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whaddya think of this mtb?(26 posts)

whaddya think of this mtb?DougSloan
Jun 30, 2003 12:50 PM
Shop can get me this one for $1350. Seems like a decent deal? A large size weighed 24 pounds at the shop, so I assume a medium would be a bit less.

Yes, I know this is *Road* Bike Review, but I know you guys, not those over at the MTBReview site.

I was prepared to build one up myself, but I can't even come close with discount mail order parts. About $500 cheaper to buy a complete bike.

BTW, there seems to be a huge lack of hardtail mountain bikes available right now, at least mail order. Anyone know what's up?


re: whaddya think of this mtb?ClydeTri
Jun 30, 2003 1:04 PM
I also ride mtbikes..full suspension bikes are outselling hardtails big time now in bikes costing more than $500 by alot..seems to be an ok deal..I think you could do better..possibly, not necessarily on that bike, but by going to a differnt model. Also, why not available mail order you ask? Same as with road bikes, most big companies such as Trek and Cannondale dont allow internet sales...
Jun 30, 2003 1:06 PM
they have a comparable review site, many many reviews of mtbikes listed..afterall, this site was an offshoot of
re: whaddya think of this mtb?Mike M
Jun 30, 2003 1:06 PM
This is a great hardtail and specialized is known for quality mountain bikes but........

Why not get a full suspension bike. There is a reason there are no high end hardtails out anymore. Nobody is buying them because full suspension technology has come so far. They are more comfortable to ride and are more reliable now. If you look around you can still get a FS bike at a decent weight. It is the only way to go IMO.
had bothDougSloan
Jun 30, 2003 1:11 PM
I have had both, and actually preferred the lighter weight of the hardtail. That was an Airborne Lucky Strike, but it cost a bit more than this one.

All I really want it for is cross training and fun, and I'm a chicken mtb descender anyway. I don't do rock gardens or drop-offs.

You think fs makes a difference in most climbing?


had bothUcannotBsirius
Jun 30, 2003 1:40 PM
In my experience fs does (or rather can, depending on design) make a difference when climbing.

I ride an Orange Sub5 Pro (dunno how many you see in the States, but it's a single pivot design). The pivot is high and further forward than most other single pivot designs which means that when the chain is under higher pressure and in a lower gear (i.e.climbing) the pivot point is such that the chain "pulls" the rear wheel into the ground for extra traction. I can clear steep technical stuff that I can't on a hardtail and it also climbs ok out of the saddle.

As far as I am aware all single pivot designs will exhibit these characteristics to varying degrees. Years ago I had a 4 bar linkage design bike (GT LTS) which I soon got rid of 'cos it was hopeless at climbing. This really put me off 4 bars but others swear by them. Horses for courses....

There is, and always will be, a place for hardtails, but fs has taken a huge share of the market simply 'cos you can ride harder and longer without getting so beaten up. Worth looking round at a few fs bikes before spending your cash.
I was a hardtail junkie...once.El Guapo
Jun 30, 2003 1:41 PM
My SuperLight changed my attitude about FS. My climbing, which I was always good at, increased. I am able to say seated longer and spin as opposed to "manhandle" the bike up slopes. The rear doesn't "chatter" on either speedy accents or descents. The important thing with FS is to balance the front and the rear. 4 inches (105mm)rear = 4 inches (105mm) front. A Santa Cruz Superlight LX build would not cost too much more than that Specialized hardtail. You would gain better componentry overall (cranks especially - strongarm cranks are NOTORIOUS for being wet noodles) and hardly gain any weight disadvantage. My SuperLight without boutique components in a Large weighs in at 24 pounds. Any weight gain is offset by the "all-day" comfort and increased control aspects of the suspension. Climb more efficiently, descend faster and safer, corner harder than you ever thought you could and kiss lower back pain goodbye. FS all the way Doug. If you do a SuperLight, I have always wondered what it would look like in Celeste.
what about this one?DougSloan
Jun 30, 2003 1:54 PM
what about this one?UcannotBsirius
Jun 30, 2003 2:00 PM
Not ridden one personally but they sell loads here in the UK and I know plenty of people who rave about them. Reckoned to be one of the best vfm full sussers about.

Only negative I have heard is that if you ride in the wet a lot the bearings need replacing at fairly frequent intervals, but that's about it.
NOW you're TALKIN'....asphalt assault
Jul 1, 2003 4:53 AM
A couple years ago I made the switch from a 23lb HT to 30lb FS and have never looked back. A little extra weight makes for a more stable ride and FS doesn't beat you up like HT does...something that this 44yo kid can appreciate!

The Fox Forx are sweet. I have the Vanilla R (base model, coil&oil version) on my bike and love the way the bike handles. Actually, three of my friends have switched to Vanilla Forks after riding my bike.

As far as climbing goes...I climb MUCH better on my FS then I ever did on my HT.
XC full suspension has killed the hardtail market...biknben
Jun 30, 2003 1:14 PM
The hardtail stayed around as long as it has due to the high weight of suspension designs. Now, the XC-Full Suspension bikes have brought the weight down. They provide medium length travel at under 25 lbs.

