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Old 06-24-09, 07:42 PM   #1
Catfish Barbels
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Six Bike Hardtail Shootout

Looking at buying a hardtail. In this price range, these seem to be the contenders. They will be used more for distance jaunts/light offroad use rather than hardcore mountain biking over redwoods and off cliffs. Are they all about equal and you can't go wrong with any of them, or does one model do what I want noticeably better than the others?

What a dope I am... forgot to list the bikes.

Kona Caldera http://www.konaworld.com/09_caldera_en.cfm
Specialized Rockhopper Expert Disc http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...=39224&eid=107
Trek 6500 http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...6_series/6500/
Felt Q720 http://www.feltracing.com/09-catalog...s/09-q720.aspx
Cannondale F4 with Caffeine http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/09/cusa/model-9FS4.html
Jamis Dakota Sport http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik...port_spec.html

Thoughts anyone?

Last edited by Catfish Barbels; 06-25-09 at 01:11 PM. Reason: I'm a Bozo!
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Old 06-24-09, 10:18 PM   #2
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All are fine bikes.
If there was a line of each of them I'd take the Kona though. You can never go wrong with their brand.
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Old 06-25-09, 10:23 AM   #3
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I am a roadie thinking of getting my 1st hard tail and considering several bikes from the list above as well. would be very interesting to read your opinions, characteristics of the bikes and so on.

thx
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Old 06-25-09, 12:23 PM   #4
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in order for me to offer opinions on those bikes i would need to know something about them. im not a bikeopedia. im not going to cross shop 6 bikes for you. and im not the only one here who feels this way.

prices and forks would be a good start.
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Old 06-25-09, 01:37 PM   #5
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I added links to my first post so you can see all the info very quickly. Here are the primary stats:

Kona Caldera $1000 - RockShox Tora XC 100mm Travel Fork
Specialized Rockhopper Expert Disk $1100 - Rock Shox Tora SLite, 100mm
Trek 6500 $1150 - RockShox Tora SL Coil w/rebound 100mm
Felt Q720 $1000 - RockShox Dart 2 100mm
Cannondale F4 $1120 - HeadShok Super Fatty w/ DL, 80 mm
Jamis Dakota Sport $1150 - Rock Shox Tora SL Coil 100mm

It would appear Kona gives you the most bang for the buck.

Perhaps I should ask what are equivalant forks among the big brands. Fox, Rockshox, Marzocchi, Manitou, Magura, RST, Suntour, and Mozo. Meaning a Rockshox Tora is equal to a Marzocchi??? Any suggestions or links to learning stuff about shocks?
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Old 06-25-09, 05:13 PM   #6
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Very nicely done.

Okay...

The Tora is a quality, serviceable,adjustable, upgradeable fork. That's nice because completly changing a fork for a better one is really a big chunk of change. With maintenance, a Tora will serve you until you can afford to be pretty picky about your fork.

So I'd immediatly narrow down choices to the ones with Toras. I like the Kona. The spec looks solid. I've personally owned the predecessor to the Caldera called the Cinder Cone and I will tell you those guys know how to put a hardtail together. I still have that frame and it doesn't give up much to my Banshee hardtail.

The Caldera- my recco is to ask to try one size down from what the salesperson says fits you. Make sure the seatpost can be extended high enough without going past max. Consider getting the smaller size if you plan on getting into the technical side of riding. These frames are capable of much more than straight cross country grinding.
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Old 06-25-09, 08:45 PM   #7
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I'd go F4...Cannondales ride so nice.
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Old 06-25-09, 09:41 PM   #8
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Can you test ride each bike? Each will have a different ride Characteristic and that should help you narrow it down. I owned a 95 Kona AA and it was a great riding bike but the paint chipped easily. I still have and ride my Cannondale CAD3 which has over 10,000 miles on the frame. My main ride now is an 09 Trek 8000 and it is a fast/great riding bike. Try going to MTBR.com and see what people have written about these bikes and there components.
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Old 06-25-09, 11:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catfish Barbels View Post
I added links to my first post so you can see all the info very quickly. Here are the primary stats:

Kona Caldera $1000 - RockShox Tora XC 100mm Travel Fork
Jamis Dakota Sport $1150 - Rock Shox Tora SL Coil 100mm

It would appear Kona gives you the most bang for the buck.
I've seen the Jamis Dakota Sport online (for the 2008 model) for as low as $700. The specs don't seem to have changed.

-F
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Old 06-25-09, 11:20 PM   #10
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If it were my 1199.00 to spend, I'd get a Moto Fly Pro.
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Old 06-26-09, 09:04 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by HeyitsDave View Post
If it were my 1199.00 to spend, I'd get a Moto Fly Pro.
Yep. My Fly Ti was about $2K, and it's comparable to $5K bikes from companies like Dean. Amazing frame quality, ride, handling.



Those stock BD wheels are outstanding by the way, light, serviceable, strong.
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Old 06-26-09, 09:07 AM   #12
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Old 06-26-09, 09:18 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catfish Barbels View Post
I added links to my first post so you can see all the info very quickly. Here are the primary stats:

Kona Caldera $1000 - RockShox Tora XC 100mm Travel Fork
Jamis Dakota Sport $1150 - Rock Shox Tora SL Coil 100mm

It would appear Kona gives you the most bang for the buck.
I've seen the Jamis Dakota Sport online (for the 2008 model) for as low as $700. The specs don't seem to have changed.

-F
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