Advice needed: Buying new mountain bike (full-suspension)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Rower_CPU, May 5, 2004.

  1. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #1
    OK, all you singletrack demons, downhill maniacs and cross-country whirlwinds, I need some buying advice.

    I'm getting into mountain biking and have been using a crappy Costco hardtail for about 2 months now and I'm itching to get something better. I want full-suspension with a decent spec at no more than $1,000.

    A couple of bikes I've heard good things about and am looking into are the Giant Warp DS1 and the Jamis Dakar Sport.

    I'm a big guy (6'4", 240lbs), so it needs to support me, and I don't want to be bobbing all over the place on a too-soft suspension when I'm climbing. I've checked out places like MTBReview and gotten a good idea of what's out there in my price range, but I wanted to get some first hand feedback from folks, too.

    I'm looking forward to your recommendations. :)
     
  2. jeffy.dee-lux macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    Location:
    montreal
    #2
    If you wanna be climbing with this thing, i'm guessing you're not an all out downhill guy. If you sacrifice the full suspension, you could probably get a much better bike for the money. I know how nice it is to hop on a dualie, my hardtail bounces around a lot on some of those sketchy steep boulder sections, while a full suspension just soaks it up. But when it comes to anything uphill, its so nice to feel that solid rear wheel just digging in. I think riding a hardtail makes you a better rider too, i wanna keep riding like this for a while before i make the switch eventually, even then, i always wanna keep a hard tail.
    I don't know much about other bike companies, i dunno why... but kona's got a pretty sweet ride aimed at bigger riders, called the Hoss, or the Hoss Dee-Lux (haha, at last my macrumors name is explained...) with better components. check it out:
    http://www.konaworld.com/2k4bikes/2k4_hoss_dlx.cfm
    they've got a link to a review to the right of the picture, written by a guy with about the same dimensions as you.

    Personally, i'd either get a sweet hardtail like that, or wait till i've got more like 2 grand to blow on a dualie. of course than i realize i'm thinking in canadian $'s, crazy country. whatever, you get the idea. I've got a friend who got a sweet deal on a used Kona Stinky from a hill that rents bikes, that's always another option.
    Anyways, hope you find something that suits you. good luck.
     
  3. Rower_CPU thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #3
    Thanks for the feedback!

    You're right, I'm not an all out downhiller - and I'm going to have the chance to ride my friend's full-suspension a bit more before I make my final choice. And you're right - a nice, light hardtail feels great on the climbs.

    I know that Konas are great bikes, and I'm glad to hear that they're good for guys my size, so I'll check out that article. :)
     
  4. MacAficionado macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2002
    Location:
    An awesome place
    #4
    I ride a Marin Alpine trail for a few years now and it has been awesome. I'm 6'1" and it is very confortable. It is of course a dual suspension and because of it's rear suspension design it is really good for uphill. I guess when you start pedaling uphill it makes the suspension fold downward from the back, making it ideal for climbing.

    http://www.marinbikes.com/html/spec_04_alpine_taraquad.html


    I do have the previous model, but the rear suspension is similarly designed and I bet this one would be a great cross country bike. Just a thought.


    Funny I see this thread today, I have plans to go to Oleta River Park here in Miami tomorrow morning for some mountain biking.

    Have fun, it is great.

    :p
     
  5. JonGraves macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle WA, USA
    #5
    Hey Rower, I also think you will be hard-pressed to find a full suspension bike with decent components at that price point. As a 'Clydesdale' (hope you are not offended by that term!) you will be putting some stress on the frame and the components. Get a reliable hardtail with a decent wheelset and it will serve you well for longer.

    Jon
     
  6. Rower_CPU thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #6
    Not offended at all - I've always embraced my size and the pros/cons that go with it.

    Hell, aren't I practically a rhino at over 250? :p
     
  7. baby duck monge macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2003
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    #7
    here's another vote for a hardtail.

    i have a full suspension ride for just screwing around (and to get a little bit of a workout), but when it comes time for a long ride or a race, it's hardtail all the way.

    at that price, you can get a pretty decent frame with some not-too-bad components. then if you like it, you can upgrade the parts a few at a time while still having the same basically nice frame (sounds like a computer, eh?). the quality (and weight) of the dual-sus at the price are going to be much worse, so upgrading in the future would be less desirable (and let's face it - you're not going to want the extra weight on the bike, especially uphill). :cool:

    when i am finished with a project i'm working on, i'll try to look up some hardtails in your range.
     
