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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
It seems like every bike review I read in the magazines says that it is the bike to have. If you live in a area with lots of good bike shops then at least you can ride it and use your best guess. However, most bike shops give you the concrete sidewalk as the measuring ground. It likes trying to buy a good rifle for bear hunting and testing it out on chipmunks!

How do you sort out the hype from the reality? What I would like to see is a simple rating by riding style and price range. For example:

All Mountain / Trail Bike:
Best Bike for $1500
Best for $2500
Best for $3500

Obviously the more $$ once can spend the better the bike. It is a worthless exercise to compare the $1500 against the $3500. It the $1500 is comprable then why would you even consider the $3500 bike?

The hard part then is sizing. The best bike in a given category may have a sizing scheme that does not fit an invidual and they must move on to the next one along the line.

What really makes it challenging is for those of use who live where we have minimal options. Se we either put up with the local stuff or buy something we never get a chance to ride before hand..... Back to my original point, REALISTIC meaningful reviews...... :madman: :madman: :madman:

I would love to ride a Yeti 575, Intense 5.5, Sant Cruz Heckler, Titus Moto-lite, a few of the Iron Horses, etc. However, what I have to chose from is the standard Giants, Novaras, and Specialized. Probably some good bikes in there, but would be nice to give the others a whirl....
 

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mtbike_AK said:
I would love to ride a Yeti 575, Intense 5.5, Sant Cruz Heckler, Titus Moto-lite, a few of the Iron Horses, etc. However, what I have to chose from is the standard Giants, Novaras, and Specialized. Probably some good bikes in there, but would be nice to give the others a whirl....
Are you sure that you can't afford an iron horse? I thought that you could get pretty good deals on them, certainly on par with Giant and Specialized. You can get a pretty good fs bike for $1,500 (I'm assuming that this is your budget). If you're willing to spend maybe 2K, or a little over that, you could probably build up a pretty nice 575, heckler, or maybe a motolite. Put most of your $ into the frame and a solid fork, then get avid mech disc brakes, and look for bargain basement components to fill out the rest of the bike. Swap stuff like cranks out from your current bike if you can, to save some dough. If you can build your own wheels, you could probably build up an XT/Mavic wheelset for ~$150 (pricepoint usually has good deals on mavic rims; I got a set of 317's for $30 ea. there). I built up a Tracer for a little over 2K with new, used and bargain basement components. It can be done, and you don't sacrifice nearly as much as some people will tell you. For instance, I have a Thomson stem/post on my hardtail, but on the tracer I have a Kore post and a Salsa stem that combined cost ~$40. I don't notice a single difference; all I know is that I would never waste any more of my moolah on a Thomson component again.

Basically, if there's a sweet frame out there that you really want, get it! Take your time putting together your build, and build it up yourself. In the end, you may spend a little more than if you went with a large manufacturer's pre-built bike, but you'll probably be more satisfied.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Fat Elvis said:
Are you sure that you can't afford an iron horse? I thought that you could get pretty good deals on them, certainly on par with Giant and Specialized. You can get a pretty good fs bike for $1,500 (I'm assuming that this is your budget). If you're willing to spend maybe 2K, or a little over that, you could probably build up a pretty nice 575, heckler, or maybe a motolite. Put most of your $ into the frame and a solid fork, then get avid mech disc brakes, and look for bargain basement components to fill out the rest of the bike. Swap stuff like cranks out from your current bike if you can, to save some dough. If you can build your own wheels, you could probably build up an XT/Mavic wheelset for ~$150 (pricepoint usually has good deals on mavic rims; I got a set of 317's for $30 ea. there). I built up a Tracer for a little over 2K with new, used and bargain basement components. It can be done, and you don't sacrifice nearly as much as some people will tell you. For instance, I have a Thomson stem/post on my hardtail, but on the tracer I have a Kore post and a Salsa stem that combined cost ~$40. I don't notice a single difference; all I know is that I would never waste any more of my moolah on a Thomson component again.

Basically, if there's a sweet frame out there that you really want, get it! Take your time putting together your build, and build it up yourself. In the end, you may spend a little more than if you went with a large manufacturer's pre-built bike, but you'll probably be more satisfied.
Price is not as big of a concern as the ability to test ride one of these things. How do I know what a "sweet frame" is if I can't even ride the bad boy! The reviews say that the they are all great. That is where my problem lies...
 

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[Obviously the more $$ once can spend the better the bike. It is a worthless exercise to compare the $1500 against the $3500. It the $1500 is comprable then why would you even consider the $3500 bike?

The hard part then is sizing. The best bike in a given category may have a sizing scheme that does not fit an invidual and they must move on to the next one along the line.

What really makes it challenging is for those of use who live where we have minimal options. Se we either put up with the local stuff or buy something we never get a chance to ride before hand..... Back to my original point, REALISTIC meaningful reviews...... :madman: :madman: :madman:

I would love to ride a Yeti 575, Intense 5.5, Sant Cruz Heckler, Titus Moto-lite, a few of the Iron Horses, etc. However, what I have to chose from is the standard Giants, Novaras, and Specialized. Probably some good bikes in there, but would be nice to give the others a whirl....[/quote]

Don't rate them, it's just a futile atempt at reaching a unreachable point ;). . it's meaningless and everybody will give his or her best bike acording to their preferences, experiences and expectations.

Which type of bike are u looking for? do you want to do long epic rides, jumps, downhill, urban asault, some or all of the above? what's your budget?

Which bikes are available to you from your LBS, and which ones could you get elsewhere?

Fit is important, and different manufacturers have different fits, sometimes they might vary from a model 2 another (well, I think FR bikes will have a shorter top tube than XC).
 

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Welcome to the land of no demo's...

Some observations as one who's been looking for quite some time for a FS bike coming from an old hard tail:

The whole issue of buying a bike based on how it performs on the parking bumps in the store's parking lot is the pits! With full suspension there is a lot to get your head around. Given the price of these things, there has to be a better way for the manufacturers to put out "demo" bikes. Even in the whitewater kayak world, one can demo a boat for a small fee. If you buy a boat from that store they credit the demo rental to a boat purchase. The LBM's here in LA tell me there is no incentives from the bike companys to provide biks for demos. I would be happy just to demo in some dirt lot with a real hill and real bumps.

It's especially a crapshoot in the $1000-1500 range. I just tried a Giant Pilot in a parking lot. If felt great. It rode right over those parking curbs just fine. I then tried a Gary Fisher Cake 3 and it felt like the seat was a bit high to account for the high bottom bracket. But, it rode over those same curbs just the same. On that comparison alone - the Giant wins. I couldn't tell you if either climbs well. I think the Pilot has Deore components which should be ok, no?

Then comes the whole "all mountain" or "cross country". I live in LA so I ride the Santa Monica Mountains, and Sycamore Canyon. I like to ride for 3-4 hours on fairly techincal single track climbs. I also go back down said trails though not real fast as we have hikers to watch for. I also breeze along on fireroads. Which bike class does this fit in?

Bottom line: if it feels good in the parking lot... it must be fine for the trail. <g>

--
Bill
 
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