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Thinking about a Rock Lobster

zerolightzerolight Posts: 155
edited April 2009 in MTB buying advice
Hi Guys, Forum Newbie here.

I'm thinking of buying a bike. It's been about 6 years since I've ridden, with the last bike being a medium (18") Gary Fisher Sugar 2 Full Susser. I'm looking at the Rock Lobster, at the moment. I think I've missed the boat with my companies cyclescheme for another year thanks to procrastination. Anyway, I see that Merlin do some interest free options, so that might save me.

Few questions if you guys can help.

1. What size would you recommend - I'm 6ft, 34" inside leg, and was comfortable on the medium Sugar 2. I found the 19" Orange P7 slightly big, and the 20" Rock Hopper I had before that too big. I'm guessing the 19" Rock Lobster is probably about right, with the 17" being too small, or should I really be looking at the 17"?

2. How does the SLX and XT stuff compare with say a mix of SRAM X0 rear mech, X9 triggers, front mech, SRAM Cassette, etc? It's been a really long time since I kept up with what was good, but it seems like the Avid Elixr R's are a nice set of brakes, with the X9/X0 providing a nice set of gears?

I'd likely leave the rest of the spec as Merlin's default - Rock Lobster Tig Team SL 09 frame in matt black, Race Face Evolve XC finishing kit, Mavic Factory Crossride Disc wheels, Rock Shocks Reba Race Forks, basically the spec on their website. So it's either Full XT, Full SLX, or the Avid/SRAM stuff.

Thoughts? I'm looking to go hard tail this time. Other bikes I'd certainly consider if you have opinions, though the interest free finance is a requirement given I've missed out on cyclescheme. Merlin win here, and their Rock Lobster looks rather nice, as have the few I've seen on this forum. I quite like the Boardman Pro (though I've never ridden it) but may be put off by the racier riding position - and the fact it's not interest free. I like Kona's too. And the new Marin's look quite nice. It just seems like you can get a really great spec Rock Lobster for around £1100 though.

Thanks for reading.
Santa Cruz Hightower
Cannondale Supersix Evo Disc
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Posts

  • pdidpdid Posts: 1,065
    Get one they're excellent.

    If I were buying now I'd get slx and upgrade fork to Reba team.

    You'll definately want the 19"
  • adb1006adb1006 Posts: 938
    ^^^ i'll second the excellent bit! They're great bikes. Very sturdy and suprisingly light too. Great value for money, and pretty rare compared to makes such as Specialized.

    With regards to sizing, i'm a short-censored at 5'8" - 5'9" and went for the 17" which is perfect for me. So i'd say you'll definitely need at least the 19".

    I'd agree with PDID with repsect to the Team fork - the 09 model gets their new fandangled "black box" unit i believe which is supposed to be a good upgrade over the Race.

    SLX is supposed to be a decent groupset for the dosh too but i very much doubt it compares to the performance of either XT or the SRAM X0/X9 mix as you mention. Personally i'd go for the SRAM as that's what i prefer - you'll find most people tend to be in either the shimano camp or the SRAM camp. Shimano supposedly gives smoother, slicker shifting, whereas SRAM feels more direct and clunky - neither is "better" than the other, it's really just down to personal preference. I'm in the SRAM camp (which you can see if you click the link in my sig :) ) One thing i will add though is that the X0 shifter are a fookin' rip-off - you're best to stick with the X9's IMO and put the extra towards the fork - X0 is just carbon-dressed-up X9 at a huge price difference.
  • zerolightzerolight Posts: 155
    Cheers guys. I've mailed Merlin to ask them about specs and prices, and finance. We'll see what the figures look like when they come back, and perhaps i'll push the fork up to a team too. :)
    Santa Cruz Hightower
    Cannondale Supersix Evo Disc
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    I'd also try and get the wheels changed to a set of their handbuilts, which are properly good, and the spares are much easier to get hold of.
  • zerolightzerolight Posts: 155
    pdid wrote:
    Get one they're excellent.

    If I were buying now I'd get slx and upgrade fork to Reba team.

    You'll definately want the 19"

    What size of frame is that you've got in your sig. Trying to gauge. Did you spec the basic bike, full xt, reba race?

    How do you like the race forks, I know you said you'd like to have the team, but if my budget didn't stretch that far, are the race forks nice? What about the XT kit? How does it perform. particularly the brakes?
    Santa Cruz Hightower
    Cannondale Supersix Evo Disc
  • zerolightzerolight Posts: 155
    adb1006 wrote:
    ^^^ i'll second the excellent bit! They're great bikes. Very sturdy and suprisingly light too. Great value for money, and pretty rare compared to makes such as Specialized.

    With regards to sizing, i'm a short-ars* at 5'8" - 5'9" and went for the 17" which is perfect for me. So i'd say you'll definitely need at least the 19".

    I'd agree with PDID with repsect to the Team fork - the 09 model gets their new fandangled "black box" unit i believe which is supposed to be a good upgrade over the Race.