The only people I know looking for hardtails are those who are freakish weight weenies, demand the most efficiency and are willing to sacrifice comfort, or don't want the higher maintenance/complexity of FS.

I'm not trying to sell you a FS. I remember an earlier post in which you said you wanted a stiffy. I'm just giving it to you straight.

I can't offer an Opinion on the Specialized. It's got a mix of components on a decent frame. I'm not familiar enough to know what a fair price would be. Though I agree, it is cheaper than any decent build from scratch I could do.
great bikemohair_chair
Jun 30, 2003 1:39 PM
Stumpjumpers are great bikes. Few people have anything bad to say about them, and that's saying something, because Stumpjumpers were the first production mountain bike, and have been around for close to 20 years. I had one for years, but currently only a stripped frame remains. I'm thinking of building it up again, just to have a hardtail for certain rides and commuting.

Hardtails are becoming rarer because the market wants full suspension. A large part of the reason the market wants FS bikes is because modern FS bikes are not the heavy, power sucking, bouncing clunkers they used to be, negating a lot of the advantage of having a hardtail.

Hardtails are joining singlespeeds as niche bikes.
re: whaddya think of this mtb?KEN2
Jun 30, 2003 1:56 PM
Despite what other posters have said, the hardtail is not dead in the real world. Over half the riders I ride with in Colorado mountains ride HT, not because they're weight weenies but because they haven't bought all the hype about FS and they're not into hucking and dropoffs, just great high country singletrack riding.

It sounds to me like a HT would be preferable for the type of riding you plan, and I don't think you will go wrong with a Stumpjumper. It's a bit annoying that they do the RD upgrade to XTR just because it says XTR prominently, unlike the other LX components on this bike. LX works fine, though. Also I'm not a great fan of air forks myself, prefer coil/oil for plushness and simplicity. Fox makes good forks though.
I'll second KEN2...Triphop
Jun 30, 2003 2:40 PM
I'll second KEN2's advice. Doug, as you said, you don't like to rip the downhills, then a FS bike is unnecessary. The popularity of FS is being driven by marketing not need. My suggestion is to look into a nice steel frame, with a solid component group.
Got one, sort of...peter1
Jun 30, 2003 2:07 PM
Kind of funny...I bought a Stumpjumper in 1995 for $1350, and the component spec was a bit lower (LX/XT). Still have the bike (and a Santa Cruz Heckler full susp.), using it only for races that have smooth trails. I love the frame; it's a fantastic climber and with a longish top tube a relatively comfy descenter (easy to get butt on rear tire).
The real value of hard tails, IMO, comes when you blow out the rear shock of a full susp. bike and have to spend $300 just to ride the damn thing!

My opinion, if the bike fits and you like it, buy it. Don't think you'll find a comparable set up for much less...
what, no Bianchi?gtx
Jun 30, 2003 2:13 PM
check the build kit prices at places like, should be able to do an XT or LX kit for $600, last years fork for $200, that will leave you $700 or so for a frame. Custom steel from Teesdale, or maybe a Salsa (made in Taiwan now?) or an US-built AL frame with a real world warranty from someone like Santa Cruz or Titus. You should also check out some of the nice single pivot (ie durable/low maintenance) FS bikes like the SC Superlight, Titus Loco Moto, Ventana Pantera, etc. Regarding the Specialized, if you get that bike, might want to have 'em swap the cranks to LX or XT. Non-Shimano cranks tend to be a hassle in my experience. Good luck.
Stumpies are great bikes...HillRepeater
Jun 30, 2003 2:20 PM
Stumpies are great bikes and a good value. I'd recommend spending a few bucks to upgrade the crankset to Shimano LX or XT - the stock Strongarm set isn't all that great. The seatpost may be a little suspect, too. I've owned two stumpys with the single bolt Ritchey seatposts and both needed to be replaced due to the seat constantly slipping. Thomson makes a great post that fits the bike.
Check these out...Triphop
Jun 30, 2003 2:52 PM
Jamis Dragon

Jamis Dakota XC

Kona Explosif
That was my short list...theBreeze
Jun 30, 2003 6:12 PM
Those were all on my short list for a new mtn bike. I couldn't find a Jamis dealer locally. I've only had my Explosif about two weeks now, but I love it.

Yeh, hardtails are becoming a niche market now. But in my view there is nothing like a light, great handling cross country bike. The Kona Explosif is about the same price as the Stumpjumper. A friend of mine has a Stumpjumper and raves about it. I went with the steel because I like how it rides.
Can't go wrong with a Stumpjumper!shamelessgearwhore
Jun 30, 2003 3:17 PM
I have a sweet 19" bright orange Stumpjumper from the 98 or 99 catalog I think and it's great. Granted that full suspension has come a long way but I really believe it's fueled by more hype than need. It all depends on your riding style. I prefer to have the hardtail. WAY more user friendly, less to go wrong, less to adjust. I mean you see the ultra low end WalMart bikes with their own ridiculous version of full suspension these days. They sell it cuz it looks cool.

