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Need help choosing a bike after a 25-year hiatus

Old 03-24-20, 03:59 PM
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badlydrawnboy
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Need help choosing a bike after a 25-year hiatus

Hi all,

We recently moved to Park City, UT and I'm coming back to mountain biking after a 25-year hiatus. I'll be riding primarily on the x-country trails here in Park City; I don't have plans to do any downhill riding at the ski resorts. So, from what I gather, a trail or cross-country bike would be the best option?

Wondering what you'd recommend as a good bike for me to start with. Definitely leaning toward full suspension. Budget is about $2,500. (That said, I have a friend who gets a 25-35% discount with Marin and Diamondback, so I might be able to go as high as $4k on sticker price if I choose a Marin or Diamondback option.)

I've read a bunch of reviews but don't even understand half of what they're saying because I'm not familiar with the lingo. One bike that several have recommended is the Jeffsy Base 29. It seems like a pretty high-quality bike for the price.

Also, if the Jeffsy Base 29 is a good option, I'm wondering what size would be best. I'm 6'2.5", which is right in between their XL and XXL. But my legs are on the shorter side for my height; the inseam on my pants is 32 or 33. I'm not sure whether to size up to XXL or down to XL. What do you think?

Thanks for your help!

Last edited by badlydrawnboy; 03-24-20 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 03-25-20, 08:34 AM
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I had a bottom-model Diamondback Catch (same as Release) a few years ago, the version sold through Performance/Nashbar. I had a good opinion of it. It was a screaming deal at the time, though.

The Release came out in 2016. When people were retrofitting their bikes with dropper posts a few years ago the wisdom was to size up. But newer bikes are longer now. So on the Jeffsy it would probably be ok to size down.

The Jeffsy and Release are both definitely trail bikes. There's a class of XC bikes that are better to pedal but shorter travel and lighter duty.
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Old 03-25-20, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I had a bottom-model Diamondback Catch (same as Release) a few years ago, the version sold through Performance/Nashbar. I had a good opinion of it. It was a screaming deal at the time, though.

The Release came out in 2016. When people were retrofitting their bikes with dropper posts a few years ago the wisdom was to size up. But newer bikes are longer now. So on the Jeffsy it would probably be ok to size down.

The Jeffsy and Release are both definitely trail bikes. There's a class of XC bikes that are better to pedal but shorter travel and lighter duty.
Thanks. I'm also looking at the Trek Fuel EX 7, which my LBS has in stock. I've been in there once and talked to them on the phone once, and they've been super helpful. The shop gets great reviews too.

Given that I know next to nothing about bikes, wondering if it might be better for me to buy from LBS rather than direct? The Fuel EX line gets great reviews, so if it's roughly comparable to the Jeffsy 29 Base it might be worth spending a bit more for a good relationship with the LBS?
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Old 03-25-20, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by badlydrawnboy View Post
Thanks. I'm also looking at the Trek Fuel EX 7, which my LBS has in stock. I've been in there once and talked to them on the phone once, and they've been super helpful. The shop gets great reviews too.

Given that I know next to nothing about bikes, wondering if it might be better for me to buy from LBS rather than direct? The Fuel EX line gets great reviews, so if it's roughly comparable to the Jeffsy 29 Base it might be worth spending a bit more for a good relationship with the LBS?
I rented and rode a Trek Fuel X7 in Moab this fall and liked the feel of it. I considered doing an upgrade one day to a more expensive model but the staff suggested that, for the type of riding I was doing, more flow trails that hard technical DH, it was as good as some of the other higher tier choices. The geometry being more suited for pedaling than dropping.
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Old 03-25-20, 10:17 AM
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I too started back after 20 years. Jumped back my 96 Stumpjumper and rediscovered fear and pain as I discovered how trails have changed.
I will eventually get FS bike, but for now, I am going to buy a good hardtail.
Bikes I have been considering:
*All 27.5
Santa Cruz Chameleon
Kona Honzo
Specialized Fuse
Marin San Quentin 3
Nukeproof Scout Comp
Whyte 905

​​​All of these are the 1,600-2,300 range.
Things I focused on in my search we're
1. 1x12 10-50t
2. Decent group (NX)
3. Fork (Revelation, Pike level)
4. Dropper Post
5. Updated geometry (head & seat tube )
6. Tires & Rims ( max tire size 2.8 )

If I don't get Covid-19 and have a job at weeks end, I am buying a new bike this weekend.

Good luck
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Old 03-25-20, 12:48 PM
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Cool! Curious why you're going with a hardtail for now? Is it because you'll get better components at an equivalent price?
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Old 03-25-20, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Sfriden View Post
I too started back after 20 years. Jumped back my 96 Stumpjumper and rediscovered fear and pain as I discovered how trails have changed.
I will eventually get FS bike, but for now, I am going to buy a good hardtail.
Bikes I have been considering:
*All 27.5
Santa Cruz Chameleon
Kona Honzo
Specialized Fuse
Marin San Quentin 3
Nukeproof Scout Comp
Whyte 905

​​​All of these are the 1,600-2,300 range.
Things I focused on in my search we're
1. 1x12 10-50t
2. Decent group (NX)
3. Fork (Revelation, Pike level)
4. Dropper Post
5. Updated geometry (head & seat tube )
6. Tires & Rims ( max tire size 2.8 )

If I don't get Covid-19 and have a job at weeks end, I am buying a new bike this weekend.

Good luck
You'll find that even the trails have gotten more technical the handling and quality of the bikes has improved considerably to match. I was out of it for 18 years and love it more then I ever did.

