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  1. #1
    Junior Member medicazian's Avatar
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    Novice looking for new bike

    Hi, I just bought myself a truck and decided to pick up this mountain biking sport. However, I know almost completely nothing about the sport and was wondering if any of you can perhaps give me some opening tips. I tried the search option so that I wouldn't bother any of you, since i'm sure someone probably asked this before, but I couldn't find anything. Sorry if my questions are very elementary, I truly don't know jack when it comes to mountain biking.

    First off, I was wondering what kind of bike I should get. I am really stingy when it comes to money so a 4k mountain bike is out of the question. I was considering a target or kmart bike that I've seen on the website for around 130 dollars. The ones I have been able to see SEEM pretty good. However, I have glanced through some of the threads and many speak down on those bikes. I REALLY don't want to spend more than 150 dollars. Would it be wiser to get a used bike at a bike shop? What kind of equipment on the bike should I be looking for (shocks, size of wheels, etc)?

    Next question is basically what kind of helmet to purchase. I was leaning more toward a full head helmet, just for the extra protection, but I don't know if mountain bikers usually wear those (sorry, only seen stuff on x-games). Should I have other type of protection (elbow guards and etc) when it comes to this sport?

    Lastly, do you know of any good trails in the Los Angeles area in California. I want to start slow so perhaps an easy trail to begin with.

    I look forward to the replies, thanx in advance, I know its tedious to give novices advise over and over again.

  2. #2
    Roadie wannabe w417h3r's Avatar
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    You can actually try look around for a Giant/Scott, or some other lower end bikes to your budget. Getting a branded bike is definitely better than a Kmart bike. Besides, if u like biking after some rides, you wouldn't want to spend a lot on upgrading since a typical Kmart bike may use very obsolete parts.

    If money is really a problem, you can stick to a hardtail mtb with rigid fork, with at least a Shimano Alivio/Acera groupset. My 2 cents worth, but hope it helps.

  3. #3
    bentrim
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    Just my opinion:

    The majority of the members at this forum are serious riders. Even if it's just weekend riding, they take their hobby quite seriously.

    Therefore, they're not necessarily looking down on K-mart bikes. It's that our threshold of what's acceptable (for our requirements) is considerably higher than someone who may just use a mountain bike for weekend rides by the beach.

    Honestly, you have to spend at least $300 ($500 is more realistic) to buy a durable bike with quality. You'll be getting an aluminum frame, with components by Shimano Deore, and an RST fork (a low end Judy or Manitou if you're lucky).

    The K-mart/Wal-mart brands are okay if you're going to bike a couple of times in a year for fun, but they won't stand up to the consistent poundings of MTB. Sure, it may sound cheap now, but when it breaks or needs repairs, it will be $150 garbage. Not only that but you'll be in for a rough ride which may turn you off bicycling before you really appreciate all it has to offer.

    To answer your question. Yes, your best bet is getting a second-hand bike that's been taken care of. There's so many on the used market that you shouldn't have much of a problem. Some guys here are riding really nice bikes they got a good deal on. You're not finished yet though since you need a good helmet.

    For the bike, you have to decide what you'll be doing on it: long cross-country rides on service roads or singletrack (narrow hiking trails with or without obstacles), "hairy" freerides, downhill, dirtjumping...this will determine the type of bike you'll need. I know. It's complicated.

    I like the new category of bikes called "all mountain" which can do a little of everything. However, they are mostly full suspension and probably not within your budget at this time.

    A good overbuilt cross-country bike is probably your best bet. Look for things in the Trek and Specialized line. Something like a Specialized Rockhopper -- preferably under five years old.

    Even though you're self-admittedly stingy, don't buy a bike that's a poor fit. Make sure you are comfortable and have enough clearance over the top tube.

    Test ride it and make sure it brakes and shifts reasonably smoothly.

    At the budget end look for components like Shimano Deore, Suntour, Avid, RST, Rock Shox,...

