What is the best hardtail 29er for about $2,000.00 or less?

I recently found the bright side of not have the funds to go out and by a new bike. No buyers remorse!  For example: if I have been able to buy what I thought I wanted a few months ago I would have purchased this:

Specialized Stumpjumper FSR C0mp:
MSRP: $2700.00 On Specialized website.

click here for my comparison of best full suspension 29er for $2500.00 or less

After reading and speaking with more people I’ve decided that what I really want is a hardtail 29er with tubeless tires. The hardtial 29er is a totally different beast in comparison to the hardtail 26er.  The longer wheelbase, geometry and larger wheels lend much better to the absorption of shock, and if you run tubeless you can keep the pressure low to give added cushion and grip.

So my new question is what is the best hardtail 29er for about $2000.00 or less?

My first stop is the Specialized website: Stumpjumper Comp 29er $2050.00 I love how this bike looks.  I have great respect for the designers of the Specialized line up.  To me they are like the Apple of the bike world.


Reba front fork:

Specialized Sealed Hubs

X9 Rear Derailleur

Looks great

10 speed cassette (all the other fully built bikes in the comparison come with a 9 spd)


X7 shifters and front derailleur, not necessarily bad but not really great

Avid Elixir R SL Brakes: Many complaints on mtbr.com

Next stop Fisher website: Paragon $2029.99


Fox F80 RL 29 Fork

X9 shifters and front and rear derailleurs


Bars and seat post have many complaints on mtbr.com

Typical from current Fisher/Trek it’s the ugliest bike in the lineup, I want to like it but for me it lacks sex appeal.

Next stop FELT: Nine Race $2199.00


Looks great in “Alpine white” with WTB white rims

Reba fork

XT Shadow rear derailleur


Cost – I’m not sure why it’s over $100 more than other bikes in its class.  All materials and parts are compatible.  Unless your paying for the FELT name? (not sure but I know it’s not worth it for me)

No reviews on mtbr.com

Next VassagoBandersatch Frame: $479.99 North of the Boarder        (If you wondering WTF is a Bandernatch? here you go)

The only steel frame in the group.  I love the Vassago line up.  To me these bike take me back to the old school mtn bikes of my youth.  They look cool, Vassago has the absolute best names, and look at this logo…how can you not love it?


You probably will not run into very many other Vassago’s on the trail = boutique exclusive coolness

Reviews on mtbr.com are off the hook.  Everyone who own’s one of these frames loves them.  Seriously.


You could shop around for all your parts to build it up or go to: Goose Creek Cycles and get a build kit with a Reba and X9 components for $1500.00.


I dunno you tell me.

Next NINER E.M.D. 9 Frame $389.00 Goose Creek Cycles 


It’s a NINER all they do are 29ers  aside from little complaints I’ve never read or heard anything significantly bad about the NINER brand.

Love the all business look.  Nothing flashy just straight forward functional design.


The only complaint on the many mtbr.com reviews are soft paint. 

So those are my 5 pics for comparisons.  If I’ve left out a good contender that you feel passionate about I would love to hear about it.

If I had to choose today it would be a toss-up between the NINER and the Vassago but I would go for the Vassago.  I don’t have any real reason why except I just really respond to it.

So my ultimate plan would be to get the Vassago buy the Goose Creek build kit and go tubeless.

Why tubeless?  I like to ride as low pressure as possible for the added grip and handling but I hate the resulting pinched tubes.

For more reading on the benefits of tublessness check this article Should I Go Tubeless? – Standard Vs. Tubeless Tires

Stan’s NOTUBES has options for conversions that are pretty reasonable.

I hope to writing soon about how bad-ass my new hardtail 29er is and how pleased I am that I was forced to wait to get what I really wanted.

About homegoo

My name’s Brian and this site is part of my endeavor to embrace my love of cycling and self-improvement. Background: I grew up loving bicycles. I started on a direct drive 16” hand me down with hard rubber tires. From there I got my first BMX bike a 20” Western Flyer with mag wheels; I’ll bet it weighed 30lbs. After that I graduated to my first real quality bike a chrome alloy Redline that was sadly stolen when I neglected to bring it into the garage at a friend’s house. My loving parents were kind enough to replace it with a used Kuwahara which I loved because Elliot from E.T. had a Kuwahara. Around this time I was 11 years old and an opportunity to buy a bicycle shop happened to be presented to my father. The BICYCLE GODS had heard my prayers! My ultimate dream had come true my father purchased Continental Bicycles in Raytown MO. I worked alongside my father every weekend and summer until he decided to close the shops doors around the time I was eighteen. As you may expect during this time I acquired a number of bikes. I raced BMX for many years on a Profile that I loved. I went to college and continued to work in a local bike shop every summer Midwest Cyclery. By the time I went to graduate school I turned my attention to other pursuits beyond cycling and had not really ridden my bike for about 10 years! About three years ago started mountain biking again. At first once a week and then something happened, I started feeling like a kid again! Now all I want to do is ride my bike and improve my skills. I’ve started the HomeGOO website out of my belief that the ingredients you can buy at your local store are better for you and more environmentally friendly than purchasing disposable gel’s. I’m setting a goal this year to build this business and significantly improve my cycling speed and endurance while juggling being a good husband and father of 3 beautiful children. Follow me to see how it goes! Disclaimer: I am not a professional or expert at: Nutrition, Cycling, Cycling Maintenance or Journalism!

Posted on August 29, 2011, in Cycling, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Have a go at a giant XTC 29er

    Great ride and great value

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