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I'm looking at getting a fully suspended bike. I'm looking at some variant of a Cannondale Rush (600/800?), C-dale Prophet (600/800), or Specialized something or other in the same price range.

6vm6org.jpg

I'm liking the Canondale lefty fork just because it's cool, but if it breaks a lot: uncool.

All I want is a general purpose all-mountain bike that doesn't break, but I have no idea of what to look for anymore. I'm totally out of touch with the bike world. Are there certain features I should look for, or stay away from? To me, the Rush and the Prophet look the same, and I can't seem to interpret the marketing to figure out what the true difference is.

What I think I want:

- Full suspension

- Groovy lefty fork

- Disc brakes

- Decent components that don't require constant adjustments

- Sorts sub-major ammo from my range bag automatically

Beyond that I'm lost. I'm not sure what hydraulics features I should be looking for in suspension. And yeah, I know full-suspension is less efficient uphill, but I'm willing to cough up a little extry and get something that's workable. I *really* don't want to ride a hard tail over the bumps anymore.

Any issues with the mechanical disk brakes?

Hydraulic brakes better or worse?

How much to I have to spend to get rid of those stupid gear indicators on the handlebar? Those have to be the dorkiest things ever.

Help me Obi Wan...my brain is numbing...or was it numb already...anyway help me please! :wacko:

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I'm currently looking in the $1200 to $1500 range.

I'm not interested in jumping off cliffs or competitions or doing a swan dive off the top of Whistler, so I'm hoping that will buy me enough bike to last a few years. The sub 1K bikes really seem junky.

When Dan Bedell sends in his federal excise taxes, he sends blank forms and includes only a picture of himself, crouched and ready to draw. Dan Bedell has never had to pay federal excise taxes.

Buwahahahaha!!!! :lol:

I just finally saw that. Thank you. That just made my day. :P

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Yea, I thought it was a good tag line for a profile. Gotta give the man props :)

Here's my thoughts.

Full suspension. Definetly! For 98% of riders, you'll be able to ride longer, better and faster on a suspended bike vs. hardtail. The energy loss is so small, yet the bike won't knock you around, is better on technical and bumpy trails, and you'll feel fresher for longer and not make mistakes on the trail from fatigue. Many new designs either have a shock that is designed to not respond to low level imputs from the force of your pedaling, or the specialized epic has the brain that senses shock from the ground and then opens the valves in the shock to let it move.

The lefty fork has gotten better over the years. Should last longer due to the needle bearings vs. the bushings on regular a fork which wear out every year or two (depening on use/maintentance/etc). The carbon model is competitve on weight but I think it's never going to be as stiff as the newer Fox forks with the 32mm stanchions.

Disc Brakes - I will never own a bike without them. Period. They work better in all conditions, actually stop you when they're wet, and don't require anything except a change of pads every few years. Only get mechanicals if they are Avid mech. discs. I've had them on a bike and they are by far the best mech. on the market. This said, I LOVE hydraulic. The new avid juicy series has a lot of adjustment and plenty of power. The Shimano and Hayes are good too, with Hayes getting my 2nd vote after the Avids.

Component level, you should look for at least a LX level groupo on the bike. Rear der. will always be higher than the rest of the bike, pay attention to the shifters, and yes most will have the stupid indicators. I do like SRAM a lot as well and those would be a 7.0 level and above.

My current love interest in a new bike is the Specialized Stumpjumper FSR. 5 inches of travel front and back with discs. Perfect for a trail bike. Ride it all day, race it if you want, even do a little light freeriding. Stumpy - click here.

Any more questions, let me know. I used to work in a shop. ;)

Edited by Matt Cheely

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Thank you! I went with DX or better on the last bike and never regretted the decision.

I'll go take a look at that FSR. The guy at the local shop said even the guys working at the Trek dealership rode Stumpys.

What's the best way to go about getting a good deal? Apparently you can't buy them mail order?

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Matt,

I demand credit for your sig line. (either that or you buy the PBR's when we chance to meet :))

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More...

Here's a stump jumper that's a little closer to your price range.HERE

On full susp. One plus if this is your only bike and you like to train on the road, lots of shocks have a lockout lever that lets you crank around on the road without the wasted energy in the suspension.

Lefty fork, You might also consider that if the fork ever fails, you will have to replace it with another lefty. Cannondale uses a 1 1/4" headtube for lefty's and headshocks. Industry standard is 1 1/8". You'll have a harder time getting a new stem if you need a different length... etc.

The bike that you pictured is a terrible suspension design. Single pivot has to be the most energy robbing designs ever thought up. The shock can try and deal with some of it, but when you get into the 4 bar designs like specialized has, there is a significant benefit in terms of feel, efficiency, and tracking that you'll get from the rear end.

