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Old 08-28-06, 01:19 AM   #1
vtohthree
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best bang per buck/consumer's best buy for an MTB?

Hey guys I'm a n00b, I'll admit it, I read through the FAQ and saw the bicycle guide, I will definately check out some local bike shops.

However, could any of you veterans or guru's throw a few bike names(name+model) at me? Some worthy contenders that you would recommend that don't break the bank? I need something to start my search for one.

I'm actually going to use this bike to commute, however it is almost certain that I will be going offroad once and a while(part of the path). I'm aiming for something relatively reliable/easy to maintain, light weight(under 45lbs), and most imporantly: inexpensive yet decent.

Honestly, I don't want to spend more than $250, in fact, I probably can't allow myself to do that right now. I know there's a lot of garbage bikes out there but I'm trying to stretch my money as far as I can. Used bikes are kind of out of the way for me. I am trying to buy this bike very soon, and there doesn't seem to be much in my area on craigslist.

Cheers! and Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-28-06, 06:19 AM   #2
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For that price I would check out the Diamond Backs. That money will get you into an Outlook. Get one from a bike shop though, not a store like Dicks Sporting Goods. Also check out the Trek 820's but I would spend the extra $30 over your budget and get the aluminum Trek 3700. I actually bought one recently and love it for riding light trails.
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Old 08-28-06, 08:19 AM   #3
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Thanks rallykid, I'll look into those bikes. That sounds perfect, light trails. I won't do too much heavy duty offroad, only if it snows, other than that, the majority of the ride will be on pavement.
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Old 08-28-06, 09:00 AM   #4
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For your limited budget, I can't in good conscience recommend a new bike. At that price level, you end up with sub-par components, suspension that doesn't work and a very heavy bike.

Your budget is steering you to "big box stores" for your purchase. Those bikes are one size only, heavy as tanks, and not designed to be ridden off-road (read their warning stickers).

I'd suggest the used market for you. Get a bike one or two years old that was an entry level bike from a reputable manufacturer (Trek, Gary Fisher, Specialized, Giant, Haro, Diamond Back, Fuji, Raleigh, Iron Horse,...etc.) and learn how to fix and adjust your bike. (www.parktool.com)
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Old 08-28-06, 09:25 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by rallykid
Also check out the Trek 820's but I would spend the extra $30 over your budget and get the aluminum Trek 3700.
+1

If you can swing a bit more, a 4100 is a good bike as well.
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Old 08-28-06, 09:33 AM   #6
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Get a used bike.
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Old 08-28-06, 09:34 AM   #7
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Avoid big stores like the plague. I went on a ride last Thursday with some friends, and two newbies on Wal-Mart bikes. One wasn't too bad except for a very loud and persistent squeak, but the other was just horrible. It didn't even nearly fit him - their solution was to sell him a taller seatpost, which on a MTB had him bent over like he was in drop bars. You could tell the suspension was utter crap as all of his pedal strokes were wasted on the rear suss flexing. My legs actually started hurting from having to coast so much, and I don't think he was feeling very good at all either.

My suggestion is either the Trek 820 or a used bike. Check with your bike shops, most usually have something used in stock. If not, the 820 has some very nice features for the money. With the '07s on their way in, they may even be marked down.

I personally highly endorse the Specialized Hardrock. I just picked up a '07 three weeks ago, and damn near 200 miles later I'm still in love. The front fork is going bye-bye, but the rest of the components are just fine until I break 'em .

Really, avoid box stores like the plague. I picked mine up at a semi box-store (Scheels sports) but ONLY because I found probably the gem in the rocks as far as salespeople. He was able to properly fit me to everything, and actually recommended the '07 Hardrock over the '06 Rockhopper (same crank, very similar components, and for a bigger guy the Hardrock is just tougher). Their service folks are top notch, I could tell that when I saw one of them leaving to ride home on a very well-used Surly Long Haul Trucker, complete with duct-taped saddle and brooks grip tape.