    As for the helmet. Don't buy a used helmet. Aside from the fact that it may have stress cracks in it and dangerous, it's kinda gross wearing someone's stinky helmet. Make sure it is snug and fits well. Look for CPSC or similar safety certifications. Look for brands like Bell, or Giro, on the mid to high end. Azonic, and Louis Garneau are a couple of brands on the economy end.

    You'll need a full-face helmet if you think you'll be doing jumps or anything where you can take a really bad fall. Typically, a basic vented helmet will suffice for cross-country riding. But wear with what you feel comfortable.

    If you have any money left over, get a pair of gloves. They're worth it.

  4. #4
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    Very sound advice Bentrim.

    I completely agree with everything you said. I will also add that you can check local pawn shops. Some people have scored great deals there. The ones around here are all bad, but I check them anyways.

    Regarding the helmet. You can get decent helmets for under $40. Seems expensive, but that's about where decent helmets start. Heck, go to Wal-Mart or Sports Authority or even Toys-R-Us (did I just say that?) and get a helmet from a company like BELL or GIRO (actually the same company, but that's a different story). I saw a really nice Giro at Sports Authority for about $28.00.

    Regarding X-Mart bikes, we're not saying they suck (o.k., some of us do), but they just don't hold up as "Bentrim" stated. They do however serve a purpose. They get you riding. If $150 is all you can afford, and can't find a decent used bike, get one of those bikes. (Again, did I actually say that?). Just realize, that if you do get "into" this sport, you'll quickly outgrow that bike. Meaning that bike will hold you back as you improve.

    Good luck!

    Oh before I go, I want to give you just a little hard time:
    Hi, I just bought myself a truck and decided to pick up this mountain biking sport.
    It's hard to mountain bike with a truck! j/k dude!

    L8R
    "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
    "Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger

  5. #5
    mmm babaghanouj. rasheed's Avatar
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    you’ve gotten some good sound advice from bentrim and a2.

    if you’re going to be looking for a good all-mountain bike, like bentrim mentioned, these bikes are usually dual suspension bikes, but there are a few manufacturers out there that do make some good hardtail all mountain bikes. norco, rocky mountain and kona are some that immediately come to mind. a lot of manufacturers are starting to make these types of bikes that can handle a bit of everything, so have a look around at the different brands and see what you like.

    about the helmet, like the others said, unless you’re doing some extreme type stuff like jumps and drops, you won’t really need the fullface helmet... they’re generally kind of expensive too (i just ordered one online that came up close to $180 CAD including shipping/handling and tax – and that’s at a “discounted” price. msrp for the helmet is around $250 CAD). a regular bike helmet should be sufficient for most types of trail riding but if you’re really wanting the fullface, i think there’s one on jensonusa.com for $45 USD.

    also, like bentrim suggested, a pair of gloves would be a good idea to get. and also, if you’re going to be using platform pedals, maybe a nice set of shin guards would be a good idea too. unless of course, you don’t mind getting your shins banged up once in a while... after all, as the saying goes “chicks dig scars”.

  6. #6
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    A co-worker of mine is building up a 2nd bike and was looking for a wide variety of parts. I suggested he look into some complete bikes where he could strip the parts and then resell the frame. He found this:http://www.supergo.com/profile.cfm?L...7&lcat_id=7604

    Yeah, I know it's out of your price range, but this is a great price for a good bike. There is also the next model down for $100 less!

    I'm trying to work out a deal with my co-worker where he buys the bike and I'll buy whatever he doesn't need. (frame, cranks, wheels, post).

    L8R
    "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
    "Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger

  7. #7
    Junior Member medicazian's Avatar
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    thanx for all the helpful replies, I truly appreciate it. Is there any websites that provide useful information for prospective bike buyers?

