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Old    Kyle Dills (azsufer)      Join Date: Feb 2004       04-12-2010, 3:40 PM Reply   
I am in the market for a bike, but I need some "guidance" in my purchase. Who better to ask then a bunch of you all!

My price range is between $700 and $1,000. Front suspension. Disc Brakes.

I am considering a 26 and a 29er. Should my size have anything to do with the size of wheels (i am 6'3" and 230lbs)?

The local bike shop (Cactus Bike) in Ahwatukee, Az sells a lot of KONA bikes, but I was thinking of going with a Specialized Rock Hopper.

Who rides KONA and who rides SPECIALIZED and what are your thoughts??

Any input would be greatly appreciated...

Also, if there is a brand that you recommend, please let me know,

KD
Old    Nick Schrein (wakeboardern1)      Join Date: Aug 2007       04-12-2010, 5:11 PM Reply   
I'm madly in love with my Rockhopper. fantastic bike. my only complaint it with the secondary parts (like the deraileur), as the stock ones that come on the bike aren't exactly the most rough and tumble. Be prepared to buy a new one if you fall to the right side of the bike even a little bit. But that's something that happens with all bikes if you're dumb enough to fall (like me), not just specialized. Oh yeah, the tread on the wheels wear down pretty fast if you're riding on pavement (for example, I ride to my college campus from my apartment on the bike instead of driving), but before that happened it gripped pretty much every condition I rode in really well, including snow and mud.

Just my uneducated opinion.
Old    C.I.E. J-Rod (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       04-13-2010, 1:08 PM Reply   
I was looking at the same bikes as you. I needed a cross country bike, hard tail, enough room to be comfortable on climbs, but small enough to jump and have fun on.

I ended up buying a Marin Rocky Ridge. New it was a little over a grand. I got it for 500 bucks on craigslist. 8 inch Hays brakes. Index shifters, great components. I'd say the most important factor is the kind of riding you're doing. I live on Lake Chabot. Lots of fireroads and narrow trails.

I needed something that I can climb on all day, but something that also handles fast single tracks. Being able to tow my daughter around was also a factor. So far, I'm very happy. The bike is comfortable, climbs great, but has a bit of a DH style frame and rake to it.
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Old    Matt (pierce_bronkite)      Join Date: Jul 2003       04-13-2010, 1:40 PM Reply   
Hmm.. my $150.00 Mongoose from Wal Mart seems to do the trick.
Old    A-dub (behindtheboat)      Join Date: Aug 2006       04-13-2010, 1:48 PM Reply   
^^^ and have you ever taken it on a real trail?

Not fun riding the whole way back after your seat post snaps, or a simple part goes wrong simply because it's cheap. and i only ride a few times a year
Old    Akadirtbikingdad (wakeboardingdad)      Join Date: Aug 2008       04-13-2010, 3:34 PM Reply   
MattG, Until you ride a good bike, you will never know what you're missing. I hit the 'mart style bikes first and they lasted no time. When you look at the components, not to mention the materials of the frame, you'll see the difference.

I've got a Specialized Hardrock. No suspension. I've had it for about 6 or so years and still love it. If I were to buy a new bike now, I would strongly consider a 29'r. It makes great sense that the bigger the wheel is, the smoother the ride will be, especially over roots. On another thread on here, I did see someone else talk up the 29's but noted that the bigger wheels do have strength issues. So, if you plan on jumping, you may want to stick with a 26". I am older, but still try to act like a kid, and I weigh, most of the time about the same as you. Well, on several occasions, I have heard my spokes scream in protest on some weird landings and some turns. In all instances, I was out of shape and either crashed or almost did.

Personally, I like Specialized. We bought two more two years ago. Neither was for me, so I am still looking at that 29 in the window! Oh! One more thing. If you think you're going to ride (or can afford) one bike, make sure you get forks that you can lock. At times, I ride my hardrock on the street (I picked up some skinnies for it) and I like that I have no suspension sucking up my pedaling energy. My wife's bike, which has entry level front suspension, does not have this option. I believe your price range will have this option though. The next bike I buy for me will prolly come from Craigslist. I picked up a Trek on there for my youngest son for $50! It's regularly a $300 bike! Good luck on your purchase.
Old    Barry Waste (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       04-13-2010, 5:24 PM Reply   
Wakeboardingdad is correct; until you ride a quality bike you'll never know...


