Buying a bike - what do you think?

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Buying a bike - what do you think?

Postby amp » Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:39 pm

Wanting to buy a bike and I'm looking now at two options. They are both in the same series but the bottom bike is a model up.

What I'm asking is, for opinions on whether these bikes are good value for the price I can get them at, and whether it's worth paying the extra $150 for the better bike.

Thanks! :)


Frame:7005 Alloy with Double Butted Fluid form top tube, down tube with squared rear stays
Fork:Suntour XCR-LO Alloy outer legs with preload adjuster and Lock Out
Rear Derailleur:Shimano Deore LX
Front Derailleur:Shimano Deore
Gear Shifters:Shimano Deore 9 speed
Crankset:Shimano 442
Bottom Bracket:Shimano Octalink cartridge
Brakes:Tektro Auriga Comp Hydraulic disc
Brake Levers:Tektro
Hubs:Shimano Alloy Disc 475
Rims:Alloy Double wall Weinman XTB-24
Spokes:14g Stainless steel
Tyres:Kenda MTB 26 x 1.95 all black
Pedals :Alloy MTB
H.Bar/Stem:Alloy oversize riser bar with A Head over sized stem
Seat Post:Alloy micro adjust
Saddle:WTB Pure V Race
Grips:Kraton Rubber

$600
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Frame:7005 Alloy with Double Butted Fluid form top tube, down tube with squared rear stays
Fork:Manitou Axel Super Lockout
Rear Derailleur:Shimano Deore XT
Front Derailleur:Shimano Deore
Gear Shifters:Shimano Deore 9 speed
Crankset:Shimano 442
Bottom Bracket:Shimano Octalink
Brakes:Tektro Auriga Comp Hydraulic Disc
Brake Levers:Tektro
Hubs:Shimano 475 Alloy Disc
Rims:Alloy Double wall eyeleted Weimann XTB-24
Spokes:14g Stainless Steel
Tyres:Maxxis Larsen Mion 26 x 2.0
Pedals :Shimano M505 clipless
H.Bar/Stem:Alloy Oversized Bars with WTB Oversized A Head stem
Seat Post:WTB Alloy Micro Adjust
Saddle:WTB Laser V Comp
Grips:WTB Weir Wolf

$750
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by BNA » Mon Mar 17, 2008 7:54 pm

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Postby Mulger bill » Mon Mar 17, 2008 7:54 pm

G'Day Amp, welcome outside.

Let's see...
Fork
Rear DR
Tyres
Pedals
Stem
Seatpost
Grips
I'd say the extra money is justified.

Be sure you've had a test ride before pulling the plastic out, just to be sure it's the one. :wink:

Shaun
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Postby timbo » Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:25 am

I agree with Mulger Bill. For the money, they both seem like good value and if you can stretch the extra $150, do so.
And as he said, make sure you take both for a test ride first if you can.
You may notice a difference in the tyres and the performance of the front shocks, but the other component differences may not be so noticable.
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Postby amp » Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:44 am

Yeah cool, thanks.

I've already given one a test ride and it seemed nice.

Or do you mean test the individual one I'm buying?
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Postby Kalgrm » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:22 am

No, he means test both and choose the one which speaks loudest to your heart. Love at first sight is a romantic notion, but you won't know if you can truly live with your choice until you've tested the ride.

;)

Cheers,
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Postby amp » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:24 am

Ah right, thanks :D
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Postby stryker84 » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:29 am

I'll add in another Q that the OP hasn't asked:
They may both "feel" the same (they are essentially the same frame with different components), and if one doesn't know much about bikes, what are things to look out for?

I'd say,
gear changing - how smooth it is
cornering - which tyres feel 'safer' on the corners.
suspension - do a few rough patches, and look for which absorbs the shock better; also do some SMOOTH straight zones, observe how well the lockout works.

If after all the test-rides you can't find a difference, get the +$150 bike, it's got the better components which in general will serve you better. If you notice the cheaper bike suits your riding better, perhaps ask the LBS why, maybe the other may need some tweaking. And if after all that, you still like the cheaper bike better, then go for it, just because it's less expensive doesn't mean it's not a good bike.
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Postby amp » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:19 pm

Thanks! :)

Also a related question.. I'm thinking of getting a Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit U-lock, anyone had experience with these? From what I've read they're great but some personal accounts are always nice, too.
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Postby Bnej » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:58 pm

Kryptonite or ABUS U-locks are the ones to have. The effective ones are heavy as anything, but the nice thing about them is they will win vs portable bolt cutters (will mangle the tool), and will take all week and about the lock's value in blades with a hacksaw.

