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  1. #1
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    Can you buy to much bike?

    I'm a roadie looking to get into mountain biking (or at least a little off road action since we don't have mountains in WI). When it comes to buying a road bike, I know what to look for and I know what works for me. Most importantly, I know my skill level and what price range that translates to.

    I have no experience with mountain bikes and don't really know where to start. Talking with friend and reading forums has me torn between a few first bike philosophies.

    1) Buy cheep, wait until you know more, then splurge
    2) Buy a good platform (i.e. frame) now with plans on upgrading
    3) Unlike with road bikes, unless you get crazy and buy supper high end, its hard to get to much bike

    I have a fair amount of money to throw around, so I can splurge now, but don't know if it will be worth it. What do you all think? Is it easy to buy to much bike for a beginner?

    My practical side is looking at: Giant Rainier, Specialized Rockhopper, Gary Fisher Tassajara
    My non-practical side is looking at: Specialized Stumpjumper, Gary Fisher Big Sur
    My super non-practial side is looking at Gary Figher Ferrous 29er, because I love steel and the roadie in me wants a 29er
    Last edited by RLHawk; 05-26-07 at 10:48 AM.

  2. #2
    sarcasm meter: jerk mode santiago's Avatar
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    You have to move back a step or two first. The first question is what kind of riding do you intend to do? What kind of trails do you intend to ride? Do you want a plush comfortable ride or are you looking for a racing bike? These questions will tell you what type of bike you should be looking at.

    Following that you then decide if you want a hardtail or a full suspension bike. You mentioned having a fair amount of money to throw around so for argument's sake will use $2000 as a reference point. For $2000 you'll get a super hardtail and an okay full-suspension bike.

    Once you know what kind of bike you're looking to get then you hit the LBSes around you and start test riding the bikes. Due to the differences in geometry, you may love how a given Specialized feels but hate its equivalent in the Kona line.

    So, what do you intend to do? Given your roadie background I will assume you want to ride XC. Do you intend to do any drops? Anything 2 feet and under is still considered XC. Are the trails relatively smooth? Do you want to race?
    First Class Jerk

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by santiago
    You have to move back a step or two first. The first question is what kind of riding do you intend to do? What kind of trails do you intend to ride? Do you want a plush comfortable ride or are you looking for a racing bike? These questions will tell you what type of bike you should be looking at.

    Following that you then decide if you want a hardtail or a full suspension bike. You mentioned having a fair amount of money to throw around so for argument's sake will use $2000 as a reference point. For $2000 you'll get a super hardtail and an okay full-suspension bike.

    Once you know what kind of bike you're looking to get then you hit the LBSes around you and start test riding the bikes. Due to the differences in geometry, you may love how a given Specialized feels but hate its equivalent in the Kona line.

    So, what do you intend to do? Given your roadie background I will assume you want to ride XC. Do you intend to do any drops? Anything 2 feet and under is still considered XC. Are the trails relatively smooth? Do you want to race?
    XC. The terain in my area is fairly smooth. I have a few friends that race in the area and they say there is no need for full suspension.

    Just for a reference point, I like the plush ride of my steel road bike, but have it setup in a very aggressive position.

    I plan on stopping at a few different shops this weekend for test rides.

    For me, going out for any kind of ride is all about having fun. I stay away from the road racing seen because I know it will turn riding into work. In any fast road ride, if you get dropped 30 miles out, its no fun. I like to push myself, but still have fun if I crack half way through a hard ride and spend the second half at an easy spin.

    I have to feel out the mountain bike racing seen in my area. If I feel it will turn riding from fun to work, then I won't do it. If its something I can do casualy and still have fun, then I would like to race.

  4. #4
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    I think you can buy too much bike if you went for the really high end racer types like the $7000 level carbon FS Specialized that my friend just bought.

    I think up to around $2500 to $3000 range (full suspension) you won't get too much bike no matter what. My present bike started at the $1600 range 4 years ago and I've upgraded it to it's present $2600 level. It started out with a great frame (M4 Specialized on a FSR Stumpjumper), but it's so much better (measured lap times on single track) now than before.

    If you go too cheap, you won't have as much fun, won't learn as quickly and likely outgrow it very soon.

    I see no reason to start with a hardtail if you want to wind up with full suspension. That logic would lead one to start with no suspension which I had to do. I would not go back to those days.

    As mentioned, you need to determine out what kind of riding you want to do. I ride road too and can't fathom owning anything other than a lighter, lower suspension travel XC bike as opposed to "All Mountain" or other heavier, more suspension travel bikes.

    I ride trails from N Florida, to the southeast mountains regularly and occasionally in Utah and have never felt the need to have other than a XC bike. However, I don't do jumps, preferring to suck-up the biggies to keep my speed up. Plus, being older, I don't want to waste time mending.

