WHAT BIKE 2008

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  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Anything 7 or 21 spd. Infact, here is a copy of my budget bike guide:


    One of the most common questions from beginners on a budget is 'how much shall I spend' or 'what is the minimum I should be looking at'? The componentry levels on bikes are often confusing to many, where certain parts can look very similar from one to another but yet can have a big impact on performance and longevity. The most important factor is fit and comfort which is where testing comes in, but this does not always give a full picture of the bike and how it may last.

    I think for general mountain biking, the following features should be considered: (aimed at buyers spending less than 250 quid)

    - Alloy hardtail frame. Full suspension at the lower end of the market (sub 300 and even upto 500 quid) is heavily compromised. Its very heavy, undamped, poor bearings and pulls down the spec elsewhere. Steel frames at this level are often mild steel and are 2 or 3 pounds heavier than an alloy frame.

    - Suspension fork with alloy crown and one piece lowers. Cheap pressed steel lowers and crowns flex badly. Preload adjusters are a good feature to help set sag and ride height for differing weights.

    - Compact crankset (42/32/22). Many entry level bikes have larger chainrings (48/38/2 from cheaper groupsets. This doesn't allow a very low gear and is often over geared for the terrain a MTB will be used on. Replacable chainrings are a bonus.

    - 8 speed freehub. 8 gears from a cassette and freehub gives a better spread than some 7spd screw on freewheels, often 11-32 teeth rather than 14-28. Also this allows the bearings to be spaced further in the hub, allowing a stronger rear wheel/axle. Shimano make the best budget 8 speed set ups.

    - Cartridge bottom bracket. Old adjustable cup and cone bottom brackets are poorly sealed and are prone to coming loose.

    - 32 or 36 spoked wheels. Lots of beginners MTBs are coming with fancy 'paired' spokes, or 24 bladed ones, purely for looks. They use heavy rims, are poorly constructed and are not worth it compared to standard wheels. Look for stainless spokes if possible, and sealed alloy hubs with quick release axles.

    - Alloy components. If possible, ask about the seatpost and bars. Alloy units save some weight, and are more comfortable.

    - Brakes and levers. Make sure the levers aren't plastic as they flex badly. Cable disc brakes stop better in the wet but usually add cost. Don't go for discs over other essential features.

    - Aheadset or threadless headset. Much better bearings and more reliable than the older quill stem and threaded headset.

    Many bikes for 200 pounds now have all these features! Don't be afraid to ask for a saddle swap if they are uncomfortable, and enquire about the quality of the tyres..
  • Awesome, thanks 8)

    It helps to go into these places a little more aware of what they are talking about, and armed with questions about spec etc to keep the sales guys on their toes :wink:
    Newbie with a Felt Q720

    A day where you don't learn something is a waste...
  • supersonic wrote:
    Anything 7 or 21 spd. Infact, here is a copy of my budget bike guide:


    One of the most common questions from beginners on a budget is 'how much shall I spend' or 'what is the minimum I should be looking at'? The componentry levels on bikes are often confusing to many, where certain parts can look very similar from one to another but yet can have a big impact on performance and longevity. The most important factor is fit and comfort which is where testing comes in, but this does not always give a full picture of the bike and how it may last.

    I think for general mountain biking, the following features should be considered: (aimed at buyers spending less than 250 quid)

    - Alloy hardtail frame. Full suspension at the lower end of the market (sub 300 and even upto 500 quid) is heavily compromised. Its very heavy, undamped, poor bearings and pulls down the spec elsewhere. Steel frames at this level are often mild steel and are 2 or 3 pounds heavier than an alloy frame.

    - Suspension fork with alloy crown and one piece lowers. Cheap pressed steel lowers and crowns flex badly. Preload adjusters are a good feature to help set sag and ride height for differing weights.

    - Compact crankset (42/32/22). Many entry level bikes have larger chainrings (48/38/2 from cheaper groupsets. This doesn't allow a very low gear and is often over geared for the terrain a MTB will be used on. Replacable chainrings are a bonus.

    - 8 speed freehub. 8 gears from a cassette and freehub gives a better spread than some 7spd screw on freewheels, often 11-32 teeth rather than 14-28. Also this allows the bearings to be spaced further in the hub, allowing a stronger rear wheel/axle. Shimano make the best budget 8 speed set ups.

