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Please help me decide (last thread, promise!)

AstAst Posts: 48
edited August 2015 in MTB buying advice
Firstly thanks to all of you who have replied in my other threads so far - thanks to you guys I think I am little more clued up about things... though clearly not quite enough :oops: :lol:

I went to three bike shops today, and think I have got a shortlist - I'd really appreciate your help in choosing!

The shortlist:

- Second hand (nearly new) VooDoo Bizango: £300 link

- Boardman 650b HT Comp: £459 from Halfords (Offer expired, now £540)

- Trek X Caliber 7 2015 model: £472 (local bike shop offering 10% off *all* their bikes - see below!)

With regards to wheel size, I'm still open, but have to say that the 29ers makes me feel a little dwarfed - but maybe that's because I am testing 650b then 29er then back again :|

As mentioned, the Sunset Cycles bike shop in Cardiff currently have an offer of 10% off ALL bikes (even those already discounted!) so I could get an X Caliber 8 for £584 or a X Caliber 9 for £652 (though don't really want to spend that much) however I would appreciate you guys looking at their list of bikes and seeing if anything stands out at around £500 after the 10% discount has been applied. I'll consider spending more if something is a complete and utter -should-not-refuse- bargain :mrgreen:

http://www.sunsetmtb.co.uk or click here for list of all hardtails.

(I really LOVE the look and feel of the Orange Clockwork 120...but I don't think I can stretch to £764 even if that's a great saving from £999!)
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  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    As above, the Boardman and Voodoo are way ahead of the others.
    The Orange is dreadful for the price.
  • AstAst Posts: 48
    Thanks both. I went into another shop today who specialise in 'Specialised', Giant and Whyte. They too offered me 10% discount on any bike and recommended Specialized if I wanted a 29er and a Giant Talon if I wanted a 650b.

    What do you think of the Talons? (http://www.tredz.co.uk/.Giant-Talon-27-5-3-Mountain-Bike-2015-Hardtail-MTB_73847.htm)

    Also, what about Rocky Mountain bikes? I love the look of the Soul:

    soul_27_5_1.jpg

    SPECIFICATIONS

    FRAME
    ROCKY MOUNTAIN 6061 SERIES CUSTOM HYDROFORMED ALLOY. THREADED BB. ZEROSTACK TAPERED HEADTUBE. RACK AND FENDER MOUNTS.

    SIZES
    XXS - XS - S - M - L - XL

    FORK
    SUNTOUR XCR HLO 27.5. 120MM (XXS: 100MM). HYDRAULIC LOCKOUT / REBOUND

    HEADSET
    FSA #57 INTERNAL: ZS44 | ZS56MM

    STEM
    ROCKY MOUNTAIN XC7 7° X 60-90MM

    HANDLEBAR
    ROCKY MOUNTAIN FIVE15 XC Ø31.8MM X 720MM X 5° SWEEP

    GRIPS
    ROCKY MOUNTAIN XC KRATON

    BRAKES
    SHIMANO BR-M355 HYDRAULIC DISC 160MM

    BRAKE LEVERS
    SHIMANO BL-M355

    SHIFTERS
    SHIMANO ACERA RAPID FIRE 9SPD

    FRONT DERAILLEUR
    SHIMANO ACERA 9SPD 31.8MM

    REAR DERAILLEUR
    SHIMANO ALIVIO 9SPD

    CRANKS & CHAINRINGS
    SHIMANO M391 170-175MM 44/32/22T 9SPD

    BOTTOM BRACKET
    FSA 7420

    CASSETTE
    SHIMANO HG200 11-34T 9SPD

    CHAIN
    SHIMANO HG53 9SPD

    FRONT HUB
    SHIMANO RM35 / CENTERLOCK / 32H

    REAR HUB
    SHIMANO RM35 / CENTERLOCK / 32H

    SPOKES
    STAINLESS

    RIMS
    WHEELTECH TD26 BY ALEX

    TIRES
    MAXXIS SPHINX 27.5" X 2.25"

