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Newbie here but wanting to buy a bike for general use, commuting (10Km a day) and getting out with the boy at weekends. Have about $1k to spend and have been offered a Bianchi 5300 (2012) for $1k from the LBS but in looking around I've seen the HASA brand which seems to have much better spec but from the web. Also considering a Rockhopper 29er Comp from a not so local LBS even though it's an extra $200. I'm 6"1 and 80Kg's. Any advice from anybody would be appreciated.
Currently favoring the Bianchi for the advice, help etc. from the LBS but can't get past the specs .....
I have a Hasa MTB. It was a Race 7.0 from about two years ago. I say was because I've done a fair bit of tweaking, component swapping etc, so it's not stock anymore. You don't mention which Hasa MTB you are eyeing off, but the 2011 Race 7.0 looks good value for money and has better wheels than the older 27-speed they are still selling.
The Bianchi looks an an OK intro MTB, but the Hasa is better value for money I think with a much better drive train and probably rather better forks (the RS Tora are  somewhat heavy, but quite capable). The main (BIG) difficulty is whether you are comfortable buying off the web. Sizing and fit are essential matters and with the Hasa a small amount of self assembly will be required. My review on buying mine is here.
If you are in Melbourne you can visit the mob that sell the Hasa bikes. I found them fine to deal with and quite helpful, but I think I know my way around bikes pretty well so I had some idea of what I was getting myself into. They are also good at warranty issues, IME.
If you're buying a hardtail go the 29er. Much easier and faster over the choppy stuff.
Thanks for the info. and the review. Sounds like I should use the local shop, my bike mechanic knowledge is a bit limited (read non-existant !!)
I've seen an Apollo Comp-X 2010 for sale at $1295. Bit more than I wanted to spend but the guy at the LBS says it's worth $2k and it feels really light. Is it worth it or should I stick to the budget ?
I'd go the Bianchi if it fits you and is pleasant to ride. Whilst I'm not sure which version of the Kuma you are looking at, I'm assuming that for the money you are looking at the one with a Deore/Alivio 9spd drivetrain? Basically, while it doesn't seem that flash...all the good bits are in the right places.
The other thing to bear in mind is the fact that spending more on components can be a false economy for an occasional rider - especially one without service skills. Most flash harry parts (especially Shimano/SRAM) are merely lighter than their cheaper brethren. Sometimes yes they work better but the trade off is in durability and sensitivity. XT and XTR parts are great but they need looking after and constant attention to keep at their best. Deore grade parts aren't high end but they aren't low rent and they done need regular cleaning and fiddling to keep that way. Alivio parts are durable and functional but above all cheap and if you do manage to kill them then they won't break the bank to fix.
I bought a bike that I thought was a bargain based on the high spec components once. Saved $200 over the name brand opposition. I still have that bike seven years later but the only original thing left on the frame are the wheels and it is a geometric nightmare because of the changes required so that I fit the bike properly. The frame geometry is appalling. Despite that, it is now affectionatley known as the Scaffold.
But I wouldn't do it again....because the cheap price bought cheap and generic geometry and frame material. I got nice jewels but a cheap heart.
Ours is not to reason why...merely to point and giggle
Thanks everyone, sounding more and more like the LBS makes sense, so 2010 Apollo Comp-X or 2012 Bianchi 5300 or 2011 Specialized 29er ? Anyone got any of these (or older) and know whats the best to live with ? I've tried then all but don't really know what I'm looking at so one ride feels similar to the rest. The Apollo felt lightest and the Specialized felt quiet stable (29" I guess) but which will be better forks etc ? Having managed to be allowed to spend this much I don't fancy trying to get more next year to replace something Cheers to all who've helped so far
Apollo Taos C for $1k, sold and sold. Great bike with rubbish forks (even to a newbie) !! Good deal though
Good on you for pulling the trigger. Where ya based?
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