Beginner Mountain Bike

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emanuel_v19
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Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by emanuel_v19 »

Good morning,

I may want to get into mountain biking and I was trying to see if anyone here can recommend a good starting bike. $600 is my budget for the bike at the moment. Any recommendations?

I was considering this bike. Not sure of the components but I would like to find the most bang for the buck bike out there. Thank you!

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/men/b ... -29/115566
Andyrunner
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by Andyrunner »

Most bang for your buck in that price range would be something used. Unfortunately, you would also need to know someone who knows what to look for in a used bike.

I have an older version of the rockhopper and it has held up in single track, but its heavy and doesn't shift the smoothest. After a year, I wanted to upgrade to the level bike.

If you went new, best bang for your buck would be to look at bikesdirect.com or nashbar. The big downside with that is you will have to build it (get someone who knows what they are doing) and you won't see what you get until you buy it and ride it.
bloom2708
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by bloom2708 »

What city? Hop you your local Craigslist or local LetGo.

See what is out there.

There are many, many good used bikes out there for sale to dip your toes in and see if you like biking.

I do not think you need to pay $600 to get started. You can. You can pay $2,500 or $6,000 if you really want to. The experience might be similar to a $150 or $200 bike from Craiglist.

How tall you are will help determine sizing. If you are average height, a 17" to 21" mountain bike should be able to fit with adjustments to the seat height.

Look for brands like Trek, Specialized, Raleigh. Avoid brands like Huffy, Mongoose, Murray.

My current mountain bike is a 1996 Trek 8000. It was over $1,000 in 1996. I got it for $200 on Craigslist. It rides like new.
"We are here to provoke thoughtfulness, not agree with you." Unknown Boglehead
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djpeteski
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by djpeteski »

You can go here and find a little bit of a better bike for less money:

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/gravity/fsx_2.htm

$380 for a full suspension bike with most of the same components otherwise.

The bike shop near me, fits and buys from BikesDirect.com, they assemble and offer lifetime maintenance for a smallish up-charge.

I have a Gravity road bike and am very happy with it. For further testimonials I would search youtube.
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smegal
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by smegal »

Agree that used may be a better way to go. The rockhopper is a nice frame but will have lower end components. If you enjoy trailriding it won't be long before you want an upgrade to a $1,500-$3,000 bike. Also if you ride with people who have full suspension, then it won't be long till you want full suspension. If your main riding is cross country on smoother trails, and you just want to see how you like riding then this might be fine. I have a Rockhopper comp from 1991 with the wheels/shifters/drivetrain upgraded that I still use for riding on pavement and a ~2007 Stumpjumper that has lasted well with most of the original components. Make sure the bike fits you, and you know where to set the seat height. Have fun :sharebeer
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lthenderson
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by lthenderson »

Andyrunner wrote: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:20 amIf you went new, best bang for your buck would be to look at bikesdirect.com or nashbar. The big downside with that is you will have to build it (get someone who knows what they are doing) and you won't see what you get until you buy it and ride it.
I highly recommend going this route as well. Once you assembly a bike, you will have a bike that you can maintain and fix up for the rest of your life. It is also a good way to maximize your dollars by allowing you to get more expensive components than you would on an already assembled bike.
mt
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by mt »

Specialized makes good bikes, and the bike you reference would be a good starter bike.

My son has a Giant ATX 27.5 that is surprisingly well built. We got it new last year for around $400.
ThriftyPhD
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by ThriftyPhD »

Unless you're already experienced with bike maintenance, your local bike shop (LBS) is your best bet. If you buy there, the bike often comes with free or discount maintenance. This can end up being cheaper than buying used and paying for a 'tune up' to get the bike in good condition. Bikes at that price point are all basically the same, and probably made on the same assembly line in China. What will matter are the specific features you're looking for (shocks or no shocks, gear range, etc), and how the bike fits you. Your LBS can help you out with this.
S_Track
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by S_Track »

ThriftyPhD wrote: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:50 am Unless you're already experienced with bike maintenance, your local bike shop (LBS) is your best bet. If you buy there, the bike often comes with free or discount maintenance. This can end up being cheaper than buying used and paying for a 'tune up' to get the bike in good condition. Bikes at that price point are all basically the same, and probably made on the same assembly line in China. What will matter are the specific features you're looking for (shocks or no shocks, gear range, etc), and how the bike fits you. Your LBS can help you out with this.
+1 start at your LBS, they will sell the better the better brands and make sure your get a bike that fits, is safe and fits your needs. Good luck, it is a great sport.
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DartThrower
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by DartThrower »

I understand that this time of year is good for finding deals, so shop around and see if there are any 2017 models on sale as clearance. It's similar to car shopping.
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mattfr
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by mattfr »

As a former industry insider and product designer, I can confirm that many products at this price point are largely the same.

In this price range, “lower tech” is better than more tech, since you’re getting fewer but better quality components. For instance, a bike with Avid BB-7 mechanical disc brakes will perform better over time than cheap no-name hydraulic brakes. A basic RockShox front fork will serve you far better than a garbage dual suspension system.