  8. telecomm macrumors 65816

    telecomm

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Location:
    Rome
    #8
    There's a review of the Kona Hoss Dee-Lux in the June issue of Mountain Bike Action. It got a good review, and it's built for 200 lbs. + riders (as noted by jeffy.dee-lux).
     
  9. MoparShaha macrumors 68000

    MoparShaha

    Joined:
    May 15, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #9
    I'm going to have to agree with everyone else here. You're only going to get a so-so full suspension bike for a grand. And from my experience as a mountain biker of ten years, unless you're going down vertical cliffs, you'll almost always going to be happier with a hard tail. Like jeffy.dee-lux said, they are far more satisfying when climbing. Full suspension bikes are very appealing because they look so sexy, but it's just eye candy. Trust me, I've been there. The temptation is great, but you always come home to the good ol' hard tail.

    Personally, I'm a Gary Fisher man. Take a look at the Gary Fisher Big Sur (under Genisis hardtails, sorry, their site uses session cookies). I'm actually looking to purchase it myself, and test rode it a few weeks back. I also like Specialized bikes. Despite their "corporate" image, they are probably the best climbing hard tails I've come across. Check out their website and look at the Stumpjumper (again, session cookies). Anyways, I know both of these bikes are a hair above a grand, but believe me, they're worth it. The difference in frame/components with the lower models is big. Anyways, after riding around on a Costco bike (Yugo :eek: ), you deserve to move up to a BMW :).
     
  10. Mudbug Administrator emeritus

    Mudbug

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2002
    Location:
    North Central Colorado
    #10
    I've got to agree with the Specialized recommendation - before I hurt my back, I did quite a bit of riding, on a myriad of equipment - Giant, Cannondale (not worth the $$), and Specialized. After owning a Stumpjumper FSR, a Stumpjumper M2 (dunno if they still make it, but if they do - best bike EVAR) and a RockHopper, which was my daily college campus rider. I still have the RockHopper, and it to this day is quite a piece of machinery. My build is not unlike yours - 6'1", 220 (also a clydesdale) and it's taken every lick I've dished out.

    As for what equipment on the frame, I'm afraid I'm too far out of touch with the sport to know - but I always liked air/oil mix forks better than elastomers. They offer more of a cushioned "motorcycle fork" feel, as opposed to regular old impact eaters.
     
  11. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    sitting on your shoulder
    #11
    'Nother clydesdale here :D

    I bought a Schwinn Moab 2 (2k1). With shoes and tax, it ended up at $1070.xx

    Mountain Bike did a review of the 2k2 Moab Disc, which I can't seem to find at the moment, but they did like it. However, I did find this. It seems pretty close, and the weight is only a little more than my bike, so it should be just fine for you.
     
  12. Rower_CPU thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #12
    Thanks for all the replies folks - glad to hear the experiences of some fellow big guys, and pointers to good reviews. :)

    Looks like I've got my homework cut out for me. Good thing the semester is almost over. ;)
     
  13. idkew macrumors 68020

    idkew

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2001
    Location:
    where the concrete to dirt ratio is better
    #13
    i don't think you can get a quality full suspension bike for 1 grand. you can barely get a front suspension bike that is worth anything for 1 grand.

    my advice: get the highest quality parts you can afford. if this means a hardtail, get a hardtail.
     
  14. rdowns Suspended

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #14
    All good advice but I'd wait for the G5 Mountain Bike update that is long overdue. Maybe Tuesday?
     