    SLX is supposed to be a decent groupset for the dosh too but i very much doubt it compares to the performance of either XT or the SRAM X0/X9 mix as you mention. Personally i'd go for the SRAM as that's what i prefer - you'll find most people tend to be in either the shimano camp or the SRAM camp. Shimano supposedly gives smoother, slicker shifting, whereas SRAM feels more direct and clunky - neither is "better" than the other, it's really just down to personal preference. I'm in the SRAM camp (which you can see if you click the link in my sig :) ) One thing i will add though is that the X0 shifter are a fookin' rip-off - you're best to stick with the X9's IMO and put the extra towards the fork - X0 is just carbon-dressed-up X9 at a huge price difference.

    OK. So I missed that bit. You reckon, ditch the idea of X0 anything, and just for a full X9 set then? Your bike is damn nice by the way. It was that, which through me towards merlin in the first place. What size of frame is yours, looks quite dinky? Is it a 15"?
    Santa Cruz Hightower
    Cannondale Supersix Evo Disc
  • adb1006adb1006 Posts: 938
    I believe PDID's is a 17", as is mine. Also, his forks are the 2008 models (as are mine). There's very little, if anything, between the 2008 Race and Teams, it's the 2009 ones that see a noted improvement between the two models, as i think the Teams have the Black Box damping whereas the Race do not (although i could be mistaken).
    The Reba's are lovely forks - nice and light and totally tuneable to your weight via the +/- air valves. Also have lockout which is handy if you ever do much road riding.

    The frame does look small in the pics but it doesn't feel it - i'd say you'd be absolutely fine on a 19". If you do feel a little cramped, a longer stem and bit of saddle adjustment would always solve that! I have the Rock Lobster geometry somewhere - PM me if you'd like me to email it to you.

    Personally, i'd have X0 everyday if money wasn't an option - but i wouldn't spend my hard-earned on it when the difference could be better invested elsewhere in the build. X9 is just as good shifting, it just weighs slightly more. I can tell you though that the X9 shifters are very nice indeed. I upgraded my X5's to them recently and they are a huge improvement. I'll upgrade the rear mech from X7 as and when it breaks (although there's nothing at all wrong with it!).
  • zerolightzerolight Posts: 155
    adb1006 wrote:

    The frame does look small in the pics but it doesn't feel it - i'd say you'd be absolutely fine on a 19". If you do feel a little cramped, a longer stem and bit of saddle adjustment would always solve that! I have the Rock Lobster geometry somewhere - PM me if you'd like me to email it to you..

    Cheers for the advice. I have to admit, I'm more worried that the 19" would feel too big. However you're slowly convincing me that isn't a worry.
    Santa Cruz Hightower
    Cannondale Supersix Evo Disc
  • adb1006adb1006 Posts: 938
    zerolight wrote:
    Cheers for the advice. I have to admit, I'm more worried that the 19" would feel too big. However you're slowly convincing me that isn't a worry.

    Like i said, PM me your email address and i'll email you the geometry - has things like standover height etc so you can assess for yourself. 8)
  • pdidpdid Posts: 1,065
    ^^^ adb is correct, mines a 17" I'm 5'10 with a 32 inside leg.

    I'll second everything else he said, apart from SRAM as I'm a shimano man :lol:
  • adb1006adb1006 Posts: 938
  • dunkerdunker Posts: 1,503
    instead of the x0 stuff get x9 and have the rear wheel built with a dt swiss 240s hub.
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,425
    Just to confuse things.... I'm about 5'9'' with 31 inside leg and I went for the 15'' frame - the fit was fine. Found the ride rather harsh but this could be related to the size I guess. Great value bikes.

    Why don't you phone the shop to see what they've got in, go ride a couple of bikes, pick one, buy it, continue up the M6 in your car for half an hour to Kendal, ride around the Lakes like a Lune for three hours and go home? You could make a weekend of it. Or you could do Lee quarry in Bacup - it's not so far either.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • zerolightzerolight Posts: 155
    passout wrote:
    Why don't you phone the shop to see what they've got in, go ride a couple of bikes, pick one, buy it, continue up the M6 in your car for half an hour to Kendal, ride around the Lakes like a Lune for three hours and go home? You could make a weekend of it. Or you could do Lee quarry in Bacup - it's not so far either.

