How to easily compare Mountain Bikes/Brands

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How to easily compare Mountain Bikes/Brands

Postby ChrisG77 » Thu Sep 27, 2018 1:10 pm

I am looking to invest in my second mountain bike, more for hitting the trails. Im better than a beginner but not yet an intermediate rider. I want a dual suspension bike. I have spent hours looking at different bikes, but the specs are so technical its hard to compare and then relate this back to my need (i.e. Do i need Fox or is Shimano ok etc). With $1000 between the brands i've looked at how do i know which is the right one? Has anyone found a way to compare bikes across brands?

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Re: How to easily compare Mountain Bikes/Brands

Postby Usernoname » Thu Sep 27, 2018 3:16 pm

It's become a mine field to try and differentiate between bikes. Different suspension platforms and forks/shocks, sizing, drivetrains and bottom bracket 'standards', wheels / tires and brakes.
If you are near a variety of bikeshops try a few and then compare. Fit and feel are one of the most important first steps. Depends on your budget too.

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Re: How to easily compare Mountain Bikes/Brands

Postby RonK » Thu Sep 27, 2018 4:03 pm

There is no easy way. Any bike is the sum of its components. You have evaluate and compare the component specification of each bike to determine which bike offers the balance of value/utility/reliability/capability that is right for you and your budget..
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Re: How to easily compare Mountain Bikes/Brands

Postby davehirst » Thu Sep 27, 2018 5:46 pm

I would suggest, first decide on a budget, this will give you carbon or alloy.
then on what style of riding you will be doing, this will give you how much travel you need in the suspension department,
Then I would look at bikes with Shimano discs (not an avid fan).
Maybe now your down to 25 percent of the market to trawl through, then read reviews in that style and price range, and check for specials.
If do the homework, the bike presents itself.
Good luck, for me half the fun is the hunt

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Re: How to easily compare Mountain Bikes/Brands

Postby Jmuzz » Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:56 pm

Consider a bike as a modular collection of sub assemblies.

Frame, suspension, groupset, wheels. General quality of the minor bits.

Groupset is the easiest since there aren't that many options so it's a direct comparison.

Wheels are often pretty meh regardless unless the real top end. Consider the originals as spares awaiting an upgrade.

Saddle, bars, grips etc they often get customised anyway. The shop may even do free/cheap swaps pre purchase.

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Re: How to easily compare Mountain Bikes/Brands

Postby Duck! » Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:24 pm

If looking at a duallie, suspension performance is the most important factor, as that dictates very strongly how the bike rides. This blog site gives an in-depth assessment of just about every rear suspension system on the market, and it's independent. It is heavy reading at times, not hepled by the fact its original language is Spanish, so translations can be a bit patchy (you'll need to hit the "translate" button upper right).

The first thing to do is work out what type of riding you'll be doing so yu can narrow down the necesary suspension travel range, then pick out your bike shortlist in that range, and read the notes on each one.

Bikes can be broadly categorised by suspension travel, but there is some crossover between categories with variations in frame geometry. Broadly, XC bikes have around 90-120mm rear travel - these have tight, steep geometry for agile handling, but tend to suffer with technical descents. Trail bikes have 120-140mm reat travel, slacker geometry for better descending, but still reasonably agile for a wide mix of riding. Typically the most versatile range of bikes. All-Mountain ("Enduro" is the current misused buzzword - Enduro is a race format. not a bike type) have 150-170mm travel, very slack geometry very much optimised for pointing down, yet still somewhat rideable up hills. 180mm plus is the realm of full-blown Downhill sleds which are horrible to ride anywher else.
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Re: How to easily compare Mountain Bikes/Brands

Postby Cheesewheel » Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:30 pm

Sometimes you can go about it in terms of purpose, especially if you are starting to enter into n+1hood. If you are riding in a certain terrain, or anticipate a certain common usage, look at what pros and cons you are looking for. Eg wider tyres, higher gear range, comfortable geometry for long rides, downhill spec etc. This can land you to hunting for a specific bike that fits the bill rather than trying to compare apples to oranges or a good CX to a good downhill or whatever. When you get down to 3 or 4 bikes you can even start a thread discussing which one others think is the best value for money (according to your envisioned purpose .... n+1 is a very rational process ... at least at the beginning).

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