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buying another mtb (i know this is the wrong board, but...)(19 posts)

buying another mtb (i know this is the wrong board, but...)JS Haiku Shop
Dec 23, 2002 1:09 PM
the mtb boards can be a flame-fest of epic proportion, and are often awash with kids rampant on their mommy's computer. no offense to "authentic" regulars.

I have a '99 specialized rockhopper with LX rear der and alivio front, dia-compe brakes, ritchey wheels (schrader drilled), specialized cranks, and a mix of specialized and ritchey components otherwise. the front fork is a rock shox jett, pretty low on the food chain. i purchased this guy in 2000 from a regional shop for about $500, new. it was the last year that specialized made steel a mtb frame, and is actually ritchey NiTi tubing. this bike has served me well and i've not been at all wanting, as i do not ride mtb very much.

for 2003 i plan to participate in the local mtb races, including a 12-hour event (solo), and am researching a good backup mtb. i'd like to spend less than $1000 for the whole thing, including tax or shipping, and come out with a hardtail cross-country mtb with decent front suspension and an lx/xt mix.

I don't particularly care for the acres of exposed seatpost that seem prevalent in today's mtb design, but am not 100% opposed to it. reliability and "robustness" are preferable over weight or "coolness". if i could buy another brand new '99 rockhopper, i'd do it. the farther i get from $500 and closer to $100, the more likely i am to buy a new "primary" bike and demote the ol' rockhopper to backup.

any of your sicko MTBers have suggestions as to what make/model to consider? how about online retailers? PLEASE NOTE that i'm not buying now, but will be ramping-up for a purchase within the next 6 months.


re: buying another mtb (i know this is the wrong board, but...)mwood
Dec 23, 2002 2:07 PM
I'd go with a mainstream aluminum bike. You should be able to find LX/XT mix, 24-26 lbs. weight and a really sturdy ride for that price. It also is really easy to find used hard tail frames, with everyone (it seems) falling into the FS camp.
For example, I built a Fisher Big Sur last year from a partially parted out bike (no fork or wheelset, but, with LX/XT mix, Avid 5.0 brakes, Titec stem, post and bars etc.) which I bought for $75. I found a Psylo XC for $175 (new) and a set of Mavic X517/XT wheels for $190.Total about $500, right at 25 lbs., and it works just fine, although the geometry does give the big seat post look.
The same bike (with Bontrager stuff) is available for about $900, if you look around, new. Other bikes to check out might include the Schwinn Moab, GT Avalanche, Giant Ranier and Specialized Stumpjumper, which all have competitive component mixes, including disc brakes (if you live in an area where they are really advantageous).
a few ideas...jose_Tex_mex
Dec 23, 2002 3:57 PM
You might want to check out for some deals on frames if you are looking to build cheap.

I recently threw a GT Zaskar Team bike together with full XT, Discs, SID SL's, and very nice componentry for about $1600. A bit more that what you are looking to do, but what a great ride.

Check out to see if they have any of the Zaskar's left. Also, has good deals on build kits.

Off to the mountain, it's below 30!!!
why a hardtail?shawndoggy
Dec 23, 2002 4:58 PM
Check out this KHS from jenson USA:

It's got the component spec that you are looking for and its a fully. You've already got plenty of hardtails in your stable... why not get a bike that's gonna be comfy? I was leary of making the switch from a hardtail with a short travel fork (specialized stumpjumper M2) to a fully a few years ago, but I don't regret it at all. The KHS is probably a bit portly (I'd guess pushing 29 lbs), but just replace parts with lighter ones as they wear. You could probably lose the quick pound or pound and a half just by getting the tire/tube/bars replaced with lighter ones for around $100.

If you keep your eye out there are lots of closeouts at the $1000 pricepoint for a fully. Another one to lookout is the rockhopper FSR from Specialized. It's the slightly dated FSR design that everybody loves, and they were REALLY cheap last year, even full retail. Again around $1000, for a very capable bike.

But I'd say give a fully a shot. If you are riding it off road on "real" trails, there's no better choice. There are very few people who buy one and decide it was a bad move.
why not a softail? (NOT a dualie...)rockbender
Dec 23, 2002 5:11 PM
How about a softail? I think Performance has some decently spec'd ST's with disc brakes for a good deal. Steel frame, pivotless suspension, 1" of travel in the back is enough to take the sting out of rough sections and add traction for climbing. I would much rather be on that bike for 12 hours than an AL hardtail!

my 2 cents!
why a hardtail?pa rider
Dec 24, 2002 6:36 AM
I second shawndoggy point about the rockhopper fsr. i mean you already like the specialize bike fit. The advantage of the rear suspension helps your back and other problems we have as we get older (I dought I would ever go back to hardtail now). I get some factory deals in the summer because they have to push there over stock bikes (save about $300 for the bike).

