K2 Bikes: Anyone have any experience with the higher end models?



uDi

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Sep 7, 2003
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Hi,
I've got my eye set on the 2003 K2 Tirade 5.0, and was wondering if anyone had any input on these bikes, frames especially. K2 seem to outfit their bikes with fairly good componentry, so it is the frame and welds etc that I am asking about. Is it up to the level of other more common brands? (giant, specialized, norco, kona etc)

It's a freeride bike, and like others have mentioned on this forum, information on K2 bikes on the internet is far from abundant -- there is very little except on the official site.

pic
http://www.k2bike.com/03products/mountain/largeimage/tirade_5.html

specs
http://www.k2bike.com/03products/mountain/specs/tirade5_specs.html

What do you guys think of the bike? I don't think it comes cheap, us$2000'ish, but it stood out to me over the comparable Giant AC-2 thanks to better looks, features, and (im hoping) a lower price.

Any information on K2 frames would be greatly appreciated, I don't want to buy a 2k+ bike based on looks/specs/gut instinct and realise the bike is garbage later on.

Other than commuting, I will be freeriding, jumping, and dropping the thing. Lightly to start off with, but I know things will get bigger as my skill goes up, and I want the bike to keep up (and hold up).

Thanks for any info, and if you've got any links to K2 bike reviews other than mtbreview.com, id appreciate it.

uDi
 

ireman_1

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Aug 10, 2003
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The frames are as quality as any of the other bikes you mentioned. This bike isn't a big hit bike though. It is really an all mountain trail bike. You can do chest high drops on it all day, but it isn't meant for any of the head high or higher drops. I have heard good things about the overall quality though. You will certainly be able to have lots of fun on it though. I write this next bit just for my own whatever: for a few bucks more you can get an off the hook Santa Cruz or Kona (Kona would be less than the SC). They are famous for their durability and being evil on the trail. I have a couple of SCs and kick the hell out of them (on my 3rd actually). I am not small and huck reglarly. It took a 15 foot fall and some severe pain to kill my last one (and even then SC stood behind their stuff and didn't nail me much for my next frame). Think about it and have fun choosing and eventually riding. Take care.

K.
 

uDi

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Sep 7, 2003
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thanks ireman. I don't think i'll be doing anything beyond chest-height anyway, right now im goin waist high or a little bigger. The price of the K2 is already pushing my budget over double what I originally planned. So an SC isn't for me, although I have heard great things about them. Kona on the other hand - I hear its praises wherever I go - but for the same price I think the K2 has nicer components compared to a similarly priced bike from Kona.

I'd be kidding myself if I said I was jumping/abusing most of the time.... mostly im on the street up and down hills, and once in a while I hit up on some random light downhilling, and trailriding.

Any idea what the street price on one of those K2-T5.0's is on your shores? i'm in Australia, and us$1900 (mtbreview.com) doesn't sound healthy, I was hoping it might be cheaper.
 

ireman_1

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Aug 10, 2003
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The 2003 models in the stores are about $1700 here in my part of Oregon. I have not seen one of the 5.0s for sale by private party yet, but I asked the wrenches at my buddies shop today and they said K2 used prices are similar to other mid level bikes (30%-60% retail for a current model year bike). Unfortunately we only have two shops in town that sell k2 and both of the shops stink, regardless of what they sell so information from them is pretty much useless. Rocky Mountain makes a mean bike as well. Are you sure I can't talk you into joining our "clique" and riding Santa Cruz? You'd like it, I promise! Seriously, I totally know what it is to live within a budget. Pretty much everything takes a back seat to my bikes (mountain and cruisers) and guns money wise. Take care and I wish you luck with finding the perfect bike and abusing the hell out of it! Ride well and have some fun.

K.
 

uDi

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Sep 7, 2003
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Thankyou. Actually, i'm open to any other bikes - as long as I can get support for them locally and they are (lets say) under us$2000. I checked out the Santa Cruz and Rocky Mountain bikes (before I read your reply in fact) and I think an SC would be pushing it pricewise. Rocky mountain - I dunno. They seem nice, but is there anything that sets them apart from the rest?

I searched high and wide for places in Australia that sell K2, but it seems unlikely I will find more than one or two stores around the country that stock K2, let alone a place locally. Giant - seems much, much more popular. It's hard to find a bike store around here that doesn't sell Giant. I am in love with that K2 bike, it is sexy - but if I can't get it here, why bother. And if something goes wrong... (see note below on HFX9).. it'd be nice to have an LBS to fall back on.

So i've been drooling over the 2004 AC2.....
http://www.freedommachine.com.au/item.asp?Category=156&Start=0&ID=571

Componentry wise it seems as good or better than the K2 bike, the Sherman firefly seems like a nice inclusion.

I will do a quick look around for Rocky Mountain - Just to check prices. Keep in mind, i'll be commuting too. Riding long streets, hills, etc. They're all freeride, but the RM and SC bikes seemed more... deeply freeride/DH only... not the sort of thing you'd be riding around the place for ages.

Just one question - could you pleeeasse tell me something about these Hayes HFX9 Hydro's? I've heard nothing but awful comments on them, yet every complete bike on the market these days seem to use nothing else but the HFX-9's!! have you got any experience with them? I've heard the levers suck, the build quality/quality control is terrible, the fluid retainer cap (or something like that) always comes off, letting the fluid out, leaving you with no brakes, ive heard the levers have loads of play and they snap easily... the list goes on. I don't know what the deal is with US made stuff, but I thought it was good?

My friend on the other hand runs Shimano hydraulics, which are probably made somewhere in taiwan or china, by a guy being payed 5 cents an hour - and seem to be great.
Why are all the big boys in mtb using hayes if its garbage?