    SEATPOST
    ROCKY MOUNTAIN XC 27.2MM X 400MM

    SADDLE
    WTB VOLT
  • Antm81Antm81 Posts: 1,406
    Giant is poor, Rocky Mountain is a little better but still poor compared to the Bizango or Boardman. There's a reason the Bizango wins awards
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    In breaking news, bike shop recommends bikes they sell.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • AstAst Posts: 48
    Giant is poor, Rocky Mountain is a little better but still poor compared to the Bizango or Boardman. There's a reason the Bizango wins awards

    What about the Rocky Mountain Fusion? Currently on sale from £700 to £559: http://www.bikes.com/en/bikes/sport-trail/2015#/models/fusion-27-5-all

    fusion_27_1803.jpg
    cooldad wrote:
    In breaking news, bike shop recommends bikes they sell.

    Haha, I did actually say to one salesman "Do you make more profit on Giant bikes because two different shops have recommended the Talon now" :lol:
  • alexjimalexjim Posts: 48
    Hi I ride a Trek X-calibre 8 2014 29er, it's an ok bike but it will depends what you want from it, personally I don't really like the 29er wheel, I am getting a Mondraker Foxy R massive change but I like DH and technical trail and the Trek feel scary as my weight is on the front.
    Alex
  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    Discounts do not a good bike make.

    Two bikes are recommended go and buy one of them, stop window shopping for something better.
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • AstAst Posts: 48
    Hi I ride a Trek X-calibre 8 2014 29er, it's an ok bike but it will depends what you want from it, personally I don't really like the 29er wheel, I am getting a Mondraker Foxy R massive change but I like DH and technical trail and the Trek feel scary as my weight is on the front.

    I am not 100% sure about the larger wheels tbh - they feel a bit big to me, but that's just sitting on the bikes in the showrooms.

    The Mondraker looks like a nice bike :mrgreen:

    robertpb wrote:
    Discounts do not a good bike make.

    Two bikes are recommended go and buy one of them, stop window shopping for something better.

    Sure, but it's only slightly more (money) than the Giant, Bizango and Boardman, hence the curiosity. Here are the specs:

    SPECIFICATIONS

    FRAME
    ROCKY MOUNTAIN 6061 SERIES CUSTOM HYDROFORMED ALLOY. THREADED BB. ZEROSTACK TAPERED HEADTUBE. RACK AND FENDER MOUNTS.

    SIZES
    XXS - XS - S - M - L - XL

    FORK
    SUNTOUR RAIDON LO 27.5. 120MM (XXS: 100MM). LOCKOUT / REBOUND

    HEADSET
    FSA #57 INTERNAL: ZS44 | ZS56MM

    STEM
    ROCKY MOUNTAIN XC7 7° X 60-90MM

    HANDLEBAR
    ROCKY MOUNTAIN FIVE15 XC Ø31.8MM X 720MM X 5° SWEEP

    GRIPS
    ROCKY MOUNTAIN XC KRATON

    BRAKES
    SHIMANO BR-M355 HYDRAULIC DISC 160MM

    BRAKE LEVERS
    SHIMANO BL-M355

    SHIFTERS
    SHIMANO ALIVIO RAPID FIRE 9SPD

    FRONT DERAILLEUR
    SHIMANO ACERA 31.8MM 9SPD

    REAR DERAILLEUR
    SHIMANO DEORE 9SPD

    CRANKS & CHAINRINGS
    SHIMANO M521 170-175MM 42/32/24T 9SPD

    BOTTOM BRACKET
    SHIMANO ES25 OCTALINK

    CASSETTE
    SHIMANO HG200 11-34T 9SPD

    CHAIN
    KMC X9 9SPD

    FRONT HUB
    SHIMANO RM35 / CENTERLOCK / 32H

    REAR HUB
    SHIMANO RM35 / CENTERLOCK / 32H

    SPOKES
    STAINLESS

    RIMS
    WHEELTECH TD26 BY ALEX

    TIRES
    MAXXIS SPHINX 27.5" X 2.25"

    SEATPOST
    ROCKY MOUNTAIN L2B 27.2MM X 400MM

    SADDLE
    WTB VOLT
  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    Nope, still not good.
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    I don't think it's too bad for £560 quid. But this is going to go on for ever...

