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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ive been lurking these forums for a while now trying to learn as much as I could to get ready for my first MTB purchase...well the time is here.

I was first looking at the GF Marlin because it was affordable and had decent components that would get me by for a while.
The HKEK is double the price but has a better frame and components.

I just graduated college and got a good job so I could afford the HKEK now although Im saving for a new car and a house.

So my question is should I get the Marlin, saving some $$ with the intention of upgrading down the road, or should I spend the money and get the better bike from the start?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That doesnt help.

I dont know enough about bikes to know if the better way to go is to get the cheaper bike and upgrade to some of the best parts as they wear out, or to get the more expensive bike with medium/good parts hoping they are good enough for a while.

I was told at my lbs that the Marlin was the cheapest bike in the Fisher line that I should go with that still had decent parts. It seems like Bontrager parts are not really all that great and thats what both bikes have so i was wondering if getting the Marlin and upgrading with Shimano or Sram parts would be better in the long run than getting the more expensive HKEK with better than Marlin Bontrager parts.
Does that make sense?
 

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First, Bontrager components aren't necessarily bad. Bontrager builds some nice, high-end stuff, but for the bikes you're looking at, you'll get parts from the bottom shelf.

Second, the two Fisher's you're looking at will both come with Bontrager wheels, saddles, seat posts, stems, handlebars, grips, cranks, and maybe a few other things I'm forgetting. Those are different from the SRAM and Shimano parts you're talking about, which are primarily for the drivetrain. The parts that you'd be upgrading with Shimano or SRAM already come with Shimano or SRAM. The HKEK comes with the Shimano LX derailleurs and shifters and a SRAM PG950 cassette. The Marlin comes with Shimano Alivio and Deore derailleurs and shifters and a SRAM PG830 cassette.

There are some big differences between the bikes, which would lead me to go with the HKEK or one of the models in between (Tassajara or Piranha), depending on what options are important to you. Upgrading after the purchase will cost you a lot more than simply buying the better bike outright. Again, all of this depends on your needs. If you're just going to be riding around on pavement, the Marlin will be more than satisfactory.

Frame: The HKEK has the ZR9000 aluminum frame, which is lighter and stronger than the Marlin frame.

Fork: The HKEK has the much better Rock Shox Tora 318 Air. The Marlin has a Manitou Axel Elite, which lacks adjustability.

Drivetrain: While the HKEK drivetrain is middle of the road, it is a big step up from the Marlin's.

Wheels: The HKEK has a much better wheelset.

Brakes: The HKEK has disc brakes; the Marlin does not. If you ride much in wet and/or heavy braking conditions, this could be important.
 

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go w/ the HKEK

its cheaper to buy good stuff up front. you will spend more upgrading than you will buying quality initially.
 
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