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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I want one with front suspension no fancy stuff. Going to check the classifieds for one $300-$500. Dunno crap about em my last bicycle was bmx. It will be 99% off road on established trails. Help a brother out. I'm 6'2" lean so what size am I looking at? Twist shift or levers? What gearing? What brands? Yep, clueless.
 

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I tried hard to find a new bike that wasn't a pos for that amount recently. It was really impossible. I spent weeks looking in the same price range to no avail for anything decent. Very hard to find a decent not-abused full suspesion ride out there in that range, meaning anyhting that isn't a non-adjustable pig with good componentry. I ended-up with in the $1500 range, which I was luckily able to finance with a 1 year no payments/no interest deal and $150 included accessories. Keep in mind that anything under $2000 grand is stil lentry-level for most companies.

I got a Specialized FSR XC Pro Disc. The suspension is awesome and the frame is lighter than most. I tried many different brands, and the liked the geometry(riding position) of the Specialized which was the most comfortable. The only bike I really liked better was a Klein that was out of my price range, though the geometry really combined quick steering and comfort well.

Things to look for are lifetime warranty on the frame, adjustable compression fork, adj rebound shock, air suspension components, springs are heavy. The Fox shock on my FSR is 3-way adj for compression with a complete lockout and a "pedal-power" setting that limits travel. I use all three settings on every ride. The fork also has rebound, which seems less important, but is nice for an even feel overall, and the compression adj is a super easy half-turn from lockout to full 4 inches.

The FSR(4 pivot) suspension is touted as the best, and most rear suspensions are variations on the design. Single pivot designs are said to be light, but you lose more pedal energy for climbing. The monolink on the Klein seemed really nice, but not as fluid as the FSR. Didn't try anything with a "virtual" pivot. Check-out hte technical seciton on the Specialized website:

www.specialized.com


I rode a couple Fisher bikes, which lay you out over the bars old school style, which makes for quick steering, but is uncomfortable. Also tried a Trek which was had low-end components for the price, and the geometry was slow and relaxed too much.

Almost all newer bikes are going to have 27 gears(3 front, 9 rear). It makes a difference when climbing too, compared to older 21 and 18 speeds over the years. Not too many twist shifts out there except on the extreme low end. They suck. The new XT stuff is all actuated through the brake lever(up or down), which I couldn't stand either, the rest are thumb push.

The best compnents/money ratio are Specialized, IronHorse, Haro, and Diamondback. Of those names, only the Specialized had a lifetime warranty on the frame, much better supension, and was lighter. I also looked at a number of bikes on paper, and the Specialized couldn't be beat(Jamis, GT, Schwinn, Kona, Ellsworth, Giant, Marin, Santa Cruz, Mongoose, KHS, K2, Cannondale, the list oges on...

Check-out mtbr for reviews:

http://www.mtbr.com/

Another thing to consider is your use. For me, it's strictly XCountry, which are typically lighter weight. There are downhill-specific bikes, jumping-specific bikes, and some in between.

I love the full suspension and wouldn't go without, but many riders like hardtails. The lock-out function may be more of a necessity on certain suspension designs, and the hard tails typically have better components for the money. Lockout is not available on lower-end shocks. But there are even some crazy mf's that ride single-speed hardtails for more than jumping, like the dude that sold me mine.
 

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I don't agree that under $2000 is entry level, but that is some good info. I am also a fan of Specialized. I stay away from Trek. Not that all their bikes are bad, just the mid-level ones are not worth the money IMHO. But even if you are just looking for just front suspension, $300-$500 is a bit tough if you are looking for quality that will last. If you can bump it to under $1000, you will be much happier.

Test ride a few in the parking lot. I am 5' 4" so my 15" frame isn'[t quite what you are looking for :) I prefer twist shifters, but you will have to see which you like best. My bike is rather old and at that time the twist shifters were on the mid-level bikes. Don't know if that is still the case. If you are used to BMX, you might want to go with a pedal that allows ypu to use regular shoes and clip ons. It has been a few years since I've been riding so I don't know all the latest models...but Shimano used to have a nice off road pedal that could go either way.

I found when I bought my mtn bike and my road bike, the best deal was the second to the best components. For example, the top of the line Shimano road components were almost twice the cost of the ones I got, but really only about 5-10% better. And probably not something I would notice at my level of riding.

You'll want to have them throw in a pump, patch kit and a small bag at the minimum. And a nice Camelback is great.
 

