Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: The Summit of Lee
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Biking is sorta like guitar playing...the better your equipment, the better the experience.
If your bike is mega-heavy, inefficient, doesn't shift properly etc...you will not enjoy your new MTB'ing experience as much as you could/should. A common problem that I run into is I see people get excited about it, then they fatigue too easily b/c the bike doesn't fit properly combined with the above reasons. This makes them not want to ride very long...and eventually gets more difficult to set foot out the front door.
El-cheapo components improperly set up cause frustration, in turn causing a poor experience.
You don't need an expensive bike to have a good time. It sure would help if you had a proper bike though. Your Mongoose is most likely a Walmart special. The cheapest beater you can buy at your local bike shop (Trek 820 for ex.) would give you 10x the satisfactory experience in the woods than some pile that's causing you worry if everything is working properly / pedals dragging...whatever.
So, you can't afford $230 or whatever a bottom feeder "bike shop" bike is runnning. Check out craigslist, ebay, garage sales...etc. Find a good bike from a good manufacturer and ride the piss out of it!!
I've picked up 5-10 y.o. bikes that are quite decent from random individuals for $50-$100 plenty of times. Just take a picture of it and post it here before you buy so you don't get hosed into buying a Mongoose'esque ride in hopes that it's of decent quality.