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$2500 Budget..... Recommendations?

4675 Views 61 Replies 29 Participants Last post by  MCtigre
Ok, here's the deal. I need to have some sense talked into me about a new ride. Thus, I need your help! I don't want to spend more than $2,500 if possible.

About my riding:
30 year old, above average rider, hoping to get better and more aggressive. I ride mainly in Houston, Texas (pretty flat, I know) at Cypresswood, Double Lake, Memorial, and Jack Brooks. Try to get up to Austin to ride Emma Long a couple of times a year. Try to ride somewhere really fun (Moab, New Mexico, etc.) once a year (but not too successsful lately). 6'1", 185lbs.

Here what I'm thinking:
1) Riding mostly in Houston, a full suspension bike might be overkill. But I love my friend's FS rig. And easier on my aging body is nice. So I'm leaning to FS.

2) I like to ride aggressive, take drops, hit small jumps, etc. So an XC frame probably isn't the best fit for me. But again, riding mostly in Texas, an All Mountain bike might be overkill. A tweener "trailbike" seems to be a good fit. Also, like the slacker 70 degree HT angle on "trailbikes".

3) I have a weak 26er and weak 29er, and like the bigger wheels better. I'm a bigger guy. But not totally sold on the idea for this new bike.

Ok, any ideas? Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi; you're my only hope....
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I'm riding mostly in houston and debated getting a full suspension over a hardtail for some time. After riding my solid steel Fisher for many years I can tell you that I love the full suspension. There really aren't too many climbs here that a hardtail is going to have huge advantages on ,and going off the mini 1-2 foot drops here in town really smooths out with the full suspension. I'm 41 so it also helps a lot with the stress on the upper body and the back. I'm currently riding a stumpy FSR comp and it works pretty well.
I'm riding a stumpy fsr as well--had to go back to the giant hardtail while I was getting my shock pushed--it was not much fun. Yes get the full suspension.
Yeah. I'm leaning toward FS. And the Stumpy was on my radar. As were the other big manufacturers: Fisher (HiFi 29er or Roscoe I), and Trek (Fuel Ex 8).

The Turner 5 Spot, Pivot Mach 5, Titus FTM, and Niner RIP 9 seem a little out of my price range. Maybe I can locate a person silly enough to sell theirs to me!!!! Yeah, right!

A Yeti 575 (Enduro build) demo bike is a possibility too.

Any feedback on those bikes from Texas riders?

Decisions, decisions..............
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Don' t forget the IronHorse MKIII. You can get one for a steal right now, but the service is a bit worrisome. And they still have the DW link is a great suspension, the new Turner and Pivot bikes have it now also.
I may be speaking blasphemy and all that, but I went direct and saved upwards of $1k off similarly equipped bikes and haven't regretted it yet over a year later. I'm riding a Fezzari Nebo Peak ($2299), and although you don't get the comfort of plopping your butt on it and riding around the local bike shop's parking lot, you also have 30 days to send it back, no questions asked, and it's fitted to you. But, if it doesn't feel right, send it back. You don't like the color in person, send it back. On top of that, unlike the Trek, et al., you stay under your budget and get more.

Many will say you lose the lbs experience and relationship, but as long as you develop a relationship with one, they aren't going to scorn you for choosing to get more bang for your buck. Actually, the mechanic at the LBS I always take my bike to has been known to letting the Nebo "skip in line" when there are other pending jobs b/c he likes working on it so much, so...

If you do talk to them, ask for Chris. Oh, and tell him you saw them on :thumbsup:

I have rode the Nebo in Houston just the other week and generally engaged the pro-pedal that the Fox RP23 offers and it felt great. Although the Fox Talas offers 3 different settings, I kept it set to 100mm there. I have had it on virtually every type of trail you can think of, from rocky a$$ Hill Country climbs and drops, to downhills in NM, and the Fezzari has been great on it all.

Besides, like Dr. Phil says, 'It's ok to look.'

Just my $0.02.
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If you're comfortable buying a bike without testing riding it or even getting on it, direct is fine. Just don't test a bike at your LBS, then buy the thing online to save a few bucks. Man that burns me. Just my .02.