    The Boardman is better, and is cheaper. This would be my choice. £459 is great for a bike like that.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    You won't find better than the Boardman or Voodoo.
    How can you decide in a showroom that 29" wheels are too big? The difference to actually ride is quite minor but they are definitely faster.
  • AstAst Posts: 48
    Thanks all. I've missed the offer on the Boardman now, it's gone back up to £599 on the site and with current offer would be £540). I may have missed the second hand Bizango too, though tbh, I didn't feel 100% confident buying second hand as I just don't know enough about them and think I would prefer a warranty for peace of mind.

    I also think I am just not feeling it towards the Bizango and Boardman... not sure why tbh : / I think I will think about it over the weekend to see if I feel any different.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    You won't get any better for the price. Everything else you have suggested is just tat in comparison.
    Join British Cycling and you will get 10% off at Halfords
  • AstAst Posts: 48
    What about this? Ex demo and reduced from £850 to £550 - Rockhopper Expert 29

    http://www.wheelies.co.uk/c626874/Mountain-Bikes.aspx#page=0
    You won't get any better for the price. Everything else you have suggested is just tat in comparison.
    Join British Cycling and you will get 10% off at Halfords

    There is a thread on hotuk that shows you how to get 20% off (10% via BC and 10% by buying their gift vouchers from http://select.halfordsbusinessservices.co.uk)
  • Antm81Antm81 Posts: 1,406
    Still not as good as the Boardman or Bizango.

    At this price point Boardman/Vodoo/B'twin/Carrera are very hard to beat.

    As has been pointed out the bigger brands aren't good at this price (lower components and paying for the name), plus the frames a all made in a handful of factories anyway. The most important component is the fork, a poor one will ruin the ride.

    The other option would be the German mail order brands such as Raidon and canyon, however you're buying blind etc.
  • AstAst Posts: 48
    So how much do you have to start spending to start seeing good value from the bigger brands like Specialized, Trek, Rocky Mountain etc?
  • Antm81Antm81 Posts: 1,406
    So how much do you have to start spending to start seeing good value from the bigger brands like Specialized, Trek, Rocky Mountain etc?

    Put it this way, my current bike is a Giant, cost £1900 and I still could of got better value from the likes of Raidon and Canyon.

    It's seems the name on the bike is important to you, at your budget and as a beginner going for one of the big names is quite likely to put you off the sport due to the poor nature of the forks used, especially places like BPW that you were linking videos to in a different thread as it will show this up even more. At best they would push you to change bikes pretty soon. One of the better specced "cheaper brands" will perform much better and is likely to get used for longer.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Let's cut to the chase - you want a brand name. Ant above is spot on. Just don't do it for £500 unless is something hugely reduced.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    Buying a demo bike is worse than buying used. Demo bikes get abused and don't get properly maintained. You won't get a warranty with it even though you're buying from a shop.
    I wouldn't buy a Specialized under £2000
  • AstAst Posts: 48
    supersonic wrote:
    Let's cut to the chase - you want a brand name. Ant above is spot on. Just don't do it for £500 unless is something hugely reduced.
    So how much do you have to start spending to start seeing good value from the bigger brands like Specialized, Trek, Rocky Mountain etc?

    Put it this way, my current bike is a Giant, cost £1900 and I still could have got better value from the likes of Raidon and Canyon.

    It's seems the name on the bike is important to you, at your budget and as a beginner going for one of the big names is quite likely to put you off the sport due to the poor nature of the forks used, especially places like BPW that you were linking videos to in a different thread as it will show this up even more. At best they would push you to change bikes pretty soon. One of the better specced "cheaper brands" will perform much better and is likely to get used for longer.

