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  1. #1
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    The "around" $500 MTB thread.

    This thread has lost it's initial focus and is several years old. The key points of relevant advice can be found in the Please Read Before asking Question: MTB FAQ. at the top of the Mountain Biking page
    Please Read Before asking Question: MTB FAQ.







    OK I know I've been a major proponent of starting a thread to answer the constant "I have $500 what MTB should I get ?" threads that seem to pop up here EVERY TIME WE TURN AROUND. So I thought rather than continue to type my infinite disdain for the new posts rehashing the same question I'd start a thread in the hope that it will become a sticky and eliminate the incessent new threads on the same subject. If we could have members post there favorite bikes from this catagory we could speed the process for a lot of newbies.

    To get the ball rolling here's my pick in the 5 bills and under catagory. the Specialized Rockhopper]
    Last edited by Raiyn; 07-13-07 at 03:15 PM.

  2. #2
    Local Genius
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    Trek 4500 is good too. That replaced the 6000, thats what i have, and its a SWEET ride

  3. #3
    Hill Climber Spider's Avatar
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    For $500, I would get a really nice used hardtail. They are not hard to find.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris L
    Sticky hereby awarded. If anybody has any current suggestions in this area, fire away.
    What are the GT avalanche bikes like? I've been looking at their website and there around £300, about $500. The seem to have half decent stuff on them for the price. A 6000 frame, am I right in saying thats lighter than a 7000?

  5. #5
    Withdrawal Symptoms! Cornish_Rdr_UK's Avatar
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    My m8 has a gt avalanche, i think its a 3.0. he had £200 for a bike, and he asked me what i would recommend, for £200 u cant pick up much, he wanted a new bike and i suggested that.

    I dont get on with GT's, but the avalanche isnt a bad deal for the money, definatly worth a look if ur looking for a cheap bike

  6. #6
    Senior Member crgowo's Avatar
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    Iron Horse Warrior sport&comp are good bikes under 500$
    Some K2 Zed bikes are under 500 as well.
    You can find some good deals on ebay.
    Saw a k2 Zed 3.0 for 350$ the other day, If i had the money i would have purchased it to have a good hardtail.

  7. #7
    Senior Member bg4533's Avatar
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    Another vote for the Rockhopper.

  8. #8
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Another suggestion of a good bike in the 5 bill catagory: Giant Iguana I've built a couple of these and I was nicely surprised by how much you can get for $500 these days.

  9. #9
    Wood Licker Maelstrom's Avatar
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    My vote would be a kona scrap. Good all round bike but beefy enough for street and dj. Components are a little weak but the frame is one you could ride for a long time

  10. #10
    Hill Climber Spider's Avatar
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    OK, if I was to buy new I'd go with a Marin Bear Valley. Steel frame, Marzocchi fork, Deore shifters/derailleurs, TruVativ crankset and BB, WTB saddle & headset, disc ready. Retail is $556.

  11. #11
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    Ok people I have a $400-$600 question. I have looked around and can get an Iron Horse Warrior Expert for $490. My only concern is that I am new and have never heard of this brand. How do their frames hold up. I plan on doing mostly trail riding with the occasional crazy stuff. I also have ridden the Trek 4900 and Specialized Rockhopper. It seems to me that for the money the Iron Horse is the best deal (all Deore components with Hayes Mechanical Disc). The other two only have Deore Rear Der. and then Alivio stuff. Should I even be worried about the components between a Deore and Alivio? I just want to make sure that the bike I buy will hold up for the next few years and if I really like the sport then I will go to the next level and go for a full suspension bike.

  12. #12
    Senior Member crgowo's Avatar
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    Ive heard good things about ironhorse bikes. Ive also heard they have good Customer service. Unlike the trek or specialized w/ their life time warranty the Iron horse only has a 5 year warranty. BTW thats a good deal for a expert.

