£650 budget... expert advice needed on the eternal dilemma.

MTB-Rich Posts: 58
edited May 2010 in MTB buying advice
Hi everyone,

I am looking to buy an MTB and have found some really good deals o nbikes at Paulscycles, and some well-respected (though lesser-specced form the looks of it) models from Halfords. BIkes i'm looking at are:

Pauls Cycles

Diamondback Apex http://www.paulscycles.co.uk/products.p ... 1886&rs=gb
    *RockShox Tora 302 Solo Air, Rebound and Lockout *Shimano SLX *Quad QHD-1 Sting


EDIT - Looks like this is by far the best spec for the money?

GT Avalanche Expert (2009) http://www.paulscycles.co.uk/products.php?plid=m1b1s2p2231
    *Rock Shox TORA 302 , u-turn 85-135 mm of travel with rebound adjustment, with lock out. *Shimano SLX *Avid Juicy 3


ProFlex 289 http://www.paulscycles.co.uk/products.php?plid=m1b62s2p2449
    *RockShox Tora 302 coil 100 mm with Poplock *Shimano XT/LX *Shimano BR-M665


Mongoose Meteor Elite http://www.paulscycles.co.uk/products.p ... 1b2s2p1494
    *Rockshox Recon Race, 100mm Travel, Air Sprung, Poploc lever *Shimano XT/LX *Hayes Stroker Trail hydraulic disc,



Carrera Fury http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... 65499#dtab
    *Suntour Epicon Fork 120mm Travel *SRAM X5 *Avid Juicy 3


Voodoo Bantu http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... yId_165499
    *Suntour Epicon Fork 120mm Travel *SRAM X5 *Avid Juicy 3


Boardman Mountain Bike Comp http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... yId_165499

*RockShox Recon SL
*Avid Juicy 3


To my eye the bikes from Paul Cycles look much better specced for the money than the expensive Halfords bikes. The Carrera Fury is very tempting for the money but not sure if the fork has lockout?

Either way any thoughts would be appreciated, otherwise reccommendations for other models. I just want the best specced fork , gears and brakes I can get for the money. TIA.


  • The Fopster
    The Fopster Posts: 25
    Fury has lock-out, but I've never felt the need to use it. Great bike - if you wait for sales they have been under £500 occasionally... Got mine last November for under 500 and it's been better than I hoped - a fabulous bike, let down only slightly by a dodgy build that I fixed myself in ten minutes.
  • MTB-Rich
    MTB-Rich Posts: 58
    Thanks for the advice, i've read a lot of good stuff about that bike so it's deifnitely on my short-list!

    Also saw the Malt 1 - Limited Edition over at Merlin cycles which looks spectacular value for £499 http://www.merlincycles.co.uk/custom-mo ... ition.html

    Only problem is the fork doesn't really set me alight... Suntour XCR 2010, i'd much prefer a Tora. Guess I could always spec a "normal", non-lts price malt. Shame they chose such a rubbish colour for the frame though, hmph.
  • neninja
    neninja Posts: 424
    If you're after a medium I'd look at the 2008 Giant XTC 2.5 on Pauls or for a small the 2007 XTC 2.5 - decent spec bikes

    Of the ones you listed I'd probably go for the Mongoose (or maybe stretch the budget by £15 and get the 09 Kona Kula)
  • MTB-Rich
    MTB-Rich Posts: 58
    neninja wrote:
    If you're after a medium I'd look at the 2008 Giant XTC 2.5 on Pauls or for a small the 2007 XTC 2.5 - decent spec bikes

    Of the ones you listed I'd probably go for the Mongoose (or maybe stretch the budget by £15 and get the 09 Kona Kula)

    I'm after an 18" or 19", just rode an 18" for the weekend and it was very nice uphill and downhill.

    As for the Mongoose... looks awesome physically, and specs seem decent too. Problem is I have been Googling my arse off and the Hayes Stroker don't seem to have a great rep as a budget brake. Also the Shimano 525 hubs seem to get very poor feedback for failing within a year or so? Can't find any reviews or feedback of the bikle though, which is also a bit disconcerting.

