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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This will be my first mountain bike, for riding mostly on baved and dirt trails in flat Iowa. I would like the bike to be able to handle more if needed on occasion.

I am 6' tall and about 240 lbs. if that matters. I know i want disc brakes, what i dont know is pretty much anything else. I road a Specialized around today in a 19" frame and it felt good. I have also previously rode my girlfriends 17.5 inch Gary Fisher that didnt quite feel big enough, but when i went to the LBS today, the 19 inch Fisher rode me pretty tight when standing. I didnt ride it.

So besides the feel, what bike offers me the most bang for the buck? Which has the better specs? Thanks!
 

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Fit and feel is most important. A 17.5" GF should be fine for you, it just needs to be fitted properly. Fisher uses "Genesis Geometery" which among other things, has a longer top tube and shorter stem. You can safely put a size longer stem on to give yourself a bit more room, or slide the saddle back a bit on the rails. I find GF bikes to be a little too twitchy in the steering department, but a lot of people like it.

The Specialized is a more all-purpose bike, really. Fairly neutral, easier to ride, no wierd angles to account for in things like a new fork (the Wahoo uses Fisher's new offset crown thing....as of now, makes it difficult to replace a fork)

Otherwise, componentry is about the same level. Neither is going to be a true trail bike without some tweaking, but they are classified as recreational. I wouldn't attempt much more than what you have planned, but unless Iowa sprouted a mountain or two since I was there last, that really shouldn't be a concern.
 

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If the bikes are close to the same price, the spec will be similar. I wouldn't worry too much on that front unless there was a glaring difference between the two bikes such as only 8 spd cassette vs. 9 spd cassette.

What is most important is how the bikes fit you when you are RIDING them. Don't get overly concerned with standover. As long as you can straddle the frame, your good. What matters more is top tube length. If the frame is too large, your weight distribution will end up too far forward effect the way the bike handles.

The Fisher geometry is loved by some and hated by others, so I really recomend that you actually ride one. In fact, you should ride as many different bikes as you possibly can. Try riding some bikes in different sizes to get a better idea of what feels right to you. Try riding bikes at different price points to get a feel for what you gain with that extra $100.00 up front. But most importantly RIDE LOTS OF BIKES AND PICK THE ONE THAT FITS YOU BEST.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the input guys. Ill try out both sizes of GFs tomorrow and get a feel for them. is there any upgrades I should be looking at being a bigger guy, or would it really matter?
 

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bigfische said:
Thanks for the input guys. Ill try out both sizes of GFs tomorrow and get a feel for them. is there any upgrades I should be looking at being a bigger guy, or would it really matter?
just ride the bike stock for a bit when you are getting started. The best upgrade you can make to most entry level bikes is a quality wheelset. But itcan wait.

Do make sure to budget in the cost of a helmet, a spare tube, tire levers, and a pump if you plan on riding outside of civilization. A good pair of bike shorts is also highly recomended. But that can wait until you start doing rides that last for over an hour.
 

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bigfische said:
Thanks for the input guys. Ill try out both sizes of GFs tomorrow and get a feel for them. is there any upgrades I should be looking at being a bigger guy, or would it really matter?
Not really. It's not stuff I'd particularly want to ride myself, given how hard I ride (and I'm four inches taller than you, and used to be the same weight. Still over 200, though), but I beat on my gear pretty hard.

Have them set up the fork for you. There may be a charge for that, or there may not.......depends on the shop. At your size, you're going to need a heavier spring in there. Stock springs are designed for about 175 pounds or so. Then just watch it for any damage, usual stuff on a suspension fork. Stanchions wiggling, keep an eye on the dropouts for any cracking........do NOT ride the fork if you see either of those happening. Stop right away and take it to the shop for replacement. Have a stanchion shear off mid-ride and you'll be pulling it out of your forehead at the hospital.

Wheels should be fine, ride 'em until they need replacing, then get something sturdier. Keep Rhyno Lyte rims in mind, and good sturdy hubs. Would be a good wheelset for you to work up to, when the time comes. See how the tires work for you. That's usually the first thing most people change, is tires for your riding area. You can pick up a set of WTB Velociraptors pretty cheaply, and they're a darn good tire.

Just don't go trigger happy when it does come time to start thinking about replacements. Bottom line is it's a starter bike, dropping a full XTR drivetrain on it makes zero sense. It'll still be a starter bike. It's easy to get caught up in that, sometimes. Wait on the higher end XC stuff until you've ridden this bike into the ground, and are ready for something better.

You'll figure out what could be better as you go along. Hang out in the Clydesdale forum for awhile, all us bigguns are in there, lots of good advice for larger riders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I ended up getting an 09 gf marlin. Haven't been able to ride much with crappy iowa weather lately so don't really know if I made the right choice or not yet.
 
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