guitarguy wrote:It's not lousy. If 2 steps up from "crap" is still "crap" to your knowledge then so be it. It's cool. I normally don't buy cheap and then multiple times...tools, music gear, etc etc...buy once cry once. The difference though, is those are things I know I will use long term, and I know what my needs are. I can't OTOH justify spending twice (or more) the money on a bike that's honestly more than I really need at the moment being a beginner and non-serious rider. On top of that what will my real needs be long term? Will I take up mountain biking more seriously? Or maybe I'll ride on pavement often and trails infrequently...so when I want to upgrade it won't even be a mtb. So...that lead me to the decision of not buying a big box piece of total crap, but instead just something of overall serviceable quality. Entry level components or not.fishboat wrote:This will sound lousy, but I'm not well versed in components used on entry-level mountain bikes. I bought my mtb bike nearly 30 years ago with Shimano Exage on it..never had a spec of trouble with the group. Investing in good components is worthwhile. A bike that doesn't shift right is a PITA, while easy, flawless shifting is a real pleasure.guitarguy wrote:
How "important" is the rear derailleur for durability and reliabliy? Assuming negligible difference in price at call it $70 difference, is this particular advantage really worth high attention?
I'm still a little new to judging these components and I know these are all entry level bikes, but if there is a clear winner at this price point for reasons I don't know, assuming all 3 are about equally comfortable to ride, I'd appreciate that feedback!
As a rule of thumb, when faced with a more expensive bike with cheaper components on it (wheels, derailleurs, brakes, crank...) or a less expensive bike(frame) with better components..pick the latter. You'll notice defects in cheaper components long before you feel some deficiency in a frame.
Make sure mounting a rack on the back of the bike is easy(hard-tail bikes only, no rear suspension)..sounds like you'll need one. Nashbar has good, inexpensive panniers/bags.
The thing is, I'm looking at a situation different than what you described for your rule of thumb. A slightly more expensive bike with supposedly slightly better components. What I would like to understand is just how much better are the upgrades? What's better about Acera than Altus? Altus vs Tourney? I can't really find the answer to this. Durability? Reliability? Performance? And if so, under what conditions will I see the difference? Stuff like that. What are the most important components to make sure are the best that I can afford? Hoping to find a better answer than "all" if I can! But if the real answer is "they're all the same entry level crap and you have to jump higher to notice a difference" then that's good info to know too!
If you buy an entry-level bike (road or mtb) from a REAL bike shop (hence you'll likely be paying $500+, if not $750+ for a drop-bar road bike or similar mtn bike), all of the entry-level shifters/derailleurs work well.
There's a lot of snobbery about how the $$$$ stuff is better, but in reality, ALL of the groupsets now work well - if they don't, it's farrrrr more likely that it got maladjusted.
I ride bikes competitively in triathlon and occasionally road racing, so very functional components that respond crisply and well (far in excess of what a casual rider would need) is very important to me. I'm not exaggerating when I say that my rock bottom Shimano 2200 entry-level group set on my entry level bike that was WELL adjusted, outperformed my $$$$ top-end Dura-Ace set on my other bike after it got bumped and got slightly maladjusted in terms of shift smoothness and accuracy. (I ended up having to use a derailleur hangar adjustment tool to get it back.) That 2200 shifts so well when it's correctly adjusted that the cost of Dura Ace seems like a total waste, except for the slightly better ergonomics of the shifter.
But for the OP or anyone else reading, you don't need to worry about poor performance of an entry level groupset from a bike you get at a true bike store - it'll be plenty good enough until you get upgraditis and want to upgrade just because. (This doesn't apply for big-box bikes, which are suboptimally assembled and use even lower-level components.)