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I just started riding a couple weeks ago and I'm using my old bike I got when I was a teenager. Its a 15yr old 21 speed GT that is rigid. It has never had a tune up and surprisingly it still changes gears fairly smooth. I've put about 20 miles on paved park paths with it. My friend has been riding for a while and has a basic model Trek with old style V-breaks and an RST shock up front. Riding his bike is a huge improvement so I can only imagine what its gonna be like once I get my new bike.

I've really enjoyed riding and wanted to get out onto some real trails that we have close by so I started looking for a bike. My original budget was around $700. I've done some pretty extensive research on this forum and quickly found out that $700 would only get me a very basic bike from the LBS or REI. I almost purchased the Diamondback O/D Sport from REI for $700 the other day, but decided to wait and do some more research. Its specs are the best I could find locally at this price point, however its an 8 speed and has a non-tapered headset, but it does have a 100mm XCR with 32mm sanctions so at first glance I thought it was my best bet.

Then I came across Airborne bikes and realized I could get a much better spec'd bike if I bought online. I was reluctant at first to try and do the setup and maintenance my self, but I have a garage and like to collect tools. I rebuild carbs on my lawn equipment and change out U-joints on my truck myself so I think with some reseach I should be able to handle bike wrenching. Usually, if I can find a youtube video or a detailed write-up I'll do the job my self.

I was sold on buying the Guardian 2.0. It looks like the X5 front der solved the rubbing issues I was reading about with the first Guardian model. Also, It has the X5 gear, 9 speed and has a Rockshox fork which seems to be more highly regarded then suntour and has lots a of parts available. Also, the paint scheme is sick and looks so much better then the Diamondback. I had already begun dreaming about what upgrades I would do to the Guardian... I figured in a few months to a year I would upgrade to an air fork and maybe install a 2x10 setup.

Then I stumbled across the Airborne Seeker and my decision was again complicated. For another $330, I could get the nicer air fork, 2x10 setup, tapered head and I believe this fork comes with a 15mm axel, not sure. Not to mention the seeker has one of the best paint schemes IMO.

Decisions decsisions.... I think I will sale some stuff I have laying around the house collecting dust to get the extra money and buy the Seeker.
 

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Airborne is an awesome company, with a great product. I replaced an old Stumpjumper with an Airborne Goblin, and love it. The Guardian, Seeker, and Goblin all share the same frame, so you can't go wrong there. I recommend spending as much as you can afford, because upgrades later always cost more. All three are great options though. Good luck!

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You'll be looking at the Goblin next.

Either way you are get a great bike whichever option you choose. If you are thinking about becoming serious about riding then spend as much as you can and you'll save in the long run.
 

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I own both a Goblin and Guardian 2.0. Both are great bikes. If you are wanting the air fork already I would just get the seeker or Goblin. You didn't mention body weight but the air fork is much easier to tune for your riding style. Airborne has GREAT customer service both before and after the sale. I was also nervous about buying online, but after my experience I am saving for a Hobgoblin now. So good luck on choosing a bike, but anything from Airborne will be good.

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Thanks for the interest!

The Guardian thru Goblin bikes all use a standard QR front hub/fork. The 15mm thru-axle appears on the Goblin EVO bike at $1599.

The Guardian, Seeker, and Goblin all share the same frame, so you can't go wrong there.
While the regular (black) Goblin and the Seeker share the same frame, the Guardian frame is slightly different. It doesn't have a tapered HT. To me the tapered HT is a pretty important distinction, from both a performance standpoint and also a fork replacement standpoint. I feel that there will be less and less high end fork options offered in 1 1/8" non-tapered format.

Hope that helps!

Jeremy
 
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