel. I'm very happy with it and upgrading it.


    BTW I ride onroad/off road, want a road bike but I dont have one yet nad use this with a semi-slick rear all year round (fun fun fun in the mud now!)

    The NUNU is a very nice bike.

    I tried to get my friend to get one, but he is to cheap and went with a Shwinn instead ;/


    Anyway.

    I have no experience with Marin but I will stand behind Kona in a heart beat. Very happy customer.

    Chad

  10. #10
    Member madsnake's Avatar
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    Check out the 03 Marin Nail Trail, good componetry, disc brakes and around $900. Have always ridden Marin so a mite biased but they build good bikes.
    Only one person sets your limits. Follow your dreams

  11. #11
    www.titusti.com montlake_mtbkr's Avatar
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    disc brakes are not necessary for off-road, they're a luxury. I ride extremely steep hills with v-brakes. I like the kona, but they generally run on the more expensive end. I don't know anything about Marin. Check into the Giant Iguana and also the Trek 4900 WSD. Both of these are fine quality bikes and less $$ than the Kona.

  12. #12
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    I posted in another thread that my girlfriend rode the trek WSD and wasn't comfortable on it.

    She road the Kona Blast and it was great and went for it (the NUNU is a model up I believe)

    Personally I think you would be fine with a Kona (maybe even a lower end one then the nunu ie; blast I think its about 200$ cheaper because it doesn't have disc brakes) and use the extra $ to get your self some slicks if your riding on the road.


    Basically you should get whatever is comfortable.


    Marin and Kona are both good to my understanding (no personal exp. with marin) and I wouldn't advise giant as they are cheapola frames that have bad welds FROM WHAT I HAVE SEEN (dont flame that I am stating what I have had exp with) and as for the Treks...nothing wrong with them IMHO but again your going to have to see whats comfrotable for you


    CK

  13. #13
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Originally posted by montlake_mtbkr
    disc brakes are not necessary for off-road, they're a luxury. I ride extremely steep hills with v-brakes. I like the kona, but they generally run on the more expensive end. I don't know anything about Marin. Check into the Giant Iguana and also the Trek 4900 WSD. Both of these are fine quality bikes and less $$ than the Kona.
    Disc brakes aren't a luxury. They are required in different conditions especially wet. If I take my gfs bike for a spin her brakes don't work in the rain in comparison to my discs, I won't even get into issues with fading on dh courses. I have to agree you are right in general but a broad statement like that is very wrong.

  14. #14
    Eleventy Billion Posts schnell's Avatar
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    I've been riding XT and XTR V's with ceramic wheels for about 5 years now with zero problems.

    Unless you ride strictly downhill or lots of under water riding, I have a hard time seeing how anyone would *need* disk brakes.

    I would use the bike mostly on the road but also on not so smooth surfaces like gravel roads, potholes etc. I'm not sure but I might be intrested in the off-road section too in the future. Now I'm planning to use the bike also for the daily transportation. The main point to me is that bike should be light-weigth and have a reliable gearing.
    You're better off with V's. You'll save weight on the brakes and wheelset and stop just fine.
    There are two kinds of people in this world I can't stand. People that are
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  15. #15
    www.titusti.com montlake_mtbkr's Avatar
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    Disc brakes aren't a luxury. They are required in different conditions especially wet.
    Um...well that's flat out false unless "different conditions"=downhill bomber
    I ride in rain or otherwise wet and muddy conditions 99% of the time (excluding august to october) with very little to complain about the v's. But I've never had discs so maybe I don't know what I'm missing.

  16. #16
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Oh bummer...excuse me for enjoying dh. But in all seriousness I commuted for years and always hated the way v-brakes faded in the rain and mud. Now that I live out here it is constant rain and mud. V's do work but *I* live on a mountain so my xc involves dh (long steep downhill sections), uphill and a lot of technical terrain. This doesn't even include riding on Whistler mountain or on the shore. I have taken my gf's bike out and saw a huge difference under the right conditions. The brakes take an extra split second to clean off and stop you. Disc brakes don't. I don't care if you don't use them but you have no right to call them a luxury when you haven't even bothered to own them and ride them with any consistency. Maybe you riding style isn't aggresive enough or steep enough but don't call them a luxury. That statement is flat out false.

  17. #17
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    madsnake The Marin Nail Trail costs here 1315!!! I must tell you that I can't afford it at the moment. AND then I must tell you some Kona prices here: Nunu is 949 and Blast 765

    montlake_mtbkr I have thought about the Trek 4900 WSD too, but I have heard that Marzocchi EXR in the Kona would be better than the Rockshox Judy C in the Trek. Is it true that the elastomer of the Rockshox doesn't work properly if the temperature outside is about 0-10 C? ( 30-50 F, I guess :confused: )

    Now I think that the Kona would the best for me. I was just wondering that could anyone tell me about the fork Marzocchi EXR comp. Can I lock the suspension off in it? It might be the answer to my problems.

