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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I am about to buy a bike with a budget of around £500. The bike is mainly for cycling to and from work along a cycle path but I intend to use it for recreational cycling and some moderate off roading and XC. No intention of downhill / technical riding at this stage as getting over friendly with trees at speed is not in the plan.

I have been looking at the bikes listed below and I would really appreciate any feedback from people with experience of these bikes and any guidance on which is the best buy and if there are alternatives I should be looking at.

Kona Blast 2006
Specialized Haardrock Pro Disc
Giant Terrago Enduro
Gary FIsher Pirhana


My understanding is that the Kona will give me a good frame but the gears are entry level and 1-2 levels below the other bikes. Is this likely to cause issues? The Giant has good gears but not too sure about the fork and the brakes. Similarly with the Gary Fisher. Specialized gears by SRAM, a company I am unfamiliar with. Same forks as Kona.

I have been told to invest mainly in the frame as I guess that is what you keep longest but I don't want to buy a bike that compromises too much on components as I won't have cash for upgrades for a year or two. Any thoughts or advice would be great.

Thanks,

Matt
 

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I would go for the Blast. Scram is good stuff. Second choice on your list would be the Gary Fisher. I like the colour on the Blast too. Looks great in person.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi angeloPB, thanks for the advice. The Kona has Acera components which seem to be the entry level stuff. Would you think that they are up to a bit of punishment?

I agree that the Kona looks sweet and it is probably my favourite so long as the components aren't too much of a compromise.

Thanks again,

Matt
 

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Here is an option...

If you favor the Blast you could always talk to your shop about a swap out upgrade before you take delivery. Derailleurs are relatively cheap components and they might give you credit towards the better component. I've heard of many guys doing that on this forum. They may be more willing to work with you if they know that will help get the business.
 

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mattisimo said:
Hi angeloPB, thanks for the advice. The Kona has Acera components which seem to be the entry level stuff. Would you think that they are up to a bit of punishment?

I agree that the Kona looks sweet and it is probably my favourite so long as the components aren't too much of a compromise.

Thanks again,

Matt
"The bike is mainly for cycling to and from work along a cycle path but I intend to use it for recreational cycling and some moderate off roading and XC."

I don't consider this punishment, comparatively speaking. The components will likely work fine. If they break from riding on the cycling path, then you can pimp it out with Scram stuff. I see good deals online for compnents. But the complete-bike market is kind of price controlled in favour of the LBS. I would add a Kona bash guard just for looks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies. I'm guessing that you would both discount the Giant and the Specialized?

I'll take your advice LeopardDog and see what can be done about upgrading some of the components at the shop before purchase if they think it appropriate.

Thanks again both,

Matt
 

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Matt, Not really saying I would eliminate any of them in favor of the Kona. It just sounded like you liked the Kona the best. The Hardrock and Giant are good bikes though I don't know anything about the brake on the Giant. The Acera components on the Kona should work fine. My son has those components on his Fire Mountain and they shift nicely. Poper maintainance should keep them working well for a long time and if or when they wear out you can always upgrade then. I would try all the models you can and then decide. You really can't go wrong with any of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for that, it doesn't sound like there is a clear leader so I'll go for the one that feels best.
Matt
 

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In a recent issue of MBUK they did a 10 bike comparo with bikes in the 500 pound range. should be able to find it, my buddy brought it back for me at the end of may, so probably the june issue, but maybe the May issue.

Good luck

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi El Chupo, if you find your magazine I'd really appreciate the findings. I'm going to be buying the bike in about 1-2 weeks so I'll check back in case you do.

Thanks,

Matt
 

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In fact, it is the June edition of MBR, not MBUK

They ranked the following bikes on a scale of 1-10

Claud Butler - Cape Wrath Disc -------9
Dawes - Reddle -----------------------------4
Decathalon - Rockfinder 8.1 --------------9
Fisher - Piranah -----------------------------8
Giant - XTC SE-------------------------------10
GT - Avalanche 1.0 Disc------------------10
Marin - Northside Trail ---------------------8
Massi - Trax ----------------------------------5\
Merida - Matts Miami ---------------------6
Mongoose - Amasa Comp --------------10
Saracen - Dirtrax 4 -------------------------7
Spec - Rockhopper ------------------------9



They tell you ups and downs in the story, but a few highlights : Marin and Mongoose have 120mm and 130mm forks, respectivly, and merida and Massi have 80mm. rest are 100mm. Marin has Alivo rear mech, Mongoose has Sram Srx-5, rest have deore or LX.

Good luck

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for that el chupo, that's quite enlightening and interestingly none of the bikes I was looking at are on the list other that the pirhana! I think I may go back to square one and consider some different models such as the Giant XTC SE. You do seem to get much better mechanics with it. I think the shop stocks them as it had the terrago so I'll try and do a comparison between it and the Kona this weekend. Any ideas why they would omit Kona from the group test?

Very useful, thanks,

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all your advice, I went for the Giant XTC SE as it seemed to offer best value for money and feels nice to ride. The guy in the shop didn't seem to think that the Kona frame was any better and the Giant components were definitely better.
Thanks again,
Matt
 

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Nice choice

mattisimo said:
Thanks for all your advice, I went for the Giant XTC SE as it seemed to offer best value for money and feels nice to ride. The guy in the shop didn't seem to think that the Kona frame was any better and the Giant components were definitely better.
Thanks again,
Matt
The XTC is a bike with a nice history. Giant makes a very good product and is usually pretty competitive when it comes to component specs and value. Enjoy your new bike.

Bob
 
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