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Best smiles/dollar bike you've ever bought?

Oct. 6, 2020, 2:42 a.m.
Posts: 679
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

After the near death experience of losing one of my bikes the other night and the thought of replacing it I realized that I would easily have to spend about $700-1000 more than what I paid for it to replace it. It got me thinking about the value I've gotten out of different bikes over the years and which bike gave the biggest return for what I paid for it. Hands down that award would have to go to my SX Trail that I rode for almost 10 years. Currently I would have to say the carbon Instinct I picked up used for $1800 has been over delivering in the smiles/dollar category.

I'm not a human in real life, I just play one on the internet. 

Oct. 6, 2020, 7:23 a.m.
Posts: 14630
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

I havent owned a lot of bikes but the 5.5 Yeti makes me smile everytime, I got it just before the prices went up so it would be mo money to replace

Oct. 6, 2020, 8:20 a.m.
Posts: 955
Joined: June 26, 2012

I paid $1000 new for my 2014 Kona Taro. It had the same geometry as the Honzo but was made from aluminum and had a budget spec, including 1x9 drivetrain and a 120 mm Rockshox Sektor. That bike absolutely ripped.

Here it is, after adding a $100 KS e-ten dropper but otherwise stock.

Edit: this was the 2013 model but I bought it in 2014. I rode the bike for several years and even piloted it to a Fiver (maybe still Toonie at the time?) hardtail class victory. It was so capable for an entry level bike. It shows that good geometry and functional parts are all you need.


 Last edited by: D_C_ on Oct. 6, 2020, 9:52 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Oct. 6, 2020, 9:50 a.m.
Posts: 1368
Joined: Feb. 17, 2009

2008 Transition Preston FR, it was a medium and definitely too small for my 6"1' body but boy was it ever the most fun bike I've ever owned. It's the bike that I learned to ride Ladies Only on. Sold it in 2011 to buy a Scott Gambler, and I regret that. I had it set up with a coil rear shock and a fox 36 set at 160mm, I miss that bike.

I bought the bike while visiting my parents in Ottawa for Christmas as an end of year clearance from Phat Moose Cycles. Took the linkage and rear triangle apart and brought it back to BC in my suitcase.


 Last edited by: rnayel on Oct. 6, 2020, 11:27 a.m., edited 2 times in total.
Oct. 6, 2020, 10 a.m.
Posts: 334
Joined: June 28, 2011

Posted by: syncro

After the near death experience of losing one of my bikes the other night and the thought of replacing it I realized that I would easily have to spend about $700-1000 more than what I paid for it to replace it. It got me thinking about the value I've gotten out of different bikes over the years and which bike gave the biggest return for what I paid for it. Hands down that award would have to go to my SX Trail that I rode for almost 10 years. Currently I would have to say the carbon Instinct I picked up used for $1800 has been over delivering in the smiles/dollar category.

I'm with you on the SX trail.

I rode XC, dirt jumps, Freeride, DH races and Mega Avalanche three times and it still kept coming back for more. It finally died in Whistler when after a good crash I bent the rear chainstays. I'm still yet to find a similar pedalling bike that I feel as good as I did on the SX. But that may be just down to the age of my old bones.

Oct. 6, 2020, 11:13 a.m.
Posts: 1248
Joined: Nov. 8, 2003

$500 Norco 125 DJ, after work jibbing plus weekend pump track, rode it daily for years. So much smiles so little cost.

For a proper mountain bike, 2016 Giant Reign probably. Great price plus geo was a few years ahead of it's time so it stayed relevant.

I imagine some kind of aluminum trail bike would probably be the best contemporary contender? Banshee, Marin, Giant or some other value brand. Or maybe just anything SLX with decent suspension.


 Last edited by: Hepcat on Oct. 6, 2020, 11:15 a.m., edited 2 times in total.
Oct. 6, 2020, 12:01 p.m.
Posts: 932
Joined: Nov. 6, 2006

Posted by: rnayel

2008 Transition Preston FR, it was a medium and definitely too small for my 6"1' body but boy was it ever the most fun bike I've ever owned. It's the bike that I learned to ride Ladies Only on. Sold it in 2011 to buy a Scott Gambler, and I regret that. I had it set up with a coil rear shock and a fox 36 set at 160mm, I miss that bike.

I bought the bike while visiting my parents in Ottawa for Christmas as an end of year clearance from Phat Moose Cycles. Took the linkage and rear triangle apart and brought it back to BC in my suitcase.