  15. beria macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    #15
    Kona Rules

    Having worked as mechanic in a bike shop myself I truly recommend the Kona Hoss!!! Great Frame and sensible component package at a relatively low price point. I don´t know if it is sold with hydraulic Hayes brakes in the US, but in Europe it is. If you want a slightly better component package get the Hoss Deluxe (not much more $$$). Eitherway get one of those bikes, you´ll be happy!
    Beria
     
  16. Mac|Photo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Location:
    MI
    #16
    Kona all the way :D

    First off, the term "Specialized" and "best bike EVAR" (I love the EVAR) should never be used in the same paragraph, let alone same sentence IMOO. I am Kona all the way, and I was forced to sell plenty of Spec.s and Giants along the way, but Kona is simply amazing.

    I can't give you firsthand experiences as I am not in your weightclass (I am only 5'10", 165 :p ), but my Kona Explosif (Platinum OX Purified Steel, STEEL BABY!) is the only way to ride. I know that a shop-mate of mine, a larger than I guy, purchased a Kona Stuff, but that is a more freeride bike, not light and fast, but tough. The Giant Rainer, if its still made, is nicely equipped and cost effective, as all Giants are.
    For dual-sus, I agree with the Fisher comment. Gary Fisher's "Sugar" lineup is amazing, and everyone I know who rides that bike loves it, however its not in the pricepoint.

    Best thing for you, as long as your back is in good shape, grab the hardtail, and make sure you get a worthy frame! Components can get broken and changed very easily, your frame has to hold up and endure the longhall, so invest in that and then dump 50-100 on parts every once in a while to get it up to a better groupo if you feel thats neccesary. My vote is Kona all the way!

    Moment of brag, because I live in bikes and suck at Macs right now :p :
    2k1 Kona Explosif Platinum OX Steel Frame, RockShoxs Sid Black Box Carbon Race, Full XTR group, everywhere!, currently riding (save my soul!) Specialized S-works pro wheelset on loan til my tubless mavic-rimmed ChrisKing hubbed wheels are built up :), carbon everywhere - Easton Ultralite SL handlebar and Ultralite Seatpost, Time pedals all the way!, and Sidi Action SRS 2 shoes, like porno for your feet, simply glorious!....ok, thanks for that, I feel accomplished for the day, sorry if that bored you all
     
  17. kbonnel macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    Location:
    In a nice place..
    #17
    If you look around you can probably find a 2003 suspension bike for 1k. I bought my 2003 Gary Fisher Sugar 3+ last september for 1.2k. It is an awesome bike, and I just love the full suspension. I does take a little getting use to, and climbing hills can be weird (until you get the use to how your suspension reacts to you). I too am a big guy (5'11" 220), so I give my suspension a serious workout. It comes with decent components, but I really got it for the frame. It gives me the option to get the components I want when I can. (so far upgraded to disc's, XT cassette, XT hubs). I used a hard tail for many years, and I still like them. I think that some people (like me) just love full suspension, and some people don't. Of course, I like going up the hill, just so I can go back down :)

    Kimo
     
  18. Mac|Photo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Location:
    MI
    #18
    Follow Kimo's example

    I think that its worth noting, incase you do look at Fisher Sugars, that all the frames are the same, with the exception of the Sugar 1 and Sugar Race (check me on that) which have carbon fiber rear stays, other than that, the geometry of the bikes is all equal, so if you can find a lower end Sugar (but they all still rock!), its a GREAT investment of frame, as stated by Kimo above, and you really don't have to do much to them, unless your a weight-wheeny like myself...then you have to order your Ti bolts set and such :p (which I have not done because thats $450 to outfit my entire bike :( )
     
  19. beria macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    #19
    Coiler

    What I forgot to mention in my earlier post is that if you really would like to go full suspention you should consider the Kona Coiler as well. The bike should take a lot of abuse since it is build for light to intermediate Freeride (5´´of coil shock travel front & rear). I would not go for a Specialized, a few years ago they were great (early enduros with tubed frame not the Hydrafoil thing), but now I think they are build too weak (at least the Enduros) and are more expensive (in most cases) in comparison .
    Beria
     
  20. Mac|Photo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Location:
    MI
    #20
    Coilover Rear Shock for CC use

    Unless you are a downhill rider, which you stated you are not, I would shy away from the coilover rear shocks. They do provide longer travel, however they weigh significantly more, and are much bouncier, using either linear or progressieve rate springs. The bikes that you find coils on stock usually are meant for freeriding or downhill / bighit, so if you plan to crosscountry ride at all, stick to a nice air/oil rear, you will be much happier IMOO :p
     
  21. Rower_CPU thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #21
    Well, I finally bought the bike!

    I took advantage of the Memorial Day sales this weekend and went and test rode about 15 bikes before making my final decision: '04 Jamis Dakar Sport.

