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  1. #1
    Recently Addicted cleon's Avatar
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    Recommendations for new mtn bike short list in $2k range.

    I'm looking for recommendations on a short list of bikes to demo (i.e., this is a what to try thread, not a what to buy thread), realizing that there is a practical limit to what can be test ridden locally.

    For background, I'm a mid-40s, 5'7", 200lb rider, last seen on a 1994 era Stumpjumper long since retired. Coming back to the sport after a long break I've noticed the term mountain biking has split into dozens of categories and the gear has all progressed, which makes it that much more challenging to finding a new bike.

    Long story short, I'm looking for something to ride around the local trails, mostly singletrack with light technical. If anyone is familiar with Buffalo Creek in Colorado, that would be the most typical ride, with an occasional foray to Fruita and Slickrock when I feel like making the pilgrimage, but that would be as extreme as it would get.

    Right now I'm limiting my search to 29" Hardtails, assuming Steel, and have a budget of around $2k.

    As best as I can tell, I would be looking in the "Trail" category of bikes according to the gods of Marketing.

    Anyway, I am looking for suggestions on what to test ride that would meet these criteria. I've JUST started browsing around and so far have come up with the following for the big brands,

    Trek Fuel
    Spec Camber
    Spec Stumpjumper (not sure whats diff from above)
    Niner S.I.R.
    Jamis Dragon

    Hopefully this will be somewhat flame retardant and I greatly appreciate any sincere input on where to start. The choices are a bit overwhelming to an old newcomer.
    2011 Gunnar Sport, 2008 Trek Fuel EX 8, 1998 Cannondale F500

  2. #2
    I'm band already? lubes17319's Avatar
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    Check out GBS (they are selling off some of their demo fleet right now, the Salsa Spearfish can be had right now at a good price)

    Anything goes at BC (though the rigid is a lil' bumpy on Blackjack)
    Who cares what your bike weighs, just ride it!

  3. #3
    Recently Addicted cleon's Avatar
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    which Salsa and Santa Cruz bikes would be appropriate do you think for moderate trails, no gravity stuff, etc..? Was thinking Blur in the category but looks like dualie only.

    El Mariachi and Chameleon maybe??


    edit: just called GBS and man...they sound like they have a great demo program and nice brand selection!


    Quote Originally Posted by lubes17319 View Post
    Check out GBS (they are selling off some of their demo fleet right now, the Salsa Spearfish can be had right now at a good price)

    Anything goes at BC (though the rigid is a lil' bumpy on Blackjack)
    Last edited by cleon; 10-13-11 at 10:46 AM.
    2011 Gunnar Sport, 2008 Trek Fuel EX 8, 1998 Cannondale F500

  4. #4
    I'm band already? lubes17319's Avatar
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    Santa Cruz is FS or Al, Salsa has the El Mariachi (my buddy rides one & it's nice)

    Some steel HTs that should fit your requirements: Niner S.I.R., Niner M.C.R., Surly KM (my weapon of choice), Salsa El Mariachi, Kona Big Unit, Vassago Jabberwocky, Raleigh XXIX-G, Spot Longboard, Redline Monocog Flight, Canfield Nimble9
    Who cares what your bike weighs, just ride it!

  5. #5
    Curmudgeon in Training 20grit's Avatar
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    If I had that budget... I'd be trying a Yeti ARC. That's not really steel and I've not seen many sold as a complete bike for the budget, just know I could build one for that.

  6. #6
    Recently Addicted cleon's Avatar
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    My budget and specs might be off. I'm a long way from home toto given the last time I was up to speed on gear (not even sure how to discern 'trail' from 'all-mtn' specs or wtf travel I would need either way). But this is a great starting point. Thanks for the input guys. Really appreciate it, and I know these kinds of posts can be bit a annoying, but it really helps to have something to start with in terms of basic knowledge vs walking in cold to an LBS with 100 bikes on the floor.
    Last edited by cleon; 10-13-11 at 11:19 AM.
    2011 Gunnar Sport, 2008 Trek Fuel EX 8, 1998 Cannondale F500

  7. #7
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    The Salsa Tallboy has some great reviews. I'm a Scott Spark homie, check out the Spark 29er 40. Worth your time.
    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.

  8. #8
    ed
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daspydyr View Post
    The Salsa Tallboy has some great reviews.

  9. #9
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    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.

  10. #10
    Recently Addicted cleon's Avatar
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    I think if I was gonna go dualie, I'd probably go 26" vs 29". At 5'7" it just feels like a 29 would be all wheels. Also, isn't the main benefit of 29s the ride quality via the larger wheels? I would think dual susp on a 26" would take care of that? Dunno..anyway...don't want to start a 26 vs 29 thread I guess. I did read ALL of Ed's FAQ links and have a feeling that might be enough I think I have to revisit my plan anyway. Everyone I talk to seems to think dual is the only way to go which I was assuming was overkill for my riding area.
    2011 Gunnar Sport, 2008 Trek Fuel EX 8, 1998 Cannondale F500

  11. #11
    ed
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daspydyr View Post
    But those are the Santacruz Tallboy...not the Salsa Tallboy

  12. #12
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    Hey, they both start with an S! Sheesh! Man, I gotta get some new lenses, sorrrry ED, thanks for the correction.
    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.

