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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Posted in here because looks like you guys focus on tri's and/or racing. I posted the message below in the Beginners section. Thought I'd throw it in here to see if y'all had any tips or knew of a bike.
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I'm a former Ironman guy looking to make a change to get some of my life back. My latest was Ironman Couer d'Alene back in 2006. I was 41st overall out of 2600 and threw down a sub 5:15 bike leg on the 112 miler through the mountains. Didn't say that to brag, but I do take biking pretty serious. Problem: that was just about the last time I got on the bike and that was about 25 lbs ago and a lot of lost muscle.

Always thought I'd get back into triathlon, but I think if I do it will be Xterra. I'm finally selling my tri bike this week and hope to get around $1,500 for it. I'm planning on throwing $1,200-$1,500 into a MTB.

I'm on the east coast (Georgia) and am looking to get something that will help get the mtb wheels under me (never really ridden off road) and could be a good racer should I ever want to get into Xterra tri's or any kind of race.

I'm 5'6, so I'm assuming I'd need a small frame. I'd like to race at some point, so I'm hearing a hard tail is the way to go. Not really interested in downhill.

I was sponsored by Specialized previously, so I somewhat tend to search eBay for these. Don't know a whole lot about other brands. Any input?

I'd like to try to find a gently used bike that would get me all set up. Any ideas or direction?
 

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Good decision! :thumbsup:

I actually think it's hard to buy a bad bike for over a grand these days. IMO, a good fit is most inportant, so you may want to go to a knowledgeable bike shop to have yourself fitted. Keep in mind that you're used to a very aggressive aero position on the tri bike; you won't need to be so far forward on the mtn bike (you could find yourself in trouble on the first steep decline!)

Anyhow, you'll get a lot of opinions on the "best bike for X amount of dollars." The best bike is the one that fits you best. But, if you know what fits, and aren't afraid to buy a new stem and/or seatpost, bikesdirect.com prices are hard to beat for the spec.

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

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/fly_9357_x.htm

BTW, I'm just down the road from you in Buford/Sugar Hill. I think your closest trail system is Tribble Mill, but you'll definitely want to check out Chicopee in Gainesville- stellar trails that flow very well. I think I'll be doing the Xterra Ft. Yargo, Tsali, and First Coast this year. Maybe the Panther Creek also.
 

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I am certainly not full of tons of experience but I would not disregard getting a full suspension bike so easily....especially as we all get longer in the tooth.

Many of the full suspension bikes nowadays (especially those geared toward racing) have little drawbacks to a hardtail. And being a novice mountain biker you will find it much easier to handle more difficult terrain with a full Squish bike. When my friends remark that I have gotten pretty good on my bike so fast I tell them "I bought a lot of skill with my bike". And it is true.

Another example of major races won on full suspesion recently was the Colorado State Championship (by Lance) and 24 hours of Moab on a SC Carbon Blur XC.

If you mean to spend only 1500 though...hardtail might be the way to go as it wont go very far otherwise.

I for one bought a Blur LT2 with the thought in mind that I could use it in XC races if needed (have and done well) and also in endurance races (have and bike did well). And this bike also allows me to pretty much ride anything...anywhere.
 

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I also would not rule out full suspension...I've seen lots of guys come over from road tri with the focus of light weight only, they end up on hardtails with light weight tires. I think it may be because of this that I tend to see so much carnage on the bike portion of the XTERRAS vs. just a mountain bike race.

You may be able to find a 2 year old bike in excellent condition with XT for around $1,600...maybe a hair more, I know this is stretcing your budget a bit, but it is something to think about.
 

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How old are you?

I ask because, as mentioned previously, as you get older and your body becomes less resilient to the pounding of mountain biking then the full suspension bikes become more appealing. My first bike was a hardtail, I had it four years, and never really rode too much. When I got my first full suspension bike, my enjoyment of mountain biking increased immensely, I started riding more often and for longer periods of time, and I am much, much faster because of it.

If you are partial to Specialized bikes, I'd go get properly fit on an Epic--spend a little money now to get a bike that will last--and that bike will fit just about any need you will ever have for racing Xterra's or in Georgia or on the Southeast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Age

I'm 31.

Thought the HT was the way to go here in the Southeast (GA) being a beginner. Figure if I ride it enough I could always go with a full suspension and commit that kind of money. Selling my bike and 404's for around $2,100 and wanted to be somewhere around $1,200-$1,500 on my first ride.

Really thinking of going with the Motebecane Fly Pro. It looks like it's spec'd out well with components and a good fork. I figure I could always by a new frame and upgrade in the future a little cheaper having these components to start with. Thing is I just don't know if it will fit being that there is not a local dealer around. I'm 5'6 w/ a 28.5" inseam.

Also, many are stating to go with a 29er and now FS. I'm thrown.
 

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Xtera champs talk about bike selection ...
Xterra champs don't have a $1500 budget for their bikes.

Shonny Vanlandingham does awfully well on a hardtail. She won southcentral cup this year on a hardtail, the bike course has a lot of gnarly rocky rooty stuff that would typically get classified as full-sus terrain. Being sponsored by Luna, she has the option of riding a carbon full-sus (essentially a Scalpel clone) but chooses the hardtail.

(Shonny is one of the current covergirls on http://www.xterraplanet.com/.)
 

