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After nearly ten years of hardtail riding, I've got some funds(about $2500) to jump over to the world of full suspension and figured I'd see if anyone has opinions as to what is best suited to trails in the northern part of our fine state (Allamuchy, Round Valley, Chimney Rock, etc.). I don't race (though I wouldn't rule it out entirely), and am happy if I get one ride a week on singletrack when the weather is good (2 young kids + very long commute to work = very little riding time).

I've been doing research and while I would love a "boutique"-type bike, I need to go bang for buck at my price range and am leaning towards the larger manufacturers while also supporting local bike shops. Right now I'm interested primarily in the Specialized Stumpjumper (comp or expert model), but am concerned by the low bottom bracket I hear people complaining about in the Specialized forum. The recent crop of Enduros seem like they may be too much bike for the kind of riding I do, especially on climbs. I go 6'2", 185, if that matters.

I'll also check out what the other big brands have to offer (Cannondale Prophet/Rush, Trek Remedy, Giant Trance/Reign, etc.), but figured I'd see if anyone had any thoughts. I wanted to get feedback from people who know NJ, rather than posting in the "What Bike to Buy" forum.

While I realize it ultimately comes down to personal preference, any thoughts are appreciated.

Thanks.

Mike
 

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Choices

Ahh such beautiful dilema's.
Take your time. Enjoy the process of research and selection. Try everything you can even though it may just be a parking lot demo (get creative and find some terrain). Have fun and good luck...
 

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Not exactly the feedback you're looking for

but I'm becoming a big fan of used/new-old-stock bikes and/or frames. There are so many great used bikes out there it is incredible. I am sharing this because I recently got back into the dually scene after riding a HT exclusively for some time. I found a 2003 NOS Intense Tracer which has nearly as much travel as the Stumpjumper (ranges from 3 to 4 inches of rear travel) and is the same 4Bar design. I got the frame, a 2003 NOS Fox Talas with a new XT drivetrain for a killer deal.

Just a thought. Have fun. Much to my wife's dismay, I love shopping/buying new bikes! :D
 

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Mike,

you know my position ;) If anything I'm glad for you for getting rid of the thudbuster in favor of true comfort.

Anyhow here goes:

You are definitely going to notice an increase in weight, but after a while it won't matter because you'll find the suspension actually helps your climbing. If climbing is important for you you'll want an efficient pedaling design, and in that area your best bet would probably be a VPP-like bike (IH MK III, Giant anthem or maestro, Blur, ...). In other words, a good pedaling bike will tend to make up for more weight. That would be your best bet IMO. And a long top-tube.

Whatever you get for that kind of price I doubt you'll be half-pleased ;)

Good luck and keep us posted.

Maurice
 

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Mike679 said:
Right now I'm interested primarily in the Specialized Stumpjumper (comp or expert model), but am concerned by the low bottom bracket I hear people complaining about in the Specialized forum. The recent crop of Enduros seem like they may be too much bike for the kind of riding I do, especially on climbs. I go 6'2", 185, if that matters.
A friend of mine from Northern California commented about western riders and their fear of "pedal strikes" from low BB's- apparently, pedal strikes are rare occasions for them, and if they get *one*, they tend to freak out about it. Around here, you're going to bang your pedals on rocks whether your BB is 12" or 15"- no matter what, you just have to develop good pedal timing to keep the pedals moving through rock gardens.

Test ride the bike with an open mind. The Stumpjumper BB at its lowest setting is 12.8, and at its highest is 13.3". The Turner 5 Spot, Intense 5.5, etc, all have BB's at 13.25", so I'm not sure what they're complaining about. One guy I ride with rides a Blur 4X with a 12.6" BB, and he does fine. Nothing to worry about.

The Stumpys are nice. You can set it up steep and fast or slacker and more All-Mountain. Nice to be able to dial it in to how you want it to ride. I'd definitely go with the Expert over the comp, though- the better spec on the Expert is definitely worth the price difference. Specialized's MSRP prices on the website are much higher than you should pay in stores- take at least 15% off the prices they list on the web, and if the store is charging more, then haggle. And don't let that bike leave the store with the stock tires on it. I've got a pair of those Specialized 2.0's in my trunk (they came off a buddy's bike), and they're worthless around here. Put a 2.3 on the front and a 2.1 on the rear, and have some fun...
 

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Fyi...

Hey Mike,

Just an FYI, we are closing out all of our leftover (2005) bikes, both hardtail and dualies.

Right now, any bike that is normally over $1000 we have @ min. 20% off. We have a few Scott Nitrous models (20's & 30's), a High Octane, and a few Cannondale Prophets.

We are right down the street from Chimney Rock in Bound Brook. Efingers is on the corner of Thompson and Union Ave./Rt.28.

If anything interests you, stop in and see us. Good luch shopping, and I hope you end up with a killer bike!

Marc C.
 

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nice----

Hey Mike,
It's always fun thinking about what bike to buy. I don't think you'll go wrong with any of the FS bikes you listed. Your butt and back will thank you :D Did you ever consider going with a 29er? I've read so many posts regarding wheel size and how people usually sell all their 26" size Mtb gear and go full force 29. Just a thought.

In your price range Msrp $2089.99 Gary Fisher 293 and you'll have money left over for upgrades if needed.
 

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mike-

having the same exact "problem" as you. my short list is the trance and rush - quote granny.gear from thread:

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=148835

The cannondales use a falling rate suspension (including the Rush). Trance uses a rising rate suspension. What this means is the Cannondales will typically use all the travel on smaller obstacles, while the Trance will need a bit of a bigger obstacle to use its travel.

Although Trance is 1" less suspension this may not be such a bad thing. With a falling rate suspension you cannot use as much sag as a rising rate, or else you would bottom out very fast (this can be muted somewhat by the use of a progressive air shock).

From the AMB mag reviews of the Rush, they said the Rush is not as harsh as the Jek. So, one would expect the Rush to be a far better suspension (than Jek) and the review loved the Rush for endurance type events. I could rave on and on about Maestro and its benefits...loves the rough stuff... solid pedalling..... but ultimately you must buy a bike that suites your needs.

Giant fans close your eyes and don't read any further.... (but I would get the Rush if I had lots of money to spend ) Now all you Trance owners can have your say....
 
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