The Best Bike for Your Buck in 2008

Manufacturers are now posting their 2008 bikes and prices, and I am, of course, taking notes. I was a little disappointed to see some companies raising prices on bikes that were not improved in the least since last year. Most notably, I helped my brother-in-law get a brand-new Trek FX 7.2 for $375 this past summer, and that same bike is now up to at least $475—no improvements, no changes, just $100 more on the price tag. Obviously the commuter bike market is hot right now.

Fortunately for you and me, the hardtail mountain bike scene must not be nearly as hot. Yes, Trek still has its prices up nice and high, even for 28-pound frames, but Specialized is being a little more flexible this year.

"What makes you say that?" you ask, noting that their bikes, for the most part cost pretty much the same as they did last year.

"Well," I answer, "have you checked out the frame material for the $590 Rockhopper hardtail?"

That’s right, it’s M4 aluminum. What does that mean? Well, last year the least expensive M4 frame was the Rockhopper Pro at $1,100. It’s the lighter of the Specialized aluminums—the other one being the A1. Yep, that’s right, this is a paperweight aluminum frame selling for LESS THAN $600!!!

I can’t even tell you how disappointed I was to realize that I don’t have a spare $600 right now.

Nonetheless, if anyone at Specialized is reading (HA!), like, say, Ned Overend, I should point out that I’m a professional writer who’d be perfectly willing to type up a review, advertising text, whatever in exchange for a sweet, cheap hardtail Rockhopper. Did you hear that, Specialized guys?

[cricket, cricket]

Did anyone hear that?

Bueller?

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