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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
hello everyone, so here i am trying to choose my first mountain bike.
but i need some help. i've been doing research, and have narrowed it down to few models, but before i make my final decision i still have some questions, and i'm going to try and test some of these at a bike shop before i finally buy.
i'm 6' 185lbs just in case this helps? even though this is my first mountain bike, i've done it a a kid, and i know i will really get into it, so i want to get a good bike to start with that will last me for years. i want a solid all around bike that will do great on climbing and on descents. but should be able to handle some rough terrain as well. but i can see myself going on long trail rides that require alot of pedaling as well
so its coming down to TRAIL or ALL MOUNTAIN Bike?
some of the bikes im looking at:
Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Elite or Comp?
GIANT Trance X2
YETI 575 *although is a bit pricey and hard to find on sale or at all
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Specialized EnduroSL Comp
GIANT Reign X2 or Reign 1, not sure where major diff is
dont know why its come down to SPECIALIZED and GIANT really*(i think most shops around LA/Long Beach i looked into dont have Cannondale), seems like both are large well known/proven companies that use quality components on those bikes, and i get the most bang for my $$$ with them.
if Cannondale should be on this list to consider please let me know which bikes i should be looking at.
sorry for such long thread, i just want to make sure i get the right bike.
so here are some questions that i want to have an answer for before i go back to the shop to look some more.

1. 26 vs 29 ?
2. size frame?
3. Trail or AllMountain bike?
4. i was trying to keep my budget around 2K, and most of those bikes are mid to hi 2K, but i see alot of them '10 models on sale for around 2 K, but am willing to spend if necessary to make sure i get the right bike for years to come.
5. seems that all pedals that come with bikes are crap, so this would be another expensive purchase? was told shoes with pedals that clip in would be the way? any suggestions? im sz.12
EDIT:6: out of bikes listed any picks?

im hoping to get this bike by end of August and seems this is the time '11 come out so '10 are on sale.

thanks in advance to anyone who took the time to read this and answer.
 

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Welcome,

I won't claim to be the expert on this, but I was in your boat not all that long ago, so here's a few things I came across when I was shopping last:

romanl said:
1. 26 vs 29 ?
A personal preference - Try both. I'm 5'8" and they just feel sluggish to me. YMMV​

2. size frame?
I would recommend to base this on a test ride. I went in thinking I know my size based on my old hardtail. Turns out the next size up fit me better. Don't get caught up in the "standover is everything" argument. A consideration - yes, but there's more to it. If you go with any of the models you listed, the bike shop should be able to fit you on the bike pretty well. If not, consider a different shop IMO.​

3. Trail or AllMountain bike?
If you're doing a lot of climbing and singletrack I'd say the XC/Trail bike as it's likely to be lighter for those climbs. If you have a lot of rough stuff though, the AM might be a consideration. Again, ask the shop what's better based on where you would ride, as they likely ride those same places.​

4. i was trying to keep my budget around 2K, and most of those bikes are mid to hi 2K, but i see alot of them '10 models on sale for around 2 K, but am willing to spend if necessary to make sure i get the right bike for years to come.
Gotta love closeouts!​

5. seems that all pedals that come with bikes are crap, so this would be another expensive purchase? was told shoes with pedals that clip in would be the way? any suggestions? im sz.12
Pedals are a preference, and could send this thread spinning off into a "clipless or flats" or an "spd vs. CB vs. time" debate. If you go that route, See if you can get them to let you try a couple of brands in the shop. It only takes a minute to swap them out and I'd think they'd be happy to if you're dropping that much coin.​

im hoping to get this bike by end of August and seems this is the time '11 come out so '10 are on sale.

thanks in advance to anyone who took the time to read this and answer.
Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
 

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I have a specialized hardrock sport disc (cheap hardtail) and am looking at the exact bikes that you're considering (less the yeti, I don't know of any shops around me that stocks them well enough for me to get a test ride). I personally like the Stumpjumper FSR Comp and Giant Reign 1. If you're considering all mountain, you might want to look at the Specialized Pitch Pro as well.

But as these guys have said, it's going to depend on what kind of riding you'll be doing. If you like slamming rough downhills and aren't so much interested in climbing, then an AM bike would be better. But something like a Stumpjumper or Reign 1 would serve you much better on flatter sections, IMO.

