~£400 Bike advice/experience - do tell.

Valy
Valy Posts: 1,321
edited December 2009 in MTB buying advice
Hello everybody.

I'm looking at a few bikes right now and if anyone has experience any of the following, I would really appreciate some feedback and general tips.

Ridgeback MX4 09/10
Gary Fisher Wahoo 09/10
Carrera Kraken
GT Aggressor XC2


The orange two are from Halfords and it seems like the assembly is a bit hit or miss. So while they are in the options, I'm not sure if I would want to take this "risk". I'd rather get it from a bike shop I suppose so that way it will be more or less certainly well assembled and set up.

Thanks a lot!

Comments

  • Valy
    Valy Posts: 1,321
    Bump
  • nonnac85
    nonnac85 Posts: 1,608
    New MBUK has a test of £400 bikes - the Wahoo got a really good review
    My Website - Trail Centre info for the UK: MTB Trail Time
  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    Yeah, but they didn't review the Kraken for some reason, and make lots of comments about "More expensive bikes might have hydro brakes", "24 speed is standard when you spend this much" and "The XCM fork is as good as you can expect at this price" :roll: That test was decided by what wasn't in it, not by what was. Not to imply it was crooked, presumably a review Kraken wasn't made available to them but I'd say without a doubt, if it was, it would have won. IMO ;) Its speclist reads like a list of things the other bikes lack- 27 speed drivetrain with decent parts, hydro brakes, half-decent fork, very nice frame...

    I had/have a Kraken, it's been killed and robbed of bits now but I'll rebuild something out of it some time. Any £400 bike will have some corners cut but it's a really solid spec for all that.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    Oh, PS, £400 is pretty close to paying for an 08 spec Carrera Fury, which is a proper bike, if you can stretch that far I really can't recommend it too highly.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Valy
    Valy Posts: 1,321
    Thanks for the replies.

    Carrara Fury 09 is about £500, and I assume that the 08 version can only be found via 2nd hand. I've had a few looks and there aren't many 2nd hand bikes around on the net that are close to me, so the one ly other option is the local bike shops. Will check a few out.

    But yeah the Carrera Kraken is one I would not mind - I like the look of it and it seems to be quite well regarded. THe only drawback for me is that the assembly can be as I mentioned before - hit or miss.

    Oh also - hydraulic vs cable disk breaks? The hydraulic breaks are said to be sharper and such - but is there really gonna be a huge difference between the hydo and cables disks?

    What would the main difference be?

    EDIT: Of course - I will try to look around in the FAQs.

    One other thing - the alloy numbers for frames, some are "6061" frames and some 7005 and some.. etc - what is the difference - much difference in behavior between different alloys at this price range? Main characteristics? Thanks.
  • joec1
    joec1 Posts: 494
    Northwind wrote:
    Yeah, but they didn't review the Kraken for some reason, and make lots of comments about "More expensive bikes might have hydro brakes", "24 speed is standard when you spend this much" and "The XCM fork is as good as you can expect at this price" :roll:

    Lol. My Tyax cost less than £400 and had XCR's and Hydraulic Brakes :D (not helping with your question though. sorry.
    www.settingascene.com - MTBing in Wilts and the southwest, join up for info and ride details.
  • Valy
    Valy Posts: 1,321
    :(



    :P
  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    Valy wrote:
    Carrara Fury 09 is about £500, and I assume that the 08 version can only be found via 2nd hand. I've had a few looks and there aren't many 2nd hand bikes around on the net that are close to me, so the one ly other option is the local bike shops. Will check a few out.

    But yeah the Carrera Kraken is one I would not mind - I like the look of it and it seems to be quite well regarded. THe only drawback for me is that the assembly can be as I mentioned before - hit or miss.

    Oh also - hydraulic vs cable disk breaks? The hydraulic breaks are said to be sharper and such - but is there really gonna be a huge difference between the hydo and cables disks?