Check into Santa Cruz bikes. I have a couple and they have been a dream!
Old    Ben Wilcox (benjaminp)      Join Date: Nov 2008       04-13-2010, 8:59 PM Reply   
I own 3 specialized bikes right now and I love them all. They are all 06 or older, and all the frames are in great condition, aside from the scratches I have put in them. Specialized generally has good quality components (obviously you get what you pay for, but Specialized does a good job for the money). One of my bikes is an 06 Hardrock comp, love it. The money I have put into it is because I have been dumb and broke stuff. Still on the original fork, rims, tires, cranks, and casette.
As to the 26er/29er debate, I have riding buddies about the same size as you on 26ers with no complaints, but that probably because they dont know any different. One friend, who rides obessively and knows his bikes, tried out a 29er when in the Yukon last year and loved the thing to death. If not for the shipping back to Ontario he would have bought it. He mentioned how smooth it felt compared to his other bikes, and I didnt hear a word about decreased acceleration. As Akadirtbikingdad mentioned, strenth issues are there, and it might be a little harder to find tires/rims/spokes/tubes for them, so keep that in mind.
Old    Matt (pierce_bronkite)      Join Date: Jul 2003       04-14-2010, 7:21 AM Reply   
No I dont take them on trails. My bike is only used with the occasional trip to the park with the family and occasional cardio. Hence the cheap price.
Old    E.J. (deuce)      Join Date: Mar 2002       04-14-2010, 8:15 AM Reply   
In about a month, I'm riding my bike 100 miles around the White Rim Trail.....

VERY excited.....

I am not much help with the original question, as I don't have a Specialized or Kona in the garage.... You should be able to get a fine hardtail within your price range.

Ride a lot of bikes, something will feel right..... Doesn't matter if the name is Specialized or Ventana....
Old    Mattgettel (mattgettel)      Join Date: Jan 2009       04-14-2010, 8:30 AM Reply   
components, components, components. period.
Many people look at the name on the frame of the bike but to me that doesn't hold much value. Even if a bike says Mongoose on the side of it, with the right components it could be a bad a$$ bike. (i am not real familiar with Mongoose but i doubt they even offer decent components from the factory).
I prefer Cannondale but again, if you have the right components you will be set.
Look at SRAM and Shimano and see how the list the tiers of components. You prob wont need the top of the list, but I would suggest one or two down from the top.
You just can't beat screaming down some single track trail at 30 mph through the woods!
Good luck.
Old    Scott (chilidog)      Join Date: Dec 2007       04-14-2010, 8:32 AM Reply   
I bought a Specialized RockHopperComp hardtail back in 01. It's been a great bike except for the shocks (Judy's leaked all the fluid out and adjuster knob broke), both derailers and chain, wheels/spokes/hubs, and both gearsets/crank bearings. I had to replace all that stuff after heavy use. I rode it alot with frequent downhill that should have been reserved for a full suspension, so I put her through the paces and it showed. No problems with the frame, bars and headset, though!

I would say your best bet is buy a higher end bike used if you plan on riding it alot like JRod did. I bought mine for $900 new and have easily dumped another 300-500 into it just to be able to keep riding. When everything works though I love it. Replacing stuff after two years of riding on a bike haggled down from 1100 is not cool though. If I could do it over I would get on some biking forums and see what would be a good used bike for that price range and you will probably be looking at something that was 2500 or so brand new. My bike is probably worth 200 now. It's just as good as it was brand new, better even with all the aftermarket parts. The only Specialized parts I had to replace were the shocks and wheels, everything else I had to replace was shimano stuff. So overall I wasn't happy with their package more than the bike itself. Maybe I should have gone big at the beginning, which I thought I was, you get what you pay for.
Old    E.J. (deuce)      Join Date: Mar 2002       04-14-2010, 8:58 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattgettel View Post
components, components, components. period.
Many people look at the name on the frame of the bike but to me that doesn't hold much value. Even if a bike says Mongoose on the side of it, with the right components it could be a bad a$$ bike. (i am not real familiar with Mongoose but i doubt they even offer decent components from the factory).
I prefer Cannondale but again, if you have the right components you will be set.
Look at SRAM and Shimano and see how the list the tiers of components. You prob wont need the top of the list, but I would suggest one or two down from the top.
You just can't beat screaming down some single track trail at 30 mph through the woods!
Good luck.
Could not disagree more.....though that is what discussion boards are all about.....

