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Hey my name is Tim, im a fire fighter for the US Forest Service in Northern California (Redding) and i love bikes!

Well to start off with im not new to biking but i am new to mountain biking, i raced BMX for many years growing up and loved every min of it.

To keep my self in shape during the winter me and a few buddys have taken up mountain/trail riding. Ive been borrowing/riding a Specialized Hardrock (my moms) but am getting a Diamondback Topanga for xmas.

The msrp on the bike was close to $700 (parents got it for $400 on xmas sale) so im going to assume that is is pretty good quality. From what ive seen it seems to be a good beginer bike, hard tail, disc brakes, decient front fork/shock. Any one know forsure of have any first had experience?

So, i plan on getting more and more into this sport and plan on upgrading the hell out of this bike, where should i start? I was thinking of pedals to start off with, i ran clipless on my BMX bike but i dont think thats where i want to go with this so if any one has a suggestion for a really good peddal ("shin killers") that woudl be great. Also i might upgrade the mechanical disc brakes to hydrulic or a better mechanical but i will have to have some saddel time before i decide that. Fork will have to be replaced, ide like some good quality and some good travel but at a decient price (not made of gold).

Im on pleanty of other forums so i know the search tool will be my right had man but if any one has any particular advice for this bike that could help me that would be great, thanks!

Oh and i cant seem to find this bike on the Diamondback site, could it be sold under a different name, it looks kinda like the Diamondback "Comp" but im not totally sure. I still dont have the bike (not till xmas...:() so i cant compare.
 

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My 2 cents...

PieRow said:
Hey my name is Tim, im a fire fighter for the US Forest Service in Northern California (Redding) and i love bikes!

Well to start off with im not new to biking but i am new to mountain biking, i raced BMX for many years growing up and loved every min of it.

To keep my self in shape during the winter me and a few buddys have taken up mountain/trail riding. Ive been borrowing/riding a Specialized Hardrock (my moms) but am getting a Diamondback Topanga for xmas.

The msrp on the bike was close to $700 (parents got it for $400 on xmas sale) so im going to assume that is is pretty good quality. From what ive seen it seems to be a good beginer bike, hard tail, disc brakes, decient front fork/shock. Any one know forsure of have any first had experience?

So, i plan on getting more and more into this sport and plan on upgrading the hell out of this bike, where should i start? I was thinking of pedals to start off with, i ran clipless on my BMX bike but i dont think thats where i want to go with this so if any one has a suggestion for a really good peddal ("shin killers") that woudl be great. Also i might upgrade the mechanical disc brakes to hydrulic or a better mechanical but i will have to have some saddel time before i decide that. Fork will have to be replaced, ide like some good quality and some good travel but at a decient price (not made of gold).

Im on pleanty of other forums so i know the search tool will be my right had man but if any one has any particular advice for this bike that could help me that would be great, thanks!

Oh and i cant seem to find this bike on the Diamondback site, could it be sold under a different name, it looks kinda like the Diamondback "Comp" but im not totally sure. I still dont have the bike (not till xmas...:() so i cant compare.
First welcome. Second, be sure to have fun....

Third... Mountain bikes that are considered entry level seldomly are candidates for upgrades because the upgrades cost more than the bike is worth.

If you really get in to mountain biking (you'll know) then you'd be better off riding the Diamondback long and hard and when you've drained all the mountain biking juice out of it, upgrade to a different bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm not sure if it is considered a beginer bike, I mean it is a $650 bike. That's not cheap but it's not top of the line either. I'm also hoping to be able to transfer most of the parts to another bike if I do upgrade.
 

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to help you put it in perspective, most good forks cost about 500 bucks.. just for the fork. when an entire bike costs 650, somethings gotta give! its a lower end bike, nothing wrong with that, but it is what it is.

bicycle parts are fairly standardized, so pretty much everything will swap back and forth between bikes.
 

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Perspective....

PieRow said:
I'm not sure if it is considered a beginer bike, I mean it is a $650 bike. That's not cheap but it's not top of the line either. I'm also hoping to be able to transfer most of the parts to another bike if I do upgrade.
Tomsmoto provided some great perspective. Another example would be wheelsets: A great wheelset can run up to $800.

