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Old 02-05-11, 09:20 PM   #1
WalksOn2Wheels
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Suggest a bike for me?

Sorry, I don't know anything. I'm a road rider looking into a mountain bike for trail riding and bikepacking. I am familiar with and quite capable of working on pretty much anything on a road bike, i.e. tuning derailleurs, installing bottom brackets, etc. So I know bikes, just not mountain bikes specifically.

Proposed budget of around 6 or 700 bucks. Used is fine. 29ers with front suspension. Decent components, but don't need to be top of the line (similar to maybe shimano 105 for road in terms of hierarchy). No particular brand loyalty. Must be street worthy as well (perhaps a front fork with a lockout feature).

Fire away. And flame away, if preferred.
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Old 02-06-11, 09:52 AM   #2
Chris s
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Go to your lbs and demo ride a few and go from there.
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Old 02-06-11, 01:34 PM   #3
WalksOn2Wheels
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Well, let me posit this question to you:

Looking at entry to mid-level mountain bikes, there doesn't seem to be a clear differentiation from one model to the next in terms of components. If I buy a road bike, there is usually a mostly 105 bike, or a mostly ultegra bike, usually they match up pretty well except for maybe the cranks. Looking at both Giant and Specialized mountain bikes online, it seems like every bike is a complete mix at almost every level. Even something close to a grand gives me decent shifters, but maybe the bottom line Shimano front derailleur.

In my road experience, 105 is usually fine and will hold an adjustment without too much tuning needed over many, many miles. I'm kind of wary of having a bottom line FD with three cranks on the front. Does this make sense?
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Old 02-06-11, 01:58 PM   #4
Zephyr11
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Don't stress over the front derailleur. It's usually a part manufacturers skimp on because it doesn't make a big difference in the way the bike rides. You also mention crank...don't worry about that either. The only thing it changes is weight. Nothing actually noticeable in the ride itself.

Your first priority should be frame. Does it fit you? Do you like the geometry? Second should be fork, since that's a pricey upgrade and a good fork makes a big difference in the way it rides. Spec Rockhopper Comp 29er, Jamis Exile I, and Scott Scale 29 Comp have a Suntour POS. Fisher Mamba has a Dart that's not much better. Rockhopper Expert 29er, Fisher Cobia, Exile II, and Scale 29 Team have Toras, which is a nice improvement. I personally don't care about lockout. I never use the lockout on my expensive bike, and I don't think the fork I just bought for my cheaper bike even has lockout (honestly, I didn't even check). Lockout on cheap forks doesn't work. Lockout on expensive forks isn't necessary since they all have ProPedal or something and don't bob much anyway.

Last edited by Zephyr11; 02-06-11 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 02-07-11, 11:05 PM   #5
WalksOn2Wheels
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Zephyr, thanks for all those pointers, especially regarding forks and the lockout feature. You're right about the frame, it's kind of the foundation of the whole bike no matter what upgrades you make and is very important. Another fella on bikepacking.net pointed me towards the rockhopper expert as well. Looks like a solid frame with decent components. Now I just have to find a spare 1200 bucks.
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