Consider the trade offs carefully, but above all, enjoy riding!

Matt
Andyrunner
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by Andyrunner »

djpeteski wrote: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:42 am You can go here and find a little bit of a better bike for less money:

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/gravity/fsx_2.htm

$380 for a full suspension bike with most of the same components otherwise.

The bike shop near me, fits and buys from BikesDirect.com, they assemble and offer lifetime maintenance for a smallish up-charge.

I have a Gravity road bike and am very happy with it. For further testimonials I would search youtube.
I'd personally forgo the full suspension unless the OP plans are going crazy. I prefer this one for the $600 price range.

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/mot ... cs-xvi.htm

With that being said, go to their sister site bikeisland.com and look for a scratch/dent bike. I got $150 off my last bike and I have yet to find the scratches they listed.

Another idea is if the OP isn't looking at going fast and just wants an overall fun mountain bike, maybe look at going the fat tire route. You wont be fast, but youll have the biggest smile on trail. Things are nothing but FUN!!
guitarguy
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by guitarguy »

I was in the same boat as you a while back. I agonized over this and researched endlessly. I rode Giant, Specialized, and Trek bikes at local shops. I had no idea how to size my frame or anything like that...so I was not shopping used.

I ended up with a 2018 Trek Marlin 5 on sale for $429. The frame/fit/feel felt most comfortable. Is it a top of the line bike? No. Are some of the components junk? Probably. Is it fun to ride? Hell yes. :mrgreen:

As a beginner myself, trust me when I say that the bike won't be your limiting factor. It'll be the rider. When the bike starts limiting me...I'll throw some road tires on it and use it for commuting to dinner, or sell it, and upgrade. If/when I break something on the bike, I'll replace with something better quality.

Two of the best additional purchases in addition to the bike that I made, were a pair of 510 Freerider shoes ($100), and a set of Race Face Chester pedals ($45). What a difference! Highly recommended.

EDIT: Shop a few different bike shops. The one I ended up buying from offers free lifetime basic service and adjustments on the bike. Although it's only the basic stuff and does not include items that wear out, bringing the bike in each season for a clean and lube and all that at no charge is a nice perk. All of the other shops we visited offered this service for only the first year you own the bike.
123
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by 123 »

When I was looking to upgrade to a new bike a couple of years ago I discovered that though disc brakes on a bike can be safer then regular brakes they can require a visit to a bike shop (at some expense) to adjust or bleed since they are more complex. While I don't have a recommendation about a mountain bike I would encourage you to seriously consider doing without disc brakes due to maintenance cost and potential headaches at your price point. YMMV
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PVW
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by PVW »

As a beginner, I would recommend against buying used. For a decent beginner bike, much of the variation in price is in the components and it will be difficult for you to evaluate the quality and condition of the components on a used bike.

I'll echo other's advice - go to your local bike shop and tell them what you are looking for. In my experience, the people working there are not your typical retail salesmen/women and are often enthusiasts that are genuinely interested in helping you out. Many shops organize weekly rides and some will rent you a bike if you want to get some experience before you buy.
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sunny_socal
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by sunny_socal »

Some years ago I ordered a bike from bikesdirect.com, similar budget (spent $700 including shipping.)

What I got:
- 29 inch wheels, frame sized just for me (they have charts to guide you)
- Hydraulic disc brakes
- Good mid-grange SRAM shifters (love them!)
- Lower end Rockshox front end

Based on my shopping at various bike shops at the time, this was equivalent to spending $1200-1500 on a brand name bike. I did have to assemble it myself but I learned a lot about the bike in the process and it wasn't very hard. I highly recommend BD.

If buying a 'brand name' bike I would go with Kona. You're getting a great bike at a decent price and you're not paying for the name as you would with Trek.

Whatever you do, do not get a bike from Target or Walmart! They are inexpensive but you will hate it after a couple months.

Used is also a good idea, look on CL for a brand name bike.
emoore
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by emoore »

emanuel_v19 wrote: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:03 am Good morning,

I may want to get into mountain biking and I was trying to see if anyone here can recommend a good starting bike. $600 is my budget for the bike at the moment. Any recommendations?

I was considering this bike. Not sure of the components but I would like to find the most bang for the buck bike out there. Thank you!

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/men/b ... -29/115566
That's almost the exact bike I got 2 years ago for my beginner bike (Rockhopper 29 comp). I'm still riding it today. I'd like to upgrade to a full suspension but I don't feel like I have to. I ride with people with full suspensions and keep up with them just fine. I think it's the perfect beginner bike.
cody69
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by cody69 »

I don't know the bike you've listed, but several friends ride Specialized bikes and they speak highly of them.

A few years ago I bought 3 Diamondback bikes -- a 29er Overdrive for myself, a 27.5 for DW, and a hybrid Haanjo for my daughter.
All these were near the price range you mention and we've been happy with them.

We're using these for off-road gravel and canal rides, nothing real serious and certainly not the mountain biking like one does in Moab, where you need a true full suspension bike.

