Old 10-24-05, 08:21 PM
  #8  
roccobike
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: South of Raleigh, North of New Hill, East of Harris Lake, NC
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Bikes: Specialized Tarmac, Specialized Roubaix, Giant OCR-C, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR, Stumpjumper Comp, 88 & 92Nishiki Ariel, 87 Centurion Ironman, 92 Paramount, 84 Nishiki Medalist

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Thanks to everyone who responded to my request. I reviewed every comment and they were very helpful. I purchased the RockHopper. Please let me explain how your comments helped me make this decision. NoF3ar made a comment about the excellent components on the Trek 6500, but the ex-rental bike I tried out did not have the Deore XT rear and Deore front deraileurs as stated on the Trek web site and I think the fork may have been a downgraded unit. I decided to stay away from this bike.
I considered the Ironhorse Warrior DS, but Expatriate's comment about weight caused me to ask, how much the Warrior DS weighs. A LOB weighed a floor unit at over 36 lbs. My upper body strength is not what it used to be and I'm trying to reduce my bike weight to allow me to maneuver better. I decided to pass on the Warrior.
I chose the Rockhopper, the bike that felt the most comfortable, as per Konarider24's comment. I also considered Sparks 219 comment about component abuse. I asked the LOB to check the chain for stretch. The LOB did and sure enough, it was just outside of spec. The LOB provided new replacement SRAM chain and Shimano cassette. Additionally, I received a full, Specialized new bike warranty and deraileur tune-ups from the LOB for as long as I own the bike. I guess I could have done better, but after looking for 3 months on ebay and constantly being out-bid, I decided to buy a one year old bike I could see and ride before buying for 30% off MSRP with full new warranty.
Thanks again to everyone who responded.
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