by Brad Nelson 8/5/14
You’re looking at the newest member of the family, the Fuji Nevada 29 1.7. It was sort of a belated birthday present to myself…with the infusion of a little cash from a family member.
But not much cash. This is by no means a top-of-the-line bike or even middle-of-the-road one. But it is above rock-bottom. As I discovered, you can’t walk into a bike shop these days without expecting to pay at least $500.00. Most bikes are in the $800+ range. And it’s common now to see bikes on the showroom floor that top $2500.00. This is more than you can pay for a very good used car.
My guess is that — aside from competition racing and freestyle concerns — most people pay a premium for a bike for the prestige factor. My guess is that my $550.00 bought me 80% of what you get on a $1500.00 for 35% of the price. Do you really need hydraulic disc (as opposed to mechanical disc) brakes? You might, if you are racing, doing hardcore freestyle, and/or doing any of that in the rain.
I think what the extra money generally gives you is lighter-weight components (and perhaps a slightly lighter frame as well). Yes, the components (brakes, derailleurs, wheels, fork, etc.) are going to be better on the more expensive bikes, and theoretically last longer. But they’re also going to be more expensive to replace and repair.
But my guess is that, most of all, the high-priced bikes give you bragging rights. It’s another battle in the “who’s got the bigger penis” wars.
My previous bike, a Target Schwinn special, had over 1500 hard mountain miles on it and was showing its age. The derailleurs had become fussy and I had bent it so many times that metal fatigue was becoming a factor. It was a good and very rugged bike, and it will find a home with Goodwill soon and hopefully another appreciative rider. But it was showing its age and it was more than past time to upgrade.
The major change in mountain bikes since the last time I shopped is movement to the 29″ wheel, up from the 26″, although there is a fairly newfangled 27.5″ wheel that is starting to become popular. The bigger wheel runs better over obstacles, and it really burns up the pavement if you want to take it on the road.
The disc brakes are nice, but my center-pull calipers on the Schwinn were certainly good enough. But these newfangled lever-based Shimano derailleurs on the new Fuji work rather well, although they took a little getting used to. This model also has a fork “lock-out” mechanism the locks the front shock for riding on payment or when going up extended hills (so that less of your pedal motion goes into any dampening effect of the front shock, although I could notice no difference in testing).
All in all, I think I got pretty good bang for my buck. And I was able to get this from a bike shop that is very close by which will make support and maintenance a breeze. I’d never heard of Fuji bikes before. I thought they just made film and cameras, assuming this is the same Fuji company. But I was told that they’ve been making bikes for decades.
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