New Bike Choices

edpratt Posts: 28
edited January 2010 in MTB buying advice
I've been lurking on these forums for a couple of months and now have finally got something to post!
I'm not entirely new to cycling but haven't been riding regularly for a long time.

The dilemma is this; My brother has nabbed my bike while i've been away from home for a few years, so I need to get a new one.
I've read the "What Bike" thread and got some ideas from there.

I will need the bike to cycle around day to day but would also like to be able to go on some trials and perhaps later, do some more technical riding. I spent a fairly long time looking at cyclocross bikes but I've been swayed towards an MTB as I think I'll get more use out of it in the long run, plus if i discover I'm riding more on the road, I can just buy a cheap SH cross or tourer.

I'm just over 6 foot and have been looking at 18-19-20" frames, I've read a huge amount of reviews and had a ride on a few bikes too, but there are some which I can't try out due to mail order/not available at my LBS.

I've looked at the various offerings from Giant/GT/Marin/Scott/Cube/Felt/Bianchi/Merida etc.. but none really grab me.
I'm currently most interested in the Boardman HT Team and Comp, and the Merlin Malt 4/Rock Lobster Tig Team 853

I'm also interested in building a bike but every time I try to spec something (similar to the above) out it gets silly expensive! if anyone has any suggestions i'd be more than happy to heat them.

Does anyone have any suggestions on the sizing for the Rock Lobster as the top tube seems to be fairly downward sloping in comparison to some other bikes? Also, am I missing any bikes in this sort of price range which I out to be aware of?

Anyone with direct experience of the Merlin or Rock Lobster?

Basically, i'm just a little nervous about spending a huge amount of cash and not getting the right machine :?



  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    You'll never be able to build a bike for the cost of buying new, unless you buy used parts. What you could do however is buy an older bike with a decent frame from a decent make and then swap stuff over as you see fit. Although this works out more expensive in the long run you are basically upgrading as things wear out.

    The only original parts on my bike are the stem, bars, crank, seat and chain rings. Everything else has been replaced.

    If you want the fun of a build - then buy used

    what is your budget?
  • I could stretch to 1000 I guess but it would be a big stretch and I'd probably only do it for the rock lobster, unless something better were to pop up of course :wink:

    I guess at that price im also looking at used - but mint - cove/pace etc.. too

    I'm more than happy to buy a pre-loved bike but it would have to be fairly near me so I could go and ride it first.

  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    Someone (username:Tomie?) in glasgow was selling a nearly new Specialized Rock hopper only a month old.. Have a search for his/her posts.
  • You could go for a 17.5" stiffee (ex-demo, superb condition) from Silverfish. ... r_sale.php

    You'll want to email Paul and ask for some close-ups of any damage or marks. Knowing Silverfish though, it'll probably have just been used for a couple of shows, so you'll probably be looking at nothing more than a couple of paint chips.

    If that's not your cuppa, the boardman is the lightest of the bunch (by a fair bit) and probably the most suited for day-to-day commuting with a good thrashing at the weekend.

    Don't forget the GT Aggressor Elite at Halfords, especially if you can get it on one of the frequent 20% off weekends. More travel than the others, but Outstanding value for money.

    I also recently suggested a Pinnacle Coldharbour from Evans in another similar thread. Another long travel hardtail, but Pinnacle have some of the best frames I've ridden and the level of kit on that is nothing short of amazing for the money.
  • Thanks for the help,

    I'm realy liking the look of that cove, but will 17.5" be big enough bearing in mind in just over 6 foot.
    I could equally buy the 19.5" frame and build it up, I'm not really worried too much about it being more than just buying the bike, I think I'd enjoy the build process and get more out of it in the end.

    I've not heard of pinnacle before, I'll have a good investigate of them.

    So does no one reckon the merlin/rock lobsters are worth it at this price point?


  • edpratt
    edpratt Posts: 28
    Firstly, sorry to drag this up again, I know i'm dithering! but it's a lot of money to spend.

    I've thought a bit more about how I'll be using the bike, mostly it will be recreational in trail centres to start with, and then on to bigger and better things.
    I will still have to use it to get to and from work but it's only a short ride and I don't see anything (short of a full on DH machine) being a problem for that ride.

    I'd like to eventually have a go at some north shore style stuff and so I wondered if the Rock Lobster (either the SL or 853) would be up to this? are they long enough travel?

    I guess it will still be mostly XC but I'd like something reasonably tough, I could stretch upto 1300 if I need to, but I'd rather stay around the 1000 mark if possible. I looked at building something up from a ragley bluepig or DB alpine frame but it was getting silly expensive!

    Would I be better looking full sus for this sort of use? I've looked at the boardmans, I just worry about the longevity of some of the high end componentary on the pro models

    Any suggestions?


  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    The Boardmans are definitely more XC oriented. It does sound like you need something a bit longer travel, tougher and inevitably heavier.

    No one bike can do everything, you have to compromise somewhere. I'd take a look at the GT Agressor Elite - tough frame, 140mm of travel with bolt thru axle, good components, decent price and weight. The archetypal all rounder.
  • bike-a-swan
    bike-a-swan Posts: 1,235
    rock lobster is a good bike and i'm periodically surprised by what it handles that I don't think it should, but it is still definitely a cross country bike. I have no experience of it myself, but hear the on-one is supposed to be a fair old jack of all trades-
    Rock Lobster 853, Trek 1200 and a very old, tired and loved Apollo Javelin.
  • Whyte 901 / 905?
  • Orange Crush?
  • covelove
    covelove Posts: 209
    i'd go with supersonics advise on something like the GT, that way you dont need to worry about building a bike like a stiffee or blue pig and have no change from your £1300 you also get a good capable allrounder which will handle anything you are likly to throw at it in a while.
    check out youe LBS and see what they have on offer, possibly one of last years models on the cheap :)
    does my tail look hard in this?

    cove stiffee

    orange 222
  • edpratt
    edpratt Posts: 28
    Thanks for all the replies people!

    @supersonic - That GT looks a really good spec for the money, im going to try and get down to a halfords ans try out an avalanche for size (im assuming the frames are almost identical - they look to be)

    @supemonkey - I'd love a whyte! but I think if I was going to go that far, im better waiting a couple of years and getting the 19 Ti :D I also really really liked the look of the new Pace 325.5 but it's just damned expensive, I suppose i could get the GT or Pinnacle Coldharbour 2.0 and then In a year or so do a frame swap for the pace?!!!

    @ Cat with no tail - SORRY! I completely missed the pinnacle suggestion in you post, I think it's pretty much what i'm looking for, although ive now seen the cascade 2.0 for 1499 :twisted: haha it's funny how you start off looking at a certain budget and thenit all spirals out of control!

  • edpratt wrote:
    @supemonkey - I'd love a whyte! but I think if I was going to go that far, im better waiting a couple of years and getting the 19 Ti :D

    The 901 is £1099 before any discount so is within budget.
  • edpratt
    edpratt Posts: 28
    I had a look at the 901 but i think at that price it doesn't make as much sense as the pinnacle coldharbour 2.0 ... y=Pinnacle

    However I have found this, but i'd have to travel down to cambridge to to get it as they don't post! ... ductId=571