Anyway, Pedigre, nice call on the Fezzari. Never heard of them, but they seem legit and have gotten great reviews. And that price point can't be matched. I'll definitely be researching them more. Wonder if they'll be around long enough to fulfill the lifetime warranty if my bike fails after a few years of hard riding.....
I bought a Giant Anthem X2 for $2500 ($400 discount). Its a lightweight 4" FS bike with full XT that I'm quite happy with. I'm currently living in Durango, CO and its perfect for the single track here and I've been to Moab and Fruita and had a blast. A 5" travel bike would probably be a better fit but I figure 4" would be ideal when I move back to Houston next year. Anyhow its something you might want to consider.
My pitch

You can buy my bike, a 2008 pitch pro. Job makes a sale really needed. Just got it for 2200 with tax in March. 1800 to you. :)
MBA just reviewed five 2500 mountain bikes. The giant trance 2 came in first, then the stumpy fsr comp, fisher hi-fi and then two more bikes I can't recall. It's a free online mag., you might want to take a look, like I said, I spent a hell of a lot more money on my bike than I had initially planned, but it was definitely worth it.
Recently got the EX 8 and I ride mostly at Jack Brooks. The FS works wonders over the hardtail-won't go back. A FS is not over kill for the area.
Great ideas all around. Giant wasn't even on my radar. There were a lot of them around a few years back, but not so much anymore. Any reason for that? Seem like good bikes with good components. That MBA review could not have been more flattering.
Kona Hei Hei 2-9. Retail for 99 bucks over your limit.

Specialized FSR XC Isn't a bad bike. Very upgradeable.

You can probably find a FSR Stumpy in either wheelsize in your budget too.

Shop around here on the classifieds too.
The kona dawg wheelworld had on sale was insane. Something like $1400 with a fox float and a RP3. Maybe see if your local shop could do a price match.

I'd also go full suspension. I've seen some good deals on Titus racer x's and thats probably all you need in Houston.

they carry Giant and I've heard their prices are reasonable. If you don't mind buying sight unseen there's also some 2008's on e-bay pretty darn cheap, brand new as well.
I will recommend these two bikes.

Fuji Thrill
Reveal 2.0

I have a Reveal 1.0 and it's the same bike with better components as the Reveal 2.0 I believe. It uses the Specialized rear suspension. And I've had several guys from local shops give it very high praise, the Thrill is a heavier big hit bike, which might be more your style, but I've had the Reveal 1.0 for about a month and I've got no problems taking some 3'-5' drops. Bot bikes have a 69 deg. head tube angle which is very nice. I bought mine thru Performance Bike on 1960 and with a sale either bike can be picked up for WAY under your budget. Fuji usually gets little respect from MTB riders but the Reveal has a great reviews from MTBR and other sites. And my buddies who ride the likes of Titus, Turner, and Niner were very impressed with it. Matt a buddy of mine who rides a 14lbs Ti rigid almost went out and bought one after riding mine. Take a look, it's a pretty good bang for the buck bike.
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Your still too young for a FS bike don't waste your time and money. The Kona King Kahuna is sweet and if you don't mind spending the $$ buy a custom bike from True Fabrication out of Austin. FS is very plush though and very enjoyable to ride but can be slower on hills. If you ever consider on riding and racing your buddies on trails stick to a HT. Im from San Marcos and occasionally I'll ride the trails at memorial park when I'm there. I would suggest getting a HT if thats the type of riding you decide on.
Friend of mine bought this one. I think you get a lot for the money and 5 inches of travel, proven design and good warranty. Check the specs, the bike comes loaded. it almost made me feel guilty that I paid that much for my frame only (Turner)...... NOT:D
If you like 29ers, but can't afford the bigger brands FS models, then consider the VooDoo Canzo. The frame is only around $850-900 and then you sould be able to build get some pretty decent parts to complete the build with the remaining $1600. Guess if you search the web you can find them for even less than $850
I think the Trance X works well enough for Houston, 5" may be a little overkill but you can use it on all of your trips/Austin/ whatever. I like mine. Urban is fine, though I personally got terrible service there and won't go back. Bicycle World and Fitness is controversial, but i like it. In fact, I think they have an '08 Trance X1 (Almost full XT) for around $2200...
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