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I don't know much about bike parts, so I don't really know which make is better, So I hope you can help out here.

As I said I don't really know how they are, but I've always had a thing for how Specialized bikes look.

Now I want to buy something that can be used for both commute and some trail, so I'm looking at CrossTrails and HardRock 29ers... but it turns out I have a 20% discount off cannondale bikes... which is quite appealing. I could probably buy a better bike and pay the same, or just get a comparable bike and save some money. What cannondale bikes compare to those I mention or which should I get so that it would cost me around the same after the 20% discount?

Thanks!

extra..

Thhe canondale shop is right in my company's campus so that would make it easy when it needs mantainance.

I can also get 10% off specialized in one specific sotre, but the shop is 25+ miles away from where I live.. so that could make it troublesome when to take it needs its maintenance)

EDIT:

I've digged a bit into the Cannondale bikes.. how would they compare (component/build wise) to say a Trail SL 29er 2?

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I don't focus on the brand of bike as much as the quality of the components. I assume they're both running Shimano gearsets. What level are they? Of course, if you love the look of the Specialized bikes there's a lot to recommend that. You want to love your bike! –  Mac Aug 29 '11 at 1:35
    
If you've got the Cannondale shop right there, why don't you go there and look at the bikes -- see what you like? –  Daniel R Hicks Oct 10 '11 at 2:22
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2 Answers

Comparing bike brands is exceedingly difficult. A small number of bicycle factories produce the bicycles for many different brands.

Cannondale used to be made in the U.S.A. which made them different from other brands. Now they are mostly made in Asia along with other bike brands.

Here's a quote from about 5 years ago to illustrate the complicated world of bicycle factories:

Here is a short circumnavigation of the world of wheels. Starting in the old country, Europe, there is the German factory of Villiger/Diamant producing bikes for Trek. Italy's Dedacciai factory does some bikes for Kona. Some Bianchi bikes are still made in Italy too. The Ideal bicycle company has one of its factories in Poland producing bikes for Scott. China boasts the biggest factories with romantic names such as Boan, A-Pro, Sunrise, Kenstone, Kinesis, Ming Kao, Ideal and Giant. These places produce bikes for us under the labels of Norco, Rocky Mountain, Marin, Iron Horse, and Brodie. Taiwan, although not as large of a producer in numbers as China, is a technological leader. The Taiwanese factories of Merida, Fairly and Hodaka produce bikes for Specialized, Kona, and Fuji. There are new frontiers for manufacturing being explored in Thailand as Bangkok Cycle is building some Norco bikes and the Pt. Insera Sena factory in Indonesia creates product for Scott

I'd recommend going to your local bike store and talking to the staff there. If they are friendly, helpful and offer good service buy a bike from them that fits you, is comfortable to ride, and fits within your budget.

If they don't offer good service go elsewhere and find a shop that does.

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Looks should pretty much take a back seat (no pun intended) to how it feels. Some folks like certain manufacturers or frame types because of the geometry of the frame (yes, I know there's a standard within the industry, but lots of manufacturers tweak that for aesthetics, their preferred geometry, the alignment of the stars, etc.).

That being said, go to the store and SIT ON THE BIKES. If there's one hanging on the wall that you want to sit on, ask to have it pulled down. You're doing 2 things - testing out the bike's fit and testing out the store. Do the guys at the store give you a huge attitude when you ask them to pull the $7000 bike down off the wall / off the stand? Or do they spend a couple of extra minutes making sure the seat post, etc. are set so you're comfortable? I agree with Tama - if your local bike store isn't doing it for you, don't go there. There's nothing better than the feeling of a good local bike store.

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