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Old 10-02-07, 11:02 PM   #1
Bounty Hunter
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In the market for a hardtail front susp MTB

So I sold my old 04 Trek 820 to a friend and I'm in the market for a brand new MTB, preferably a hardtail in the $300-$550 range. I want something entry level with a decent front suspension. However I have a Lemond road bike so I need something that at least shifts well and feels somewhat light or it will probably collect dust. Disc brakes don't really matter to me. I test rode a few bikes today:

1) Gary Fisher Wahoo http://www.fisherbikes.com/bike/series/genesis
2) Gary Fisher Marlin http://www.fisherbikes.com/bike/series/genesis
3) Trek 4500 http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en.../4500/
4) Specialized Hardrock XC http://www.specialized.com/bc/...ockXC
5) Kona Fire Mountail http://www.konaworld.com/bikes....html

I rode the Specialized first. It had the grip shifts and I wasn't into it. The bike felt decent, but not all that "special" to me for some reason. The Kona felt better, but for some reason I wasn't real comfortable on that bike either.

Next up I go to one of the local Trek stores. They also sell Gary Fisher bikes (which are basically Treks). Anyways, I ride the Marlin first. I fell in love with that bike almost instantly. However, the bike salesman told me he thought when I was riding it I looked a little too upright. It was a 17.5". He suggested I try a 19" so I got on a Wahoo. It felt a little different, but good. The biggest thing I noticed was the shifting system was quite poor in comparison. =( Other than that I thought the bike rode great.

Next up I rode the Trek 4500 in 18" (Gary Fishers come in 17.5" and 19" and Treks come in 18" and 19.5"). It's a really screwy deal. The Trek felt great, but I found it to be similar to the Marlin. Unfortunately the shop didn't have any 19" Marlins in stock.

The salesman told me I was kind of between sizes and it would probably be personal preference. Since I'm new to MTB-ing he said that I could go with the smaller frame if I wanted to "throw the bike around" but it was whatever felt comfortable. I'll probably stop by a couple more shops tomorrow and try to find a Marlin in 19". I'm in no hurry to buy since winter is on its way. If I can get a good deal on a leftover 07 I'll go for it. Keep in mind all my test rides were done on pavement, but I did go off a couple curbs to feel the front suspension.

Also is there anything else you guys would recommend I try out?
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Old 10-03-07, 04:51 AM   #2
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Go for the Marlin. As a fisher dealer, the sizing deal is due to the genesis geometry which is really what makes a Fisher, a Fisher. perhaps its the geometry of the bikes that gave you the good impression. The trek has the same componentry so "feel" should be the decider between trek and fisher. The others i dont fancy.
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Old 10-03-07, 08:23 AM   #3
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Try out a Specialized Rockhopper.

FYI I have a 06" Trek 4300 for sale - $150 (if your in Texas)
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Old 10-03-07, 08:40 AM   #4
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07 Tassajarah

I gave a mini review of my 07 tassajara (non-disc). If you find a good deal on one of those, I'd get that.
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Old 10-03-07, 11:13 AM   #5
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Go for the Marlin. As a fisher dealer, the sizing deal is due to the genesis geometry which is really what makes a Fisher, a Fisher. perhaps its the geometry of the bikes that gave you the good impression. The trek has the same componentry so "feel" should be the decider between trek and fisher. The others i dont fancy.
I think you might be right on about the genesis geometry. I read up about it last night and it's making more sense to me. While I was test riding the Marlin I noticed it felt easier to climb hills. The Wahoo didn't shift as well so I was a little distracted on that ride.
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Old 10-03-07, 11:16 AM   #6
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Sounds like you have it figured out. Definitely try to get your hands on the Marlin in the correct size as you did the right thing by trying them all out and connecting with this one.
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Old 10-03-07, 11:18 AM   #7
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07 Tassajarah

