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Help a rodie buy a mountain bike

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Help a rodie buy a mountain bike

Old 11-13-11, 09:46 AM
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staplemachine
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Help a rodie buy a mountain bike

I have no idea about mountain bikes component groups ect. I looked at newbie stuff on the mountain forum and would like to find out what the roadies recommend. I am only doing trails nothing too difficult (I hope) and have a budget of 1500+-It seems fellas are doing more mountain biking these days and I want the option to go out with them. My road bike is Orbea and I would stick with them if they offer a decent bike but website has way too many choices and confuses me
thanks
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Old 11-13-11, 10:17 AM
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Really depends on the trails and your riding style. If you are doing technical single track with lots of rocks and roots, go with a full suspension bike. If you are talking rail trails and fire roads where speed is more important, go with a hard tail for the power transfer. I won't suggest brands as all manufacturers make decent frames. Kona seems to offer good component deals. My preference for mtb is Sram but there are a lot of Shimano fans just like roadies.

I ride a Specialized Epic with Sram X0/XX and it serves me well. That said, I take my cross bike out for the flatter/faster trails.
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Old 11-13-11, 10:35 AM
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I just went through the same evaluation. I ended up with Specialized Stumpjumper 29 Expert - Hardtail. Love it and the right choice for me.

Start with what kind of riding you'll do = jdon nailed it pretty well. Riding where I am can be anything from fire roads to knarly single-track but all of it has a lot of climbing. I can't keep up with my more experienced friends on the single-track (more my skill level than the bike) but the power transfer of the hard tail is great. Read the MTB forum for the latest on why (or why not) a 29er. Personal opinion, it is a good way to go especially for us roadies coming over to the dirt side.
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Old 11-13-11, 11:44 AM
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as a long time mt biker (got into road cycling to get in better shape to ride mt bikes)..i recently went to a 29'er hardtail, after years of riding full suspension and do not regret it a bit. The bigger wheels of the 29'er just roll over anything. There are several nice 29'ers in the $1500 range that should suit your needs.
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Old 11-13-11, 01:33 PM
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I picked up my first MTB this year, a Trek 6000. Try and test ride a 26" hard tail, full suspension and a 29" hard tail. See if any of them really standout to you. 26" v. 29" wasn't all that noticeable to me in ride quality on my short test rides. However, for my limited budget($650), I got a lot more bang for my buck by going with 26" wheels(lock out and damper fork, non-tektro brakes, sram 9 speed components).

$1500 is enough money that you really probably won't find a "bad" bike in your price range.
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Old 11-13-11, 01:49 PM
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Go 29er hardtail. Pretty much does everything, and WAY better feeling if you are used to road bike stiffness than full suspension (cheaper too). I am a Shimano guy on the mountain, SRAM has never worked as reliably, or adjusted as easily as my XT stuff. Deore, SLX, or whatever they are calling the group below XT these days is great stuff as well.

Oh, go tubeless. Srsly. UST is the easiest (my Mavic crosstrails didn't need sealant or an air compressor to seal, and run fine for a few months till I remembered I needed sealant), but any other tubeless method will work. Flats blow out on the trail.
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Old 11-13-11, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by garciawork View Post
Go 29er hardtail. Pretty much does everything, and WAY better feeling if you are used to road bike stiffness than full suspension (cheaper too). I am a Shimano guy on the mountain, SRAM has never worked as reliably, or adjusted as easily as my XT stuff. Deore, SLX, or whatever they are calling the group below XT these days is great stuff as well.

Oh, go tubeless. Srsly. UST is the easiest (my Mavic crosstrails didn't need sealant or an air compressor to seal, and run fine for a few months till I remembered I needed sealant), but any other tubeless method will work. Flats blow out on the trail.
I wouldn't be so adamant about 29ers. Everyone is different. Try them both on demo rides. At 5'10", I am more compact and the 29ers just feel too big for the technical riding I prefer.
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Old 11-13-11, 04:53 PM
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If you do decide on a 29er hardtail, and you like Orbea, a friend has an Orbea 29er which he loves.
I ride a cheap 26er full suspension KHS and it works pretty well for me until it comes time to climb, then the 30+ pound weight is a factor.
I have back issues that prevent me from wanting to go back to a hardtail with the rocky trails I ride, but they have the things down around 21 or 22 pounds now.
Cannondale even has a fs that light.
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Old 11-13-11, 05:06 PM
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I got a FS bike (Cannondale Rush, on sale at the time for near $1500 with lockout front & rear) because I felt that I was getting too old to be bouncing around on a hardtail. I also had a lower-spec Schwinn hardtail back then, and I didn't want to duplicate its basic abilities. Honestly, I don't wish I had gotten a hardtail -- the thing will still go faster than I'm willing to pedal on the gravelly canal trail, for example, and it's almost as nice as sitting on my couch.
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Old 11-13-11, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by staplemachine View Post
I have no idea about mountain bikes component groups ect. I looked at newbie stuff on the mountain forum and would like to find out what the roadies recommend. I am only doing trails nothing too difficult (I hope) and have a budget of 1500+-It seems fellas are doing more mountain biking these days and I want the option to go out with them. My road bike is Orbea and I would stick with them if they offer a decent bike but website has way too many choices and confuses me
thanks
I went from MTB to RB and am going back into MTBing now. Yes Orbea makes great MTBs. Groupsets are like in RB's (105/LX, Ultegra/XT, Dura Ace/XTR on the Shimano side and Rival/X.7, X.9/Force, X.0/Red).

