Cyclists: Recommend me a mountain bike

I’m in the market for a new mtb bike. Now I’m riding a hardtail Specialized Rockhopper and could use an upgrade. I’m hoping to get something with disc brakes, full-suspension, and hoping to spend less than $1500, but we’ll see. We’ve got a lot of shops here, so the prices are competitive, plus Trek is just a ways down the interstate in Waterloo. I do mostly singletrack, a little rocky trail-riding. I’m no racer, just do it for fun. I’ll also need the shoes and pedals.

I don’t know most components rate, sram vs fox float vs deore. It’s all Greek to me. just wondering if anyone can give a recomendation, do’s or don’ts.

I’ve been to the shop once so far, and will hit a few more as the sale season starts. I’ve looked at a Specialized Enduro(molded aluminum frame), Cannondale Jekyl Lefty, and a Fisher Sugar 4 last fall. It was too cold to ride them. I have a Marin hybrid that I use to commute that I just love.


I’ve got a Gary Fisher Wahoo that I use all the time. It’s delightfully comfortable and has even taken a hit by an SUV and come out fine (the SUV, oddly enough, had a major dent from the collision). Tough little guy. Only cost me $350, too.

I ride an older C-dale Super V, and love it. I did a test ride on a Jekyl lefty and got wood it was so much better than my Super V.

I suggest that you do some test riding.

I worked in a high end cycle shop a few years ago so forgive me if I’m slightly out of the loop.

In fact re-reading your OP, I’ve never heard of the bikes you mention at the end, but oh well.

I personally was a big fan of the Specialized StumpJumpers, and the Klein bikes. Bang for your buck, I would go with a front suspension only, as the dual you would get for the same price will certainly have a lower component package or cut costs in other areas. I would recommend avoiding the disk brakes, they add weight, and are really only usefull for downhill, where stopping on a dime is not good enough. Shimano “V” brakes will do the job nicely in lieu of disks. Look for an aluminum frame, as the durability, weight saving, and corrosion resistance will be a big help. The ride may be slightly stiffer then a steel bike, but wear some cycling gloves and you will be fine. As far as frame geometry goes, that something you will have to ride and discover yourself. I personally liked Klein, their frames have an extremely aggressive geometry, with a longer top tube, which streaches you out over the bike and distributes weight very well. They also have bombproof construction.

No matter what anyone says, the best thing is to go out and ride and judge for yourself.

Hope this helped.

Probably a little more expensive that you’re looking for, but one of my hard-core mountain bike racing (and tournament-winning) friends swears by these:

(On review, note that my Mountain Bike is a Royce Union–I’m not quite nearly so hard-core (in fact, not at all), but if you’re looking to spend $200 or so, it’s pretty good!)

If I may also ask, I’m looking to get a new mountain bike as well, but a mid-priced bike. Around $500 maybe?

I used to ride a Specialized Rock Hopper, but the frame got a little small for me, since I got that bike when I was 14. I liked my Specialized a lot, but I haven’t really kept up with the technology since I stopped riding, so like the OP, I’m not very concerned about details of components. I don’t plan on riding very hard core either, but I want something sturdy, at least. What are the good bikes of the day?

Hi all-- I work in a shop part-time and have been riding for 10+ years now. If anyone has some similar questions, I can give you my humble opinion.

For the OP:

As you are on a Specialized, and they make some of the best values (stay away from the Fuels and Sugar, as they use the flexing chainstay design I am not very fond of) that would be a start. Not the Endro though-- that is more Freeride-ish then it sounds like you are looking for.

Look at the StumperJumper FSR-XC’s. Here are links to two models you should look at. One has discs already, the other has disc wheels (but no discs, you could add them later quite easily though and you get a nicer parts spec on the bike).

FSC-XC Comp- my favorite FS bike under $2k:

FSR-XC Disc:

The Jeckyl is a nice bike, but is heavier, and does not have as well a designed rear suspension. C-Dale filed Bankruptcy this winter, but it was a pre-packaged Chapt 11 deal, and they have restarted production.

The key thing is to work with a shop you feel comfortable with.

Pantellerite the brand you mention is nice, but not really what the OP is looking for. Mostly hardtails. Also as far as racing, its the rider, not the bike (Unless its a Royce Union :wink: ) that counts.

Phatlewt, off the top of my head I can recommend Kona bikes, the Cannondale F300, and the Specialized Hard Rock Comp in that price range. Also be aware that bikes are like cars, and last years model may go for a $50 to a $100 bucks less than this years model and the only difference may be paint scheme.

As an aside from a previous response, two advantages of disc brakes are reliability in any condition, and you can just about taco your wheel and still ride with brakes, since they are located on the hub and not the rim.

How about another (larger) Rockhopper- they still are darn nice bikes for the price. They have one in your price range too.

Finding a leftover 2002 model would save you some cash. Stop by a few bike shops, now is the time they are willing to wheel and deal, especially on leftover 2002 product.

about the disc brakes - they are good if you plan on being in water or mud as they won’t gather mud as easily and prevent you from stopping. i wouldn’t worry too much about weight savings if you just do it recreationally. here’s a good site for bike reviews:

The salesperson said the Specialized Stumpjumper was more of a racing bike, whereas the Enduro was more for recreation, adn I think he thru Jekyl in that category too. Maybe it depends on which flavor of Stumpjumper, it seems there are about 50 different models.

I will do a test ride, but seeing as how we got dumped with 5 inches of snow last night, it’s a ways off. I’ll check all the stores too, Trek’s and Specialized seem to be available everywhere, it’s takes some looking for some of the others, ie) Klein.

My friend just bought a $2900 Santa Cruz. She sold one of her cars and that still didn’t even cover half the cost of her bike. Ouch!