I gave a mini review of my 07 tassajara (non-disc). If you find a good deal on one of those, I'd get that.
That link was very helpful. I've never heard of Iron Horse.
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Old 10-03-07, 11:40 AM   #8
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As an "ex" Fisher Wahoo and Fisher HooKooEKoo owner, I would recommend a Hardrock to anyone in your situation with that price range.
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Old 10-03-07, 09:20 PM   #9
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i have a marlin. 17'5. I', 5-9"-5'10". i love it
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Old 10-03-07, 09:57 PM   #10
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$300-$550? ok, lets bump that up to $450-700

Alite 1000: http://khsbicycles.com/04_alite_1000_07.htm

Alite 500: http://khsbicycles.com/04_alite_500_07.htm (i have this bike, it's really light, i dislike the fork)

Norco Wolverine: http://www.norco.com/bikes/mountain/...wolverine.php\

Norco Katmandu: http://www.norco.com/bikes/mountain/...x/katmandu.php

Giant Yukon: http://giantbicycles.com/en-US/bikes...in/1280/29353/

Giant Rincon: http://giantbicycles.com/en-US/bikes...in/1260/29299/

Kona Blast: http://konaworld.com/08_blast.htm

Kona Blast Deluxe: http://konaworld.com/08_blastdlx.htm

Kona Fire Mountain(i know, 'uncomfortable'): http://konaworld.com/08_firemountain.htm

Kona Fire Mountain: http://konaworld.com/08_firemountaindlx.htm

Cannondale F5: http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/08/cusa/model-8FS5.html

Cannondale F4: http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/08/cusa/model-8FS4.html

or suck it up, hit the jumps, and pay the $900 initiation fee:
Cannondale Chase 2: http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/08/c...el-8FSDJ2.html


good luck deciphering between ur choices. (wafting the snot-nosed remarks coming my way).
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Old 10-04-07, 01:33 AM   #11
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As an "ex" Fisher Wahoo and Fisher HooKooEKoo owner, I would recommend a Hardrock to anyone in your situation with that price range.
Why didn't you like the HKEK? I was looking at this bike but decided against it. I just would like to know your thoughts.
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Old 10-04-07, 01:35 AM   #12
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good luck deciphering between ur choices. (wafting the snot-nosed remarks coming my way).
why no specialized? they make some great bikes.
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Old 10-04-07, 05:49 AM   #13
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I just bought the Specialized Hard Rock Hyd Disk for €450. I think its ideal for upgrading over time. The train drive etc, is not great, but that frame is IDEAL for the basis of a great bike.

It received great reviews on MTBR.com, I'm goin to upgrade all to xt spec, then get me some new forks and Magura brakes. Oh yeah Ive already replaced the peddles as they are crap, but thats only a minor detail.

Its a work of art in progress.
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Old 10-04-07, 06:14 PM   #14
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Marlin is OK

I have the Marlin 17.5 I'm 6 feet with 33 inseam. Seems to fit pretty well. Feet never overlap the front wheel. I've banged it down some fireroads with huge rocks and nothing broke or bent. Only drawback that I can see is the alivio front deraileur. as you'll read everywhere, it's got troubles. i find shifting to the little ring is iffy. sometimes after a few seconds it'll do it. sometimes it won't. if you're pedalling with any pressure, forget it. you won't get there. i don't know if the bike shop where i got it does free adjustments, i'll have to check. otherwise, i would upgrade that to deore or xt for sure.