I did a 12 hour race last year on a Jekyll and did 12 miles in one hour for 1,600 elevation. It was on fireroads for most of the race (low impact enviroment race to promote mtb in pennsylvania at ole bull park). I wished I had a hardtail for the race, but I ride off road single track 90% the other time.

What I mean is think of where your planning on riding the bike (type of riding) and have that help you decide, not just the one race your planning on riding. If you want to stay with a hardtail, than search some of the sites for closeouts or visit your lbs shops.

The joke now is walmart saling closeout schwinns. There is one rumor they may someday sale Cannondale, since they're having problems with there motorcycle program (laid off 600 bedford pa employees two weeks ago).

Thanks for the advice last week and have a merry xmas.

the more you spend the happier you will be now and later :)benja15
Dec 23, 2002 6:27 PM
for a good "racing" bike you definatly want some decent parts

you want a decent bike with well rounded parts, don't just look at what rear derailer they slap on the bike to "fool" you such cannondale does on their bikes. Take a look at the brakes, shifters, shock, wheels, and derailer ect.

I have always ridden trek bikes and liked them

spending about $900-1000 for a bike only is reasonable then add for what shoes you purchase and the tax

at this pricepoint i feel you get the most bang for the buck

good luck happy riding
re: buying another mtb (i know this is the wrong board, but...)gtx
Dec 23, 2002 9:18 PM
Giant seems to have the best bang for the buck across the board. Jamis has a nice steel hardtail for a little more $$$.
re: buying another mtb (i know this is the wrong board, but...)Juanmoretime
Dec 24, 2002 1:54 AM
I would check around and see who is closing out what. Supergo, Pricepoint, Jenson, Wheelworld. Pick up a copy of Mountain Bike Action and check out the ads. I road hardtails for a while and now I'm on a Santa Cruz Superlight. I've found that my average speed has improved on the trails I ride, and it's not improved skill or fitness. Another big plus is after riding on the trails, I come off the bike much less fatigued. Go dualie!
you have alot of choiceswimpe
Dec 24, 2002 7:14 AM
at that price. Mostly every hardtail at $1000 has an XT/LX mix with good a good fork.

My recommendation? If you like the way it fits, a Fisher Paragon. It has an XT/LX mix, good fork and wheels, and is solidly built. I bought one two years ago, and it has been trouble-free, taking the best that rocky CT trails can dish out. I don't race it, but I certainly could.

Good luck with your search !

re: buying another mtb (i know this is the wrong board, but...)peter1
Dec 24, 2002 8:12 AM
I'd avoid a full-susser if you're just starting out in racing because there are going to be a lot of maintenance and setup issues that will eat up your time and wallet. If you race (as I do) be prepared to replace your drivetrain yearly. If you race in bad weather, you'll chew through rims, headsets, brake pads and you'll need to rebuild your shocks every few months. No doubt you know this, but for me it's at the point where I've stopped riding off road between races to save my bike!

Having said all that, I think either a new aluminum hardtail from Giant, Specialized, GF or Trek is the way to go for $1000, paying attention to the components and fit. You could probably find LX front/XT rear with disc brakes for your price range.

You could also buy used, on E-bay or mtbr, and get a really nice frame for that kind of money.

But I think you should buy new, because mountain bikes, being more complex than road bikes, work so much better when they're new.

Good luck, have wife has a steel Rockhopper with the Ritchey tubing about the same year as yours. It's a great frame...crappy components, though, including really heavy wheels.
maintenance is a good point, but I still say GO FULLIE!shawndoggy
Dec 24, 2002 12:38 PM
Fullys, and MTBs in general are much more maintenance intensive. The more capable the bikes become offroad, the more complicated they become, thus the more maintenance you need to do. That said some parts are more shadetree mechanic friendly -- Cane Creek rear shocks you can rebuild in your sleep. Front suspension requires maintenance too, but that will be the case on both front and rear.

And if you get a decent fully, there's the other downside -- you'll appreciate how much fun it is and how much better your bike would be if you just had (fill in the blank). Translation: yet ANOTHER place to blow your hard-earned dough on cycling dodads. But you could be supporting terrorists by buying meth. No wait, meth is manufactured domestically... but I digress...