Building a relationship with a shop is also good. Scheels may be "big", but they are somewhat local. When I had to avoid an idiot in a Toyota and hit a curb awful hard, I took the 'rock in expecting a large bill for re-trueing the front rim. Nope, they took it back, came out 20 minutes later and said "have fun".

That's my advice. Also, stick with your budget. Don't over-stress it if you can't afford something nicer. The Trek 820 is a great starting point, IMHO better than the 3700. Steel rides much nicer than aluminum, and the 3700 really doesn't have that much of a component edge over the 820.
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Old 08-28-06, 09:58 AM   #8
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Save up $60 more and buy this one. http://www2.trekbikes.com/bikes/bike...d=1014600&f=19 This bike will out last most riders.
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Old 08-28-06, 10:42 AM   #9
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Giant Boulder.

Although honestly? Used seems the way to go. www.craigslist.org

Good luck.
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Old 08-28-06, 03:33 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone, I'm writing down all the names and looking at the models, I'm getting a better idea now. I'm just on my way over to two bike shops in my area!
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Old 08-28-06, 04:20 PM   #11
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My son has a Trek 820. It has been a reliable performer for four years and, if you decide to sell it in the future, it has outstanding resale value. It weighs in at 33lbs.
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Old 08-28-06, 05:08 PM   #12
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Ah crud, haha, I just got back, unfortunately they just closed, I'll have to try tommorow.


BTW, Trek 820 sounds very promising to me.
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Old 08-28-06, 07:26 PM   #13
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I would personally lean toward one of the aluminum framed treks like the 3700 but the 820 wouldn't be a bad choice.
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Old 08-28-06, 08:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rallykid
I would personally lean toward one of the aluminum framed treks like the 3700 but the 820 wouldn't be a bad choice.
Yeah, the 820 will weigh a bit more because of the heavier frame. I seriously doubt you could find an 820 that weighs 32 lbs unless it is a pretty small frame size.
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Old 08-28-06, 08:44 PM   #15
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I have a 21 inch 4300disc. It is tons lighter than my son's 16in 820.
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Old 08-29-06, 07:17 AM   #16
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Speciliazed hardrock..$288-300.
Gary Fisher Advance $309...look around 05-06's close outs great prices,less than 309$
Gary Fisher Tarpon $269.


food for thought!!! Good luck
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Old 08-29-06, 08:06 AM   #17
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At this price point, its all going to be heavy. I don't think you should concern yourself with weight.
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Old 08-29-06, 05:20 PM   #18
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As posted above DO NOT BUY FROM A BIG BOX STORE...=crap bikes, no service, and dufas sales reps. Go to Craigslist and find a few years old bike in that range and get way more bang.
Big yes on Hardrock, Rockhopper if you get lucky, and Trek 4300 or 4500. Solid stuff that will last you years.
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Old 08-29-06, 06:40 PM   #19
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Wow, that's interesting that everyone has been pointing me to the same stuff.

How about weight? What can I expect?


BTW... I was at Target, I know I know, it breaks the big box rule, but I saw this Schwinn Ranger 2.6 for $139.99, 21 speed.

http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html...sin=B0000BXHPC


Having said that, it's true, the thing was put together sloppily, but I was thinking I could kind of realign/retighten anything on it. Also, the other downside is that it seemed kind of heavy, granted it was up there on a shelf so I didn't get a real good feel of it, but wasn't too light.

Again, any one know what I can expect a trek 820 or 4300 to weigh?

-----------------------------------------

BTW, was looking at this Fuji...honestly though it'll probably be taken before I can get to it, unless it's a ripoff, I don't live in that area.

