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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm pretty ignorant of mt. bike specs, quality, categories, etc... I've done enough research on here and other sites to know a little bit of jargon, and have visited two bike stores now. The last one I went to recommended a Cannondale Jekyll 600 as a good starter bike; for trail riding (up and downhill) along with the occasional big(ger) mountain outing, is the Cannondale a good choice? The salesperson was very helpful but I just wanted to get an idea of other manufacturers and models that may be good for a little under $2K.

I've putzed around on friends' bikes but this will be my first bike. Thanks.
 

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philodox said:
I'm pretty ignorant of mt. bike specs, quality, categories, etc... I've done enough research on here and other sites to know a little bit of jargon, and have visited two bike stores now. The last one I went to recommended a Cannondale Jekyll 600 as a good starter bike; for trail riding (up and downhill) along with the occasional big(ger) mountain outing, is the Cannondale a good choice? The salesperson was very helpful but I just wanted to get an idea of other manufacturers and models that may be good for a little under $2K.

I've putzed around on friends' bikes but this will be my first bike. Thanks.
If you're willing to spend up to just under $2000 as a beginner- virtually any bike you buy will have good components and be lightweight. The most important factor is the fit of the bike. Just don't buy some super lightweight XC bike with super thin tubing or carbon fiber this and that and expect it to handle any serious abuse, or be very proficient at all mountain trail riding.

As far as actual riding goes- its the fitness and skill of the rider which matters most- not the bike. Just don't get angry when someone on a $500 hardtail blows by you! :D
 

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I would have to say no

philodox said:
I'm pretty ignorant of mt. bike specs, quality, categories, etc... I've done enough research on here and other sites to know a little bit of jargon, and have visited two bike stores now. The last one I went to recommended a Cannondale Jekyll 600 as a good starter bike; for trail riding (up and downhill) along with the occasional big(ger) mountain outing, is the Cannondale a good choice? The salesperson was very helpful but I just wanted to get an idea of other manufacturers and models that may be good for a little under $2K.

I've putzed around on friends' bikes but this will be my first bike. Thanks.
It's my opinion that you will never learn the more subtle points of good bike handling on a full suspension bike, because they allow you to ride sloppily instead of learning how to use your body and its god given shock absorbers as a partner in the bike/rider interface to ride rough and challenging terrain. Starting with full suspension, all you'll learn how to do is sit there and push the pedals, and if you're lucky, how to fall gracefully when you exceed the limits of traction or control because you received no feedback or warning from full suspension's seductively smooth ride. I say spend half what you propose, on a good hardtail, and master that, and you will be a more skilled, more advanced rider for the experience whether you then opt to switch to full suspension, or stick with your hardtail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
bulC said:
It's my opinion that you will never learn the more subtle points of good bike handling on a full suspension bike, because they allow you to ride sloppily instead of learning how to use your body and its god given shock absorbers as a partner in the bike/rider interface to ride rough and challenging terrain. Starting with full suspension, all you'll learn how to do is sit there and push the pedals, and if you're lucky, how to fall gracefully when you exceed the limits of traction or control because you received no feedback or warning from full suspension's seductively smooth ride. I say spend half what you propose, on a good hardtail, and master that, and you will be a more skilled, more advanced rider for the experience whether you then opt to switch to full suspension, or stick with your hardtail.
Point taken. I very much understand where you're coming from -- and agree with you. I've kinda jumped into enough activities to completely agree with what you've said. The only reason why I am even considering a bike in that price range is because I absolutely detest going through the additional gear buying phases when I "outgrow" my entry level stuff. I am pretty spot on when it comes to investing in an activity that I know I'll enjoy and have a high level of participation in -- it's the fact that a lot of times my first round of equipment purchases I outgrow in a very short time.

Given the fact that that bike has a rear suspension with lockout, do you suppose trying to attain a more well rounded skillset through the use of pure locked out rear suspension for a while be worth my while?

Thanks for the responses guys.
 

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philodox said:
Point taken. I very much understand where you're coming from -- and agree with you. I've kinda jumped into enough activities to completely agree with what you've said. The only reason why I am even considering a bike in that price range is because I absolutely detest going through the additional gear buying phases when I "outgrow" my entry level stuff. I am pretty spot on when it comes to investing in an activity that I know I'll enjoy and have a high level of participation in -- it's the fact that a lot of times my first round of equipment purchases I outgrow in a very short time.

Given the fact that that bike has a rear suspension with lockout, do you suppose trying to attain a more well rounded skillset through the use of pure locked out rear suspension for a while be worth my while?

Thanks for the responses guys.
There will be very few trails that you could ride with that bike that couldn't be ridden with a hardtail. Almost anything can be ridden on a hardtail!
 

