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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking to purchase a first MTB around XMAS for some winter cross training. I'm a triathlete and just looking for some winter fun that will build some strength in the legs also and keep some of my bike fitness as I typically scale back riding and build running over the winter. Also gives me something else to do. I suppose I'm looking for all mtn type stuff minus the crazy downhills. Been there, done that on hitting trees at 20+ mph (motorcycle hare scrambles) so I'm past that point in my life.

1) Your budget. How much do you have to spend on the bicycle (not including accessories such as helmet, gloves and other accessories).

Let's top it out at $3k. I'm not really wanting to spend that much as I believe I could probably get a really good bike in the $2k range but I am the type if I can spend a little bit more money and get a lot more bike that I won't want to replace in 6 months I'll go that route. I don't know jack about mtb components, specifically suspension, so I'm still researching​

2) What bikes, if any, are you already considering? (Please try to limit the selection to a handful if at all possible, and provide links to those bikes. Remember, we don't always know the exact specs of all the bikes out there!)

Went and talked to my LBS which I bought both my Road and Tri bike from and they carry Santa Cruz, Yeti, Specialized and Felt. I not certain the exact specs but I know the Santa Cruz was a superlight and seemed nice enough for $1500-$2000 depending on components. The Yeti was closer to $3k but I don't remember model​

3) What type of riding do you intend to do? (e.g. Cross Country, Freeride, Downhill, paved paths)

North Georgia / N. Georgia Mtns , blankets creek. I guess kind of everything but serious downhill stuff. I'd also like to do a couple of off road triathlons​

4) Do you have a preference over a hardtail or full suspension?

Nope, I'd think a hard tail I might should go with a 29er but with a full suspension maybe 26 if the 29's get out of price range​

5) Age, weight and height. (In many instances very important for a variety of reasons).

34 yrs old, 6'0 - 180 lbs​

6) What sources will you consider buying from? (e.g. Your Local Bike Shop, online vendors, or used bike sources such as mtbr classifieds, craigslist, ebay and others)

Trust the LBS but would consider used or online if the deal was right​
7) Do you want people to offer you alternative suggestions to issues such as budget, bikes already considered, and sources?
Sure​
 

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Santa Cruz Blur LTc @ HuckNRoll is a great price is on sale too!

Santa Cruz Bicycles Blur LTc Bike - R AM - 2011 from Hucknroll.com

Suspension components RP23/Revelation are on the spot. Drivetrain/brakes/wheels are decent, I would just upgrade as those fail.

Overall rocksolid base.

@ 6'0, you're a good candidate for a 29er, but like everybody else, it's down to personal preference whether you like it or not. So your best bet would to rent a 29er and see if you'd like it or not. And I say scrap the hardtail 29er since you'd most like get the upgrade bug and want a full susp 29er soon after.

Other than the Santa Cruz, check out Ibis, though they might be a little bit out of your price range. None the less, you should not have to worry about any proprietary components on either bikes. I'm still kicking myself for picking up a Stumpy FSR with the stupid proprietary rear shock.
 

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Performance Bike has the GT Sensor 9r on sale for $1400. It's a reasonably equipped full suspension 29er. I've been beating on mine for six months or so now, and it's taken everything I've thrown at it. I've bent a derailleur hanger and broken some (aluminum) spoke nipples, but other than that it's worked well. It's not the sexiest 5" FS 29er out there by a long shot, but I think it represents the best value.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the suggestions guys

Is there a place somewhere that explains mountain bike components? Like on road bikes with groupo's

105 < Ultegra < Dura Ace

I'm sure there's an equivalent for Mtn Bikes right? SO I can compare bikes and costs

Also, where's the "forks for dummies" post here? I'm sure it's here somewhere
 

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Thanks for the suggestions guys

Is there a place somewhere that explains mountain bike components? Like on road bikes with groupo's

105 < Ultegra < Dura Ace

I'm sure there's an equivalent for Mtn Bikes right? SO I can compare bikes and costs

Also, where's the "forks for dummies" post here? I'm sure it's here somewhere
Are you looking into SRAM or Shimano gruppo? I personally love SRAM for both mtb and road...currently using X7/X9 mix for mtb and Apex/Rival for road.

SRAM: X7 < X9 < X0 < XX
Shimano: Deore < SLX < XT < XTR

There are also a lot of other brands other than the big 2 for non-drivetrain parts.

You can't go wrong with either Fox or Rockshox, but some people swear by Rockshox. I have a 140mm dual-air Revelation and it performs awesome.
 

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Thanks for the suggestions guys

Is there a place somewhere that explains mountain bike components? Like on road bikes with groupo's

105 < Ultegra < Dura Ace

I'm sure there's an equivalent for Mtn Bikes right? SO I can compare bikes and costs

Also, where's the "forks for dummies" post here? I'm sure it's here somewhere
For Shimano the pecking order from the top down is XTR, XT, SLX...