Best way to get a deal is find one lightly used. www.mtbr.com has classified ads that you can try, or there is always egay.

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OK, so we'll scratch the Cannondale off the list.

I'm not so opposed to dropping $2K on a bike - provided it's not going to disintegrate 5 years from now. I spent $600 15 years ago on my current bike- totally rigid and featureless - and it's still like new except for the paint, and the fork I smashed on day 2, and...well....I digress.

So $2K for vastly superior technology isn't outlandish. Hopefully I can do some haggling - or maybe just buy one while I'm at area 1 and not pay sales tax.

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Okie dokie,

Just got done test riding the C-dale Rush 800 just for sh*ts and giggles.

In a word: Ick!

I'm not sure I can come to terms with modern frame geometry. I don't like the feeling of sitting back in the seat like I'm on some little kid's BMX bike. I hate the funky new shifters that turn the brake lever into a shifter.

I hate the gay, bent back handle bars. All that does is accentuate the BMX sensation (No, I never owned a BMX bike as a child).

I LOVE LOVE LOVE hydraulic brakes. That is a MUST have.

I hate that my GT Lead Sled is now in the shop. At first I thought I'd be replacing it, but now I think I may have that thing buried with me. I sure hope the stumpy is better, or I'm going to be tigging my own frame together and duplicating my GT's geometry.

How much do I have to pay for the normal rapidfire shifters like in the good old days where both buttons were under your thumbs? Can I buy ones without the stupid shift indicators?

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If you gotta have the hydraulics, you need to go to the stumpjumper comp. It comes with Avid Juicy 5 discs. Great brakes! It has Deore 510 shifters which are the rapid fire type. HERE Unforunatley I don't think the indicators are removeable like the shifters from 3-4 years ago. They might be though...

Something you have to think about the newer full susp. bikes is that the riding position is going to be much more upright than the old style Mtn. bikes. They were very stretched out with a long top tube that got you down on the bike for better speed on the straights. This is well and good for racers but for a trail bike, this is just going to wear out your back, and keep you too leaned over to control the bike well. The more upright the riding position, the better control you have. Plus with the fully suspended designs, it is even more important to keep the riders weight evenly distributed front to back.

I do know what you mean by the bars being too swept back. I like the bars with a slight (3/4") rise and sweep back. As you sit up farther, it keeps your wrists in a more natural position. Also remember that most of the new bikes are sized S, M, L unlike the 17", 19", 21" type sizing of years past. Most frame designs have most of thier difference in the top tube length, and rarely get taller in the seatpost area. So if you feel the cockpit is cramped, you can either go to a larger size frame, or increase the stem length. Go ride a stumpy, I think you'll like it. :)

Edited by Matt Cheely

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What's weird to me about the new geometry is that I feel like I have much less control. I don't feel like I'm part of the bike, but I guess it's all what you're used to. I'll definitely go with an L or XL frame. That will get me closer to what I'm used to I'm sure.

I still can't get over the brakes (the ONLY good part of tonight's experience). Wow! :)

Edited by EricW

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I have to Canondales, and older Raven (sweet ride) and a F400 I built out last summer with Raceface cranks (sweet), semi light weight wheels, XTR, a huge travel Manitou front shock. I bought the bike at a pawn shop for the frame, and built out the rest myself.

I prefer the hardtail for control and climbing (we have lots of mountains) and find the ride is pretty nice. I think you really have to just demo bikes until you find one that feels good. I do like the bars with a bit of a sweep and rise.

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I still think the best handling mtb are GT hardtails. I was never a fan of Crack&fail, uh I mean Cannondale. Special_Ed Stumphumpers always seems kind of long in the top tube for me.

I have a Marin Mt. Vision only because I paid wholesale cost from a shop I used to work at. One thing I found out was the lockout from my rear shock will self destruct if you hit a big bump while locked. The lockout makes a huge difference when you have to climb.

If you don't like the new shift/brake levers, find a company that doesn't spec Shimano brakes.

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Trance_3.jpg

Problem solved with a 2005 Giant Trance 3. Got a pretty spectacular deal too. Doesn't come with a lockout fork on the front, but I saved enough to more than pay for a fork when the time comes to upgrade. AND it came with nice hydraulic brakes. :)

Best of all, the suspension actually works.

Off to go get some sorely needed cardio workout time... ;)

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Awesome. Glad you found one. I like Giant bikes, I want one of their team edition road bikes. Too bad they only come in black/pink...

