Help me choose a bike?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Help me choose a bike?

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    • #271494

      All I am looking at choosing a new bike I am new to Mountain biking, but not to this style of sport, I race motocross, used to BMX, and rock climb(not directly related, but). My budget is 1200. I will be doing a mix of trail, Enduro, some jumps, and some downhill. I’m looking at several bikes and have ruled out a few so far. I’ve gone to several bike shops(different brands) and rode all but the specialized(didn’t make it in time) I am down to 5(yea..still a lot…) The shop that has the Giant will be the shop i go to for everything after i purchase a bike as they come highly recommended and seem to be an amazing shop.

      The bikes are:

      Giant Fathom 2: The bike was light, and compared to the others i could hop this higher. It seemed twitchy however. I think this was due to the bars being wide for how i would personally set it up. the shop will also throw in a nice set of pedals with the purchase. The bike also has a dropper post factory. the potential pitfalls of this bike is the 100mm of travel and the Tektro brakes which i found to be seemingly lack luster and not stop as well as I would like. This is an easy enough change though.


      Marin San quentin 2: This bike rode very well, it wasn’t twitchy like the fathom, but did share the lack luster brakes. This has 130mm of travel however. The shop was willing to get me out the door for my 1200 price point on this despite it being a slightly more expensive bike. It seems to be designed as a more aggressive bike which could be good for a lot of what i want to but may suck on more XC esc trails.  This also does not have a dropper post.

      Trek Roscoe 7: Good brakes, 1×12 drivetrain, dropper post 120mm suspension travel. The big thing I’m not sure of is the geometry. It does not seem to have the pop of the fathom either.

      Specialized Pitch Expert 1x: Have not ridden however it is cheaper than everything else, has Shimano parts just about everywhere. This does not have a dropper, and only has 100mm of suspension travel. The dropper is an easy fix and still keeps it well under the budget. The 100mm of travel is less than the Trek, Marin, and Fuse 27.5

      Specialized Fuse 27.5:  Have not ridden. The geometry seems to fit right between the fathom and Roscoe. The only drawback I can see is the brakes again.  Another interesting thing with this is it fits 29 or 27.5+ wheels. This has a dropper post and 130mm of travel.


      So am I missing anything? Is one superior to the other? Trek, Specialized and Marin are all “US based” brand which is potentially a plus. All Have a lifetime warranty on the frame.

    • #271538

      Based on what you’ve mentioned above, it sounds like the SQ2 is the best bet for you. 130mm of travel, dropper post and more aggressive geo seem to fit most of what you want. I’d put the Roscoe & Fuse 27.5 in a virtual tie for second, simply because you haven’t ridden the Fuse.

      The more downhill and enduro you plan on doing, the better the SQ2 sounds for you. The more general trail/XC and mixed stuff, the Roscoe and Fuse may be better.

      Granted, that’s just my take (by the way, what MC bike did you ride? Did  you ever do Supercross?) and you’ll likely hear more great advice on things to check on.

      You can get great deals on previous models. The 2020s are out, so the 2019s can be gotten for (relatively) cheap. Another thing to consier are your ancillary costs. Helmet, gloves, pads, ability to fix a flat, a way to carry liquids . . . I’m not sure if you’ve set aside a space in your budget for these things.

      Hope this helps,


    • #271544

      I ride an 09 YZ250 2 stroke(more fun and challenging) I haven’t raced supercross but have ridden the local track a few times. The SQ2 does not come with a dropper, which is not a big deal.

      In terms of ancillary items I have budget for those,but the bike I have set aside 1200

      • #271547

        Awesome bike! My late friend raced a CR 250 (also 2 stroke) as a privateer back in the mid-late 80s after some time w/ Team Honda (I think that was a CR 500?)

        My bad on missing the SQ2 w/o a dropper. I fully endorse having a dropper and a 1x on whatever you settle on. But TK34 is right! There’s no perfect bike; get one that fits and works for you and ride the flapjacks off the thing!

    • #271545

      I can’t tell you what to buy, because ultimately there isn’t one perfect bike for everyone. But I will add that I am a big advocate of the dropper post and 1X drivetrain. Strongly recommend you look at these two key features, either factory or factored in as upgrades. And don’t worry about trying to find the “perfect” bike – make a good choice, ride the crap out of it, and don’t look back! Good luck!

    • #271555

      Given that you are only spending $1200, I recommend that you buy a 29+ hardtail with progressive geometry. Here are my favorites.

      Norco Torrent HT 29×2.6

      Specialized Fuze 29×2.6

      Marin Pine Mountain 29×2.6

      Salsa Timberjack 29×2.6

      Trek Stache 29×3.0

      Chromag Arcturion 29×3.0

      If you are going to ride a Hardtail I think you will have more fun riding one with 29×2.6-3.0 tires.  I would stay away from bikes with old school short and steep geometry.  Go for long and slack progressive geometry.  Also try to get 120mm or more of fork travel.  If you could come up with about $400 more, you will get a much better bike in terms of drivetrain, fork, and brakes.



