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To go one further than what George recommends, go to multiple full-service bike shops - large ones & small ones to get a look at a number of brands.  Each bike manufacturer has a particular style and fit (although some have multiple fits).  Treat this as a chance to demo a bunch of bikes.  Unlike ski demos, the bike test rides are usually free.  If you like a bike, except for one feature, see what the shop can do to change that out, whether that be getting a longer/shorter stem, a different saddle, an upgrade of some component, etc.  You may well find that the service that a particular bike shop gives you is the difference maker in deciding which bike to buy.

 

As Roger hinted at, the lower price-point bikes will often have high-end components for the obvious things (rear derailleur, shocks, etc.), but may hide cheap parts in there where you might not think to look (headsets, bottom brackets, hubs).  You can get away in many cases with a cheap part or two, knowing that you may have to replace them sooner than you might otherwise.  However, as Roger said, wheels are not the place to do this, unless you intend to bash through the stock one and go buy a nice handmade wheel at some point.  Nothing beats a well hand-built wheel.  If maintained properly, they can last seemingly forever and the durability to weight ratio is astounding compared to factory-built wheels. 

 

When you do get out and look at some bikes, post links here, and I'm sure you'll get a number of opinions on the bike, the component mix, and value.  Picking a bike I love that I think would fit your needs, if not your body or budget or local bike shop inventory, take a look at one of these:

 

http://www.bikes.com/main+en+01_102+Etsx_50.html?BIKE=15#4

 

You probably could comfortably move one step down the ladder from the high-end on this line of bikes, but this one is truly sweet and would do anything you'd ask of it.  It's not the HH/T1/phatty, nor is it even an approximation of one (although this is), but I'm guessing it's idea for what you want, should it fit your body type.

 

- Patrick

 
 

 

----- Original Message ----
From: George Bakos <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 10:33:27 PM
Subject: Re: [SKIVT-L] OT - MTB info needed

Agree completely re a full service bike shop. When you're there,
don't be too put off by the price tag of some of the higher end
rides; prices are often very negotiable, although many shops won't
say that up front. If you get a chance to head north, this is a great
time of year to pick up a 2008 demo for a song as many shops are
getting ready to change over to ski season stock and don't want to
store a bike that won't be the latest and greatest come '09. I just
scored a demo Cannondale Scalpel for 60% off retail- no charge for
the scuff marks.

Do be sure to get out and trail ride, not just sit on, any bike
you're considering. There are so many aspects of a bike's geometry
that can't be easily adjusted and might result in a very unhappy
Dennis over time. Some "cross country" rigs are more suited to racing
and will sport a longer top tube/stem to lay the rider into a more
aggressive position. I've got simian arms and, as a result, need
something like that, but it may not be what you're comfortable with
after a few hours, even if it looks cool in the MTB pron.

Cheers!
g

On Mon, 18 Aug 2008 16:56:58 +0000
Alex Friend <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Denis, I agree with Patrick and Jim. About bike shops, go to a real full-service bike shop. There are no shortage in NoVa. REI folks are nice and helpful, but they don't have enough selection, and it's basically a department of a larger store. You should go to a place that will take the time to fit you, and that carries a range of bikes and brands to choose from. I bought a Gary Fisher hardtail this spring, so I went to the shop that carries Fisher here. I decided I wanted a Fisher in part because the bike had a better component mix than other brands in my price range. Also, I thought they were cool.
>
> About bikes, you may have noticed that the world is becoming ever more ridiculously specialized--there are downhill bikes, all-mountain frames, dirt-jumping rigs... tell 'em you're looking for a cross-country full-suspension bike. JJ is probably right about the price range for a good-quality full-suspension bike with disc brakes; you get what you pay for--longer-lasting components, smoother-shifting front & rear derailleurs, better brakes, lighter frame, and so on.
>
> --Alex
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Patrick Haskell [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 09:47 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [SKIVT-L] OT - MTB info needed
>
> What Jim said. Get some slicks and maybe some lighter wheels for your cross bike, and you'll have a nicer road bike for cheap. Then get a CC full-supspension with discs that fits you well. You won't regret it. Figure out your price point, and I'm sure you can get lots of recommendations for bikes to try for fit.
>
> - Patrick
>
>
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Jumpin_Jimmy <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Monday, August 18, 2008 8:16:35 AM
> Subject: Re: [SKIVT-L] OT - MTB info needed
>
> Hey Denis,
> My 2 cents: Keep the cross bike for road riding. You won't get anything for it if you sell it, so
> make it a dedicated road rig. As far as the mtb, buy a full sus rig with disks. The benefit of
> the suspension is that your back and internal organs get a big rest from jarring motions on a
> hardtail--and your traction climbing is improved as the rear wheel stays contacted more with
> the ground. Plus, it is fun to feel that sus thing soak up stuff! The disks are a huge
> improvement too--rarely need servicing and the bike handles soooo much better--something
> to do with the brake action closer to the hub instead of on the outside rim. Make sure you
> get a Cross country type bike. These are lighter, have less travel, but climb and road ride
> better. Oh, my Santa Cruz Superlight has a little lockout switch on the rear shock--so when i
> hit pavement or a dteep dirt road climb, I just reach down while riding, flip it, and presto--a
> hardtail. Pass the other dudes, then flip it back for the drop. As far as money...maybe 1500
> -2000 would be my guess,
> JJ
>
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George Bakos <[log in to unmask]>
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