NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS!
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: From Sarasota, FL sitting in front of a computer spewing random thoughts!
Bikes: Intense Uzzi SL, Masi Speciale, Trek 3700 Nashbar Single Speed, Old Cilo Road frame
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1) Hardly any at all. Biggest difference is weight!
2) Again, just weight. O.k., maybe slightly better shifting. Just wait until the one you have wears out and then upgrade.
3) Chances are it is. Cheap ones are usually not straight. Just get a bit creative with a vice and you should be able to straighten it.
4) No clue. Scary, I've been in the industry for 20+ years. I don't know, but I WILL find out.
5) Depends on the type of riding you are getting into. You said mostly XC. If however, you are doing more jumps or drops or really technical riding, a wider tire is better for traction, and more impact absorbtion. If you stick with XC it'll be too heavy and slow due to increased rolling resistance, (more drag due to a bigger contact patch.) you'll also have increased rotational weight.
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
"Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger