T Nation

Mountain bikes

Can anyone recommend a good mountain bike? I was looking at Trek or Cannondale, but I would like to hear what people here have.

JND

Trek has been good for me. Cannondales tend to be a little fringe when it comes to components such as suspension and shocks. It really depends on what you are going to use it for. You can get freeride bikes that have more suspension travel or you can get trail bikes if you just need something not so extreme. I currently have a Trek with a carbon frame and full suspension and I love it. Kona makes some good freeride bikes for a reasonable price (probably 1500-1600 bucks), Trek’s got some good cruisers, and you can’t go wrong with Gary Fisher. I’m sure Cannondale is good quality I just have issues with the single fork designs. Aside from being freaky and very “different” it also makes them proprietary which would be a problem if you wanted to upgrade your bike.

Yeah, it all comes down to what you want to really do with it.

For some nice all round bikes you should look into the Jamis Dakar series, a highly underrated manufacturer despite getting the “bike of the year” award multiple times from MTB magazine.

Other than that you can never really go wrong with Norco, Rocky, or Brodie. . .

STU

I agree with Lucid. It depends on the use you will get out of it. Currently I own a Gary Fisher Sugar which I think is a great bike. However this winter I did get the chance to ride a new Specialized Epic for a 25 mile ride in Arizona. I was thoroughly impressed. That bike was amazing. It climbed like a hard tail and descended better than any full suspension I have ever been on; excluding downhill bikes of course. I preferred climbing with the epic than with a litespeed hardtail which used to be my favorite climber. Trek is always a great way to go as well and Giant has really stepped it up in the last few years. I have a few friends who own them and love them. Sit on the bikes and see which fits you best. When Fisher came out with the Sugar it fit me well. It had a longer top tube that stretched me over the bike that made me feel much more confident when I was going through real steep sections. The new geometry of the epic did the same for me. As for Cannondales; I have a few friends to had them and now own Giants. Ive never heard much negative about them accept for how stiff they are and how a they didnt really care for the Lefty fork. The only one i have actally ridden on a trail was a downhill bike. I did ride a Sobe team bike once in the street and it definitely had a good feel to it. But I cant really give an opinion based on experience about Cannondales. Hope this helps.

Thanks to all- this helps. I have a Giant, but I was not all that impressed and I wanted to upgrade. My local bike shop has a good rep but all they have is Trek and Cannondales. I ride on local trails (mostly flat, but some are quite hilly). I would also like to use it on the street to work.

JND

It really depends what type of riding you are wanting to do and if you are interested in full suspension or just a hardtail. when i rode hardtails i was a big fan of trek bikes. they are good value and the frames have a geometry which lends them very neutral handling characteristics. if you are looking for a cross country bike that can take alot of abuse like some drop offs and some light jumping aswell then i can recommend a trek. If you want to go the full suspension then from personal experience i can recommend only two different frames. i have ridden a giant AC one and it was excellent. the rear suspension is very smooth and supple. my own bike is an orange patriot as ridden by the global team in world cup four cross races last season. this bike is awesome. it pedals well without a hint of bobbing and the suspension will handle almost anything. but i am biased cos i bought one.

Never realised there were so many mountain bikers on this forum.

I own a cannondale, and I love it. It is a scalpel 1000 with a lefty fork. That sucker can climb a figgin’ tree! My only complaint is that the thumb lever that releases or locks out my rear shock doesn’t always work and I have to reach back and move it manually. I love the disc brakes. The lefty gives me a lot of absorption on really rocky terrain. It is a full suspension bike and weighs about 22 pounds! I have ridden trek and giant and not been really impressed with them. I did really like the specialized and the gary fisher bikes that I have ridden though.

I demoed the Trek full suspension Fuel a while ago on some pretty gnarley shit and f-ing loved it. You should see if you can demo a couple bikes on real trails before buying instead of just the parking lot.