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I am considering getting back into ridding after having been away from it for quite some time. I have owned and raced some pretty nice bikes in my time, but now I'm finding myself battling a lower budget than I had wanted, so my choices are to either buy used (i.e., no warranty on ANYTHING) or buy new but get a bike with lower end components.

There is a 2001 Jamis Dragon steel hardtail for sale locally for $700 with pretty good XT and XTR components and King disc hubs. Or, I can get a new Specialized Rockhopper 29er comp for around $900. Or, I can get other lower end bikes new for around the same.

So, here is the big question... How much have components advanced in the last say 5-6 years? Would a lower end component today (say a Sram X-4) be comparable to the XT on the 2001 Jamis? Am I really getting BETTER components with the Jamis even though they are older, or should I go with a new bike and just upgrade the parts as they break?

Todd
 

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Personally I'd go for the old bike with nice stuff. Honestly, any XT or XTR stuff less than 10 yrs old is really good stuff.

You do need to worry about how worn out it is though.

I've said this before; a high end bike from 10 or 15 years ago might weigh 22 pounds, will have excellent components, and costs 3 or 4k back in the day. Now days really isn't much different is it?

Way too much of our sport is marketing, the industry needs to reinvent product each year. If you can see past that you can save some dough and still have a nice ride, although people won't drool on it (maybe a good thing)!

Drew
 

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I'd make the frame the basis of your choice, rather than components. The only argument I can think of against a quality used bike is if you wanted to try something you could not find used, such as a 29er. Having said that, 29ers have been around long enough that there are used 29ers around now too. If you are curious about a big wheeled bike you should try one. Because you'll always wonder if your missing out by going with a 26" I was in a similar position to you a couple of years back. I had a full suspension cannondale getting dusty in the basement but I never felt like riding it. On a whim I bought a Haro Mary SS 29er, and have been riding as often as possible ever since. The Mary is gone but I've stuck with the singlespeed and big wheeled theme... But to sum up, I'd consider a nice used steel frame of whatever configuration most appeals to you, 26" 29" rigid, geared, SS whatever... all the best!
 

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Oh, and as for the quality of components improving since your last bike: I don't think they've moved on that much at all. Tires have improved a bit, or at least become more segmented. The standard diamond frame hard tail is still the most common site on the trail...
 

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I'm with al415. I say go with the frame that does you better. I'm wary of any drivetrain that is original from that far back. Unless the components are at tip-top shape, I'd be a bit worried about the wear that they've seen.

I'd side with the newer frame and lower end components. If you intend to upgrade anyway, these components may end up lasting you longer than 2000/20001 XT/XTR stuff.

Just my .02

Btw, the Specialized Rockhopper is a great bike.
 
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