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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am getting back into riding after a 15 year hiatus. A lot has changed in bike technology and I feel like I am starting all over from scratch. I expect to do XC riding and dont think I will ever get into anything too difficult and will probably max out at on intermediate level track. I am 6' 1" and 225 lbs.

At my LBS I have ridden a Giant XTC 27 and a Specialized Streetjumper that I liked but both are out of my price range. I also liked the Trek X-Cal 6 which does fit in my price range. But, I am the type who want to get the best value for the dollar so I am looking at Airborne and Motobecane which are specked closer to the XTC and Streetjumper but fall under $1k.

I am having a hard time deciding between the Seeker and Fantom 29 X7 and would appreciate your thoughts on the two and any others that I should look at. They both seem fairly similar to me. Aesthetically I think I have a slight preference for the Seeker, but not so much so that I wouldnt choose the Fantom. The Fantom has X7 vs the Seeker's X5. They are both have a Recon fork. I dont know enough to compare wheels, tires, brakes, etc.

Airborne Bicycles. Seeker

Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Motobecane Fantom 29PRO
 

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Just to muddy the waters a little bit...

2012 Marin Rock Springs Elite 29er 19" Hardtail MTB Bike Shimano SLX Fox New | eBay
You get a little bit better drivetrain, far better fork, far better wheelset, brakes that are fantastic(elixer 1s are throw away), and its already 2.5 lbs lighter than the airborne. for only about $150 more than the airborne.
I would think that is a no-brainer.

If you are limited to $1000, I would go with the Seeker though. Its much better looking bike. And I have only heard good things about Airborne.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the link. My budget is $1k, but I am not constrained by it. For all practical purposes, the Marin is within range. With shipping it comes to ~$1,150 vs $1,000 for the Seeker (assuming it doesnt get bid up)

I dont know anything about Marin, can you educate me little?
 

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Thanks for the link. My budget is $1k, but I am not constrained by it. For all practical purposes, the Marin is within range. With shipping it comes to ~$1,150 vs $1,000 for the Seeker.

I dont know anything about Marin, can you educate me little?
The reason why I showed you that link is because there is no way you could get all of those upgrades for $150. You couldn't buy those brakes for $150.

I have had 2 Marin bikes and I am a pretty big fan, so feel free to take my advice with a grain of salt. They are generally more expensive than other makes, but that is a 2012 closeout and its a great deal.
Marin Bikes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Marin Bikes | About Marin Bikes | Mountain Bikes, Road Bikes, and City/Commuter Bicycles | us
I don't think that their hardtails necessarily stand out among the rest of the hardtails, but their FS design I think is pretty amazing.
 

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The Fantom has X7 vs the Seeker's X5. They are both have a Recon fork. I dont know enough to compare wheels, tires, brakes, etc.
I'd probably go with the Seeker and replace any X5 I broke with 7 (or 9).

Here's what I noticed:

1. Seeker = Recon Air, Fantom = Recon ???. There -is- a coil sprung Recon, and I'd much rather know I'm getting an air fork. This difference alone would change my mind.
2. Seeker has a tapered head tube, largely becoming a standard. The Fantom is an older style straight 1 1/8th.
3. I'm not sure what diameter handlebar clamp the Seeker uses, but I'd bet on 31.8. The Fantom again uses an older 25.4. It can be hard to find a good, newer bar in 25.4.
4. The rims on the Fantom probably won't go tubeless. It'd be good to call/email Airborne to see if they've had luck with theirs.
 

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I ride the Gravity 29POINT4 I got it from bikes direct I am 6'2" and weigh 225 the bikes rides great. I have had great time on it and the customer service was wonderfull. You will need to know how to set the bike up though if you plan on buying from an online store. Or you can pay your LBS to put it together and adjust it for you but it is all in what you want to do I ride a large fits great.
 

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You are not necessary getting the most value with those bikes,they put cheeper parts where you woundn't look ,rims bottom brackets,head sets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You are not necessary getting the most value with those bikes,they put cheeper parts where you woundn't look ,rims bottom brackets,head sets.
I hear ya, but since wheels are one of the first things to upgrade I think its okay to skimp on that with the intention of upgrading them at some point in the future.

That said, I think I might be leaning toward the Marin...

Any others I should look at?
 

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I recommend the Marin Bobcat 29 in the 600 and less range because of the components and fork. Avoiding the Suntour fork in that price range is important.
Once you get above 1k geo is worth looking at. Marin's on the Rock Springs and others on their site doesn't include chainstay length or head tube angle. But REI has it for a current similar model under "size chart".
Marin Palisades Trail SE 29er Bike - 2014 at REI.com
The chainstay is 18.1" or 460mm. That is two generations ago and may steer slower in techy trails than geo of the Trek Superfly at 435mm or a Scott Scale.
Trek has a slacker head tube angle for stability on downhills but speeds up the steering with an increase in fork offset from 46 to 51mm. Trek Fest is now or next weekend. 15% off current models is possible with negotiating if you hold out. Possibly 3% more for cash. That gets you into a SF 5. If you aren't constrained by budget the 9.6 is the best long-term value. Carbon compliance.
Go to REI and ride some bikes for sizing and handling info. Go in and out of ditches and on the grass.
 

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I ride an Airborne Goblin and love it! Fantastic customer support and a dang sexy bike that should cost a ton more.

Personally though if that Marin bike on Ebay fit me I would get that in a second. Great specs
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I bought a Marin Rock Spring Elite 29er off the bay last night for $1,145 including shipping! Now I need to decide if I will put it together myself or pay a LBS to do it. I am fairly comfortable with tools so I am leaning toward doing it myself...
 

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I bought a Marin Rock Spring Elite 29er off the bay last night for $1,145 including shipping! Now I need to decide if I will put it together myself or pay a LBS to do it. I am fairly comfortable with tools so I am leaning toward doing it myself...
Congrats! That is a sick bike.
It will come mostly assembled. Just have a small torque wrench to make sure you get things torqued correctly. If you have questions, youtube probably has your answer.

My bike needed its formula brake lines shortened and bled when I got it.
 

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I bought a Marin Rock Spring Elite 29er off the bay last night for $1,145 including shipping! Now I need to decide if I will put it together myself or pay a LBS to do it. I am fairly comfortable with tools so I am leaning toward doing it myself...
That is a hell of a lot of bike for the money. Great find. Where in Atlanta do you live?
 

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The bike looks very well spec'd and I was interested myself, so I tried to look it up.

I can't find any indication on Marin's website (which has an archive) or Bikepedia that there was a 2012 Rock Springs Elite. In fact, the only Marin Rock Springs that I see are earlier full suspension bikes. Anyone know what might be going on? Was it a foreign market name and this place is selling off the unsold extras?

In any case as long as your bike comes with the equipment it's supposed to, that should be a great deal. Hope you enjoy it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I found another thread where someone emailed Marin asking why the Rock Springs isn't on their website. Marin responded saying that it was a model that they released late in the year and for whatever reason it was never put on their website. But, it is a real Marin bike.

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