    If you check the Halfords website there's still 08 Furys in limited sizes, which are £480 currently but were $440-ish last week, the prices vary. Still, don't worry if you can't stretch. Assembly as you say can be a bit dodgy, though it's not just Halfords to be fair. And still better than mail order...

    Cable discs are a bit rubbish, IMO. The really good ones like BBs are fine but the cheap ones are no better than Vs, worse in some cases. They kind of annoy me, you could fit good quality vs for less and they'd probably work better.

    Different alloys, I do not know ;) But it's really what you do with it that counts.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Valy
    Valy Posts: 1,321
    Northwind wrote:
    Valy wrote:
    Carrara Fury 09 is about £500, and I assume that the 08 version can only be found via 2nd hand. I've had a few looks and there aren't many 2nd hand bikes around on the net that are close to me, so the one ly other option is the local bike shops. Will check a few out.

    But yeah the Carrera Kraken is one I would not mind - I like the look of it and it seems to be quite well regarded. THe only drawback for me is that the assembly can be as I mentioned before - hit or miss.

    Oh also - hydraulic vs cable disk breaks? The hydraulic breaks are said to be sharper and such - but is there really gonna be a huge difference between the hydo and cables disks?

    If you check the Halfords website there's still 08 Furys in limited sizes, which are £480 currently but were $440-ish last week, the prices vary. Still, don't worry if you can't stretch. Assembly as you say can be a bit dodgy, though it's not just Halfords to be fair. And still better than mail order...

    Cable discs are a bit rubbish, IMO. The really good ones like BBs are fine but the cheap ones are no better than Vs, worse in some cases. They kind of annoy me, you could fit good quality vs for less and they'd probably work better.

    Different alloys, I do not know ;) But it's really what you do with it that counts.
    BBs?

    I think disk breaks are fitted - even if better value Vs can be had mainly because they are cool, in a way like making monitors shiny so that there is more appeal.

    I'm leaning towards the Kraken even more now - however i did that once before with headphones, I did not like them. :p There was a Kraken I saw in a Halfords and the pedals did not turn easily backwards... the chain was on high from and low rear as well I think. If I'm to gt a bike will it be one from a box, not from the "show room"?
  • Pimp out your mother/sister/brother, try and find the extra for the '08 Fury.
    You're very unlikely to regret it IMO.
    *Rock Lobster Team Tig SL (22lb 14oz)
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  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    You should get a fresh built bike, not a display one. Sometimes the display ones will have bits missing or not working as they use them as donor bikes for warranty jobs, and some shops intentionally build them so they look fine but don't work, to prevent people riding off on them.

    BBs are an Avid cable brake, BB7 is the one I've used and it was really good. But at this price, you tend to get cheap Tektros, which as you say are just so they can say "Look, disc brakes". The Tektro Auriga Pros and Comps that most budget bikes with hydros come with are actually pretty ace though, they should be, they're a pretty obvious Shimano ripoff.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Valy
    Valy Posts: 1,321
    Pimp out your mother/sister/brother, try and find the extra for the '08 Fury.
    You're very unlikely to regret it IMO.
    Hmmm - I'm more or less gonna be looking at about £500 with the Fury. I feel like the ~£400 is already too much. It's a Christmas present, to me from my dad - I'm trying to put in as much as I can, but it won't be more than £50 or so...

    In other words it does not look good for the Fury. If we get the chance we will walk around a few bike shops and see what is on offer from 2nd hand though.
    Northwind wrote:
    You should get a fresh built bike, not a display one. Sometimes the display ones will have bits missing or not working as they use them as donor bikes for warranty jobs, and some shops intentionally build them so they look fine but don't work, to prevent people riding off on them.

    BBs are an Avid cable brake, BB7 is the one I've used and it was really good. But at this price, you tend to get cheap Tektros, which as you say are just so they can say "Look, disc brakes". The Tektro Auriga Pros and Comps that most budget bikes with hydros come with are actually pretty ace though, they should be, they're a pretty obvious Shimano ripoff.