I'm just whinging... but when im paying this much (i am incredibly poor) I don't want anything to be left to upgrade later. I'm hoping you might be able to tell me they aren't that bad..... lol

thanks for any help. I know your an SC boy, but seriously - I can't push the price any further.... if I start falling in love with the sport, and whatever I get is unsatisfactory - I might go SC one day. Right now, if I want a half decent freerider, i'll be dropping one of my other much-loved hobbies to fund the bike. As well as forking out a tonne of cash of my own on top of whatever I get from selling out my other hobby (RC car racing). I'm pushing it too far... really.

I'm thinking one day I will wake up and realise I can't afford any of this. Still waiting....
 

ireman_1

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Aug 10, 2003
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I feel your pain. I often think all my woes would be cured if only I would ever win the lotto. Maybe I should buy a ticket some day!
Anyway, the Giants seem to be well thought out bikes and certainly come with good parts. No matter what brand you choose you will find someone to trash it. Their "new" all-mountain bikes look to be tough and capable and the Shermans are killer forks (almost won me over from Marzocchis).

Rocky Mountain makes some hardcore DH stuff, but they also make a couple of mid-travel bikes with like 5" front and rear. There isn't anything that pushes them to the front of the pack other than RM and Kona stand behind their products better than most other manufacturers when you are talking about mid-level bikes. I rode a KHS freeride bike (rented it for a day) on vacation after mashing my last SC frame this spring and despite my initial misgivings about that brand it performed really well. I had those Hayes on the SC I killed. I had just put them on prior to vacation and they worked quite well. You can do things to keep things from falling off (screws and caps). They have to be installed and set up properly or they suck, and they are not as easy to install properly as say Shimano. The levers do STINK and the only worthy upgrade for them is like $150! Sorry bro. The Shimanos are what I run now (8" in front, 6" rear) and they are spectacular. Take care and have fun buying new toys is always very cool. I'm going to live vicariously through you until I can buy something new! Keep the rubber side down.

K.
 

uDi

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Sep 7, 2003
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Was looking at the RM Switch LTD... but couldn't find many places in the country that sold RM either....similar deal to K2. I like the Switch, because its got the new 1.5 HT... i've ovalled mine on my bike... (although my bike now is a target cheapie)

What do you think of the Kona Coiler? It's about the only decent Kona dually freeride I can afford. It's got Drop-Off comps, and i've heard they are cheaper forks that Zoke outsource to taiwan. What do you think? I'm thinkin much higher of the shermans on the giant and RM bikes, but wherever I go I hear praise of kona so I dunno.

http://www.konaworld.com/2k4bikes/2k4_coiler.cfm

Would you go for that or the new AC2? The Kona is actually cheaper by a fair bit, but has a lot less XT, lesser forks etc, in comparison. I bet the Kona takes more beating, but i weigh about 50 kilos (under 120 pounds id guess) and im not too hard on bikes, except for the occasional nosedive on landing or something.
 

ireman_1

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Aug 10, 2003
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The Drop-offs are certainly not the star in Marzocchi's line, but they are pretty stiff and reliable. I'd advise you to ride both bikes and just buy the one you like the best, but it sounds like finding a shop to test them at is going to be a chore. I'd take the Kona's frame and design over the Giant's, but at your weight and riding styles I am not feeling worried about frame durability really. That's not to say that someone as light as you can't get absolutely mid-evil on a frame, but the chances of having a catastrophic incident are minimized (as opposed to the chances of someone my size destroying things:6'3" & 265lbs, and dropping I am happy to say!). Ex-football players tend to be REALLY hard on their stuff. Anyway now that I've gotten off track again; I guess I'd choose the Kona and maybe plan on upgrading the fork in a year or two. Don't get too focused on the 1.5 headsets. They sound nice, but shouldn't be the only reason to buy a bike. Take care.

K.
 

bloominscott

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Oct 30, 2003
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I am curious to your thoughts on the KHS FR. I am seriously looking at a 2003 FR2000 ($1200 new). I currently ride a GF Big Sur and have never had a bike with more travel than an I-drive. Is the FR2000 a bike that can be ridden on trails all day, or just for dropping and jumping? I am looking for a trail riding bike that can do XC all day and go to Plattekill for a little light downhilling. Is this the bike, or is it overkill?
 

uDi

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Sep 7, 2003
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It looks like something mid way. Probably a tad heavy by most peoples standards for trailriding, but meh I trailride/xc and dh on a 40lb+ bob-packed hunk.

Probably not really overkill, looks like something fitting of your needs. Probably a little tougher than you need, but thats always a good thing.

I'm looking at the 2004. MSRP states $2299... where are you seeing 1200? I personally think if its 2299 it's overpriced for what you get. 1200 would be a great deal.

The rear pivot is on the seatstay (not on the chainstay- horst link style) so it's basically still just a single pivot, with the linkages for the shock. So it's probably going to ride like a singlepivot too. But the SPV shock is going to sort that out some.
 

bloominscott

New Member
Oct 30, 2003
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The 1200 quote was on a 2003 from a freind's bike shop asa a personal favor. Basically, it is cost. The 2003 has the Romic and a Fox up front. I keep going back to this bike, so I might as well get it. At that price, I could allways transfer the parts to a lighter frame such as a KHS 504 or a Heckler or similar if I felt like I has riding a tank. Or, I could lose the DH crank, wheels and tires and drop about 4 pounds off this thing if weight was a major complaint.
 

uDi

New Member
Sep 7, 2003
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Yeah 1200 is great, i'm pretty sure the weight will be fine. If it's a few pounds too heavy, you'll get used to it quick through a month or so of good riding anyway.
 

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