Please understand, I'm not trying to be an ass or knock your bike. I think it's a great bike for you and want you to be excited about it. I just think that you'd be better served riding your new bike a lot vs. looking to upgrade.

Except for pedals. And I don't ride flats, so I don't have any advice on which flats will hamburger your shins the best.
 

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Yup, good advice here. One thing though...

You might want to throw on some folding bead tires, if the bike doesn't already have them. It's a cost-effective performance upgrade that I think will be worth it to you. You could even do this when your stock set wears out, of course.
 

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tomsmoto said:
to help you put it in perspective, most good forks cost about 500 bucks.. just for the fork. when an entire bike costs 650, somethings gotta give! its a lower end bike, nothing wrong with that, but it is what it is.

bicycle parts are fairly standardized, so pretty much everything will swap back and forth between bikes.
You can get a more than adequate new fork for $300ish. When you go higher in price, you're either mainly getting more travel, or slightly less weight. You already have all your RLC adjustments at 300. There's no reason to imply the only good forks out there are $500+.

IMO, the only thing entry level about an entry level bike is the price. What do you get with a higher end model bike? Less weight in most cases. But less weight also means less durability. You might get some more adjustability, but most of that you won't even touch. It's all marketing. Companies try to make you buy more expensive bikes by making you feel inadequate about the equipment between your legs. :rolleyes:

Put more emphasis on rider skill/endurance and you'll smoke any old joe with a $3000 "high-end" bike.

That being said, I would upgrade that bike only as things break. Nobody buys a whole new bike when something breaks. Yeah it might be cheaper to buy a more expensive complete bike in terms of cost for parts. But it's always cheaper to replace a part than it is to buy a whole new bike.
 

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We'll agree to disagree...

jc99 said:
You can get a more than adequate new fork for $300ish. When you go higher in price, you're either mainly getting more travel, or slightly less weight. You already have all your RLC adjustments at 300. There's no reason to imply the only good forks out there are $500+.

IMO, the only thing entry level about an entry level bike is the price. What do you get with a higher end model bike? Less weight in most cases. But less weight also means less durability. You might get some more adjustability, but most of that you won't even touch. It's all marketing. Companies try to make you buy more expensive bikes by making you feel inadequate about the equipment between your legs. :rolleyes:

Put more emphasis on rider skill/endurance and you'll smoke any old joe with a $3000 "high-end" bike.

That being said, I would upgrade that bike only as things break. Nobody buys a whole new bike when something breaks. Yeah it might be cheaper to buy a more expensive complete bike in terms of cost for parts. But it's always cheaper to replace a part than it is to buy a whole new bike.
You're picking nits. Two powerfult upgrades are fork and wheels. A "more than adequate new fork for $300ish" is half of what he paid for the entire bike. A "more than adequate" wheelset can be had for around $300. Your "more than adequate" upgrades now cost you more than the cost of the bike.

We'll also disagree on this: "But less weight also means less durability." I think that is an absolutely false statement. Durable, light, cheap. Pick any two.
 

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I agree, forks make a big difference. Wheelsets, I don't believe a 'higher end' one will make you a better rider unless you have durability issues. But you don't have to pay that much for a wheelset that will last.

Taking a look at a RS SID. It's light, but you won't find people abusing the heck out of them. They're not cheap either. A case where more expensive (i.e. high end) isn't necessarily better for what you use them for.

$300 may be half the cost of the bike, but it's still a fraction of the possible $2000 you'd pay for a "high end" bike. You can buy used as well.

I liken it to people selling perfectly fine cars for a loss to pick up a hybrid for fuel savings. Yes, over the long long run you save money on gas with the hybrid, but hands down, it was cheaper to just keep the car you had even if it wasn't as fuel efficient. ;)
 

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jc99 said:
. . . But less weight also means less durability.
Not always. My 1900 gram wheels are a lot more durable than my last set at 2100 grams.

You might get some more adjustability, but most of that you won't even touch. It's all marketing.
Nope. I use the adjustments on my Pike to dial it in perfectly for me. If you know what you're doing, the fine-tuning can be pretty useful.

Companies try to make you buy more expensive bikes by making you feel inadequate about the equipment between your legs. :rolleyes:
Can't argue with that.

