which model matches my needs in a mountain bike?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by schristie11, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. schristie11

    schristie11 New Member

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    [SIZE= 10pt]Now they have downhill bikes, and uphill bikes, and bikes that do both that cost more than my car, and many other category/types of purpose built mountain bikes - I wonder which model matches my needs..[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]I have been researching online to find a new mountain bike and the only problem I seem to have is that there are so many dam options.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt] [/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]I don't want to get into the gizmos and components, I want to know which brand & model fits my needs.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]My $800 budget limits me to a hard tale front suspension mountain bike.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]I may plan to spend a few hundred more customizing or upgrading some of the components that come with the bike.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]Ideally I could buy the frame and components all separately to get what I want, I did that with my last road bike.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]But I do not know if I can do that for my budget with a modern mountain bike.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt] [/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]Therefore, I am considering the Cannondale SL 3 like my friend recently bought. He said it seems perfect for the area we live in.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]It seems like a no brainer to get that bike, but I wanted to poll the forums and see what you all think about the competition.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]I would like a bike that can go up hill and downhill and is comfortable on long rides of off road trails in southern Texas.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]Additional Notes:[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt] [/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]I am a small-thin guy with not a lot of muscle and climbing uphill on a smooth road bike is hard as hell on me.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]So I am worried what it will be like on a mountain bike on loose dirt.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]I think that I would like a bike that is light weight to help me out where I lack the muscle to power through with a heavy bike.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE= 10pt]Yes I do work out but even still I am just a small-thin guy and I never get very big or very strong.[/SIZE]
     
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  2. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    With an $800 budget you will be getting a general-purpose hard-tail trail bike, unless the right full suspension bike happens to fall into your lap. It's happened.

    There isn't a whole lot of differentiation happening at this price. Mainly, you will choose between 29" wheels and 26" wheels. Feature for feature, 29'ers are a little heavier, a little more expensive, and a little less maneuverable than 26" wheel bikes. On the other hand, larger wheels smooth out the ride a little, float better over soft ground, give better traction, track better, and roll more easily over rocks, stumps, drainage bars, etc. You'll just have to ride a few to see which you prefer.

    My favorite 29'ers are the Trek Gary Fisher collection. In my opinion it takes finesse to come up with a moderately priced 29'er that doesn't ride like a tractor, and time and again Fisher's designers demonstrate they are tops in that department. The Specialized Rockhopper 29'er and Scott's Scale 29'ers are good, too.

    My favorite 26" bike is the "original" Specialized Rockhopper.
     
  3. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW. I'm keen on 29ers, but I think that rider size may be a limiting factor ...

    29er tires (at least, the pair that I have!) are considerably heavier than 26er tires ...

    At 5'9" (my height), I think that I am at the short end of the realistically acceptable height to ride a SMALL 29er.

    Consequently, 'I' think that if a rider is shorter than 5'9" then s/he probably wants to stick with a 26er ...

    OR, if a person wants to be in the vanguard then 650b wheels & tires may be something to consider ... in the future.

    Supposedly, 650b frame geometry is the same as 26er geometry -- however, I presume the BB "drop" is in the 55mm range -- so, 650b wheels could be retrofitted in a 26er frame with only a modest difference in the stand-over height

    BTW. Rather than buy a ready-to-ride Hardtail, I recommend getting the frame + fork from a place like www.pricepoint.com, et cetera.

    Add a set of wheels/tires + misc. and you should be able to cobble up a nicer bike for the same amount of money than the ready-to-ride bike would cost from an LBS.
     
  4. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    So who's marketing moderately priced 650b hardtails already?
     
  5. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Good question ...

    I don't know that any currently available 650b bikes are moderately priced, yet ...

    Regardless, I think that 'if' the geometry of a 650b is truly the same as the geometry of a 26er, then the only reason that a 26er couldn't be updated at some point in time is if the bike has a suspension fork whose yoke precludes using the desired size 650b tire.

    Consequently, with the possible rider's limitation in mind (i.e., size & strength), I think that a 26er Hardtail is the bike I would recommend for riders shorter than 5'9" UNLESS the riding will generally be limited to Fire Roads & the ilk AND the bike is shod with a lighter tire-and-tube combination than the tractor tires which I have!

    I guess that one of these days I will have to lace up a set of 650b wheels to see if they will actually provide a Goldilocks wheelset for someone like myself!?!
     
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