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New Hardtail

alex100aalex100a Posts: 84
edited November 2014 in MTB buying advice
Evening All,

After now visited Swinley Forest a couple of times I'm looking to get a new bike it has all but finished off my 10 year old Gary Fisher. I'm looking to do some more trails including Afan, BikePark Wales etc early next year.

I've spent weeks going around in circles... 29er or 650? Suntour XCR or Mantra’s Raidon? Trek, VooDoo, Saracen or another? etc etc...
Budget around £500-£800 (max)
I'm not the type or person to change my bike every year and would rather upgrade parts in the future.

I'm just shy of 6ft so have think I'm leaning more towards a 650 rather than 29er.

My current thoughts are as follows but I would appreciate any advice. I did pop into my local Evans store today but they did not have much on show and I was completely ignored so left rather disappointed.

1 - Trek X-Calibre 8 (2014) - ... e-ec053723 (I like the Trek brand as my GF has been good over the years) - 29er option

2 - Saracen Matra Trail 2015 - ... tAodV1UASQ

3 - Vitus Sentier 275 (2014) - ... prod107035

Any thoughts/comments appreciated.



  • A bit over budget but Bird would be a great option given the type of riding you want to move into.

    Give them a call and speak to Ben as he may well be able to sort out an option that may fit into budget.
    Bird Aeris : Trek Remedy 9.9 29er : Trek Procaliber 9.8 SL
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 8,841
    Slight typo on the website try
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • Thanks for the additional suggestion. While I was fixing up my Gary Fisher on my last outing at Swinley someone mentioned Bird bikes but by the time I'd finished I had completely forgotten the name!

    They are over my budget, which has already been increased (without the wife's knowledge :wink: ) but they are quite local to me so I might pop in and also try and get a test ride. Slightly hesitant on a 'new' make that's not tried and test long term but they have good components and warranty.

    and I thought picking a new MTB would be an easy decision!
  • defridedefride Posts: 277
    If you don't need the back up of an lbs these are good value, the model up is even better but slightly over budget ... 642&c=1008

    or at £799 this is even better, plenty of uk dealers and a good back up in my experience ... nred-2015/
  • Firstly thanks for the suggestions defride.

    I actually popped into the Bird office yesterday and really liked what I was shown (thanks Dave) and now trying to book a test ride. The component parts are all spot on and it would be nice to support a newish local company.

    I'm not experienced in buying a 'proper' mtb so leaving my options open until I've ridden it. My one, and only, concern is that the Bird is a true Trail bike and may not suit my other rides (bit of road & bridleways etc) whereas the XC bikes available appear to be a little more 'multi use'. Ideally I'd like to get 2 new bikes but a) have not got the money and b) I'll probably receive a solicitors letter from my wife!

  • paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    A long travel slack hardtail may not be ideal for road riding - I see no issues with bridleways (some of the bridleways I used to ride in South Oxfordshire were amazing trails) - but if I was looking for one bike to do it all I would prefer a bike that did the fun stuff well and the other stuff OK.

    You could look at an On One 456 with an adjustable fork (to vary short to long travel for different applications) or possibly or a lock out fork on the Bird?
    Closet jockey wheel pimp censored .
  • kiniookinioo Posts: 776
    Does it have to be new ??

    Im in the same boat now, as looking for my second bike which will be entry level to 'proper' MTB.

    I am after HT and TBH was hooked by VooDoo Bizango: ... in-bike-20

    as you can get 2nd-hand in good nick for £400 - only problem with this bike its 29er - not sure here ??

    2nd option is Boardman: ... -12-46330/ ... 50b-2014#/#tab2 ... 3397df5541

    3rd option is VooDoo HooDoo: ... -12-46194/

  • Thanks for your suggestions Chris.

    I have a test ride booked now for the Bird Zero in a week or so, which I hope will go as well as I expect. If not I will look at the other options again.

    I did consider the Bizango a while back but was put off when I visited my local Halfords mainly because the sales person new less than me about MTBs but that's not really the bikes fault! It gets great reviews. I'm pretty certain I want a 650b now anyway. I do note you can get 10% off this weekend so its even cheaper!

    The Boardman looks nice and with the 10% off looks worth considering although I would prefer Shimano brakes and gears really.
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    Most bikes in that price range come with cheap brakes that be upgraded to deore or slx brakes for a noticeable improvement.
  • Giant Talon 2 ? ... tAodhBsADQ

    (On the basis that I have a Talon 1 and like it.)
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    Why not a 29er? Your height makes no difference to whether a 29er or 650b will be better for you. It's more about the whole package than just wheel size.
    The Boardman and Voodoo will be better suited to the bridleways and roads but at Afan and Bikepark Wales the Bird or On One will be much better
  • Thanks for the recent posts guys.

    With regards wheel size I’m looking at 650b after reading a number of articles/guides and not simply my height. Sorry of my original post was a little misleading. I think the 650b/29er question would start a big debate!

    My road/bridleway miles are generally with friends one evening each week during the summer months with more emphasis placed on the finishing point (which pub!) so nothing serious. The other guys I go with pack their bikes away for winter!

    Its only over the last few months getting out on my own to Swinley that I’ve realised just how much I enjoy the trails so it comes down to whether I want an ‘all-rounder’ or a ‘proper’ trail bike. My thinking is to go with the latter option and when my summer rides start again, in May, I could consider getting a 2nd bike suitable more suited for road etc that won’t need to take the hammering of the trails, which killed my GF.

    Interestingly I’ve not had one comment about the 3 bikes I had short listed above so clearly I was looking at the wrong bits of kit!

    Bird Zero test ride book for next week and I’ll let you know how I get on.

    Again thanks for all the advice.
  • I wouldn't get too caught up in whether the bike you choose is more or less road capable - a hardtail will always ride better than full suspension on the road regardless of how aggressive and I have happily done 30 - 40 mile road rides in winter on my full suspension bikes.

    I've been back out on my Bird this past week now the weather has got wetter and finding it great fun in the muddy conditions. You won't be disappointed.
    Bird Aeris : Trek Remedy 9.9 29er : Trek Procaliber 9.8 SL
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