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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been offered two bikes.
I am very new to full suspension.
Both bikes have been offered for the same price to me through craigslist
First is 2011 spec camber comp
Second is 2007 trek ex 8

Should I go with the older one? Obviously it has a better spec of components.
Is the camber superior though cause it's newer or has suspension design changed that much in the past four years.
In the event I cannot test ride both. Can anyone offer some advice on how they differ feel wise.
Here are the two-bikepedia
BikePedia - 2007 Trek Top Fuel 8 Complete Bicycle
BikePedia - 2011 Specialized Camber FSR Comp Complete Bicycle
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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Tough one. Trek still has Top Fuel variations as their flagship FS XC race bike. But suspension designs sometimes get tweaked from year to year.

I'd do some homework on it - has Trek changed their linkage much? Did people have breakage problems? And, do you want a racing bike?

Since the Camber is a new line, I'm not sure if I'd consider it a "safe" choice either. Although Specialized has been making full suspension bikes for a very long time, and it's not so different from all their others. The Camber is more of a trail bike. It'll be more forgiving and more stable on descents, but you may not be able to get it up singletrack climbs or through corners as fast.

My instinct is to go with the Trek, unless that particular one is really worked or your further reading turns up a lot of people having problems breaking the linkage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My instinct is the same - but mostly for the fact that it has more adjustability in the suspension.
Honestly what holds me back from the Camber, is the brakes and the Fork. drivetrain components aren't a real issue to me, the suspension is what really gets in my pocket if I want to upgrade to something with more adjustability. And how can I have fun on the descents if I can't make it up the switchbacks.
What I need/want is - a Solid frame (worth throwing some coin at if I wanted) with a suspension set up that has the most adjustablity, and will still let me climb or weave in and out of trees and be way more stable and confidence inspiring on the downs, at the moment, I ride a GT Hardtail with a 100mm Man R7, that is not the best for the fun downs, but is amazing on the rest.

Can I ask why you think your instinct says Trek? And is that the more XC inspired one? I think with a decent more XC sided geometry with the 130MM of travel it has would be a blast. But I have ridden 150MM bikes with slack angles, and they are sooo stable.


I just realized the Trek has a Fox Float RL not RLC, so less adjustments than I previously thought.
So real question - If I am used to a manitou R7 ABS+, will I be happy with a Recon Silver TK turned into MoCo with Ario rear or Fox RL/Fox rear or are they all pretty decent set-ups
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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I've never ridden a Fox RL. So, dunno. I'm used to a Manitou R7 Platinum SPV - sort of an ancestor to ABS, I think. I rode a Reba the other day, with the fancy damper, and was pretty impressed. So I think you'd be happy with the Motion Control damper. If I'm not totally mixing up my technologies, that's what I rode... :p You can always get the RLC cartridge for the Fox, too.

I wouldn't call the Trek XC-inspired. It's fully committed. And that's part of why my instinct is in favor of that bike - I like climbing singletrack and racing, and I mostly haven't liked FS bikes I've tried. I get that you can lock out this and that and the other thing, but I don't want to have to stop and mess around. I want a setup that I can tune to work right when I get out of the saddle and climb, and that I set up once, maybe top up pressure every now and then, and forget about when I go ride.

I tend to ride on my own or with teammates. I rode the other day with some people from the riding club I'm affiliated with. There was stopping. There were breaks. Both of them had those adjustable seat post things, and one actually also used his quick release. We climbed logging roads, when there was singletrack available to do the same thing. I still had fun, and I don't want to cast aspersions on their ability - the older one, especially, could beat the hell out of me on the descents. But I think I'm beginning to understand why people like squishier, less coherent, longer-travel bikes than I do - I bet I would too, on that particular day.

The other thing is that the Camber is a first-year model, and it has off-brand hydraulic disc brakes that haven't been out very long. I think Tektro makes great products when they want to, but they also make garbage. Not knowing makes me nervous.

Since you already have a GT with a nice 100mm fork, though, maybe something more different is what you're looking for - that would be the Camber.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Alot of truth there. Thanks.
So what you mean is that the trek is basically all dedicated xc. Not just oriented a bit that way. Interesting. To be honest. The guy with the trek wants a little more for it. It's really hard for me to spend that much on a bike 5 model years old. Especially when there was apparently a small re design the next year. Since the camber is still in stores I will go give it a test ride then check out the trek maybe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think I'm pretty sold on the Camber - I just realized I can probably sell the OE rear shock and for not much more get a more adjustable one, and I think I can go MoCo in the recon.

