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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had an earlier post but it has 60 replies and I felt bad about making people read every single reply so they would know what was going on!

So after the VERY helpful feedback that I got from you good fellas.... I hit my two LBS again. So here it is.......

I went almost confident that I was going to end up with the Hardrock Sport Disc, but after really looking and talking to the sales people, I think I might have changed my mind. One of them really talked me into getting a bike with a 29" wheel. Well, so that changed things quite a bit including my budget.

I looked at the Specalized Rockhopper with the 29" wheels. It was $889 and had Rock Shox Dart 3 shocks with Avid disc brakes.

There was another one that was actually a 2008 Fuji Tahoe Pro 29 and according to the guy and from the little I have learned the past few days, it had incredible components on it for the price. It had Juicy 5 brakes on it, Rock Shox Tora shocks etc. And it was $840 (was originally $1,300). But..... it is a Fuji. Not nearly as cool as a Rockhopper in my opinion. So my allowable budget has jumped up a bit and now I am even more confused :madman:

I might even still end up getting the normal Hardrock Sport Disc with the 26" wheels or I might even get a 29er. The guy told me that the 29er is faster and easier to go over stuff with, but a tad bit harder to maneuver. For a beginner, do you guys think I would be happier with a 26er or a 29er. I have a feeling if I get a 26er, I'd be wishing I got a 29er after a few good rides.

Also, the guy said that the hydraulic brakes might not be great for a beginner since they require more maintenance and are more difficult to repair.

So here are my 3 options so far unless you guys can come up with some more!!

1) Rockhopper 29er with the more basic components as opposed to the Fuji
2) Fuji Tahoe Pro 29er with the more advanced components
3) Hardrock (the most basic bike here, but $400 cheaper and 26er opposed to 29er)

Any thoughts on my situation? Any anyone could shed some light on this, I would greatly appreciate any input!!!!
 

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Dont let the hydraulic brakes concern you , they are not difficult to deal with . Have you ridden all these bikes ? Probably a good place to start , put in as much seat time as you can .
 

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Just buy a bike YOU think will be up to your riding style. 26er will be easier to pedal in the lower gear to where you will have to tough it out on a 29er. I think as a newbie your best bet would be a 26. Simply because i have no idea what your physical condition is in. But far as brakes go i would shoot for the hydros. Dont over think it. And if you "plan to upgrade later" just buy the better bike with the componets you want.
 

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If you can, ride both a 26" and a 29" wheeled bike on some trails. You may find that you like the 29er, and honestly for the trails around here I imagine they are great. If you do happen to like the 9er then my vote is for the Fuji. They are probably made in the same factory as specialized, and while spesh's lifetime frame warranty is nice, better components are better components, and the fuji seems to certainly be on another level entirely.
Not to offend, but I think buying a bike with worse components for a the same price because it says "Specialized" on the side is a foolish move. That being said, it is your bike and you are the one who has to ride it...
Also in your previous thread someone posted up a windsor cliff 29er from bikes direct. it is essentially a re-stickered fuji tahoe. If you are interested in learning how to maintain your own ride, then building one up is a great way to learn how things work/fit. It only takes a few hours with a set of knowledgeable hands and a few tools...
sorry for the long-winded reply
 

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I vote the Fuji if you are adjusting your budget up for it and it feels good under you on a ride. I think as a new rider, you likely won't have a 26" point of reference and will do great with the 29er.
 

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if you can afford it go with the rockhopper, if you can't go with the hardrock. i'm not sure what fork the rockhopper has but if you went with the hardrock, you might decide in a year to upgrade the fork.
 

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Hydros are less maintenance, and that maint is just different, not really harder. Rockhopper-tahoe... whatever. Same ****.

26-29 is worth spending some time thinking about. Both will climb as well as your fitness will allow. The 29er is going to roll over obstacles better, but be harder to get up on the rear wheel. What does that mean? If you just wanna fly up and downhill, and aren't particularly short, get the 29. If you want to jump, do drops, and 'play,' the 26 will suit you better. Better components overshadow wheel size at this price point.

Now that i've owned really nice kit, I wouldn't ever lust for better components than juicy 5's and a moco tora. I think that's a great price point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
As far as fitness goes.... I am 6' and about 165-170ish and am in great shape.

The main thing that concerns me is that I would like to learn a few basic tricks such as bunny-hopping etc and I feel as if it would be more difficult for me to learn/execute basic tricks that would help make me a better trail rider on a 29er. But aside from that, the majority of the people I have spoken to tell me that if I buy a 26er, I will be wishing that I had gone with the 29er and all of us know that regret does not feel good!!!!
 

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Elonheater said:
As far as fitness goes.... I am 6' and about 165-170ish and am in great shape.
Perfect for a 29.

Elonheater said:
... the majority of the people I have spoken to tell me that if I buy a 26er, I will be wishing that I had gone with the 29er and all of us know that regret does not feel good!!!!
:yesnod: :yesnod: :yesnod: This is from a guy who bought a 26" FS. Not that I have regret--I had decided I needed to try FS and just didn't want to step up to the price point at which I would have to to get a FS 29er. My next bike, however, will be a 29er, either HT or FS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I would not buy a Specialized over a Fuji strictly based on the name, but I will admit that I feel as if I am getting a better and lighter frame with the Specialized. The Fuji even though it had better components felt heavier to me and I am under the impression that Specialized bikes are generally better than Fuji even though the Fuji might be cheaper. I'm not sure though!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I searched online for Cannondale since the closest dealer is located over an hour away from where I am. It seems as if for my price range ($600-800ish) the Cannondale F5 falls under my price range, but I would have to drive about an hour and half to the bike store that sells Cannondales. It uses a RST fork which I am not sure how it compares to the Rock Shox Dart 3's or the Tora.