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Adirondack Blues said:
There will be very few trails that you could ride with that bike that couldn't be ridden with a hardtail. Almost anything can be ridden on a hardtail!
AND, almost anything can be ridden on a full on rigid, as well.....Still got me one, but it sees no trail time anymore - just short jaunts 'round the neighborhood, beer-runs to the gas station up the street, etc.
Agreeing with you guys - learning bike handling skills is extremely important, and is probably going by the wayside for people just starting out by buying new FS (fwiw, I started out rigid in '90, got ht in mid '90's, went fs in '01....love them all for what they are and what they taught me...)
 

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philodox said:
Point taken. I very much understand where you're coming from -- and agree with you. I've kinda jumped into enough activities to completely agree with what you've said. The only reason why I am even considering a bike in that price range is because I absolutely detest going through the additional gear buying phases when I "outgrow" my entry level stuff. I am pretty spot on when it comes to investing in an activity that I know I'll enjoy and have a high level of participation in -- it's the fact that a lot of times my first round of equipment purchases I outgrow in a very short time.

Given the fact that that bike has a rear suspension with lockout, do you suppose trying to attain a more well rounded skillset through the use of pure locked out rear suspension for a while be worth my while?

Thanks for the responses guys.
A good hardtail is by no means an "entry level" bike. You will need better skills to ride the same terrain on a HT, all other things being equal. Also, a HT is lighter and much more efficient at climbing, if that is your bag. IMO, a FS bike lets you get away with sloppy technique, much the same way that a super sidecut ski can compensate for poor basic skiing technique. Not to say I wouldn't go FS- infact, my next ride will probably be a 4-5" travel trail bike, but I think you will be a better rider if you learn on a HT.
 

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what the hell?

Adirondack Blues said:
A good hardtail is by no means an "entry level" bike. You will need better skills to ride the same terrain on a HT, all other things being equal. Also, a HT is lighter and much more efficient at climbing, if that is your bag. IMO, a FS bike lets you get away with sloppy technique, much the same way that a super sidecut ski can compensate for poor basic skiing technique. Not to say I wouldn't go FS- infact, my next ride will probably be a 4-5" travel trail bike, but I think you will be a better rider if you learn on a HT.
Folks actually not only understanding my point of view, but agreeing with it? And no complaints that I've hurt some sensitive girlieman's (thanx Ahnold) feelings? Most be the solar flares. Gonna line my Giro with tinfoil right now
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Adirondack Blues said:
A good hardtail is by no means an "entry level" bike. You will need better skills to ride the same terrain on a HT, all other things being equal. Also, a HT is lighter and much more efficient at climbing, if that is your bag. IMO, a FS bike lets you get away with sloppy technique, much the same way that a super sidecut ski can compensate for poor basic skiing technique. Not to say I wouldn't go FS- infact, my next ride will probably be a 4-5" travel trail bike, but I think you will be a better rider if you learn on a HT.
I see what you're saying there. Given that you guys are saying most terrain can be ridden hard tail, what gives for having FS bikes then? A lot of my buddies ride (from what I understand) somewhat aggressive downhill stuff like at ski resorts and what not, and I'd like to at some point be able to do that with them without being limited by equipment. Would a hard tail still suffice?

I have always been one to get the fundamentals down, but regardless of the venture I always seem to nail those very fast and very well. I am very much leaning more towards a hard tail right now, however.

Thanks again for your replies.
 

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I am just phasing out of my hard tail experience and entering the realm of FS. I rode around 200 miles on my hard tail this past year and I personally feel it is important to start trail riding one.

What I would suggest is buy a decent hard tail now, ('04 rockhoppers BASE are going for around $300 now), and make the switch 1 season later. If and WHEN you plan to switch out the components on your new sweet FS, just move over the components to your HT. You could use your hardtail when you take on less technical trails and even for cross training.

Also, spending close to $2k on a bike when you don't even have a full-on passion for the hobby is dangerous. Wait until you have a good grasp of MTB'n so you can narrow down your bike preference.

but hey, if you want to jump ahead of the game by all means do it. There is no right or wrong.
 

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I agree with ridding a hardtail first. I still consider myself a newbie though I've been ridding for about 2.5 years in the back hills of Germany on a HT. The bike I use is a Diamondback that cost me 200 bucks and I thought I was splurging then.

To answer your question though, I think the Jekyll 600 is a good bike. The only thing that I am having problems with is the technical know how with the Geometry and the Suspension adjustments since all I've ridden is a HT. I've left everything the in default, but have done some decent ridding and just found out that my front fork should not be squirting oil out HEH HEH. If I had not rode for the past 2.5 years I think I would have been even more clueless as to how the bike is supposed to handle. You can lock out the rear though and ride it like a HT. IF you plan on using hte bike for a long while, I'd suggest the Jekyll 600. Mine is a small frame (short guy 5'4") and I weigh about 160 Lbs. I got it for $1,450. I haven;t tested it on the mountains of Germany yet, but from the hills I've been ridding here, I think I'll have it adjusted to my liking soon.

My Humble Opinion (Remember I'm still a newbie),
Radley
 
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