Good luck!
malabargold
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by malabargold »

1+ Specialized
davebo
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by davebo »

You should buy a 1996 GT Outpost from some guy on the internet :P
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emanuel_v19
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by emanuel_v19 »

Thank you for all the replies! I will look on CL for a used one. I did some deep thinking after reading all the feedback and came to realize I should spend a little less to get my feet wet.
inbox788
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by inbox788 »

Andyrunner wrote: Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:43 pmI'd personally forgo the full suspension unless the OP plans are going crazy. I prefer this one for the $600 price range.

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/mot ... cs-xvi.htm

With that being said, go to their sister site bikeisland.com and look for a scratch/dent bike. I got $150 off my last bike and I have yet to find the scratches they listed.

Another idea is if the OP isn't looking at going fast and just wants an overall fun mountain bike, maybe look at going the fat tire route. You wont be fast, but youll have the biggest smile on trail. Things are nothing but FUN!!
OP, are you familiar with lockout forks? Is that a requirement? It is for me.
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nativenewenglander
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by nativenewenglander »

Congratulations on getting into mountain biking, whether on a old rail trail or a rocky single track you'll enjoy it. I used to ride with various groups for a long while, the one thing I noticed was a good rider wasn't about the bike, but the rider. I rode a $2000 Proflex Animal and other guys on cheap beater bikes could out ride me left and right. Four years ago I upgraded to a bike with disc brakes and front suspension, the bike is a Marin for $1300 it's so much more of a bike than the Proflex. This years we bought a Specialized with front suspension and disk brakes for my wife and it was $700 again great technology. I think bikes continue to improve with a lower cost. I bought the tools I needed to deal with the brakes and suspension on our bikes as mountain biking is a tough sport and it's not if your bike breaks down but when. Disc brakes a huge improvement over rim brakes, where I live there's always a water hazard to go through quickly followed by a down hill. Dry disc brakes do a far better job of stopping you and the hydraulic part means you only need a finger from each hand to activate the brake. The other fingers can hold onto the handle bars to steer. Good luck, go to you local bike shop and check some out, they can guide you. Even better would be a shop that does group rides, where they can teach you some good techniques to make your riding experience that much better.
Andyrunner
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by Andyrunner »

emanuel_v19 wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:01 am Thank you for all the replies! I will look on CL for a used one. I did some deep thinking after reading all the feedback and came to realize I should spend a little less to get my feet wet.
I'd look for a local facebook group as well. In Minnesota there is the Twin Cities Bike Trading Post. If you find something like this you will get more items and more people who know what they are talking about.

In reality, I think $600 is a decent starting range, maybe include in that budget a tune up on a used bike any any needed repairs.
WhyNotUs
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by WhyNotUs »

Some bad advice here IMO regarding used bikes and craigslist for a newbie.

Starting with a safe bike that fits and comes with tunes from a local bike shop is much better advice and more likely to lead to someone actually using the bike and enjoying it. A LBS will carry less expensive bikes that will still be a solid bike and this time of the year can often lead to even better deals.
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TheGreyingDuke
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by TheGreyingDuke »

The many threads about this topic elicit three different sorts of responses:

1: Buy a used Craigslist bike, big discount over new. The big drawback, in my opinion, is that if you know from shinola about bikes you may buy something with a cracked frame, worn out shock, beat on bottom bracket or wheels way out of true. You can add big bucks to your original purchase if you cannot do the work yourself.

2: BikeDirect, I have bought several bikes from them, they are OK, the hyperbolic price comparisons to buying elsewhere are just that, but it is a decent value, not superb. If you cannot assemble it yourself figure another $75-$100 to have someone put it together for you. And you never know about size, unless you have good details about the dimensions you need, including top tube length, you may have a bike that is not proper for you.

3: Buy new from a local bike shop (that could be places such as EMS, REI, or Performance who do have shops here and there). This would be my choice, get a good fit, get to try them out, get it assembled, and get it maintained after the initial cable stretch. You will pay a bit more but there will be no regrets about size or assembly.
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bloom2708
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by bloom2708 »

WhyNotUs wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:02 am Some bad advice here IMO regarding used bikes and craigslist for a newbie.

Starting with a safe bike that fits and comes with tunes from a local bike shop is much better advice and more likely to lead to someone actually using the bike and enjoying it. A LBS will carry less expensive bikes that will still be a solid bike and this time of the year can often lead to even better deals.
Not bad advice. Different advice. Do you know how many people go out and buy a $600 bike, ride it 3-4 times and then it hangs in the garage? Most people.

3 years later they sell it for $300 and the new owner gets a free layer of dust with the purchase.

If you go on Craigslist and buy a Mongoose with a cracked frame, two flat tires and a broken shock, then you probably aren't in the market to be buying a new bike.

Most people have enough wherewithal to look at different options and separate crap from a reasonable deal. A friend wanted to get into biking. He went to a LBS and bought a $1,200 bike. He has ridden it 3 times in the past 2 years.

