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Which one to buy?(16 posts)

Which one to buy?JenniJen
Mar 27, 2003 8:26 AM
I am a new cyclist and I am looking to purchase a mountain bike. I have been doing extensive research. I was first going to purchase a GT iDrive 2.0 which full suspension etc. However when I went looking again last night the sales person informed me that GT went bankrupt.There goes that idea. Now I am looking at a Specialized Rockhopper. Can you please let me know what you find to be most important when looking for a bike, and what features you like and dislike as well as brands that I are good. I will appreciate any feedback that you can all provide.

Thank you (nm)52-16SS
Mar 27, 2003 8:42 AM
Seriously, you are in the wrong place, go to
Mar 27, 2003 12:38 PM got some good advice below, and some not so good, but you will get a whole lot more if you go to the beginner's board at MTBR. Women get lot's of responses there (as here) because of male knee-jerk reactions to a woman asking for help, and many of the guys there are long time MTBers who give great advice including Shiggy and Naestep (who are smart and generous resources for newbies).

Just like this board, however, you will have to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Good luck.
re: Which one to buy?joeblack
Mar 27, 2003 8:47 AM
What kind of mountain riding will you being doing? Do you want to climb and cross-country? Do you like to downhill and huck? If you're looking at the Specialized line, I would look at the Stumpjumper FSR XC.
re: Which one to buy?JenniJen
Mar 27, 2003 10:34 AM
I think I am going to start out easy and will do some easy trails and then take it from there. Of course my goal would be to work up to extreme but I need to take my time. What else besides the specialized kind do you recommend. There is just so much information out there
Thanks for Responding!
Link to an older postKristin
Mar 27, 2003 8:50 AM
This has lots of great info in it. Also, it you posted this on's general forum, you'd get lots of responses.

fractured "Want to buy a mountain bike. Sizing question." 12/18/02 12:22am
a couple of things...dante
Mar 27, 2003 8:51 AM
first off is price, if you're going to spend less than 700 or so, look at a hard tail instead of a full-suspension. FS bikes under 700 are heavy, unresponsive, and generally not worth it. Hard tails get you better components, a lighter frame, and more value for your dollar.

As for companies, check out Giant, they offer one of the best values in bikes, they are usually priced 100-200 less than comparably equipped bikes. Specialized does make good bikes, and they own the patent to the FSR suspension, which was ahead of it's time when it came out, but is now only middle of the pack with regards to innovations.

GT is still producing bikes, and people seem to rave about the I-Drive system, but it's true, any warranty claims might be questionable.

I'd say try out as many bikes as you can, and if at all possible try to find a "demo-day" or a mountain biking festival, where manufacturers have trucks of bikes for you to test out on actual trails/riding conditions. You can't feel how a suspension works by riding it around the parking lot.

A lot of shops will have demo bikes that they'll let you take out for a ride, but unless you're built like the average male, they won't be your size.

Good luck!
agree completely..._rt_
Mar 27, 2003 10:33 AM
for under $1000 a hardtail is the way to go. you'll get a lighter bike & better components. you'll also have the benefit of learing important bike handling skills that will serve you well later which you would not necessarily learn on a full suspension. as someone who rode a hardtail for 5 years before going to a full suspension i would highly recommend a HT.

both giant & specialized give you a lot of bike for your money. especially specialized. the rockhopper is a good entry level bike. it has a lightweight aluminium frame and good solid components that will last.

if you are a small woman (i am assuming you are female [the original poster, that is] from your handle) you might want to look at the Trek women's specific (WSD) mountain bikes. i rode a trek 8000 wsd for 4 years & loved it. but, i am only 5'1" and i ride a 13" frame.

important things to look for: fit & comfort. as dante suggested, try as many bikes in your price range and in a range of sizes as you can. the geometry will change from bike to bike.

good luck!

rt (ps, post over on either the general discussion board or passion and you will get many more responses)
trek 8000 wsd hardtail:

full suspension:
agree completely...JenniJen
Mar 27, 2003 10:38 AM
Your right! I am only 5'3 and about 115bls so I need something stable and safe as well. How much does the Trek retail for? Many people have mentioned that website, I will try and put a query there as well. Are you still riding the trek?
Thank you for your input!
depends on which trek..._rt_
Mar 27, 2003 11:04 AM
the 8000 wsd retails for about $1200. they also have a 7000 wsd and a 6500 wsd. the difference between the three bikes is the component group they put onto it. also, i think the 8000 is a higher grade alu, but don't quote me on that!!

depending on your proportions you might want to look into the wsd bikes. however, i would definately recommend trying both wsd and non-wsd bikes.

currently i'm not riding the Trek because i canibalized parts off of it to build up the Dean (the full suspension). once i pick a stem for the dean i will rebuild the trek and have both bikes ride-ready.

a couple of things...JenniJen
Mar 27, 2003 10:44 AM
Hi Dante

Thank you for your advice. Now I am more confused as ever. :0)

You were saying if I were looking under $700 to look at the hardtail. However what do you think is a good option if Iwere looking at $1000 or so. Can I get a good FS bike for that price. I am obviously female and 5'3 and weigh about 115 so does that come into consideration when purchasing a bike?