    Al

  5. #5
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    santiago and Al.canoe

    Thank you both for your responses, they have been very informative.

    I plan on staying away from some ultra light all carbon FS machine. They are fun to look at, but I don't want to ride anything that expensive. (Although my current dream road bike is a custom Moots.)

    If the other outdoor sports I participate in are any example, If I leave the ground I will end up on my a$$. Fast and planted is what I like.

    I don't plan on ending up with full suspension. I think I will be happier with a higher end hardtail at the same price point.

    I was hoping the responses from this thread would guide me towards spending less, but you make the argument that it would be worth making the investment now.

  6. #6
    Rat Bastard mcoomer's Avatar
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    You certainly can buy too much bike. If you do get into mountain biking you will see it all the time at trailheads. There's nothing wrong with having the best components or the newest bling in frames and if you have the cash go for it.

    Your non-practical side is pretty smart, by the way. I would definitely take a test ride on a Stumpjumper. That bike consistently gets good reviews from riders and writers alike and with the different versions you can go from lunch bucket practical to super cool bling. I wouldn't mind riding the Stumpy with the Brain suspension myself. That bike will do just about anything you want it to do.

    Also, you can search the forums and find story after story of people who bought a low end bike and spent more money on upgrades that if they had simply bought the bike they wanted in the first place. There is certainly nothing wrong with buying a bike that has the frame you want with low end components and then upgrading them as they fail but that may mean many months of riding a bike that isn't quite what you had hoped. If you're going to drop some cash on a bike I would prefer to get the best components I can afford on the frame that I want and have fun with it from day one.
    It's better to burn out than fade away...or slip out of your pedal and face plant on the side of the road!!!

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  7. #7
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    Specialized 29er

    Was just at a shop looking at what they had and discussing the advantages of 26 vs 29, particularly for a newbie. The guy I was talking to is a big 29er fan and said there would be no issue with a 29er as long as I don't want to do tight technical hopping from rock to rock, and that a 29er would be great for fast planted riding. They suggested I stop back later next month to check out the new 29er Rockhopper and Stumpjumpers they will be getting in

  8. #8
    Old School Rad mtnbiker66's Avatar
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    There is no such thing as too much bike!
    Like a circus monkey on a stolen Harley......

  9. #9
    sarcasm meter: jerk mode santiago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RLHawk
    I was hoping the responses from this thread would guide me towards spending less, but you make the argument that it would be worth making the investment now.
    Actually, I didn't argue one way or the other. Since you intend to do XC style riding and are leaning towards a hardtail, what is your budget? How little and how much do you want to spend?

    For the 29er thing, I'm not really sold on it. From what I understand this works well for larger people who would prefer having momentum to run over things. From a price perspective I think you could spend more to get a comparable 29er over an equivalent 26" bike. That's just my speculation, do your own research to confirm or deny this.

    In your shoes I'd opt for a 26" XC rig. I'm 5'9" and weigh 160lbs so wouldn't look at any 29er. If I had $1500 for a bike, it would definitely be a hardtail and I would be looking at one of the Kona Kula bikes, Specialized Stumpjumper (not sure of the Stumpy's pricepoint), Trek and Gary Fisher equivalents. Actually for that kind of money and for trails that are very smooth, I'd probably look at a cyclocross bike.
    First Class Jerk

  10. #10
    Writin' stuff ZeCanon's Avatar
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    Your second or third philosophies are the ones to listen too, I think. Personally, I would go for the 29er, but thats because I already know I love mountain biking
    The difficulty for you is you don't want to buy a really nice bike then not use it. Mountain biking takes a whole new set of skills compared to road riding, so it may take quite a while before you feel really adept at it and for some people this makes them dislike the sport pretty quickly. If you're one of those people who has to been good at something quickly, then take a look at the stumpjumper. If you're the kind of guy who can spend a while trying something new, and be persistent with a new endeavor, go for the 29er You'll love it.
    Velo Magazine/VeloNews.com tech guy — get in touch or hit me on the tweeter @CaleyFretz

  11. #11
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    I personally would never get 29" wheels. To much inertia. I got a major boost in the fun factor and average lap times when I got a new set of wheels which were much lighter at the rim. The greater the wheel diameter, the more the inertia because of the greater distance the weight is from the axle and the greater the weight at the rim due to more metal and rubber.

    Compared to road, trail riding is constant acceleration/deceleration. Light wheels are a big payoff. Accordingly, I don't use tubes or tubeless tires preferring to convert tube type tires with Stan's NoTubes.

