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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
this time last year i was 320 lbs. now i'm down to 180 and i owe it all to riding my schwinn. unfortunately it is beat up and i need to upgrade. this summer i would like to start doing more off roading. i am looking at 29er's so i can swap tires to ride on the road or off road. i ride about 80% on and 20% off. there are two bikes at competing shops and of course they both say theirs is better, but i want the opinion of people who enjoy this as a hobby and have an unbiased opinion.

2011 Gary Fisher Marlin
specs: http://www.mtb29er.com/2011/2011_Gary_Fisher_marlin_29er_bike.html
I have heard the front fork is garbage on this bike and was wondering what others thought

2010 Access XCL 9.5
specs: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product2_10052_10551_1081532_-1
this is a more "off beat" brand, but for 100 dollars more it seems the components are better.

Please let me know what your opinion is, I appreciate it!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
my budget is around 700-900. BTW, i'm 6 foot tall and weigh 180.

GF Marlin:
front: shimano altus
rear: sram x4
brakes: tektro novela

Access XCL:
front: sram x5
rear: sram x5
brakes: avid bbs
 

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First, holy crap. Dropping 44% of your weight is not an easy feat! Nice.

As far as your bike----how are the "off-road" trails you're riding on? I'm asking, because if they're just mild trails, a cyclocross bike may be better for you, as you're doing more on-road rides. I have a Surly singlespeed road bike that I sometimes fit 700x38's on and hit some mild trails.

If you're looking for a MTB, I would also suggest something like a Redline D440. I think a rigid fork up front would be better for weight, efficiency (especially on-road), cost and no maintenance. You can also get something like a Kona Unit or Redline Monocog Flight and run 1x9 or single speed.

If you have to choose between those two, it looks like the Access may be a better value.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
well the park my friends go to have trails that range from beginner to expert. i will eventually start riding the expert ones once i get a better hang of it. i will certainly look at those bikes as well. looking for front shocks so i am not to sure about the redline. thought about picking up a used 29er on craigslist, but dont want to worry about problems right away with a used mountain bike. thanks!!!
 

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the geometry is a bit different on these. I'd try to ride them both and see if you prefer one over the other. aside from that I have no comment other than to congratulate you on the impressive weight loss!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
i rode the GF Marlin today and it felt awesome!!! but after doing more research it seems that the front fork might be a bit weak. i didnt get to ride the Access because it was pouring outside, but on the next nice day it will be the first thing i do. i want to get off the street and hit some trails!!!!
 
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