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Excuse my knuckleheadedeness, but I have a question.
I have a '96 Gary Fisher Mamba I got from my bro when he first got into mountain biking. It has an Alivio crankset (lame, entry level, trash I guess:rolleyes: ) and other entry level stuff. According to my research the bike in question was entry level when new. My bro verified that it didn't cost that much. Someone else also pointed out that it was entry level mediocrity. I am fine with all of this because I have upgraded some stuff on it already and enjoy riding it.
So, as for the question I have: Other than the parts, what makes a bike entry level? Was the Mamba frame (or any other brand/model) made specifically for entry level? Was the next grade up simply a Mamba with upgraded components and different decals?
How exactly does this work?
It doesn't seem real smart to manufacture a seemingly decent cro-mo frame and have only the entry level parts available. Seems really limiting. But maybe that's the way it works...
Any theories, explanations, or insider info would be appreciated.
 

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Mostly components were the determining factor. But I know Gary Fisher's around this time had different quality frames too. I think his basic frames were single butted cro-moly tubeing. His entry level was double butted. I think he also had a Allumium frame in his line up. The top of the line Gary Fisher was the Pro-Calibur. Which I think was triple butted with his Evolution concept parts.

My First mountain bike was the Gary Fisher Hoo-Koo-E-Koo, rode that for a few seasons, then upgraded the frame to the Pro-Calibur. Both were Cro-moly, but the Pro calibur was about a pound lighter and I had a few good years racing that one.
 

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I think most manufactures have only a few different frames for their complete line up. For example the same frame on my old Hoo-Koo-E-Koo was probably the same as your Mamba and 1 or 2 other models. Another frame for the mid grade models, and different frame for their top of the line models. From what I can tell it seems to be pretty common with all the brands out their. Cannondale, Trek, KHS.. ect....
 

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Entry level has a lot of value

It generally shares geometry, which is particular to Fisher. Componentry is picked for low cost but basic performance defined by high level componentry, it's advantages trickling down. Well-cared for, you can get few seasons out of entry level stuff and while you ride you learn. While you learn you break or wear out stuff and replace stuff on a frame which will serve you well.

The conundrum is that the Alivio stuff doesn't hold up long to abuse, which is common in new riders as they haven't learned how to take care as they use and maintain a bike. A skilled cyclist can get a lot out of primitive gear, just listen as they shift or generally operate a cleaner and well-adjusted bike. Much gentler on the bike in spite of power.
 
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