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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long-time lurker, first-time poster. I am in the market for a 27.5. (I tried a ton of 29ers and they didn't seem to fit, even on S or XS frames; one ride on a 27.5 convinced me that it's the right size for me.)

I likely will only ride trails a few times a year, but will use the bike a lot to ride with my kids around town, on pavement, grass, and gravel. So part of me thinks I should just buy a bottom of the barrel bike, although the part of me that has a reasonably nice road bike wants a Deore-ish level mountain bike. (Did I mention I'm a bit schizo?)

This leaves me agonizing over the bike to buy. Part of my problem is that the local shops have very few 27.5s to try, and I don't want to buy something I've not ridden. So my choices seem to come down to the following:

LOW END: Scott Aspect 750 ($600), Felt 7 Eighty ($600)

MID: Scott Aspect 740 ($700), Scott Contessa Scale 730 ($850)

HIGHER: Scott 770 ($1100), Felt 7 Sixty ($1050)

Any thoughts on just how lousy the low end bikes are? In other words, am I one trail ride away from needing to replace parts?

In the middle range, am I really getting anything worth the increase in price over the low end? (As an aside, I know the Contessa is a woman's bike, but it seems to fit me well, and it doesn't have any obvious "women-specific" features that won't work for me.)

At the top, I assume the Scott is a much better buy than the Felt based simply on components, but I don't have a good way to figure out how the frames compare.

Any and all thoughts welcome, as well as any advice about other 27.5 bikes I should search out to try. (Having said that, I think I've tried every one in the greater DC area, including a Novarro at REI that I didn't care for.)

Thanks!
 

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27.5 is great, it's likely the future, but for the riding you'll be doing you'll be just as happy on a 26" wheel. Just remember, 27.5 wasn't around a few short years ago, and everyone rode everything they're riding today and enjoyed it just as much.
Going 26 will allow for many more choices in your price range. You can get allot of bike for under 1K if you skip the hype over new wheel sizes.
 

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I rode a Specialized Hardrock Sportdisc 29er ($800) for a year before I decided to invest real money in mountain biking. I rode the 29er off road almost exclusively. I hit some small jumps and 2ft drops on it without issue. I ride about 2-3x per week and ride fairly hard. I am now purchasing a Devinci Troy as I am really enjoying the sport and I really want a full suspension bike for the trail riding I do. You can easily get a solid bike under 1000 that you can ride around town and use on the trail. There are several big brands that have what you are looking for and that you should be able to demo easily.

Found this shop which carries Jamis and they have a few options under 1K. I dont know much about the bike and know nothing about the shop. I wanted to show that there are valid options out there without breaking the bank. My buddy rides a FS Jamis Dakar and he really likes it

BicycleSPACE - Our Shop

JAMIS BICYCLES
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
27.5 is great, it's likely the future, but for the riding you'll be doing you'll be just as happy on a 26" wheel. Just remember, 27.5 wasn't around a few short years ago, and everyone rode everything they're riding today and enjoyed it just as much.
Going 26 will allow for many more choices in your price range. You can get allot of bike for under 1K if you skip the hype over new wheel sizes.
Thanks. That's an interesting thought. I've not seen many 26" bikes in the shops around here -- everyone seems to have fully bought in to 29ers, with a handful of 27.5s to boot. I'll definitely see what might be around, though.

I guess part of my thinking is that if I get a 27.5 now and get heavily into riding trails I can upgrade the components and still have the bigger wheels for less than buying a 26" now and buying a whole new bike in a couple of years. Not sure, however, that the frames I am considering are worth going that route.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
***

Found this shop which carries Jamis and they have a few options under 1K. I dont know much about the bike and know nothing about the shop. I wanted to show that there are valid options out there without breaking the bank. My buddy rides a FS Jamis Dakar and he really likes it

BicycleSPACE - Our Shop

JAMIS BICYCLES
Thanks. That's stellar shop, but they carry exclusively commuter and hybrid bikes. They are willing to order a Jamis 27.5 for me, but I don't know which size and won't be able to ride it in advance, so that's a bit of a pickle. I may go that route, however.
 

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Thanks. That's an interesting thought. I've not seen many 26" bikes in the shops around here -- everyone seems to have fully bought in to 29ers, with a handful of 27.5s to boot. I'll definitely see what might be around, though.

I guess part of my thinking is that if I get a 27.5 now and get heavily into riding trails I can upgrade the components and still have the bigger wheels for less than buying a 26" now and buying a whole new bike in a couple of years. Not sure, however, that the frames I am considering are worth going that route.
All 29ers? You must be hitting some high end shops. I like your plan to upgrade as you go. Its a good thought, I've had the same tonight, but the reality of Mountain Biking is if you get really into riding trails you're probably gonna want to upgrade to full suspension unless you want to race, then you'll want carbon, or titanium. The sport is an expensive mistress.

Also, buying parts individually ends up costing much more than when you buy them hung on a full bike. Bike builders get much better pricing.

The good news is, if you take care of your bike resale is always an option. I've had great luck on Ebay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
All 29ers? You must be hitting some high end shops. I like your plan to upgrade as you go. Its a good thought, I've had the same tonight, but the reality of Mountain Biking is if you get really into riding trails you're probably gonna want to upgrade to full suspension unless you want to race, then you'll want carbon, or titanium. The sport is an expensive mistress.

Also, buying parts individually ends up costing much more than when you buy them hung on a full bike. Bike builders get much better pricing.

The good news is, if you take care of your bike resale is always an option. I've had great luck on Ebay.
Thanks again for your thoughts. Any suggestions for 26" bikes? My research tonight suggests that the component packages are priced pretty similarly to the 27.5 bikes. On a related note, any thoughts on whether the low-end stuff on the $600 bikes I mentioned are just so bad as to not be worth buying?
 

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If you can find a 27.5 you like by all means pull the trigger. I'm simply pointing out that 27.5 is still relatively new. There are a lot more options in 26" wheels.

This price range is where big bike companies make a lot of sense. Yet the big bike companies have been slower to embrace 27.5.
Look at Trek, giant, and cannon dales websites. I think trek has a solid aluminum bike at 1k and I'm sure there's a dealer in your area so you can throw a leg over it.

Sorry man, I'm not trying to muddy the waters. I just know for a new rider the difference between 26" and 27.5" isn't noticeable when riding. If you consider 26" wheels from some big name manufacturers you'd have more options. You may still choose a 27.5, but either way if you get into the sport of trail riding I'll bet my dropper Post you'll be wanting to upgrade more than just the parts on an under 1k bike.
 

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For what you're talking about it sounds like any "sport" build of mountain bike will suit you fine. I'd go low-budget with that in mind.

If you get really into it after a year (like I did) then you can come back and get a new bike without feeling like you need to throw money after what you've put into the current one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the thoughts. I've added one other option to the mix -- the Jamis Nemesis Sport, which checks in at $800 with specs comparable to the other "mid" bikes listed above. If I don't love that one, I think I'm going with one of the $600 builds, and we'll see whether I need a new bike a few years down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, all. I finally decided to go low end. Rode a Jamis Trail X 650 and it was a great fit, plenty of fun, and certainly an equal value to all of the other about $600 bikes. Now to stop talking about it and start riding it!
 
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