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MTB brands to avoid/prefer ?

cppercpper Posts: 39
edited October 2018 in MTB buying advice
Hi guys :)

I’m looking forward to buy a new 29″ XC hardtail bike. After some research I made a list with about 30 bikes that are in my price range, and have more or less the same equipment (SLX/XT/Sram NX with RockShox Air forks)

These are the brands my choices come from. Are there any I should particularly avoid/prefer ? Maybe regarding build quality/ frame resistance ?
    Orbea
  • Mondraker
  • Ghost
  • Focus
  • Cannondale
  • Scott
  • Cube
  • Canyon

Posts

  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    So bikes?

    Good luck with that.
    I don't do smileys.

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  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,311
    Forgive me if I'm wrong, but your question implies that you are new to MTB.

    Therefore I would eliminate all the bikes that are sold directly from the manufacturer. In other words all the ones that you can't go look at in the shops near where you live. You will need advice, you will need assistance with bike set up and servicing, and you will need assistance of varying kinds after you have bought the bike. All of these are very valuable when you are new to mtb. Because you probably have little idea of what geometry bike works well for you, then you will need a test ride, and you wont get that from the direct supply guys.

    By the way, thirty bikes is way too many to be considering, so the aforementioned should have reduced that by quite a bit. Once you have got it down to sensible numbers, read the reviews and rule out a few more, then go test ride. Some bikes look great until you ride them and some look not so good, until you ride them!

    Enjoy the journey, it's great fun! :)
  • cppercpper Posts: 39
    Steve, although you are wrong :P thanks for the comprehensive advice. I had my first MTB in 2010, and my second in 2015. I now have to replace it(and am also upgrading) because of a cracked frame :cry: I really loved it, both the looks of it and the handling. With the last bike I also started to do things on my own(changed cables/bb/chainrings/cassette/pulleys/freehub, bled brakes, serviced fork and hubs). I now have a shelf full of tools and maintenance products I'm pretty proud of :D

    Unfortunately I'll buy from the net, mainly because availability, but also because of better prices. As per my 30 bikes list, oh yeah I have to rule many out. That's the reason for this thread. All of them have about the same geometry, and equipment. I'll iterate once more through them and eliminate some more. One important thing is to decide between 2x11 and 1x12 drivetrain. I already eliminated those with not enough gear ratio.
  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    Is your price range a secret as you haven't divulged that?
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • If you are looking to buy a focused XC bike why are you so focused on gear range? I'm not XC racer fit at 45 and I'm a bit of a Shimano fanboy but I switched my XT to 1x within 6 months after getting my current bike and 1 x 11 is fine. You can also tune it fairly cheaply for where you are riding by changing the front chain ring. I have a 34 ( with 11-46 cassette) I use for most riding but I switched down to a 32 to do the SDW and If I was riding somewhere flatter a lot I'd considers switching to a 36.
  • billycoolbillycool Posts: 833
    Questions:

    What was your last bike?
    What is your budget?
    What is the main type of riding you will do?

    Based on your previous experience, you are looking for something with a decent (reliable) frame? I'd also suggest you look at brands with decent frame replacement schemes and/or warranties.
    "Ride, crash, replace"
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,311
    I'd go 1x12 every time instead of 2x11.

    The simplicity, reduction in bar clutter, enabling a better bar set up, reduced weight. All positives. Oh, and the SRAM 1x12 stuff lasts for ages (heading towards six times as long for me). :)
  • cppercpper Posts: 39
    robertpb wrote:
    Is your price range a secret as you haven't divulged that?
    Not at all. I didn't give a budget because the thread is about bike brands in general. It's maximum 1200 euro, but I would also happily spend less.

    BillyCool, I'm focused on gear ratios because I know what terrain I ride, and what ratios I need(based on my old bike). Most of my afternoon rides have about 400m difference, and I know what ratio I need to be able to climb on the bike. At the other end, I also enjoy pedaling trough the speedy descents. 11-46t with 30/32/34t is just a bit too tight for me. But on my list there's 5 bikes with 11-50t and one Cube bike with 10-50t.

    My last bike was a local brand Devron Zerga D5.7 When I got it in 2015, it had the best components for the price. I loved the geometry but the frame was 19.5", a bit too small for me(192 cm). Now I'm gonna get a 29er with 21" frame.
    I'm mainly riding cross country but sometimes also a bit more aggressive trails like these(not my video).

    Steve, are you saying a 1x12 chain+cassete+chainring lasts more than 2x11 drivetrain ? I imagined it was the other way around. A reason I was a bit reluctant about 1x12 was cost of drivetrain maintenance
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,311
    cpper wrote:
    ..............