For Sram it's X0, X9,X7...

I wouldn't worry too much about the component lever and concentrate on the frame and fork.
 

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Also, where's the "forks for dummies" post here? I'm sure it's here somewhere
Forks for dummies:

Two types: coil and air sprung. Coils are heavy and the expensive ones feel really nice. Air is lighter and much more common when you look at bikes at your LBS. Air is easier to adjust per rider where a coil needs to have a new spring put in if you aren't in the optimum range of "sag".

Damping: Lots going on here, basically the more expensive the fork is the more adjustments it has and (probably) the better those adjustments work. Here's some examples of adjustments you'll see:
Lockout: makes it so that your fork doesn't move up and down. There are varying degrees of this from rock solid to adjustable force lockouts to forks that automatically lock out, but they all try and accomplish the same thing.
Rebound: how fast the fork returns to full extension. This adjustment should be present on any shock worth having.
Compression: Depending on the fork you might even have separate adjustments for high and low speed damping. It controls the compression of the shock. More compression damping means it is harder to compress the shock. Technically, a lockout is usually just an extreme compression damping setting you can set by moving a little lever.

I can't think of much else about forks. Obviously they vary wildly in weight and damping systems but every manufacturer has examples of good forks so don't get too hung up on brand names.

As for rear suspension, if your bike doesn't have a CCDB then you're doing it wrong. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I wouldn't worry too much about the component lever and concentrate on the frame and fork.
What makes for a good frame? Honest question. I mean I see some bikes with similar parts where it only seems the frame is the difference and we're talking a $1000 price difference with the frame material being the same. I understand titanium is more expensive and carbon but what makes an ellsworth (example) frame so much better than something from bikesdirect or performance?

What I'd like to do is be sure to puchase a frame that I can use for a while even if I want to upgrade parts later but having never ridden mountain bikes I'm sure that will be hard to do
 

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What makes for a good frame? Honest question. I mean I see some bikes with similar parts where it only seems the frame is the difference and we're talking a $1000 price difference with the frame material being the same. I understand titanium is more expensive and carbon but what makes an ellsworth (example) frame so much better than something from bikesdirect or performance?

What I'd like to do is be sure to puchase a frame that I can use for a while even if I want to upgrade parts later but having never ridden mountain bikes I'm sure that will be hard to do
You need to go test ride bikes and buy the one you like to ride the best.

Just because something is aluminum doesn't mean that all of those bikes are exactly the same frame material. There are different alloys, tube thickness profiles, tube shapes, weld quality, and design of frame and welds. Same thing applies to carbon, steel, or titanium; there is wide variation in type of any frame material and frame design.

So we're back to my original point, you need to test ride bikes. You can't buy a bike based on what parts are attached to it or what material the frame is made out of because it might not fit you. So you're going to decide that frame X is the best made frame and you're going to buy one only to find out that it feels terrible on the trail and it doesn't fit you. Fit and function are the only good reasons to buy a bike, anything else is just fluff that makes people who buy expensive bikes that sit in their garage feel better about themselves.

You're looking to spend enough money that no matter what you get you'll have a frame that is worth putting money into down the road. Of course, you'll get more for your money by going with a hardtail but even FS you'll end up with a decent bike.

If you don't know what the numbers in a geometry table mean and how they relate to the way a bike rides and feels, then you shouldn't be considering buying a bike online. The price savings are enticing but it's a crapshoot of fit and quality. I would emphatically suggest that you stay far away from the FS bikes on BD.com because they are heavy and inefficient.
 

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What makes for a good frame? Honest question. I mean I see some bikes with similar parts where it only seems the frame is the difference and we're talking a $1000 price difference with the frame material being the same. I understand titanium is more expensive and carbon but what makes an ellsworth (example) frame so much better than something from bikesdirect or performance?

What I'd like to do is be sure to puchase a frame that I can use for a while even if I want to upgrade parts later but having never ridden mountain bikes I'm sure that will be hard to do
Well, just think of the Ellsworth and similar manufacturers as BMW/Mercedes-Benz kinda branding and the more mainstream stuff like Toyota branding.

Nothing wrong with the mainstream stuff, in fact they are usually great value for money, just that the more boutique bikes tend to be better made and more specific(e.g slack AM geometry) and more exclusive.

However, whether it is worth it to you is a question only you can answer. But whatever you do, get the best frame and suspension you can afford. The rest are not as significant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Apologies. I wasn't implying I was wanting to buy online, still trying to do my research. I have 2 LBS that I trust. One only carries Ellsworth (way out of price), Lynskey and Rocky Mtn. I'm still working on riding and demos also
 
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