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Best bang for the buck mountain bike?

I was at REI eyeballing the new Cannondale Caffeine- looked pretty cool, but don't know a ton about it. It's also a little pricey at $1k.

What is the best hardtail for around $600? I'll be using this on N. Georgia trails so figure hard packed clay, hilly, with a fair share of roots and rocks.

I'm 5' 10", 180 pounds and 34 y/o.

Thanks!

Old 06-03-2008, 07:56 AM
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buy a used one
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Old 06-03-2008, 07:56 AM
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Ditto. I got a nice $1,000 bike for $150. Craigslist.
Old 06-03-2008, 08:06 AM
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My first Cannondale was a used one. Great value. Good choice, as long as it's the proper size.

The current one is a different story- Bought a new full-suspension bike with top line components. After riding a couple bikes back to back, I couldn't resist the expensive one.
Old 06-03-2008, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
buy a used one
Great advice

Or, wait until sept/oct when the current models are 'old'. I've bought a few used bikes, each looked new and was obviously rarely used and was half price.
Old 06-03-2008, 08:29 AM
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I think a $1K bike for $150 is a tad optimistic PBH got one of those rare super deals. Definitely go used and stick with name brands. Avoid a bike with frame damage (more than simple paint scrapes) and look for name brand components.
Old 06-03-2008, 08:32 AM
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I bought a full-suspension Cannondale Super-V 900 back in 1998 (when full-suspensions were new technology and just coming into their own). Still have it, I've beaten the snot out of it regularly and it still looks/rides great.

My only gripe is the components - it came with a mish-mash of CODA stuff (Cannondale's own, which are pretty decent actually), LX and DX. I'll probably upgrade all that eventually, but if you buy new you can probably spec out what you want.

C-dale makes a great bike. And they're still made here in the U.S. AFAIK.
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Old 06-03-2008, 08:37 AM
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Definitely a used one.
Here's a single speed Klein for $600 @ craigs.

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/703052065.html
Old 06-03-2008, 08:38 AM
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Anyone that would pay $1000 for a bike, that doesn't use it professionally, has too much money for his own good.

I agree with everyone else- definitely go used.
Old 06-03-2008, 08:44 AM
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That's funny. You obviously know nothing about bikes.
Old 06-03-2008, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m21sniper View Post
Anyone that would pay $1000 for a bike, that doesn't use it professionally, has too much money for his own good.

I agree with everyone else- definitely go used.




Anyhow, like stated above, check out craigslist ect. Buy a "almost new" 1500 bike for 600 you will be much happier.

Ferg
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Old 06-03-2008, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris Martin View Post
That's funny. You obviously know nothing about bikes.
I know that any $1000 dollar bike can be had for 1/2 price used. Just like virtually all items. Seriously- $1000 for a pedal bike? Does it come with a blowjob?

The last bike i bought was a 10 speed, back in the mid 90s, i got it used in perfect condition for $75.00

What i know about is deals.
Old 06-03-2008, 09:09 AM
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Cannondale = Crack and Fail
Old 06-03-2008, 09:15 AM
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if you are looking for a mountain bike..this is the place to go. K2 makes NICE bikes, i have one

www.rscycle.com
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Old 06-03-2008, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creaturecat View Post
Cannondale = Crack and Fail
I had a Cannondale mountain bike. It was light, but rear chain stays were out of alignment from the factory. The rear wheel would pull out of the chainstays. The material used in the chainstays did not help. Could be a fluke, but I was not a happy camper.
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Old 06-03-2008, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m21sniper View Post
Anyone that would pay $1000 for a bike, that doesn't use it professionally, has too much money for his own good.

.
one can say that about pretty much any hobby or enthusiast past time.

I can go buy a saturday night special that fires bullets for $50...why should I buy a decent gun?

MickeyD's fill me up...why should I spend $100 on omikase at The Hump?

A Kia will get me to and from work...why should I buy a Porsche?

I can buy an acoustic guitar for $50...why should I buy a Martin?
Old 06-03-2008, 09:21 AM
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I've heard that "crack-n-fail" thing about Cannondale too, although I can say from first-hand experience I've had a few hits on mine that I thought MIGHT crack the frame and never did. It's been a very, very good bike.

Maybe the newer ones are a different (more brittle) alloy? Dunno.
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Old 06-03-2008, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by m21sniper View Post

What i know about is deals.
now that is comedy gold!
Old 06-03-2008, 09:23 AM
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I caught the rear derailleur of my Cannondale on a stick and pulled it right out of the chain stay. The alu. threads from the frame were still in the steel threads of the derailleur. I think they have replaceable derailleur hangers now though.
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Old 06-03-2008, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m21sniper View Post
Anyone that would pay $1000 for a bike, that doesn't use it professionally, has too much money for his own good.

I agree with everyone else- definitely go used.

And you own a porsche?? I must have WAY too much money.
For a first bike I would agree used is a good way to go. Make sure the bike fits well, and is safe. If you can wait a couple of months you can also get good deals on last years bikes- usually about August. Check around at the shops, a good shop will often have good used bikes- tradeins, etc.
Broke my leg- bad- mountain bike 17 weeks ago. Be careful out there.
Gary

Old 06-03-2008, 09:26 AM
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