Need help choosing a new bike


Nov 6, 2001
Hello, I'm looking for some advice on choosing a new bike. I am pretty much a beginner, I've been riding every chance i get for about 3 or 4 months, but my old bike isn't meant for the riding i've been doing, and its falling apart rapidly. I work at a store where i can get awesome employee discounts on these brands: Fisher, Kona, Giant, Cannondale, and some others. I'm looking at the $1000 to $1200 range (before my discount), and I'm having a tough time deciding whether or not to go full suspension. Whatever the bike, I need it to be somewhat light and have decent components. The trails I ride are pretty undulating and rocky, so I'm leaning toward a dual suspension bike. Ive heard great things about Giant's XTC NRS models, but i would appreciate anyone's help and opinions.

thanks. Travis.


Hi Travisto and group :)
You my friend, are lucky enough to work in a place that you can get a discount on a lot of great bikes. All the companies you listed make some great quality rides. I have had both full and front suspension bikes and the 2 things that will matter most are that the bike fits right and also what kind of rider you are.
I am very smooth on the trail and tend to pick great lines, so full suspension was overkill for me. (That may be because of my roadie background). A front suspension only bike seems faster to me, but a full suspension will give ya all day comfort.
FWIW I have a cannondale front suspension bike and thats the ride I have become happiest with on the trail.


Nov 5, 2001
Flatland Florida
Hey Travisto and RaytheHammer, welcome to RM! First a couple of questions. What kind of riding will you be doing? Tight technical singletrack, downhill, urban, any big drops...etc. Buy a bike that will work best for your style. If into dh, go full-sus, if urban or jumping, stick with a beefy hardtail, if XC stick with a lighter hardtail. It all depends on where and what you ride. What do the majority of people ride on the trails you go to? Heck, what are your riding buddies riding? In order to help, we need more info.



Nov 3, 2001
I live in Surprise, Arizona
I live in the Arizona desert and it's trail are usually very rocky, with hard terrain interspersed with soft sandy stuff. We have uphills that are usually short, but steep and knarly w/ rocks etc.. I chose a aluminum hardtail with a 3.5 inch front fork, and I put the biggest rear tire I can fit for a little cushion and pinch flat protection. Find a bike that feels right, not what the guy at the store says is your frame size. By those guys opinion, I should be on a 21 inch frame and I ride an 18. It just feels right. Go light but look for durability. And buy a good repair book so your rig isn't spending a lot of time in a shop and enjoy. Oh and welcome to RM!!


Nov 6, 2001
Hey guys,
Thanks for the help and info. GT, the trail i ride sounds almost exaclty like the kind you described. I don't do downhill, because there are no hills in Dallas, and i don't do that much urban riding. I am definitely leaning towards a lightweight hardtail now. Thanks again for all the info.



Yah Mon
Sep 24, 2001
i would get a sugar, i have one for xc riding and it is a very solid bike, the rear suspension is quite unnoticable when you are pedaling but very helpful in rock gardens etc.


Oct 11, 2001
Central PA
I ride a Cannondale Jekyll. It's light and handles well. You can lock out the rear shock for climbing and the full suspension is great on rocky trails.


Sep 13, 2001
So. CAL.
They seem to give you the most bang for your buck. Nice frames with quality components well below what you would get from some of the other manufacturers out there.



I invented Erbon Assolt
Nov 26, 2001
Tustin- not in OC
I think Giant puts out the best overall package...
Cannondale is so overrated.. their midlevel bikes are cool but if you're getting their lowend stuff..forget it.. bec you'll just be buying a good frame with low end components.

Specialized...they are great as well.. I think they are close to being as good as the Giants... I like Spec's mid-high end in house components. They're relatively light and better looking than say CODA's or other brands in house offerings. What sucks is that Spec's top model don't even get Shimano XTR cranks...WTF?

I'd go Giant, if I ever had that inclination, better components, upgrade worthy frame, best package overall....and real competitive price. And before I get flames about Cannondales, if you have better rebutal about the CDale Headshok Cartridge's realibitly, I'll lsiten... but thank god they finally stopped using their CODA disc brakes...sheesh

KHS is also another choice..they seem to be revamping their image and they will be coming out with bikes worth considerign overall.

Get a dualie. This is a no-brainer unless you're into style rather than riding.

Favor ruggedness over weight, same rationale.

Those who I know that have Cannondales and rid them rather than parade them keep trashing the forks. The Jekyl's sweet, but I wouldn't buy anything with a Head shock.

Stay away from I-drives. A lot of reports of frame breakage are surfacing.



Jul 9, 2001
For the type of riding you described in your first post I would suggest spending at least $900. It looks like you were planning to spend a little more that that anyway. I bought a Hardrock whren I first started and in about 3 months I ended up buying a Trek 8000 which is a world of difference. I investigated several bikes before I made my purchase and I would highly recomend a Trek 8000, Cannondale F600 or Specilaized Rockhopper. My Trek is very well equpied and is preforming very well. I ride about 3-4 times a week in the Summer so it can take a beating.