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Brad Fitzpatrick

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mountain bikes [Apr. 3rd, 2004|07:53 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick

Having happily broken in my new street bike after my old street bike was recently stolen, I resumed my search for a mountain bike, to replace my old mountain bike which was stolen, then stolen again.

Confused? Here's a timeline:

Junior high, perhaps: Ghetto Costco bike. Heavy and couldn't shift. Didn't get a good impression of bikes.

High school / freshmen college: Trek Mountain bike, front suspension only. Loved it. Left it locked up outside dorms one night (with hundreds of other bikes), and it was stripped of all its unlocked parts. I replaced all its parts (which cost as much as it did originally) and then the whole bike was stolen behind our house in Viewridge/Sandpoint area (totally an old/rich person area... not high-crime at all, but the damn gardening contractor punks next door probably stole it.)

Then replaced it with my Trek 7500FX, since I was 4 miles away from campus on a paved trail, and a street bike made more sense. That bike was stolen in Canada, right when I was about to purchase a mountain bike.

So... the street bike is replaced, so it's mountain bike purchasing time.

Today I took out a Trek Fuel 90 full-suspension bike for a spin.


I'd never ridden a full-suspension bike, and it's totally crazy. I was going full speed at medians in the parking lot, up over curbs, tree roots, bushes, rocks, and it didn't feel like anything. Whatever I ran into I just floated over.

I took it for quite a long ride, over everything I could find, including a creek. I had to apologize for bringing the bike back all muddy but the salesperson (who helped me with my bike last week) was just amused, not knowing where I found mud on such a sunny perfect day. (I was also all muddy myself)

So I headed out to their warehouse sale to find the disc-brake version, but the last/only one had sold since their database was updated last night, so now I suppose I have to buy the 2004 version which will be about $300 more.

Hopefully if I pick it up tomorrow morning whitaker and I will head up to Vernonia and bike 20 miles downhill to Banks.

Anybody have recommendations about other full-suspension bikes before I drop a G and some on this? Klein didn't seem to have as much selection, and most were a lot more expensive. Gary Fishers were about the same, but longer frame, and ugly as ass. Any others?

[User Picture]From: number4
2004-04-03 08:08 pm (UTC)
Funny that you diss Klein and Fisher, even though they're both owned by Trek bikes. Anyway, before you plunk down whatever the cost for the Fuel 90 is, I suggest you check out Kona bikes. In my honest opinion they're infinitely better-looking and more efficient. The Fuel series of bikes were made specifically for XC racing, which is not what you're doing. You want a bike that is suitable for climbing but not super light and very breakable. Go to a kona dealer or www.konaworld.com and check out the Dawg series of their back-country bikes. The direct link for the collection is http://www.konaworld.com/2k4bikes/2k4_dawg.cfm

Having ridden Kona bikes for about 2 years now (I own a 2001 Dudu slalom bike and a 2001 Roast hardtail jump bike) I must say that they're some of the sweetest-handling bikes out there. Uncomplicated suspension systems, easy to maintain mechanics and features you won't find on "comprable" bikes at the same price. If you want to talk to me more about it IM me my sn is s1cmagg0t666
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-04-03 08:18 pm (UTC)
I didn't know Klein was Trek, but I knew Fisher was. I didn't really diss them: I just thought the Kleins were expensive (that's probably how they're marketed... the high end brand), and the Gary Fishers were just all ugly looking. Component-wise they were identical, and the frame alloy was the same... only difference was a longer frame and ugly colors I think?

Thanks for the Kona info... I'd never heard of them. I'll go do some research.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-04-03 08:25 pm (UTC)
Cool, there's a Kona dealer pretty close. I'll have to go try one out.

[Note to self....]
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[User Picture]From: vanbeast
2004-04-03 08:14 pm (UTC)
Anybody have recommendations about other full-suspension bikes before I drop a G and some on this?

Get what feels good. Decide what price you want to pay, and ride everything near that price. Buy the bike that feels best. Features and shit are cool, but not going to be worth it in the end.

Personally, Trek's don't fit me AT ALL. I've got a 2000 Specialized Rock Hopper... it was the best fit in my range when I bought it. It was a hardtail, I was looking for a full suspension, but it just ... felt ... right.

As for brands, Kleins are a lot more expensive, but (arguably) better engineered. Most people don't think the extra money is worth it. GF's, like you say, are ugly and oddly proportioned, but are a good bike for the money.

There's always stuff like Cannondale, but ... eh. It's Cannondale. You're buying the brand. Specialized is good, but they have a peculiar fit that isn't for everyone.

One brand that is often overlooked is Kona. I completely ignored them when I was looking for my bike, and sort of kicked myself afterwards. They have (or had) a wide variety of styles and setups, and were comparably priced with Trek. I've ridden a couple of their bikes and really liked 'em. Dunno if they have any full suspension, though I suspect they do.

Which shop did you go to? I was in Corvallis for the entirety of my time interested in bikes, so I don't know much about the shops up here. What brands (aside from Trek) do they sell?
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[User Picture]From: mrbad
2004-04-03 08:14 pm (UTC)
Got one in 2002.
The full suspension is just incredible and has changed my biking and confidence forever...
You can't go wrong.
Was happy to hear the thrill you got from it.
Only wish they existed 10 years ago...