    Steve, are you saying a 1x12 chain+cassete+chainring lasts more than 2x11 drivetrain ? I imagined it was the other way around. A reason I was a bit reluctant about 1x12 was cost of drivetrain maintenance

    For years now I have been measuring my chains as they wear, ie as they get longer. I use a vernier caliper and measure the chain at eight different places around the length. I note how many miles I have done on them at the point of replacement. Looking back over the various speeds of chain, whether 3x or 2x, all the chains needed replacing at about 650 miles. There was a range of course depending upon how many of the miles were done in the winter. That was for where I ride and how I ride and with the care I take with maintenance (or not). I could detect no difference between chains from Shimano, SRAM or Wipperman. Once I saw no difference, I tended to buy an SLX standard chain that was more resistant to rust.

    I did have a 1x11 for a time through the Summer, and I could also detect no difference. I replaced the chain when it was half worn, with the intention of refitting it when the second chain was half worn. This was going to be an experiment to see if that would get extra life out of the gears. It may have done, but I sold the bike before I could complete the experiment. The wear on the 11-speed chain was where all the others had got to for the mileage covered.

    Riding in the same places, in the same way, and with the same maintenance regime with the SRAM Eagle 1x12, I am on course for the chain to last six times longer. When a chain is worn, it wears the components it runs on. As the chain wears, the half-inch pitch extends, so instead of the rollers dropping into the gears and then just sitting there, they slide about and wear away the tooth faces of the gears. So by extending the life of the chain, the life of the gears it runs on is also extended.

    On my Whyte T130, I have already done more than twice as many miles for a third of the chain wear (measured as length extension), hence the 6x claim. I accept that the wear may yet accelerate, but I will continue to monitor it. The Eagle cassette and rings are so expensive compared to the chain, that I might replace the chain early to avoid undue wear on the gears. This would restart my experiment on chain and gear life that I started on the 11-speed kit.

    I am not claiming that all SRAM 1x12 speed kit will behave like this. I suspect that if it did SRAM would be shouting it from the rooftops. But in more than ten years of measuring chain life, this is the first time I have had kit that stands out in a significant way.

    And yes, before anyone else mentions it, I do have plenty of time on my hands. I'm retired so I am free to indulge myself in this way. I do it so you don't have to! :lol:
  • cppercpper Posts: 39
    cpper wrote:
    ..............

    Steve, are you saying a 1x12 chain+cassete+chainring lasts more than 2x11 drivetrain ? I imagined it was the other way around. A reason I was a bit reluctant about 1x12 was cost of drivetrain maintenance

    For years now I have been measuring my chains as they wear, ie as they get longer. I use a vernier caliper and measure the chain at eight different places around the length. I note how many miles I have done on them at the point of replacement. Looking back over the various speeds of chain, whether 3x or 2x, all the chains needed replacing at about 650 miles. There was a range of course depending upon how many of the miles were done in the winter. That was for where I ride and how I ride and with the care I take with maintenance (or not). I could detect no difference between chains from Shimano, SRAM or Wipperman. Once I saw no difference, I tended to buy an SLX standard chain that was more resistant to rust.

    I did have a 1x11 for a time through the Summer, and I could also detect no difference. I replaced the chain when it was half worn, with the intention of refitting it when the second chain was half worn. This was going to be an experiment to see if that would get extra life out of the gears. It may have done, but I sold the bike before I could complete the experiment. The wear on the 11-speed chain was where all the others had got to for the mileage covered.

    Riding in the same places, in the same way, and with the same maintenance regime with the SRAM Eagle 1x12, I am on course for the chain to last six times longer. When a chain is worn, it wears the components it runs on. As the chain wears, the half-inch pitch extends, so instead of the rollers dropping into the gears and then just sitting there, they slide about and wear away the tooth faces of the gears. So by extending the life of the chain, the life of the gears it runs on is also extended.

    On my Whyte T130, I have already done more than twice as many miles for a third of the chain wear (measured as length extension), hence the 6x claim. I accept that the wear may yet accelerate, but I will continue to monitor it. The Eagle cassette and rings are so expensive compared to the chain, that I might replace the chain early to avoid undue wear on the gears. This would restart my experiment on chain and gear life that I started on the 11-speed kit.

    I am not claiming that all SRAM 1x12 speed kit will behave like this. I suspect that if it did SRAM would be shouting it from the rooftops. But in more than ten years of measuring chain life, this is the first time I have had kit that stands out in a significant way.

    And yes, before anyone else mentions it, I do have plenty of time on my hands. I'm retired so I am free to indulge myself in this way. I do it so you don't have to! :lol:

    Wow, thanks for that thorough report Steve, I really appreciate it. Do you believe the NX Eagle has the same durabilty ?
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,311
    cpper wrote:
    ..............

    Wow, thanks for that thorough report Steve, I really appreciate it. Do you believe the NX Eagle has the same durabilty ?