Personally, I'll be buying a stumpjumper as soon as I can, because I love the versatility they offer.
 

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romanl said:
1. 26 vs 29 ?
I agree that it's a matter of preference. A 26'er is likely to feel faster off the line, more agile in (really) tight curvy singletrack trails, and possibly easier to climb on. A 29'er will carry better momentum and swallow up small trail obstacles more smoothly, but you'll be at a gearing disadvantage when it comes to climbing (due to the bigger wheel diameter) unless you get a cassette with an extra-large big cog, and you'll be carrying more unsuspended weight (especially so at the lower price range you're looking at). I have to admit I'm just reciting these merely as the common wisdom, without having tried a 29'er myself. But I do read a lot of people saying that you definitely have to worry about maintaining momentum when riding on a 29'er (at least one that's not ultra light/expensive). That might make one a better rider in the long term, but it translates to "won't be easy" during your beginner period.

romanl said:
2. size frame?
Entirely an issue of your body size. I'm not sure if you're familiar with bike fitting. Most local bike shops will do this for you without an extra charge when buying a bike from them. There are intricate measurements to take. It goes way beyond posting your height and weight on a forum and soliciting advice. Meanwhile, taking a test ride to make sure the results of the fitting really work well for you is not a bad idea either.

romanl said:
3. Trail or AllMountain bike?
An issue of your riding preference and local terrain. If you live in an area where hills are a rarity, an AM bike would be overkill. If you have a hilly region to ride in and like jumps, stunts, and high drops, then an AM bike may be a "must". If you'll be a rider who's "tame" in terms of stunts and is more about covering long distances, a trail bike would be a better choice (if not an XC bike). In general, trail bikes can make long-distance "all-day" rides easier, and all mountain riders would be more likely to do shorter rides (likely with shuttling) on gnarlier trails.

romanl said:
4. i was trying to keep my budget around 2K, and most of those bikes are mid to hi 2K, but i see alot of them '10 models on sale for around 2 K, but am willing to spend if necessary to make sure i get the right bike for years to come.
If there's a question here, it's escaping me. If you're asking about which price range to shoot for, I think the vicinity of 2K should allow you to find a respectable model of either kind, especially if you can be modest enough to look at older model years.

romanl said:
5. seems that all pedals that come with bikes are crap, so this would be another expensive purchase? was told shoes with pedals that clip in would be the way? any suggestions? im sz.12
Clipless pedals (oddly, that's what "pedals into which shoes can clip" are called) are the most efficient, most capable, and most recommended type of pedals for most XC and general trail riders. However, most downhill riders, which probably includes plenty of all mountain riders as well, prefer platform pedals for safety. I'm not sure of your level of riding experience, but if you're really new to trail riding, I wouldn't go straight to clipless pedals, if I were you. I'd spend a few monts with platform pedals (of any price level) and then start thinking about converting to clipless.

romanl said:
EDIT:6: out of bikes listed any picks?
I don't have much firsthand information on those specific models to be able to offer much useful advice, but in terms of pure brand cachet, I think you'd get the most nods of approval on the trail if you were riding on a Yeti. That's purely a matter of brand perception, though, and it doesn't make any particular Yeti model a better bike than a particular Giant or Specialized model, necessarily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks ER
i guess next thing is to go in and really look close up and hopefully try out few bikes that i listed. and try to make a decision.
i keep leaning towards XC TRAIL bike, because even though i would like to believe ill be hitting some rougher terrain near future, reality is, im pretty busy snowboarding and surfing year round as is, so i think a good all around TRAIL bike will be best fit for me. and im sure it'll still handle some smaller drops and some degree of rough terrain.
 

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romanl said:
i keep leaning towards XC TRAIL bike, because even though i would like to believe ill be hitting some rougher terrain near future, reality is, im pretty busy snowboarding and surfing year round as is, so i think a good all around TRAIL bike will be best fit for me. and im sure it'll still handle some smaller drops and some degree of rough terrain.
"Trail bikes" are the single most widespread mountain bike category that's out there, and they're generally considered to be the "do-it-all" bike type for most riders. You can hardly go wrong...
 
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