Mountain Biking - Roadie getting a MTB
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02-29-12, 10:08 PM
Hey guys! I have been riding road for more than a year now, and I have been having a craving to get a MTB for the last month or two. Unfortunately I am still collecting money, so I will not be getting a bike for at least 3-4 more months. But I just want to get an idea of what I should be looking for.
I think that most of the trials in the area I live in(SoCal, Thousand Oaks/Simi Valley area) are fire roads and gravel trails(correct me if I am wrong), so I think I shouldbe looking at Trail or XCountry bikes.
I am 5'2 and ride a 50cm CAAD9 road bike, what size MTB should I be looking at?
My price range is around $800, so i am guessing I should be looking at low level bikes or used, I'm just not sure what to look for on craigslist or ebay. I would like to get a new bike, but at this price point, I don't know if that is a smart idea.
I talked to a couple of guys I know who mountain bike, and they recommended Giant for the amount of money I can spend.
I don't know if their bikes are any good.
Two I have looked at online: Giant Revel 0
I also saw the Giant Yukon FX
It is a bit more expensive, but I might be able to find one used or a previous year model.
So do you guys have any suggestions? And tips? Thanks!
PS. I don't really know much about MTB components or anything, I am a roadie at heart. :D
02-29-12, 10:12 PM
You'll probably want a small.
Trail is generally more travel and relaxed (less) headtube angle. XC is generally less travel, faster steering. Of course bikes exist that throw those notions away.
It's possible to find barely used MTBs or those that never left pavement. They're a good buy. A fully beat on MTB, however, is not such a great deal as a fork needing a rebuild or bent rims are more risky.
Don't try to get a new full suspension bike for $1,000. It will have a lot of bob and other issues. They don't get sorted until the ~$2,000 price point. For $1,000 you can get a decent hardtail bike. I would test ride 29ers and 26" despite your height. Felt makes good entry level bikes, as well. Really you have a lot of options but there are huge advantages in a $1,000 bike over a $600-700 one.
02-29-12, 11:42 PM
Thanks for the tips guys! Another option I have is to just get a really cheap bike, my heart is on road biking, and I won't be riding a MTB that much, so I don't know if I should spend a lot of money on one. My friend got a Nishiki MTB for $400 and it is working really good for him, should I just get something like that? It makes more sense to me.
I saw this online: http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_529206_-1_203131_10000_202617
Looks like a pretty good deal for the money.
03-01-12, 01:29 AM
Hey there Fishymamba!
I say, find the nearest bicycle co-op and confer with them as to what type of MTN biking you want to do. Decide upon the best type of frame design that will suit the type of riding you wish to do. Next, research MTB frames. Checkout Jamis, Surly, Voodoo, Salsa, SOMA, etc.
Once you've purchased your frame, you can purchase, swap, or barter for components. Most probably the co-op will have a few really nice components available, as well. As you save your money for the purchase of the next component, study the correct procedure of the installation of that particular component. Read books and related literature. Talk to the co-op mechanics. Watch related videos using your video search mode. Study the material and watch the videos as many times as required, so that you may be proficient at the installation. Eventually, you will see your brand new MTB form before you. At the end of this venture, you will not only have a brand new MTB, but you will also have acquired a certain degree of bicycle mechanic proficiency.
If you stay close to the co-op and become a volunteer for at least one day per week ( like on Saturdays). You will find that your mechanical skills will increase almost exponentially.
Here is a link to a few MTN bicycle frames:
- Slim :)
Most MTN bikes are made of aluminum. You will have the opportunity to select chromoly steel as your MTB frame. You will not only have access to the traditional chromoly types of steel, such as 4130 and 520, but you will also have the choice of selecting premium grades of steel frames, such as 631 and 853 chromoly steels.
03-01-12, 01:39 AM
Thanks for the tips slim! But I don't really want to go that way, buying everything separately will probably take a while and be a bit more expensive. I am pretty good at most maintenance on my road bike, so I am pretty sure I will be able to do most repairs on the MTB by myself.
I did look at the lower level Jamis models, the look pretty good to me! The steel models are quite expensive, but the aluminum models are a lot cheaper. But I am not sure any bike shops around here sell Jamis models. I have only seen Giant, Cannondale, Trek MTBs here.
in the 6-7-800 dollar range, most new bikes from the big brands will be pretty much identical in terms of components. Try to find a killer deal going used.
You could go the cheap route with a cheap bike. But you would probably end up enjoying it a whole lot more with a quality bike instead.
03-01-12, 06:51 PM
When looking at used bikes, what components should I look for? I mostly see Sram on low level MTBs, what about brakes, and forks?
03-01-12, 07:36 PM
If you're looking for a budget full-suspension bike, that Yukon FX you posted is pretty highly regarded in that category. However, if you're looking at riding fire roads and gravel trails, you may be better served with a hardtail, since you'll end up with better components for the money. On the other hand, if you think you'll eventually end up on technical singletrack, it might be worth it to go FS.
