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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I currently ride a trek 4100. I bought it while I was in college and wanted a bike I could commute with and take off-road. When I bought it the dealer said it was a pretty good frame to upgrade. I picked up a set of wheels that are disc only and a XT rear cassette and thought I would try to upgrade the 4100. Well now, I'm out of school (moved), the bike will be used exclusively off road, and the LBS here says I'm better off getting a new bike.

I'm 5'10 150lbs and pretty overwhelmed with all the bikes out there. Everyone is preaching full suspension but I hear you can't stand in the saddle. I'm still a newbie to the sport and want a versatile bike capable of anything and not designed for one particular type of riding (I want to experience them all). I am looking for the best deal, the best bang for my buck. Take into consideration I'm a newbie and do not want to buy a bike that my limited skills will not allow me to appreciate, but still want a bike I can grow into. All comments, suggestions, questions are welcome. Enlighten me.

I'd probably spend up to $1500 but that doesn't mean I'm necessary looking for a $1500 bike. Remember best bang for the buck.
 

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maddhatter777 said:
I currently ride a trek 4100. I bought it while I was in college and wanted a bike I could commute with and take off-road. When I bought it the dealer said it was a pretty good frame to upgrade. I picked up a set of wheels that are disc only and a XT rear cassette and thought I would try to upgrade the 4100. Well now, I'm out of school (moved), the bike will be used exclusively off road, and the LBS here says I'm better off getting a new bike.

I'm 5'10 150lbs and pretty overwhelmed with all the bikes out there. Everyone is preaching full suspension but I hear you can't stand in the saddle. I'm still a newbie to the sport and want a versatile bike capable of anything and not designed for one particular type of riding (I want to experience them all). I am looking for the best deal, the best bang for my buck. Take into consideration I'm a newbie and do not want to buy a bike that my limited skills will not allow me to appreciate, but still want a bike I can grow into. All comments, suggestions, questions are welcome. Enlighten me.
How much cash do you wanna spend? Also, study this website:

http://www.titusti.com/suspension.html

-TS
 

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TheSherpa said:
That's a good website to reference. Also, don't think that you can't stand up and pedal with full suspension. It just takes a little relearning to maintain a smooth pedal stroke. That, combined with some newer shock and design technology can make that a moot point.

There's lots of good bikes out there for $1500ish. Best advice is to start by riding everything in your price range to pick out some favorites. Narrow it from there. Also, keep in mind that product managers at bike companies have a limited amount of $$ to spend on each model - i.e. if one bike has a significantly nicer frame than others in its price range, odds are that it will also have cheaper parts than its peers. Bike companies will do that to allow for a good "upgrader" bike.

Keeping in mind that you want a bike that can grow with you, but isn't to much right away, I'd start looking in the hardtail to short/medium travel suspension range. Big travel susp bikes are great in rough terrain, but just aren't as versatile for all around riding. Plus, for $1500, you'll get more bike/quality components with a hardtail or XC/mid travel fs bike.
 

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the best bang for buck: steel hardtail with disks

the best bang for buck: steel hardtail with disk brakes
a good steel hardtail frame ought to weigh about 4.3# or less for a medium 18/19, will last a life time of xc races or aggresive xc rides.
good steel rides really well, sprints fast and may survive many a crashes.

go with light al. hardtail if you're sponcered and get frames for free, every year.

a good example: marin pine mountian
http://www.marinbikes.com/html/spec_04_pine.html

if my Kona steel mtb race bike got stolen
i'd buy the Marin Pine Mountian (if my cash on hand was "tight")
or
a Kona Explosif steel frame and build up with Sid, XTR or SRAM, Marta Sl disks, and light pair of Dave's Speed Dream Wheelset

XC FS are great for long epic rides (like them 24 hour races) or for comfort or for those with $2000-$5500 budget.

FS are terrific as downhill race/trail bikes... if you got $3400+ tax for a Santa Cruz VP-Free or the likes and wish to try DH racing or really really rough trails with jumps and big drops
 

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maddhatter777 said:
I currently ride a trek 4100. I bought it while I was in college and wanted a bike I could commute with and take off-road. When I bought it the dealer said it was a pretty good frame to upgrade. I picked up a set of wheels that are disc only and a XT rear cassette and thought I would try to upgrade the 4100. Well now, I'm out of school (moved), the bike will be used exclusively off road, and the LBS here says I'm better off getting a new bike.

I'm 5'10 150lbs and pretty overwhelmed with all the bikes out there. Everyone is preaching full suspension but I hear you can't stand in the saddle. I'm still a newbie to the sport and want a versatile bike capable of anything and not designed for one particular type of riding (I want to experience them all). I am looking for the best deal, the best bang for my buck. Take into consideration I'm a newbie and do not want to buy a bike that my limited skills will not allow me to appreciate, but still want a bike I can grow into. All comments, suggestions, questions are welcome. Enlighten me.