My thought was to see if you like biking. See if you use it. If that means $200 or $600 or $1,500. I look at our local Craigslist bike section daily. It is full of $600 bikes selling for $250 or $300 or less. I'd rather have a $1,000 bike for $300 or a $600 bike for $250 than a $600 bike for $600.
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CyclingDuo
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by CyclingDuo »

emanuel_v19 wrote: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:03 am Good morning,

I may want to get into mountain biking and I was trying to see if anyone here can recommend a good starting bike. $600 is my budget for the bike at the moment. Any recommendations?

I was considering this bike. Not sure of the components but I would like to find the most bang for the buck bike out there. Thank you!

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/men/b ... -29/115566
Mountain Biking covers an entire gamut of types of riding. Do you live in an area where the trails are flat, hilly, buff, super rocky, are there ledges, roots, clay dirt, sand, rocky soil, desert, mud, etc... ? Riding in Utah is a lot different than riding in Illinois as an example. Riding in Arkansas is much different than riding in Kansas. And on and on.

Do you currently ride on pavement? Will you want to use the MTB for gravel and pavement as well as on singletrack?

With mountain bikes, you get what you pay for. The lower cost, low end models have low end wheels, low end forks, low end cranks, brakes, low end tires, low end gearing components. And the bike will be heavy (expect 28-30+ pounds) which means you've got that much extra weight to haul up every hill. You don't need to move up the scale to a bike that costs $7-$11K, but they do exist and are much different than a $600 mountain bike. The sweet spot changes every year in terms of bang for your buck. Just 2 years ago, that was $1K - $2K. It's bumped up a bit now, so you are buying way below the sweet spot. One rule of thumb when buying a mountain bike is to get it right the first time. Nobody is going to want to buy your used bike if you buy cheap/heavy and decide to upgrade a year or two from now. It will sell for pennies on the dollar. Light, strong, cheap - pick two. :mrgreen:

We would suggest (both of us mountain bike and road bike) that you test ride as many as you can to get an idea. Also, ask other mountain bikers in your area what type of mountain bikes work best for the local trails. Some trails, locals wouldn't be caught without 130-150mm of travel on the fork up front. Some trails, locals are fine with a rigid fork. Ditto on rear suspension, size of brake rotors, types of tire tread, gearing, etc... . So it would be best to tap into local knowledge of what types of trails and what type of mountain bike works to your advantage on those trails.

You will get really beat up on a mountain bike. Kidneys will hurt. Back will hurt. Neck will hurt. Forearms will hurt. Wrists will hurt. And that's all without even falling off the bike. If you are brand new to the sport - you will fall a lot. And that adds to the learning curve and pain. The idea of a quality used bike to go through those learning curves is not a bad idea. The most important component - IMO - are the wheels. Making sure they are built to your weight is key to longevity of the wheels staying true and holding their line in corners. As you move up the ladder in the Specialized Rockhopper - the components get better throughout the bike from the low end $525 model. If you weigh more than an average (say you weigh more than 180 pounds), it is well worth the money to get a bike with wheels and a fork designed to handle your weight as you will flex things a lot more than lighter riders.
"Save like a pessimist, invest like an optimist." - Morgan Housel
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pezblanco
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by pezblanco »

^^^^ This! This is now becoming typical of these MTB'ing threads. The OP doesn't say where he lives or even what part of the country and then everyone piles in with their advice for the area they live in ....
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emanuel_v19
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by emanuel_v19 »

inbox788 wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:27 am
Andyrunner wrote: Tue Aug 29, 2017 12:43 pmI'd personally forgo the full suspension unless the OP plans are going crazy. I prefer this one for the $600 price range.

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/mot ... cs-xvi.htm

With that being said, go to their sister site bikeisland.com and look for a scratch/dent bike. I got $150 off my last bike and I have yet to find the scratches they listed.

Another idea is if the OP isn't looking at going fast and just wants an overall fun mountain bike, maybe look at going the fat tire route. You wont be fast, but youll have the biggest smile on trail. Things are nothing but FUN!!
OP, are you familiar with lockout forks? Is that a requirement? It is for me.
A lockout fork would be ideal since I will be using it as a dual purpose bike. I know there are designated dual purpose bikes(Giant Roam which I really like and the Trek DS) but I strongly feel like I will be using it more for mountain biking than road/gravel. So I am not sure if these dual sport bikes will hold me through the mountains. I also like the idea of the 700cc(29er) wheels. I am located in the south bay area. (San Jose).
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emanuel_v19
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by emanuel_v19 »

One other thing I wanted to mention. At the moment I am biking with my Giant Escape and I really enjoy it. Could I possibly transform this bike into a "mountain" bike? Will it be sturdy enough? Maybe just get some bigger tires and tougher wheels? That could save me some money right :happy
bloom2708
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by bloom2708 »

emanuel_v19 wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:58 am One other thing I wanted to mention. At the moment I am biking with my Giant Escape and I really enjoy it. Could I possibly transform this bike into a "mountain" bike? Will it be sturdy enough? Maybe just get some bigger tires and tougher wheels? That could save me some money right :happy
You will probably spend more trying to retro-fit an urban/commuter.

Here is a couple interesting bikes from Craigslist.

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/bik/d/ ... 38985.html

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/d/ ... 52503.html
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tm3
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by tm3 »

Three most important factors in real estate purchase: location, location, and location.