There is still always the risk of someone pinching bits from your bike, or damaging it in the attempt to steal it, but as far as a bike lock can be an effective deterrent, they should stop all but the most determined thief. U-Locks can be broken with leverage attacks like a car jack, so try not to leave much space inside the U section between the bike and the pole.

Combine it with a cable through the wheels and they need at least two tools to get anything really valuable. i.e, jack to break U lock then cutters for the cable.

And don't lock it to something that can be easily removed!
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Postby Hotdog » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:15 pm

Lots of good advice from Bnej. I've got a top of the range, long reach (more chance of getting it around both the frame and a conveniently placed immovable object) ABUS U-lock that's served me well for years, it's seriously solid. High security always comes with a weight penalty though, my lock weighs the best part of 2kgs so I only carry it when I know I'm going to need it, which is thankfully fairly infrequently these days. I also have a heavy duty ABUS combination cable lock which I used to secure the wheels when I had to leave my bike in the open for an extended period, but haven't needed to use that for a while.

In the end it's a trade off, you need consider the value of your bike, where you're going to leave it, when and for how long and decide how much you need to do to keep the risk of theft at a level of that's acceptable to you, given that increased security will come with increased cost and weight. Stick with reputable, well known brands like Kryptonite and ABUS.
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Postby amp » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:23 pm

Yeah thanks Bnej, am aware of those points but hadn't heard of abus :)
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Postby amp » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:19 pm

So kind of a final question.. Does this bike (the $750) look "good"? Will it handle off-road and commuting well? Or is it like mentioned in another thread, a commuter with cheap mountain parts and therefore pretty average at both.

Thanks!
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Postby Kalgrm » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:31 pm

Will it handle off-road and commuting well?

This is one of the hardest questions we ever get to answer, and it's also one of the most common. Everyone wants a bike to do two opposing tasks.

It will be "average" at both tasks.

Put slicks on it and it will be a good commuter: not as fast as a road bike, but able to deal with aggressive riding around the 'burbs. The headwinds will make you wish you'd bought a roadie for the commuting (or recumbent, in may case).

Put decent off-road tyres on the bike, and you'll be able to hit the dirt. It won't be as much fun nor as fast as a mountain bike specced for full time off-road use, and it will be heavier than you had wished, but what can you do? The technical riding will make you wish you spent more and got a "real" mountain bike.

This bike is within your budget, so no regrets ....

Cheers,
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Postby amp » Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:15 am

Yeah cool, thanks.

Out of curiosity, how much does a mountain bike "specced for full time off-road use" cost? Like multi-thousands?
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Postby Bnej » Wed Mar 19, 2008 10:42 am

Roughly?

Up to about $800 you're looking at light recreational hardtails - not all of the components will be well suited for off road.

$800 - $1,400 or so and you're looking at more serious hardtails, but still recreational. Better forks, everything suitable for off road, but heavy not high end of anything. You will see decent oil damped forks and hydraulic disc brakes in this range.

$1,400 + you start seeing race-ready hardtails and entry level dual suspension. The hardtails will be well equipped, dual suspension not so much.

$2,000 + start seeing good dual suspension. Most of the ones right at $2,000 are still pretty heavy. $2,500 gets you good, reasonably light dual suspension.

After that things get lighter and better.
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Postby amp » Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:14 pm

Yeah cool.

So I take it I'm in the second range, the bike retails for $1250.

What would you say are the "worst" components of the bike, that I'd want to upgrade first if I decided to upgrade? I'm guessing the brakes and fork.. And for such upgrades, how much is one looking at paying for good reliable parts that aren't super fancy but quality recreational?

Thanks!
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Postby Bnej » Wed Mar 19, 2008 2:32 pm

Brakes & Forks for sure. Deore level running gear and up is fine.

Manitou Axel is an entry level coil/oil damping fork. It's heavy and not really sophisticated but it works for most people starting out. If you wanted to upgrade this, go for a Rock Shox Tora Air or better - 32mm tubes are stiffer, air springs are more easily adjusted (don't have to buy a new spring to change the rate), will be a few hundred grams lighter, better damping.