    I have decided to not get a kmart bike, I won't be a weekend biker, but more likely a seasonal biker. I definitely want one to last without major repairs. I just had the assumption that kmart bikes were "okay" since I remember I bought my bikes there when I was a little kid

    I don't plan to do some crazy tricks as I've seen some do, I'm more interested in just riding around on trails with, at most, shallow ponds and small rocks

    Continue posting any special words of advise, I'll be paying attention to anything you guys spurt out, literally

  8. #8
    Junior Member medicazian's Avatar
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    "I have a Univega Rover 305 (never wrecked), which is a great entry level bike that I am willing to sell for about $200. It is a 1994 but has only been ridden maybe 25 times, and only once on trails. I can arrange shipping to you too. If you are interested and want to see pics or more details, PM or e-mail me. "


    I just got offered a deal for $200 dollars for a Univega Rover 305 (1994) from another forum. Dont' know if its worth it, could you guys evaluate the deal?

  9. #9
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    For 200$ for a 1994 bike. Not worth it.

  10. #10
    bentrim
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    You might also consider brands like GT, and Mongoose. Both have affordable bikes in their line-up that would be better than the generic brands from K-Mart or Sears.

    I would even say some Schwinn models would be in your budget and a better option than a generic bike but hesistate to say which ones since I'm not super familiar with Schwinn.

    Legendary motorcycle racer, and mountain bike design pioneer, Mert "On Any Sunday" Lawill, did some Lawill suspension designs for Schwinn if I recall.

  11. #11
    Junior Member medicazian's Avatar
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    "Features
    • 24" frame
    • Hand-built, ride-tuned, steel frame
    • Shimano front and rear derailleurs
    • Pro Max alloy brake levers and front and rear linear brakes


    Product Description
    For either the commute to work or the after-work joyride this Schwinn 26" Men's Ranger Bike has what it takes. The Schwinn hand-built, ride-tuned, steel frame with epicenter seat stays is surrounded by fabulous components: SRAM grip shifters; Shimano front and rear derailleurs; quick release hubs; 26x1-1/2" 36-spoke alloy anodized rims; and Pro Max alloy brake levers and front and rear linear brakes. The Schwinn sports saddle and RST Omni 191 suspension fork assure your ride is smooth and comfortable. Recommended for ages 14 and up or inseam 33-1/2" and up. Imported. "


    I am going to go bike shopping at the local bike shop later this week. In the meantime, I found this schwinn bike on ....target. Could you give me a critique on this bike as well?

    Also, I asked before, but I didn't seem to get the question answered: Are there any websites I can look up what kinda mountain bikes suit my interest and facts so I can be more prepared when I go to the bike shop?

    Thanx again, this forum has been extremely helpful. Special thanx to bentrim for keeping up with the thread, I'm full of questions...
    Last edited by medicazian; 11-22-03 at 07:59 PM.

  12. #12
    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Stay away from it if you intend to ride off road. It may look like the bike is intended for offroad use, but it isn't.
    Strike like an eagle and sacrifice the dove.
    Words and Stuff.

  13. #13
    bentrim
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    ...Getting better. At least the component group is probably better than what you'll find on a generic bike. But don't rush into anything yet IMO. Take time to look around.

    Even if you aren't going to buy an expensive bike, at least take a test spin on a good entry level bike so you know what a good bike should feel like.

    Here's a really good informative website. It's out of the U.K. but the advice is universal. http://www.mtbbritain.co.uk/beginners_mtb_faq.html

  14. #14
    Member Structure0's Avatar
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    At least check out something like this

    If you are going to pay cash and can't spend more then $200 then that's what you have to do. But if I was buying an inexpensive bike that I hoped to ride off-road at all I'd want to at least reach about this level of equipment.

    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/product.aspx?i=BI701A02

    My second mountain bike was a $500 Giant. It road up and down most of the famous trails in the Western United States before being sold for $75 14 years later. So there's something to be said for that price point.

