or Connect
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Hard Rock Going West

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
My son just told me that he is taking his Specialized Hard Rock back to campus with him this fall--something about his new dorm being a bit off the beaten path. This just after I put new tires on it. Anyway, I just took it out in the woods twice as a MTB novice and had a blast. Nice bike, nice sport.

I know from several helpful responses to a previous thread I started that this bike is pretty OK as a starter machine. So here's my question: since the bike is going away in 3 months, and I have to buy a new one, what should I do?

Replace the Hard Rock? Move up in Specialized? If so, to what? Move up to something else? Suggestions on that?

I don't think I need FS and don't see the need to spend $1000 unless someone here can convince me that it would be in my longer term interest to do that (i.e., when I get better, will I wish I had certain features that I am not experienced enough to appreciate right now?).

I am a mechanical engineer by training, and generally don't mind monkeying around with mechanical stuff, but I don't much have the time, inclination, or energy right now to add another gizmo to my maintenance responsibilities. So I need something that, with responsible care, pretty much goes like the energizer bunny.

Any suggestions are welcome and appreciated.

post #2 of 7
Joe, how much money do you want to spend? Give me a ceiling, and I"ll do some research for you. Lord knows I need something to do with my free time, and I'd prefer to do something I enjoy.

For reference, I found a great starter MTB for an ex-girlfriend several years ago, cost only $700 shipped. it needed some minor assembly, but nothing a handy person couldn't do without this resource right here:

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Gonz, I was thinking of trying to stay under a grand. Not so much that I couldn't go there, but being familiar with ski equipment, sailboat stuff, cars, and other toys, I feel a need to set a boundary of some kind. Also, it makes it easier to explain the expenses to my wife ("What, another pair of skis?") if it's in the $100s as opposed to the $1000s.

By the way, the bike you mentioned sounds interesting. I have been accused of being a gearhead, so assembly doesn't normally bother me. Anyhow, I would appreciate your pro-fessional opinion on what I should be looking at within that range.

post #4 of 7
Joe, you can easily stay under $1,000 if you plan to ride more "occasionally" rather than 3x/week or more. problems arise when you ride frequently on inexpensive bikes, because they are inexpensive due to less durable components.

A shop that's fairly local to you, Belmont WheelWorks, is a good dealer. When I still lived back East, I bought a Cannondale road racing frame from them for a great price. They have a deep stock and usually sell their sale stuff at great prices. Here are some examples from their "Specials" section of their web page (http://www.wheelworks.com/spec.htm):

2004 Bianchi SASS for $750.00 -- this is a singlespeed MTB with a steel frame and fork. Depending on your fitness and desire to get fit and stronger, this might be the very best option under $1,000 ...BUT... singlespeeding does insist that you either be strong, or be committed to getting stronger. The standard gearing on a SS rig is usually around 32t front chainring by 18t rear cog, which is challenging for steep climbs. I have owned a Bianchi MTB frame and I like their feel and geometry. The big questions on this one are (1) are you prepared for singlespeeding, and (2) do you mind running a rigid fork? Note that this one has disc brakes, a bonus if you ride in wet, muddy, snowy or icy weather. Bear in mind that you could put a $250 suspension fork on it and be right at $1,000.

2003 Gary Fisher X-Caliber 29er for $840.00 -- Another good choice and a unique ride like the SS above, this 29" wheeled bike will surprise you with its smooth rolling character. Two of my riding buddies who are VERY skilled are trying out 29" wheeled MTBs this season, and are raving about them. For comparison, keep in mind that road bicycles have 700c wheels, which are 29", so that means that your wheels generally are 3" larger diameter than a typical MTB. This bike has an aluminum frame, which will give a bit rougher ride, but that character likely is balanced out by the 29" wheels which roll smoother and have more compliance per-wheel. This bike also comes with a suspension fork, so you have no extra expense here. Downside of 29er is that tire selection isn't quite as broad or deep as with 26" standard MTB wheel size. However, this is an issue only if you are looking for uber-meaty DH tires. There's plenty of choice for XC and trail riding tires.

For e-tailers, there are some other choices that probably can't be examined in person. Here's an example, and if you would like more let me know.

Full suspension bargain bike: Iron Horse Warrior Pro
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Gonz, Thanks. I get the sense from your post that I will be compromising the level of frame (and component?) quality needed for the 3x per week scenario if I bust a gut to stay under $1000, to the point where, in order to get it, I need to sacrifice gearing.

Do I have this right or am I off base?

Also, I should note that I am very interested in building strength, but lack confidence that, at 62, I can actually pull it off to the tune of investing in a SS bike.

Should I go over to Belmont Wheelworks (I live in Newton) and put myself in their hands? That appeals to the rational side of me, as it is my normal practice when buying techie stuff (cameras, etc.) to find people who are knowledgable and trustworthy and trust 'em.

post #6 of 7
Basically, yes, if you plan to ride 3x/week or more, you would want to spend maybe another $100-200 for some drivetrain component improvements, and that increase might be smaller if you find a good deal... at the complete bike level, and shopping to stay under or around $1,000 you will find your choices a bit narrower.

On a new bike the margin necessary for better spec components would be close to the numbers I quoted. When you get near $1,000 you are getting a good frame with some component compromises. In the case of that Bianchi SASS, it meant a rigid fork and singlespeed drivetrain rather than derailleurs. In the case of the Fisher 29er, you are getting a lower end Marzocchi fork that probably didn't cost the folks at Fisher very much per "unit" .

As to Belmont Wheelworks in person -- Yep, head on over there. I didn't know you lived in the NBC Fig Cookie Capital, or I would have urged that right away!

The singlespeed might be ambitious, but talk to the folks at Wheelworks.

I think the Fisher 29er looks really interesting, but you'd want to straddle it and ride it to be sure it doesn't feel tall or tippy.

Good luck, and feel free to PM me with any Qs you might have after visiting Wheelworks.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Great stuff on the tradeoffs, man. That's exactly what I needed to get a sense of. Appreciate it.

Wheelworks or bust.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Sports