Mountain Bike Discussion

Health and fitness discussion. Discuss exercise routines, dieting plans, workout regimens, healthy living, etc.
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mack_silent
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Mountain Bike Discussion

Postby mack_silent » Sat Jun 23, 2012 10:47 pm

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El Conejo
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Re: Mountain Bike Discussion

Postby El Conejo » Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:51 am

Not a bad idea. As a mountain biking enthusiast I'll add the following;

First, the most important thing you can do is go do a local reputable bike shop and have a knowledgeable salesperson help you choose a frame and take it for a test ride. If the shop will not let you take a decent test ride, you should not be buying from them. This is the only reliable way to ensure that you are buying a bike that will be comfortable for you to ride. If your bike is uncomfortable you will hate riding and stop.

Second, There are actually only a handful of companies building bike frames (in Taiwan IIRC) and they are then painted and badged by the various manufacturers. As a result, after fit, service and components should be the deciding factors.

Third, Where and how do you want to ride? The price point you are choosing means that you will be making sacrifices on the quality of some components. For example, If you don't expect to do all-weather or aggressive downhill riding, you can forgo disc brakes, stick with V-brakes (linear pull) and put the cost saving toward better components elsewhere. Can you get by with a rigid fork?

Let us know what you are trying to do and perhaps we can help you better.

To answer the question you initially asked. I suppose the GT is the better in terms of components by virtue of a slightly higher-end rear derailleur and an 8 speed cassette. Other than that there is not much between them.

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mack_silent
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Re: Mountain Bike Discussion

Postby mack_silent » Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:05 am

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Re: Mountain Bike Discussion

Postby d.english » Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:05 am

I am also how do you say an "enthusiast" i am currently recovering from my most recent off the bike oopsie daisy which brought me to se the fine people in the emergency room at our local hospital.....

I would recommend if you could afford to fork out to into say the 900 ish price range to go there as you will likely find any thing less than that your interests and ability will quickly surpass. You will likely see yourself trying to up grade bit by bit a 500$ bike costing you more in the long run. As stated above there is really little difference in bike frames until you hit the top end of the spectrum then each company is actually trying to one up each other, this R and D has a trickle effect on what most people ride IE disc brakes, my first set in 2000 barely hold a torch to what is available on say a 800$ bike now. (i wont say what the bike was worth in 2000 but it was several bikes ago...)

At the 900 $ ish range you will get disc brakes of a reputable brand a working suspension fork, decent drive train, relatively lite weight frame and if you pick certain brands they come with a handy dandy lifetime warranty on the frame. Against manufactures defect as long as the bike was being used for its intended purpose(trail bike on trails not trail bike on jumps) I can say that most companies stand behind this statement too....

your local bike shop is the best place to start they will be an asset to you for your new addiction and will have staff there full of endless amounts of knowledge. Maybe cycle solutions or any other independent bike shop.

happy trails

welcome to one of the best addictions out there.

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El Conejo
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Re: Mountain Bike Discussion

Postby El Conejo » Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:06 pm

d. english, Did you go over the bar or run into something?

I agree completely with d.english, that the $900-1100 mark is a great sweet spot for a hardtail. At that level, the bike will do everything a rider needs (except race and jump) and it will last you a lifetime. If that is in your budget, you will thank yourself later, but I know that is not possible for everyone. Also, I should add that upgrading a bike after a purchase is usually a much more expensive proposition than getting the components at the time of purchase, so I would not recommend that.