    You say I should - as in I should ask for it to be new, or they should sell a new bike? I know the former sounds like a no-brainer - but does that mean they could sell one from the show floor?

    Lol about the rip-off. I'm getting overloaded with all the searching now – just when something comes up.. another thing can come up... etc
  • Valy
    Valy Posts: 1,321
    UPDATE:

    After sitting on a few bikes and.. err pushing around one them in the shops it seems like the GT Avalanche 3.0 Disk Hydro 2010 is the one I will end up getting - the seat was reasonably soft, unlike on the XC2, Kraken and the Specialized Hardrock Sport.

    There are the hydraulic brakes on the Avalanche 3.0 DH '10. The handlebars seemed a bit wide, but I will either get used to them or I could ask for them to be cut down as the guy I was talking to mentioned.
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    Consider the fork - a bad fork with hydro forks is not as useful offroad as a good fork with mech brakes.

    Also soft sadles can cause more rubbing.
  • Valy
    Valy Posts: 1,321
    supersonic wrote:
    Consider the fork - a bad fork with hydro forks is not as useful offroad as a good fork with mech brakes.

    Also soft sadles can cause more rubbing.

    Actually, having a quick thought about this - this is looks like a better thing for me as the fork should be alright and after a while I might get some money for a "better one" and the hydraulic brakes are pretty cool to have from the get go.

    As far as the seat goes - well, the seat on my ~6yo bike might actually be a little softer and i don't recall having problems regarding rubbing - and at one point i used to cycle more or less everyday and such.
  • Northwind
    Northwind Posts: 14,675
    The seat on the Kraken's OK, it's firm but quite well shaped. But not very strong, I moogled mine in a pretty minor crash. Thing is though, a really nice saddle is £20, and if you've got one on your old bike you could fit that, so it might not be something to let influence the decision too much.

    If the bike feels right to you then chances are it IS right but there's a fair few spec shortucts in that GT- 24 speed and a cheaper fork. Better tyres than most though, I hate to see bike ship with stupid tyres. I wouldn't turn up my nose at 24 speed but Alivio is really pretty basic compared to the X5 kit which you can find on other bikes at the price- I still have my X5 stuff on my GT and it doesn't seem out of place.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    Valy wrote:
    supersonic wrote:
    Consider the fork - a bad fork with hydro forks is not as useful offroad as a good fork with mech brakes.

    Also soft sadles can cause more rubbing.

    Actually, having a quick thought about this - this is looks like a better thing for me as the fork should be alright and after a while I might get some money for a "better one" and the hydraulic brakes are pretty cool to have from the get go.

    As far as the seat goes - well, the seat on my ~6yo bike might actually be a little softer and i don't recall having problems regarding rubbing - and at one point i used to cycle more or less everyday and such.

    Ooops, as you guessed, I meant hydro brakes not forks in that statement!

    This is where the Fury excells if you can stretch to it (hopefully some cheaper 08 versions left - it has a £200+ fork fitted as standard which is superb)
  • Valy
    Valy Posts: 1,321
    Northwind wrote:
    The seat on the Kraken's OK, it's firm but quite well shaped. But not very strong, I moogled mine in a pretty minor crash. Thing is though, a really nice saddle is £20, and if you've got one on your old bike you could fit that, so it might not be something to let influence the decision too much.

    If the bike feels right to you then chances are it IS right but there's a fair few spec shortucts in that GT- 24 speed and a cheaper fork. Better tyres than most though, I hate to see bike ship with stupid tyres. I wouldn't turn up my nose at 24 speed but Alivio is really pretty basic compared to the X5 kit which you can find on other bikes at the price- I still have my X5 stuff on my GT and it doesn't seem out of place.
    I see. Yeah Ihave not payed much attention ot the "gear system" - though how bad can it be? Right? lol But really, as long as it shift alright and does not fall appart I think I will be alright with it. I have 21 gears on my current bike and I find I only use the top, middle and bottom most of the time. Oh another thing - can anyone explain the ratios on the gears mentioned - I thin k that's what they are anyway...
    "Shimano 8 speed 11-32 ratio" and there are also chain rings " 42/32/22".

