Originally Posted by a2psyklnut
Don't limit yourself to just one brand. That like saying I want something to drink, but limiting yourself to diet vanilla Coke. You might be missing out on a great tasting New Castle Brown Ale!
I don't think this is a good analogy in some cases. nginamandla
, it looks like you live in Lawrence. I live in Salina, approx. 150 miles west of you. I agree with 2psykl's point that it is good to sample everything, however there are exceptions.
For one thing we are talking bikes, not soda or ale. Bikes are an item that require service as a part of the considertion. If you buy a beer you likely won't need any maintenance on it. If you buy a bike and you ride it, you will need maintenance on it. In my city we are limited to one LBS. THey mainly sell Trek and Gary Fisher for MTB's.
I can easily go buy a Specialized 100 miles away but now I have no local service. If I encounter a repair that is beyond my ability, it requires a few hours of travel in the car to get it fixed. Granted this is only if i elect to not take it to my LBS to have it worked on. I don't have the heart to buy a bike somewhere else and bring it into a small and presumably struggling shop to get it repaired. I try and support my LBS at least some, since I appreciate the fact that we at least have an LBS.
My point is that sometimes it is wise to narrow your scope of bikes when you take everyting into account. Another thing to keep in mind is that a LOT of the advice you read on these forums relating to bikes is activity dependant.
IOW, it really depends on how/where/how often you ride. I have two $300 range Trek 4300's. I ride them every day and have around 1500 miles on each of them since thanksgiving of last year. Many would call these junk, entry level bikes but that advice is dependant on what you do. I just ride mine. I don't do technical trails, jumps etc. I just get on and go about 20-25 miles per day, mainly on gravel and some pavement. The 4500 will be great for that just like my 4300's are. I plan to wear mine out and probably buy a 4500 or higher next. I'll stay in the $500 range because even though i ride quite a bit, I know that these bikes will give me years of service.
WHen you starting paying thousands of dollars you are possibly paying for things you don't need. (except on full suspension) It sounds like you are a better candidate for the 4500. It will last you a long time. THat is what I like about my LBS guys, they just tell me like it is. "Hey for what you do, those bikes will last a long time."
I think it should be noted that a lot of people overspend on bikes. Think of it in terms of $ per ride. If you spend $365 on a bike and ride it every day for a year, it only costs you $1 per ride. That is an awesome value! Then take a guy that spent $1900 on a bike and rode 25 times in a year. It will cost you $76 per ride on this bike. That is not a good value and you will in NO WAY get a $75 per ride gain on the better bike. Also it should be noted that both bikes will wear out. The more expensive bike may even wear out faster since it is made of lighter weight components. (made for racing)