I will relay a personal story though. I, like you are considering, bought an entry level hardtail when I decided to get into trail riding. I had lots of fun with some buddies (who were more experienced) on some short trails in and around the city and got the mountain biking bug. My buddies suggested that we go to the mountains for a longer and more challenging ride and I agreed. The day we went was fairly cold on the mountain (5-10 C) and I wheezed my way to the top of the trail and had lunch. After lunch the downhill portion (with lots of turns, roots and rocks) started. Well, unfortunately, my cheap RST fork had basically frozen. You see, the cheap forks use two rubber cones called "elastomers" to provide travel - the top of the fork stanchion basically squishes the cone when weight is put on it - and like all rubber, my elastomers had become hard in the cold weather. The ride down was brutal, my arms, wrists and neck ached and I was often barely in control because I couldn't keep my front wheel on the trail. That week I went to my local bike shop, traded in my first bike for 25% of what I paid for it, and bought a $1,000 hardtail and I still use that bike today as it has never held me back.

Back to your questions, they don't really make "mountain" bikes with rigid forks, but if your riding was going to be pathways and roads, I would suggest something like this http://www.norco.com/bikes/urban/urban-performance/vfr/ which has a rigid front end. From my story above, you will find that the entry level forks (usually from companies like Suntour and RST) all use elastomers and provide very little travel, harsh motion and add weight. To appreciate the benefits of a fork find one that is oil or air damped and from one of the big manufacturers (Rock Shox, Manitou, Marzocchi, Fox, etc).

It is tough to recommend a bike with better components and v-brakes as the component quality usually increases together. What I could suggest, for example, is that you could save some money (if you were wedded to you price point) and buy the Jamis Trail X1 (which is basically the same as the X2 but with v-brakes). Disc brakes are awesome, but a bit fiddly to set up and maintain, and you will probably live to hate the cheap ones. As for brands in general, I can say good things about Norco and Rocky Mountain (which are Canadian) and also Kona.

Good Luck

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Re: Mountain Bike Discussion

Postby dira necessitas » Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:11 pm

Kona Blast is a decent ride...not sure of the price this year. I got mine about 8 years ago.
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Re: Mountain Bike Discussion

Postby d.english » Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:03 pm

two sets of stitches one on top of the other across my forehead eye swollen shut for a couple of days and all the muscles in my cheek pushed into a ball (made me look like a Texan with an entire puck of cope in my jowels...) promptly went helmet and sun glass's shopping.... lite duties for a few days

the Canadian companies are great the bikes at these price points are "designed in Canada" as are the American companies designed in "merica" (all built in Taiwan). giant being the worlds largest bike company usually wins in a strict price comparison for value.

i have owned several norcos over the years and been very happy, how ever my favorite is the big red "S" last count there were six of them in the basement.... Specialized has been at it since the get go first production mountain bike first full suspension on a the top of a xc world cup podium, and the list go's on from there. the wife has a collection of Giants

bottom line go to the local bike shop get the one that feels the best

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Re: Mountain Bike Discussion

Postby Mercurial7 » Sun Jun 24, 2012 4:16 pm

Another tidbit:

If you go to a reputable bike shop, even some of the smaller indie ones (typically the best), they'll usually have past years' models at a decent discount. I picked up a brand new bike from 2 seasons ago, just that they hadn't moved, for a substantial discount, which allowed for better components (mostly because I didn't mind getting an 8 speed, as opposed to a new 9).

It works well if you get measured out. Bike geometry, like everyone here has said is by no means standard. I think I tried 5-10 bikes out from a variety of manufacturers before settling in on mine. Also, look up the manufacturer, in the case of my Marin, if you reached a certain price set in hardtails, all of the models higher up had the same frame, but different components. If you're on a budget, find the best frame and fit for you, everything else can be tweaked if you need it.

And yes, no matter what they tell you about RST and Suntour "being so much better than what they were", find something with Rock Shox, Manitou, Marzocchi up front.

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Re: Mountain Bike Discussion

Postby Shawshank » Sun Jun 24, 2012 7:19 pm

Sorry for asking such a simple question, hard tail means no suspension in the frame?
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Re: Mountain Bike Discussion

Postby ryan.p » Sun Jun 24, 2012 8:55 pm

Shawshank wrote:Sorry for asking such a simple question, hard tail means no suspension in the frame?


