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  1. #1
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    Intro and opinion request

    Hello! I've been lurking long enough, I guess... Time for my first post here.

    My name is Chris. I've been out of the loop on mountain biking for about 10 years now, and I'm getting ready to pick up a new bike. My last bike was a Trek 8XX series. I can't believe how far bikes have come since I bought that one. $800 +/- out the door, and there was no suspension at all. In fact, half the features you can now find on entry level bikes were only found on the $1,000+ bikes back then.

    But anyhow... Moving on.

    I am in the market for an entry level hardtail. I've done a lot of reading and poking around the Local bike shops, and that helped to narrow my choices down a lot... but I am still undecided. As of right now, my decision is between the 2011 Trek 3700 Disc and a 2010 Specialized Hardrock Disc. I've been out of the loop long enough so half the specs don't really mean much to me at the moment... which is where I am hoping the members here can lend a hand.

    I live in central Florida, so the trails are primarily flat. To be honest, I just moved here, so I still don't know exactly how they are. I get a little rough with bikes from time to time, but for the most part, I wouldn't describe myself as an overly aggressive rider.

    I'm rather overweight... for now. Current weight is 275lbs. I plan on being about 75 lbs lighter by mid-summer, though. I'm 5' 11".

    My price range is around the $450 mark.

    Not sure what else to say, so if there is anything else I've missed, let me know. I'd love to hear opinions and advice on anything and everything anyone has to offer.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard, you are heading down "the right trail." In my opinion, I would buy a good bike on Craigslist for $450. You should be able to buy pretty decent frame and components in that range. Plus, when you are ready to move up to something else, you can sell it for about the same money and bankroll your next bike.

    You can used bikes out at ".bikepedia.com" You can check out original equipment and pricing.

    Again, welcome aboard.
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

    I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the advice! I've been watching CL like a hawk. Unfortunately, my area seems to be dry on mountain bikes. For the past three weeks, the only thing I can seem to find are bikes that are 5+ years old and relatively close to the same category (for example... a 5 year old Trek 4500) for the same $450 price range. Anything that is reasonably priced seems to be too far away, and thus, the price jumps another $60-$100 for shipping. I've also been keeping my eye open for used bikes at the LBS in the area, but no luck there either. There is a local shop, though, that has a 2010 Hardrock Disc for $475. Not a big price difference from the 2011 models.

    I have that bikepedia page bookmarked already. I found a link for it about a week ago in another thread. Great resource to have at hand when you are shopping CL... It makes it easy to identify the age of a bike.

  4. #4
    Pint-Sized Gnar Shredder Zephyr11's Avatar
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    Either bike will be fine. They'll both have entry level parts and a cheap suspension fork, but the frame will be pretty nice and the entire bike will be enough to get you re-hooked on mountain biking. Try them out and see which one fits better and makes you smile more.

  5. #5
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fadelight View Post
    Hello! I've been lurking long enough, I guess... Time for my first post here.

    My name is Chris. I've been out of the loop on mountain biking for about 10 years now, and I'm getting ready to pick up a new bike. My last bike was a Trek 8XX series. I can't believe how far bikes have come since I bought that one. $800 +/- out the door, and there was no suspension at all. In fact, half the features you can now find on entry level bikes were only found on the $1,000+ bikes back then.

    But anyhow... Moving on.

    I am in the market for an entry level hardtail. I've done a lot of reading and poking around the Local bike shops, and that helped to narrow my choices down a lot... but I am still undecided. As of right now, my decision is between the 2011 Trek 3700 Disc and a 2010 Specialized Hardrock Disc. I've been out of the loop long enough so half the specs don't really mean much to me at the moment... which is where I am hoping the members here can lend a hand.

    I live in central Florida, so the trails are primarily flat. To be honest, I just moved here, so I still don't know exactly how they are. I get a little rough with bikes from time to time, but for the most part, I wouldn't describe myself as an overly aggressive rider.

    I'm rather overweight... for now. Current weight is 275lbs. I plan on being about 75 lbs lighter by mid-summer, though. I'm 5' 11".

    My price range is around the $450 mark.

    Not sure what else to say, so if there is anything else I've missed, let me know. I'd love to hear opinions and advice on anything and everything anyone has to offer.