FS is fun, but definitely not mandatory, and HT is definitely not obsolete.
re: whaddya think of this mtb?mapei boy
Jun 30, 2003 3:31 PM
I love the Stumpjumper. It's a rorty little sports car of a mountain bike. They remind me of my old '67 MGB. Maybe kind of stiff for the proverbial epic rides, but fast, precise and entertaining.
castellano fango with lx kit...colker
Jun 30, 2003 3:33 PM
the ex ibis ripley. i ride an ibis mojo and love the handling: fast and controlled on the tightest of trails . for me, mtb's are all about handling and very few have the "magic" ride.
like gtx suggested, last year's fork could cost $200 and an lx kit is good ennough to rip the singletrack.
just my 0.02c
Get a Superlight...NatC
Jul 1, 2003 5:17 AM
if you want a light bike with good value.

BTW, the Blur is the hot ticket this year.

I'm a veteran mtb'er and mtbr.commer, but totally new to road riding and this site. It's interesting and fun reading the roadbikereview views on mountain bikes. The entire "you don't *need* full suspension" argument is one that gets hashed over from time to time on mtbr (but is mostly dead), and sometimes ends with "true, but then again you don't *need* a suspension fork even." Diehards to that philosophy sometimes end up with rigid singlespeeds, and take pride in their grittiness.

As a person on his 6th FS bike in 10 years, it's funny reading that "FS is all hype", considering that most (not all) mtb'ers have decided that FS adds safety, control, comfort, speed, braking ability, and enjoyment to the ride. Now that mtb's easily come in under 25 pounds, the weight factor is no longer an issue. This year's suspension and shock technology eliminate suspension bobbing and pedalling efficiency is markedly improved.

In my experience, road cycling friends I've known have for one reason or another decided that they didn't want an FS, and ended up getting so pounded by their lightweight hardtail that they didn't enjoy mountain biking. Or, they didn't feel as if they were in good enough control of their bike on a difficult trail and got frustrated. An FS will let you ride more comfotably and in better control over the rough stuff.

Get an FS!
Get a Superlight...Mike M
Jul 1, 2003 5:46 AM
I have to agree that FS is more than hype and a heck of a lot more fun to ride and to look at. Consider a Klein with an awesome paint job and it is one of the lighter FS bikes on the market.

Besides, I know a lot of people who have said I am just going to ride around for exercise and fun who now hammer the local singletrack. It's a good mix to be a mtn. biker and road biker. Different exercise and they compliment each other well. If its windy, go mtn. biking, if it is wet in the trails, go road biking. Want to get an espresso, ride the FS mtn. bike and baggy shorts and stand around looking at it while you sip. You can't lose.
I agree with TriphopMel Erickson
Jul 1, 2003 5:58 AM
Jamis is a real bang for the buck company and makes some fine rides. I would also add Giant. They make some fine bikes (I'm partial to the NRS full suspension) with very good component choices at very good price points. You seem to have settled on Specialized, any particular reason? They make good bikes, I almost bought one but I think better bikes can be had for less in the Jamis and Giant lines. Weight is of less importance on the MTB side of the fence. Don't worry about a couple of pounds either way. Have you ridden the Specialized or any others? There's a greater difference between rides in the MTB world, even with hardtails, than the road world.
try either if you can...dante
Jul 1, 2003 6:39 AM
I'd say get as much riding as possible on any given type of suspension or hardtail before making your choice. If you think that designs and rides vary between road bikes, there's a MUCH bigger difference between HTs, FSR 4-bars (like specialized, Turner, Ellsworth), regular 4-bars (Kona, Jamis), single-pivot (Santa Cruz Superligh), virtual pivot point (SC Blur), wacky shock designs like the 5th element and the "brain" which reduce shock bob, so you really owe it to yourself to try them out, and not just in the parking lot. Ask around and see what the shops have for "demo" bikes, a company will sell a bike to a shop at cost (or under), and the shop will have to keep it for the season as a demo bike for customers to ride.

For short travel FSs, I'd say check out the following:
Specialized FSR
Trek Fuel
Gary Fisher Sugar (or Sugar+)
Giant NRS (or VT-whatever)
Cannondale Jeckyl

all will ride quite differently, although I'd stay away from the cannondale...

Personally, since I subscribe more to the "gravity assisted" theory of mtn biking, I've got a BIG full-suspension bike and a stout hardtail. I like being able to throw the HT around in corners, plus it's stronger than an XC FS, with no rear shock or moving parts to break. Highly doubt you'll have that problem. :)

So try out as many as possible, the FSR (Horst-link-suspension) design was as good as it got for the last 5 years or so, now it's being challanged by new shocks (5th, brain) and new complicated designs (virtual pivot points) but it still works as good as it ever did.


oh yeah, if possible set your cleats loose, a roadie in the office had a hard time adjusting to the instantaneous unclipping that's needed in mtn biking. also, if you start crashing get a set of knee pads, you'll use them more than you'd ever imagine.