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I was also tempted by the $700, but asked the lbs if he would take $650 for the frame hanging on his wall and he jumped on it. Start at 6 and go up if necessary. Won't know how it handles until after the build.
 

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The Tractor said:
That's the same place that's selling the Dakar XC Pro frame for $700. Interesting thing is that on the "hot deals" section on this website, it states that the XC Pro at Richards is $499. Talk about bait and switch. I saw a gently used 2005 XC Pro frame go for $250 on ebay this summer. However, that Float RP3 with the AVA on the XC Expert is worth about half what Richards is selling the frame for.
 

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I've got the 2005 Dakar XC Expert, same frame as the "Pro." Handles like a dream! Great maneuverability in tech situations, but you've to ride it pretty aggressively to get the most out of it. The geometry and suspension design don't really come to life until you start pushing your limits a little. But once they do, WOO HOO!
 

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I bought a brand new 2005 XC Pro frame on eBay this summer for $489 plus $40 shipping.

I would imagine that you should be able to find at least as good a deal now, 6 months later and with the 2006 models arriving.

As for handling, it took some getting used to for me, because i'd been riding a rigid 1993 steel Stumpjumper until then, so it was a big shock. Steering seemed slow and sluggish. However, i discovered that what you have to do is go faster! Suddenly, everything feels right. I initially had RockShox Reba forks on it set to 115mm. Lowering them to 100mm helped a lot too, as did flipping the 10º stem upside down to lower the handebars. The stem preference might be personal (i was used to the long, low vintage XC position, i guess), but i think sticking to 100mm travel forks is a good idea with this frame in general.

If you've been riding more recent bikes, your experience might be totally different though.
 

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sramski said:
Is 700 Dollars a good price for this frame? How does this bike handle? I have not seen anything in magazines as they all seem to write up the XLT's amd not the XC's.
I've got an 04 xlt and my wife an 04 dakar xc - both 17" so we occasionally switch bikes. The dakar xc lives up to it's name - much faster handling, espec at low speed (picking your way over rocks), wheras the xlt is happier on steep downhills and at speed (which makes sense given the 68.5 head angle on the xlt compared to the 71.5 ha on the dakar xc).

weird thing is that even though for the same size frame the dakar xc has a longer effective
top tube than the xlt, the xlt feels 'longer' (both bikes are running 100mm stems and offset posts)
 
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