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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a lot of questions as you can see, so I hope you do not mind. :)

I am looking at buying a bike and I was looking at the Access brand at Performance Bike but before I bought I realized that I know nothing about the Access brand or what I'm looking for to begin with.

I DO know that I want a 29er mountain bike because I've heard good things about them and I live here in Arizona and feel it would be a great fit.

But, what brand do you guys recommend? I'm looking to spend in the $600 - $800 bracket and want to get a good bike for the price. How do Specialized, Redline, Access, all compare? And if there is any other brand worth mentioning, please let me know.

I've been to a couple bike shops (Global Bikes and Performance Bicycle) and I feel overwhelmed with the choices.

Also, I am 5'11" and I have no idea what size fits me. Would it be 17" or 19"? I tried a 19" today and still wasn't sure how I felt about it, especially since I have no tried the 17" anyway which I plan on doing soon to get a base comparison.

Thanks for the help and its good to be here!

Ryan
 

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I just got a Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc 29er (for Father's Day) and I love the darn thing. The bike fits me well and I feel very comfortable riding it. We have very rooty trails around here and the 29 is significantly smoother over the roots than my old 26 bike. It has supposedly low-end components but so far they're working fine for me.

I'm 6'-1" and I got a 17.5 inch frame. I have short legs for my height though (30" inseam). You really have to try the bike to see if it fits, you can't just go by height. You have to make sure you've got crotch clearance when you stand over the bike. I'm kind of tight even with my 17.5 frame. If I went smaller though, I'd have seat to pedal length issues. Like I said though, I like how this bike fits me.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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Access is a house brand, I believe. That can be a good way to stretch a buck, and it looks like the Access XCL 9.5 is a pretty good value - while the Dart 3 is not the best-regarded suspension fork in the world and the BB5 brakes aren't great, you're at least at the bottom of some real brands' lines instead of in no-name territory.

I admire Redline for making the D 440 a rigid bike. Unlike many in that price bracket, it doesn't have a garbage suspension fork. I don't have saddle time on the Dart to know if I'd like that or a rigid better, but I do have some saddle time on some off-brand forks, and would choose a rigid over those. Looks like the D 600 is in your max. price range, if not your preferred price range, with a spec. that competes with the Access.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys for the help and your suggested have really opened my mind.

I did try the Access 19" today and it felt a little too big (my arms were completely extended with no bend at the elbows) but I still liked it though. I am going to try a 17" before I settle for the 19" first.

Right now, it's between the Access and Specialized. I do like Gary Fischer too, but it is right at the $1,000 range and I prefer to be more near the $600 - $700.

I will keep looking but right now, that Access is the best deal and it ends tonight. :( Too bad I was turned down for the 6 months no interest because I have absolutely no credit history.
 

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It's all about the FSR!
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I just got a Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc 29er (for Father's Day) and I love the darn thing. The bike fits me well and I feel very comfortable riding it. We have very rooty trails around here and the 29 is significantly smoother over the roots than my old 26 bike. It has supposedly low-end components but so far they're working fine for me.

I'm 6'-1" and I got a 17.5 inch frame. I have short legs for my height though (30" inseam). You really have to try the bike to see if it fits, you can't just go by height. You have to make sure you've got crotch clearance when you stand over the bike. I'm kind of tight even with my 17.5 frame. If I went smaller though, I'd have seat to pedal length issues. Like I said though, I like how this bike fits me.
This is a myth, and a false one at that. I don't know about anyone else, but I do not stand over my bike. I ride it, or I am off of it. I do not stand over it.

I had a 2010 model of this same bike, and I am 6'0 with a 30" inseam. I opted for the 19" frame, and it was a tad too big. I needed an 18" version, as the 17.5" was too small. As for low end components, the only issue I had was with the brakes, and that was solved by an upgrade to some Juicy Elixr 3's. I did find that I had to do frequent adjustments to the shifting to keep it smooth, but never had drivetrain issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
By the way, what do you guys think about Trek? I found this one that seems like a good price, but I'm looking for opinions on it:

trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/mountain/sport/29er_sport/marlin/
 

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By the way, what do you guys think about Trek? I found this one that seems like a good price, but I'm looking for opinions on it:

trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/mountain/sport/29er_sport/marlin/
it's a nice, affordable entry level bike. give it a ride and try both the 17.5" and 19" to see which bike feels better.

good idea to try as many as possible and see which you like best.

ez
 

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Look for 2011 blowouts in Sept/Oct for the best deals. Need to ride the bike to get feel for sizing. You can go to the manufacturers site for a general height / size recommendation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks guys. I'm looking at buying one near Aug/Sept so I will also be sure to keep my eyes peeled for deals. :) I almost bought the Access, but I'm glad I did not because of all of the choices out there and I want to make the right decision anyway. Right now, I'm leaning towards that Trek.
 