    Al

  12. #12
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    Look at the C'dale & SalsaCycle 29" bikes, too. Sounds like a hardtail would do you fine.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by santiago
    Actually, I didn't argue one way or the other.
    Your right. I drew conclusions from your comments

    Quote Originally Posted by santiago
    Since you intend to do XC style riding and are leaning towards a hardtail, what is your budget? How little and how much do you want to spend?
    I was looking in the $800 - $1200 price range, but could push it to $1600 if I found something that seemed spectacular.

    Quote Originally Posted by santiago
    In your shoes I'd opt for a 26" XC rig. I'm 5'9" and weigh 160lbs so wouldn't look at any 29er. If I had $1500 for a bike, it would definitely be a hardtail and I would be looking at one of the Kona Kula bikes, Specialized Stumpjumper (not sure of the Stumpy's pricepoint), Trek and Gary Fisher equivalents. Actually for that kind of money and for trails that are very smooth, I'd probably look at a cyclocross bike.
    I am a little heavier, 5'11" and 190lbs. There are no Kona dealers in my area. (At least the Kona web sit does not have any listed). I have a cross bike. The trails I want to ride are just a little to much for it, and I don't want to trash my cross bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeCanon
    Your second or third philosophies are the ones to listen too, I think. Personally, I would go for the 29er, but thats because I already know I love mountain biking
    The difficulty for you is you don't want to buy a really nice bike then not use it. Mountain biking takes a whole new set of skills compared to road riding, so it may take quite a while before you feel really adept at it and for some people this makes them dislike the sport pretty quickly. If you're one of those people who has to been good at something quickly, then take a look at the stumpjumper. If you're the kind of guy who can spend a while trying something new, and be persistent with a new endeavor, go for the 29er You'll love it.
    I will stick with it as long as I get to fall down a lot in the beginning

    Seriously, you make an excellent point, and that is why I started this thread. Just trying to collect as many data points as possible before making a major purchase. I know I love to ride, and there are plenty of times I want to ride, but don't feel like hitting the tarmac. Getting a mountain bike will open up more terrain and riding opportunities.

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    Did he ever mention how he intends to ride or did i miss that part?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Portis
    Did he ever mention how he intends to ride or did i miss that part?
    XC

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    1) Buy cheep, wait until you know more, then splurge
    2) Buy a good platform (i.e. frame) now with plans on upgrading
    3) Unlike with road bikes, unless you get crazy and buy supper high end, its hard to get to much bike
    I recommend #2. Since you are new, you don't know exactly how you want to ride or even if you will like it. Buy a good frame and then if you get hooked you can upgrade as you wear stuff out.

  18. #18
    sarcasm meter: jerk mode santiago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RLHawk
    I was looking in the $800 - $1200 price range, but could push it to $1600 if I found something that seemed spectacular.

    I am a little heavier, 5'11" and 190lbs. There are no Kona dealers in my area. (At least the Kona web sit does not have any listed). I have a cross bike. The trails I want to ride are just a little to much for it, and I don't want to trash my cross bike.
    With $1200 you'll end up with a great hardtail. Don't even think about a full suspension with that budget. Looking at the Specialized line-up, the Stumpjumper is very nicely spec'ed for $1400.
    http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkM...80&language=US

    The Specialized Comp comes with Juicy 5 disk brakes at $1700. All prices are MSRP so factor in the discounts and you have some pretty nice bikes at your budget.

    The top of the line Rockhopper comes in at $1100 and it also is nicely spec'ed but not as nice as the Stumpjumper. It would be a great bike.

    I am not sold on the 29er and I don't think it really should be a first mountain bike. It is less 'flickable' than a 26" and I think if one were to start with a 29er, you'd pick up bad habits. I'm just thinking out loud here and pretty much talking out of my ass, but that's the feeling I have of a 29er. If I weighed more, I would probably add a 29er as a 2nd or 3rd bike to my fleet but not necessarily make it my main ride. For an opposing view got to the MTBR.com forums in the 29er forum. Those guys will tell you the 29er is the second coming.

    So, I'm ready to answer your original question. I think going with a Rockhopper/Stumpjumper/equivalent would be a solid first bike. It will NOT be too much bike for what you want to do and as things wear out you can replace them with nice bits. The bikes already come with nice bits but with the budget you have, you can go a long way with the various hardtails.
    First Class Jerk

  19. #19
    Luggite bsyptak's Avatar
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    Jamis Dragon is one of the last production steel mountain bikes. The base model comes with hydros at $1235. Personally I'd take it over the $1200 Stumpy.