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Flargle I respect what you are saying about getting a hardtail first. And I think it applies well to those starting mountain biking in their teens and college years. But for myself at age 37 I found that a Hardtail was a once way hospital ticket and also greately limited the number of trails I could ride due to their technicality. Now on a BLT2 I ride what I want...and much faster...and am not worried about killing myset.

Bike Suggestion: Santa Cruz Superlight...in your price range.
 

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I started riding mountain bike trails in my late 30s, first on a singlespeed cross bike and then on a singlespeed fully rigid 29er, and gradually got better and better on increasingly technical stuff and walked fewer and fewer sections, so maybe I just never learned to depend on suspension as a crutch. I'm getting a Giant Anthem later this month, so I'm not a Luddite by any means.

If the OP can find a Santa Cruz Superlight in good shape and with decent components for $1500, by all means he should buy it.
 

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Xterra courses are not as technical as your typical XC race course, so I think a HT is a fine idea. Your inseam might be hard to fit with an off the shelf 29'er, and the jury is still out on 650b, so the huge selection of tires and forks for 26" wheels I think wins.
The bikesdirect bikes plenty of positive reviews, but if you're not handy with a wrench, I don't think they are a good idea.
 

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FWIW , I am 50 y.o. and am on a H.T. for this season . It all is personal preference , ride a bunch of them and you will get a feel for whats going to work for you .
 

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I'm 5.5 years into Mountain Biking and know NOTHING of XTerra courses. So take with salt my opinions.

I do know of the SE terrain having come from NC.

I am more of a purist and recommend the progression from hardtail to full-susp after one has earned/learned some skills. I may be just grouchy on this subject but it seems that going straight to a full-susp might invite a sloppier style of riding. Maybe that's not important in XTerra (or XC for that matter).

You have done triathalons in the past you are by no means over the hill at 31 (I started at 34) so do not discount your inituition to get a hardtail first. FWIW, I started rigid-steel then a series of hardtails and only now have just purchased an Anthem X.

But only you can assess how serious you are and how you will approach the MTB discipline. These are important factors.

Who knows you may develop a "singletrack mind" like some folks around here!
 

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With that budget, don't get a FS. You're going to have to get a couple of year old frame, with older geometry/suspension and beat up shocks, and the pedal bob and lack of real suspension control that come with it. I just sort of performed this same exercise, although not with Xterra in mind, but regular single/double track riding/XC racing.

$2500 to spend? Get either a high end 1 year used FS or a nice new FS (Trek Fuel series/etc)

$1500 to spend? Buy a nice used hardtail and go from there.

I went for the middle option and bought a 2010 Fuel EX8 for $2100 after discount and I have to say its pretty awesome, and at 27lbs after a few upgrades (crank/tubeless), its not too heavy either. Very comfortable for a couple of 3-4 hour rides I've done. I can go harder as it doesn't beat me up like my old hardtail did when I got back into riding.

-Tom
 

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CB2 said:
Xterra courses are not as technical as your typical XC race course, so I think a HT is a fine idea. Your inseam might be hard to fit with an off the shelf 29'er, and the jury is still out on 650b, so the huge selection of tires and forks for 26" wheels I think wins.
The bikesdirect bikes plenty of positive reviews, but if you're not handy with a wrench, I don't think they are a good idea.
lol.. how many XC courses take you down spiral staircases? How many XTERRA's have you done?

of course the guys riding fully rigid bikes are going to suggest a HT and those of us riding FS bikes would suggest a FS bike. There are deals out there, so don't discount one just yet. It was told to me a few years when I was trying to make the decision.. buy the best bike you can get now, buying one now, then wanting to upgrade soon doesn't make financial sense unless you can sell the first bike for close to what you got it for. I've only upgraded my wheelset for my stumpy, and with some lighter tires should be about 27 lbs.. this bike should set me straight for 2-3 more years before I'd really need to upgrade the whole thing.
 

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Jam Econo
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Bioteknik said:
lol.. how many XC courses take you down spiral staircases? How many XTERRA's have you done?

of course the guys riding fully rigid bikes are going to suggest a HT and those of us riding FS bikes would suggest a FS bike. There are deals out there, so don't discount one just yet. It was told to me a few years when I was trying to make the decision.. buy the best bike you can get now, buying one now, then wanting to upgrade soon doesn't make financial sense unless you can sell the first bike for close to what you got it for. I've only upgraded my wheelset for my stumpy, and with some lighter tires should be about 27 lbs.. this bike should set me straight for 2-3 more years before I'd really need to upgrade the whole thing.
Exactly zero, the whole swimming and running thing, but I have rode a Xterra course at a locale that also hosts a XC race and ride with a guy who does what ever series of them there is on the East Coast.
 

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What really sucks about Xterra's is the bottle neck on the trails. Triathlons there is so much room to pass but not on trails. Get's frustrating fast.

Has nothing to do with your post just thought I'd throw that out there. :)

When it comes to buying a bike (or any of my hobbies) I go for the best right out of the gate. I've learned my lesson in the past that upgrading every other year gets more expensive. The 'best' is very subjective. I find the S-works Epic to be the best RACING mountain bike available. Others may disagree and that's cool.

I really dislike TREKS of any kind as well as Gary Fisher. Past experience and I also think these bikes are one step away from showing up in department stores. My opinion is skewed because every trek dealer in my area is also a schwinn dealer. That combo is just not cool.
 

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Guppie58 said:
What really sucks about Xterra's is the bottle neck on the trails. Triathlons there is so much room to pass but not on trails. Get's frustrating fast.
Solution: faster swim leg. :D
 
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