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Discussion Starter #1
I've got my search for 29er hardtails down to 3 options for a sub $1,000 bike- any opinions welcome. I'm currently riding a ten year old entry level hardtail 26" REI Novarra bike with Deore components. Looking to ride mostly fire roads in Marin County open space.

Fezzari Wasatch Peak $919
Wasatch Peak 29er Twenty Niner MTB Tech Specs | Fezzari Bikes®

Diamondback Overdrive Comp $899
Diamondback Overdrive Comp 29er Mountain Bike - 2014 Performance Exclusive - 29er Mountain Bikes

REI Novarra Ponderosa $800 w/ 20% off
Novara Ponderosa 29er Bike - 2014 at REI.com

I like the idea of the custom fit with Fezzari, the free tuneups offered by Performance (which I've read are so-so), and the cheap price/good components by REI.

Thoughts?

Thanks,
Mike
San Rafael, CA
 

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Cactus Cuddler
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1,818 Posts
If you're riding it enough, and are mechanically capable the free tuneups are worth precisely nothing - all I've gotten from them are the odd free part and some saved convenience on recalled brake components, but I've had to become a competent enough mechanic to not need them, because they're not that great.

The advantage of the two in-person ones are getting to test ride it and make sure the sizing is spot on - other than that the parts spec on the Fezzari/DB Overxrive is better (the fork is the biggest part), otherwise the REI one does have the smarter drivetrain (2x with the 11-36T cassette is impressive). The DB has the best parts on it (Good tires, I prefer Shimano brakes at this price point, decent fork, and mostly good tires for your use), and you can test ride it, although they'll probably come down in price from PerformanceBike on some odd sale from that pointlessly goofy MSRP.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the feedback! Went down to REI as the Ponderosa seemed to be the best value for the money vs components offered- SRAM X7s across the board, 2x10 layout, better crankset, and forks look to be comparable depending on preference. It generally got good reviews here and elsewhere.

Local Marin REI store's $12/hr bike salesdude was predictably crappy. Might try another REI, but I did send an email over to Fezzari to see what they could do with components, so we will see...
 
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