    The Diamondback Apex http://www.paulscycles.co.uk/products.p ... b38s2p1886 also seems to have great specs for the money with the Tora 302 Solo Air, full SLX, and Quad QHD-1 Sting brakes?
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    The brakes are good, and so are 525 hubs if you keep them maintained.

    Be aware that one 18 inch bike might feel completely different to another.
  • MTB-Rich
    MTB-Rich Posts: 58
    Can anyone PLEASE give me a good reason why the Diamondback Apoex is not stupidly good value for the money compared to the other bikes listed? For £550 it's certainly better-specced than the Fury, Bantu, even the Giant Expert etc... no? :)

    Really struggling to choose here... :(
  • MTB-Rich
    MTB-Rich Posts: 58
    EDIT - Ignore, just seen it's a 29-er, my bad, don't think it's whatr im after.
  • MTB-Rich
    MTB-Rich Posts: 58
    What's you guys opinion on Land Rover bikes? The Land Rover Mezzana got a good review on Bikeradar http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/ ... c-08-32277

    # Frame: 7005 Series Alloy
    # Fork: Rock Shox Recon SL Air
    # Rear Gear: Shimano Shadow XT
    # Rear Freewheel: 9sp Shimano
    # Shift Controls: Shimano Deore Pods 27sp
    # Brakes: Avid Juicy 3 Hydraulic
    # Wheels: Shimano Disc Hub With WTB SX24 Rims
    # Chainset: Shimano Hollowtech II
    # Tyres: WTB Nanoraptor
    # Stem: Tioga Alloy
    # HandleBars: Tioga Alloy With 30mm Rise
    # Saddle: WTB Pure V Race
    # Sizes: 17.5" , 19.5" & 21.5"
    # Colour: Black

    For £550 the spec seems excellent... Recon SL Air 100mm (no lockout unfortunately) and Juicy 3's.

  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    Superb spec for the money.
  • Richdog
    Richdog Posts: 32
    Ok so now I have narrowed it down to:

    Diamondback Apex http://www.paulscycles.co.uk/products.p ... b38s2p1886
    Landrover Mezzana http://www.winstanleysbikes.co.uk/produ ... _Bike_2008
    Carrera Fury http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... yId_165499
    Rockrider 8.1 http://www.decathlon.co.uk/EN/rockrider-8-1-66759353/

    If you guys had a choice of any which one would you go for with the specs in mind?

    I was also looking at the Diamondback Axis for £850 which got an awesome BikeRadar review... but despite the uber nice spec of full Deore XT and Recon 335 Solo Air... and while I can theoretically afford it, it blows my budget out of the water, and i'm not sure I can justify that kind of cash right at the start of my biking career http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/ ... s-09-33825

    I never knew choosing a bike would be this tough. :(
  • Hairylegs66
    Hairylegs66 Posts: 103
    MTB-Rich wrote:
    Shame they chose such a rubbish colour for the frame though, hmph.

    What's wrong with a polished aluminium finish?

    The Landrover looks like a good spec for the money as Supersonic has already said....
    Are you planning to ride before you buy? :?

    http://redirectingat.com/?id=92X1020&xs ... 3D12680985
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    Tis lighter too if bare, and will not scratch as easy.
  • allthegearnoidea
    allthegearnoidea Posts: 4,077
    if you can hold on a week or so, then MBR has a review of the 12 best hardtails for £600

    they stumped for the KHS Alite 2000 and the Voodoo banshee as joint 1st
    might be worth a look?? (supscription copy came through today)
    After all, I am Cornish!
    Cotic Soul, The bike of Legends!:wink: Yes, I Am a bike tart!
    http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtop ... 1#16297481
  • bdigital
    bdigital Posts: 193
    I got a Fury a few months back

    absolutly love it. Been over the downs about hmmmm 14-15 times on it. No problems whatsoever (although i got my first puncture yesterday, but that was due to a MASSIVE thorn and was fixed in a jiffy)

    Its cool being able to set the pressure of the air forks - Mine run sweetly on 80psi, but if i was to change where im riding i could up or down that accordingly using my shock pump.

    So impressed with this bike, im 6ft and i got the 20". Fits like a dream

    I dont know much about the other bikes you have listed, but i do know the Fury is goooooood.

    plus i got it for £440 during a 20% Carrera thingy at halfords. bargain.