I'd probably spend up to $1500 but that doesn't mean I'm necessary looking for a $1500 bike. Remember best bang for the buck.
Check the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR with the Fox float front and rear suspension with lockout.

this one....http://www.specialized.com/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=8612&JServSessionIdroot=k7g6ykjuhe.j27008

I would also recommend a hardtail but for $1500 you can get a good full suspension especially now that summer is halfway and bike shops are beginning to reduce inventories.
____
older guy
 

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You need to explain what you mean bike a bike that does everything. Are you saying you want a bike you can ride on pavement, commutte on, and ride trails? Are you asking about a bike that you can ride cross country, freeride, or downhill?

If you want a bike for purely road and some trail riding without drops, I would suggest you check out a steel hardtail like others have suggested. I personally like the Jamis steel bikes. Lots of value for the money.

If you want to ride trails with some drops (less than 3 feet) as another said, look at the specialized Stumpjumper FSR.

If you want to Freeride or downhill, you are going to have to get a strong heavy bike that will not be fun for cross country or pavement riding.
 

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the haro '04 escape 8.3s are great. their frames are bullit proof and the components are topnotch for a 1400 bike. its great. the tires might be a little big for only xc but going down hill this bike is king of HT. l love mine.
 

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maddhatter777 said:
I currently ride a trek 4100. I bought it while I was in college and wanted a bike I could commute with and take off-road. When I bought it the dealer said it was a pretty good frame to upgrade. I picked up a set of wheels that are disc only and a XT rear cassette and thought I would try to upgrade the 4100. Well now, I'm out of school (moved), the bike will be used exclusively off road, and the LBS here says I'm better off getting a new bike.

I'm 5'10 150lbs and pretty overwhelmed with all the bikes out there. Everyone is preaching full suspension but I hear you can't stand in the saddle. I'm still a newbie to the sport and want a versatile bike capable of anything and not designed for one particular type of riding (I want to experience them all). I am looking for the best deal, the best bang for my buck. Take into consideration I'm a newbie and do not want to buy a bike that my limited skills will not allow me to appreciate, but still want a bike I can grow into. All comments, suggestions, questions are welcome. Enlighten me.

I'd probably spend up to $1500 but that doesn't mean I'm necessary looking for a $1500 bike. Remember best bang for the buck.
Start simple. You will need to evaluate what type of riding you will do most. My guess is that its mainly cross country, based on your previous bike.

My suggestion is to get full suspension. Modern suspensions are very efficient and can be pedaled in or out of the saddle. If you are still concerned about pedal bob, get a bike with a lockout (which enables you to "lock" the rear suspension when you don't want it) or a "stable platform" shock. Hardtails are efficient pedalers on smooth ground and you generally get better componentry for the same money, but for $1500 you can get good componentry on a full suspension. The FS will be efficient on more types of terrain as well as more comfortable, all other things being equal. I have both with similar componentry and definitely prefer riding the full suspension, despite the hardtail being lighter. The hardtail vs. FS debate has been going on for years, and will continue for years to come. Look at the advantages and disadvantages of both and decide for yourself.

As the previous guy said, look at the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR. Good bike with good componentry that you can ride the trails with, and is of the quality that you could race it if you ever decided that you wanted to.

Another one to look at in a similar price range is the Trek Fuel 90. It has slightly less rear travel but is slightly lighter, and can also be ridden on the trails or raced.

You can get either of those for $1300 or so.

Also, If you're sure you won't want to race later and want longer travel, look at the lower end Specialized Enduros.

As was already mentioned, ride the bikes, preferably more than just a parking lot test. Get the feel of which one fits you the best. You can't really get a bike that does "everything" well, but you can get a good, versatile bike that that you can blast down the trail with one day and race on another day for $1500.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
CDMC said:
You need to explain what you mean bike a bike that does everything. Are you saying you want a bike you can ride on pavement, commutte on, and ride trails? Are you asking about a bike that you can ride cross country, freeride, or downhill?

The bike won't be used for commuting. Right now I ride single track, but that's because I just love to ride and there is a place close to my house. I like climbing over roots, love blasting downhill, and there are a few minor jumps. I want to get more experience with drops/jumps but I don't see myself ever dropping more than 3-4ft. I don't see myself as a hardcore XC but if I want to do a light trail ride I don't want to feel like I'm pushing a lead sled. I'm going to take a freeride lesson soon. I think that style appeals to me but I lack the know-how. I hear the stumpjumper FSR is a great bike. I also read about the enduro and everyone seems to like it too. I know there is no bike that allows you to win a freeride comp on Monday and XC race on Tuesday. The only competition I will have is myself. Getting over a day at work, forgetting everything, and enjoying the ride.
 

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maddhatter777 said:
CDMC said:
You need to explain what you mean bike a bike that does everything. Are you saying you want a bike you can ride on pavement, commutte on, and ride trails? Are you asking about a bike that you can ride cross country, freeride, or downhill?

