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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,

I'm getting back into biking after a long hiatus. I'm 6'2", 230lbs and am looking for a new mtn bike. I am a noob to mtn biking, so I'm not totally understanding the different geometry (frame) benefits between the mfgs. My LBS(s) aren't great in my area, so I'm searching here for better info (mostly late teens "selling" bikes :madman: ).

Anywhoo, I think I've narrowed my search down to the Cannondale F5 or the Rockhopper Comp Disc. (I was also looking at similarly priced GF & Trek's, but not sure what's turned me off about them).

From my limited knowledge, it seems to me that the components are fairly even. Am I missing anything?

I found an '09 F4 for roughly the same price range. Thoughts on that?

Unfortunately, the LBS(s) in my city don't really keep anything in stock (in my size or price range). So, after visiting most of these shops in the past 3 weeks, I'm left to studying up on forums. Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Cheers
 

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Can't feel my legs
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The Rockhopper and F5 are quite evenly spec'd, it would just come down to a matter of better fit. The F4 is obviously spec'd better, and if it fits you, should be seriously considered. We are talking about a new "leftover" 09 F4, right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, a leftover on closeout (out of state), so unfortunately I would be buying sight unseen. I've seen highly-regarded posts about the USA-made caffeine frame, so it caught my eye. Not sure it would make a difference to me, unless it's a "game-changer". The price increase is ~170USD.
 

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IslandStyle70 said:
Yes, a leftover on closeout (out of state), so unfortunately I would be buying sight unseen. I've seen highly-regarded posts about the USA-made caffeine frame, so it caught my eye. Not sure it would make a difference to me, unless it's a "game-changer". The price increase is ~170USD.
Its way more than the frame on the F4. Better shock, 9spd, and much better brakes.
But, as Jim said, fit is most inportant. If you can't try this one, then can you try another model C'dale in your size to determind fit?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
JPark said:
Its way more than the frame on the F4. Better shock, 9spd, and much better brakes.
But, as Jim said, fit is most inportant. If you can't try this one, then can you try another model C'dale in your size to determind fit?
Thanks for point out the other advantages that I missed during my first comp/spec comparison. Agreed on the brakes and 9spd. I've read enough on MTBR that there's not alot of good feedback on Dart3's, but I haven't seen any feedback on the Headshok Super Fatty (good/bad?). Any issues with it only being 80mm?

JimC. said:
...I'd look to the F4 first. make sure the LBS has the right springs etc for the Headshok so your weight can be accommodated. I stress the headshok may not have that flexibility, but ask anyhow.
Jim, thanks for the side by side comparison....cool tool and thanks for the heads up on the spring. I will ask/check, for sure.

From a frame design perspective, a number of the bike mfgs have designed an offset front fork (sharper angle) from the frame (like the rockhopper comp in Jim's link). I'm not sure what the technical term is for that, but I viewed a cheesy yet informative video on the Gary Fisher site which addresses it's advantages, which seem plausible (especially since many mfgs have adopted this design).

I mention this because I noticed the Cannondale does not use this design methodology on the 2009 F4

http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/09/cusa/model-9FS4.html

but they do on the 2010 F5

http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/10/cusa/model-0FS5.html

Am I missing out on some design feature that will be useful to me? (or is it hype)

Thanks again for your input and advice.
 

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roc865 said:
if you can't see and test ride the f4, i wouldn't even consider it.
go with the one that feels best to you.
As I said above, if he can try out other C'dales to dial in fit, the risk is extremely limited, and very much worth it IMO.
 

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There's no app for this.
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Offset fork is Gary fisher only

called Genesis geometry, the marketing and theory being it offers a better handling/climbing bike. However the fork 9with offset) is proprietary, so it won't work on any other bike and replacement forks can be hard or impossible to find, I would think.

Jim
 

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JPark said:
As I said above, if he can try out other C'dales to dial in fit, the risk is extremely limited, and very much worth it IMO.
this is true. even if it's not the perfect fit most of us end up tweaking as we go along anyway.
 

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Comparing an F4 to a Rockhopper SL, the F4 had a much racier geometry that had me leaned over more on the handlebars than the SL, which had more of an upright and comfortable riding position. Optimal for me on a trail, as opposed to a side street next to the shop, would have been somewhere in between. As long as the frame fits, I think you can play with handlebars, stems, and seat posts/positions to dial everything else in.
 

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between a 2010 F5/Comp Disc and a 2009 F4, the new 2009 F4 would be better. it has the good lightweight headshok and overall the bike has better specs and lighter weight (~27 lbs) and a better front suspension than the RST and comp disc.

i've researched these bikes fairly well for many months before my last purchase. the F5 should weigh around 29 lbs and the comp disc around 28. The RST Duece fork is new, but the few people that have it said its not the same crap as the old RST's, it is co-developed with cannondale and actually works really well. i'd say it works better than the Dart 3, and i've test rode both of them many times.