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Shit mine is a wall mart special mongoose front and rear suspension brakes could be better but other than that, well gears suck too but hell for around 100 bucks it kicks ass on the trails. they have better bikes and a better selection at Dicks sporting goods. there not 2000 dollar bikes or anything but dicks has some nice ones disk brakes great leaver shifters. (go leaver) and not bad suspension setups
 

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Ive got a GT "timberline FS" that I got about 10 years ago.
(fs: front suspention..hot stuff back then)

Anyways, 10 years later, I still ride it, and it is as tight and great working as ever.
Unless the quality has diminished, GT's are great.
 

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black7R said:
Ive got a GT "timberline FS" that I got about 10 years ago.
(fs: front suspention..hot stuff back then)

Anyways, 10 years later, I still ride it, and it is as tight and great working as ever.
Unless the quality has diminished, GT's are great.
Oh, I've got one too, pre-suspension years. GT went bankrupt a few years ago and was bought by Schwinn, IIRC.
 

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steeltoe said:
Thanks for the info. I'll take a peek at the Specialized. Within a few moments of browsing the forum at http://www.mtbr.com/ I'm seeing "Rockhopper".
Best thing to do after getting a feel for the components and pricing is to find a local shop to go do a test ride, which is essential to understanding the differences in geometry and feel. Online prices were not the best I found either. There were better deals to be had in store at every shop I visited.
 

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hey black7r,
is your timberline the blue and black with ghost flames? I had one of those and it completely rocked, and had totally sick looking paint! Some douchebag here at MSU stole it from me, otherwise i'd still be rolling that bad boy!
 

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i posted some info on mountainbikes on the forum before it went down, you might be able to find the thread if you search the old forum. Anyway, you get what you pay for and you will never get your money back out of it. If you are looking at doing some serious riding, don't look at cannondale's. They are the only manufacturer that I know of that only warrantees their frame for a single year instead of lifetime because they have so many issues. I have been out of the "scene" for a while now though.

You'll just have to go sit on them, all bikes have a different geometry so you will have to figure it out yourself which you like the best. You can do some things to change the feel of a certain bike but not all that much so the frame is the most important. With technology the way it is now, I would say it doesn't matter whether you are getting titanium or carbon fiber. I still use my Giant(brand) aluminum 2.5 pound frame, because I like the feel of it.
Do not buy an old bike if it is carbon fiber unless it is only a couple of years old. Old school carbon fiber was famous for shattering and that is why people liked titanium so much.
Don't buy Walmart. They are POS's, heavy and the components are crap.
Unless things have changed, don't buy Cannondale. They are beautiful bikes but they are pretty at a cost. The weld them together and then grind down the welds to make them look smooth and good. They therefore weaken some of the most important stress points in the bike.

The top of the line components really only last longer than the lines below them. If you ride hard, it will break. I am talking about like XTR, XT, and even LX shimano components.

I will say that the best way to buy a bike is as a package and not trying to put it together yourself. You will save money and you should only have to worry about replacing stuff when it breaks, that is when you should upgrade.

The best brakes that I have come across are Hope's hydraulic adjustable on-the-fly disc brakes. I love them even though they are heavier than a couple of other types. Do not buy Shimano's disc brakes unless they have made vast improvements.

longer than I meant but if you have any questions about anything in particular either pm me or post up.
 

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if you can't find a used (in the classifieds) in your price range that are acceptable to you, go to a bike shop and see what they have from last year's models or any other close outs. my most recent bike was a last year's model that i saved a couple hundred on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Anyone know about Ironhorse or Ibex brands? They have some sweet packages. Really digging the Ironhorse bikes.
 

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steeltoe said:
Anyone know about Ironhorse or Ibex brands? They have some sweet packages. Really digging the Ironhorse bikes.
The Ironhorses were tempting, and almost undoubtedly the best compnents for the price, but they are pigs(heavy). If you are looking at full-suspension, the single-pivot isn't as nice as others. The frame is warrantied for 5 years. Might be the right choice if you are looking at hardtails, the Rogue or something i pretty well-equiped and dirt cheap. Supergo, one of the larger stores around here carries both them and Specialized, maybe you can find a similar shop to test ride both.
 

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go to pinkbike.com check the forums on the main site. They have literally 100's of killer full on pro bikes that are either trades for a better hi end bike or factory racer rode one time and still tio shape for a quarter of list... all bikes havr pics too


Plus they have 50 or so knock yer eyeballs out free ride and insane downhill videos ya can downliad for free....
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I saw a Banshee dealer yesterday. Those things are wicked. A bike with twin master cylinders and 4 piston calipers? WTF!
 

