the starting point
first i need to let everyone know that i am a neophyte in it's most infant state when it comes to cycling. it's always been an interest, but i've never really taken any steps to develop an active interest.
i've finally decided to take my first steps.
i read the FAQ about mountain biking, as well as a few posts here about the basics.
this is what i'm looking to do at the moment:
1. just start riding
2. start riding recreationally to begin on all sorts of surfaces
3. looking for a good way to get daily excercise
i'm looking to start slow, but ultimately the goal is to cycle on an array of trails of varying difficulty. i'm not looking to leap off cliffs or do anything extreme, at least at the moment. i want to start of slowly, and be able to hit harder and more energy consuming trails in future.
from what i gather, i'll need something 18"-20" since i'm 5'9". i'll need a hardtail cycle.
i've been reading that i need to make a purchase that's around the $500 mark for a decent starting bike. ideally, something between $300-$500 is workable, obviously the less expensive the better. since i'll be sticking with this bike for a while, i'll need something that wont be too much of a trouble to upgrade as time and skill dictates.
i've also read that a newbie should NEVER buy their first bike online. instead, they should visit the LBC and, "try before you buy." while i don't object, since money is tight at the moment, how much more of a premium can i be expected to pay? is it frowned upon if i go there and try bikes and then make a cheaper purchase online?
i'm reading the "The "around" $500 MTB thread" at the moment. unfortuntely, i haven't heard of a few of the brands like ironhorse. there's also recommendation that some used bikes can be purchased from eBay. is this a wise move for someone in my shoes?
at the moment, two bikes have been recommened to me. they are the Motobecane 700 HT, and the Raleigh M50 DX. what are the views on both these bikes? any good, or are there better out there, preferably a bit cheaper?
any and all recomendations will be greatly appreciated.
if there's anything i haven't covered, please let me know, and i'll be happy to answer.
Caustic Soccer Mom
check out a Specialized Hardrock - it's in your price range. Nice, sturdy bike which is upgradable.
Re shopping LBS & buying online - if you were experienced, I'd have no problem with this, BUT, since you're just starting out, I'm assuming you are not much of a bike mechanic. Buy from a LBS - they usually will service bikes they sell free (except for parts) or at a discount. Spend a little bit of time checking out the LBS, too - some are better than others when it comes to advice, fitting & service. If you don't know any MTBers, try to go to a local race or local club web site & gather information. Local shops which support local races & rides will generally provide better service/support/advice than a shop which just sells bikes (my experience, anyway).
I second the Specialized Hardrock - good, solid bike which should prove relatively easy to upgrade if you choose. Heck, check out I<3MountainDew's thread on his upgrades if you really want...
Here's the drill - don't screw your LBS. The reason prices are higher there is because you CAN get good, solid advice, as well as tune-ups (usually free), service (discounted, as apclassic mentioned) and future upgrade parts. If you want the convenience and experience of the LBS, don't take advantage of their knowledge and then give your money to some random discount online vendor. Please.
Originally Posted by xyyz2000
That said, when I went out for a new bike, I had a particular budget in mind (circa $800 for a Specialized RockHopper). I also budgeted a few hundred dollars for accessories I knew I needed or wanted, such as a hyrdration pack, helmet, gloves, extra tubes, multi-use tool, mini air-pump and shoes.
After riding bikes and looking at the equipment I wanted, I found that the bike I truly preferred was about twice as much as I had originally budgeted. So I waited and bought that bike. Since the purchase, I also ended up with a pair of cycling-specific optics, two jerseys and a pair of baggy MTB shorts. The point being, be prepared to adjust your budget (or your level of patience). It's truly worth it to buy the bike that will make you ride the most. I've been out on trails in Ohio and Michigan on a fairly regular basis (3-4 times per week) since I bought my bike. It's amazing how addictive it is, and I couldn't be happier with all the stuff I purchased.
Best advice is to go to a few local shops and try them on first. You'll find the shop where you feel comfortable and welcome. More than likely, that will also be the shop where you find the bike you most prefer. Have fun.
edit: Random duplicate post. Sorry.