For $1,500. you can get a very great hardtail or a good full suspension.
But then again, you can spend half of that and get great entry level bikes.
Trek has some nice hardtails in the $800. range and Giant
a very good full suspension Yukon FX around that price.

As for groups, anything LX/X.7 will be okay to start out with.
What type of riding you'll do will also have a lot to do with your choice.
I'd say to get a $800. hardtail to start out with. See what kind of riding you like

Hit some singletrack, all mountain, technical trails...get a taste of it all.
Then, if you find yourself preferring a particular style, that's when you spend
some real money on a MTB and get something with an XT/X.9+ groupset.

If it has to be Orbea, you're going to get really low end component for the money you're maxing out at ($1,500. range). What they give you on a $1,500. bike, you get on a bike costing half that much.

https://www.orbea.com/us-us/bicis/mod.../#presentacion

Last edited by 2ndGen; 11-13-11 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 11-13-11, 06:19 PM
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This is a great time of the year for purchasing a 2011 bike as the 2012's are coming in. There are a lot of good suggestions out there already. For $1500 you should get a good deal and perhaps a MSRP of about $2200. FSuspension is great for the trails that are quite bumpy (rocks, roots) but as others say if you are primarily riding fire roads or 2 track you may be happy with front suspension only. Today I was on one of those bumpy single tracks and wished I had FS. My back and butt were taking a beating. I have a 29er and others say this is the way to go..... but 26ers are great as well and if you can get a great deal on a 26er that is just fine. As for components it is similar to road biking. Shimano has 2 or 3 grades just like on road bikes. You don't need full dura ace. Let us know what deals you see out there.
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Old 11-15-11, 12:02 PM
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The mountain bike world has really gone extreme into market segmentation; it can be very, very confusing as to what to buy, especially as those market segments frequently overlap or are poorly defined in the first place.

So my first bit of advice is to ignore the marketing category of the bike ("trail bike" vs "All Mountain" vs "Marathon XC" etc) and instead concentrate on the specific technology used on the bike.

Here are the broad strokes:

1. Hardtail vs Full Suspension - hardtails are simpler and usually cheaper (until you start seeing the specialized carbon race hardtails which are very much "horses for courses") Full suspension bikes are FAR more capable and forgiving, but they take a little more maintainence and the variety of different setups can be baffling. They will also be more expensive;

2. 26 vs 29: 29" wheels are better at high-frequency, low-amplitude bumps than 26" wheels (even with suspension) but the bike will be somewhat less manouverable and tires and tubes are harder to find. If you will be riding on fire roads and/or bike paths exclusively (like a rails to trails path) a 29" hardtail will be the way to go. If you want to get into singletrack, the 26" wheel is the better choice;

3. Brakes: Go hydraulic. Mechanical (cable-pull) brakes work, but they take constant tweaking to keep working. It is worth a little extra money to get hydraulic disks;

4. The most important part of the bike is the fork. It is worth spending a little more money to get a good fork than to get a bike with a cheap fork. Air vs coil is a lesser consideration, but rebound damping is a MUST and adjustable compression can be handy.

DG
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Old 11-15-11, 12:15 PM
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I just got a 2012 Specialized full carbon hard tail at a great discount cause it had 26 inch wheels and the shop wanted to carry 29ers. It's awesome!
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Old 11-15-11, 12:18 PM
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i'm in the same boat as the OP. if you DO decide to go with a full suspension 29er, i have found the 2011 trek hifi plus out the door for $1700, and the 2011 specialized camber elite 29er out the door for $1500. the 2012 scott spark 29er is also in that ball park but it looks like the components arenet as good as the trek. it seems like the trek is the best bang for the buck and i cant really find anything it compares to in its price range. to get a better bike, you have to spend a couple hundred more, and its still a trek, the hifi deluxe. every other brand hat compares to that bike is about $300 more. trek seems to have put together some nice suspension with gruppos in that price range, not many other companies have done that. they seem to focus more on the $3000 and up range.
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Old 11-15-11, 12:40 PM
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I agree that there are so many segments in mtn bikes. Go check out Mondraker's site... they have like 7 or 8 different ones. DH, freeride, trail, enduro, all mountain, XC, etc.