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^^^ holy crap..... frikken MTB's sure have gotten trick these days! :eek: I still have my original Fisher Mt Tam hand made bt Gary Fisher... dam frame along was over 1200... and that was like 10 years ago.... one thing about quality it shows.. Anytime I look at that frame it simply amazes me... Ive seen nice welds and such in my days but NOTHING even comes clost to the joints on this frame...... none.

Gary uses a method of joining the tubes that is the most labor intensive way to fit pipes together there is called Fillet Brazing... a true lost art... every joint is filleted in like a sculpted piece of work. Its solid brass not a spec of filler... just like how american cars use lead for the body seams, except this is on small diameter tubing and where the 90 degree corner is if you butted a tube to the side of another its got a perfectly radiused curve filling in the 90 degree angled metting ot the tubes... took him 4 months to assemble and finish the frame.... its a rigid frame but it almost feels like it has suspension ... remarkably stiff too... I aint no small guy and raced bikes for years, destroying who knows how many "quality" frames and this one is still just a amazing piece of work... bike must have a easy 30,000 miles on it... only frame I had that never turned into a pretzel after a dozen hard landings... thats it on the stand in the back ground.... couldnt find the close ups I got of the joints... it truely is a work of art... even the fork crown where the right and left blades meet the steering tube look like it was molded out of plastic or some easy to mold material.... the center of the steering tube is twisted like the inside of a gun barrel ! The tubing is Tange Prestige Exelecence Superior plus... Unreal stuff you can tap the center of any frame tube on the bike and it rings like a bell !! lighter than alot of road frames too... Gary was one of the founders of mountainbikes along with Tom Richie.... both these guys are famous as anyone that ever has had a thing to do with MTB's...
 

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I don't think full suspension is really that necessary unless you're doing serious DH, especially if you're on a budget. Use your legs to absorb shock going downhill. You can find a good, aluminum-framed front suspension rig for under a grand (I've got a Gary Fischer I really like, it's about 5 years old, I paid 750). If you're doing 99% trail riding (or even 75%) go for clipless pedals, they really allow you to use the entire pedal stroke as opposed to just the downstroke, on gnarly downhill shit you can clip out and put the pedal under the bridge of your foot so you can easily put a foot down.
 

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Unreal stuff you can tap the center of any frame tube on the bike and it rings like a bell !!
Mine does too, it's a Gary Fischer Big Sur, got it about five years ago and it's amazingly strong/slightly flexible for it's weight-- I really like it. Good to know Gary's kept the quality high.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
What I may do is give the specs I want to a couple of local builders and see who can build what I want for the price. Unlike motorcycle dealers these guys actually know their stuff and aren't just out for $$. Very refreshing. I assumed trail riding meant the bike can take jumps of a few feet or more. Apparently that ain't the case with the XC bikes I'm seeing. I don't want to fly off anything and have to worry about a frame snapping.
 

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MAGNUM636 said:
Mine does too, it's a Gary Fischer Big Sur, got it about five years ago and it's amazingly strong/slightly flexible for it's weight-- I really like it. Good to know Gary's kept the quality high.


Another Fisher rider!! Cool, Gary is a man of standards... I've never seen anything so meticously made ever before. I had read about Fishers for ages and after spending far too much money on dissapointments I decided to try it. I ordered the top of the line touring frame he designed since every review of it jaut couldnt say enough about the overall abilities it had... I definatly wasnt looking for a twitchy race bike, I had one of those a John Tomac Special made by Team Mongoose... It was a nice bike but dam it wasnt too good at some things... I finally ripped one of the rear dropouts off it and gave it back to the bike shop to get it replaced.. they gave me the credit instead since they wernt making the frame and I ordered the Mt. Tam from Gary.... a little hesitant I may say... paying over 1500 for jsut a frame and fork!!!

In he end it most definatly was well worth it, I still love riding it doesnt need anything updated since I built it with the best groupo Shimano offered and went one better by chabging the rear hub to the 8 spd one from the mega expensive road bike line... the DeorwXT back then was still 78 spd.. with the 8 I got better ratios to sdelect since I have all the rear chainrings for the cassette hub I went for it... I even have 3 full sets of wheels with there own gearing and tires for each thing I made them for.... skinny hi pressure slicks, huge knobbies and a set of general use center rudge wheels I use most of all....

The big knob tires just sick too much HP from me to push on pavement for long..
 
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