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Old 05-07-04, 12:19 AM   #1
JDeguzman
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Mtn. Bike for a TIGHT budget

Hi, I'm new to these forums, and I'm a casual biker. I've been riding a cheap Royce Union Vaquero MT that I got in '98 or sometime around there at the mall for around $150. I'm lookin' for a new bike now since I realize that this one isn't all that great (bike is getting pretty beat up as well) . I am not a hardcore biker, but I mainly use my bike to get around most of the time. I usually ride on streets and roads, but BARELY off-road or trails. I'm looking for the best bike I can get with $250 at most. I know this is pretty low, but I don't think I'd want to start pumping some money into this hobby until I get into it more. If anyone could recommend any bikes, that would be great. Thanks.
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Old 05-07-04, 12:26 AM   #2
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I would suggest stopping by some bikeshops and asking them what they have as leftover stock or used bikes. An entry level 2004 Specialized HardRock XC lists for USD $290 so I imagine that you might be able to find something a little lower if you dropped to closeout. Of course proper size and availability might be severely limited at this point. If you can up your budget another $50, you will have a wider selection to choose from. Just remember to buy only what fits.
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Old 05-07-04, 12:27 AM   #3
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That might be a problem, we don't have a bikeshop here (Juneau, Alaska). I'm most likely going to order one, :-( . Any other recommendations? Oh yeah, if there is a huge difference between a $250 bike and a $300 I can possibly get enough for it.
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Old 05-07-04, 12:34 AM   #4
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check mtbreview.com under the used bike section...there might be something there you can swing
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Old 05-07-04, 12:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDeguzman
That might be a problem, we don't have a bikeshop here (Juneau, Alaska). I'm most likely going to order one, :-( . Any other recommendations?
First of all, if you're going to order anything, check out some of the bike-fit websites. Doing a quick google search for "bike fitting" or the like will yield some good sites. Go through them and determine some frame sizes. Check your candidate list of bikes you're interested in and make sure the geometries (they should be listed) match closely. You'll want to pay close attention to things like top-tube length, standover, and seat-tube length. Another option, if you feel really comofrtable on your current bike is to simply measure what you've got.

As far as places to order from, bear in mind that the cost of shipment might eat into your budget in a fairly big way. To be honest, I'm not really seeing anything out there that's within your $250 budget when you include the cost of shipping. However, I do see that Performance is selling a GT Palomar for $159.98. I know that GT used to be a good brand but since their bankruptcy and acquisition by Pacific (makers of low end dept. store bikes) a few years ago, I'm unsure and suspect of their quality as a bike manufacturer. Also, how adept are you at putting together a bike? You might also want to keep an eye out on eBay but that's starting to get a little riskier.
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Old 05-07-04, 12:54 AM   #6
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here is one... $250 obo (may talk him into giving you shipping!)
http://marketplace.consumerreview.co...uery=retrieval

ups ground is about 50 bucks for most of the us...not sure about alaska

while fit is important...i would recomend that you find a bike that fits you at least "ok" (ie not too much stand over height and certainly not too little) in a perfect workd you will find a tricked vehicle in your price range that fits you...but a little bit off in fit and you can still have a kick ass starter bike

go to your local bike shop to sort out what your ideal and tolerable size could be.

hope this helps!
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Old 05-07-04, 01:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDeguzman
Hi, I'm new to these forums, and I'm a casual biker. I've been riding a cheap Royce Union Vaquero MT that I got in '98 or sometime around there at the mall for around $150. I'm lookin' for a new bike now since I realize that this one isn't all that great (bike is getting pretty beat up as well) . I am not a hardcore biker, but I mainly use my bike to get around most of the time. I usually ride on streets and roads, but BARELY off-road or trails. I'm looking for the best bike I can get with $250 at most. I know this is pretty low, but I don't think I'd want to start pumping some money into this hobby until I get into it more. If anyone could recommend any bikes, that would be great. Thanks.
just WHATEVER you do, dont waste your money on a cheap department store bike, it isnt worth it.
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Old 05-07-04, 06:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDeguzman
That might be a problem, we don't have a bikeshop here (Juneau, Alaska). I'm most likely going to order one, :-( . Any other recommendations? Oh yeah, if there is a huge difference between a $250 bike and a $300 I can possibly get enough for it.
The general starting point for solid bikes that won't break down after a season or two of moderate riding is around $300. The 2 most common bikes seem to be the Specialized Hardrock Sport and Trek 4300. I have a Hardrock and love it. I paid $299+tax.

As for bike shops where you are I have to imagine there are some. I looked them up on Yahoo Yello pages and 3 came up.
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Old 05-07-04, 08:57 AM   #9
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If you are interested I have two Iron Horse Mavericks 03 models on closeout for $225, and a slighty used but modified Warrior for $200.
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Old 05-07-04, 09:54 AM   #10
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Nice, I'm probably goin' to get a Hardrock or Trek 4300, since I'm pretty fine with an entry/starter level bike. Are these the most popular/recommended starter bikes or are there others ones worth mentioning? Thanks for all the recommendations so far. I don't mind the shipping actually, just the actual price of the bike (has to be under $300). I haven't tried building a bike before, but I think I could try.