  15. #15
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    Oh Boy

    Quote Originally Posted by medicazian


    "Features
    • 24" frame
    • Hand-built, ride-tuned, steel frame
    • Shimano front and rear derailleurs
    • Pro Max alloy brake levers and front and rear linear brakes


    Product Description
    For either the commute to work or the after-work joyride this Schwinn 26" Men's Ranger Bike has what it takes. The Schwinn hand-built, ride-tuned, steel frame with epicenter seat stays is surrounded by fabulous components: SRAM grip shifters; Shimano front and rear derailleurs; quick release hubs; 26x1-1/2" 36-spoke alloy anodized rims; and Pro Max alloy brake levers and front and rear linear brakes. The Schwinn sports saddle and RST Omni 191 suspension fork assure your ride is smooth and comfortable. Recommended for ages 14 and up or inseam 33-1/2" and up. Imported. "


    I am going to go bike shopping at the local bike shop later this week. In the meantime, I found this schwinn bike on ....target. Could you give me a critique on this bike as well?

    Also, I asked before, but I didn't seem to get the question answered: Are there any websites I can look up what kinda mountain bikes suit my interest and facts so I can be more prepared when I go to the bike shop?

    Thanx again, this forum has been extremely helpful. Special thanx to bentrim for keeping up with the thread, I'm full of questions...
    You are in luck. I had this very bike. I had it for about 2 weeks that is. Then I returned it to Target for a refund. Hence the name Ranger. You can search my other threads by clicking on my profile to read about my Schwinn Ranger story.

    Bottom line: It is an ok bike if you don't plan to ride much. I would say if you plan to log around 500 miles per year it would probably be ok. I am logging that much per month however.

    Go to http://www.trekbikes.com/ and you will see that they break bikes into different categories. The more hard core you intend to get the more you will need to spend. Back to the Schwinn. The shifting was pretty rough compared to my Trek 4300 that I have now. The Schwinn has about an 18.5" frame (mine did). that is too small for me, I am 6'2". If you are in the 5'10" to less range it might be ok. If you haven't ridden a bike in awhile you might want to buy the Schwinn and see if you are going to like it. Also don't have any dillusions of doing jumps or anythinig. YOu definitely won't need a full face helmet with this bike. Those helmets are for ramping and bike tricks. This bike is only good for rides on pavement and smooth trails. Anything else and you are asking for trouble.
    Last edited by Portis; 11-23-03 at 02:53 PM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member
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    Hi medicazian, I am also a newb to mountain biking. I wore out 2 wal mart bikes one of mine and one of my nephews. In the process I REALLY got hooked on biking and bought my first local bike shop bike about 3 months ago. I bought a 2003 Gary Fisher Tassajara right as the 04 models were coming out paid a lot less for it that way. From what I can read its a pretty good entry level bike with decent components that should hold up to the kind of riding your planning on doing (same kind of riding I do btw). I will say this every bike I rode in the LBS was better than the 2 that I wore out from wally world. After riding the 2 from wally world for a little over a year I could REALLY appreciate and tell the difference when I was test riding the ones at the LBS.

    Check out the link below it has tons of reviews written by owners.


    http://www.mtbreview.com/reviews/200...t_121348.shtml

    Doh.... not trying to sell him a Tassajara..... I just like my bike
    If i'm walking my bike is busted.

  17. #17
    Junior Member medicazian's Avatar
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    Thanx for all the helpful replies again.

    I have a specific question towards Ranger, how were you able to get a full refund after riding your bike for 2 weeks? Besides the shifting, where there any other bad attributes that hampered your ride on the Ranger?

    Another question, which I hope any of you can answer, I stopped by one of my LBS today (actually called Schwinn Bikes ironically) and this guy recommended a used bike that had an aluminium frame w/ a hardtail, rock trox spring (he said he custom did them), and 26 inch wheels. The rims, however, are not alloy. Apparently the bike is 4 years old and was "barely ridden." I tried to bargain with the guy for a couple minutes and the best offer he was willing to give me was 250. I also thought that hard tails were suppose to be steel, perhaps I am wrong. Is that bike worth the price?

    Heres another couple of bikes i've seen under 200 on a website, I know it aint great but I would appreciate it if you would point out the good points of the bike. That way, I know what to look for when goin to another bike shop.

