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  1. #1
    Senior Member nostromo's Avatar
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    Experience of going from a cheap mtb to a high end one

    I can see how most people that start with a cheap dept. store MTB would get the bug to get a more expensive and better bike, then another, etc. over the years.

    But has anyone skipped that process and instead went right out and bought a high end bike? What bike did you get and why? Cost? How did the cheap and expensive bikes compare in feel and performance on the trails?

    Did going from no suspension to full suspension and maybe disc brakes make a big difference in feel and capability?

    Add to that anyone that bypassed getting a high end bike and just built (or had one built) from the frame up with specific components. Give details of your choices, cost, and was it worth it over buying a pre-made bike.

  2. #2
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    yes and no. I did the whole cheap, kinda cheap, not so cheap, kinda pricey, very pricey, Wholly Molly Expensive thing when I raced BMX, so when I got into Mountain Biking, I started in the $600 price point. Granted, spending $3,000 for a bike for me is now 'normal'. But I think your bike should progress with your experience and ability.

    Just makes sense.
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
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  3. #3
    Banned
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    don't do it...get a good MTB but not too expensive with a basic build that has a lot of tolerance ...you don't want high end machined components at first.

    You see this mistake a lot of the time...99% of newer riders will never use or appreciate the full potential of their "super-bikes" and are just wasting their money for the first few years...then, when they have the experience. they're riding old, obsolete, worn out bikes that cost a lot but now need to be replaced.

    Also, new riders need to know how to maintain and look after their bikes...again, not someting to learn on a Turner or Ellsworth

    lastly, many start to MTB and find that they lose interest or don't have the time to get out that often...happened with us when my daughter was born...the bikes spent a lot of time in the garage back then.

    Just like with cars, you learn on the Buick, a Ferrari works only for those that know how to get the most out of it and have the roads to drive it on.

    just my .02

  4. #4
    ...all of 'em? NuclearParanoid's Avatar
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    I think high end bikes would have more problems, will need more adjustments and repairs. I had a cheap 250$ bike for 2 years. It never broke no matter how abusive I was with it. I then got into performance biking, and I bought myself a 1000$ hardtail x-country bike. It's then and with that bike that I started to have problems. Not really problems, something that everyone got used to do. Adjusting deraillers, changing cables, cleaning and oiling. I never had to do it with the cheap bike.

  5. #5
    Neat - w/ ice on the side dalmore's Avatar
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    I started with a used high-end bike. It seemed to make the most sense to me, I got better components and frame than I would have with that money on a new bike. For under a $1000 you can find lots of hardly used or lightly used high-end mountain bikes. I picked up a Titanium framed hardtail with XTR components in good shape for that price. It sold for $3500 new.
    Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more. Bark less.

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  6. #6
    sarcasm meter: jerk mode santiago's Avatar
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    I started with a solid entry level hardtail (~$500 Kona Blast) and have been slowly accumulating nice bits. Next year I'll be buying a high end full-suspension bike and transferring all my nice bits over. I didn't want to start on the high end of things as I didn't think I'd be able to appreciate the differences over a solid entry-level bike. As my seat-time and skills have progressed I've been treating myself to nice bits. Towards the end of next season I'll have my new nice bike.
    First Class Jerk

  7. #7
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    My first mtn bike was a used '89 or so trek 830.. it weighed at least 30lbs and was a tank. Two years later I bought a slightly used, custom built '91 cannondale beast of the east, full xt (before xtr), which weighed about 23lbs. There was no camparison in handling between the two.. the cannondale was such a delight to ride. But prior to this I had already owned a number of decent bmx bikes and a very nice bianchi road bike.. so I was spoiled for decent bikes.