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You have to make sure you've got crotch clearance when you stand over the bike.

This is a myth, and a false one at that.
I respectfully disagree. I end up straddling my frame several times on a ride - especially on new trails. Going up a hill and finding I'm not going to make it peddling I hop down to keep from tipping. Then I get off and walk but that initial hop down for stability always ends up with my crotchal area on top of the bar. I feel that clearance is important here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What do you guys think of Gary Fisher bikes? I ask because Gary Fisher and Trek are now offering the "Gary Fisher" collection. Is he reputable? Are his bikes noteworthy in the mountain bike world? His bikes look great and they seem marketed and accepted well (by the advertisements I see of course). But I want to get some opinions from REAL mountain bikers out here and not just base my opinion on the ads I see...
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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Gary Fisher used to be an independent manufacturer. He and another guy made some of the first purpose-built mountain bikes. Trek bought Gary Fisher's company at some point (and some would say they bought the man too, but I've never met him.) Trek has a thing for buying smaller companies - Lemond, Bontrager and Klein are other acquisitions I know of. They let Fisher operate fairly independently for a long time - they were almost in competition, really, although Trek dealers could do Fisher warranty service.

I'm not sure why Trek decided to make Fisher a "collection" instead of keeping it a semi-independent label. I'd speculate that it's because Trek didn't get on board with 29ers for a long time, and Fisher started having them pretty quickly, which is not really out of character for Trek, which has tended to be pretty conservative about the bikes offered under their own label IMO. I don't know if 29ers are outselling 26" mountain bikes in the US, but they're certainly a huge chunk of the market by now. People who want a Trek 29er are now talking about Trek Cobias and Trek X-Cals, which still sounds totally weird to me. People who want a Fisher mostly already knew that Fisher was part of Trek, so they're probably still willing to buy a Trek "Gary Fisher Collection" whatever.

Gary Fisher bikes tend to run a little long in the top tube and ship with a fork with less offset than standard and a shorter stem. Supposedly, this makes them handle better. Try one and see if you agree - there's no wrong answer here, objectively, but some people find they develop a pretty strong opinion one way or the other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for the detailed explanation. :D I was confused at first with the whole Gary Fisher + Trek thing but you summed it up quite well. It sounds like definitely an option for me and I'm still leaning towards this one: trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/mountain/sport/29er_sport/marlin/

I'm thinking about getting the green one because I just think it looks faster than the gray!
 

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Gary fisher was one of the guys who really kicked off mountain biking and was always and innovator, I believe trek bought him out for this, hence you would find fisher bikes in trek stores
 

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Thanks for the detailed explanation. :D I was confused at first with the whole Gary Fisher + Trek thing but you summed it up quite well. It sounds like definitely an option for me and I'm still leaning towards this one: trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/mountain/sport/29er_sport/marlin/

I'm thinking about getting the green one because I just think it looks faster than the gray!
You sound like you're really liking the Trek/GF so I would suggest that you go for it. You absolutely can't go wrong with that bike. I would point out that the more you spend up front on a bike that the longer the parts will last and the better they will work through their lifespan. So spending up to your limit will be a worthwhile purchase assuming you have the money to spend.

I hate to throw a wrench into things, but have you rode any 26" bikes? Personally I've never really been a fan of 29'ers, they're fast when they get rolling but they don't feel as comfortable in technical terrain. We have a lot of switchbacks around here and the 29'ers make those a bit of a chore with the long wheelbase and tall seating. But it's really personal preference, most would probably argue that the few tough spots are worth sticking out because of the ride characteristics when the trail gets straightened out a bit. Suffice to say it depends on you and your trails, so do some research on your trail systems and what local riders are riding. If it turns out that your local trails are armor on rock gardens then you might not want a 29'er, but if your local trails are flowing singletrack ribbons for miles then a 29'er just might be the best ticket out there.
 
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