Finding the right bike

When I looked for a new bike a few years ago I seriously had no idea where to start. All I knew was that I wanted a full suspension 29er.

Having ridden a 26 inch hardtail for the past several years that was all I knew. I was ready for something totally different and a little more forgiving. What made it worse was that the 26 inch hardtail was also a little bit too small for me as well. So how did I go from being a 29er full suspension moron to putting together the extensive chart found here.

I went to my local shop and took a look at what they had in stock for full suspension mountain bikes, but I didn’t have a clue what I wanted. I tried to start looking at some reviews online but it felt like they were always selling something that was different from what I needed. I kept seeing these giant big-hit DH bikes or full travel all mountain bikes that were a ridiculous amount of travel for the bike.

Here in Dallas I don’t need 150+mm of travel in my fork and rear shock. That is what we call excessive (unless maybe I was riding at Big Cedar on the DH sections).

Finally I figured out that for a good XC oriented mountain bike what I needed was a bike with short travel. Something in the 80 to 110mm range was perfect. Now that I finally knew what I was looking for I set out in research mode to pull in all the information that I could possibly find. First stop was the big manufacturers. I set out to Trek, Specialized and Giant as the big three. Trek had the Superfly Elite, Giant had the Anthem X, the only problem was specializede didn’t have an XC Full Suspension bike in my budget.

Oh, did I forget to mention that my budget was only $3,000 for this bike…

Yeah, specialized’s XC bike the Epic was out of this price range. But they also had the FSR Stumpjumper Comp that was just under my budget cap. So I added this bike to my list instead.

From there I started looking at some other brands, Felt who I had been riding for years on my hardtail and Fuji who made my road bike. Then I also checked out Niner because of their legendary reputation. Finally to round out a top 10 I looked at Orbea, GT, Cannondale and Scott.

I took all 10 of those bikes and started doing the research into components they came stocked with, how much travel they had, what their stock weight was (as reported by various internet websites) and what their MSRP price was.

After studying all the data for a while I went and sought out a couple local shops and did some test riding. I didn’t ride all of them, only the ones that I was most interested in. About a week later I had yet another mechanical issue with my at this point incredibly beat up 26 inch hardtail and just said enough is enough. I grabbed my bike off the trail, went to the local shop and walked out that day with my brand new 29er full suspension.

That pretty much sums up the story of how I bought my Giant Anthem X 29er, the best full suspension mountain bike ever.

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