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Here's my ride. Fuel 95, Fox 80RL, Sram rocket shifters, XTR, Hayes HFX9 Carbon disc brakes, Easton Carbon bar, Thomson Stem & Seatpost, ODI lock on grips (I love lock on grips!). :) Almost forgot, Mavic Crossmax SL tubeless wheels. B)

Fuel95.jpg

Edited by Matt Cheely

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I am a big fan of the trek/fisher family of bikes. I have had them all and (Ellsworth, Lightspeed, santa cruz, etc...) and have found the the Treks and Fishers offer the best value for the money. My current love is the Fisher Sugar 293, it is amazing how the 29 inch wheels just roll over the stuff. I personally am not the big of a fan of hydralic brakes, but to each their own, more work then the are worth when it comes to repair.

Matt-I have almost the same bike in the basement, one of my favorite rides! The setup is almost identical. I guess we both have great tastes!

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boynty,

This particular Giant was such a good deal, I couldn't say no. Shifters are a tad on the cheapie side, but the rest of the bike is fantastic for the price. I always regarded Giant as a crap bike maker, but for what I want, this pupster will do the job nicely.

And yeah, 7 miles later my rear disc is already dragging a bit. Not sure if it's because of the sand or what.

==================================

Matt,

Yours and my bike have nearly identical rear suspension. Sweet.

My fork will likely get upgraded to a Fox sooner or later. For now I'll just keep the fork pumped up. (Oh, and I got a free pump too! :P )

Looks like I ended up with $100+ worth of free pedals. Somewhere along the line a nice set of shimano clipless got put on in the showroom. The bike doesn't come with them stock. Can't figure out what model they are, but every bit as nice as my $200 shimano pedals from circa the ice age. So that was a pleasant surprise.

What's nice is that I just did the same ride I did two days ago on my lead sled....and I'm just as fresh as a daisy as compared to when I took the sled. There's so much less vibration fatigue that it really offsets a lot of the loss due to the shocks. I'm not sure my GT will ever get ridden again.

Now if only all my receivable accounts would get paid, I could actually afford this silly thing. :lol:

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OK Matt,

More goofy questions for ya:

- What's your solution for air on the trail? My old pump is too big to fit anywhere on my frame. For now, it will ride along in the Camelbak. Are the CO2 units any good?

- How do you feel about the anti-flat goo? Not Slime - there's some other stuff called Jim Bob's FlatBeGone or something like that.

- Tires - I had the shop dump the stock tires because everyone that reviewed them said they were junk. So...now I've got a pair of WTB ExiWolf's on. The guys at the shop swear by them, so they must work here.

But...back in the days of yesteryear...back when they still issued mastadon tags...I ran Ritchey Megabites and Z-Maxes and was perfectly happy. The Ritchey's are also half the price. Does that mean they are half the tire? Or just half the price?

Any other recommendations? Our terrain varies pretty widely just in a 50 mile radius. We have everything from sand (my house) to plain old dirt/mud to basalt and granite.

[Yeah, I could just do what the locals tell me to do, but I'm a man, and dammit I have to overanalyze everything instead of getting on the bike and losing blubber so I can keep up. :lol: ]

- What's the best solution for adapting Presta's to be filled with Schrader equipment? Right now, I have a pair of brass adapters on the presta valves with schrader caps over the adapters. I have a nice, gas-station style air chuck, but I'm not sure if keeping the adapters on the presta stems will cause me problems over the long haul.

- And if you bought a Fox fork for XC work, what would you get?

Thanks man! You've really helped me out!

E

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Oh, and how do you feel about tubless conversions?

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Frame pump! egads man, those went out in the 80's :ph34r: get youself a CO2 filler that uses the non threaded camisters, then go to the sporting goods section and get a 25 pack for pellet guns. It'll be 1/4 the cost of the bike shop.

Stans is the way to go for goo. Most people use it for making a non tubeless tire tubeless. But add some of that to a tubeless setup and say goodbye to most flats. I'd skip it. More trouble than it's worth really.

Tires, yea that's subjective. Most stock tires are total crap. I run very XC ish tires most of the time, but I like the panaracer fire xc pro's for all around. Try jensonusa.com or pricepoint.com for online shopping. There's some new hutchinson tires that I really like for my tubeless setup too. (I haven't bought new tires in about 2 years) Get a pretty knobby tire that has lots of space in the treads to shed mud. And a kevlar bead!

Your new shiny CO2 inflator will probably be setup only for presta. But I keep a little brass adapter in my seatbag. Never know when you might need to knock on a random door to ask for an airpump.

As for a fork, I'd go with a Fox Float. Something with rebound and lockout at least. I haven't ridden one of thier terralogic forks yet but something tells me I wouldn't like it. I want to know if the fork is going to be locked out or not before I decide to jump the foot high log. I hate crashing :ph34r:

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Thanks man. You are a fountain of information and sanity. I'd never have made heads or tails of any of this without ya. :)

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