And regarding the SID, that is an unfair example, as it's intended application is as a light-weight XC race fork. People that buy them don't do so with the intention of abusing them.
 

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PieRow said:
I'm not sure if it is considered a beginer bike, I mean it is a $650 bike. That's not cheap but it's not top of the line either. I'm also hoping to be able to transfer most of the parts to another bike if I do upgrade.
I have a budget high quality wheelset with DT 5.1 rims and ProII hubs. They cost about $500.

A good rear shock will be about $350 and up, for instance.

A quality headset will be 1/10 of the purchase price of your entire bike.

A 990 cassette can be between 1/10 or a greater percentage of the cost of the bike.

A pair of tires is 1/10 or more the cost of the entire bike.

Don't get started on one of the more popular forks for the past year.

A quality hydraulic brakeset (unless you go cheapie Juicies and welcome problems) can cost 50% or more of the purchase price of the bike.

This is a perspective you might need to see. You're mentioning how good your bike is, which I don't doubt, but it's good for a pricepoint, just like cars, watches, or anything else. Then on the other side of the issue, you mention wanting to upgrade all this stuff. Why not buy a bit higher with better componentry? This way you'll invariably get a better frame that could be worth hanging better parts off of when you ride them into the ground.
 

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To the OP, what you have is a solid entry-level bike that you can punish and have fun with on the trails (unlike a WalMart or Toys R US bike whiich will fall apart if they see any real singletrack use). If you plan to bike on only a rare occasion, stick with what you have. But if you really become passionate about mountain-biking, you'll learn that there really is nothing on that bike that is worth saving for a future build.

OTOH, I see nothing wrong with upgrading parts on your bike (well, except that its more cost efficient to buy the nicer parts upfront on a more expensive complete bike). You could buy new wheels, fork, brakes, etc., and put them on your Diamondback now, and then switch those parts over to a better frame later. Some people might comment if they see $400 brakes, $400 wheels, and a $400 fork on your $400 bike, but if you don't care, then it doesn't matter.
 

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Jerk_Chicken said:
This is a perspective you might need to see. You're mentioning how good your bike is, which I don't doubt, but it's good for a pricepoint, just like cars, watches, or anything else. Then on the other side of the issue, you mention wanting to upgrade all this stuff. Why not buy a bit higher with better componentry? This way you'll invariably get a better frame that could be worth hanging better parts off of when you ride them into the ground.
That's a good view on it.

On the other hand, it might be beneficial to ride "inferior" parts first and upgrade components one at a time to see how they affect or don't affect the bike's handling. Then you can truly tell whether or not the bike is limiting you, or whether you're limiting yourself. This will definitely end up being a good learning experience. Just a thought.
 

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jc99 said:
IMO, the only thing entry level about an entry level bike is the price. What do you get with a higher end model bike? Less weight in most cases. But less weight also means less durability. You might get some more adjustability, but most of that you won't even touch. It's all marketing. Companies try to make you buy more expensive bikes by making you feel inadequate about the equipment between your legs. :rolleyes:
With all due respect, I've looked through some of your posts. You appear to be still a newer and less experienced rider. While you are correct with your assertions of skill and fitness being important, there is always a point where one can enjoy their riding level being taken to another realm using equipment. I was going to post some counters to your posts about such things as adjustments and lightness (which is not true with price), along with durability, but we'll leave it at that. Part of what the problem is that there have been a recent wave of new riders coming on the forums, first buying a bike, then registering a username on mtbr and now feeling empowered as being mountain bikers, and with authority, posting advice they are not fit to give to others, even arguing how right they are at many points when it's clear to others reading their (sometimes blanketed) points are based on lack of experience.
 

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Jerk_Chicken said:
With all due respect, I've looked through some of your posts. You appear to be still a newer and less experienced rider. While you are correct with your assertions of skill and fitness being important, there is always a point where one can enjoy their riding level being taken to another realm using equipment. I was going to post some counters to your posts about such things as adjustments and lightness (which is not true with price), along with durability, but we'll leave it at that. Part of what the problem is that there have been a recent wave of new riders coming on the forums, first buying a bike, then registering a username on mtbr and now feeling empowered as being mountain bikers, and with authority, posting advice they are not fit to give to others, even arguing how right they are at many points when it's clear to others reading their (sometimes blanketed) points are based on lack of experience.
Forums = opinions. Is that a surprise to you? Or do I have to add some silly clause at the end of my posts that reminds people of that?