I'll always build around a frame....never around components... Components come and go, they are for lack of better words, a disposable part of a bike. AMAZING components a few years ago is middle of the road now.... A GREAT frame a few years ago is a GREAT frame today....
Old    E Double U (three6ty)      Join Date: Feb 2004       04-14-2010, 10:37 AM Reply   
When your talking about Hardtail Frames - a solid but not heavy frame by any major manufacturer will be good . A walmart bike with good components will break ( welds, loose headset ) so I agree with EJ on that. But I will disagree with EJ on Components.

EJ - Components do come and go but I am still riding on 2005 XTR Components on my Trek Top Fuel and they are still as smooth as butter. The local shop keeps trying to tell me to upgrade my bike and components and I haven't found a bike that outperforms the one I already have. ( and I have demoed all the top of the line Santa Cruz, Specialized, Ellsworth, Intense,Trek bikes out there )- Yes those are excellent bikes loaded with new XTR, SRAM stuff but it's really not that better than what I have now. I can't justify it!!
You can buy an average mid level frame lets say a Specialized Rockhopper ( yes that is a very average and heavy hardtail frame ) and load it up with XTR , XT or evel SLX stuff and it will ride great. Components make the riding experience what it should be 9 enjoyable and reliable). esp. shifters, cranks , breaks and derailleurs. Outside of that is where most companies that build complete bikes skimp!!! Cheap handlbars, stem, headset, seatpost, brakes, tires, cassette and rims and things you can ride with but eventually will need replaced becasue they will break or wearout soon.

KYLE Try this- Good frame with great components for the price. XTR,XT FSA, AVid Juicy, REBA - That is a great deal on a 29" hardtail with those parts. Might be what your looking for.
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...om29pro_SL.htm
Old    E Double U (three6ty)      Join Date: Feb 2004       04-14-2010, 10:40 AM Reply   
And that $995 price on that includes Free shipping and NO TAX!!!!
Old    C.I.E..... Evan (guido)      Join Date: Jul 2002       04-14-2010, 10:50 AM Reply   
I agree with E doubl U and E.J. You guys both have valid points.

My take is to get a good quality frame without shelling for the latest technology. You can usually find the top of the line technology from a few years ago dropped onto less expensive bikes. Components are truly what make a bike last. I'm also a fan of hard tails. They're lighter and climb better. Unless you're killing the down hills you're legs provide a lot of rear suspension. Front susp is obviously a must.

FWIW.... I'm still on my mountain bike that I bought in 1993. Back then it was a top of the line steel frame. It's got Manitou's on it that still work great (all elastomer), albeit they don't have much travel. Biggest deal, though, is the XT components that still work like new thousands of miles later. IMO the brand new components aren't all that different. Similar lever configurations and display windows. It's definitely worth bucking up for the good stuff.

About the 26 vs. 29. The 29's are cool. They ride smooth and make good down hill bikes. They do get a bit cumbersome on tight trails, though. Just something to look out for. I still like 26's better personally.

Check out Performance bikes. Kind of off brand, but good deals and top level components.
Old    C.I.E..... Evan (guido)      Join Date: Jul 2002       04-14-2010, 10:52 AM Reply   
Ha, ha... '93. I just dated myself. That bad boy's 17 years old now. Back then I rode everyday. Raced on the weekends. Now it mostly sits in the garage begging to get ridden. Maybe just a cruise downtown to get a beer. Ha, ha, ha. It's cycling season. I guess I better dust it off.
Old    Mattgettel (mattgettel)      Join Date: Jan 2009       04-14-2010, 11:07 AM Reply   
E.J. I know what you mean. A good frame is vital.
You said that you will always "build" around a good frame. It has been my experience that if you are going to build a bike it is going to cost more than a grand. If you are going to spend a grand you will get the most bang for your buck in buying a complete.
From what i read on his initial post I take it that Kyle is somewhat new to the sport. This is an assumption.
I think that both of us can agree that there are few things more frustrating than shifting gears and loosing the chain. The same applies for brakes. When you need them you want to be able to depend on them.
I bought a Cannondale Rize about a year ago. I paid about 2 grand for it.
When I was shopping for this bike I came across several other bikes in this price range but with less quality components. I know from my road bike experience that when i hit the shifter i want that gear, period.
Components do come and go but if start with crap that is what you will get. In my opinion nothing will turn you off faster than a faulty derailleur.