Should I make the drive out there or again is it pretty much going to be on par with all of the other bikes I am considering?
 

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I would buy Fuji over Specialized any day of the week. Except at the very lowest levels, you're going to get comparable quality of bike, but way more bang for your buck from Fuji. If you go with the Specialized, you'll be paying a lot just for that "cool" sticker on the tubing.

And no, I don't hate Spec. In fact, if I were a sponsored racer and could pick my team, I'd be riding the top of the line Specialized equipment - but I wouldn't be paying for it, and if I broke something I could pull a replacement out of my trailer (rather than having to wait weeks for a specialized Specialized part).
 

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29er's aren't any faster than a 26er. the only reason 29'ers "feel" faster is because they require more energy to spin the wheels, which carry that energy rolling over thing. sorry no physics for me, someone explain a bit better pls

if you have $800, forget the hardrock. get a new rockhopper in 26er or 29er form. Hydraulics arn't a problem for beginners. i've had hydraulics and so have 2 of my 2 beginner friends, none of us have problems. and if we do (haven't yet) we can handle it with the lbs. The dart 3 fork is a shame though. Although it is a good way to get into the sport, its kind of a waste of money since theres a pretty good chance you'll want to upgrade that in a season or so ($250+ at least for a better performing fork.)

not sure how tall you are, and not sure how strong your legs are but if you're tall check out the 29ers. Watch out for the toe overlap on sharp turns though
 

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The 29er's can be a bit of fun - everything I have been reading seems to be pointing to the HT 26er downfall. If your fairly new to MTB, looking for HT, and not short it might be a good idea. In terms of gearing I wouldn't get worked up about it - I attached a few plots below to show what I mean. The low end of the spectrum, towards granny gear will feel similar to a 26er and the high end will be a bit taller. Truthfully it doesn't matter, you will be on a geared bike and spending most of your time in the middle if your shifted one to the right or left who cares...

What you should think about up front is what you expect from your bike and what your plans for it are. Make sure you know where and how you want to ride it. Also, if you plan to ride alot and enjoy your bike make sure it comes with a good quality fork and wheelset - they are expensive.

Have you demo'd any bikes yet? Most LBSs will let you demo what your considering or something similar - some will require a few bucks down just in case. Take a few 26ers & 29ers our for a run and see what you think.
 

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I ride a 26" FS and 29" rigid/SS bike.

I can say that 29-ers are great bikes. They don't accelerate nor turn in nearly as sharp as a 26", but they have more traction everywhere. So you can maintain higher corner speeds and roll over rough stuff easier. So in terms of clearing your favorite section of trails, they are just faster and slower in different areas but overall times are competitive.

If you want to dance with your bike a bit more and maybe try out some trials skills, then I would point you to a 26" or (very limited) 29" bikes that have very short chainstays and short wheel base.

I find I have a harder time manually on my 29er and my bunnyhops are a little weaker as well. The bigger wheels provide a different fulcrum point which adds stability but (can) reduce agility.
 

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OP, what do you mean by "great shape" and how are you judging that? I can point out a dozen people in my town that can run 50+ miles for fun, but absolutely lose it a mile into a trail ride. Completely different set of muscles.

Do what the others said. Get what you can afford, but more importantly, get what fits, even if it means dropping a level on a crankset. Pick up a set of better chainrings for $50 later on, when the old ones start to wear. Heck of a lot cheaper than buying a new frame to replace one that's difficult to ride because it didn't fit or handle the way you need. And don't worry about brand so much. People here still giggle at me for riding a Jamis, but ya know......it fits, was within my budget, and has actually impressed the other guys who rode it to prove it was a shoddy bike because of the name.
 

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louisssss said:
The dart 3 fork is a shame though. Although it is a good way to get into the sport, its kind of a waste of money since theres a pretty good chance you'll want to upgrade that in a season or so ($250+ at least for a better performing fork.)
The DART3 will be fine for a beginner! I say just ride it till (It breaks or you are ready for an upgrade) I had one on my Rockhopper and rode it for a few years until I upgraded to a Recon, And I was pushing 275 lbs back then....... It did ok! Just as good as the old judys I had back in the day......
 

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ae111black said:
The DART3 will be fine for a beginner! I say just ride it till (It breaks or you are ready for an upgrade) I had one on my Rockhopper and rode it for a few years until I upgraded to a Recon, And I was pushing 275 lbs back then....... It did ok! Just as good as the old judys I had back in the day......
Pretty sure I have some Judys in the basement if you want to try that out for posterity. :p
 

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Here's my $00.02. I rode 26ers for 12 years and went to 29 this summer. And I ride better on the 29er. Smoother, more stable, etc, etc, search on "why 29" if you want to read all about it. There's a few downsides, though. With the same gears, the 29er will feel like it lost its granny compared to the 26er. Since you're in NC, this could matter. This can be remedied several ways if you find yourself missing it on tough climbs. You can install (or have installed) a 20T chain ring to replace the stock 22T. Or, you can get one of the new 12-36 cogsets. Either of these will more or less give you back your granny. Or, like many do, you can forget about it and build those legs. Another thing is the bigger wheels and tires will be heavier. Guys who like really quick acceleration sometimes don't like that. Lastly, the longer chainstays and geometry of 29ers make them a little less nimble in some situations. Personally, and like many others, I find the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Do like others have said - go ride them as much as the lbs will let you, over the same terrain - even if its the same parking lot. Hit a some low curbs or potholes to see how 29" feels compared to 26. Try a few tight turns.

You know, if you get hooked, you'll be buying a new bike before you know it . And if you don't get hooked, then it really doesn't matter anyway.
 
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