I appreciate your advise, I never thought about going more trail so I can just jump on the GT if I want a good long XC ride. Also it is likely easier to sell if I decide I hate it all together :).
So unless something dramatic happens, I'll likely lean towards the Camber.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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I think I'm pretty sold on the Camber - I just realized I can probably sell the OE rear shock and for not much more get a more adjustable one, and I think I can go MoCo in the recon.
Be a little careful here. Specialized is becoming notorious for their funky shock setups. It doesn't mean you can't change out the shock. I bet the Camber's popular enough for tuners like Push to offer something. But it means that changing the shock is potentially a more time-consuming and expensive proposition than if it was just something off-the-shelf. So again - do your homework.

I don't think a bike like the Camber will screw up your ability to climb singletrack and negotiate switchbacks. You're just not likely to set a PR on a day when you choose it. You're the same guy, and it's not the bike that can do those funky trackstand-corner maneuvers. The Trek isn't going to be any worse (probably better) to descend on than the GT. So the difference is not as big as if the Camber was a freeride bike or something. Hopping on one at your shop sounds like a good idea.

Pics when you figure out what you're doing, and get it.
 

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It's all about the FSR!
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I have a friend that rides a Camber. I haven't seen him not be able to ride anything because of the bike. He tears it up on that bike. He also rolls a SC Heckler, and he tears that up as well. I believe that he did change out the rear shock on his Camber as well.
 

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Picture Unrelated
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I would go with the Specialized. Used bikes tend to... well... have a high probability for being more abused than they appear to be. The Camber is a relatively new bike and while that doesn't mean it wasn't abused, the 5 year old Trek wouldn't get my vote for "likely to be in great shape".

You have to realize that my suggestion is based simply on the age of the bike, you really can't go wrong with either but I would personally get the Specialized first. This is, of course, assuming they both fit you.

P.S. Be wary of any bike that a person put a new chain on to sell. It is almost always done with no ill intent, but it can cause problems if you put a new chain on a worn cassette/chainrings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the suggestions guys - the guy w/ the Camber isn't emailing back now - ugh.
This whole "wait for the right craigs deal" sucks.
But now I have an idea of what the majority thinks - better spec but old doesn't always mean better.
We will see what I can get - I'll let y'all know.
On a side note - if anyone is in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Tx, and has a bike similar they wanna get rid of, let me know!
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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A lot of what's on a mountain bike hasn't actually gotten better in the last five years. Some suspension designs have, and some suspension products have, but sometimes you're just paying for Bold New Graphics when you get a newer model. A lot of the technologies on even a pretty high-end bike have stayed put.

For FS, I'd definitely consider age in terms of the design of the bike. Otherwise, it's just a matter of whether the bike is as unused as the owner claims, or if it's been worked over.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I totally get that. Like how my R7 has ABS+ but the fork itself is a '06 model - some things have changed, but the rest of the fork has stayed the same essentially the whole time.

I have not found any bad reviews on the Trek - it does look like in '08 they moved the rear pivot to the rear axle - I don't know where it was previously, or if this would have a serious effect on how I would perceive it's quality.


All of you guys, Andrw, especially, have been excellent to take the time! Rep for everyone, if it even matters on here -
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just to throw a wrench in the spokes....I "accidentally" won a ebay auction for a '05 GT IDXC - shortly after bidding I realized I was still fighting with the idea of building one - and it might be a size tooooo large.
Let me ask - I won at 200 bucks, was I screwed? Came with Fox Float R 100MM shock,
Dang - either way - I am test riding both the bikes this weekend, will likely get rid of the GT I "accidentally" got.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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How big is it? How big are you?

i-Drive is a pretty current and well-regarded suspension system. They've changed some of their names since '05, but I don't know if the linkage is different in any significant way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm 6'0 32''ish inseam been riding a Large GT Avalanche - the I-drive it is a XL Frame
I can't find the Geometry on it, so can't compare top tube - I am sure I could handle a bit longer seat tube.

I honestly like the way it looks - I guess - if you think it is a decent frame - i might price out building it - I just don't think I could build it cheaper than the bikes offered above and not with the component set especially.
For reference, the two other bikes are under 900 bucks.
Since I got into the predicament - I decided I would buy whichever of the Complete bikes I liked more - feel wise or price if one of the people will go cheaper. And when the GT comes in I will throw a fork seat and wheels on it from my Avalanche and see how the fit is. And maybe sell something to recoup my costs.
 
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