Between the f5/comp disc, i'd say get the f5. (opinion) i love the look of the cannondale f5 (and 2009/20010 F4.) the specs are all pretty similar unless you're comparing spec-spec down the list. The RST Deuce 1.5 should be stiffer due to the larger headtube than the noodle dart 3.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks....LBSs changing my research to 29ers

Thanks everyone. I spent most of Saturday touring different LBSs in my area. 3 out of 4 suggested a 29er for a few reasons. 1. My size - 6'2", 230lbs 2. Cement trail riding (with my kids) will be easier/pleasurable 3. "future-proofing"...not sure I subscribe to this yet

I looked at the following:

'10 GF Cobia ~$1000
'10 GF Mamba ~$930
'10 Rockhopper Comp Disc 29 ~$950 (about $120 over list price -- inquiring why)
'10 Marin Alpine Trail 29 ~$750

About 3 hr drive away, I found:

'09 Cannondale 29er 4 ~$800-830

Any thoughts on these bikes?
 

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forget the future proofing, unless they can predict the future

29ers do feel better for big guys and roll smoother. you'll likely be limited to tire/wheel choices. but they're quickly becoming popular

sorry dont know much about those 29ers in specific, get the one that fits best and has the better specs
 

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upon further inspection, looks like the CD 29er 4 has the better specs over the RH Comp 29. good price on that, but i think you can talk it down a bit more than 800, try 775
 

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Did any of them speak to you?

My pure on-paper analysis is to only consider the F4 if you're comfortable wrenching on your own bike or are will to learn how to do it yourself (since you don't want to have to drive six hours roundtrip to have the shop adjust the brakes or pay the closer shop to do it for you). If not, go for the Cobia at that price (list is $1100) - you get trail worthy components for not a lot more money than the Mamba, should you decide to venture off road with time. That Mamba sure is pretty though. Marin doesn't have the brand recognition of Specialized or Gary Fisher, so it will be a lot harder to sell in a couple of years if you move up to a better bike or find yourself not riding.

That being said, if all of your riding is going to be on paved paths, you would probably be better off looking at a rigid city bike like a Fisher Wingra or a hardtail hybrid like the Kaitai if you want a suspension fork.
 

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cannondale frames are great. if you're getting a cannondale, get is ASAP as they are soon moving a lot of their production to Taiwan. I dunno about the headshok though.
The Rockhopper frame is also very nice as well. it is basically a clone of the previous generation stumpjumperHT, which is specialized's flagship XC race hardtail. Unfortunately, the components are quite weak for 2010.
my advice is to testride as much as possible, and also to look for deals on 09 models.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The 09 Cannondale has the USA-made Caffeine frame, which makes that unit rather interesting (especially since they went away from their proprietary Headshoks to a Dart3, which I can upgrade later).

The '10 Cobia is interesting over the Mamba because the Cobia's Tora SL fork seems to be a good upgrade from the Mamba's Dart3 for roughly 70 dollars (unless I get can get the LBS pushing the Mamba to work down from his list price).

So, I guess I'm down to either the '10 Cobia for $1k or the '09 Caffeine 4 29er for $775-800. I've read a few reviews on MTBR that remark GF frames have had issues in the past. I guess every mfg has the same issues. I'm guessing this is where the Caffeine 4 wins hands down?

Thoughts?
 

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with the $200-300 you save with the cannondale, you can upgrade your fork to match or beat that Tora SL in the GF. The Tora still has the same dampening system as the Dart 3 anyway.

Drivetrain is similar between the two
The Cannondale has the better brakes: Hydraulics versus mid end mechanical BB5's
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Great point on upgrading the Cannondale's forks.....thx.

Any concerns with the Juicy 3? There seems to be alot of owner angst in the reviews of this braking system. I guess if it works okay, great. Many warnings the leaking will begin after your first bleed.

I read the following in the Cannondale Caffeine 4 29er review that you cannot replace/upgrade the brakes due to set up....i am really curious why. Per the spec, they're 160mm.

Weaknesses: Front brake disc overheats/warps - you can feel it unevenly grab . My LBS explained that this is a common problem with these smaller discs and with this bike's setup I can't just put on larger discs to rectify the problem. I think they're like 180mm. They warrantied the discs and replaced them for free, but the same thing happened (warping) the very next ride. I'm no downhill bomber, either, just you're average 210 lb rider. I've just been ignoring it for now.​
 
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