  13. #13
    Pint-Sized Gnar Shredder Zephyr11's Avatar
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    Now that you mention it, I kind of want a Specialized Tallboy. But not as much as I want a Superco Tallboy.

  14. #14
    Recently Addicted cleon's Avatar
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    This is random but I have a buddy willing to sell me a 2008 Trek Fuel EX 8, for $1000. Says it's immaculate and retailed for $2600 at the the time. Trek's sizing guide says it should be spot on, but I'll test ride it. Any thoughts on whether that price is reasonable assuming his statements are accurate?
    2011 Gunnar Sport, 2008 Trek Fuel EX 8, 1998 Cannondale F500

  15. #15
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    That is a good Bike! Check out the connections, see it they are worn out. But that is a popular worthy bike. BUT if you can find a SCHWINN Tallboy, jump on that at any price.

    wassup with them Broncos? Sure miss the Elway days.
    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.

  16. #16
    Senior Member dsprehe89's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cleon View Post
    This is random but I have a buddy willing to sell me a 2008 Trek Fuel EX 8, for $1000. Says it's immaculate and retailed for $2600 at the the time. Trek's sizing guide says it should be spot on, but I'll test ride it. Any thoughts on whether that price is reasonable assuming his statements are accurate?
    bikepedia agrees with the original price, and it looks like it has a decent component set. That is about 60% less than its original new price, which for a 3 year old bike, is about right if you ask me, (assuming it is in great shape and was never abused).
    infinitesimal - The amount of actual performance improvement gained from most cycling expenditures.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zephyr11 View Post
    AMish hardtail = An all-black bike with no rear-suspension that is intended to be ridden on farms. It also has the ability to bunnyhop over piles of horse poop. Most also have bashguards because showing up to church with a pant leg that got ripped up by your chain is frowned upon.

  17. #17
    ed
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daspydyr View Post
    Hey, they both start with an S! Sheesh! Man, I gotta get some new lenses, sorrrry ED, thanks for the correction.
    The funny part about it is that you said the same thing in another thread.

  18. #18
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    I may be wrong, but I am consistently wrong! wait, that didn't sound quite right..................
    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.

  19. #19
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    Try out a Trek X-Caliber or Paragon. They're about $1500 and $2000 respectively. I think 2011 is the last year for the Paragon, though. The X-cal should give you plenty of budget room to tweak the bike to your own personal preferences.

  20. #20
    Senior Member YamiRider1316's Avatar
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    Look hard at the Diamondback Mission series of bikes. You can usually pick up a left over for under 2K and they are very well specd bikes. I picked mine up for 1400 shipped and this bike has been great. Sram x9 components, fox shocks front and rear with 6" of travel, hayes stroker brakes, etc. Its not a 29er but its got plenty of travel and i have yet to find a bike better specd bike for the price.

  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    Check out some of the Marin HT 29ers, I have a Nail Trail 29er and I love it. It comes with some quality components as well. I believe they may make a steel Pine Mountain 29er as well.

  22. #22
    Recently Addicted cleon's Avatar
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    Well...I had an opportunity to buy that Trek Fuel in the size that fits me best (for Trek's) so I went for it. I should probably actually be on something slightly smaller but alas, for some reason I'm always right between sizes for 90% of manufacturers. 53cm road and 16.5" mtn. Anyway..I digress. Below are some pics of the new (albeit slightly used) ride... one question I have for anyone who has some input, is that the handlebars feel a bit high to me. I've been riding mostly road so am not as familiar with the traditional mtn bike fit rules of thumb. I know it can be all over the place pending use, but for light trail and xc style riding, I feel like I should take a few of those spacers out to drop the bars. Also, I'm thinking of shortening the stem just a tad. I have several road bike stems available. Could I use those, or would the risk of breakage be really high?? Any opinions?? TIA

    Whoops..one more question. Those Bontrager Jones XRs have pretty poor reviews. Any suggestions for a solid tubeless trail tire in the $40-$50 range?

    005.jpg015.jpg008.jpg004.jpg014.jpg009.jpg013.jpg007.jpg
    Last edited by cleon; 10-18-11 at 10:53 AM.
    2011 Gunnar Sport, 2008 Trek Fuel EX 8, 1998 Cannondale F500

  23. #23
    Senior Member mrgrunt99's Avatar
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    Looks like you got a good deal there...very sweet bike!! I wouldn't use a road stem on it though as it is most likely not the geometry you would want...I would just find a decent mountain specific stem that is shorter, they are not that expensive. For tires, I am a fan of the panaracer fir XC pro and also WTB velociraptors....can't go wrong with either of those! Happy trails!!
    I am the ubberest of ubberific ubbers!

    "(suck it hardtail h8ers!!!)"-ed

  24. #24
    Recently Addicted cleon's Avatar
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    Thanks! Went for a decent ride today and love it. Might change a few size things but otherwise pleased and can't beat the price!
    2011 Gunnar Sport, 2008 Trek Fuel EX 8, 1998 Cannondale F500

  25. #25
    Senior Member formicaman's Avatar
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    I suggest you buy a $1,000 bike and give the other $1,000 to me so I can buy the candy apple red full suspension bike I see calling to me from the third shelf up at the used bike shop.

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