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[User Picture]From: mrbad
2004-04-03 08:19 pm (UTC)
ps: get the best shifters money can buy... this is obvious... but given the choice I would spend even more next time around...

its sort of like, flick, flick and then flickflickflickflick
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-04-03 08:27 pm (UTC)
What's it like? :-)
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[User Picture]From: mrbad
2004-04-03 08:37 pm (UTC)


Your mind does the shifting, you just enjoy the ride... waiting for the bike to bump you off... which never happens... you're only job is to keep it ,,, clean and shiny ...
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[User Picture]From: ch
2004-04-03 08:20 pm (UTC)
Check out Santa Cruz's xc bikes. The new(er) Blur and the venerable Superlight (which I have).

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[User Picture]From: epiphany
2004-04-03 08:28 pm (UTC)

It's So Cool It Hurts

But after the rash of thief, I hope you have room in your bed for this one. Do they make lo-jacks for bikes?

~ E.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-04-03 08:29 pm (UTC)

Re: It's So Cool It Hurts

I'll be more careful. :)

And yes, you can lo-jack bikes, I read, but it's like $500 minimum and adds quite some weight.
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[User Picture]From: epiphany
2004-04-03 10:21 pm (UTC)


Nah. Forget it.

After all, it's only a thing. You'll have time and money for plenty more bikes even if this one does naively take candy from a stranger somewhere down the line.


~ E.
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[User Picture]From: matthew
2004-04-03 08:43 pm (UTC)
Check this site out:


I signed up with my Cannondale a few years ago. It's $10 for 10 years of coverage. Most law enforcement agencies (and used bike shops for that matter) will check with these guys when they get stolen bikes. NBR takes your make/model/serial and gives you some stickers to place all over the bike so that someone will notice them even if they don't know about it already.

Oh, and if your bike is stolen and not recovered, they'll sign up your next bike for free, so you really don't have a lot to lose.
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[User Picture]From: matthew
2004-04-03 08:46 pm (UTC)
I just noticed that they have a stolen bike registration too, for a whole 99 cents you can have a 6 month search set up. You'll need the serial of the bike though, dunno if you still have that.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-04-03 11:08 pm (UTC)
I know I do, somewhere in my file cabinet
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[User Picture]From: eli
2004-04-03 09:46 pm (UTC)
You can't go wrong with trek...every bike I've had since I was 10 was a trek. Let me know how you like it, I think I'm gonna be in the market for a new bike here pretty soon. I'll have to take you on some REAL mountain bike trails when you get outfitted. 20 miles...all single track...5 streams to ride across (w/out bridges mind you)....jumps o plenty.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-04-03 11:07 pm (UTC)
When you down here next? I'll be ready before then.

Vernonia to Banks is 20 miles downhill. It's not too great though... not like jumping streams and shit.
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[User Picture]From: eli
2004-04-03 11:21 pm (UTC)
This will have to be a summer trip (most of the trail is still probably under snow). It'll require a two car shuttle operation and will take a full day easily. There are 2 or 3 really large hill climbs, 3 sections of insanely steep downhill, there are tons of jumps, and yes..the stream crossings that I mentioned earlier (You have to hit them as fast as you can to make it all the way across on the bike..usually you don't make it). I'm not sure what the elevation drop is, but I think it's something around 4 or 5 grand. It's the best trail I know of, almost entirely tight single track....start conditioning. We'll have to plan it for one of my R&R weekends this summer so be ready to cancel all plans at the drop of a hat :-) It'll be worth it.

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[User Picture]From: eli
2004-04-03 11:34 pm (UTC)


I consulted some maps..I think it's only about a 3,000 ft elevation drop. I also failed to mention that you'll be riding through some serious big foot country.
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[User Picture]From: y0ssarian
2004-04-03 10:48 pm (UTC)
If you don't mind doing it, take some steel wool and take off all the logos. The bike won't look as pretty, but it also won't look worth stealing to most thieves. If you get the chance, make sure you take an uphill ride on whatever bike you test. Thats the one spot where the full suspension will become a problem. I bought my bike about 6 years ago, and the full-suspension bikes were terrible. I've been happy with my hardtail on all but the bumpiest trails.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-04-03 11:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the uphill test tip. I'll be sure to do that tomorrow.
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[User Picture]From: schafer
2004-04-04 11:30 am (UTC)
I bought a giant AC2 a few months ago. I love it. Its considered a freeride bike...its full suspension. Giant has two other FS bikes with slightly different goals. I like Giant...but brand doesn't really matter. They are the largest bike manufaturer world wide, its seems like you give a good value.

I have a buddy that owns a shop who is riding a
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I bought a giant <a href="http://www.giant-bicycle.com/us/030.000.000/030.000.006.asp?dealerid=&dealercountry=&lYear=2004&bikesection=8841&range=157&model=10804">AC2</a> a few months ago. I love it. Its considered a freeride bike...its full suspension. Giant has two other FS bikes with slightly different goals. I like Giant...but brand doesn't really matter. They are the largest bike manufaturer world wide, its seems like you give a good value.

I have a buddy that owns a shop who is riding a <a href"http://www.jensonusa.com/store/product.aspx?i=BI707B08">KHS 504</a> now... he has a really big FS bike too.

It sounds like you are getting plenty of advice, but as far as climbing goes... They do make FS designs that are anti-bob. Each brand has there own cheezy name for their design. (ie No Resonance System or stable valving platform)

My bike is not suppose to climb particular well but as long as you stay in a low gear it will climb whatever. Most long climbs you will be in the saddle anyway which eliminates bob on most bikes.

Good luck with your new bike. If you ever want to go ride in the Corvallis area let me know.
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