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What's important to look for in a new bike?

YellaBellyYellaBelly Posts: 130
edited July 2016 in MTB buying advice
I've been driving myself nuts looking at new full suss XC race bikes. And basically, I'm going round in circles! However you look at it, everything comes down to a compromise somewhere. So really, I'd be interested to know which features you would consider most important in the selection process. For reference I'm looking around £3.5 - £4k benchmark.

Boost hubs - This new bike should be lasting me a good few years. Ideally I'd like to be future proofed, and would missing out on Boost be a mistake?

Frame - Not something that can be upgraded later. Most XC bikes offer the top end full carbon frame on the top one or two models, followed by alloy chainstays/rear triangles or simply a lower grade of carbon on subsequent models. Does the 2nd tier frame make much real world difference, or would it be best to push for a top end frame?

Specification - parts can be upgraded, but it's extra spend and can get quite silly. Would you ditch boost hubs for a better spec bike, for example?

Suspension arrangement - With Scott moving from a top tube mounted shock, to a bottom bracket mount, as well as Focus and Trek putting their new XC platforms on a BB mount amongst others, is the top tube mount now considered the lesser of the two options? Frame weight and lower centre of gravity seem to be the suggested benefits. Does it really make a difference?

Frame Warranty - 3 years, 6 years, Lifetime? Obviously a lifetime warranty is better. I can't see 6 years being a problem. 3 years maybe a bit stingy. To me, a lifetime warranty certainly says they are confident about their carbon work on the frame.

So, there are the 4 main factors that I keep going in circles with. One bike offers a superior spec and top level frame, but has a toptube mounted shock and no boost spacing. Another has boost hubs, top level frame but a comparatively poor spec, wheels especially. Others like the new Scott Spark haven't had prices announced, but will almost certainly be the 2nd tier frame for my budget.

Sorry for the long post. What would you opt for in terms of importance to you, for a new bike?


  • Check out Salsa Horsethief as that is boost doable iirc and has xc/trail suss travel plus is comes in carbon.

    Salsa Pony Rustler is THE ONE if wanting fattish ready complete carbon bike.

    I'd go for lower specced crankset, gearing and brakes if it meant an upgraded shock set and modern standards but no thanks to 27.5" ta! :)

    Prefer 26ers for techy trails and 29er race single speed for hauling censored along relatively sedate trails.

    I really wouldn't get hung up on carbon is THE one to get as a frame because it is just different. I'd rather have a decent alloy frame than a shoddy carbon or even dropping carbon money new. Wasted as soon as you walk outta the stealer dealer.

    Scotts look tasty as well as Treks this year and that's saying something considering I never buy mainstream commercialised bike brands.

    I would deffo consider stringly boost as plus tyres/wheels are waaaaay fun!!!!
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    Got to get me some of that stringly boost though. I wonder if you eat it or smoke it?
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

  • Blimey you guys are sad to argue bicker.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    Could you repeat that in some semblence of English?
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

  • cooldad wrote:
    Could you repeat that in some semblence of English?

    This is what I'm getting at, that your a loser to even keep knit picking at things.
    I know your special but jeez I'm wondering how much you can squeeze out and how long you'll keep this going for.

    Anyway I feel good having just been out riding, something tells me you never bother.

    Tick tock tick tock... ;)
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    you are or you're, not your (twice).

    Plus can you translate that "Blimey you guys are sad to argue bicker" into English please?
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    And whilst not wanting to nitpick, it's nitpick.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

  • In order of priority: Frame, Suspension, Parts, Boost.

    What do you like/dislike about your current bike?

    Anyway, don't overthink it, just get the bike you can afford and like, then get out and get riding! New parts and standards are always on the horizon anyway.
    Bird AM Zero (On Order :D )
    Canyon Nerve AM 7.0 (stolen :evil: )
    Cube Road SL
  • YellaBellyYellaBelly Posts: 130
    Thanks Rich and Itsallablur for your responses. It's not that I don't like my old bike, but it's a hardtail and I feel like the benefits of a full suss are getting better, and the drawbacks smaller with remote lockouts, better suspension platforms etc etc, so I'm making the switch for next race season.

    CoolDad and TheRookie, I'd rather be poor at spelling than a couple of internet bullies who contribute naff-all, and instead get their jollies abusing strangers from the comfort of a keyboard. So thank you. Thank you for the 5 valuable posts you've contributed to this topic, and all the incredible wisdom contained within them. You two warriors win the internet for today.
  • That's quite alright yellabelly.

    Some of us are able to give advice and individual opinions as opposed to being sheep and wet at the same time.

    As for the bullying well it's a forum where they let in all sorts of weirdos who should have been put down at birth. Good luck to them online! I'd rather be and ride as much off line than get all shirty at one another. Lmao :)
  • POAHPOAH Posts: 3,369
    the most important part of buying a bike is the fit - if you don't fit the bike all the other bits are irrelavent. after that it all comes down to what bits you want on the bike. I'd rather have decent suspension than a better crank etc. not sure I'd buy a fully built bike again both my hardtail and FS bike where frame only and lewis's ripcord has the headset and shock left as standard.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Fit first send and third. I know exactly the frame dimensions I want and buy accordingly. What will complicate the next purchase is after doing the south downs way on the 29er rigid single speed on saturday I really want a XC full susser now (my back hurts after this ride). Rigid is fine for shorter rides but man it was hard yesterday fun though.

    When it comes to frames I will be looking at some chinese offerings because they work and are inexpensive. Persoanlly I see no need for paying for a brand name I could go to one of the distributors I deal with for one of there nice looking bikes but I have seen a few chinese carbon frames with twin 4 link type arrangement (top tube mounted shock) this should be good for climbing which is important for a XC bike I think. However there are alot of pivots and these will wear. Maintenance will be more frequent than I like though which is why I ride a rigid single speed (I don't fixing my own bikes).

    As for spec why spend more than you need get shimano XT M8000. For hubs boost is not essential so I would not ignore a frame based on that. Future proofing in an age where standards are no standard they change as quickly as the season is meaningless.

    Warranty - pointless. Most warranties will leave you without a bike for a while anyway and as models change frequently the replacement may not even be compatible with the kit you have (standards change too frequently). A good frame wont fail in the first place and for the price of a chinese offering I could buy five top end framesets. This makes a mockery of the warranty.

    Unfortunatley for the OP I cannot afford at present to buy no 18 (got no. 17 to finish first) so I cannot let him know the outcome of my proposed purchase. But overthinking this won't help you decide. -wheel building and other stuff.
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