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Old 07-23-03, 11:57 AM   #1
acurran
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Recommendations for full susp. mtn. bike?

Hi all mountain bikers,

I posted this earlier in General Discussion but realized this is where I should've posted it:

I am contemplating buying a full susp. mtn. bike. My current mtb. is a Specialized Hardrock Comp which is fine for street riding and most trails I go on but I'm looking for something that's more fun on the rougher trails. I recently rented a low end Giant Warp and had a lot of fun riding it (on a full susp. it seems like more fun to blast through the rough stuff instead of go around it like on the hardtail) which put it in my head to buy a full susp. bike. However from a little research online (mtbr.com), Trek and Specialized seem like they have better full susp. bikes so I currently have in mind something like a Specialized Rockhopper FSR or a Trek Fuel 80. A local bike shop has a special on the Trek Fuel 80 for $900. This is probably the upper limit of what I'm prepared to spend (I am very value orientated so I'd love to get a great bike for less than that if possible). I haven't looked around for Specialized RH FSR but I'm thinking it would be around the same price as the Fule 80.

Does anyone have any comments on the pros and cons of these 2 bikes or suggestions for something even better in the price range ($900 or less). I'm a faily big guy - 6'2", 200 lbs - if that makes any difference.

And if anyone in the vicinity of San Jose, CA knows of any good deals locally, let me know.
thanks,
Aidan
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Old 07-23-03, 01:23 PM   #2
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Generally, the consensus around here is that a decent full suspension bike is in the $1,000 plus range. However, that does not include special deals and closeouts.

Specialized makes one of the best all around suspensions, which many other companies either license or try to copy. It's called a 4-bar Horst Linkage. Many who do not want to license this, use a 4-bar linkage, but the pivot location at the rear drop-out varies, so it's not a TRUE Horst link. Or. they'll change the position of the shock, or use a rocker-arm in lieu of a link.

Regardless, if you can get a FSR for under a grand, you're getting a good deal.

The Trek Fuel 80 uses a rocker-arm, and is a decent design. I like the FSR better, but the Fuel 80 is good. The Fuel is more of a XC design targeting racer types.

If you're an all around trail rider type, i.e., not a racer, I think the FSR is better suited for a wider variety of riding.

L8R
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Old 07-23-03, 02:01 PM   #3
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A2 covered that pretty dam well
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Old 07-23-03, 03:33 PM   #4
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a2psyklnut, Thanks for all the info

Quote:
Originally posted by a2psyklnut
Generally, the consensus around here is that a decent full suspension bike is in the $1,000 plus range. However, that does not include special deals and closeouts.
So in that case would you advise staying away form something like a Giant Warp which can be got for around $600-$700?

Quote:
Originally posted by a2psyklnut
Specialized makes one of the best all around suspensions, which many other companies either license or try to copy. It's called a 4-bar Horst Linkage. Many who do not want to license this, use a 4-bar linkage, but the pivot location at the rear drop-out varies, so it's not a TRUE Horst link. Or. they'll change the position of the shock, or use a rocker-arm in lieu of a link.

Regardless, if you can get a FSR for under a grand, you're getting a good deal.
The concensus from a lot of people seems to be that Specialized is the best. Which manufacturers license the FSR susp. and are those bikes as good as the Specialized bikes?

Quote:
Originally posted by a2psyklnut
The Trek Fuel 80 uses a rocker-arm, and is a decent design. I like the FSR better, but the Fuel 80 is good. The Fuel is more of a XC design targeting racer types.

If you're an all around trail rider type, i.e., not a racer, I think the FSR is better suited for a wider variety of riding.

L8R
Why is this? Is it because it is stiffer?
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Old 07-24-03, 12:12 AM   #5
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Hey acurran where do u ride? My friend and I are trying to find new trails around the South Bay/Peninsula all the time!

Anyway, my recommendation would be a Santa Cruz Superlight, but then again, that's over your budget anyway.

It's really hard to find a decent FS ride for under a grand....unfortunately.
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Old 07-24-03, 08:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
So in that case would you advise staying away form something like a Giant Warp which can be got for around $600-$700?
Usually FS bikes under a grand are really really heavy, and due to the higher cost of adding pivots, more welds, and a rear-shock, they are adorned with cheap (also heavy) parts.

I've ridden the Giant Warp, and it's not a "bad" full suspension bike, but if you start riding a lot, you'll quickly outgrow it in it's stock configuration. By the time you upgrade it to better the performance, you can buy a whole other bike.

The suspension design is a single pivot and the ride has a lot of pedal induced bobbing (esp. in the granny gear) and due to the rear wheel travel path (rotation around pivot) the chainstay length changes as it moves through it travel. This can produce the bobbing and Brake Jack (where the rear end rises quickly during hard braking).

IOW, I'd spend the extra money and get a better bike.

