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Thread: Bike Options?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Bike Options?

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    So as some of you know, I'm a complete beginner when it comes to MB'ing. In fact I know absolutely nothing at this point except when I tried it in the past I crashed and scared myself to death. I did a LOT of things wrong back when I first attempted MB'ing. I went out alone, had WAY to much pressure in my tires, my bike was a crappy fit and my bars were so long that was actually what took me down . I know now I had my saddle too high and I will NOT be clipping in for a LONG time if ever on a mountain bike. Fast forward to now, about 4 years later, wow can't believe its been that long! So I'm ready to give it another go, I feel like I know what NOT to do now. One big thing with me is the bike and how it fits. I'm one of those people that if I have a really crap fitting bike, like before, it just isn't any fun at all and I'm over it. I do a lot of road riding/commuting so now I really appreciate the benefits of a good fitting bike. I'm sure its the same in the mountain biking world. Next issue i have is I would like to minimize the amount of bumps/jars/bobbles as much as possible. I'd like to not punish my body doing this. This leads me to ask should I consider a 29'er bike or a full suspension bike??? Most of my riding will probably be in Pennsylvania however, which is VERY hilly. I get the impression the trails there are a bit more technical than what we have here in Indiana? I'm wondering if there is a drawback to having a full suspension bike or 29 inch wheels. My goal is to get as plush of a ride as possible and be able to use it wherever I am, whether its mid west or east coast. It's a bit hard to justify the cost but like I mentioned before I have 'nice' bikes on average and I really don't want a bike with crappy components because that really frustrates me when they screw up. I guess if I decide I totally hate it I can sell the bike pretty easily, especially in PA. I had a hardtail the last time I attempted MB'ing and needless to say that was NOT a good experience so I'm kinda thinking something different would be a positive. I would love to hear any suggestions, criticism, opinions etc anyone has on the subject. If it were you, how would you handle this?

  2. #2
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    What is your budget?
    2015 Liv Intrigue 2
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Denver
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    Oh boy. As far as what bike to get - I would try everything for now, because it seems to be a lot of personal opinion. But I'll tell you what I ride and why.

    I have a 29er. For me, the bigger wheels really aid in getting up stuff. Going up hills in general, and going over stuff when you're going uphill. That's also aided by the fact that my bike is really light. I might've compromised and bought a bike with 26 inch tires if I could've found a really, really nice full-suspension bike at a price I could afford (Yeti 575, Santa Cruz, etc)...but that didn't happen. But the first time I rode a 29er I came home and told my BF something along the lines of "Now I understand why women buy giant SUVs for what seems like no reason" - the feeling of power was enough to really boost my confidence.

    I ride a hardtail. Few reasons here - I couldn't afford full-suspension AND have everything else as nice as I wanted. The bike is lighter without rear suspension. And I had a pretty limited list of full-suspension bikes that I knew would work, and none of them came up in my price range while I was looking. But there's also the fact that, with how I ride and where I ride, I will be out of the saddle on the bumpiest sections of trail anyway, so rear suspension wouldn't do as much good. It'd be nice to have the option sometimes, but I get along fine without it. Especially with the larger tires, which give you more squish than on a 26 hardtail.

    One other suggestion I have, is that if you want to avoid bumps/jars/bobbles - do everything you can to get the nicest front fork you can afford. I know when I was looking through the Giant catalog, there were two bikes at about the same price - one had good components and an ehhhh front fork, one had crappier components and a really nice fork. You can always save and upgrade the components in pieces, but a nicer front fork will be a big chunk of money all at once time if you upgrade later.

    "I never met a donut I didn't like" - Dave Wiens

  4. #4
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    Oct 2007
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    My budget is under $2000.

    Thanks Jess, that's good to know about the front fork. I will try to get the best one I can afford. I test rode a 29'er yesterday and it wasn't anything special but I definitely noticed the SUV and squish factor you mentioned. It felt really easy going over the bumps. I need to go ride some 26 inch full suspension bikes. I was looking at the Cannondale Lexi 2, Giant Cypher 2 and a Trek Fuel EX5 WSD as possibles. I plan to try them out here in the next couple of days.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    My personal opinion is that if you don't plan on racing, get a full-suspension bike if you can. It's a plushy ride and a lot of fun. It may be a bit slower, but if you aren't racing, so it's not a big deal. I loved my full-suspension bike and it was the perfect bike to introduce me to the sport. I had a Trek Fuel.

    The nice thing with 26" bikes is that they can be snappier in tighter, twisty sections of trail.

    That being said, I do love my 29er I just got which is a hard-tail. I'm still getting used to riding a hard-tail and having the saddle bounce-up every time I go over some roots or rocky sections. I rode the full-suspension for 6 years, so adjusting to the hard-tail is taking some getting used to. I used to bomb on the downhills, but now its a bumpier ride and I'm learning how to descend all over again.
    2005 Giant TCR2
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Saratoga Springs, NY
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    I'm new to mountain biking, so I have limited experience so far. However, I went from a hardtail to a full suspension this summer. I did a lot of research before buying and also considered a 29er as an alternative. I decided against that because of my size. I'm just barely 5'4, petite in build, and need to feel in control of the bike. A 26 inch full suspension gives me plenty of height, and a 29er was more than a tad too high for my comfort level.