Three most important factors in bike purchase: fit, fit, and fit. Multiply by a factor of many if you are over 40.

As a beginner, I believe your best bet is a good local bike shop. Alternatively, you might roll the dice, get lucky, and save some money. You also might roll the dice, get something that does not work for you and has to be replaced, and end up spending more money. Or, worse, you might injure yourself.

Mountain biking is a fabulous activity, with the physical and mental rewards being well worth the investment.
stoptothink
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by stoptothink »

tm3 wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:24 am Three most important factors in bike purchase: fit, fit, and fit. Multiply by a factor of many if you are over 40.

As a beginner, I believe your best bet is a good local bike shop. Alternatively, you might roll the dice, get lucky, and save some money. You also might roll the dice, get something that does not work for you and has to be replaced, and end up spending more money. Or, worse, you might injure yourself.
With how easily adjustable bikes are, IMO getting a bike fit isn't that important and it is even less important on a mountain bike than a road bike. As a former competitive cyclist and triathlete, I've had countless bike fits done by "professionals", and I can't say the results were ever noticeably better than just tinkering myself with my existing rig; from either a performance or comfort standpoint. Now, as simply a recreational rider, I've purchased 3 bikes online (site unseen) and had zero issues. Your experience may vary.
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by guitarguy »

stoptothink wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:56 am
tm3 wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:24 am Three most important factors in bike purchase: fit, fit, and fit. Multiply by a factor of many if you are over 40.

As a beginner, I believe your best bet is a good local bike shop. Alternatively, you might roll the dice, get lucky, and save some money. You also might roll the dice, get something that does not work for you and has to be replaced, and end up spending more money. Or, worse, you might injure yourself.
With how easily adjustable bikes are, IMO getting a bike fit isn't that important and it is even less important on a mountain bike than a road bike. As a former competitive cyclist and triathlete, I've had countless bike fits done by "professionals", and I can't say the results were ever noticeably better than just tinkering myself with my existing rig; from either a performance or comfort standpoint. Now, as simply a recreational rider, I've purchased 3 bikes online (site unseen) and had zero issues. Your experience may vary.
Having recently bought my first bike since I was a teenager (now 32)...totally disagree. I would've been lost shopping used or online sight unseen. I didn''t even know what frame size I needed. Paying a few bucks more at the local shop...test riding a few models...learning...well worth it. Tinkering you can do on your own...but it would be worthless without an appropriate base to work off of.
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RootSki
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by RootSki »

Invest in a good front suspension.
stoptothink
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by stoptothink »

guitarguy wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:30 pm
stoptothink wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:56 am
tm3 wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:24 am Three most important factors in bike purchase: fit, fit, and fit. Multiply by a factor of many if you are over 40.

As a beginner, I believe your best bet is a good local bike shop. Alternatively, you might roll the dice, get lucky, and save some money. You also might roll the dice, get something that does not work for you and has to be replaced, and end up spending more money. Or, worse, you might injure yourself.
With how easily adjustable bikes are, IMO getting a bike fit isn't that important and it is even less important on a mountain bike than a road bike. As a former competitive cyclist and triathlete, I've had countless bike fits done by "professionals", and I can't say the results were ever noticeably better than just tinkering myself with my existing rig; from either a performance or comfort standpoint. Now, as simply a recreational rider, I've purchased 3 bikes online (site unseen) and had zero issues. Your experience may vary.
Having recently bought my first bike since I was a teenager (now 32)...totally disagree. I would've been lost shopping used or online sight unseen. I didn''t even know what frame size I needed. Paying a few bucks more at the local shop...test riding a few models...learning...well worth it. Tinkering you can do on your own...but it would be worthless without an appropriate base to work off of.
All of this information is readily accessible with a 30sec Google search. Also, none of the things you mention require paying the bike shop premium. You can always go talk to the guys, sit on and test ride a few bikes to get an idea of what you are looking for, and then go online and save 10-25% (or more). There is a huge difference between getting a "fit" (usual cost $75-$250; maybe a very basic one thrown in with bike purchase) and what you are talking about. I have a good local bike shop, they know they can't match online prices but they are super friendly because they know I'll be in there several times a year for miscellaneous parts and maybe a tune, and that I'll recommend others to them. A "fit" is almost pointless for someone new who doesn't know if they'll even enjoy riding, especially if you are on a mountain bike.
guitarguy
Posts: 1821
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by guitarguy »

stoptothink wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:06 pm
guitarguy wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:30 pm
stoptothink wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:56 am
tm3 wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:24 am Three most important factors in bike purchase: fit, fit, and fit. Multiply by a factor of many if you are over 40.