After re-reading your post, I recommend even more strongly getting a full suspension bike. If you are going to do a 12 hour race, unless it's on pavement, you'll be hurting like mad when you are done, even if you have a fully. On a hardtail, that's just masachistic. Seriously, look at guys who do 12 hour races solo or two man team 24 hour races. Nine times out of ten they ride full suspension. If you don't, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD get a suspension seat post. A guy on a four man 24 hour team I raced with last summer ran a hardtail with a suspension post, and by his final lap he could barely sit down even with two pairs of shorts (and this dude is no couch potato).

Final point -- while fullies may not be the most efficient (a fully rigid gets the power to the ground most efficiently with the least weight after all), THEY ARE MORE FUN! From all of the enjoyable posts of your that I've read, I get the impression you value fun and aren't into sacrificing comfort for a negligible performance gain.

Turn to the dark side!
second the GO FULLIE!pa rider
Dec 24, 2002 3:25 PM
I have to admit that the 12 hour race I did was easy on my butt. I did a 100 mile mtb race in 1993 on a hardtail and I could hardly move afterwards.

I would have done better with a cannondale scaple than this jekyll in my 12 hour race. It has a more better climbing geometry. I had a sugar 3 last year and it was a big difference than using a seatpost. I couldn't feel the weight difference on it (2 lbs heavier than my hardtail).

I have a fox rear shock that needs the seals replace, but it's covered under my warrenty. I haven't missed any riding time by getting it fixed. If you get the canecreek rear shock get the cloud or AD-12. The AD-5 had some problems and no adjustments. It's the easiest shock to maintain. The fox aren't hard to maintain either.

Advantage of full suspension is that you can clean more techinical sections than before because the rear end takes a lot of the banging and terrian for you. Some riders are better on the downhills because they are on full suspension.

I haven't met anybody who bought one and said they rather be riding their hardtail through the gardens. I got my first full suspension on a factor close out from gary fisher. Two inches of travel is good, but four inches is the best. Anymore your a freerider (they can get up to ten inches; look at any kona and ask who would be pushing that "Stinky" uphill).

Just an opinion.

Why not upgrade your current components? (nm)Uprwstsdr
Dec 24, 2002 9:31 AM
plan to do that, too. need backup mtb. see original post. nmJS Haiku Shop
Dec 24, 2002 9:41 AM
re: buying another mtb (i know this is the wrong board, but...)dave_w
Dec 24, 2002 4:11 PM
LOL, lots of people here should work in a shop! Your original post said what you want, most replies tell you to not get that but something else! Are you still trying to decide on which type of bike to get?
re: buying another mtb (i know this is the wrong board, but...)DERICK
Dec 24, 2002 9:34 PM
Check out a usde C-Dale Raven. These can be found on E-bay for under $1,000 with full XTR. I went from a nice hardtale to this and gained several miles per hour average speed over the same trails with the same wheels and computer. It's as light as most hardtales and very responsive. It even climbes better than my old bike. It even has a lock out rear shock if you find yourself on the road. I haven't found one advantage my hardtale has over this bike.
thanks, all!...JS Haiku Shop
Dec 27, 2002 6:17 AM
now you've got me giving serious consideration to a full-suspension bike. thoughts of an endurance-testing distance on the road remind me that offroad "fun" is much more jarring, and doing that for 12+ hours might be somewhat testing "in the end". LOL.

i'll let you folks know which way this goes. thanks again!

re: buying another mtb (i know this is the wrong board, but...)mapei boy
Dec 30, 2002 12:22 PM
I don't know if I'd want to spend more than four or so hours on it at a time, but I love my Tomac Buckshot - which the last time I looked seems to be selling for about $800 at Colorado Cyclist. It feels very much like an Italian Road Racer. There's a sense of balance to it. It feels poised. You feel connected to the pedals and to the trail, but by the same token it won't shake you to death. (By comparison, my old Rockhopper and old Cannondale felt as if they were made from concrete.) Riding it gives you courage. It accelerates well. It doesn't waste your energy. There's none of that hamster-in-a-cage feel you get with so many MTB's. It's an MTB for roadies.

The wheelbase is a bit short for climbing really steep hills, but if the wheelbase were longer the bike probably wouldn't be quite as efficient or responsive. The components are a fair, if unflashy mix of XT and LX. The Manitou Mars Comp fork is not as subtle or supple as my wife's high zoot Rock Shox, but them's the breaks. And, as the other posters here have noted, no hardtail will ever be as comfy as a dualie.

Anyway, hope you find a mount that suits you.