Quote:
The concensus from a lot of people seems to be that Specialized is the best. Which manufacturers license the FSR susp. and are those bikes as good as the Specialized bikes?
If it's licensed from Specialized, it'll be stamped, and indicated. I know Iron Horse does this on the upper end frames, and I imagine on all their frames, but I could be wrong. If it is licensed, it's very comparible to Specialized.

What a lot of companies do, is they change the pivot location from in front the rear drop-out on the chain stay. They change it to the TOP of the drop-out on the Seat stay. These bike work almost as well, but do have a tendancy for brake jacking.

Quote:
Why is this? Is it because it is stiffer?
Yes, it's stiffer and not FULLY ACTIVE.

The FSR suspension works all the time, when you're pedaling, when you're braking, when you're coasting...etc.

Other designs tend to LOCK out from either pedaling forces or braking forces, so if you're going down a steep chute, and are HARD on the brakes, the suspension STIFFens up (not locks out completely, but stiffens), you hit a large rock and FEEL it! This is fine if you're a XC type and just want the bike to absorb the really big impacts, but you're running the suspension so stiff it's almost has a hardtail feel while climbing.

Hope that helps.

BTW these are some really good deals right now!

Freeride Bike

This may be more BIKE than you need for an all around bike, but it is a good price.

Here is a 4-bar, but NOT an FSR, but a decent bike for an all arounder type:XC Type, NOT FSR
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Old 07-24-03, 02:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chi
Hey acurran where do u ride?
In the last year or 2 I've been doing almost all road biking on my recumbent but recently I've been doing a litte mtn. biking to get back into it. I go up to Alum Rock park because it's the closest place. There a few pretty challenging little hills there that I'm working on, steep, rough rutted and loose. Some of them I still cannot get up yet so I got to keep working on it. My favorite ride in south bay area is Stevens Creek Canyon - climb up Montebello road to top of Black Mountain and then take the trail down into the canyon. I haven't done that one in a few years, must give it a go again soon. In the north bay I like China Camp.

By the way can you recommend a good place to get my bike tuned up in San Jose or vicinity?
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Old 07-24-03, 02:53 PM   #8
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a2psyklnut, Thanks again for the replies. I think I will go out soon and test ride a Specialized RH FSR since that one seems to be the gold standard.
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Old 07-24-03, 09:21 PM   #9
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Cool!

L8R
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Old 07-30-03, 10:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by acurran
By the way can you recommend a good place to get my bike tuned up in San Jose or vicinity?
We'll do it. j/k

I just replied to another member about the same thing. Two places I recommend:

Bicycle Outfitters in Los Altos (Foothill & Fremont)
Palo Alto Bicycles in Palo Alto (University Ave. @ Caltrain)
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Old 07-30-03, 11:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by a2psyklnut
Usually FS bikes under a grand are really really heavy, and due to the higher cost of adding pivots, more welds, and a rear-shock, they are adorned with cheap (also heavy) parts.

I've ridden the Giant Warp, and it's not a "bad" full suspension bike, but if you start riding a lot, you'll quickly outgrow it in it's stock configuration. By the time you upgrade it to better the performance, you can buy a whole other bike.

The suspension design is a single pivot and the ride has a lot of pedal induced bobbing (esp. in the granny gear) and due to the rear wheel travel path (rotation around pivot) the chainstay length changes as it moves through it travel. This can produce the bobbing and Brake Jack (where the rear end rises quickly during hard braking).

IOW, I'd spend the extra money and get a better bike.



If it's licensed from Specialized, it'll be stamped, and indicated. I know Iron Horse does this on the upper end frames, and I imagine on all their frames, but I could be wrong. If it is licensed, it's very comparible to Specialized.

What a lot of companies do, is they change the pivot location from in front the rear drop-out on the chain stay. They change it to the TOP of the drop-out on the Seat stay. These bike work almost as well, but do have a tendancy for brake jacking.



Yes, it's stiffer and not FULLY ACTIVE.

The FSR suspension works all the time, when you're pedaling, when you're braking, when you're coasting...etc.

Other designs tend to LOCK out from either pedaling forces or braking forces, so if you're going down a steep chute, and are HARD on the brakes, the suspension STIFFens up (not locks out completely, but stiffens), you hit a large rock and FEEL it! This is fine if you're a XC type and just want the bike to absorb the really big impacts, but you're running the suspension so stiff it's almost has a hardtail feel while climbing.

Hope that helps.

BTW these are some really good deals right now!

Freeride Bike

This may be more BIKE than you need for an all around bike, but it is a good price.

Here is a 4-bar, but NOT an FSR, but a decent bike for an all arounder type:XC Type, NOT FSR
I've done the upgrade the Giant Warp Thing before, I built up a Warp DS1 for a light weight Trail bike. It is expensive to do so, but it's ok for it's purpose, won't do it again. When the frame dies, this will be it's replacement. http://www.cortinacycles.com/Cortina...DS_PAGE_1.html

I'm going to say that the fuel 80 for $900 is a good deal, I'd go with that.
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