    - Cartridge bottom bracket. Old adjustable cup and cone bottom brackets are poorly sealed and are prone to coming loose.

    - 32 or 36 spoked wheels. Lots of beginners MTBs are coming with fancy 'paired' spokes, or 24 bladed ones, purely for looks. They use heavy rims, are poorly constructed and are not worth it compared to standard wheels. Look for stainless spokes if possible, and sealed alloy hubs with quick release axles.

    - Alloy components. If possible, ask about the seatpost and bars. Alloy units save some weight, and are more comfortable.

    - Brakes and levers. Make sure the levers aren't plastic as they flex badly. Cable disc brakes stop better in the wet but usually add cost. Don't go for discs over other essential features.

    - Aheadset or threadless headset. Much better bearings and more reliable than the older quill stem and threaded headset.

    Many bikes for 200 pounds now have all these features! Don't be afraid to ask for a saddle swap if they are uncomfortable, and enquire about the quality of the tyres..
    This list's bad points just about encompass my current bike spec :oops:

    Evans tonight hopefully, and the dawn of a new era :wink:
    Newbie with a Felt Q720

    A day where you don't learn something is a waste...
  • grennogrenno Posts: 6
    So is there much between the GT aggressor xc.3 and the carerra vulcan. I've never heard of SRAM, but they seem to get good comments elsewhere. I am a rider that rides light xc ish routes in the woods and on stony trails. I go quite fast downhill (with a small d), and weigh 14 stone and am 6'2". I have broken a few back wheels in my time.
  • StevencStevenc Posts: 10
    Thought i'd post this question in here instead of making a new thread.

    I'm stuck deciding between the Merida Matts trail 350-D or the Commencal Combi Disc.

    Merida has better Forks but the Commencal is cheaper!!

    Leaning towards the Merida just now.



    :? :?:
  • Stevenc wrote:
    Thought i'd post this question in here instead of making a new thread.

    I'm stuck deciding between the Merida Matts trail 350-D or the Commencal Combi Disc.

    Merida has better Forks but the Commencal is cheaper!!

    Leaning towards the Merida just now.



    :? :?:
    The Combi Disc is £375 on the Merlin Cycles website atm if it reduces the cost even more to change the forks?!

    http://www.merlincycles.co.uk/?fn=produ ... goryId=129
    Newbie with a Felt Q720

    A day where you don't learn something is a waste...
  • Could I add the 2007 Merida SUB 40D to the list. I know they make the frames for Specialized, but are the rest of the kit good enough?

    ...and who are Python?!?

    http://www.factorydirectbikes.com/bikes ... t_dd_27sp/

    Thanks again :D
    Oh, and any help would be appreciated on this question, going bike hunting tonight so want to know as much as poss about options before then :)

    Thanks again 8)
    Newbie with a Felt Q720

    A day where you don't learn something is a waste...
  • im looking at either the 2008 marin quake 7.1 or the 2008 kona stinky. any advice on those models guys? good/bad points of each etc
  • A lovely surprise arrived on the doormat this morning...a tax refund cheque from the IR! My first ever cheque FROM the Inland Revenue, it's all been a one-way street up until now :lol: ! But now means by budget may be more flexible ;)

    Am very tempted by the Scott Aspect 45. Anyone want to pass comment? Is the extra for hydraulic brakes worth it? Looks like a good frame and fork, SRAM gears, but more than that I cant say!?

    Am off out hunting in the next hour, any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

    Thanks 8)
    Newbie with a Felt Q720

    A day where you don't learn something is a waste...
  • A bit annoyed after travelling half an hour to Evans to find that they have NO stock of the bikes I was hoping for. No Hardrock Sport Disc/Tyax Elite/Merida/Aspect 45... They did have a Cannondale F6 and Felt 520. Was talked out of trying the Felt, but took the Cannondale for a spin :) was impressed with the feel, forks and especially the brakes. It was a shame that the forks didnt have a lockout, but that was probably the only down side. Would have taken it there and then if I could have compared it to the Aspect 45 that was top of my wish list. The frame is better on the Scott, but the forks/brakes and gears slightly better on the Cannondale. Which is more important? Is it worth getting the Scott and gradually upgrading it, or taking the Cannondale as is and live with the lack of lockout and heavier frame?! Or even go for something else???
    Newbie with a Felt Q720

    A day where you don't learn something is a waste...
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    If you plan to upgrade overtime, then getting a bike with the better frame is the best idea. Cannodale generally have superb frames, but it is hard to compare them sometimes. Personally I'd say the Dale was better!