As a beginner, I believe your best bet is a good local bike shop. Alternatively, you might roll the dice, get lucky, and save some money. You also might roll the dice, get something that does not work for you and has to be replaced, and end up spending more money. Or, worse, you might injure yourself.
With how easily adjustable bikes are, IMO getting a bike fit isn't that important and it is even less important on a mountain bike than a road bike. As a former competitive cyclist and triathlete, I've had countless bike fits done by "professionals", and I can't say the results were ever noticeably better than just tinkering myself with my existing rig; from either a performance or comfort standpoint. Now, as simply a recreational rider, I've purchased 3 bikes online (site unseen) and had zero issues. Your experience may vary.
Having recently bought my first bike since I was a teenager (now 32)...totally disagree. I would've been lost shopping used or online sight unseen. I didn''t even know what frame size I needed. Paying a few bucks more at the local shop...test riding a few models...learning...well worth it. Tinkering you can do on your own...but it would be worthless without an appropriate base to work off of.
All of this information is readily accessible with a 30sec Google search. Also, none of the things you mention require paying the bike shop premium. You can always go talk to the guys, sit on and test ride a few bikes to get an idea of what you are looking for, and then go online and save 10-25% (or more). There is a huge difference between getting a "fit" (usual cost $75-$250; maybe a very basic one thrown in with bike purchase) and what you are talking about. I have a good local bike shop, they know they can't match online prices but they are super friendly because they know I'll be in there several times a year for miscellaneous parts and maybe a tune, and that I'll recommend others to them. A "fit" is almost pointless for someone new who doesn't know if they'll even enjoy riding, especially if you are on a mountain bike.
What is included with your definition of a fit for $75-250 additional cost?

My definition of it was free help with sizing, adjusting the saddle height, etc. Super basic. But needed for a total newb who doesn't know where to start.

Perhaps you could go in and do that free and then buy elsewhere...but I found the sale price at my bike shop, plus lifetime free service and basic adjustments, plus not paying someone to put my online bike together or inspect and tune up my craigslist special since I don't really know how to do that stuff..was worth the extra cost whatever it was. I bought a sub-$500 bike so it wasn't much anyway.
Billionaire
Posts: 339
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:05 pm

Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by Billionaire »

As some have alluded to, it's not necessarily about the bike. I bought a Schwinn Homegrown mountain bike in 2000 and discovered recently that the Homegrown series of bikes that were manufactured between 1995 and 2001 have a cult following today. When I bought the bike I guess I had some romantic notions of riding over roots, branches, etc., but quickly realized my mind-set (maybe age) wasn't into getting beaten up and/or crashing into a tree. So keep that in mind.

You can read about my me and my mountain bike here.

http://www.bonustomato.com/forum/general-stuff/1937
tm3
Posts: 186
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2014 7:16 pm

Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by tm3 »

stoptothink wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:56 am
tm3 wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:24 am Three most important factors in bike purchase: fit, fit, and fit. Multiply by a factor of many if you are over 40.

As a beginner, I believe your best bet is a good local bike shop. Alternatively, you might roll the dice, get lucky, and save some money. You also might roll the dice, get something that does not work for you and has to be replaced, and end up spending more money. Or, worse, you might injure yourself.
With how easily adjustable bikes are, IMO getting a bike fit isn't that important and it is even less important on a mountain bike than a road bike. As a former competitive cyclist and triathlete, I've had countless bike fits done by "professionals", and I can't say the results were ever noticeably better than just tinkering myself with my existing rig; from either a performance or comfort standpoint. Now, as simply a recreational rider, I've purchased 3 bikes online (site unseen) and had zero issues. Your experience may vary.
Sure, I would expect a former competitive cyclist to be perfectly capable of choosing and setting up a bike optimally.

However, OP is a beginner, and therefore I would not have the same expectation.

In addition to guidance to proper fit, the LBS often is able to do swap outs on stem, handlebars, seat, seatpost, pedals, tires (or setting up tubeless), etc. at time of purchase which in the long run is less expensive than buying a complete bike and then replacing components piecemeal. LBS is also able to provide recommendations based on where and how OP plans on riding.

Regardless, as another poster said OP now sees the different sides of how to choose a bike.
Andyrunner
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Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 9:14 am

Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by Andyrunner »

Not to get into arguments or fights here but, I have to agree with stoptothink. As far as mountain biking is concerned, especially recreational and just dipping into a hobby, fit isn't nearly as important as competitive road biking or a TT bike.

I'm no bike fit expert, but I felt like I was reaching on my new gravel bike. With a quick google search I spend $15 on a shorter stem and with an allen wrench, Im fine.
inbox788
Posts: 7737
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:24 pm

Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by inbox788 »

guitarguy wrote: Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:56 amWhat is included with your definition of a fit for $75-250 additional cost?

My definition of it was free help with sizing, adjusting the saddle height, etc. Super basic. But needed for a total newb who doesn't know where to start.

