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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me start off by telling a little bit about myself I’m in my mid 40’s and have been doing road riding since 2005 (2000 + miles per year). In 2009 I started doing Cyclocross because as you know it’s a real in kick in the pants and it helps keep me motivated to keep in shape for the road season.

While doing the CX I started to hang out with the MB Guys and Gals and they are whole lot more fun than my fellow Roadies. I even joined their club, and don’t even own a MB just the CX rig. Well on New Years rainy day, I actually went out for a trail ride with them on a borrowed hard tail and had a great time. So now I’m looking to join the gang of Mountain Bikers and have my own machine. It will help me get riding in, on those cold foggy days that I can’t get the motivation to get my butt out of the house and ride the road for hours.

My first road bike was $700.00 and I outgrew that in a year, so thus I learned my lesson. I currently have a Specialized Roubaix with Sram drive train and for CX a Fuji Cross pro with entry level Shimano (my first road bike also has Shimano Tiagra/105). I am fond of the Sram shifting but don’t know if it makes a difference on a MB.

I’ve been looking at the Specialized Stumpjumper Elite with the brain and I also like the idea of the Sram 2x10 drive train. Don’t like triples on the road why would I like them on the dirt? I’m also looking at the Blur LT because one of the local bike shops is a big supporter of the MB club and has a good reputation among the riders in the club. However he doesn’t sell Specialized just the Santa Cruz and Giant lines.

My budget is $3000.00 out the door (incl CA 9% Tax).So that kind of puts the Blur LT out of reach. I can get the Stumpjumper Elite for that price. So I’m looking for some other bikes to investigate and as they say get the most bang for my buck.

My riding will consist mainly of trail riding.

Thanks in advance for all your advice.

Also not interested in building a bike, want to work with the local bike shops.
 

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Semi-Hairless Sasquatch
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If 120mm of travel is enough for you, I'd try to demo/ride a Camber and a Trance and see what you think.

The Camber Pro has pretty much the same component spec as the Stumpy FSR Elite except for the rear shock and felt much more alive to me. While the SJ Elite could monster truck over just about anything I cared to throw at it, it felt way too bobby to me, not as connected to the trail, and ultimately not as efficient for climbing.

I've only got to ride a Trance in a parking lot a couple of times, but I hear a lot a positive reviews on them.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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Are you on a team?

IMO, all racers should join teams. The biggest reason, for me, is that instead of riding with people who go slow and take breaks, and trying to talk my alleged mountain biker friends into getting off their butts, I'm already in touch with a large group of fast people who ride regularly. A pretty significant side benefit is the deals on gear. It's not as good as insider pricing, usually, but at the pricepoint you're considering and with your desire for a bike that's ridable when you buy it, it's probably better than trying to find something on the internet, and it's nice to get deals on reputable brands. A lot of the build on my MTB was made possible by my team deal, as well as a few bits and pieces on my road and 'cross bikes and even my commuter.

The least expensive Blur LT is less expensive than the Stumpjumper Elite and nicely equipped. Giant's FS bikes are well-regarded; a friend of mine has one and likes it. If you're looking for something your team deal gets you, something that's not obvious is that you can order Salsa bikes from QBP, making almost every bike shop in the country a Salsa dealer. Their Spearfish fits inside your budget. It's a 29er and with shorter travel than the bikes you were looking at, but if you get the bug to try MTB racing, it'll be a little more efficient.
 

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Normally I wouldn't recommend used bikes to "beginners", b/c they usually can't spot problem areas. But you're not a beginner and familiar with bikes, so presumably that won't be an issue, so that $3,000 could go a LONG way if you're patient. I've been keeping an eye out for a decent deal on another ride (for no good reason) and ran across 2 locally where I live.

Let someone else pay the depreciation and tax...

http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bik/2223131149.html

http://trianglemtb.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=23347.0
 

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IPA tester
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I'm a bit older than you and just picked up a Pivot Mach 5 that rocks. This bike has made my rides so much more fun and really makes me a better rider. I paid less than your budget too:thumbsup: I would ride one if you can
 

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I would say a Trance or a Anthem just do a search here is a link to all anthem reviews bikerader seems to give reliable reviews. I would not go with any more than a trance suspension wise because of losing power on climbs. I would also have a look at a BMC speed fox I have one and my friend has a giant trance and the bmc climbs better than the trance. Not alot of people know about bmc but they have a great suspension and good build quality competitive cyclists sells them. BMC is a swiss based company with excellent build quality . With competitive cyclists I think you can configure the bike how ever you want so you can change the crank ext.

http://www.google.com/search?aq=f&s...s+bike+rader&bav=on.2,or.&fp=fb566e09302ebcf9
 

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psycho cyclo addict
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You can't go wrong with SRAM 7/9/X or Shimano shifting. Both are quite good. My first suggestion would be to try out some different manufacturers offerings to get an idea of fit/sizing and which ones work better for your build. I found my feet were too close to the front wheel on some as compared to others for example.

