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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in Houston where the trails are pretty tame. I would like to get back into some trail riding (and perhaps more extreme stuff if I like it) but would also like to swap the wheels out when I want to use the bike as a commuter. I'm in love with the idea of having 1 bike that can do it all. That said, I would imagine a hardtail would be better than a full suspension bike.

Any suggestions if I set a budget limit to, say, $1500?
 

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Former Bike Wrench
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I can tell you that I drank from the 29er Kool Aid this summer and all I can say is "why did I wait so long?"

I really enjoy the way it rides. The advantages of the bigger wheel (roll over obstacles smoother, greater traction and grip, more efficient on smoother surfaces) far out weigh the disadvantages (heavier bike, slower handling in very tight singletrack, not a great "jumper") in my opinion.

There are lots of great product out there. If your looking at bike shops, check out Fisher, Specialized, Jamis, Felt, Fuji, KHS, Haro, Redline in your price range.

If your comfortable ordering online, Motobecane and Windsor offer nice product at great prices.
 

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Here is my "combo" bike. The Cannondale Headshok fork is one of the lightest, stiffest and most precisely responsive front suspensions made. The BEST thing is that there is also a full lock-out, and dampening control. My bike is really an XC race bike- so there is no need to swap out with slicks. The XC race tires I have, roll just as fast as 1.5" slix- yet I can jump on dirt, whenever I need to. My bike does about 40% road duty, and absolutely FLIES on pavement. Maintaining 25mph has never been easier. On the hills off-road, this thing climbs like a billy goat on crack. It almost climbs for you.

At your budget- the 2009 Cannondale F3 Caffeine w/ Headshok fork, is well within your budget- running around $1200. The Caffeine hardtail frame is light enough to be built up to be a sub-20lb XC trail terrorist, with the right, high-end parts(XTR/XO/wheels/tires/carbon bars, etc). My Cannondale is currently at 18.9lbs.....lighter and faster than some road bikes- estimated cost=$4000.....all of which can be lifted by two fingers. Get the best of both worlds, with just ONE BIKE!!!









 

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No Right Way

The Cannondale or lightweight 26er is a nice option. I like the 29er option a little more. I think the Windsor with the Reba fork is nice. I know a guy who ran a similar Gary Fisher who got rid of the front shock and put a rigid on and raced with the rigid fork and used the bike on the road extensively for training. It made a lot of sense to me. He did have a separate wheel set built up for road use.
 

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giantyukon said:
Zachariah which tires are you using?
Maxxis Maxxlite 310g. Very, very fast and makes zero noise on pavement. Amazing off-road grip, for such a light tire. Not cheap at $60 each though!
 
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