I am looking for a mountain bike to ride more with my teenage son. I currently have a cannondale trail 5 (medium frame) that is too small. We participated in an adventure race and there was very little comfort, hands numb, etc…I told it to my local bike shop who said it was too small. I am considering a new Specialized Fuse in size large. I would like full suspension, but not sure I want to spend the 3k+. I came a cross a used bike that I have listed below. It was custom built on a 2004 Gary Fisher Sugar race frame. It is for sale for $700. On the surface, the components look like quality components. I will obviously ride it before I purchase, but I’m hoping to get more info to see if it’s a good deal — or would a new Specialized fuse be the better bike. I ride mostly local trails for fun with my 2 sons. Occasional adventure race but no hard core mountain bike race. Looking for comfort and versatility. Thank you guys for your time!!
Bike was just built from frame up.
Suntour Axon air fork just serviced
Fox float r rear shock just serviced by fox
Fox float rp23 backup shock in perfect working condition
New WTB fx28 wheels
New continental explorer tires 26×2.1
Converted to 1x using all new advent micro shift components. (Will include all XT components to swap back to 3×9 if desired)
Advent 1×9 rear derailer with clutch
Advent 11-42 cassette
New 34t oval chainring
New 9 speed advent chain
New shimano deore hydraulic brakes and New shimano rotors
New DNM dropper post
New race face 780mm bars (will include extra flat bar and stem for more of an xc setup)
New bottom bracket
New Cane Creek headset
New wtb rocket saddle
New Bontrager composite flats (and used set of clippless if desired)
New Odi grips
I’ve taken the bike on one 8 mile ride to get all the adjustments dialed in. I love the bike and it will absolutely fly by I’m wanting to build a dirt jumper.
The issue with old bikes is geometry. The best bike ever in 2004 will have fundamental disadvantages over a newer bike, even if loaded up with really good components (which this example clearly is). Things like head tube angle, head tube shape, seat tube angles and chainstay lengths have evolved a lot in the last 5-10 years. Bigger wheels are nice too. You won’t have to spend 3k to really get a more capable bike with modern geometry.
I won’t say you can’t ride the classic and have fun, but skill level being equal, the new configuration will reduce how tough the trail is for you. A more capable bike opens more technical terrain for you.
I couldn’t recommend any bike that old or any bike with 26er wheels and therefore, I think that the Sugar is worth nothing. It doesn’t matter how many new parts have been put on the bike, the frame geometry and the 26er wheels are just outdated.
The 29er Fuze is a very good hardtail and you would be much better off buying it. A person who rides size large bikes will likely be happier riding a 29er. Also consider the Rocky Mountain Growler and the Vitus Sentier.
However, I think you will enjoy a full-sus bike the most. Here are some really great 29ers that have some great builds for about $2000.
I commuted on a nice 26″ Sugar for a while in 2016. I took it out on the trails a few times and it was okay. I also had a 29″ hardtail Stumpjumer and there was no comparison between the two. I think you would be much happier on the Fuse.
I know used bikes prices are ridiculous right now, but I only paid $225 for the Sugar 4 years ago. There is no way I would spend $700 on one now.
For the riding you describe with your sons, the Fuse sounds like a great bike.
Regarding full suspension – do you ever see yourself riding without your sons? If you enjoy riding enough to go alone, a full suspension may be worth the extra money, and the new Stumpjumper looks pretty sweet.
If biking is only a way to spend time with your kids and you will probably stop when they move out of the house, then you should be fine on a hardtail like the Fuse.
Specialized is putting out some killer bikes right now, so you should be happy with either bike.