    Hehe. You obviously don't have two very young kids. My oldest, is getting a bike for his 4th birthday, which has been my excuse to get something to follow him around on, and perhaps get fit when i can grab some time, joining my work mates for the odd weekend run on the trails. Taking a weekend out to visit Merlin would get me shot. :)
    Santa Cruz Hightower
    Cannondale Supersix Evo Disc
  • boy on bikeboy on bike Posts: 139
    edited March 2009
    Do Merlin offer the SRAM kit as standard? I could only see the ShimaNO versions on thier website... I too have a completely unreasonable preference for SRAM over Shimano and would get an SRAM-equipped bike if possible...
  • zerolightzerolight Posts: 155
    I think they'll build you anything you want.
    Santa Cruz Hightower
    Cannondale Supersix Evo Disc
  • I'd also try and get the wheels changed to a set of their handbuilts, which are properly good, and the spares are much easier to get hold of.
    +1 for the wheel choice.
    Love mine!
    (19" frame with a 90mm stem and I'm 6'2")
    *Rock Lobster Team Tig SL (22lb 14oz)
    *C. Late 1950's Fixed Gear
    *1940 Raleigh Dawn Tourist with rod brakes
  • I have always preferred Sram, but the value of the Lobster convinced me to try Shimano. I've got a 2008 853, which came with XT as standard. I can't really fault the XT stuff, okay it's different and I might switch back to Sram when things wear out, but I'm not ditching it for the sake of it.
    Northwind wrote: It's like I covered it in superglue and rode it through ebay.
  • zerolightzerolight Posts: 155
    I think perhaps I should go for the basic SLX / Reba Race combination, 19" bike, shorter stem. I can always upgrade the gears once they burn out. Recession means I really shouldn't be pushing the boat out.
    Santa Cruz Hightower
    Cannondale Supersix Evo Disc
  • adb1006adb1006 Posts: 938
    SLX and Reba Race aint to be sniffed at mate - that's still a pretty good set-up by all accounts. I would go for a 100mm-110mm stem though.
  • pdidpdid Posts: 1,065
    90mm stem was fine for me. It's personel preference though.
  • adb1006adb1006 Posts: 938
    pdid wrote:
    90mm stem was fine for me. It's personel preference though.

    That one in your sig looks much bigger than a 90mm mate - are you sure that's what it is? If that is a 90mm then i've been stitched when i ordered my Deus XC as it's a lot shorter than yours!
  • pdidpdid Posts: 1,065
    Definately 90mm, or it's exactly the same length as the 90mm deus stem I took off the Meta. That was definately 90mm as it is stamped inside the faceplate.
  • adb1006adb1006 Posts: 938
    Hhmmm - that's got me thinking!!! I reckon i've been sent the wrong size stem then as i ordered a 90mm. You can see if you compare our two bikes, mine seems a lot shorter than yours. I'll whip the bars off tonight and have a look inside the faceplate, see if i can find the size stamp.
  • pdidpdid Posts: 1,065
    Your right, yours looks much shorter in the pics. If it's the new style Deus, the length will be stamped, not sure on the older style ( like the one on my Lobster) as I've never removed my bars.

    They put the wrong stem on mine initially, but it was an evolve rather than a deus so a little more obvious.
  • zerolightzerolight Posts: 155
    Yeah, let me know what size you are running. I email Paul Sadoff or Rock Lobster and asked him to recommend me a frame size as I usually like 18" bikes, and was worried that the 19" might be a bit big. His suggestion was as below, so I figured a 19" with a shorter stem would be about right. I guess I could try the 90 and if it's too big, it's not an expensive change.
    I guess you are right between sizes. Your choice should be governed by what kind of riding you think you'll be doing most of the time. If it will be long cross country rides I would opt for the larger frame for a more upright position, longer top tube, etc. If you like shorter rides, lots of drop-offs and quick manuvering , the smaller frame would be easier to throw around. The larger frame will allow you to run a shorter stem , probably a good thing , maybe a more secure feeling position for any steep decending.

    ps. surely if you measure from the center of the headset to the centre of the bars, that'll give you your length. Certainly, accurately enough to tell you if it's a 70mm vs 90mm.
    Santa Cruz Hightower
    Cannondale Supersix Evo Disc
  • pdidpdid Posts: 1,065
    zerolight wrote:

    ps. surely if you measure from the center of the headset to the centre of the bars, that'll give you your length. Certainly, accurately enough to tell you if it's a 70mm vs 90mm.

    Yeah, always knew that mine was either 90 or 100mm, it's the 10mm that's difficult to pinpoint. It's only when I compared to the Meta's stem that I could be confident of 90mm.
  • adb1006adb1006 Posts: 938
    It certainly looks like it is probably a 70mm. PDID - can you remember i said it felt a bit cramped and probably needed a longer stem when i first built it? hhmmm, what to get though - do i go with another RF or possibly a Hope, or a Thomson to match the seatpost??? I quite like the Ritchey stuff but my riding buddy has that and i don't want us to look like a couple of gayers!
  • turpinrturpinr Posts: 255
    i'd go for the 19" if i were you.i'm a couple of inches shorter and have 19" but think i could have got 17"
    i have a 110mm stem on mine but i like the position anyway.
    my bike came with hope brakes and XT components and while i'm happy with the brakes i've never been pleased with the mechs and chainrings and will replace the mechs with SLX or DEORE
  • adb1006adb1006 Posts: 938
    turpinr wrote:
    i'd go for the 19" if i were you.i'm a couple of inches shorter and have 19" but think i could have got 17"
    i have a 110mm stem on mine but i like the position anyway.
    my bike came with hope brakes and XT components and while i'm happy with the brakes i've never been pleased with the mechs and chainrings and will replace the mechs with SLX or DEORE

    You want to replace XT mechs with SLX or Deore? I'm sure there's a few on here that will swap with you!
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