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I'm pondering a new XC hardtail for the odd sub 50 km race, plus riding to keep fit. Some local possibilities in the $2-3,000 range I have recently seen include GT Zaskar expert, GT Zaskar carbon expert, Scott scale 50 (alloy), 35 (carbon) or 30 (carbon). Still tossing up alloy vs. carbon. Does anyone have any comments on any of these models.
Part of me (my 40 yr old lower back) says I should be instead looking at dualies...... I have spotted a new Merida Ninety-Six 1000HFS in the above price range (on special) but have not really researched dualies in that price range. The simplicity of a hard tail does appeal to me however.
Grateful for any comments, thanks.
If you go hardtail I'd recommend a steel framed 29er, but I think you really ought to be looking at a 4 to 5" travel dually.
I'm not that much older than you (48) and the recent 50km enduro I did in Parkes had a pretty flat track. I seriously thought about going the HT because I really enjoyed riding mine on the last training ride (60km) before the event.
However, in the race adrenalin gets the better of you and you want a bike that makes it as easy on your body as possible. I was so glad I rode my 5" travel dually - my lower back (SIJ's) were quite sore as I crossed the finish line, no doubt due to the much higher intensity in the race. My HR peaked at 160 on the Saturday course reconnaissance at mid-level training intensity, but averaged that for the entire first hour and a quarter in the race.
Being able to sit a lot more without being jounced around as much meant I was able to finish. Doubt I'd have made it on the HT.
The other learning is that I have a LOT more work to do on my core stability before I attempt a 100.
Thanks for those comments. I agree there is a lot to be said for core stability!
Although I haven't looked closely at the cost of dualies, I was under the impression I was going to have to pay a lot more (relative to similar spec'd HT) to at least get some average components / reasonable weight. May be I will need to do some more research....
If you decide to get a cardboard frame instead of an Al and you crash and crack it. You may cry.
Like TG, I think steel is a good option for a hardtail.
If you decide to get a hardtail you could always get a Cane Creek Thud Buster post or a spring saddle to cope with it.
Now is a good time for specials on 2009 and 2010 stock. The shift to 2 and 3x10-speed transmissions for the 2011 model year is driving a lot of retailers to provide better than usual clearance specials.
Agree the thudbuster is an option for a HT. The tube-within=tube style spring suspended seatposts tend to be stupidly heavy, and prone to seizing from track grit.
Dually is still more versatile IMO. Gives you more control when the track gets rough, and less risk of pinchflats for a given level of rider expertise.
The elite guys still all use HT's ... but we know that's because they're mental.
Thanks for all those useful and prompt comments - I only signed up to the forum yesterday and I am already a convert.
I'll do a bit more research on dualies, but keep the Thudbuster in mind for a HT (might even try it on my existing HT). May be whilst prices are good I will try and stretch my budget a bit further....
What do you ride now? A 96 is a seriously good bike, but a lot of cash considering you weren't after a dually a minute ago
Bang for buck it is hard to go past the giant 29ers, and I don't like giants. The anthem and xtc 29ers are stupidly cheap, but will do the job well. Everything seems to come out of the giant factories anyway, and going straight to them will get you a good deal... and solid warranty
I bought an Anthem x3 2010 a few months ago and the DS is a big step up. I would never consider a HT MTB again (unless I had the cash to buy numerous high-end bikes), a dually can be set up to be awesome for smooth track use very easily and when you take it into the rough you'll be happy for the extra give you have. I only have 4" travel but that's enough for ruts and jolts and moderate drops, so 5"+ with good shocks is heaps of travel. I don't know what deals you can get ATM but I got my bike for $1,700 and even though that's a 2010 model, you should be able to get a 2011 29er for close to $3k if you look around and ask for deals. As for simplicity, they're really not that complex and the arrangement of cables etc. is fairly tidy.
I was in the same situation a few weeks ago - what HT MTB should I guy. I wanted a bike with a decent fork and hydraulic disk brakes. I looked at Giant Boulder but they where mechanical disk. I then looked at Giant Talon 2 (the first bike in the Giant range with hydraulic disk brakes). I also looked at Trek 4300, Avalanche 1.0 plus a few others - all had hydraulic disk brakes. During my investigation (hours of website searches, forums and talking to bike shops and mates) I found there was lots of different options - some valid some not so. One theme that was consistent was - if you can afford to buy a dually, buy a dually. They are generally more comfortable but the big thing was they can handle more terrain. It was suggested that after a year of owning a HT I would probably want to get a dually so just go straight for a dually. The down side of a dually over a HT is they generally weigh more, generally more expensive to maintain and do cost more. So I was left with no easy choice. I started to look into entry level duallies - Giant Trance and Anthem X3s, GT, Trek, Avanti, Specialized, Merida etc. I did briefly look at 29s but given they generally cost close to an entry level dually I did not look much more into them. I ended up ordering a Merida 2011 One-Twenty 800-D for about $2000 ( http://www.merida.com.au/en_au/bike/201 ... ENTY+800-D ). For my price range I thought this bike the best value for money. Good frame, good fork (120), lockout, good brakes, 30 speed etc. Good luck with your decision. P.S. you should be able to get a 2011 Giant Trance for about $2200 or a less if Merida is not for you.
Spend your money on a giant Trance or Anthem - both have a great pedalling platform, good warranties, are cheap and would suit the riding you want to do - the Trance is a bit easier on the old back and it is almost as efficient as the Anthem - theres not really that much in it weight wise for a given spec level..
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