To get the most bang for you buck, buy a used 5k+ bike for 3k or less with no tax and very little depreciation.

I've made two eBay purchases and have been quite happy with both. Craig's list and your local MTB club would also be good places to check.
 

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I'll second the 'buy used' vote, but will throw out a few other options. I have ridden off and on for many years but never with a good group that rides regularly or well. That changed last spring and I'm much luckier for it. So I replaced my old Trek hard tail with an '08 SC Superlight that I snagged of CL for $700. It's a great XC bike, but we ride more of a mix of XC and AM so I had the itch to upgrade. Having a budget it was back to CL with patience until an '09 Blur LT2 showed up for $2900. I ended up just buying the frame because he was moving to the Blur LTc and I moved all my Superlight parts over plus a new fork.

One of the guys I ride with just got a Yeti ASR5 and that is a sweet bike too. EOY closeout made the price quite right too.

The best advice anyone can give you is to try as many as you can while you wait for the right bike for you. Rent a bike from your LBS and while you are out with your group swap out with their rides too. Helps to be using compatible clipless pedals. My point is getting saddle time on different rides and asking for feedback from your friends. What works for them won't necessarily work for you and vice versa, but having their perspective is just that much more information in helping you assess the pros and cons of various rigs.

Fred
 

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dciandrew said:
I've been looking at the Specialized Stumpjumper Elite with the brain.QUOTE]

I own this bike and love it, the brain is cool, but being 225lbs it doesn't always work as intended. When I really need to crank up a hill I still get a bit of bob. On trails I know, I can set the brain and foget it. On trails I don't know I find I have to do a bit of adjusting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wow thanks for all the comments. When I get some time I'll look at each one more closely. As reguards to joining a team for racing, so far I'm really not into the racing scene. I do CX just becuase its a lot of fun.

So far I've only been able to test two stumpjumpers a large without the brain and a medium the brain. At just under 6' I found the medium felt just too small. The large felt just right, the problem is none of the LBS have the 2011 SJ in stock with the brain in my size. Its also not very telling ridng in the parking lot.

At the last CX race I got to test a Cannondale 29er and even after just coming of my CX bike right after the race, it just felt too big for me so I think I'll stick to the 26"

On a side note before I got into biking I had a Costco Special (ie Mongoose full supension) and road it on my first ever CX race. Trust me at 46 pounds and no lock out on the supension it kicked my butt. Never rode it again and sold it at a garage sale. So yes I know about peddle bob, it was just awful trying to go up the hills, I must have looked funny just bouncing the whole time. The funny thing to me was I thought I was in shape from all the road riding I did. I couldn't have been more wrong, but two years later and a OK CX bike and some actual CX training it can still kick my butt, but at least I don't get lapped anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
GotoDengo said:
Normally I wouldn't recommend used bikes to "beginners", b/c they usually can't spot problem areas. But you're not a beginner and familiar with bikes, so presumably that won't be an issue, so that $3,000 could go a LONG way if you're patient. I've been keeping an eye out for a decent deal on another ride (for no good reason) and ran across 2 locally where I live.

Let someone else pay the depreciation and tax...

http://raleigh.craigslist.org/bik/2223131149.html

http://trianglemtb.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=23347.0
$2000.00 for a Blur LT that is a good deal. The frame alone is $1900.00 new.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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Northern California is a good area for hardtails, at least the parts I know. However, most full-suspension bikes above the grade of a Costco Mongoose will have significantly less pedal bob and FS rigs do seem to get new riders keeping up with group rides faster, which is not a bad thing.

Try to hop on an XL before committing to the SJ in large. If it's too big, that's good information, and if it's not too big, you just avoided an expensive mistake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
AndrwSwitch said:
Try to hop on an XL before committing to the SJ in large. If it's too big, that's good information, and if it's not too big, you just avoided an expensive mistake.
Thanks for the tip didn't even think about trying the XL. It makes sense to check that out too won't cost anything to try.
 

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+1 on the Fuel EX8.
+1 on buying used.

I patiently watched Craigslist in my area with cash in hand and picked up a 2010 Fuel EX8 for $1500. What made the deal better is he had all reciepts with it and with upgrades had $2700 invested. He needed money to fix his car. Moral of the story is that if you have the cash, patients, time, and knowledge of what red flags to look for before buying, used can save you tons of money. Then you can redirect the remainder of your budget to something else like new gear, upgrades, ect.
 

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dciandrew said:
$2000.00 for a Blur LT that is a good deal. The frame alone is $1900.00 new.
Yeah, I thought about contacting him to take a look, but 150mm is a little too much for the stuff around here. I'd really like an older talas... 120 for everyday use, 140 for the occasional trip to Shenandoahs to visit family, and 100 for the hypothetical race or two I might enter.
 

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Another +1 for Trek Fuel EX 8.

Good luck finding a used one. Warranty is for original owner only. Finding a 2010 still at retailer would be a wet dream.
 

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Another vote for the Fuel EX 8 - great combination of parts for the money. Rides well over all sorts of terrain. And well within your budget.
 
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