Correct.
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devilwoman
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Re: Mountain Bike Discussion

Postby devilwoman » Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:35 am

I swear by Specialized as well. I own a Hardrock and ride a Specialized Rockhopper at work.

If you're interested, our department is selling off 2 of its older patrol bikes (Specialized Rockhoppers) at our bike auction. We service them every year and the most they deal with is some stairs and trails. I believe a 17 inch and 19 inch are being sold off. They are $1500 bikes new.....I think they will go for around $300.

Either way. I swear by Specialized...just did 40kms on mine. But as others have said, spend extra for the disc brakes, good quality shocks on the front (people already named the ones I would suggest...great minds think alike it seems) and Shimano gears.
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Re: Mountain Bike Discussion

Postby Jframer7 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:23 am

devilwoman wrote:I swear by Specialized as well. I own a Hardrock and ride a Specialized Rockhopper at work.

If you're interested, our department is selling off 2 of its older patrol bikes (Specialized Rockhoppers) at our bike auction. We service them every year and the most they deal with is some stairs and trails. I believe a 17 inch and 19 inch are being sold off. They are $1500 bikes new.....I think they will go for around $300.

Either way. I swear by Specialized...just did 40kms on mine. But as others have said, spend extra for the disc brakes, good quality shocks on the front (people already named the ones I would suggest...great minds think alike it seems) and Shimano gears.


I have owned a Specialized Rockhopper for 11 yrs. I love it. Never had a single problem with it, I found it to be very low maintenance. I do not have disc brakes and maybe therefore I don't understand the need. I feel my brakes are more then capable for anything I do, but maybe I am too casual of biker to understand the need for the disc's.

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mack_silent
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Re: Mountain Bike Discussion

Postby mack_silent » Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:31 am

..
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El Conejo
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Re: Mountain Bike Discussion

Postby El Conejo » Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:51 am

Good descision Mack, you won't regret it (and the Nitro is a great bike).

29 and 26 refer to the wheel diameter. 29 is the "next big thing" but strikes me personally as a big gimmicky.The theory is that the larger rim has less angle of attack (appears "flatter" if you will) to obstacles and allows you to roll over them easier. The downsides are that the wheel (being larger and heavier) is harder to stop, accelerate and turn and not as strong (due to longer spokes). I feel it is a bit of a fad and should only really appeal to very tall riders (6'2" and up). I would stick with the tried and true 26, but in fairness, have not spent a lot of time personally in the saddle of a 29er.

Jframer7 wrote:...but maybe I am too casual of biker to understand the need for the disc's.


The point of discs are primarily three-fold;

1 - The braking surface (the rotor) is kept out of mud and water ensuring immediate stopping power in all riding conditions. If you are riding in mud with rim brakes you can find the unpleasant sensation of having to wait for a revolution or two of your tire (while the pad scrapes the mud off and wears down your rim) before the brake bites. That really sucks if you are going fast and/or on gnarly terrain.
2 - Increased braking power. V-brakes are plenty powerful for most weekend warriors but riders who do a lot of downhill riding (and who are often too fat to get their assess and 45lb bikes back up the hill without a chair lift or truck :P) need the extra power and will suffer from hand fatigue and eventual rim failure using v-brakes.
3 - Better "survivability". Hard riding and spills can cause a wheel to come out of "true" (be bent or offset) on the trail. If that happens (even to a fairly minor extent) your rim brake pads will prevent the wheel from turning and make for a long walk home. You can disconnect your brake on the effected wheel and limp home on one brake, but rotors are less likely to get bent. That said, if you bend a rotor and can't flatten it on the trail, you have the same problem of having to pull it off.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with v-brakes, and they are much simpler to set up and maintain.

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devilwoman
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Re: Mountain Bike Discussion

Postby devilwoman » Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:55 am

DW, I will certainly checkout the auction for the bikes if it's in the Toronto area, would be great to see what bikes they put up for sale.


It would be at McMaster University in September sometime. If you'd like, I'll confirm the date and that they are putting these bikes up for grabs.
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