    I have no idea, it might do, but then again it might not.
    My all-SRAM kit is as follows:

    Chainring: XSYNC Direct mount, Boost (3mm offset)
    Chain: Eagle XX1 Black
    Mech: Eagle X01
    Cassette: Eagle XG-1295
    Chainset: Eagle X1-1400 GXP

    I believe that the NX Eagle is a cheaper alternative and it will be cheaper for a reason. The main reason for it being cheaper is that overall, the kit will be heavier. For example, the cassette will be made from individual chain rings riveted together, each made from material stamped out from sheets instead of the total cassette being machined from a solid block. It will be designed to be just as strong of course. The chain will also be as strong as the premium chain, and it will be designed to run with the same tooth form found on all Eagle 12-speed gears. So how is the chain made more cheaply? My guess (and that is all it is) is that the sideplates might be a fraction thicker to make up for a lower spec material, therefore heavier. But there won't be much in it as the chain still has to be slim enough to fit the narrower gaps between the rings of the 12-speed cassette. My best guess is that the main cost difference will be down to any heat treatment or surface treatment that is done on the premium chains that might be different processes, or probably not done at all, on the budget chains. Of course on the chains there may be zero difference except cosmetic. That is speculation of course, I have no evidence either way.

    As I said, I have no idea whether NX or even GX will have the same longevity as the XX1, X01, X1 kit. When it comes to buying another chain, I will go for the same one that I have now, the XX1. Why compromise when I'm doing so well currently? :D
  • cppercpper Posts: 39
    Alright, so the GX definitely stays on the list :)

    I think I've narrowed it down to 3 bikes: There are some geometry differences:

    geo_7680fc04203e30ad5cab7b6ad4f7c776310dcfcc.gif

    Apart from the differences in the drivetain,the Cannondale has a Judy Gold fork, the Cube Reaction Race a Judy Silver, and the Race One a Recon Silver. I'm not sure how much better the Judy Gold is, since it seems it has the TK damper, like the other two.
    What about Judy Silver vs Recon Silver ?
  • JBAJBA Posts: 2,789
    I'd go for the Cannondale. Best forks out of the three and a decent drive chain.
    If you want 1x10 or 1x11 you can upgrade the bike at a later date as things wear out.
    “Life has been unfaithful
    And it all promised so so much”

    Giant Trance 2 27.5 2016 ¦ Sonder Broken Road 2021¦ Giant Revolt Advanced 2 2019 ¦ Giant Anthem 3 2015 ¦ Specialized Myka Comp FSR 2009
  • cppercpper Posts: 39
    Thanks JBA. Do you think the geometry of the Cannondale would make climbing much more difficult ? Also with the reach being bigger 470mm vs 433mm/426mm on the Cubes, I'm a bit concerned about riding comfort. Not sure about the stem length, I'll check that now.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    Or save yourself £400 for upgrades when you need them, much better fork than any of the other, which makes the most difference when riding.

    https://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/ ... -20-frames
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

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  • cppercpper Posts: 39
    cooldad wrote:
    Or save yourself £400 for upgrades when you need them, much better fork than any of the other, which makes the most difference when riding.

    https://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/ ... -20-frames

    The Cannondale on my list is £840, the cubes £880 and £950.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    It's still better than any of those, and as you just posted your budget without prices, who knows...
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    The Boardman is a much better bike in terms of equipement, price and ride than the three you have picked.

    A good call by Cooldad.
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • cppercpper Posts: 39
    Just noticed they don't come in my size, I'm 1.92m tall. And they also don't deliver to Romania.
  • cppercpper Posts: 39
    I ended up buying but the Cannondale, it should arrive tomorrow. I got it for 950eur, a fairly good price I believe. It was the last one in stock in my size. I concluded the its geo is better for my riding style. It's the most "aggressive" from my long list of options. Longest wheelbase, smallest HA, longest reach.
    Thanks everyone for their time :D
  • 4leonardwulf4leonardwulf Posts: 1
    edited June 2020
    Hello, wanna buy Electric Mountain Bike . Someone tried? Can give advice which better?
  • parmosparmos Posts: 86
    always preferred Cannondales myself just like the way they look and built, latest one a got was a Trial
  • reaperactualreaperactual Posts: 973

    Hello, wanna buy Electric Mountain Bike . Someone tried? Can give advice which better?

    Don't know about e bikes but the new Voodoo Zobop looks good.
  • JBAJBA Posts: 2,789
    Resurrected a 2 year old thread for an unrelated post!
    Nice one. :(
    “Life has been unfaithful
    And it all promised so so much”

    Giant Trance 2 27.5 2016 ¦ Sonder Broken Road 2021¦ Giant Revolt Advanced 2 2019 ¦ Giant Anthem 3 2015 ¦ Specialized Myka Comp FSR 2009
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