    As far as the bike goes - it seemed alright, with the bars being a bit wide though, but I will think about whether to ask for a cut to ~lenght of my current ones.
    supersonic wrote:
    Valy wrote:
    supersonic wrote:
    Consider the fork - a bad fork with hydro forks is not as useful offroad as a good fork with mech brakes.

    Also soft sadles can cause more rubbing.

    Actually, having a quick thought about this - this is looks like a better thing for me as the fork should be alright and after a while I might get some money for a "better one" and the hydraulic brakes are pretty cool to have from the get go.

    As far as the seat goes - well, the seat on my ~6yo bike might actually be a little softer and i don't recall having problems regarding rubbing - and at one point i used to cycle more or less everyday and such.

    Ooops, as you guessed, I meant hydro brakes not forks in that statement!

    This is where the Fury excells if you can stretch to it (hopefully some cheaper 08 versions left - it has a £200+ fork fitted as standard which is superb)

    Oh... I did not guess aboutthe hydro forks, I think I might have just read forks as breaks. :S lol

    As far as fury goes - the main thing steering me away from it is probably the Halfords assembly and also a few things I've read on mtbr.com or something similar sounding.

    BTW - just a random Q here, how is does the Rock Shox Dart 3 compare agasint the Suntour Epicon?
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    I'd rather have the Epicon. Dart 3 is ok, but a budget for really, basic and heavy.
  • GHill
    GHill Posts: 2,402
    I actually quite like the Epicon, certainly for the price.
  • Valy
    Valy Posts: 1,321
    supersonic wrote:
    I'd rather have the Epicon. Dart 3 is ok, but a budget for really, basic and heavy.
    Heavy?

    I looked a bit and it seems that they both weigh a roughly similar amount.
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    Which Epicon? As standard it has a much burlier chassis than the Dart - and looking at this review (for the RLD) is still half a pound lighter and that is with a bolt thru axle:

    http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/ ... 5-09-34193
  • Valy
    Valy Posts: 1,321
    supersonic wrote:
    Which Epicon? As standard it has a much burlier chassis than the Dart - and looking at this review (for the RLD) is still half a pound lighter and that is with a bolt thru axle:

    http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/ ... 5-09-34193

    Well, apund is not bad I suppose, though the Dart 3 can be had for about £130 - saw it in the Evans shop "near" me.

    Also - another update. I have ridden the GT Avalanche 3.0 DH '10 - the large frasme and it seems too small. I could get the EL, but that would invlove waiting untill early Jan, however do read on. In another bike shop I tried the Specialized Hardrock Comp Disc 2010 - 21" frame. That was not bad - looks among the most likely ones for purcahse. However another variable is this bike : Revolution Triad 3.0 '09 - it's going for abotu £499, but the guy in the shop said that there will be a slae around early Jan. That looks like the better bike spec-wise - the guy mentioned if it came down in price ~£50 it would be the better buy, so yeah as far as soecs go -yeah look better. It only comes in 20" max, but the guy in the shop said that the 20" frame will be ~= to the 21" frame on the SPecialized as there are slightly different measurements and such. I will try both tomorrow hopefully on the street (as today it was a bit dark for that) and, hopefully make the descision.
  • Valy
    Valy Posts: 1,321
    So, we bought the bike and I should have it on monday. Woop.

    Thanks to all for the useful replies :D

    EDIT: Oh yeah it was the Specialized Hardrock Comp Disk 2010. I tried a 20" revolution and while it was not bad size-wise, it was a bit on the small side.