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Old 08-10-22, 09:38 AM
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mr,grumpy 
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Bikes: 1978(ish) Peugeot PRN10e, Specialized Tricross

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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
While in theory a smaller wheel could offer some strength advantages, in practice the wheel size for a MTB is pretty much irrelevant in this regard. Loads of people heavier than you run 29" wheels. Heck, even DH racing has mostly gone 29". This notion that 29" wheels would be weaker than 26" stuck around for years when 29ers first hit the scene. That is pretty much settled as a non-issue these days.

If you liked the feel of the 29" wheels, get 29" wheels. There are reasons for some people to go with 27.5" on some bikes (and I am not talking about how tall they are), but you would probably know if you were one of those people.

Here is some unsolicited opinion/advice: If your use for this is going to be primarily trail riding, you might look at some other offerings with more "modern MTB" geometry. The Marlin's geo is typical of what MTB hardtails were 12 years ago. For bikes that spend a bit of time on something other than singletrack, this is fine. It is a sensible compromise for a bike that spends a lot of time on roads (paved, dirt, gravel, commuting). But for primarily singletrack riding, geometry has improved dramatically in the past 5-7 years. Basically, modern MTB geo has gotten better for actual mountain biking, but less desirable for riding on roads (paved or otherwise). That's my take, anyway.

Is there a reason for Rock Shox in particular? Rock Shox makes a solid product at nearly all price levels from entry to top-tier, but there are other good options. Fox is also excellent, and offers high quality forks starting from affordable (this would be their Marzocchi branded stuff) to top tier. For my the reason I like RS forks is that they are relatively easy to rebuild, But if you don't do that stuff yourself, it is not really a selling point. Manitou is also making good stuff these days, though I don't often see them on stock builds. At the price point you are looking at, being brand-specific could really limit you option. Look at the model, not just the brand.
Thank you. I do want this bike for trail riding. No roads I have bikes for that. Rockshox only because hey were aspirational when I was little. Others might be better but also more costly and without that satisfying "click" of a life goal completion. My NEXT bike might have better. I'm open to other options obviously, and would love to have suggestions. I've looked at the numbers for most of the competition and they are all pretty close, as far as geometry goes. The "trail" bikes are a step up from the top tier Marlins and Rockhoppers. My nerve starts to waver as the price comes closer to $2k and I start to think about all the "real things" that I could be spending that money on.

My Front Runners right now are the Kona Mahuna and the Giant Fathom 1 (without the RS, I know...) Perhaps more Reilly available are the Marlin 7 that I mentioned and the Rockhopper Elite or maybe a Giant Talon 1 that would be very comfortably under budget.

What "smaller" brands should I look at that are going to offer a trail hardtail in that +/- $1500 range?
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1980ish Raleigh Marathon (Vintage Steel)
2006 Trek 820 (Captain Amazing)
2010 Specialized Tricross (Back in Black)
2008 Specialized Roubaix
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