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Old 03-04-13, 01:27 PM   #1
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Upgrade from the $600 bike

Hi all, like many new riders I started with a budget of $600. I ended up with a Trek 3900 Disc, decent starter bike with low end components like you would expect at the price. Now I have the option of upgrading, or holding out one more season. My current budget would be $1300, and at that price I was looking at the Cannondale Trail SL series hardtail bikes or an 2011 Trek Fuel EX5 (entry level full suspension) that is on clearance at my LBS. I know hardtail vs. full suspension is a discussion on its own.

I'm really wondering if it is worth going from the $600 entry level bike to a slightly higher up $1300 bike, or if I should stick with what I have for another season and upgrade next year which would increase my budget to the low to mid $2000 range. Just looking at the spec sheets it's hard for me to know how much I'm getting for my money, and while I can test ride around the parking lot, that's not the same as being on the trail. I welcome thoughts from those who have likely gone through this same situation when they started out. Thanks.

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Old 03-04-13, 04:57 PM   #2
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Imo (tho I could be wrong or the less popular answer), unless you're dead set on a full suspension bike, I'd scrap the idea of a new hardtail and just sink some money into new parts. You have a decent frame to build off.
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Old 03-04-13, 10:21 PM   #3
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Now that you've owned a bike for a while, you know what size frame fits you. What about looking on ebay or CL for a late model, higher end used bike? I mention this because I picked up a four year old Stumpjumper hardtail with many upgrades for $1K shipped. For your budget, you should be able to pick up something really nice that's under 5 years old. Something to consider.
IMHO, If you decide to invest in the 3900, my first reaction is don't. But there is another thought. Buy components that can be transferred to any new bike you buy such as a set of high end Mavic wheels with tubeless tires. I would also consider a new fork but the steerer may not match the new frame design when you upgrade. I would not invest in items like new derailers or shifters if yours are working OK.
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Old 03-05-13, 08:19 AM   #4
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I'm not inclined to build up my 3900, when I upgrade I actually have someone who wants to buy it from me (probably cheaply). I keep an eye on CL but there's not many options there typically, despite the fact that we have plenty of local trails for riding. I think right now I'm leaning towards keeping what I have for this season and then splurging on something next year that I won't feel the need to constantly upgrade. I'm pretty tempted save for a Cannondale lefty bike, they seem pretty popular with the riders in my area.
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