Had one to. Loved it. Maybe one of the liveliest bikes I’ve had. Was a little under gunned at times though. Ended up cracking at the bb/down tube. Apparently was a common fault. Crash replaced for a covert that is still in the family.

Oct. 6, 2020, 5:16 p.m.
Posts: 648
Joined: May 11, 2018

Back when I was a teacher, then went back to school for a decade there was a fifteen year stretch where my trusty rigid karate monkey worked overtime. This bad boy did everything from shore to Squamish to every epic in bc. Until it broke while pedaling uphill in Kimberly :0

Even though it was about 7 years old at the time, surley replaced it and its blue step son took over duties for the next 7 years. 

Still have it but it doesn't have to work so hard anymore. Nothing fancy but it took me all over the trails of bc for over a decade.

Oct. 6, 2020, 6:54 p.m.
Posts: 328
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Probably the Giant XTC 29 er. I bought the frame new for $500 which was the regular price, less my quantity discount from the shop, got a set of forks for half retail from James at Suspensionwerx, bought some 350 hubs and Stan’s rims and built me a set of wheels. The other parts I had except for a shorter stem. The smallest frame was a medium and I had always been on small before. The wheel size and longer frame was an epiphany. First ride the handling very similar to my Ibis tranny until I rode a long cobble hunk of Bridle Path. So smooth. Then all the steeper stuff with the shorter stem. So good. That taught me a lot about mountainbike geometry and fit.


 Last edited by: andy-eunson on Oct. 6, 2020, 6:58 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Oct. 6, 2020, 7:42 p.m.
Posts: 121
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

2009 Rocky Mountain Slayer. Bought used for $500 and was my first FS rig. I hadn't been mountain biking for a decade or so, and this bike reignited the spark. Ended up selling it to a buddy who was just getting into the sport, and it did the same thing for him. Last I heard he had passed it on to a young kid just starting out. Best Joy/$ I can think of.

Oct. 6, 2020, 8:03 p.m.
Posts: 3
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

I love reading those stories!

Mine was a brown 2004 Kona Shred that I bought 400$ from a pawn shop in 2005 when I was in university. It still had the little hairs on the tires so basically new, I couldn't resist. I used that bike for 3 years, went everywhere from Quebec to Alberta, Moab, Northwest Territories and the Yukon. Commuting to work or even riding the Kicking Horse bike park, I always had so much fun everywhere with it and met so many biking friends all over the place.

I sold it (still on stock parts!) for 350$ after three seasons and the only single part that I replaced during that time was the chain (once!). Best deal ever!


 Last edited by: martin on Oct. 6, 2020, 8:04 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Oct. 7, 2020, 12:46 p.m.
Posts: 246
Joined: March 6, 2017

Back in '99ish I worked for Norco as a warehouse kid. My job was to receive all of the parts coming in and store them on the shelves. This was when Norco still assembled their bikes here. Anyway I QC'd all of the VPS frames from that era and came across a VPS4 frame with a cable guide welded on backwards making it unsellable. I asked my boss if I could build it up as a VPS3 and buy it at a discount which I think was like $1200 or something. Anyway I got a massive tax return and bought it, that bike was a game changer for me. Always regretted selling it. If I ever see a VPS4 I always look to see if its mine.

Oct. 7, 2020, 1:23 p.m.
Posts: 225
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

My 2016 Kona Private Jake always puts a smile on my face. From racing CX to road rides to pub rides to riding it down mountain bike trails it has no business being on. This bike is a blast!!!! Reminds me of 90s mountain bikes. I have also really enjoyed turning it into the weird mountain bike hybrid. Guide R brakes, 90mm Chromag stem, RF SIXC bar, 120mm dropper, 11-42 cassette, 170mm carbon cranks. Way cheaper then any of my mountain bikes and always puts a smile on my face.

Jake

Oct. 15, 2020, 11:12 a.m.
Posts: 1
Joined: Oct. 15, 2020

Great thread. My current bike might eventually beat it, but this one is an all-timer for me:

Oct. 15, 2020, 4:33 p.m.
Posts: 6
Joined: March 11, 2007

Interesting thread for me. Until 2015 I had only really had dh bikes when I bought a 2015 Norco Range. Having a capable "enduro" style bike opened up a lot of riding for me and the Range has turned out to be great bike for me. I've been smashing that bike for 5 years now and thinking about upgrading but the prices of new bikes have me a little gun shy. I've noticed the new Status and been thinking it might be one of those high performing smiles\dollar bikes. They're decently spec'd for around $3600 cdn. As opposed to 7k for a Santa Cruz.

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