The bike won't be used for commuting. Right now I ride single track, but that's because I just love to ride and there is a place close to my house. I like climbing over roots, love blasting downhill, and there are a few minor jumps. I want to get more experience with drops/jumps but I don't see myself ever dropping more than 3-4ft. I don't see myself as a hardcore XC but if I want to do a light trail ride I don't want to feel like I'm pushing a lead sled. I'm going to take a freeride lesson soon. I think that style appeals to me but I lack the know-how. I hear the stumpjumper FSR is a great bike. I also read about the enduro and everyone seems to like it too. I know there is no bike that allows you to win a freeride comp on Monday and XC race on Tuesday. The only competition I will have is myself. Getting over a day at work, forgetting everything, and enjoying the ride.
In that case, the Specialized Enduro. Its not a freeride bike by any stretch of the imagination, but has 5" of travel and will take smaller jumps o.k.
 

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I agree, get a Specialized Enduro. This is going to be heavier than the Stumpjumper (about 30-31 pounds) but is more robust. It can survive 3-4 foot drops like you want but is still a decent ride for single track and will climb pretty well.
 

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what bike to buy

I would definitely have to agree with most of the previous posts. Start simple. Evaluating which type of riding best suits you is very good advice, which could save you bucks in the long run. Once you do that you can drastically narrow the vast range of bikes you currently have to choose from. You seem to have a good price range in mind, so you should be able to get a good setup to start once you make your final decision. I would check out Specialized, they have a wide range of quality bikes available, and priced well.
 

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Look for leftover models on sale. If you're willing to take a non pro-pedal shock (maybe have it Pushed), you can get a serious discount. It's not uncommon for $1600-1700 bikes to go for < $1000. Ride lots of them.
(Really felt strange the first time I was on a FS). A different style must be adopted. You must be smoother in pedaling, but you can stand when you have to.
 

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paddlefoot64 said:
Look for leftover models on sale. If you're willing to take a non pro-pedal shock (maybe have it Pushed), you can get a serious discount. It's not uncommon for $1600-1700 bikes to go for < $1000. Ride lots of them.
(Really felt strange the first time I was on a FS). A different style must be adopted. You must be smoother in pedaling, but you can stand when you have to.
This is definitely true as well, it is getting close for the new models to come out, and there will be plenty left over at discounted prices. I felt the same way the first time I was on a FS. It is a completely different world of riding, mostly for the better. If one were to decide to go with a FS setup, I would suggest to hold off for a while, save some cash and go all out. Once you move up just a little bit in price, (even towards $2000-$2500), you put yourself in a different category of bike. In the $1500 price range you could get a great hardtail setup that would allow you to do pretty much any style of riding, then you can always upgrade later. I still today have my hardtail that I do most of my training on, I even take it downhill sometimes with friends (downhill with no serious drops, that is) :)
 

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Pushed means

sending a Fox rear shock to Push Industries and having them rebuild it to be a custom platform type shock (reduces pedaling induced bobbing but is suppose to maintain plushness over small and large objects).

Don't worry about this right now. It is really more than you need to be concerned about at this point.

Focus on going out and test riding as many bikes as you can, both hardtails and FS - on the trails if possible. $1500 is a good amount to spend on decent ride. Fit is the most important thing to remember.

From what you are describing, you can still go with a hardtail unless you want to smooth out rocky, rooty sections or do more DH. If you want to go FS, the Specialized FSR others have mentioned is a good ride to use as a point of reference. The Enduro is heavier and can handle more aggresive stuff.

Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Enduro?

I've been researching the enduro and found one for a grand. First of all is the Enduro an all mountain bike that I can use for all types of rides? And second is $1000 a decent price for a 03 or should I spring for the additional price of an 04? Thanks for all you're help so far.
 

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It depends on the price of the 04. The 03 at $1000 is a great deal, but the 04 does step up to a better fork (Black Platnium) and the pro-pedal fox rear shock which will help a great deal with climbing. You can get the rear shock (double check to make sure that they do this) on the 2003 converted to a platform shock like the 04 for about $150 from Push industries as people have mentioned above. Unless the 04 is $1400 or less, I would get the 03.
 

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I think the Stumpjumper should be at the top of your list. The Enduro is going to be heavier with longer travel. Enduros are purchased by bigger and often times older riders who are looking for that plush ride. You need something light and fast and the Enduro isnt it. A fast hardtail can be a kick if the trail is smooth enough. Might be fun to leave your buddies in the dust. The Stumpjumper can keep up with you buddies. The Enduro, well you will be looking at their backs as they climb up the hills in front of you. Of course you might pass them like a bat out of hell on the way down.
 

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Go FS

I didn't read everyones prev posts, but I noticed some good recommendations in your price range. The Specialized, Jamis, Trek's, Kona, etc are all good $1000-2000 bikes. Beyone this price range your're in the realm of custom frames and high end components which might be overkill for you at this point. Just the same, try to get Shimano XT level components, you'll be thankful years down the line with reliability and snappy shifting performance.

Go FS, for sure. You have enough budget and again, you'll be thankful you did. It's one of those things that many of us say former hardtailers say "why didn't I go FS years ago?". The suspension & shock designs are so good these days, that being able to stand up and crank- well the whole pedal "bob" issue is really a non-issue, plus you learn to ride with it. Reality is you don't stand and crank that often on mtn bikes. The benefits of FS outweigh the few drawbacks by miles.

My last recommendation to sneak in- also get or upgrade at some point to disc brakes!
 
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