The '08 should be a lot less since it is old stock. I got mine on clearance for $250 off MSRP.
As for which is better, good question. The '09 loses the WTB cockpit, going with Kona-branded stuff, and the brakes change from Hayes Stroker Trail to Shimano 575. I have no idea how good the Shimano's are, but the Trails are great (same as was found on the pricier Kula, along with the WTB cockpit). The only issue with the brakes is I had to take the bike back to the shop and get them to fix the howl when riding - it's been fine since. The bottom bracket is better on the '09, and the Tora XC fork is different from the older Tora 302 Coil (again, not sure which is better - if the XC is an air fork it will be lighter with greater tunability for your weight and riding style).
With the money I saved in going with the '08 I upgraded the fork to a Reba Race.
I would have to order 09 and wait 2 months to get close to price that is 08 selling for, so i didn't even have to bang my head, opted for 08(and it was little bit cheaper too).picking it up on monday,can't wait to ride it!
edit: oh yeah,09 xc tora fork doesn't have lockout that tora 302 on 08 has(and that was also important to me when i ride road).and as for the tyres,what is the biggest tyre one could fit on a frame and on a sun black eye rim?
I live in croatia(near the sea, tourist destination)the weather here is godgiven,low on rain,winters are mild,summers are very hot,just the way i like it! i've seen something about 505 pedals(clip off problems,don't remember),more input welcome, but i usualy ride with normal pedals(wearing closed shoes in summer would cook my feet).and i see that they come with some kind of a plastic platform so you can use them without clip on shoes.but will ask about exchanging them for something different...
The plastic platform is meant to be temporary, so you can test ride the bike at the shop or ride it home after buying. They are not durable, and would break after a few rides.
You can get combination pedals - metal platforms on one side and clipless on the other... there are lots of pedal choices out there, all of them better than the stock M505.
If you want just regular all-purpose pedals, you can buy the plastic cage for them that helps keep your feet in, and allows you to pull up and push forward on the pedal stroke (rather than only down), so your pedaling is more efficient and you don't have to buy the special shoes with cleats that are required with clipless pedals.
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