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Old 07-15-14, 12:09 PM   #1
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Specialized vs Trek (Plus 2015 Model Comparisons)

Hey there, posted a couple weeks ago in search of my first (real) bike, but was set on a hybrid. Fortunately, forum posters and my LBS talked me right out of that, and I am now in search of a mountain bike! My budget has jumped up to ~$700-800, fairly set on Specialized or Trek (somewhat looked into Giant, but their models in my price range don't strike me as well as Specialized and Treks) with 29" wheels, but beyond that I need help!

I was in and tried out a higher level Hardrock disc last week, when the guy mentioned the 2015 models should be arriving soon! He also mentioned the Hardrock's are going down to 26", and the higher level Hardrock / lower level Rockhopper are essentially merging into a new Rockhopper with Shimano Altus / Acera components whereas the 2014 model for $100-200 more had Acera / Alivia. Is this difference something I'd ever notice, as a beginner? Also, I can't seem to find any differences between the 2015 Rockhopper, and Rockhopper Sport models, aside from $100 and an extra gear.. Is that all it is?

Rockhopper 29
Rockhopper Sport 29

As far as Trek goes, I've been looking at the X-Caliber 8 currently on sale for $850 with much higher level components than either the 2014 or 2015 Rockhopper. Again going back to the question, are the components what I should be focused on, or the feel / appearance (also I've read lots of people prefer the look of SRAM mechanics to Shimano, but I can't spot a difference in pics online. Is it really that noticeable)?

But they also have the Marlin and 3 Series, starting out closer to my initial price range. Should I be considering these options, or are the 2015 models likely to be popping up for Trek, as well?

Thanks for any tips / advice!
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Old 07-15-14, 05:31 PM   #2
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Don't know a ton about Rockhoppers, but I can comment as an owner of an X-Cal 8. Absolutely love it out on the trails. I test rode multiple bikes to figure out the differences in the feel of components to see what I liked.

The SRAM drivetrain is much quicker in my opinion, compared to the Shimano that I had on my '13 Trek Mamba. Components come down to functionality and comfort over looks. Next time you go to your LBS test ride the X-Cal 7 and the 8 one after another and you will be able to determine which one you like more.

The only negative thing I have to say about SRAM is that my second time on the trail my left shifter completely broke off of my handlebars. I hadn't fallen on it or hit it against anything, so I assume it must have just been a defect in the aluminum housing. Only using shifter made it a little tricky on getting home from the halfway point on an 8 mile trail but I made it out alive. I took it in to my LBS and explained what happened and SRAM sent out a brand new shifter completely free of charge and took care of the situation quite well.

For you question about being focused on components or feel/ appearance. When choosing my bike my priority of qualities goes Price>Fitting>Components>Looks. If its in the price range, it fits your body, and the components work well, then looks will probably come along with it.
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Old 07-16-14, 09:09 PM   #3
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What your LBS Didn't tell you is, all those '14 models you're looking at will be going on sale, probably within a month. I always buy a leftover on sale if I can get one. For your $800 you should be able to get a $1K MSRP bike, no problem, maybe even one with a MSRP over $1K.
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Old 07-17-14, 06:18 PM   #4
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Great point! But what are the chances of getting a specific 2014 model? Would they still order it (at a discounted rate??), or would they only have whatever's left of 2014 inventory?

Quite interested in this one, though it is a touch expensive so a discount would be wonderful.
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