    Thanks - I really do appreciate you (all) taking the time to post, and of course what you say makes a lot of sense.

    I think part of my problem is I want to look at a bike and feel something towards it - I guess I appreciate good design and I -know- I shouldn't let that be a deciding factor in a budget bike but I can't help it.

    Also with regards to what Supersonic said, it's not necessarily just for the name, but what a good brand name usually brings with it - quality. One of the sales reps in the shop told me to do a little test - he said step on one of the peddles and push down and see how much play there is (he reckons there will be a lot more on any bike in Halfords than on, say, a Specialized bike). I know he's a sales guy but I think it's little things like this that ebb away at your confidence in the 'cheaper' brands - sometimes you wonder, why are they so cheap?

    Having said that, I think a really good way to emphasise the point (and perhaps for hundreds of people in a similar situation) is to see what you guys think is the best 'big brand' £600 bike, and then either find a cheaper brand that is comparable (to see how much it comes in at), or (perhaps as well as) find a cheaper brand in the same price league and see how much more you get... maybe that will paint a very clear picture that makes it difficult to reason against.

    I was actually also going to post another thread asking how you rank/value bikes based on their bits (what would be really awesome is having an automated system where you can compare bikes and it tells you which bike has the better parts and is the best value... hmm maybe that would be a good side project :lol:)
  • AstAst Posts: 48
    Buying a demo bike is worse than buying used. Demo bikes get abused and don't get properly maintained. You won't get a warranty with it even though you're buying from a shop.
    I wouldn't buy a Specialized under £2000

    Wow, really? £2k?

    The reason I was looking at Spesh is because the guy in the shop said I could have 10% off any bike :)
  • Ex Demo can be a good bargain sometimes, it's worth noting that the shop will want to keep the bike in good order to resell it and anyone demoing the kit will have a deposit against the bike that they'll lose if they damage it so it's normally ridden with a bit of care. Check the bike over and ask for a bit of parts and labour warranty on it.

    Also another one to consider is warranty on the frames, Specialized and Giant have lifetime on theirs, not sure on the others - obviously claims are within reason but alloy frames at least have all the welds covered.

    If you're not changing your bike every year splash out if you can, also loads of finance available in shops at the mo.
  • Antm81Antm81 Posts: 1,406
    The guy in the shop is simply trying to get a sale. In terms of quality there's very little difference, as said most frames are made by a small number of manufacturers, for example Giant make frames for themselves along with the likes of Scott and Trek amongst others. Where as Merida make frames for the likes of Carrera, Voodoo and Specialized. So that big brand bike that has a worse spec is made in the same factory.

    After the frame all the parts come from other manufacturers (mainly shimano and SRAM)

    So the bigger name bikes are really no better quality than those from Halfords and in some respect worse as the bikes in Halfords etc are specced with better quality parts. The reason they are cheaper is because they don't have a few hundred pound added to the price for the name.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Also with regards to what Supersonic said, it's not necessarily just for the name, but what a good brand name usually brings with it - quality. One of the sales reps in the shop told me to do a little test - he said step on one of the peddles and push down and see how much play there is (he reckons there will be a lot more on any bike in Halfords than on, say, a Specialized bike). I know he's a sales guy but I think it's little things like this that ebb away at your confidence in the 'cheaper' brands - sometimes you wonder, why are they so cheap?

    What do you think the quality is? The guy in the bike shop is talking absolute rubbish! You can not tell the quality of a frame from a flex test. The Carrera, Boardman and Decathlon frames are no better or worse than Specialized, GT or Trek at this price point - and out of them, only Trek make their own frames. But due to business models, the former can fit much better forks to their bikes, and often other parts which makes the ride and package better.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    Buying a demo bike is worse than buying used. Demo bikes get abused and don't get properly maintained. You won't get a warranty with it even though you're buying from a shop.
    I wouldn't buy a Specialized under £2000

    Wow, really? £2k?

