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Old 12-26-11, 08:53 PM   #1
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Mountain bike on a budget? 29er

I'm an avid roadie, logging 7K miles this past year but I'm looking to get into Mountain biking, trail riding, fire roads, rural dirt roads etc.. Unfortunately I'm on a budget and I need to spend no more than $500 and I'd like the bike to be a 29er. I've been looking on Craigs List and came close a few times but the bikes were one size too big.

As far as new, entry level bikes, I've come up with these.

Performance has the GT Karakoram 3.0.-- 8 speed, non disc brakes. Seems like a nice bike but no disc brakes, I'm not sure I need those anyway, but, as far as I can tell the frame and wheels have the mounting holes so I could always add some later. $399+tax=$435 out the door.
GT Karakoram

2nd Bike:
BikesDirect has the Fantom Trail 29 for $499 shipped
9 speed, slightly better components and low level disc brakes. I don't mind buying from them, I've done it before, and I do my own wrenching so that's not an issue. My concern with this bike would be the frame quality and some of the "smaller" components such as the hubs,BB, crank set.

At first glance it would seem the BD Fantom 29 would be the better option for me, but as I said before, my main concern is quality of the frame. But then again maybe at this price point the frames are equal?
Fantom 29

Thoughts? Input?
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Old 12-27-11, 12:44 AM   #2
Max C.
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I'd probably go for the Bikes Direct model. The price difference is small and Novelas are adequate brakes.
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Old 12-27-11, 10:21 AM   #3
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I normally don't reply to "which bike I should buy" threads but in the spirit of the season here goes...

At that pricepoint, frames will be similar. Aluminum is cheap to manufacture and neither are special, although the GT has the triple triangle thing going for it... an iconic look distinguishing it from others. Nothing wrong with V-brakes. They've been stopping folks way before discs came along, even on DH bikes. The ability to upgrade in the future is nice, but why wait? Go discs and never look back. Parts spec look similar... Can you test ride them? The GT perhaps at your local Performance, the BD is gonna be buying without a test ride.

Go with your gut and get the one "YOU" like, not what some schmuck on the innerwebs tells you.
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