    "The Huffy® Pulsar mountain bike for men boasts a full-suspension frame for improved handling and shock-absorption over rougher terrain. The SRAM indexed twist shifters make it easy to change between the 21 speeds and front and rear alloy linear pull ensure strong and reliable stopping power."


    "The Huffy® Exo mountain bike boasts a full-suspension, 26-in frame for off-road riding performance and shock absorption. The steel ATB handlebar includes bar ends for additional riding options and it has twist shifters to allow you to easily switch gears by twisting the shifter portion of the grips."



    Anyways, thanx for the helpful links, I can always use more. I hate it when the dealer at the LBS starts busting these terms that I have no idea what he is talkin about. Hopefully I can be better prepared and subsequently get a better offer.
    Last edited by medicazian; 11-24-03 at 12:39 AM.

  18. #18
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Stay away from Huffy, Next, Pacific or ANY other bicycle found in a department store like Wal-mart or K-mart. I work at a bike shop as a wrench and I spend more time fixing those POS's than I do fixing shop quality bikes. They're cheaply made bike shaped objects with poor frame material quality (Hi-Ten steel SUCKS) and worse componentry. Did I mention that they rust EXTREMELY quickly? (like six months or less) Not to sound snippy, but If you're looking to throw away money on something like that just send me the cash plus the $50 it would cost you to pay my shop to fix the mistakes the stoners at Wal-mart made when they put the thing together. You'd get about as much out of it.

    I also thought that hard tails were suppose to be steel, perhaps I am wrong. Is that bike worth the price?
    First part: Hardtails can be of virtually any material the term "hardtail" refers to the lack of rear suspension. Second part: What make of bike? Model? drivetrain components? Year? What model fork? (Rock Shox is a brand)

  19. #19
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    I'd highly recommend sticking to a hardtail (no rear suspension). ANY full suspension bike for under a grand isn't worth it. (Unless it's a closeout deal. And MSRP was originally over $1,000).

    You should be able to get a decent used bike for your $200 budget. Find out more info about the one the guy offered you. What brand is it? What components are on it? (Sram-Grip Shift or Shimano Rapid Fire) and what level of components? (Sram can be either 3.0, 5.0, 7.0. 9.0 and X.0) (Shimano can be Acera, Alivio, Deore, LX, XT and XTR). Get specifics on the bike. Also, what kind of brakes are on it? How old is it?(what model year is it?)

    Now, most importantly, is it your right size? Test ride it and see if it's comfortable and works well. $200 for a bike that sold new for $300 isn't a good deal. However, $200 for a $600 bike might be.

    Get the specifics, let us know, try to get a picture of it (digital) and post it and we'll be happy to give you our opinion.

    Oh yeah, that reminds me, check www.epinions.com there is a lot of useful information you can use to educate yourself on bikes.

    L8R
    "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
    "Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger

  20. #20
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    Here's a decent bike for a good price: http://64.4.16.250/cgi-bin/linkrd?_l...6%26Store%3d48
    L8R
    "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
    "Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by medicazian
    Thanx for all the helpful replies again.

    I have a specific question towards Ranger, how were you able to get a full refund after riding your bike for 2 weeks? Besides the shifting, where there any other bad attributes that hampered your ride on the Ranger?
    Target has a 30 day refund policy. THe lady told me that when i bought it so when i started noticing funky shiftting I decided to take advantage of it. LIke I mentioned earlier, the Schwinn frame was not sized for me. Your LBS will make sure you get a bike that is fitted to your size. You can also figure out how to get pretty close by searching the net for methods of bike fitting. A rough guidline is if you just intend to ride roads and trails you should have a minimum of 1" between your crotch and the bar as you stand astride of it.

    If you are going to do some heavy Mountain Biking you will want more than that. THe problem with a frame that is too small is you have to raise the seat up real high to get the proper leg extension. (almost fully extended on the downstroke) If you have to raise your seat up really high to achieve this, then you will end up hunched over and putting too much weight on your arms and hands.

