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Old 09-10-12, 05:47 PM   #1
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MTB brands - how do these compare?

Hi folks:

Some folks in my office have formed a MTB team and I have been invited to join the group. I have not ride a bike in more than 20 years (I'm 43 by the way). I really want to get into Mountain Biking because of the opportunity this brings me to do some exercise and also because it looks like a great way to release stress while having fun. Having said that, I have started the process of searching for a MT bike. I have visited 4 bike shops (the only ones accesible to me) and they all carry different brands. I have the potential to purchase a bike from the following brands:

1. Trek
2. Cannondale
3. Specialized
4. Storck
5. Jamis

The challenge that I have is the following. All 4 bike shops carry a limited amount of stock in store, and the models that I have given serious consideration will have to be ordered because the shops dont have them in stock. I have done research on the internet on these bikes and brands, but have no clue as to which brands are better in terms of components and overall quality. I have a budget that I have established for this purchase, so perhaps knowing which brands are better would help me narrow down my decision. It seems that Trek and Cannondale are good brands, but the Specialized brand seems to be very popular. I dont know how Storck and Jamis fare against the other 3.

Perhaps Im asking something very difficult, and if that is the case, please forgive my ignorance on the subject. Im just looking to make the most informed decision before handing over my hard earned money. Thanks in advance for your help with my question.
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Old 09-10-12, 06:39 PM   #2
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4 of those 5 are full line manufacturers. Brand alone will tell you nearly nothing.

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Old 09-10-12, 06:46 PM   #3
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Never heard of Storck. Trek and Specialized are part of the big 3 the 3rd being Giant. Cannondale makes decent bikes but have never been a fan. Jamis also builds a solid bike that from at least my experience tends to be at a lesser price point without giving up quality. Out of the list given I would go with a Specialized. They have a wide variety of bikes and have great R & D. I know a lot of the guys they have that are designing and testing their bike are young rippers who are really pushing the envelope. I have also heard good things about their warranty program from some friends of mine who ride nothing but Speci. The one Specialized bike I have owned was great. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 09-10-12, 06:58 PM   #4
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Dont drink the big name kool-aid. I bought one of these a few weeks ago. I love it! Save yourself $500 or so:

My LBS had nothing that came close to the component set on the Bikes Direct bike for the same $. Id do it again in a heartbeat.

But if money isnt an issue....
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Old 09-10-12, 11:25 PM   #5
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Storck makes some super bling bikes, but they're also fairly pricey. But they also don't make any bad ones, so if you can afford one go for it. German engineering is da bomb.
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Old 09-11-12, 06:04 PM   #6
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What's your budget? Without knowing that we can't help you much.
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Old 09-11-12, 07:23 PM   #7
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Storck is sold in Europe, mostly in the UK. I don't think they export to North America. I've never heard of them and don't know what their reputation is. Any of the other brands are well known, but as has been said, the amount the OP is spending has an impact on the decision.
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Old 09-13-12, 11:42 PM   #8
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You can't really compare brand to brand. Every model is different and each manufacturer makes cheap bikes and super expensive bikes. Think about it - if I said compare Ford vs Chevy, would it make sense to put a Ford Focus up against a Corvette? You have to be way more specific. Everybody has their preferences, but really, you can't go wrong with any of those companies. What you need to do is figure out your budget and then go to several bike shops and try out a few models to see what fits best. Eventually you will also need to decide a few things such as whether you want a hardtail or full suspension bike, 29er vs 26 vs 650B wheels... If you have friends at the office that know bikes, you should take one of them with you to help sort out the details. That would be a lot easier than relying on strangers on the internet.
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Old 09-17-12, 03:35 PM   #9
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If you lived were I live you would be stuck with 2 big brands. Trek & GT, if you buy online then it will open up with more brands obviously. I will NOT buy a bike online because I'm one who likes to see the product 1st. I dont know much about your 5 brands listed other than Trek, so I would pick that.
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Old 09-25-12, 01:08 AM   #10
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I don't like Specialized because they bully small independent LBSs into being Concept Stores (carry only Specialized or lose their contract). Besides that, their bikes have a lot of house-brand components to keep the price down. Don't get me wrong, they make great bikes.

You really need to determine what $ amount you want to spend and then see what each brand offers at that price point. This is what I did when I was in the market for a new full-suspension bike last year. I had $2000 to spend and looked at Trek, Specialized and Santa Cruz and bought the SC. It had the best spec for the price of 3 comparable models plus it was a small factory that still had a grass roots vibe.

For major features to consider, look at the wheel sets--you can't cheaply replace them. Lighter, stronger wheels stay truer and are easier to spin (go faster easier due to lower rotational weight). Same with the shock(s)--sizeable $ to replace. Rear derailleur is key too as it takes the most abuse of most parts. Tires are fairly cheap and easy to change as is a seat or grips, so don't be as concerned with those. Good luck.
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Old 09-27-12, 03:38 PM   #11
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Jamis has been good to me over the course of two different bikes, and they usually come in a bit cheaper than the better known brands with very comparable spec.
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