Strengths: Low price, with good brakes and a better fork.
The Suntour XCR is plush, don't listen to the haters. It is not an $800 fork, or a $350 fork for that matter, but it is surprisingly plush and controllable, even for a big boy.
Weaknesses: Drive Train - Really low level stuff, Acera front and rear derailleur. They will grind. They will get the job done, but they will complain.
This is an entry level bike, there is no doubt about it, but I don't think you're going to find a better value at this price point.
I've been looking for an entry level bike, and feel like I've looked at everything out there. I will say that there are other bikes at this price point and about $150 higher that do have a better overall component quality, and in particular drive train, but they have lower quality front suspension. In my analysis, I'd prefer a lower quality drive train, and a higher quality fork, none of the entry level bikes were set up in this manner. They were either equal across the board with like Shimano Alivio components and low end Suntour fork, or even higher end drive train, but still with a low end Suntour fork.
I'm a big guy, and not an experienced rider, so I feel that the Suntour XCR front suspension really helps me from going over the bars while rolling over the rough stuff, as I learn to manage my weight/center of gravity around the bike. This fork does eat rocks, roots, and logs like some starved mythical Greek creature, and it does it smoothly. It does not have adjustable rebound, but the rebound felt very good to me, was not springy, and absolutely no pogo stick effect. I am very happy with the Suntour XCR, and really is the reason I purchased this bike.
The derailleurs on this bike are low end, no denying that fact, they will complain if you shift under load, which I'm still learning to avoid, but when you're on a gnarly climb with increasing grades, pretty hard to shift while not under load. The rear Acera derailleur will grind noisily under load, but the upside is that if it breaks, you can upgrade to a more quality Deore level component. The shifters on this bike are awesome, easy to use, and feel quality. No troubles at all. A real step up from grip shifters.
The Shimano hydraulic brakes are very impressive so far. I was on some downhills today that were long, steep and gravely, i.e. well beyond my comfort level, and I never felt that the breaks couldn't handle it. The front 180mm rotor is powerful, and WILL manage your speed.
Bottom line, low level drive train, quality hydraulic breaks, and really plush front fork. The large size fits a big guy, doesn't complain when you bounce in the attack position, and overall feels good.
Maybe the magical economy fairy is going to come down and restore the western world to prosperity thus allowing the purchase of multithousand dollar bikes, but I don't see that happening in the coming century, so stop the analysis paralysis, pick up an Overdrive Sport and have some fun staying fit.
Life is too short to spend it being a bike nerd on the internet.
Strengths: Good components for the money, looks like a nice bike (to people who aren't really into mountain bikes). Frame seems solid. Brakes are great, decent controls.
Weaknesses: Budget front suspension. Like a pogo stick, but what do you expect at this price point?
I really love the looks of this bike (the components on mine are slightly different than listed because mine is the white one they only sell at Performance) My friends who don't ride think it's a very expensive bike (compared to the normal big box ones they ride) The suspension is pretty bad, but Suntour has a trade up program that makes upgrading to an air shock pretty inexpensive which I will take advantage of after this season. I wouldn't jump it as it sits right now, but its great for heading up a moderate trail at a moderate speed which lets be honest, is what most people who will buy this bike would be doing with it. I don't know a ton about high end hardtails but the components on the bike seem pretty capable for this price range, but most people in the know will look down on you just because it has the "D word" on the side. I think the bike is a great introduction to the sport and after a suspension upgrade would be more capable than I am going to ask it to do.
If I had it all to do over again I would probably just drop 200$ more on something with a better front suspension and a more reputable name (Specialized, Trek, Giant) but after I upgrade I will be in the same spot as far as cash outlay. Alot of the threads on this forum make you feel like you cant do anything but ride around in a circle in a parking lot with anything but a top tier bike but really the most important thing is to get something that gets you on the trail, and this bike has accomplished that for me so I love it. All I can suggest if you want this or a similarly priced bike is to buy it at a bike shop so you know it is put together correctly and you take take it in for free adjustments (I had to adjust the front derailleur once already)
For the price this is a great bike. I had a bunch of parts from other bikes that I upgraded on this bike right away. I use it mainly on easy trails with my 2 year old riding in an Ibert seat on the front. It rolls over everything very well and is easily controlled on the uphills and downhills. I have taken it to some tuffer trails and it did pretty good too. It is a bit too flexy in the front end for my taste but if you have never riden anything else you will not notice. It climbs really well for its weight. It is not flickable as a 26er and is harder to get air with. It is a good bike for Just Rolling Along. You are not going to win anything on this bike but it can leave a bunch of smiles on your face. I like my 26er better but it is 13.75 times more expensive. This is a great entry level bike that I will be recommending to all my buddies who I get started mountain biking.
I recently relocated to Austin, TX and am interested in getting involved in mountain biking. I am a complete novice and have not ridden a bike since I was a little kid. I'm primarily looking for a good entry level bike, but I do not want to spend a TON of money in case mountain biking is ... Read More »
I'm a roadie and don't know much about mountain bikes, but need to get one for my son. The last mountain bike I purchased was a Specialized FSR Pro in 2000 for $2k, so it's been a while. My son is 10, but tall for his age, he is all leg and grows like a weed. I sized him up on some size small adult ... Read More »
Hey guys I was just wondering which one you guys would say is better for a beginner looking to ride on the road and some trails as well. I am 6'3" and about 210 lbs... thanks for your input on my subjectRead More »
This is my first post on here and wanted to say yes I did do a search, but the "sport" model only comes up in 1 thread and was curious about it. In that thread 1 member states that it is the same as the comp, and the components seem to be identical so I assume that is accurate. But on the DB website ... Read More »