it's 30 pounds. maybe a bit heavy for some. stock tires aren't very knobby. fine for me but depends on your chosen path. I added aftermarket bar-ends for extra pull on hills. mine has v-brakes as i think they all do. if discs are your desire, look elsewhere. here in canada, gt avalanche (can't remember the number) was competitively priced but with discs. not for me thanks.
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Old 10-04-07, 07:02 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by barton29er View Post
Go for the Marlin. As a fisher dealer, the sizing deal is due to the genesis geometry which is really what makes a Fisher, a Fisher. perhaps its the geometry of the bikes that gave you the good impression. The trek has the same componentry so "feel" should be the decider between trek and fisher. The others i dont fancy.
Why don't you "fancy" the others?
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Old 10-04-07, 07:07 PM   #16
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or suck it up, hit the jumps, and pay the $900 initiation fee:
Cannondale Chase 2: http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/08/c...el-8FSDJ2.html
You're sooooooooo dumb...
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Old 10-04-07, 07:52 PM   #17
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I have the Marlin 17.5 I'm 6 feet with 33 inseam. Seems to fit pretty well. Feet never overlap the front wheel. I've banged it down some fireroads with huge rocks and nothing broke or bent. Only drawback that I can see is the alivio front deraileur. as you'll read everywhere, it's got troubles. i find shifting to the little ring is iffy. sometimes after a few seconds it'll do it. sometimes it won't. if you're pedalling with any pressure, forget it. you won't get there. i don't know if the bike shop where i got it does free adjustments, i'll have to check. otherwise, i would upgrade that to deore or xt for sure.

it's 30 pounds. maybe a bit heavy for some. stock tires aren't very knobby. fine for me but depends on your chosen path. I added aftermarket bar-ends for extra pull on hills. mine has v-brakes as i think they all do. if discs are your desire, look elsewhere. here in canada, gt avalanche (can't remember the number) was competitively priced but with discs. not for me thanks.
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Old 10-07-07, 01:02 AM   #18
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So I decided to try out more bikes and now I'm looking all the way up to the $1500 range. I'm kind of mad at myself because I test rode some of the top of the line GF front susp hardtail 26ers and then I tried the Cobia and X-Caliber 29ers. I almost instantly fell in love with the 29ers even on the short test ride through the parking lot. Climbing the small hill was much easier in the 29ers as well as the ride was smoother.

The Cobia and X-Caliber were both 07 leftovers. They both felt great, but the X-Caliber shifted much better. The Cobia was on sale for $900 and the X-Caliber was $1000. Heck of a good sale on the X-Caliber.

So the one LBS salesman urges me to apply for the Trek card (no interest, no payments for 90 days). I go ahead with it and Trek approves me for $1400. It can be used on any Trek or GF. Actually it can be used on either at any LBS that sells them. So now I have a lot of options.

I brought my Lemond into another LBS I bought it at for a tune up. I ended up talking to this girl about 29ers. She's big into them and told me last week that once I rode one I wouldn't look back. So she's telling me I should wait for the 08 Cobia and X-Caliber since they have the G2 Genesis geometry which is supposedly better than the 07s as well as a few better components on each for the new year. She said if I wait until Christmas time they'll discount the bikes and I might be able to get 6 mos no payments or interest with the Trek card. I'm in no hurry so I might have to do that.

My co-worker is trying to keep me in a 26, but I tried to explain to him that the 29er felt wonderful and I don't think one needs to be a hardcore rider to notice it. He feels I should try out a full suspension 26er like the GF Hi-Fi for the same amount of money as the hardtail front susp 29er.

The thing is if I decide to go 29er do I go for the leftover 07 X-Caliber or wait for the 08 which seems to have a little better components? The 07 is about $500 off MSRP, but I know I can get an 08 around Christmas-time for some kind of discount and also possibly get 6 months no interest/payments instead of 90 days.

For reference...

2008 X-Caliber: http://www.fisherbikes.com/bike/model/x-caliber

2007 X-Caliber: http://www.fisherbikes.com/archive/model/264\


In other news...I got my Saris Bones 2. I like it. Here's my Lemond mounted today. I brought it into the shop for a free tune-up. This is why I'm not in a hurry to buy a MTB...this bike is light and FAST. =) :thumbup:

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Old 10-08-07, 10:59 AM   #19
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With $1,500 for a MTB here is what you should get.

07' STUMPJUMPER, end of story

and with the close out pricing you should be able to get it for around $1,000

http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=22280



Or the Comp for around $1,300

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