The brakes are likely to be single piston, though I'm not sure of that. Upgrading them to Avid Juicys or similar will give better performance.

The wheels are also likely to be heavy. The will probably be more than strong enough but that will come with a weight penalty. If you're happy carrying extra weight stick with them, if you want to make the bike lighter you can get lighter wheels.

If you're mostly commuting on the bike change the tyres for slicks and save the knobblies for off road. You'll wear down most good off road tyres pretty quickly if you ride them on pavement.

Pedals - M505s are entry level Shimano clipless. If they start acting up spend the $70 and replace with M520s, or better still change over to Crank Bros if you've got cash to spare. They aren't bad though and will probably last you quite a while. The main difference is the M505 has a few places where dirt/mud can get caught and not shed easily.
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Postby amp » Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:18 pm

Thanks Bnej, you're very helpful! :D

They're actually gonna swap the tires and pedals for me, to almost-slicks and normal pedals. I don't see the point in those clipless really, and when I start doing more outdoor riding I can get some knobblies.

I don't think I'll mind the wheels, but if I find it too heavy after a while will look into that.

And so for the brakes and fork, I'd be looking at spending at least $250 for each, wouldn't I?

www * .tektro. * com/02products/01auriga.php <- is the page for the brakes, btw. They're dual piston.

Argh wouldn't let me post the link, so just lose the spaces and copy into browser.

And here's a pic of the bike if it helps :)

www * .fluidbicycles. * com/images/products/37.jpg

lol wouldn't let me post that either :P
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Postby Hotdog » Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:23 pm

amp wrote:I don't see the point in those clipless really

Ooh, you sound like someone who hasn't tried them :) I'll let others explain (and I'm sure several will), but clipless pedals (or equivalent foot retention systems) make a huge difference to your pedalling efficiency. Most effective speed/power/etc. upgrade I've ever made, by far.
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Postby Bnej » Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:30 pm

amp wrote:And so for the brakes and fork, I'd be looking at spending at least $250 for each, wouldn't I?


Probably a bit more for good forks. $250 will get you a similar level to what's coming on the bike, depending on where you buy them from.

If the Tektros are adequate for your needs, stick to them until they break (or don't brake! :P ).
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Postby Hotdog » Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:33 pm

amp wrote:Argh wouldn't let me post the link, so just lose the spaces and copy into browser.

lol wouldn't let me post that either :P

You're very, very close to being able to post links and images though... :) You need to have made 10 (I think) posts before the board will let you, it's an anti-spammer precaution.
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Postby amp » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:20 pm

Now I only have to wait 5 days :lol:

With the clipless pedals, don't you need to buy special shoes or something?

And thanks, Bnej :)
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Postby Hotdog » Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:28 pm

amp wrote:Now I only have to wait 5 days :lol:

Ah yes, there's the 7 day requirement too... :roll:

With the clipless pedals, don't you need to buy special shoes or something?

That's right, you'd need cycling shoes because they have the mountings for attaching cleats (cleats are the parts which engage with the bindings on the clipless pedals). That does add a bit to the cost when you 'go clipless' but you can get a serviceable pair of shoes for under $100 to get you started.
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Postby Mulger bill » Wed Mar 19, 2008 5:15 pm

Going clipless is a big help.

Collect, ride and enjoy Amp, there's nothing in the spec to be scared or ashamed of. However the upgrade bug WILL get you when you least expect it, bits wear out or break, then's the time to look for better.

Shaun
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Postby amp » Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:37 pm

Thanks for the tips.

Happy to upgrade bits a bit further down the track, then my brain won't feel like it's spending as much money :D

So is it bad to use clipless pedals without shoes?

Not sure now if I should get the bike with or without. Don't feel like spending an extra $100 just yet for shoes and stuff.

If I keep them and replace them with normal ones (stashing the clipless), how much are decent normal pedals?

Or if I get it with normal pedals, how much is it gonna cost me to get clipless ones when I'm ready for them?

And I guess the same applies with the tires, and the principal factor being - what's more expensive? Slicks, knobblies or the ones inbetween?

Thanks!

Ps - This forum is much friendlier than Farkin :P
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