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Old 05-07-04, 11:19 AM   #11
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I've got a Trek 8600. AKA two Trek 4300's. (03-04 models) They are great bikes for the money. They are perfectly fine for riding of roads and bike/walking trails like i do. I have put around 1000 miles on each of them in the last 6 months.

These aren't going to be the best serious trail riding mountain bikes. Neither will anything else in this price range.
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Old 05-08-04, 12:41 AM   #12
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Hmm...I'm leaning towards Trek 4300 more than Specialized Hardrock. If I go for Hardrock, which one should I buy? I typed it in eBay and there are a lot of good deals, but they are all different versions! Thanks. Oh, can anyone help me find some good deals on eBay for a nice bike as well, because I don't know much of the things they are listing and cannot differentiate between good and bad, sorry.

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Old 05-08-04, 12:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
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If I go for Hardrock, which one should I buy?
For your budget, I would be looking at the XC or Sport. The Sport is more expensive than the XC though.
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Old 05-08-04, 12:59 AM   #14
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Buy in Canada and ship up, you'll get a $-exchange and put it to shipping.
(spend the $50, the difference is loving to ride your bike or whatever-a mode of transport.)
Trek or Special should have an entry bike for you, upgrade to your needs.
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Old 05-08-04, 01:24 AM   #15
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Hmm...Sounds like Trek and Specialized are the best companies for entry bikes, :-). I'll be either getting the 4300 or the Specialized Hardrock Sport. But can anyone narrow this down to one decision? Sorry I sound so paranoid about this, but I don't really want to screw up on buying something at this price. I would also like this bike to be the best to upgrade, just incase I want to step it up a little.

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Old 05-08-04, 02:17 AM   #16
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I feel that Specialized is always a pretty safe bet. This is not to say that the Trek isn't a a good bike but I've always been impressed with Specialized offering the best overall value at all pricepoints. My first real MTB was a 1988 HardRock.
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Old 05-08-04, 03:04 AM   #17
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Thanks, .
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Old 05-08-04, 09:30 AM   #18
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The Hardrock Sports the way to go... its spec'd better than the Trek for $10 more. I sell every single one we get in, and can barely keep them stocked.
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Old 05-08-04, 03:30 PM   #19
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Heh, for sure now I will get a Hardrock Sports. Now can anyone give me a good place to order one online? I'm thinking eBay.
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Old 05-09-04, 02:04 AM   #20
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I heard the Trek 4300 is WAY lighter than the Hardrock Sports. I don't really like heavy bikes, is the difference big? Or should it be worth the weight?
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Old 05-09-04, 10:28 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by JDeguzman
I heard the Trek 4300 is WAY lighter than the Hardrock Sports. I don't really like heavy bikes, is the difference big? Or should it be worth the weight?
I think the Hardrock is overbuilt... its a good frame that wants to be upgraded with better components. Mine is around 30lbs...
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Old 05-09-04, 10:36 AM   #22
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The Trek and the Hardrock weigh within a lbs or two of each other, believe it or not. Treks about 29.5 and the Hardrock is about 31. You won't notice the difference.
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Old 05-09-04, 10:39 AM   #23
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Quote:
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I heard the Trek 4300 is WAY lighter than the Hardrock Sports. I don't really like heavy bikes, is the difference big? Or should it be worth the weight?
I wouldn't say it was way lighter. Both bikes will weigh in around the 30lbs mark. Someone mentioned in another thread that their HardRock Sport was 30 lbs. and the 4300 was 29 lbs. The HardRock seems to be a beefier frame and thus will tend to be a bit heavier. However, it also has beefier components. For instance, the crank on the HardRock is of higher quality than on the 4300. The HardRock Sport also lists for less than the 4300 by about $30. I'm betting that if you sunk an extra $40 for a couple of aftermarket Kevlar bead tyres (check JensonUSA for prices), you could easily drop the HardRock to the weight of the 4300. Other places you can drop that weight for about the same amount of money include the seatpost, stem and saddle. These are all easily changable items.
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Old 05-09-04, 11:03 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khuon
I wouldn't say it was way lighter. Both bikes will weigh in around the 30lbs mark. Someone mentioned in another thread that their HardRock Sport was 30 lbs. and the 4300 was 29 lbs. The HardRock seems to be a beefier frame and thus will tend to be a bit heavier. However, it also has beefier components. For instance, the crank on the HardRock is of higher quality than on the 4300. The HardRock Sport also lists for less than the 4300 by about $30. I'm betting that if you sunk an extra $40 for a couple of aftermarket Kevlar bead tyres (check JensonUSA for prices), you could easily drop the HardRock to the weight of the 4300. Other places you can drop that weight for about the same amount of money include the seatpost, stem and saddle. These are all easily changable items.
I think I saved about 300 grams changing the stock tires to a pair of Panaracer Fire XC Pros. Not only are they lighter, but they ride smoother and grip the trail better. I also saved another 100-150 grams changing the riser handlebars to a set of flat bars.
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Old 05-09-04, 02:01 PM   #25
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Thanks guys, I'm definately getting the Hardrock Sports now. Where are some good places to order online? eBay?
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