  8. #8
    (((Fully Awake))) Serendipper's Avatar
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    "I'm too poor to own a cheap bike"

    ...Always loved that quote. Yup, quality over quantity!
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    無上甚深微妙法 .... 百千萬劫難遭遇..... 我今見聞得受持

  9. #9
    don't misunderestimate me BoSoxYacht's Avatar
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    My 1st mountain bike was a $1600 Mountaingoat Whiskeytown Racer(1989?) w/XT and a Bullseye 2-piece crankset(Just like the current "Shimano" design) and a set of Road Mavics(700c) that Keith Bontrager cut down and re-rolled to 26". It was a sweet bike ,but I had been a roadie for years and knew that I wanted that bike.My current mountain bike , a custom 2003 Jamis Dakar, is both the cheapest and best riding mountain bike I've ever owned . Todays $700 bikes are better than most bikes of the 80's+ early 90's.

  10. #10
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    I went from a cheep Walmart hard tail to a Specialized XC Comp this year and am so glad. I can actually do the things that I wanted to last year. I can now keep up (and surpass) my friends. You just need to know how much you will use it and know that you will need to keep up with the mechanical issues, because they will happen. It sure helps to be mechanically minded and able to repair items yourself.

  11. #11
    Senior Member vw addict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nostromo
    But has anyone skipped that process and instead went right out and bought a high end bike? How did the cheap and expensive bikes compare in feel and performance on the trails?
    well since they skipped the cheap bikes the would never know the difference in feel and performance, now would they?

  12. #12
    ...is my hero! DylanTremblay's Avatar
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    I saw, and this is what I did, buy a cheaper $600ish bike. Ride it a lot and try lots of different riding. Then you can buy a high-end bike which usually sever one perpose (DH/XC/ect.). Buy doing this you will learn that you like a certain style of riding. If you buy a good bike right off the start it might be an awesome XC bike but maybe you like to DJ?

  13. #13
    Senior Member iamthetas's Avatar
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    I started with an inexpensive bike and built it like I wanted it. after that I got a better frame and built that up too to what I wanted. 1 piece at a time. I did this on several bikes because I kept breaking frames. good frames as well as components too, not Xmart ones. I finally got an Allmountain bike a couple of years ago and havent had any problems at all other than trying to keep up with folks riding bikes that are about 10 pounds lighter than mine on climbs, but i make up for it when the trail goes to super tech, rocky and rooty. as they are trying to make their way through the best line I go straight through. the shortest way to get from point a to point b is a straight line. an Allmountain bike lets you take which line you want, as fast as you want!!
    for the creation was subjected to futility,not willingly , but because of Him who subjected it in hope...that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:20-29
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  14. #14
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    Ride now I'm riding a cheap K2.

    In a few months I'll be riding a high end FR hardtail.

    I'll get back to you on that...

  15. #15
    Senior Member FLBandit's Avatar
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    I went from a Wal-Mart Roadmaster to a Gary Fisher Cake 3. To me the difference is night and day. The most noticable areas to me are the weight, the feel (solid as opposed to a bit rattley) and the shifting.
    I wanna ride!
    '90ish Giant Perigee

  16. #16
    Banned. Hank Rearden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jm01
    You see this mistake a lot of the time...99% of newer riders will never use or appreciate the full potential of their "super-bikes" and are just wasting their money for the first few years...then, when they have the experience. they're riding old, obsolete, worn out bikes that cost a lot but now need to be replaced.
    Crap.

    My bikes are all more than a few years old. I had no idea that makes them old, obsolete and worn out.

    I had better get shopping.

  17. #17
    Dismember harov3's Avatar
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    Hideous walmart style dually (we dont have walmart here ,Yet!), No-name generic steel lbs hardtail, Giant rincon, Haro V3 with a few mods, and now a Hoss deluxe. Have I learnt anything as my rides improved? hell yeah. My riding skills have improved with each bike though my maintenace needs have been dropping away. If i'd gone and bought a $3000 XC rocket to start with I would never have apppreciated what it could do, come to think I still doubt I would.
    Mmmmm...shiney new parts...mmmm

  18. #18
    nm+
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hank Rearden
    Crap.

    My bikes are all more than a few years old. I had no idea that makes them old, obsolete and worn out.