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/n...199915917.html

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Old 08-29-06, 07:48 PM   #20
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If your concerned with weight look at The Marin Bolinas Ridge. I'd venture to say it's the lightest budget bike you can find. It also has nice geometry. you may find one in your price range if they are making room for 07's.

http://www.marinbikes.com/bicycles_2...nas_ridge.html
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Old 08-29-06, 08:45 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vtohthree
Wow, that's interesting that everyone has been pointing me to the same stuff.

How about weight? What can I expect?
BTW... I was at Target, I know I know, it breaks the big box rule, but I saw this Schwinn Ranger 2.6 for $139.99, 21 speed.
Yup, my neighbor has one. If it was assembled correctly, it would be a nice low end bike. I like it because its an honest bike, not one of those dual suspension monsters Target sells. It's my favorite bike at Target. So if you know how to tune a deraileur, adjust the cones on the axles, tighten the cranks, adjust the head, adjust the brakes and tru the wheels, and you have all the right tools, go for it.

[/QUOTE]Having said that, it's true, the thing was put together sloppily, but I was thinking I could kind of realign/retighten anything on it. Also, the other downside is that it seemed kind of heavy, granted it was up there on a shelf so I didn't get a real good feel of it, but wasn't too light.
Again, any one know what I can expect a trek 820 or 4300 to weigh?
[/QUOTE]
Funny, I could have sworn I posted the weight of a Trek 820, 18" frame. It's 33lbs. The aluminum Treks, Gary Fishers and Specialized bikes will be lighter, my guess is by 2 or 3 lbs. As an example, my Rockhopper weighs in at 30lbs.
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Old 08-29-06, 09:35 PM   #22
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Yup, my neighbor has one. If it was assembled correctly, it would be a nice low end bike. I like it because its an honest bike, not one of those dual suspension monsters Target sells. It's my favorite bike at Target. So if you know how to tune a deraileur, adjust the cones on the axles, tighten the cranks, adjust the head, adjust the brakes and tru the wheels, and you have all the right tools, go for it.
Having said that, it's true, the thing was put together sloppily, but I was thinking I could kind of realign/retighten anything on it. Also, the other downside is that it seemed kind of heavy, granted it was up there on a shelf so I didn't get a real good feel of it, but wasn't too light.
Again, any one know what I can expect a trek 820 or 4300 to weigh?
[/QUOTE]
Funny, I could have sworn I posted the weight of a Trek 820, 18" frame. It's 33lbs. The aluminum Treks, Gary Fishers and Specialized bikes will be lighter, my guess is by 2 or 3 lbs. As an example, my Rockhopper weighs in at 30lbs.[/QUOTE]


I apologize! You did mention it was 33lbs, I was actually, almost in disbelief, thought you meant the 3700 (aluminum) or something. WOW only 33lbs for a steel framed bike?? I am impressed.

haha, I guess that's what separates the real bikes from the toy bikes, =P
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Old 08-29-06, 11:15 PM   #23
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Don't be afraid of aluminum bikes. I've already gone over the bars on mine and it handled it pretty well...I came out pretty good also. Hill climbing is a blast. Because of the lighter weight, it's just me and the hill, not me the bike and the hill...if you know what I mean.
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Old 08-30-06, 04:26 PM   #24
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Update: I went to both local shops, both were of decent size. One only carries Trek and Gary Fisher, while the other only carries Fuji, Iron horse, and Khs(?).

The one that carried Trek did not have any 820's in stock, they would have to make an order for it.

---------------

I really wanted an 820, but in all honesty, I think I mind as well just pick up that Schwinn. No carriers of Specialized that I know of right now. Or I might get a mongoose. I will probably have to tune the thing myself, or pay a bike shop to do it, not sure which I will do.

I suppose I will be searching through the forum for such, unless..anyone knows of any site or resource for DIY guides for bike tuning and maintenance?

Thanks again everyone.
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Old 08-30-06, 07:07 PM   #25
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he asks for advice and then doesn't take it. I would steer clear of schwin, mongoose, GT .. once they were good bikes .. now they are all made by pacific cycles for walmart and the like.
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