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  1. #1
    Senior Member c_bake's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    My Bikes
    Kestrel RT900SL, 1975 Viner, Specialized StumpJumper
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    Mountain bike on a budget? 29er

    I'm an avid roadie, logging 7K miles this past year but I'm looking to get into Mountain biking, trail riding, fire roads, rural dirt roads etc.. Unfortunately I'm on a budget and I need to spend no more than $500 and I'd like the bike to be a 29er. I've been looking on Craigs List and came close a few times but the bikes were one size too big.

    As far as new, entry level bikes, I've come up with these.

    Performance has the GT Karakoram 3.0.-- 8 speed, non disc brakes. Seems like a nice bike but no disc brakes, I'm not sure I need those anyway, but, as far as I can tell the frame and wheels have the mounting holes so I could always add some later. $399+tax=$435 out the door.
    GT Karakoram

    2nd Bike:
    BikesDirect has the Fantom Trail 29 for $499 shipped
    9 speed, slightly better components and low level disc brakes. I don't mind buying from them, I've done it before, and I do my own wrenching so that's not an issue. My concern with this bike would be the frame quality and some of the "smaller" components such as the hubs,BB, crank set.

    At first glance it would seem the BD Fantom 29 would be the better option for me, but as I said before, my main concern is quality of the frame. But then again maybe at this price point the frames are equal?
    Fantom 29

    Thoughts? Input?
    1969 Schwinn Collegiate Sport
    1979 Carabela
    1979 Centurion Pro-tour
    1984 Trek 560
    198? Marin Palisades Trail
    2010 Kestrel RT900SL
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    My Bikes
    Schwinn OR2 Hybrid Bike 28" - Schwinn LeTour II 27"
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    I'd probably go for the Bikes Direct model. The price difference is small and Novelas are adequate brakes.
    My Bikes:
    2012 GT Tachyon 3.0 w/ Carbon Fork
    Custom Mongoose Teocali Comp - Runs like a dream -
    SR Suntour Epicon Fork Set to 140mm - Monarch 2.1 Rear Shock
    WTB Speed V on Thompson Seatpost, Crane Creek ZS3, Giant peddles, Stem, & Handle Bar
    Alivo Crank, SLX FD, PG870 Cassette, X4 Shifters/RD, Shimano M485 Hydraulic Breaks, Sun Rim Rhyno Lite Rims w/ Deore Hubs

    The best part: The frame was $55 from Nashbar - the seat post was $70 from my LBS :-D.

  3. #3
    Senior Member commo_soulja's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    are fun to ride
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    I normally don't reply to "which bike I should buy" threads but in the spirit of the season here goes...

    At that pricepoint, frames will be similar. Aluminum is cheap to manufacture and neither are special, although the GT has the triple triangle thing going for it... an iconic look distinguishing it from others. Nothing wrong with V-brakes. They've been stopping folks way before discs came along, even on DH bikes. The ability to upgrade in the future is nice, but why wait? Go discs and never look back. Parts spec look similar... Can you test ride them? The GT perhaps at your local Performance, the BD is gonna be buying without a test ride.

    Go with your gut and get the one "YOU" like, not what some schmuck on the innerwebs tells you.
    Mythical Creatures Touched Me in my Bathing Suit Area.

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