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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking to get my first mountain bike. I have it narrowed down to from a couple local shops is a Scott Aspect 750, Kona Lava Dome, Trek X-Calibur 4, Trek Marlin, and a used Fuji Tahoe. The Scott and Kona are from a shop about 45m away and I went there for the first time today. The Treks and that used Fuji are from a local shop about 2 minutes outside my military base. I included the Fuji on here because I was interested in possibly buying used to get more bike for the money.

The kind of riding I am looking to do is beginner trail riding without getting too difficult with it. I'll be primarily riding with my wife who has a Trek 820 as her beginner bike. My budget for a bike is $600 and I'm not willing to spend more than $650 and would rather spend less if possible.

The guy at the shop was very knowledgeable but did not know exactly what year the Fuji was. After looking it up online I have determined it is most likely a 2012 Fuji Tahoe 4.0. The shop wants $500 for it. I was told it's a 26er, has hydraulic disc brakes, the quick lock for the forks mounted up on the bars, and other things. It's all stock from what he can tell. One issue I have with it is that it's only a 26er when the others are 29ers.

I looked at the Scott and liked it. That one was $540 after my military discount. I liked the looks but aside from that I don't know much about bikes to know any better. They were expecting the Kona Lava Dome to be in next weekend for $585 but he only told me about that one and showed me it on the computer. I believe the Scott was 27.5er and Kona was 29er.

Now the final stop was the Trek shop where I saw that used Fuji. This is my local shop and I've been in a couple times and it's where I bought my wife her bike. I like the shop and I like the people working there. I walked into there interested in maybe the 3700 Disc but was shown the X-Calibur 4 and the Marlin. The guy told me that 29er is in his opinion the way to go. To me I would not mind the agility and finesse of a 26er so that doesn't count it out, but I have taken into account the benefits of the big tire. The X-Calibur 4 was $575 but I see it online for $550 so I'm sure I can tell him that and the price would drop. The Marlin is $650 but he said he could do $600. The Marlin sounded like the superior bike but with me knowing as little as I do I am also considering the X-Calibur 4.

So that's everything. Given that slew of information, what would you suggest out of the list? The Fuji Tahoe sounds like the best value but it is a little older and only a 26er. The Treks should be a solid option with a wide dealer network if something should go awry, especially since I will be moving in a few months. Scott and Kona are brand new to me so I know nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ride them, the one that feels best is the one to get. I know thats not the answer you wanted but it's the truth.
I would be willing to do this with the two Treks and the Fuji. The Scott and Kona are in downtown Louisville I would hate to ride a bicycle in the city like that. Assuming I liked the feel of all the bikes, what would be the best option?
 

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Definitely ride them, especially if you're unsure about 26" vs 29" (you've also got a 27.5" in there, to complicate things further).

They're all good bikes, and all specced very similarly (apart from the Fuji, which is a step up in specs). The Kona has hydraulic brakes, but they're not especially good ones, so I doubt you'll see much of a difference between them and the mechanical brakes on the all the other bikes. The Marlin and X-Caliber 4 are very similar bikes; the only clearly superior part on the Marlin is the fork, but not by that much. If you can't talk him down to $550 on the X-Caliber, the Marlin is a good buy at $600. I wouldn't worry too much about availability of service since all of the brands you're looking at are pretty big and will have dealers in most towns. You'll only really need a dealer for warranty work anyways - regular service can be handled by any shop.
 

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Those bikes are held back by their fork-- a $60 component designed by Suntour for bike paths. No adjustable rebound damping and low grade stanchion bushings.
Look at the Airborne Guardian. 25 over your max delivered with a good fork.
Airborne Bicycles. Guardian 2.0
Call them and they answer the phone
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Any other opinions on this? I'm trying to research reviews online and I'm not finding much. The used Fuji is like a 2005 model so I'm not considering that. I heard Trek may be having a sale next month?
 

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Any other opinions on this? I'm trying to research reviews online and I'm not finding much. The used Fuji is like a 2005 model so I'm not considering that. I heard Trek may be having a sale next month?
As I said in my earlier post, there is very little difference between any of those bikes (apart from the fact that the Scott is a 27.5 and the others are 29ers) and none is clearly better than the others. It all comes down to which bike you feel most comfortable on and how much of your budget you want to spend, and none of us can tell you the answer to those questions.
 
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