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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need some suggestions for bike types and brands that might be a good fit for me. It's been tough for me to think outside of the 'box' that is the two-dealer network in my area. I'm thinking about upgrading, but I really don't know where to start looking or what to expect to spend, etc.

I'm not new to riding, been riding recreationally with friends for years. Some years I'd ride 40 times a season, some years I'd ride only twice.. Started with a 2000 Jamis Dakar FS, then tried a Trek 8000 hard tail. in 2010 I bought a new Trek 6700 hard tail, which I still have today. What I love about the hard tails is how light they are. I liked how on the 8000, if I pedaled hard, the front end sometimes even wanted to come up (not sure if that's a good quality or not but it was fun). I moved to the 6700 to gain disc breaks and a newer drivetrain, and I do like the bike, but I sometimes feel like the geometry isn't perfect for me.

I'm thinking about upgrading to a full suspension, since the area I live in (Dutchess County, NY) is mainly rooted and rocky singletrack, and everyone else I ride with has an FS. But I'm also not really trying to spend $3,000 either..

Mainly my questions are: are there any bikes out there that might fit my riding style better than what I'm riding now? I really don't want to move to a 30lb+ full suspension, the whole reason I ride hardtail now is because I love their light weight. Are there any bikes that fit these criteria that are still kind affordable?
 

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Sometimes a bike stretches the categories. The new Trek carbon Superfly 9.6-9.8 bikes have well engineered compliance and trail feel that makes it fun to hit rocks and roots. A Demo day is coming up in Morristown on the 27th. You can ride also a Fuel Ex, Remedy and SF 100 FS. The SF 9.6 with a Reba is, imo, the best deal with some upgrades. Trek Fest and a demo coupon make it close to 2k.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I can see myself spending up to $2000-ish on a new bike. Wondering if that'll really be an upgrade or not from what I'm already riding. Idk how much travel I need... I'm not doing downhill riding so I don't need a ton.. Max weight? Probably like 29lbs.
 

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Bollocks
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I'm no expert but heres my 2 cents [where the hell is the cents symbol button?!]...

I grew up riding a fully rigid, steel bike which I [still] absolutely love. When I moved to Colorado I found that it just wasn't enough bike for some of the trails but was fine for others. I ended up getting a FS bike [which I also love] but I have subsequently discovered that what I really needed were the suspension forks. The rear suspension makes the ride a little more "comfy" but even out here, there isn't anything I couldn't ride without it. In fact, I spend most of my time making the rear suspension as stiff as possible! I still ride the majority of the time on a fully rigid steel bike [albeit a 29er, disc brakes, single speed...] and really only use the FS bike because it has gears. Otherwise, I would probably get a geared hardtail with a good set of forks and be done with it...

I guess my point is, if you're a recreational rider and the main trails you ride are rooty & rocky [I lived in CT for a while and know exactly what you mean] you could probably save a packet by buying a decent set of forks for your current bike because a FS rig is probably overkill. However, if you feel the geo is off, get sized and fitted at your LBS [its not that hard to do yourself and if you liked the geo of the 8000 look it up and use that instead] and if they're not selling bikes you want to invest in, use the measurements to find something similar online with a good set of forks. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the suggestions guys. I definitely like the Trek FS options. I still worry though that the lower-end FS's will be real heavy. I wish they had weight listed on the bike specs. I know that the weight is subjective but it would really help me a lot of I could get an idea of how much more these things weigh.

Are there any other brands or models I should check out?
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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What other brand is in your area?

If I had to guesstimate it, I'd peg the weight difference between a XC hardtail and FS at the same pricepoint at about 5 lb. You're seeing aluminum vs. carbon and the addition of a more complicated linkage and additional suspension components. Or, fancier parts on the hardtail. The frame material thing makes that a little harder to predict than it used to be.

A couple full water bottles are about 3 lb. If you filled one with something denser than water, you could probably make a decent 5 lb piece of ballast. Experiment on yourself and see how much you notice.

I think rocky, rooty trails are really the killer app for rear suspension. They let me pedal more, and bleed less speed getting through stutter bumps. If everything was smooth, we'd all ride rigid and absorb the hits with our arms and legs, a la BMX.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The two prominent dealers in my area are Trek and Specialized. I like those bikes, no doubt about it. I was wondering if there are any other legit brands that might offer more value for their bikes? I don't know if trek's prices are right on, or if you're paying for the name, or what? idk.. really just looking for some insight from the experts. Thanks so far. Sounds like I could be OK staying where I'm at, but it also sounds like a decent FS could fit the bill for my riding.
 

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There are good light fs bikes --that cost 6k like a Spec Camber Evo Carbon with a Pike fork.
The Trek SF 9.6 really does have rear compliance. It is totally different than an aluminum framed ht.
Now through the 14th is Trek Fest, you can negotiate 15% off a 2014 model. Just over 2k out the door is where you have to tell a manager you need to be to make the deal. Good luck.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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Probably. Take a look at the component spec. IIRC, the 6700's still not that high-spec.

FWIW, it was a Camber that got me to look at full suspension bikes seriously. I've always demoed them from time to time out of curiosity, but I'd been pretty underwhelmed in the past. I ended up buying a Kona, but that has to do with where I have hookups.

I think 29" wheels and bigger, lower-pressure tires are a pretty big deal for a smoother ride on rocks and roots. They weigh more too, though.
 

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Don't get tied up in knots about weight.

I was the same and spent a heap of money making my bike lighter.
XT rear cassette, carbon seatpost, lighter bars, lightweight tubes, lighter chainrings etc.

Took the weight of my bike from 32lbs down to under 30lbs. Lost 0.7lbs off the wheels alone.

The difference? Can't say l can feel any at all.
 
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