    Thanks in advance.
    Check the rider weight ratings of the bikes as well. I'm sure they build a little slack into their ratings but best to be sure. I say that because I bought a Rockhopper Comp when I was around 280 and was quite surprised to find I was slightly over the maximum recommended rider weight (IIRC the 2009 Rockhopper reckons on a maximum rider weight of 125kg, or 275 pounds). If you're a little over you should be fine - my Rockhopper is still going strong after 18 months of having me on it, even though I'm down to more like 260 now - but if you're too much over you may find components wearing or breaking faster.

    Assuming it's an option for you, you may prefer to spend a little more on the bike and not have to replace components on it.

    My experience with anything other than the Rockhopper is limited but for what it's worth, here goes. The disc brakes are great, they stop the bike fast enough to lock the wheels if you jam them hard, but can also keep speed under control on a downhill section. I've found them much more effective than rim brakes. They also make it nice and easy to remove a wheel, because you don't have to fiddle with the braking mechanism. Front suspension is also great, it's also useful if you can lock it out. If, like me, you ride on the roads as well as trails it's handy to lock out the suspension so it doesn't bounce and absorb pedalling effort when going uphill on the road.

    One other thing (you may already know this), don't be surprised if you find yourself getting fitter and stronger but not much lighter for a time. Since taking up cycling I've lost four inches off my waist but my weight only dropped from about 280 to 260-265. Muscle weighs more than fat, and for all my waistline is smaller than it was my quads are bigger than they were.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
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    haha Yeah... when starting out a sport, I always assume I'll end my day by crying about some new muscle hurting that I never even knew I had. Or one you don't even think you are using. As long as the stomach fat comes off, I don't care how much I weigh.

    I can spend a little more than the $450 budget, but there isn't too much wiggle room for me right now, unfortunately. A 2011 Hardrock is $520, so that's already a bit of a jump up from what I was hoping to spend. The Trek 3700 Disc is too, albeit only a few bucks more. I've heard time and time again over the past few weeks while reading... "Get the absolute best bike you can possibly afford". I never ignore solid advice from anyone who knows what they are talking about. The fact that many people have said that only reinforces it. Sadly, I still can't afford much more at this point.

    I'll definitely start checking rider weight ratings. Amazingly, that is one of those things I haven't even thought of looking at yet. It seems obvious enough. ...oops.

  7. #7
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    Just got back from the LBS... I went in looking at the 3700 disc. Apparently I have a different view of the way I ride than what I am telling people? I ended up taking a 4300 out for a test ride, and I was asked two questions. The first was "Do you ever sit down when you ride?" and the second, shortly after, was "Are you a former BMX rider?" To which my answers were, respectively, "Not usually", and "Yes".

    I spoke with the guy about my riding style vs my weight, and he seemed pretty adamant that the 3700 wouldn't last long for me. One of the first things he mentioned when comparing the 3700 to the 4300 was the single wall rim vs the double wall rim. This is something else I haven't been paying any attention to in all of my research. I'm not even sure what the hardrock has at this point.

    So, it looks like I'll be saving a bit longer than I anticipated before I get the bike. But now there is a new question - providing the information he gave seems correct to you guys - is this: The 4300 comes in a rim brake and disc brake version. The disc brake version is about $100 more, but he was telling me the disc brakes on the 4300 are surprisingly good. They are also hydraulic. I don't make plans to ride in the rain, but I don't rush home if I get caught in it, either. And since this is florida, it is guaranteed to rain every day... which means a fair amount of mud on the trails.

    The rim brakes felt good and solid to me, but I am still considering the disc brakes due to the rain and mud. (And the fact that they will stop a 275 lb rider better... but that will be short lived anyway.) Should I seriously consider disc brakes, or is it just an expense with no real justification for me?

    Note: They didn't have a disc version available to ride today... it was sold about an hour before I got there. I'll still go back and ride it, but I'd love to hear opinions first.


    EDIT: The Hardrock Disc does have double wall rims. So I guess this is a "4300 rim brake vs hardrock disc" debate. Or spending the extra $100 and getting hydraulic discs... if I really need them.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by Fadelight; 01-20-11 at 03:54 PM.

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