    If you plan to get a bike, and just ride it, no upgrading, then you want the best all round bike, and one that feels the best.

    Are these 09 bikes you are looking at?For 08 the Scott has hydros, better than the Vs found on the Dale.


    Grenno: both excellent bikes with great components. Test them out, see what feels best, value wise both very good.
  • supersonic wrote:
    If you plan to upgrade overtime, then getting a bike with the better frame is the best idea. Cannodale generally have superb frames, but it is hard to compare them sometimes. Personally I'd say the Dale was better!

    If you plan to get a bike, and just ride it, no upgrading, then you want the best all round bike, and one that feels the best.

    Are these 09 bikes you are looking at?For 08 the Scott has hydros, better than the Vs found on the Dale.


    Grenno: both excellent bikes with great components. Test them out, see what feels best, value wise both very good.
    The Dale was an 08 spec and had Avid Juicy hydro brakes and the Scott would also be 08 but with Shimano hydros. The Dale also had RockShox Dart forks compared to the Suntour XCR on the Scott. Both with 8 on the rear. Might it be worth checking the Amasa comp, which looks to have an even higher spec, but only £10 more than the Scott/Dale?

    Decisions, decisions... :roll: :lol:
    Newbie with a Felt Q720

    A day where you don't learn something is a waste...
  • Amasa Spec:

    Brakes: Tektro Auriga comp Hydraulic disk brakes
    Cassette/Freewheel: Sram 9sp Cassette
    Chainrings: Shimano FC-M442 Chainset with Octalink BB
    Forks: Suntour X100-LO 120mm travel forks
    Frame: Flat top technologies 6061 alloy frame
    Gear Levers: SRAM SX-5 trigger shifters
    Rear Derailleur: SRAM SX-5 Rear Mech

    Any suggestions on parts quality on this? It's only £379 on Evans website, but £469 everywhere else :shock: :D
    Newbie with a Felt Q720

    A day where you don't learn something is a waste...
  • H3ndr1XH3ndr1X Posts: 91
    supersonic wrote:
    If you plan to upgrade overtime, then getting a bike with the better frame is the best idea. Cannodale generally have superb frames, but it is hard to compare them sometimes. Personally I'd say the Dale was better!

    If you plan to get a bike, and just ride it, no upgrading, then you want the best all round bike, and one that feels the best.

    Are these 09 bikes you are looking at?For 08 the Scott has hydros, better than the Vs found on the Dale.


    Grenno: both excellent bikes with great components. Test them out, see what feels best, value wise both very good.


    Supersonic, how would you rate Commencal frames? I'm looking at the combi just deciding between the delux and disk. Must say tho thanks for making the my job easier, your posts are seriously helpful.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    I've never seen one to be honest! The reviews are good, and the tubing is supposed to build into a nice light frame.

    The Deluxe has a much better fork - even if you were to buy the cheaper disc and upgrade the fork, you still have some other better components on the Deluxe.
  • H3ndr1XH3ndr1X Posts: 91
    Great thanks,
    I'm just torn between that and the rockhopper disk. Two very nice bikes very similar so Im just weighing up the pros and cons now.
  • nealgsnealgs Posts: 44
    Hi All,

    My first post i believe, and rather than adding another what MTB thread thought i'd ask for some quick help here if that's OK?