If i was in the market for a mtn bike, I'd probably go with either an Orbea, a BMC, or a Mondraker. Maybe even a Santa Cruz if it was cheaper to go "domestic."

I used to mtn bike before i got into road riding and I feel like I can't go back. I'm addicted to the speed. Plus I feel more safe on the road.
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Old 11-15-11, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by RecceDG View Post
The mountain bike world has really gone extreme into market segmentation; it can be very, very confusing as to what to buy, especially as those market segments frequently overlap or are poorly defined in the first place.

So my first bit of advice is to ignore the marketing category of the bike ("trail bike" vs "All Mountain" vs "Marathon XC" etc) and instead concentrate on the specific technology used on the bike.

Here are the broad strokes:

1. Hardtail vs Full Suspension - hardtails are simpler and usually cheaper (until you start seeing the specialized carbon race hardtails which are very much "horses for courses") Full suspension bikes are FAR more capable and forgiving, but they take a little more maintainence and the variety of different setups can be baffling. They will also be more expensive;

2. 26 vs 29: 29" wheels are better at high-frequency, low-amplitude bumps than 26" wheels (even with suspension) but the bike will be somewhat less manouverable and tires and tubes are harder to find. If you will be riding on fire roads and/or bike paths exclusively (like a rails to trails path) a 29" hardtail will be the way to go. If you want to get into singletrack, the 26" wheel is the better choice;

3. Brakes: Go hydraulic. Mechanical (cable-pull) brakes work, but they take constant tweaking to keep working. It is worth a little extra money to get hydraulic disks;

4. The most important part of the bike is the fork. It is worth spending a little more money to get a good fork than to get a bike with a cheap fork. Air vs coil is a lesser consideration, but rebound damping is a MUST and adjustable compression can be handy.

DG
Reading this post just made me want to at least double my budget.
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Old 11-15-11, 01:03 PM
  #17  
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I don't think you can get a decent new FS bike for $1,500. You can get some cheaper ones, but not any that have good suspension design to minimize pedaling losses.

Anyway...
I highly recommend a 29er because it gives you the flexibility to run any tire from 2.4" to 23mm. Granted, you are not likely to do that as you have a road bike, but it IS possible that you might run 32-38mm cyclocross for high speed XC or gravel road use. The comparison of tire availability in this size between 700c and 26" is hugely in favor of the 29er / 700c wheel.

In terms of the budget, I'd be looking at the Specialized Carve for sure and there are a lot of hardtail 29ers to consider. Unfortunately even in a hardtail $1,500 is not a lot. In particular if you can swing another $100-200 consider the Cannondale Flash 29er 3.
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Old 11-15-11, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by RecceDG View Post
The mountain bike world has really gone extreme into market segmentation; it can be very, very confusing as to what to buy, especially as those market segments frequently overlap or are poorly defined in the first place.

So my first bit of advice is to ignore the marketing category of the bike ("trail bike" vs "All Mountain" vs "Marathon XC" etc) and instead concentrate on the specific technology used on the bike.

Here are the broad strokes:

1. Hardtail vs Full Suspension - hardtails are simpler and usually cheaper (until you start seeing the specialized carbon race hardtails which are very much "horses for courses") Full suspension bikes are FAR more capable and forgiving, but they take a little more maintainence and the variety of different setups can be baffling. They will also be more expensive;

2. 26 vs 29: 29" wheels are better at high-frequency, low-amplitude bumps than 26" wheels (even with suspension) but the bike will be somewhat less manouverable and tires and tubes are harder to find. If you will be riding on fire roads and/or bike paths exclusively (like a rails to trails path) a 29" hardtail will be the way to go. If you want to get into singletrack, the 26" wheel is the better choice;

3. Brakes: Go hydraulic. Mechanical (cable-pull) brakes work, but they take constant tweaking to keep working. It is worth a little extra money to get hydraulic disks;

4. The most important part of the bike is the fork. It is worth spending a little more money to get a good fork than to get a bike with a cheap fork. Air vs coil is a lesser consideration, but rebound damping is a MUST and adjustable compression can be handy.

DG
Excellent summary
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Old 11-15-11, 02:23 PM
  #19  
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Hey there Staplemachine!

Based on your stated requirements in a MTB, IMHO you don't really need full suspension. That's especially with your budget. Besides, going uphill with full suspension, feels weird to me. Going downhill is more like it with FS!
However, that said, a hardtail will suit your needs just as well, provided that you have a decent fork. That's also, provided that your descents aren't too steep and drops are more on the shallow side.