Last edited by mattgettel; 04-14-2010 at 11:09 AM.
Old    C.I.E. J-Rod (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       04-14-2010, 11:11 AM Reply   
"You just can't beat screaming down some single track trail at 30 mph through the woods!"


I can! Try riding up that same trail at 30 mph on a motocross bike.
Old    E.J. (deuce)      Join Date: Mar 2002       04-14-2010, 11:13 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattgettel View Post
I think that both of us can agree that there are few things more frustrating than shifting gears and loosing the chain. The same applies for brakes. When you need them you want to be able to depend on them.

I know from my road bike experience that when i hit the shifter i want that gear, period.
Components do come and go but if start with crap that is what you will get. In my opinion nothing will turn you off faster than a faulty derailleur.
Yes, we're on the same page.....
Old    Eric Nelson (nelson)      Join Date: Jan 2009       04-14-2010, 11:22 AM Reply   
I run a Specialized Rock Hopper Comp XC Full Suspension it is about 5 years old and has been great. I ride about 60 miles a week and other then wear and tear parts never had any problems. There are a lot of great brands out there I would spend a little extra money and get something that last rather then going down to wally world and buying a $150.00 bike every other month.
Old    Kyle Dills (azsufer)      Join Date: Feb 2004       04-14-2010, 2:22 PM Reply   
I appreciate everybody's feedback!!!

From what I have gathered, a frame is a frame and they are all pretty comparable. The components, however; can make or break a good bike.

This weekend I plan on riding a couple different makes and i can't wait to compare!
Old    Ben Wilcox (benjaminp)      Join Date: Nov 2008       04-14-2010, 4:32 PM Reply   
"Buy the best gear that you can afford at the time." - George Wilson
Old    E.J. (deuce)      Join Date: Mar 2002       04-14-2010, 4:59 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by azsufer View Post
From what I have gathered, a frame is a frame and they are all pretty comparable.
Just to be clear on my end, frames are not all the same, just as components are not all just the same....

As with most things in life.... In the end, you'll probably get exactly what you pay for when it comes to a bike.....
Old    Akadirtbikingdad (wakeboardingdad)      Join Date: Aug 2008       04-14-2010, 6:19 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by guido View Post
..... They do get a bit cumbersome on tight trails, though.....
True. I almost mentioned it but didn't. The larger diameter wheel the longer the turning radius. My 26er can turn around on itself. I doubt the 29 can, but I still want to try one. This is making me want to go ride!!!
Old    C.I.E..... Evan (guido)      Join Date: Jul 2002       04-14-2010, 6:32 PM Reply   
Yeah Kyle.... Again, E.J. is right on. There are differences in frames, but if you're on a budget I'd stick to a more basic bike and get a higher quality ride that way. If you buy a long travel full suspension bike, chances are you're putting money into a mediocre frame and components. If you stick with a hard tail, then you'll likely get a higher quality frame (minus rear suspension) and higher quality components. Follow? I feel like I'm being unclear, but.... If you want the gimmicks, then you've got to spend the bucks. Keep it simple and you'll have a better, longer lasting, lower budget bike.
Old    Barry Waste (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       04-14-2010, 8:03 PM Reply   
I really like the idea of having someone else take the initial depreciation hit- I always buy high-end used bikes. Chances are the original purchaser took pretty good care of his 4k bike that you're buying for 1000-1500. Even if you have to put in a few hundred for a tune,chain, etc.. you're still way ahead. Not to mention you can ride it for a season or so and almost get your money back out of it.
Old    E Double U (three6ty)      Join Date: Feb 2004       04-14-2010, 9:17 PM Reply   
Agreed with Barry!!!
Thats how I got my Trek top Fuel!!!!

