I just got a Giant Talon 3. It cost $700. It was either get it or a Haro which cost $50 more. The Haro had a better crankset and front derailler but otherwise they were about the same. I test rode both of them around the parking lot and the Giant just seemed to fit me a little better. Giant and Haro both sell bikes that are a little cheaper but have the same frame so they would be upgrade candidates.
I was considering the trance, but ultimately went with the Anthem. I also was really looking at the Stance at my bike shop but they weren't going to budge on price, so I went with the anthem. Still, hope you guys enjoy your bikes! 😊
I just wanted to chime in and say that I did a bunch of research on entry level 29ers and ended up finding a great deal on a 27.5 at Dick's on a 2015 Diamondback Axis XE 27.5"
Originally I paid $350 but it just went on sale for $299. I replaced the seat because it was pretty stiff, although it is very attractive, with a velo memory foam saddle and it's amazing for the price as well. No more rear soreness after rides. The disc brakes are a little temperamental and being my first "real" mountain bike (I know some dont consider it a real mtb) I've learned to tune up a bike and also building a Nashbar 29er AT1 helped a lot.. I tried that right before the DB and after the Overdrive and it felt cheap.
For the price, quality, the ride and the look I couldn't find a better deal than the Axis XE for $299 on sale at the big box store. It has disc brakes, 24 gears, rapid fire shifters, shimano components, nice styling and color scheme.
I actually really like some of the Rocky Mountain entry level 650b's. At $1000 the Fusion comes with a decent kit, Deore and Alivio stuff, and you get a 3x9. Also a Raidon fork which is Suntours "slightly higher than entry level" fork which is supposed to be similar to the Rockshox TK30 from what I hear. They have 2 others the Vapor and Soul which lower end Suntour XCT forks and you'd probably downgrade to Alivio and Acera stuff.
The Ghost bikes from REI/MEC aren't too bad either, haven't tried one out but they seem to be getting good reviews in North America and are big over in Europe supposedly (as is Cube bikes, Orange, and KTM which oddly enough is well known there for their touring stuff as opposed to their MTB stuff which would make more sense because of their MX heritage).
And with Giant you generally get pretty good value for your money, my brother got a Giant TCX 0 for a SWEET price. Of course Kona jumped on the 650b bandwagon pretty fast and were one of the first IIRC, the Fire Mountain and Blast aren't too bad either.
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