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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey,

I am crossing over from casual MTB rider (walmart mongoose 21 speed) to a competition grade bike.

I am looking at getting a hardtail 29' tired bike, specifically the specialized rockhopper sl pro

Being as its my first 'real' bike and i dont know what i 'dont' want is there anything i should stay away from? or is it all good?

Thanks!
 

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Trying not to kill myself
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The best thing you can do is ride as many bikes as possible. Visit all your LBS (local bike shops) and have them help you figure out what size you need. Bikes in the same size from different companies ride differently, which may cause you to rule some out or add new ones to the list that you never thought of buying. As for components, I think it's best to spend as much as you can up front, since that's almost always cheaper than upgrading piece by piece later. Getting a good fork is key, since that will cost you the most coin to upgrade later. Once you check out some bikes and figure out which ones are in your price range, come back here and everyone can help you figure out the differences between all the components. Happy hunting!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, Heading to Breakaway Bicycles tonight to check a few out and talk to the guys there.

Actually i race a dirt late model, Just want to bike more for body conditioning for that, plus its uber fun.


Fork travel seems to vary a bit from bike to bike, anything over 80mm necessary? or just a selling point?

I'm on the west side of the state, my racing season is march to october so i dont know if i will be able to do any organized racing, nor do i know if i would be good enough

Thanks!!
 

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DynoDon
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I think you would surprise yourself and do pretty good in the beginners class, 80mm seems like its not much to me, but then I'm old and ride a FS with 120mm on each end, I do notice alot of people on the 80mm forks so they must do ok.
You have some great trails over there on that side of the state, and going to a few dealers and test riding some would be a good idea, to bad we have all this snow.. check out treefortbikes.com they have some of last year bikes and give good deals, they can't ship out of state, but you live in the state, they are over here in Ypsilanti, Mi. great shop, good for online parts, etc too. Good Luck racing, Happy Trails
 

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racer34v said:
Fork travel seems to vary a bit from bike to bike, anything over 80mm necessary? or just a selling point?
Thanks!!
Fork travel is personal preference, usually on a hardtail most people don't exceed 100mm of travel though you can find hardtail bikes up to 160mm and full suspension bikes up to 10" of travel in the fork. What the differences are when you increase travel is that you typically get a bike with more "slack" geometry. Slack means that the headtube is slanted more to rake out the front fork. The more slack a bike is, the easier the bike usually is to take on steep or rough terrain. So (in a very general sense) the more travel your bike has, the more comfortable it will be going fast, steep, or rough. Slack geometry also usually means that the bike is more difficult to climb with and the slow speed handling usually suffers. Again, these are just basic guidelines and there are serious differences between bikes even with the same travel numbers.

Test riding all the bikes you can find is the best way to decide what you want. Try some bikes from different manufacturers and bikes with 26" and 29" wheels. Everything rides a little bit differently and be honest with yourself. The first bike I got I spent less money because I liked the way the bike rode better, don't count something out because "part x" isn't as good as some other bike. Pick the bike you fit best on and is the most fun to ride.
 

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The Fox Talas fork gives you the best of both worlds in that it gives adjustable height which also changes the bike geometry to make it good for climbing or descents. They are pricey though. May not fit this situation due to cost.
 

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There are people out there who still prefer to ride fully rigid, so it's not really correct to say that 80mm isn't a lot, it all depends on what you like, what terrain you ride and how you ride it. My bike has 120mm travel front and rear and I don't see needing more for my riding, but my buddy had 130/140 and just upgraded his fork to 150 because he didn't think it was enough, same terrain, but he's getting air off everything, I'm typically not. For XC, 80mm will do, especially on a 29er, you generally find them with a bit less travel. I just bought a new 29er and got a 100mm fork.

Edit: The 120mm FS bike and 29er are two different bikes, just to clear up any confusion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the feedback.

Mostly quad trails through the woods at my property ,As time allows going to make some singletracks. We have 40 acres of light woods w/ large ravine. Within two miles is also an access point to a former railroad bed trail i plan to ride some with the better half. Shooting for the 1000 -1500 range
 

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So sounds like mostly smoother trails with limited rocks. For that I would go with a 29er hardtail with 80-100mm of travel, and aim for around $1,200. Save the rest for pedals, saddle, grips, etc. in case the stock items do not suit you. If none of that needs to be replaced you'll have a good budget for tools, tubes, and other assorted gear. Like others have said, definitely go ride them and see which fits/feels the best. It's hard to say what level of suspension you like until you ride. Buy what feels good!

A few I'd consider:
Specialized Rockhopper 29er Expert
Gary Fisher Cobia
Scott Scale 29er Team
Setter Razzo 29er 2.0 (can't ride it prior, but it's a pretty good deal for a 25.5# bike and Reba fork)
 

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Good advice. My Stumpy HT has a 90mm Reba, and it soaks up roots and rocks just fine. IMO, 4" of travel is adequate unless you're into jumps & drops or if you'll be navigating some really steep downhills with large rocks.

TwoHeadsBrewing said:
So sounds like mostly smoother trails with limited rocks. For that I would go with a 29er hardtail with 80-100mm of travel, and aim for around $1,200. Save the rest for pedals, saddle, grips, etc. in case the stock items do not suit you. If none of that needs to be replaced you'll have a good budget for tools, tubes, and other assorted gear. Like others have said, definitely go ride them and see which fits/feels the best. It's hard to say what level of suspension you like until you ride. Buy what feels good!

A few I'd consider:
Specialized Rockhopper 29er Expert
Gary Fisher Cobia
Scott Scale 29er Team
Setter Razzo 29er 2.0 (can't ride it prior, but it's a pretty good deal for a 25.5# bike and Reba fork)
 

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tshulthise said:
The Fox Talas fork gives you the best of both worlds in that it gives adjustable height which also changes the bike geometry to make it good for climbing or descents. They are pricey though. May not fit this situation due to cost.
You're not kidding that the Talas can be expensive - I love that fork but probably wouldn't have gotten it if it hadn't already been on the rig I was buying anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Been out kicking a few tires and am more undecided then ever. Thinking about going full susp now with lockouts. I see that scott's genius lt has two stage front lock out and rear lock out..... I just dont like to be underprepared....I am afraid that if i get a hardtail now and get into it it wont be enough bike in a year or two.
 

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DynoDon
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you could rent a few different bikes, or test ride them, try to get them on the same trail and give 'em a good workout.
some of the lock outs now don't lock out, but allow you to have some travel incase you need it, I have those type on my Rock Shock Reba and RS Monarch 4.2 rear shock in the rear, they are called gates on RS, I never use them in Michigan.
It would be best to try them out. good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Narrowed down to two bikes,

http://www.fujibikes.com/bike/details/tahoe_3_0 - The fuji would be bought through in town dealer - I like this idea because i want to start off on the right foot with the guy thats going to be servicing it,

and this bike

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/fantom_comp_xi.htm

The Moto looks like a much better value. Should i ask the LBS if they would be interested in charging me for final assembly / setup on the moto should i choose to go that route? LBS only sells Giant / Fuji

I have decided to goto a 26'' for my first bike because i want something easier to manhandle / maneuver on the trails.
 

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DynoDon
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Whichever bike you buy learning wrenching is to your advantage, if you break down you'll appreciate knowing what to do. Setting your bike up is not as hard as it seems, there are plenty of vids on Youtube, Park Tool, and Zinn and the art of Mountain Bike Maintenance book is under $20 with plenty of info in there, good luck
 
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