    Currently ride (now don't laugh) a Mountain Ridge Warrior 5 bar gate - that weighs in a a svelt 36-37lbs :shock: - no shocks, typicals cheapo spec MTB (cost about £75 when bought, so you get the idea)

    It's a few years old, and is starting to show it's age, so am looking at getting a decent MTB. Use is for commuting to work (either road or canal paths etc) and for various XC trails (tree root lined, mud, downhills etc) - i'm 5' 10" and about cough,cough 14st (hopefully lighter after a few months riding :) )

    Budget is max £600. Wanting something considerably lighter than current ride, front shocks, decent brakes, comforable ride. Been to LBS yesterday -(Bikes N Bits, Leeds) and was shown two Specialized rides (Hardrock at £369 and Rockhopper 2008 at £599)

    Bit of a pain that no weights for these (or most other bikes) are available - as £600 for a 1-2lb weight saving is not worth the spend - looking for at least 10%-20% (or better)weight saving on new bike (is that possible at this price range?)

    Looking at getting something sometime next week

    any help, info, experience etc greatly appreciated :)

    Sorry for long first post too

    thanks
    Gary
    Claud Butler - Olympus D2 :)
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    The Hardrocks vary a bit - ie the non disc version is just over 30lbs, the disc versions a little more.

    Some £600 bikes are lighter, but the emphasis is on better made and performing equipment. It is not until you start getting close to £1000 that the weight starts to drop. The Rockhopper is vastly superior to the Hardrock in every sense, and uses a svelte frameset.
  • nealgsnealgs Posts: 44
    cheers for feedback supersonic :)

    At the price difference between the two bikes £369 - £599, do you think the extra £230 is worth while for the Rockhopper?

    cheers again

    Gary
    Claud Butler - Olympus D2 :)
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    If you have the money - absolutely. The frame is very classy, and fork streets ahead of the one on the hardrock. There are some decent 400 quid bikes about, I just don't think the HR is one of them, while the hopper ticks all the right boxes and is superb value.
  • Hi Supersonic,

    One more question (if you don;t mind) Anything else in the same price range that matches specs of the rockhopper that you would recommend ?

    Still undecided as to whether to get a new bike or a 2nd car - hehe

    cheers
    Gary
    Claud Butler - Olympus D2 :)
  • thanks for the buying advice. it really helped me figure what bike to get for my £250 or so
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    nealgs wrote:
    Hi Supersonic,

    One more question (if you don;t mind) Anything else in the same price range that matches specs of the rockhopper that you would recommend ?

    Still undecided as to whether to get a new bike or a 2nd car - hehe

    cheers
    Gary

    Boardman Comp worth a look.
  • AmosAmos Posts: 438
    I think spesh need to up there game with the Hardrock. The 2003-2004 models were excellent for the price but the competition has caught up now and in a lot of cases surpassed them.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    I couldn't agree more. And for 2009 all are fitted with 80mm forks.
  • I've seen the light & am returning to the lovely world of MTB after a break of some years - I figured on an absolute budget of £800 for a replacement for my OLDE WORLDE 1995 DiamondBack Axis (STILL going strong even tho' she has been well raced & I've given her to the missus :wink: )......

    I'm not looking to race again (but then again !?*!) but I do still like fast fireroads/singletrack/climbing & not going mental on the jumps/drop-offs etc....In a nutshell my dilemma is WHICH ONE?? : -

    07 GT Zaskar expert (discounted like crazy :D )
    08 Merlin Malt 4 (LX)
    08 Genesis Core 30

    I'm liking the discounted Zaskar a lot (£310 off srp) & the Zaskar was the "IN" XC bike when I used to race - its a lot of bike for the money - in fact I've probably answered my own question really....I'm just after some feelgood feedback please!
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    The Zaskar is definitley the racier bike of the three, with a long top tube, and head down ride position. I'd try one out if you can. Will be a lot lighter than the Genesis too.

    MALTs are great value, but hard to test unless you visit the shop. Light and well specced.
  • Cheers supersonic...I aim to try out the Merlin & 08 version of the GT this week - I agree the Genesis is a tad weighty, noticed the Core 40 is more in the same spec/weight grade as the other two but tops out at £900 unfortunately...

    the fork on the '07 GT is a Recon 351 air unit....as good as the Reba SL on the Merlin?? Probably good enough for me to be honest (answering my own questions again haha!!!)
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    The recon is a bit stiffer, and heavier - and solo air rather than dual air. Still a good fork.
  • once again - thanks very much...

    The price saving on the GT would allow for a change of fork further down the line anyway I guess - obviously getting ahead of myself again - not talented enough to make the most of the Reba unit :wink:

    Will keep you informed!
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