I'd recommend test riding both wheels sizes to see what you like, versus what magazines or people tell you that you should like.
Carbon and I test rode both, and both like the 29.
Test rode several bikes, really liked the Rocky Mountain (we got Instincts) - they climb like a cross country bike, but downhill like a much bigger bike. Also a big fan of the Trek Fuel EX.
Also test ride several bikes if you can to see what works for you, not just to explore wheel size. Many of the bikes we tested were raved about, but weren't the best for us; it may depend on your individual geometry, or which characteristics
of the bike performance are most important for you.
I remember all your test riding and was impressed at the high quality bikes that were available to you. Our local bike shop (which I'd like to support) carries Rocky Mountain and (I think) Scott. They don't tend to have a wide selection in stock though; you have to order bikes in, especially high end ones. So you can test ride something similar but not the same - maybe not the right size either.
I bought my last bike at Gears in Port Credit where they had a wider selection but it's an urban area where I could only ride off curbs to get a small idea of what the bike might be like on real trails. Luckily, I liked it when I got it to real trails.
Does anyone know of a place in the GTA that offers a variety of good quality bikes for test riding in terrain? Except on demo days, I'm not aware of any place to try a bunch of different bikes, which is why I'm hoping to narrow it down through friends' recommendations. If anyone knows of any demo days, that would be great too. Hardwood Hills had one in April but doesn't have any more scheduled for 2016.
P.S. I'm hoping to spend less than $5,000 by the time I get accessories like a nice seat, etc.
After talking to Crash last spring I took her advice and went to the Barrie bike stores. They have lots of choices and cater to trail riders for sure. I'd chat with her if I were you - she just may know a bit about mt. bikes :)
I texted her but she has no car right now so her life is even busier than usual!
Which store in Barrie had some good bikes to test ride?
Has Crash spent much time on a bike?
How much is this nice seat going to cost you?;)
:) It's going to be an awesome seat! In the past, every new bike has ended up costing a fair bit more than the sticker price by the time they added HST and small things like seat, pedals, water bottle holders, seat bag, etc. - and maybe there will be big things like better wheels. Realistically, I may only be able to afford accessories!
BikeSports in Newmarket has a good selection and is happy to let you test things. I could guide you to a test zone. Mrs. tested half a dozen bikes before picking something she didn't think she would like. Half of the fat bikes I tested were from there. I'm pretty sure she would also let you try her Lust - one of Giant's new women specific models - it is a current model so would be more meaningful to ride than her Fuel.
Thanks, that is good info!
Whatever the seat costs, it's peanuts compared with my custom carbon 'bent seat
(Which acts as part of the frame)
As you already seem aware, a wheel upgrade would be worth saving some of the budget for. A little less on the frame and components, and more on light wheels - worth it and will make a nice, noticeable difference in performance. We've done this on almost all of our bikes and have been glad we did.
Barrie bike stores
there are three I've used fairly regularly.
Trek. Tend to be my go to. Good techs, stand behind their product.... Fought with Trek for me and got me a new replacement frame (HiFi Deluxe) at No charge when I creased my rear triangle after one year... and no charge for moving all components over!
I also find they do what they say, when they say they will do it.
Bikeland used to get most of my business. Great people working there, I just found them a little too laid back when I was always in a rush (don't they realize my crazy schedule/disorganization is their problem?!?!) These guys rebuilt my old Rocky Mountain for Will a few years back.
Bike Zone. Jury's out. John uses them a lot... bought his Elsworth there. Also got Will's current bike there (Kona) and he was not happy with some of the things they did... that he had to fix when he got to Vancouver. My gut feel on these guys is that they have some good techs but the staff is not generally as knowledgeable as the other shops... But they are superior sales people and quite convincing.
No info on Momentum
Two syllables: ch-ching! Nice, but between the wheels and the nice seat, she might not have any money left over for the bike... ;)
Actually, I think the Enve wheels are becoming more common, maybe the price is coming down. They would make any bike feel great...
Stan's makes some nice light ones too. And there are others.
Do I need to spend more on my bike? The last one was $4300 all in but I think that was 2006. Maybe I'm too optimistic!
Bike prices keep going up - more bikes come with dropper seat posts, less aluminum frame models (vs carbon). $5000 is a fine ballpark though you may find more options if you push that to $6000. My current bike retails for $5400 and has a good spec (XT, carbon, reverb dropper). Going one step lower still gets you carbon but more SLX components (which are pretty much as nice it seems) and drops about $600. Interestingly the same bike in aluminum frame and no dropper post drops another $1200 in price.... though I would highly recommend a dropper if you are riding technical trails. You are riding an aluminum frame at the moment?
Upgrading wheels gives you the best performance upgrade but it isn't cheap. ENVE wheels run in the $3500 range (while the stock wheels on a lot of the bikes in your price range are likely $500). Look at Nobl wheels for a cheaper carbon option - $2000 or so. Personally I think the wheels on bikes in your price range will be adequate - if you want nicer wheels your budget needs to be higher.
At some point though spending more money on your bike gives diminishing returns... fine if you have unlimited budget but not necessary. For the amount you want to spend you will get a good bike and none of us are serious enough that we should be losing much sleep over a few pounds on the bike:)
Actually to correct some numbers my current bike now retails for $6000 - not sure what merits the increase in price as spec is similar to a couple years ago. The model below is $1200 less.
I agree that there are excellent bikes to be had for 5K. Especially if you reuse some of the extras like cages, repair kits. Stock wheels will be decent in that price and you could defer upgrading that for a couple of seasons and do it then only if you thought they were holding you back.
Great info! I don't need as much bike as some of you but it sounds like I should be planning on $6,000-ish including tax. I will probably keep the old aluminum bike as a spare so I won't be transferring many parts across. As long as I keep buying new bikes only every 8 years, I guess it's OK to shell out more. ;)
Hmm. I haven't bought myself a bike since 2009. Maybe I'm due.
You might be! One important consideration is that my husband bought himself a custom-made carbon bike within the past year. So... :)
It's sounding like more of a bargain now...
I didn't spend all that much more for a fully custom full carbon bike.
Wheels aren't carbon but I did get Carbon Offset wheels...
The next best thing ;) those wheels are pretty darn light and have resulted in some good finishes :)
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