    The reason I was looking at Spesh is because the guy in the shop said I could have 10% off any bike :)

    Specialized bikes under £2k are terrible value. Over £2k they get a bit better and some of the full suspension frames are pretty good.
  • BriggoBriggo Posts: 3,823
    Buying a demo bike is worse than buying used. Demo bikes get abused and don't get properly maintained. You won't get a warranty with it even though you're buying from a shop.

    Wrong.

    I bought an ex-demo Canyon from their outlet, fully serviced before it came (brand new consumables, cables etc) the marks on it were negligible (looked worse on the pics on website) and I bought a 2.5k bike for 1.4k with the full Canyon warranty - 6 years.
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    You got a good one. My local shop sells on demo bikes which are it terrible condition mechanically. A mate bought an ex demo Kona from a well known, big shop and within six weeks it needed most of the frame bearings, a new rear freehub, cassette and chain and a headset. I have heard a few horror stories about ex demo bikes.
    Although my Scalp was an ex demo but only used for a review by mbuk before I bought it. It really was like new, the forks weren't even bedded in but I knew the history was genuine and Nukeproof gave me the full warranty as if it was new.
  • sheepsteethsheepsteeth Posts: 17,418 Webster
    i have bought ex demo before but got a great deal including replacement pads and a full service and a cooling off period if i found anythign i wasnt happy with.

    To the OP:

    you are dead right to want to feel something from your bike. they are not just mechanical objects, they are things we spend time and money on and you are clearly doing a lot of research to get it right.

    your parameters are your business and if a "better" name makes you happier then that is your business.

    That being said though, be aware that although a bike is more than the sum of its parts, forthe most part, at any gven pric point, the better spec makes the better bike. The better spec will perform better, more consistantly and for longer.

    the advice you have been given ref the best bikes for your money is correct in all sorts of ways.

    also, just in case it matters (and im not suggesting it does) anyone who knows their obvious from their necessary would see a bike like the Voodoo or the Boardman and understand what a smart move they were. Anyone who doesnt is most likely an idiot.
  • AstAst Posts: 48
    i have bought ex demo before but got a great deal including replacement pads and a full service and a cooling off period if i found anythign i wasnt happy with.

    To the OP:

    you are dead right to want to feel something from your bike. they are not just mechanical objects, they are things we spend time and money on and you are clearly doing a lot of research to get it right.

    your parameters are your business and if a "better" name makes you happier then that is your business.

    That being said though, be aware that although a bike is more than the sum of its parts, forthe most part, at any gven pric point, the better spec makes the better bike. The better spec will perform better, more consistantly and for longer.

    the advice you have been given ref the best bikes for your money is correct in all sorts of ways.

    also, just in case it matters (and im not suggesting it does) anyone who knows their obvious from their necessary would see a bike like the Voodoo or the Boardman and understand what a smart move they were. Anyone who doesnt is most likely an idiot.

    Hey SS, your post was really REALLY good except for the last bit in bold. That sort of comment will just put people on the defensive and make them defiant more than anything else tbh. Good job I am not easily affected by such comments :p and as it happens I have been looking at the Boardman again (I definitely feel more positive towards it than the Bizango - partly because it felt much better to me when I rode up and down Halfords).

    With regards to feeling something towards my bike, well, my dog's name was Rocky and he died a few years ago. As I'll be going on pretty much the same mountains and paths (his favourite walks) with the bike, going with my 'Rocky mountain' just feels 'right'. Also, again as it will be somewhat poignant for me going with something that I can, to some degree, humanise in someway would just make me feel better about visiting those paths. It's a bit like my car - I love it, it's not just a car it has a personality and character and I suppose that's what I am looking for in a bike. I don't expect you to understand that but just wanted to explain anyway. (The RM Fusion has just dropped to £499 too btw - is the BM and Bizango still a significantly better deal?).
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