Since you're talking about fire roads and gravel trails, and you're describing yourself as a roadie, I'd look at cross-country bikes. They'll have geometry more suited for speed and will be a little lighter than a trail or all-mountain bike.
At 5'2, you will almost definitely want a small, perhaps even an extra-small. Try the bike before you buy it. I'm 5'3, and some smalls are way too big...I test rode a small Specialized Enduro and small Ibis Mojo and both were too big. I also had a short Norco One25 for a little while that I sold off because it was too big and felt like a bus in the air. My full-suspension is an XS and my hardtail is a small, so sizing will vary from company to company.
29ers feel like monster trucks to me. I'm not sure if it's because of my height or riding style (or both), but they're just too unwieldy. They may actually be ideal for the riding you're describing, but tiny frames on big wheels make for some strange geometry. Again, try before you buy.
03-02-12, 11:34 PM
Thanks for the advice Zephyr!
I went to my LBS today(to get my road bike tuned) and I started looking at their MTBs. They mainly have Cannondale and Giant.
They had the Giant Revel 1 in both S and XS and for only $500. The both looked pretty good to me.
They also had the Cannondale Trail 5 and Trail 6 for a little bit more. I do prefer Cannondale since I already have one of their road bikes and I LOVE it!
Didn't get to try them out, it was almost closing time. I did ask the people about mountain biking in the area and most said that the prefer road in the summer months because the trails get too hot to ride. The guy I talked to advised me to collect money till the end of summer and then get a bike. I actually like that option more since I can use my birthday money to get a better bike.
03-03-12, 11:10 AM
Don't get too brand exclusive based on your road bikes. I have a Specialized Ruby road bike and figured that meant the Specialized Safire mountain bike would be a good fit. On paper, it looked perfect. In practice, it was the most awkward bike ever. It looked like it fit, and it was okay if I was riding in a straight line on the street, but as soon as I tried doing anything fun with it (and that's the limited fun you can have in a parking lot test ride too...I didn't even bother finding out if I could demo one), it felt freakin' weird. Basically, I didn't like how it felt as soon as I moved out of a neutral position. Don't take that to mean that all Specialized Safires are trash though...just trash for my body proportions, I guess.
The trails are too hot to ride in the early morning and in the evening too? I would think trails would be better than the road because of shade (unless they're completely exposed). I prefer mountain biking in the summer...but then again, I've never ridden SoCal (or anywhere quite that far south).
I doubt SoCal is too hot to ride-- you ride your road bike during the summer don't you? But I do think your budget could use more time to fatten up. :)
03-04-12, 10:15 AM
Trails in the desert SW are so much better than pavement. Pavement retains the heat in the summer and just gets hotter. Vegas is different than SOCAL, but one summer day I was skinny tire biking and had a tire separate from the heat. I have been road riding a lot lately so I can do some charity rides with friends. It has so fun parts to it. But it gets so humdrum (IMO) and tedious. The trails and scenery in SOCAL have so much diversity. You have desert, jungle, vineyards, power line roads, Big Bear is a Mecca, WOW, what a place. Get as good a big as you can and introduce yourself to a couple clubs.
03-09-12, 05:31 PM
I also am a dedicated roadie for many many years. I got the MTB urge a bit back for winter riding and a different riding style.
So I went out and bought a BMC TE-01 hardtail with full SRAM XO, easton EA90 XC wheels, one of 9 bikes I own. While I won't make the complete transition to trail riding, this rig is the most awesome machine I have ever ridden. I have a 1990 Schwinn KOM S9 w/ 1st generation shimano XT I use to ride when I got the urge.................but BMC is like riding a BMW X5 w/ an M package.
03-09-12, 05:34 PM
^^^Now there is a review!
03-09-12, 07:32 PM
...So I went out and bought a BMC TE-01 hardtail with full SRAM XO, easton EA90 XC wheels...
I'm thinking you missed the part about the $800 budget.:D
03-09-12, 08:47 PM
Get a 29er! I have a Felt Nine Sport and love it!
The trail is within your budget, or buy the Sport when your Felt dealer has 10% off.
If you want a 26er
I had a Giant Revel 2 for a while, but it wasn't as fun as the nine!
Edit: I just saw that you're short. Nevermind, stick to the 26ers.
03-09-12, 09:11 PM
Edit: I just saw that you're short. Nevermind, stick to the 26ers.
Yeah, I tried a Giant 29er at my LBS and it was wayy too big for me.
03-10-12, 01:34 AM
Avoid the 29er trap...you are simply not built for one. Same for myself(5'6"). Ride all the size small bikes you can then decide. Trust me - you are in NO HURRY.
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