You would have to be extremely silly to take anything anyone says here to be the end all of comments.

Oh yeah, that's an opinion as well. Mine in fact.

I'm actually surprised that you're surprised to find beginners in the 'beginner's corner.' :p

Maybe you should take this opportunity to take a look at where YOU stand. :thumbsup:
 

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jc99 said:
Forums = opinions. Is that a surprise to you? Or do I have to add some silly clause at the end of my posts that reminds people of that?

You would have to be extremely silly to take anything anyone says here to be the end all of comments.

Oh yeah, that's an opinion as well. Mine in fact.
Yes, forums are opinions, then there are n00b's portraying themselves as experts to other n00b's as spewing fact, then get defensive while called on their lack of experience and factual posts.

A forum, such as this one, also exists in building a knowledge base that's good for everyone, which is why there are people out there with more experience to help less experienced riders with valid information. A forum also allows people to figure out who to listen to and who not to listen to. Which one do you fit into? Such comments as "more money equals less weight", especially in the current state of the market where people are going heavier. Perhaps in the 1999 edition of mtbr, that would have been valid. Then comes such comments as the adjustments and not being needed much. That was quite interesting. Perhaps your adjustments aren't effective enough, or you're not riding hard enough, or not discerning enough, or even your terrain is not varied enough, as many possibly experience and require such things as suspension adjustments to tune their bike in for different trails, or even during a ride through diverse terrain.

edit: my post reflects your original post, pre-edit.
 

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Jerk_Chicken said:
Perhaps your adjustments aren't effective enough, or you're not riding hard enough, or not discerning enough, or even your terrain is not varied enough, as many possibly experience and require such things as suspension adjustments to tune their bike in for different trails, or even during a ride through diverse terrain.

edit: my post reflects your original post, pre-edit.
I won't argue that you know your stuff. ;)

But would steering a beginner to get the next best/greatest/more expensive setup do them any good if they indeed, can't discern subtle differences between good, and better yet? In all practicality?

I'm just showing my practical side in my posts.
 

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antonio said:
And regarding the SID, that is an unfair example, as it's intended application is as a light-weight XC race fork. People that buy them don't do so with the intention of abusing them.
No that was my point exactly. More expensive is not necessarily better for what you use it for.

Again, my opinion completely.
 

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jc99 said:
I won't argue that you know your stuff. ;)

But would steering a beginner to get the next best/greatest/more expensive setup do them any good if they indeed, can't discern subtle differences between good, and better yet? In all practicality?

I'm just showing my practical side in my posts.
You're showing your practical side to the point of deception, pretending to be more experienced when you in fact aren't. Thusly, you got called out on it.

And against your implication that I steer people to the "next best/greatest/more expensive setup", you even cited above a post I made being realistic towards what the OP's wishes were and exposing the reality which is anti to what he believes about the bike business.

Unfortunately, registration onto a mountain biker's forum doesn't require one know their stuff, nor even be a mountain biker, but it appears to empower some into thinking they are now "MOUNTAIN BIKERS" and ready to give people advice below their level on the knowledge totem pole.
 

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I own a $600 GF Marlin that I absolutely love. The frame fits me perfectly, and it is a hoot to ride... if a bit heavy at about 30lbs. I only started mtb riding in the early part of last spring, and by the end of summer I placed first in my division in a race on it. The bike isn't the key factor in this, you are.

The bike was a gift, right? Assuming that the frame fits you well, get on it, and ride the crap out of it. The reason I say this is because, as of right now... you don't know what you like/dislike about the performance of this ride. Once you find something you don't like... start talking to folks here, your LBS, and those you meet on the trail, and see if the currently attached option can be dinked with to get the desired results, or if you need to move up a notch or three.

As a perfect example, the bike I bought had OEM SD3 brakes and Tektro levers... which honestly worked fine... until the first time I got in the mud. I, of course, was new and started asking around to see what the alternatives were, and made the decision to go with some Juicy 7 disc brakes. Some would think this overkill for the bike I have, but y'know... It's my bike, and my cash.

... even if it's old junk, it's still rock 'n roll to me.
 
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