    • #271559

      Also check out the Nukeproof Scout, it has pretty aggressive geometry for a hardtail.
      Also rode MX and Hare scrambles back in the day, both ATV and bikes.. My last bike was an 06 KTM 250SX.

      I personally would not do downhill with anything less than a 140mm FS bike.  I recommend if you go downhill rent a real downhill bike rather than riding a hardtail there.

    • #271574

      TK34 If i get one without a dropper it will absolutely be added nearly immediately. (So the SQ2 would end up around 1400 in total)

      Plusbike Nerd what makes the 29 a more fun bike?  I will check out the fuze 29 when I go to that shop for sure though.   What bike/bikes did you have in mind with a budget of +400?

      Alvin Mullen, the spec of the nukeproof seem like exactly what im looking for however i can not find an online dealer and the closest dealer to me is 2.5 hours away which is further than I was looking to travel.

    • #271575

      <p style=”text-align: left;”>I guess one of the big questions I have is which of the Forks is best? That’s a very expensive component to upgrade. The fathom and pitch comp are out due to the fork travel. The SQ2 is supposed to be a great all around bike, however there is no dropper so thats an extra $200 on top, The Roscoe has a dropper but doesn’t seem to have as aggressive geometry, the fuze falls somewhere between the 2, and has the dropper, and 130mm travel. It has a 1×10 drivetrain and OK brakes (going off the assumption the brakes act the same as the SQ2 and fathom.) ultimately it’ll come to geometry and fork, which of these has the best combo?</p>

    • #271615

      29er’s are better because they roll over things more easily.  That’s why wagon wheels are so tall.  That’s also why nearly all XC-Race bikes have 29er wheels even though 27.5 wheels would be lighter.  If your going to ride a hardtail, you want taller wheels.  In fact, 29er’s are becoming the standard for all mountain bikes—XC, Trail, Enduro, Downhill.  You don’t see many bike manufacturers coming out with new 27.5 bikes lately.  29er’s are dominating the Mountainbike market.

      Wider Plus tires (2.6-3.0) allow you to run lower pressures and therefore, get a bit of tire suspension.  For a hardtail this is particularly important as you can get pretty beat up without rear suspension with narrow higher pressure tires.

      Combine 29 wheels with Plus tires and you get the most forgiving setup you can get without suspension.

      Here are the ~$1600 29+ bikes I like.

      $1675 Specialized Fuze Comp 29

      $1350 Marin Pine Mountain 1

      $1399 Salsa Timberjack SLX 29

      $1500 Trek Stache 5

    • #271706

      As far as downhill, this year’s world cup winner and many other top riders, are on bikes with 27.5 rear and 29 front. Of course they have 200mm full suspension also.

    • #271721

      I believe I’ll be going with The Marin, but the shop owner did have a used fuji full suspension bike (not very old, don’t have the model or spec on it) that was his that he said he’d part with in my range. Is it worth going to full sus for the pedal loss I’ll get? if I do light trails it’ll really suck.

    • #271732

      The problem with full suspension in your price range is that they are not going to typically be the best designed suspension systems and they will have low quality shocks.

      This will lead to less than ideal climbing and an overall heavier bike to haul around.  My Niner Jet 9 RDO is an excellent full suspension bike, but I still feel how much more efficient my Salsa Timberjack is at pure climbing…

      i would be careful with 29+ tires, they can be  VERY heavy, they honestly don’t have much industry support and from what I’ve seen, they will not be gaining in popularity.  My buddies Timberjack came with 29+ wheels and he pulled them off almost immediately to put his 27.5+ wheels on.

      On a hardtail, 27.5+ can make sense, more comfortable and good grip while still being able to be fairly lightweight and playful.

      Unless it’s a used bike, it’s hard to get a GOOD full suspension bike for less than $2,500.  Used bikes open up a whole new can of worms…


    • #271737

      All the bikes you listed are great bikes. They are all essentially the same. Yes there are subtle differences but your getting the same bike. You can tweak stuff as you go. Pick the one you like. I have looked hard at the Giant Fathom and Specialized Fuse in the past and have been impressed with Marin. I personally ride a Salsa Timberjack with 29″ wheels and 2.4″ tires. Bike climbs like a goat and wants to go fast. I still haven’t pushed it beyond its limits. Honestly pick the one you like the most even if it just the color or the name. All these bikes are on the same level of quality and going to very similar. The more you ride the more you find what you really like. You can make changes as you learn more and can afford. I have never been able to buy a bike that is completely what I want the bike to be. I build the bike up and transform it over time. Based on your background in hobbies, I think you are going to love this sport, get addicted and before you wear out any of these bikes you will know what you want next.

    • #271768

      I got more info on the full suspension bike. It’s a 2018 Fuji Auric 3.6 with some upgrades (pedals, tires, dropper post, 11-46 cassette, brakes)

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