    I was lucky enough to get ahold of one of the more wrenchmonkey oriented sales people at Performance and he really helped on tuning the shocks in for a guy my size. The ride is great on this thing and I only have one major issue - the handlebar is too narrow for a guy my size, so I'll be switching that out ASAP. The Deore shifters/derailleurs are OK for now, but will probably see an upgrade soon. Same with the wheels - I'm checking out tossing some RhynoLites on their.

    Oh yeah, it was only $900 - plus there's a 90-day guarantee, so if the price drops before September, I can get the difference. On top of that, Performance gives you back $10 for every $100 you spend, if you're a member ($20 annual fee), so I'll get back a chunk of change to go towards getting a pair of clip shoes. :)

    I'll post some porn...I mean pictures, later. :p
     
  22. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    Gone but not forgotten.
    #22
    That's great!

    Here, I was looking up to Deore parts for my hybrid bike and now you're telling me that they're less than satisfactory. Oh well, so is my hybrid. Is it any wonder that I love my Kona more? ;)
     
  23. Rower_CPU thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #23
    Not dissing Deore stuff, just that some other bikes in my range had LX or XT in the rear - but I feel it was worth investing in the frame and suspension and then upgrading other stuff later. :)
     
  24. live4ever macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Location:
    Thunder Bay, ON
    #24
    Nice ride you got there.

    If I would've seen the thread earlier I would've suggested a Santa Cruz, I have had a Chameleon (hard-tail) for the past 5-6 years and it's been rock solid. They make some awesome FS bike too.

    http://www.santacruzmtb.com/bicycles/chameleon.php

    And I plan to buy a Roadster maybe next summer.
     
  25. jeffy.dee-lux macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    Location:
    montreal
    #25
    congratulations buddy
    man, ever since you first posted a couple weeks or months ago, i've been seriously looking at getting a completely new bike. I look at how much money i've put into my bike, part by part, and then i look at that Hoss at the bike shop for 999$ canadian... I'm 6'1" and 185 lbs, so i guess i'm at the lower end of that clydesdale range. But like beria said, it seems to have a very nice component set up for the price, on top of what looks like quite a durable frame. Although Mac|Photo said it, steel rules! With aluminum, every cycle of a cyclic loading reduces the maximum load the material can take, up to the point that you could sit on the bike and break it... there's no limit to aluminums fatigue, it just gets worse and worse. With steel, after a certain point, it doesn't get any worse. So it has basically an infinite life span if you don't surpass that maximum load.

    But yeah, i've put about 1000 bucks or 1200 or something like that into my once $500 bike. i like to call it, the hahanah dee-lux... hahaha
    not quite as impressive as mac|photo:

    marzochi 5-inch z5, rhyno lite rim with deore hub and tioga somethingorother in the rear, mavic x222 with deore disc and specialized somethingorother up front, LX crankset with splined bracket, kona jack sh-t pedals, kona thumb seat post with sdg something or other saddle off a nu nu, profile design riser (flashy gold), avid sd-5 brake levers... with the original tektro brakes.... and, oh baby, acera shifters and derailers! (i wrote 'XTR' with a black marker on the rear derailer, its pretty ridiculous)

    So yeah, time to finally upgrade my drive train, i've treated this one well, but its finally starting to give up on me. The brakes, i've always been super impressed with, but soon i will get maybe an avid mech disc up front, and maybe an sd-5 set up or something for the back. Oh yeah, and i gotta get a new stem... i just don't trust that thing, so long and skinny.
    I'll prolly end up buying a new frame some time, since i've put so much money into all these parts. It'd be pretty rediculous to get a completely new bike. Although i'll prolly take the step into full suspension in a couple years.
     

Share This Page