    I had better get shopping.
    This is why is topped reading bike magazines. My bike's over 4 years old and I know its better than 99% of bikes I see on the trails, yet those magazines would ahve me belive that I need a billion feet of travel, discs and the newest XTR groupo and do it for under 20lbs.
    Screw that. A great bike feels right and keeps feeling right for a very long time. I bought my Titus to be "the last bike I'll ever need." So far, I've only had to repalace a few components due to wear (crank and rear rim). If you spend for than, and not mearly for the "latest and gretest," it makes a lot of sense to spend quite bit.
    Breaking bike parts for more than 20 years
    Titus Racer-X AL/Trek 520 (Cracked)/Trek 930

  19. #19
    It is what it is... Minesbroken's Avatar
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    This is my first bike

    This is the one I'm building from the frame up







  20. #20
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    My boys started with a series of dept. store bikes which had to be replaced every year... We finally decided to go the "real" bike route & got the older one a steel Specialized Hardrock, the younger a Specialized Rock Hard (weighed more than he did!). After a year, we upgraded the older boy to a GF Big Sur which he rode & raced for 4 years until he broke the frame. Replaced the frame with a GF Marlin frame I bought used on e-bay... of course, there were a lot of upgrades along the way (XTR, disc brakes, time atac, various forks)
    Younger one went from the Rock Hard to a Specialized Hardrock Comp in 2000, and then promptly won a Stumpjumper FSR XC at a race. He upgraded everything every time he got some $$ in his pocket. Then he got a Scalpel & sold off most of the Stumpjumper. The he outgrew the Scalpel, and got a Salsa Moto Rapido frame & r-7 fork & some other upgrades by selling the Scalpel frame & lefty fork. He's still growing & looking at another frame for next season.

    We still have BOTH specialized hardrocks, as neither one will part with them.

    My advice is, unless you don't care how much you spend, is to start with a decent mid-range bike, upgrade when you feel it's necessary, and be happy. Learn to do your own maintenance along the way - hey the LBS can fix whatever you can't figure out.

  21. #21
    Junior Member Dr Game's Avatar
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    i bought my first one for $300.. it rides well and everything, it's just that I broke eveyrthing on it like crazy.. then I bought a $1400 bike.. broke somethings on it.. then put about $3000 into a bike.. and now i've broken nothing but the frame.

  22. #22
    rules the earth BROCK SAMPSON's Avatar
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    My first mtb is a norco kompressor, this is gonna last me a while with a few upgrades but I'm gonna sell it and get a better bike in a few years.

  23. #23
    Senior Member wheelhot's Avatar
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    well, my first bike is the one which im still using now, its a hardtail because I want a cheap and performance bike and this is the kind of bike my friend recommend. I recommend that a beginner should get into a hardtail first to improve his riding skills (cornering, braking and etc). Maintainence of a hardtail is also much simpler then a full sus. I got a book about mountain bike maintainance and I was shocked by maintaining your full susp pivots. Anyway im ready for it because I love bikes ^^ (not motorbikes). Anyway about upgrading your bike, hmm lets see, I ordered my Anthem 2 because I feel that this bike has done a lot for me and im ready to get a better bike, it has make me learn a lot and I would miss not riding it alot anymore

  24. #24
    No longer in Wimbledon... womble's Avatar
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    I started on a decent midrange bike in 99 (Cannondale CAAD 3 frame with 60mm Headshok), and immediately replaced most the stock components because even then I could recognise that they were rubbish. So in 99 I had an XT/carbon equiped bike with on a decent frame, not "high end" but probably a bit above "midrange." The drivetrain componentry changes made a big difference, but the rest was mainly bling.

    The initial investment was worthwhile- I've not had any really compelling reason to upgrade the basic bike since (though I will be buying a full suspension bike later this year). Had I started with a lower end frame or slowly upgraded components, I would have spent more money and not enjoyed biking as much.

  25. #25
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    wheelhot - One of the ladies that rode with us last night just bought the Anthem 2. She loves it! She bought it on Saturday, raced it on Sunday. Before that she was riding a Gary Fisher Hardtail and a GT hardtail. She is already faster on the Anthem. This is saying quite a bit since she is already dominating the women's sport class races around here.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

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