Thank you again. I really appreciate all this feedback!
I have a stumpy hardtailthatsmybush
Mar 27, 2003 11:05 AM
paid under a grand for it. The comperable fs in the stumpjumper line is 1360.00 on specialized website. So the difference in price is substantial. Love my stumpy great frame great geometry with a good starting parts mix. One point about the parts. For me the frame was the important thing paying more for xtr rear der. and better rims was not justified for myself as they are exactly the kind of things most likly to bend or get torn off. When a part goes bad (a more common occurance with mt bikes) I will upgrade accordingly knowing that I have a race ready frame.
i'm not dante, but..._rt_
Mar 27, 2003 11:12 AM
i'd really recommend looking at a hardtail rather than full suspension. there are a number of advantages of a hardtail:

1. you will get better components. rear suspension is expensive & the less expensive full suspension bikes tend to put all their money into the rear shock and skimp on the other components.

2. you will get a lighter bike with a HT. rear suspension adds weight to a bike. granted if you want to spend $2500 you can get a fairly light full suspension bike, but as a beginner you (a) don't want to spend that kind of money and (b) don't want to be learning how to throw a heavy bike around while learning skills.

3. you will learn better bike handling skills on a HT which will serve you well if you ever make the change to full suspension. a HT does not allow you to just run over obstacles in your path. you have to learn how to finess around or over them. these are vital techincal skills.

4. as a fairly lightweight rider, the rear shock you will get on an entry level FS bike will not have as much adjustability. as such, you may not get as much out of the shock as someone heavier and thus, you would have spent more money on something you don't even get to take advantage of!!

Hmmm, that's a good question...dante
Mar 27, 2003 11:35 AM
I'd say the cut-off would be somewhere between 1000 and 1200, so for about a grand you could get a Giant NRS 3 (deore components, rockshox fork and rear suspension, etc) or a Rockhopper FSR Comp, but both are going to ride COMPLETELY differently. The Giant is built on the premise that the rear susp. is still until it hits a bump but the Specialized is built so that the rear is constantly active independent of your pedaling. Which is better? Only a good long test ride will let you know for sure.

I'd say for a limit of 1000 go for a hard tail. It'll be lighter, shift better, and have a more responsive fork. On the fork, make sure that if it has springs that the normal ones can be swapped for your body weight, or go for an air fork, it's stiffness can be changed just with a shock pump.

For 1000 you can get a Stumpjumper "Women's" which has a shorter top tube and a ligher-sprung fork. Don't feel like you have to get a women's bike, though, you should fit fine on any 14-15" frame, w/ the exception of Gary Fisher, which has crazy long top tubes. Don't let anyone sell you on anything bigger than a 15" unless you've tried smaller ones and prefer the bigger size. My girlfriend and I walked into a bike store (just for kicks to try different bikes, I ended up building her a 14" bike) and the guy tried to put her on a 16" bike. She's 5'1".

Careful, though, mtn biking is addicting, you might end up with one of these in a couple of years... :-D (not my girlfriend, just a girl who rides with us)

good luck!
The GT is a good choice...Matno
Mar 27, 2003 9:14 AM
As long as it's a 2002 or newer model. The older ones had issues with the seat mast breaking. (Not just a few of them - a LOT of them. The only two that I've seen personally, which were both ridden by small guys on easy trails). At any rate, the newer ones are beefed up in that area.

As long as you're not riding baby-butt smooth trails, you'll be happier on a full-suspension bike. People talk all the time about how a hardtail will help you be a better rider. Whatever. It may be true, but who cares when you're sacrificing ride quality and comfort unnecessarily?

Almost any of the big names in bikes make both good and not so good suspension bikes. Giant, K2, Jamis, Specialized, Trek, Santa Cruz, etc. all make decent bikes for both XC riding and more serious terrain. My personal favorite for all around trail riding would be a lighter weight (around 27 lbs) full suspension bike with 4-5" of front and rear travel. The Giant VT series looks really nice. I've been happy with my K2 Evo (not offered for 2003 but still available in a lot of places). Cannondale makes some really nice mountain bikes, but they're a little more pricey. Jamis bikes are good quality at a low price (nice components). Same with Giant.

Just hang around on and you'll get a feel for what is good. Main thing is not to rush into buying a bike. You'll be happier if you do your homework first.
re: Which one to buy?shamelessgearwhore
Mar 27, 2003 9:25 AM
Get hardtail, you'll get more for your money. I've had good luck with Specialized MTB's. Never thought much about their roadbikes but thats just me. I have a sweet little Stumpjumper from about 4 years back that's all the MTB I need. Look carefully at the components they give with "out of the box" bikes. They may give you a XTR derailleur and then skimp out on other stuff to give you the initial impression that the bike has XTR! Spend the money on components and not on fancy rear suspension.