    Lastly I wouldn't discourage you from buying this bike. You just need to be aware that you can get a LOT better bike by doubling your money. I paid $350 for the Trek 4300 and it has been worth the difference. I have ridden nearly 1000 miles on it and haven't had a lick of trouble for the most part. The shifting is a big deal. 1000 miles on a bike that shifts like crap is not fun. Also the grip shifters on that Schwinn are a joke. THe thumbshifters are MUCH nicer and more accurate.

    So as long as you are aware that the Schwinn will not shift very smoothly for very long and that the frame is tensile steel (not aluminum) and that it likely won't be the right size bike for you, and you still want to buy it then go for it. Again, your decision needs to be made based on how much you plan to ride. The Trek 4300 will not be a good enough bike for me if I continue at my current riding pace/distance. However, I can't see spending over $500 on a bike until I am firmly convinced that this is going to be a lifelong love. If it turns out that is merely an affair than the 4300 will be fine. If I am going to be married for ever than I want to spend some money on a good wife er.....bike.

  22. #22
    www.titusti.com montlake_mtbkr's Avatar
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    Check www.mtbr.com for reviews of specific bikes
    You can start researching bikes at manufacturers web sites too.
    www.giant-bicycles.com
    www.specialized.com
    www.trekbikes.com
    www.konaworld.com

    this may be helpful too: Dictionary of Mtb slang
    Last edited by montlake_mtbkr; 11-24-03 at 04:31 PM.

  23. #23
    www.titusti.com montlake_mtbkr's Avatar
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    By the way, that new truck wouldn't happen to be a Nissan Frontier would it???

  24. #24
    bentrim
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger

    ...Lastly I wouldn't discourage you from buying this bike. You just need to be aware that you can get a LOT better bike by doubling your money. I paid $350 for the Trek 4300 and it has been worth the difference...
    Unfortunately, Ranger, the fellow's budget is $150 tops which is why I steered him (pardon the pun) to "last year's model on sale" Schwinns, low end GT's, and Mongooses. It's at least better than the generic "Sears Specials" he was considering.

    Not everyone is willing/able to invest a good chunk of coin on a bike. It would be nice if everyone could afford it, or if there were hard-use worthy bikes in the $150 range. That's a pretty tall order.

    I still think medicazian's best bet is a used Specialized, Trek,...under 5 years old. There must be tons of them in California.

    If medicazian is h*ll bent on buying a new bike, then the best advice is to test ride all the bikes he can in his price range and get whichever gives the best ride. The other solution is to save up until he can afford a good entry-level bike.
    Last edited by bentrim; 11-24-03 at 09:10 PM.

  25. #25
    Junior Member medicazian's Avatar
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    Hey all, just doing my regular daily check up on this forum thread and, as always, have a grip load of more helpful advise.

    Raiyn - got it, huffy sux.

    a2psyklnut - thanx, you have answered exactly what I am looking for. You have given me a list of the the possibilities for the parts for the bike. I will go back to the bike shop on friday and get some more info and post it up. Would appreciate it if you looked over it after I posted it up. As far as the camera is concerned, I am SOL since my digital camcorder died on me.

    Ranger - I'll ask to see if the target near my location also has teh 30 day policy. I want to try the shifter to really experience what you are talkin about. As of right now, I dont' really have a clue of what you are talking about, just a general idea (I only rode bmx bikes without shifters). Thanx for the inside info

    mountlake_mtbkr - yeaup, it is indeed the Nissan frontier. I looked at your picture trail and if I ain't mistaken, I've seen you posting in nissanfrontier.net (TUNFS) before. Good to find a pal from another forum. Thanx for the links.

    Bentrim - thanx for paying very close attention to detail with the emphasis on my price range. I am goin to do exactly what you have said. Go to the local bike shop on friday and try all the bikes around my price range and round up the facts so hopefully everyone can evaluate the stats on the bike.


    To All - Appreciate all the constant threads, as a newbie, they are more than just words of advise but also encouragement into the sport of mountain biking.

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