Since you're mostly just hitting the wooded trails, you could probably get away with just a rigid hardtail. However, if you're uncertain about your future terrain prospects, you're most probably better off with a hardtail. Besides, hardtails are more versatile, anyway. I mean you could actually commute on a hardtail, whereas that might look a little quaint for a FS MTB.

Anyways these are my recommendations for hardtail ventures:

1) Kona Honzo ~ $1800 + Deore (R) * Fork (120mm) @ Chromoly 29'er

2) Kona Steely ~ $1359 + Deore (R) * Fork (130mm) @ Chromoly 26'er

3) Trek X-Caliber ~ $1540 + X-7 (R) * Fork (100mm) L/O @ Aluminum 29'er

4) Trek Rig ~ $1540 + X-7 (R) * Fork (100mm) L/O @ Aluminum 29'er

5) Trek Sawyer ~ $1500 + X-7 (R) * Fork (Rigid) @ Chromoly 29'er

6) Cannondale Flash Alloy ~ $1670 + Shimano SLX (R) * Fork (80mm) L/O @ Aluminum 29'er

- Slim

Last edited by SlimRider; 11-15-11 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 11-15-11, 11:01 PM
  #20  
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Besides, going uphill with full suspension, feels weird to me.
Notwithstanding "weird", a FS bike will climb better on uneven, rutted, nasty trails than any hardtail will. My Faze continues to surprise me with what it will clamber up.

I don't think you can get a decent new FS bike for $1,500. You can get some cheaper ones, but not any that have good suspension design to minimize pedaling losses.
Well, there are a couple of different aspects to "good":

The first is the design of the linkage itself, which is a mixture of the type of suspension (single pivot, high single pivot, DW Link, FSR etc etc) and the specific geometry used within that design.

The second is the quality of the shock fitted into the linkage, and to a lesser extent, the quality of the bushings/bearings at the pivot points.

We can argue linkage and geometry design until we are blue; each design and configuration has its own tradeoffs and there is no single perfect design (yet) A "cheap and simple" single pivot can work very well. I like FSRs because they stay active under braking, but depending on how much anti-dive is built into them, they will bob a little.... this is largely counting dancing angels on pinhead stuff.

But shock quality and pivot quality does make a real difference. It is common for FS bikes to have identical framesets, but different shocks, based on price point.

It can be worth the money to skip the bottom rung and move up a model. The slightly better component spec is less of an issue on driveline stuff (X7 vs X9 vs XO vs XX mostly just gets lighter with increasing spec, not "better") but it can make a HUGE difference with shocks.

Particularly the fork; the fork pretty well makes or breaks the bike. A bike with an undamped SunTour fork (typical on entry level bikes) is a pogo stick, not a mountain bike.

A decent FS bike can be had at the $1500 price point, but the difference with an budget increase to $2000-$2500 will be noticeable. Beyond that you are mostly buying lightness.

DG
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Old 11-15-11, 11:33 PM
  #21  
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I think in your budget, I would stick with a hardtail unless you find a leftover quality FS at a killer price. You'll get higher quality parts/components for your $1500 if you go hard tail. I would also suggest the 29er route. I had a Giant Trance X 26er FS and sold it after a couple of rides on a HiFi 29er. I had to adjust my riding style a little with the 29er. I find I have to be a bit more smooth and pick lines that will allow me to carry my speed. Honestly, I think the 26/29 are a wash when it comes to speed. What I gain with one, I lose with the other. A 29er just feels better to me.
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Old 11-15-11, 11:52 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by RecceDG View Post
Notwithstanding "weird", a FS bike will climb better on uneven, rutted, nasty trails than any hardtail will. My Faze continues to surprise me with what it will clamber up.
DG
Very true. I used to scramble up climbs with my HT, but there were situations where a FS was better. The thing is to get a bike that fits the terrain. I find a 5" FS in the sub-30lb range to be the multi-tool of bikes for me. I have a 4" XC/Trail 29lb Sugar now. It's a nice rig.
__________________________________________________________

OP,

If you have riding buddies that have MTB's already, test ride what they have.
They probably already know what's best for your area.

I think $1,500. is too much to put out without even knowing what style of riding you prefer.
I say this because I knew a guy did exactly that; picked up a Hardtail 29er, hit the trails and hated it. He had to sell the bike a a significant loss and picked up a 26er FS that he loved.

Good luck.
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Old 11-16-11, 01:37 AM
  #23  
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You should figure out where you'll be riding, and then decide what kinda bike to get.

I wanted a bike for less technical fire roads with lots of climbing, and the answer for me was a carbon 29er hardtail. I also budgeted $440 for stans tubeless rims so I don't worry about flats (the tires that came on my bike were tubeless ready, so I just needed the wheels and some stans goop).

An extra upside to a light 29er HT is that you can also cyclocross on it fairly effectively.
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