Originally Posted by badlydrawnboy View Post
Cool! Curious why you're going with a hardtail for now? Is it because you'll get better components at an equivalent price?
I went with a hardtail due to budget, in 2018 C-dale was clearing out 2000.00 bikes for 1k and I could afford that, I just bought my wife a 2k dual suspension and honestly I prefer mine. Although the dual suspension will let her ride down anything they are heavy and mine just feels more nimble and corners better which I like. I'm sure if you hit the 4k level with Marin or Diamondback, neither of which is a bike to sneer at though people don't always give them the credit they deserve, you can get closer to the ride of the hardtail. But a dual will give the benefit or greater coverage for your mistakes which I feel more in my 40s, and will keep the tires to the ground better. Really a toss to where and what you want to ride, neither will let you down at your base price, and the trek is nice.
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Old 03-25-20, 04:25 PM
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Regarding going to a local bike shop, I recently started riding again after a 30 year hiatus, and local shops as well as a co-op were a great help. This was before Covid-19, however. In my case, if I'd stuck only to my online shopping I would have likely bought a bike that was a bit too small for me and not that well suited to some of the riding I'm doing and hope to do more of. Visiting shops helped me get a better idea of what I liked and what fit, as I have long legs so needed a size up from what most charts said. On the downside I went in budgeting about $750 for a hybrid but wound up spending nearly twice that on a hardtail, so ouch. Hopefully I'll be very happy with the bike for a long time.
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Old 03-25-20, 04:38 PM
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I would have preferred LBS as well. Most were out of stock with no firm date on supply.
Given savings of $150 in taxes and markup over LBS, I was able to get bike for the money
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Old 03-26-20, 07:42 AM
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Thanks. I went ahead and ordered a Fuel EX7 yesterday from the LBS. I wanted to support a local business (especially important right now), and wanted a good relationship with the LBS. But then at the end of the day we got a shelter in place/stay at home order and all non-essential businesses, which I assume includes bike shops, are closed.

No idea how long this will last, and I really do want a bike soon so I can get out and ride over the next few weeks/months. So I may be back to ordering from YT. I think I could get the Jeffsy Comp 29 at almost the same price point as I got the Fuel EX7.

Only problem is I'm not confident that I can assemble it and tune the suspension. I was planning to bring it to the LBS but looks like that won't be possible.
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Old 03-26-20, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by badlydrawnboy View Post
Thanks. I went ahead and ordered a Fuel EX7 yesterday from the LBS. I wanted to support a local business (especially important right now), and wanted a good relationship with the LBS. But then at the end of the day we got a shelter in place/stay at home order and all non-essential businesses, which I assume includes bike shops, are closed.

No idea how long this will last, and I really do want a bike soon so I can get out and ride over the next few weeks/months. So I may be back to ordering from YT. I think I could get the Jeffsy Comp 29 at almost the same price point as I got the Fuel EX7.

Only problem is I'm not confident that I can assemble it and tune the suspension. I was planning to bring it to the LBS but looks like that won't be possible.
Ask the shop you ordered from, if possible. I got my bike before the shelter in place order in my state, but the LBS posted that it qualified as essential when the order came, so it's open with limited interaction and distancing. Yours may be able to work something out if not. Of course, please be careful and take the order seriously. On a lighter note, the Fuel EX7 looks like a wickedly cool bike.
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Old 03-26-20, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Sertsa View Post
Ask the shop you ordered from, if possible. I got my bike before the shelter in place order in my state, but the LBS posted that it qualified as essential when the order came, so it's open with limited interaction and distancing. Yours may be able to work something out if not. Of course, please be careful and take the order seriously. On a lighter note, the Fuel EX7 looks like a wickedly cool bike.
Thanks. I called this morning and they said they're still trying to figure it all out. Hopefully, they'll qualify as essential as well.
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Old 03-26-20, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by badlydrawnboy View Post
Thanks. I called this morning and they said they're still trying to figure it all out. Hopefully, they'll qualify as essential as well.
Here in NJ, the LBS are allowed to do repairs but not open for sales, so the front door must be locked. I guess it's the same deal as car dealerships. However, there is nothing stopping from an online sale. This is how a few have worked this out in my area. Pay the LBS over the phone. Then have them deliver the bike to your home. It may not work out in your state, but worth mentioning. Buying at an LBS is superbe.
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Old 03-27-20, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by qclabrat View Post
Here in NJ, the LBS are allowed to do repairs but not open for sales, so the front door must be locked. I guess it's the same deal as car dealerships. However, there is nothing stopping from an online sale. This is how a few have worked this out in my area. Pay the LBS over the phone. Then have them deliver the bike to your home. It may not work out in your state, but worth mentioning. Buying at an LBS is superbe.
That's exactly what happened here! The LBS called back and said yesterday was the last day they could sell a bike, but that they can receive bikes, build them, and do maintenance going forward. So I paid for it and it's going to arrive today. They said they should be able to build it and have it ready for me by the end of the day. Wooo hoo!

Although the spec of the Jeffsy bikes is better, they're on backorder and I would have had to wait until May or June. And I'm happy to be supporting my LBS, especially in times like this.
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Old 03-27-20, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by badlydrawnboy View Post
That's exactly what happened here! The LBS called back and said yesterday was the last day they could sell a bike, but that they can receive bikes, build them, and do maintenance going forward. So I paid for it and it's going to arrive today. They said they should be able to build it and have it ready for me by the end of the day. Wooo hoo!

Although the spec of the Jeffsy bikes is better, they're on backorder and I would have had to wait until May or June. And I'm happy to be supporting my LBS, especially in times like this.
good luck and post pics when you get it
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