Perhaps you could go in and do that free and then buy elsewhere...but I found the sale price at my bike shop, plus lifetime free service and basic adjustments, plus not paying someone to put my online bike together or inspect and tune up my craigslist special since I don't really know how to do that stuff..was worth the extra cost whatever it was. I bought a sub-$500 bike so it wasn't much anyway.
I think an analogy to getting dressed is apropos. I've yet to get fitted for a bike like a custom tailored suit. Seems like a nice splurge, but I lose and gain weight (mostly gain), and would constantly need updating. I guess you can take in or out a bike like a suit. I usually make due with off the shelf suits, but can always get a little help sizing, especially if some brands are known for being a little larger or smaller, or there are some specific characteristics (i.e. certain running shoes are known for having a wider toebox). Additionally, a little tailoring (hemming pants or adjusting sleeve cuff length) may be all it takes to look a little more spiffy. Some things like seat adjustments are like belt adjustments where I think I'm ok at doing myself.
stoptothink
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by stoptothink »

tm3 wrote: Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:00 am
stoptothink wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:56 am
tm3 wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:24 am Three most important factors in bike purchase: fit, fit, and fit. Multiply by a factor of many if you are over 40.

As a beginner, I believe your best bet is a good local bike shop. Alternatively, you might roll the dice, get lucky, and save some money. You also might roll the dice, get something that does not work for you and has to be replaced, and end up spending more money. Or, worse, you might injure yourself.
With how easily adjustable bikes are, IMO getting a bike fit isn't that important and it is even less important on a mountain bike than a road bike. As a former competitive cyclist and triathlete, I've had countless bike fits done by "professionals", and I can't say the results were ever noticeably better than just tinkering myself with my existing rig; from either a performance or comfort standpoint. Now, as simply a recreational rider, I've purchased 3 bikes online (site unseen) and had zero issues. Your experience may vary.
Sure, I would expect a former competitive cyclist to be perfectly capable of choosing and setting up a bike optimally.

However, OP is a beginner, and therefore I would not have the same expectation.

In addition to guidance to proper fit, the LBS often is able to do swap outs on stem, handlebars, seat, seatpost, pedals, tires (or setting up tubeless), etc. at time of purchase which in the long run is less expensive than buying a complete bike and then replacing components piecemeal. LBS is also able to provide recommendations based on where and how OP plans on riding.

Regardless, as another poster said OP now sees the different sides of how to choose a bike.
I fully expect any able-minded adult (or even pre-teen) to be able to use an allen wrench to adjust the seatpost or set the fore/aft of the bike seat so they are comfortable. Also LBS can swap out stem, handlebars, etc. at any time, that doesn't require you to purchase the bike from them. Not to mention, a total noob on a budget (in this case $600, which at most shops limits you to only the barest of bones MTB) is highly unlikely to be investing in swapping out stock parts until they have decided whether or not they actually enjoy riding; that gets really expensive, really fast. I'm all about supporting the LBS, but that doesn't mean paying a premium for things that are either unnecessary or incredibly simple to do myself.
tm3
Posts: 186
Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2014 7:16 pm

Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by tm3 »

stoptothink wrote: Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:31 am
tm3 wrote: Thu Aug 31, 2017 10:00 am
stoptothink wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:56 am
tm3 wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:24 am Three most important factors in bike purchase: fit, fit, and fit. Multiply by a factor of many if you are over 40.

As a beginner, I believe your best bet is a good local bike shop. Alternatively, you might roll the dice, get lucky, and save some money. You also might roll the dice, get something that does not work for you and has to be replaced, and end up spending more money. Or, worse, you might injure yourself.
With how easily adjustable bikes are, IMO getting a bike fit isn't that important and it is even less important on a mountain bike than a road bike. As a former competitive cyclist and triathlete, I've had countless bike fits done by "professionals", and I can't say the results were ever noticeably better than just tinkering myself with my existing rig; from either a performance or comfort standpoint. Now, as simply a recreational rider, I've purchased 3 bikes online (site unseen) and had zero issues. Your experience may vary.
Sure, I would expect a former competitive cyclist to be perfectly capable of choosing and setting up a bike optimally.

However, OP is a beginner, and therefore I would not have the same expectation.

In addition to guidance to proper fit, the LBS often is able to do swap outs on stem, handlebars, seat, seatpost, pedals, tires (or setting up tubeless), etc. at time of purchase which in the long run is less expensive than buying a complete bike and then replacing components piecemeal. LBS is also able to provide recommendations based on where and how OP plans on riding.

Regardless, as another poster said OP now sees the different sides of how to choose a bike.
I fully expect any able-minded adult (or even pre-teen) to be able to use an allen wrench to adjust the seatpost or set the fore/aft of the bike seat so they are comfortable. Also LBS can swap out stem, handlebars, etc. at any time, that doesn't require you to purchase the bike from them. Not to mention, a total noob on a budget (in this case $600, which at most shops limits you to only the barest of bones MTB) is highly unlikely to be investing in swapping out stock parts until they have decided whether or not they actually enjoy riding; that gets really expensive, really fast. I'm all about supporting the LBS, but that doesn't mean paying a premium for things that are either unnecessary or incredibly simple to do myself.
Yes I'm sure that they can adjust the seat for example so they are comfortable, however "comfort" to a beginner may be a seat that is way too low which as you and I know can lead to knee injury.