    There is a huge difference in feel with the fs vs hardtail. I have the Juliana RXC (Santa Cruz). This bike is much lighter than my hardtail, and very fast. She floats on trails and glides over glass and rocks. The Juliana actually feels "harder" on regular paths than on mb terrain. As soon as I hit terrain she seems to light up and start to fly.
    --Nick
    2012 Santa Cruz Juliana R xc (blue)
    Vintage Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo 24 speed (red)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Indianapolis, Indiana
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    My FS Jamis Dakar XC Comp would fit in your budget! I HATE how she feels on pavement, but she feels just fine on dirt. I think there are a good number of other FS bikes that would as well, and you are taller than I so you would likely have more choices.

    As far as PA being more technical than Indiana, I've been told that it depends on where you ride in Indiana, there are people who come from PA to Brown County to ride our single-track there. I've also heard the trails are much rockier further east because of the terrain.

    That's about all I can contribute, but am glad to hear you are considering this again. Let me know if you want to ride the beginners loop at Fort Harrison, it is totally flat, no edges at all, just twisty-bendy through trees and across a couple of VERY low bridges.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    2,738
    It really depends where in PA you're riding. There's a lot of trail diversity. Generally, it's rocky and rooty. You'll see a wide variety of bikes....rigid singlespeeds to full-suspension trail bikes. For me, I think that the ideal "only bike" would be a short-travel (3"-4") 29er...something like a Niner Jet 9 or a Salsa Spearfish.

    Do you have a shop in PA that you like? If so, I would ask the staff where they're riding and what type(s) of bikes they're riding for those specific trail systems.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    somewhere between the Red & Rio Grande
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    I love my 29er FS and have liked the 29er HTs I have rented but given you are trying to love the sport I would go with a 26" FS. The full suspension will help with the fatigue. If you aren't completely hung up on the speed then something plush with 5" of travel would be good but it is going to be heavier. You cannot get a FS 29er for your price but there are some 26er options that will fit.

    My typical course is a mix of rock gardens, punchy climbs (ie short usually somewhat steep but not long), twisty, some roots but not as large as what I have heard the NE has. It is good to compare what people ride to see why they like what they ride.
    Last edited by Aggie_Ama; 09-02-2011 at 10:17 AM.
    Amanda

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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    Indianapolis, IN
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    As much as id like to get a full suspension 29er I have decided to go with a 26er. I am having to curtail the budget a bit, decided to go with a Giant Cypher 1. It's dark red and has some really nice parts on it. Since I can't really tell much difference honestly between the bikes and they all seem rated good I decided to go with the one I could get the best deal on. I've ridden all the models I've been interested in several times and they all seem fine. I just don't think I have any idea what to feel for? They all feel good!

  11. #11
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    Nov 2009
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    The poor Canondale is going to pine away for you I certainly understand wanting to get a good deal, and I think it is great you decided to go forward with the FS. I know that I would be far less confident on a hard tail and would likely have problems walking afterwards - but I've a few years on you.

    Let me know when you bring home your lovely new mountain bike and we will head over to the beginners loop at Ft. Harrison like we discussed

    Is the red Giant the 2012 model? I thought it only came in white for 2011, but what do I know? Congratulations on the new ride!
    Last edited by Catrin; 09-06-2011 at 05:08 AM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
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    Good choice, WR! I've heard really good things about the rear suspension on that bike. I definitely like that bike in red. The white Cyper 2 isn't nearly as pretty. Let us know how your inaugural ride goes!
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  13. #13
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    Indy - Lol yeah I was NOT into the whole white mountain bike thing, I mean it's a mountain bike it's supposed to get dirty right?!?! Just wasn't feeling it with that color scheme. Catrin helped me eliminate that particular one from my list of possibles. I loved the Lexi but just couldn't get a very good deal on it. The Cypher has a lot better components and I have also heard very good things about the maestro suspension too. Let's hope I chose well :-)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by WindingRoad View Post
    Indy - Lol yeah I was NOT into the whole white mountain bike thing, I mean it's a mountain bike it's supposed to get dirty right?!?! Just wasn't feeling it with that color scheme. Catrin helped me eliminate that particular one from my list of possibles. I loved the Lexi but just couldn't get a very good deal on it. The Cypher has a lot better components and I have also heard very good things about the maestro suspension too. Let's hope I chose well :-)
    Brian's Redline 29er is white with black and red details. It's neat. The white Cypher though with the blue scroll work. Well, it's just not as need as the red one.

    In any event, I tend to think you choose well. That bike appears to be speced very nicely. I'm glad you got a deal, too. That always helps.

    Happy (and safe) riding!
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
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    MI
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    I think you are going to love your new bike! Just looked over the specs and it looks like a really great bike. Happy Trails!
    2005 Giant TCR2
    2012 Trek Superfly Elite AL
    2nd Sport, Pando Fall Challenge 2011 and 3rd Expert Peak2Peak 2011
    2001 Trek 8000 SLR
    Iceman 2010-6th Place AG State Games, 2010-1st Sport, Cry Baby Classic 2010-7th Expert, Blackhawk XTerra Tri 2007-3rd AG

    Occasionally Updated Blog

 

 

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