  20. #20
    Fourth Degree Legend junkyard's Avatar
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    I think that buying something that can take more than your current skill level give is a good thing. It allows you to grow as a mountain biker without outgrowing your bike too quickly. It sounds like you are already an avid cyclist, so you have a strong base to begin with. You should be able to get plenty in an XC hardtail for the pricepoint you are quoting.
    Quote Originally Posted by dminor View Post
    The caveat with a strap-on, of course, is you will have to get creative with a couple of lock cables and an anchor point

  21. #21
    Writin' stuff ZeCanon's Avatar
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    I've decided to recommend #3. Get the 29er. You'll have lots of fun, and I have a feeling you'll love mountain biking. Those bikes really are just fun...

    al.canoe, you've obviously never ridden a 29er. yes, they don't accelerate as quickly, but they also do not decelerate (is that a word?) as much when going over bumps. They are more comfortable and roll exceptionally well compared to 26" wheels. For most riding, they are really nice to have, and are NOT slower.
    Velo Magazine/VeloNews.com tech guy — get in touch or hit me on the tweeter @CaleyFretz

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeCanon
    al.canoe, you've obviously never ridden a 29er. yes, they don't accelerate as quickly, but they also do not decelerate (is that a word?) as much when going over bumps. They are more comfortable and roll exceptionally well compared to 26" wheels. For most riding, they are really nice to have, and are NOT slower.
    Correct, never ridden one. I have to decelerate for turns, rock gardens etc. Momentem to keep rolling is not an issue for me, but acceleration even up steep climbs on the technical sections is what I care about. I would speculate that on the rough straight stuff, my low presure 26" tires already do very well in that reguard. Light weight/lower inertia wheels/tires are more fun.

    One could even argue that a 40 lb bike has less tendancy to decelerate than a 17 lb bike. I'll take the 17 as would most folks.

    I didn't bite for the All- Mountain hype either; not to disparage those who like that kind of bike. Too heavy and "springy" for me. Three inch fork travel is fine.

    Al

  23. #23
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    Scott Scale

    Thanks go out to all those that have responded.

    Spent several hours test riding bikes. Road almost all the hardtails in the Gary Fisher line (including a 29er), Jamis, Kone, and a Scott Scale 70. These were just sidewalk/parking lot rides, so I cam only hope my impressions will transfer to real CX riding. I tried to venture onto the grass and over a few curbs/roots when possible.

    Of all the bikes, I like the fit and ride of the Scott Scale the most. It put me in a much more aggressive position than any of the other bikes, which felt more natural and comfortable to me. Every other bike seamed sluggish and unstable when I tried to turn with a little speed.

    I am pretty set on the Scott Scale, now it's a question of which version to get.

    The Scale 70 ($930) seemed fine to me, but is equipped with lower end fork, wheels, and rim brakes. I was thinking of stepping up to the Scale 50 ($1220), which comes with disk brakes and a better fork. If I really step it up and get the Scale 40 ($1740), I can get a Fox F100 RL shock. The next step up gets into a carbon frame and is way out of my price range.

    Although I liked the ride of the Scott, it has a Shiman drive train, and I liked the Sram drive train with X.9 shifters on one of the other bikes I rode MUCH better. I am going to ask the LBS what it would cost to switch out the Shimano drive train to a SRAM X.9 drive train. If they won't do it, I may get an upgrade kit online, swap the parts, and ebay what I pull off.

    Once again, thank you all. Any more advice you have from here would be greatly appreciated.

  24. #24
    sarcasm meter: jerk mode santiago's Avatar
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    Nice choice, I'm sure you'll like the bike.

    Here are my thoughts on the brakes. It's easier to upgrade a bike that comes with lower disc brakes over a bike that has rim brakes. The wheelset needs to be disc ready, the frame and fork need to be disc ready as well.

    From the pics, the Scale 70's fork definitely look disc ready. The frame looks like it might. The wheelset definitely are not.

    I think the 40's fork is definitely better but other than that the 50 is very well spec'ed. I do not think that there is $500 value in going from the 50 to the 40. You'll be more than fine with the 50 and you can always upgrade stuff later on.

    I'm not familiar with the Juicy 3 brakes on the 50, but they are the lowest level hydraulic from Avid.
    Anyone have any experience or thoughts on those brakes?

    The bike shop can help you with the swap. I would leave the Shimano front derailleur and cassette, and only swap out the rear derailleur and both shifters.

    Keep us posted.
    First Class Jerk

  25. #25
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    I too live in WI and you can buy too much bike. Forget full suspension we have little or no need for it here in WI. Get a decent hardtail frame with front suspension with the amount of travel you feel you will need for 80% of your riding. Probably 80-85mm in WI. All that extra money you would have spent on some high-zoot FS frame and 4" plus travel fork you can put into better frame material and better components, accessories and decent shoes and clothing.
    GT's in the barn: 67 and counting.

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