$4599 retail in 2005. Bought it in 2006 for $2000. I have put a new chain and cassette and tires. I do my own tune ups. Awesome bike for 1/3 the cost
Old    Bryce (brycejb328)      Join Date: Aug 2009       04-16-2010, 5:51 AM Reply   
I ride single track with a guy about your size, his complaint on his 29 er.... he had to totally re-think is enter and exit strategy on some really tight single track corners. I've owned kona... rode it for 4 years, great bike. But i picked up a carry over giant anthem 3 for a $1,000 and i love it. If you wanna go rigid the giant xtc is worth a look.
Old    E Double U (three6ty)      Join Date: Feb 2004       04-16-2010, 8:58 PM Reply   
EJ,

Saw that your riding the white rim trail. I have done that ride 3 times. It is breathtaking . DO NOT DO IT ON A HARDTAIL. It is a pretty easy ride once you drop in. The drop in is super fast but be careful , you make a mistake and they will be picking you up off the bottom of the canyon.
Very flat with a few hills mixed in. But it is rough terrain. Make sure you have a comfortable seat and set you suspention up to be a little more forgiving than normal. I rode it on my Top Fuel , a freeride 6" travel bike and a friends Ellsworth truth. Truth was the answer for this trail.

The climb out is awesome!!! Look to your left when you start climbing out and there are base jumpers that hurl themselves off the cliff. I have seen them 2 out of my 3 trips.

Have fun and be safe. You camping out 1 or 2 nights?

Last edited by three6ty; 04-16-2010 at 9:01 PM. Reason: spelling
Old    E.J. (deuce)      Join Date: Mar 2002       04-16-2010, 10:57 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by three6ty View Post
EJ,

Saw that your riding the white rim trail. I have done that ride 3 times. It is breathtaking . DO NOT DO IT ON A HARDTAIL. It is a pretty easy ride once you drop in. The drop in is super fast but be careful , you make a mistake and they will be picking you up off the bottom of the canyon.
Very flat with a few hills mixed in. But it is rough terrain. Make sure you have a comfortable seat and set you suspention up to be a little more forgiving than normal. I rode it on my Top Fuel , a freeride 6" travel bike and a friends Ellsworth truth. Truth was the answer for this trail.

The climb out is awesome!!! Look to your left when you start climbing out and there are base jumpers that hurl themselves off the cliff. I have seen them 2 out of my 3 trips.

Have fun and be safe. You camping out 1 or 2 nights?
3 nights/4 days....there will be a lot of beer/spirits/wine/cigars..... Everyone can look forward to a trip report when I return.....

I am SUPER EXCITED about the trip....

Other advice?

Taking the BLT.... Though Michelle will be on her Klein....

Old    Trapper (canucked)      Join Date: Jun 2007       04-19-2010, 9:16 AM Reply   
Ahhh, I love this thread.

As soon as I can get out my office i've got a date with Gary Fisher and the local single track trails.

I bought a new bike a few weeks ago, i've already been over the handle bars.
Old    Akadirtbikingdad (wakeboardingdad)      Join Date: Aug 2008       04-19-2010, 10:56 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by canucked View Post
Ahhh, I love this thread.
Me too. I keep coming back looking for more info. I have let my weight get up on me and about three weeks ago, I got on the treadmill. I need to exercise every day but I don't want to run each and every day. Getting back to my old routine to run a day and bike a day, I had been planning to get on the bike but was afraid of the first long uphill. Ugh. I was pleased that I felt the burn but the not the usual beginning of the season knee issues. It felt good getting out there again!

This thread makes me want to upgrade my MTB and get a road bike.
Old    E Double U (three6ty)      Join Date: Feb 2004       04-19-2010, 6:27 PM Reply   
EJ - That bike will be perfect. Michelle might want to invest in a suspension seatpost!!! Or take a little bit of air out of the tires so it be be more forgiving.
Just make sure you clean up all of your trash and haul it out with you. Caus eif you dont the people satying at the campsite you left can and will report you. And the fines are hefty!!

Other than that - bring a camera, a pad to sleep on and something warm to wear. Although it can get hot during the day it will cool down significantly at night. And the weather can turn to thunderstorms in a matter of hours.

Have fun man and explore every finger that goes off the main trail. There are some awesome lookouts off the main trail that are simply breathtaking. I will try to find some pictures from my last trip and post them here.

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