    And I'm not going to go for DH riding, that's for sure!! But thanks for the tips anyway. I think that now I'll be able to make a decision on the brakes. The only difference between the Nunu and the Blast are the brakes. chad You're right that I would save up money for the slicks if I end up with the Blast....

  18. #18
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    I dont believe you can lock out the shock on the kona...

    Honestly I dont think you should be to worried about not being able to lock out the shock on the front. Unless your up over the handle bars it wont bob much. And basically if you set it really soft when your going over side walk bumps and small bumps in the road you'll be happy you have it.

    I stick with my recommendation Kona Blast + Slicks = happy anna



  19. #19
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Originally posted by anna
    Now I think that the Kona would the best for me. I was just wondering that could anyone tell me about the fork Marzocchi EXR comp. Can I lock the suspension off in it? It might be the answer to my problems.
    The exr is a basic xc fork. It is good for aggressive xc. Make sure you get the springs that match your weight. There is no lockout or rebound adjust on it. It is already pretty stiff for regular riding (in comparrison to other Marzocchis)

  20. #20
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    Originally posted by anna
    But what it comes to the suspension fork I wonder how does it work on the road especially on the uphill parts? I have heard that they tend to move the handlebar up and down :confused:

    I must consider the need of those mechanical discs brakes If I end up with the Kona I noticed that I must change the tyres, they're too off-road. And it costs again..

    Hi Anna,
    Welcome to the bike forums.
    I just want to preface my response to your questions by saying that I am certainly not as experienced as some of the other people in this forum but I do have a mountain bike with both disk brakes and front suspension and use it on the road most of the time now but will be taking it off road in the next week.

    First you will not notice that much up and down motion when cycling on the road and up hillls with front suspension. I certainly don't and I have mine set at the softest possible level. They are great to have over rough stuff on the road - you don't feel all the jolts and rattles that a bike without suspension has - much more comfortable and fun to ride.

    As for the disk brakes - if you are doing mostly road cycling, you probably don't need them but again, they are nice to have - especially for off-road cycling where mud and stuff can gunk up rim brakes and make them less effective.

    If they are on the bike already, don't sweat it. If not, most people find good v brakes just as good so don't base your decision just on this point.

    This is the first bike I have ever had with disk brakes and I REALLY like them. They are very powerful/strong and don't require much pressure at all to stop you dead in your tracks.
    I do mostly road cycling now but do plan to try some North Shore off-road cycling so will probably notice the difference more there.

    Good luck with your decision and finding the right bike.

    Justen (female)

  21. #21
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    Just to clarify my point regarding discs. I don't want to offend Mael, for 98% of the people, discs are a luxury. If you are into serious DH racing, or Freeriding, they are a necessity, but for someone who rides "mostly road" they are a luxury!

    Personally, I don't NEED them on my bike. I have them, I love them and will probably never go back to rim brakes. I live in FL, the trails I ride are technically difficult, but the long climbs and subsequent downhills do not exist! I don't NEED discs. I fall into the 98%.

    L8R
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  22. #22
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    Originally posted by a2psyklnut
    Just to clarify my point regarding discs. I don't want to offend Mael, for 98% of the people, discs are a luxury. If you are into serious DH racing, or Freeriding, they are a necessity, but for someone who rides "mostly road" they are a luxury!
    No offence taken...I think I said something like 90% before...I didn't disagree with the fact that they are just a luxury for most.

  23. #23
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    I certainly consider them a luxury for me given the type of riding I do. Certainly, the hard core downhill riders would appreciate the power of these brakes far more so than I ever will on the road or with light off road stuff.

    Nevertheless, I have no regrets about buying a bike with disk brakes and I like how little pressure it takes to stop on a dime.

    Justen

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    I would like to thank you again for the help.

    Justen and chad I was hoping that somebody would say that he or she is using his/her bike on the road and that there isn't that much up and down movement. I think that my bike is going to have front suspension..

    Maelstrom The EXR fork seems like the best for a beginner like me.

    I think that its going to be the price that is going to solve the brakes problem. But have you noticed that they're mechanical ones in the Kona Nunu?

    Now I'm waiting for May I have to save up a little more money to get what I want. Then I can rush to the store..

    Justen Good luck to you too with the off road cycling. It would be nice to hear how did it go.

  25. #25
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    anna:

    Regarding mechanical discs. I personally like how simple they are and IF I buy a set they will not be hydraulic but mechanical as in the NUNU ones.


    Thats just my opinion though =)


    Hydraulic is a bigger hassle and I believe they weigh more.


    CK

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