My LBS will do component swaps at time of purchase of a new bike (saddle, etc.) for no cost or cost differential. While as you note I'm sure that they can change components later, or even on a bike that was not purchased from them, it would be for full price of the new component -- which costs more in the long run.
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greg24
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by greg24 »

bloom2708 wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:45 amI look at our local Craigslist bike section daily. It is full of $600 bikes selling for $250 or $300 or less. I'd rather have a $1,000 bike for $300 or a $600 bike for $250 than a $600 bike for $600.
Everyone talks about the great deals on craigslist, but I just can't find them. What I do find is someone selling a 5 or 10 year old bike, and expecting to get 75% to 90% of what they paid for it. I compare to bicyclebluebook.com, and they are asking at least twice of the value on that site.
stoptothink
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by stoptothink »

greg24 wrote: Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:19 am
bloom2708 wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:45 amI look at our local Craigslist bike section daily. It is full of $600 bikes selling for $250 or $300 or less. I'd rather have a $1,000 bike for $300 or a $600 bike for $250 than a $600 bike for $600.
Everyone talks about the great deals on craigslist, but I just can't find them. What I do find is someone selling a 5 or 10 year old bike, and expecting to get 75% to 90% of what they paid for it. I compare to bicyclebluebook.com, and they are asking at least twice of the value on that site.
Although I personally have sold a few high-end bikes on Craiglist for a fraction of what they costed (ie. my last tri bike, which all in was ~$6k, I sold 3yrs later for $1300 on Craigslist - it had many many thousands of miles on it, but was in pristine working condition), I too have seen this same thing. Currently keeping my eye out for my brother, who is interested in getting road bikes for him and his wife so that they can share this activity with my wife and I; zero luck on Craiglist. Maybe it is just the area, but everybody is looking to get near retail for their used bikes around here.
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Nestegg_User
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by Nestegg_User »

Hmmm, I'm guessing my Kona isn't considered a beginner MB....(like my old Trek road bike, from the 70's when they were hand built in Wisconsin)...but can't quite use them like I used to (no centuries, no 6 hour training rides) due to age and knee replacement ( :( )

For a total newb- a local bike shop might be best, but check around and talk to local bikers to get info, most will offer classes on upkeep/repair as if they are good they want repeat business on parts, component upgrades, etc.

Good luck and stay safe out there
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greg24
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by greg24 »

stoptothink wrote: Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:40 am
greg24 wrote: Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:19 am
bloom2708 wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:45 amI look at our local Craigslist bike section daily. It is full of $600 bikes selling for $250 or $300 or less. I'd rather have a $1,000 bike for $300 or a $600 bike for $250 than a $600 bike for $600.
Everyone talks about the great deals on craigslist, but I just can't find them. What I do find is someone selling a 5 or 10 year old bike, and expecting to get 75% to 90% of what they paid for it. I compare to bicyclebluebook.com, and they are asking at least twice of the value on that site.
Although I personally have sold a few high-end bikes on Craiglist for a fraction of what they costed (ie. my last tri bike, which all in was ~$6k, I sold 3yrs later for $1300 on Craigslist - it had many many thousands of miles on it, but was in pristine working condition), I too have seen this same thing. Currently keeping my eye out for my brother, who is interested in getting road bikes for him and his wife so that they can share this activity with my wife and I; zero luck on Craiglist. Maybe it is just the area, but everybody is looking to get near retail for their used bikes around here.
Glad to hear I'm not the only one.

Example I'm look at right now. Someone is selling a 2008 Trek 4300. MSRP $420. Blue book value is, at the maximum, $101. The seller is asking $325.

I know I could try to negotiate/argue him down, but I don't feel like going through a giant hassle of visiting 5 bikes in person and haggling until I get a decent bike at a decent price. My time is worth money, so I guess I should just go buy one at the local bike shop.
Andyrunner
Posts: 788
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by Andyrunner »

greg24 wrote: Thu Aug 31, 2017 11:19 am
bloom2708 wrote: Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:45 amI look at our local Craigslist bike section daily. It is full of $600 bikes selling for $250 or $300 or less. I'd rather have a $1,000 bike for $300 or a $600 bike for $250 than a $600 bike for $600.
Everyone talks about the great deals on craigslist, but I just can't find them. What I do find is someone selling a 5 or 10 year old bike, and expecting to get 75% to 90% of what they paid for it. I compare to bicyclebluebook.com, and they are asking at least twice of the value on that site.

IMO bicyclebluebook is a great starting point but not end all be all. I had a Trek Equinox ttx 7.5. BBB said 500-750. I sold it for 850 and had at least 5 offers. It needed new cassette, chain and cables. This is also after I put $125 into it to fix a cracked carbon bottom bracket.

Wish i listed it for more....or didnt sell it, I miss that bike.
timmy
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Re: Beginner Mountain Bike

Post by timmy »

I am not into mountain biking, but heavily into road biking.

I bought a used bike for $300 or so. After I proved that I liked biking and would actually do it, I started my research. I set a budget of $2K. I purchased a bike from a local bike shop (which I would recommend). As best I can tell, I got a good deal. I bought a year old model around the time the new models came in (oddly like cars). With the discount (because it was "old" but not used), the bike (from the bike shop) was cheaper than online.

My bike shop performs free "once overs" and unlimited brake/ gear adjustments.

I am very happy with the outcome.
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