  13. #13
    pluralis majestatis redfooj's Avatar
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    Fuji Outland rides and feels better than any other bike in that pricerange outright... it has some really smart design, too... nice curved chain and seatstay.. replaceable dropouts... disc-hangers...etc

  14. #14
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruceter
    OK people I have a $400-$600 question. I have looked around and can get an Iron Horse Warrior Expert for $490. My only concern is that I am new and have never heard of this brand. How do their frames hold up. I plan on doing mostly trail riding with the occasional crazy stuff. I also have ridden the Trek 4900 and Specialized Rockhopper. It seems to me that for the money the Iron Horse is the best deal (all Deore components with Hayes Mechanical Disc). The other two only have Deore Rear Der. and then Alivio stuff. Should I even be worried about the components between a Deore and Alivio? I just want to make sure that the bike I buy will hold up for the next few years and if I really like the sport then I will go to the next level and go for a full suspension bike.
    What year of Expert are you looking at? Because the one on Iron Horse's website has an LX rear dérailleur and other components leading me to guesstimate the price around $700. If it's last years model and it fits go for it. If it's this years model - I don't think I need to tell you what to do - as long as it fits.

    Alivio vs Deore. It's a slight difference it's not like going Alivio to LX or XT but to a newbie I doubt that you'll notice a difference. Also remember the fact that the rear dérailleur does most of the work and has more parts in motion at any given time as compared to the front so a notch up in the rear is fairly common at any price point. Case in point my Rockhopper Comp FSR came with a Deore front an a LX rear.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    What year of Expert are you looking at? Because the one on Iron Horse's website has an LX rear dérailleur and other components leading me to guesstimate the price around $700. If it's last years model and it fits go for it. If it's this years model - I don't think I need to tell you what to do - as long as it fits.

    Alivio vs Deore. It's a slight difference it's not like going Alivio to LX or XT but to a newbie I doubt that you'll notice a difference. Also remember the fact that the rear dérailleur does most of the work and has more parts in motion at any given time as compared to the front so a notch up in the rear is fairly common at any price point. Case in point my Rockhopper Comp FSR came with a Deore front an a LX rear.
    I jsut returned from the bike shop and they are fresh out of the Iron Horse and are willing to replace it with a Giant Rainier. I can get this bike for $300 off of MSRP so I am inclined to do this. I just wanted to make sure that this bike is comparable to the others I was looking at. My main reservation is lack of knowledge about Giant bikes and the Fork on the Rainier is a Rock Shox Judy SL U-Turn (the reviews I read on MTBReview.com are negative about this shock) Help me Please!!!

  16. #16
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Ride it first. If you like it then heck yeah I'd go for it. That thing (fork aside) is beautifully spec'd and for what about $400 bucks? I'd smack you if it felt good and you didn't buy it. I know from experience building those that they're a nice bike

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    Ride it first. If you like it then heck yeah I'd go for it. That thing (fork aside) is beautifully spec'd and for what about $400 bucks? I'd smack you if it felt good and you didn't buy it. I know from experience building those that they're a nice bike
    I just spoke to the bike shop and they told me that they will order a 2004 and 1/2 Rainier for me (which has the Marzocchi shock on it) and give me the same discount. Is the Marzocchi shock really that much better than the Rock Shox Judy SL U-Turn??

  18. #18
    Senior Member crgowo's Avatar
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    well the website says its a Marzocchi EXR Comp, 100mm travel

  19. #19
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    The website is showing there 2004 and 1/2 model. If you look under 03 archives you will find the Rainier (spring edition). this is the bike they have in stock! but they will order the one with the marzocchi if i want.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruceter
    I jsut returned from the bike shop and they are fresh out of the Iron Horse and are willing to replace it with a Giant Rainier. I can get this bike for $300 off of MSRP so I am inclined to do this. I just wanted to make sure that this bike is comparable to the others I was looking at. My main reservation is lack of knowledge about Giant bikes and the Fork on the Rainier is a Rock Shox Judy SL U-Turn (the reviews I read on MTBReview.com are negative about this shock) Help me Please!!!
    I have an '01 Ranier and really like it. If they are willing to sell you one for about $500, I think that's a really great deal.
    - Liz

    '01 Giant Rainier
    '04 Giant OCR 3

  21. #21
    ksy
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    heh...i was going to make a thread about getting a bike, but i saw this one in time and stopped myself. Okay..onto my question

    I need a bike that's under $500, but i need something that's really lightweight. I won't be doing dirt jumping or anything so it won't need to put up with too much abuse. Also, i only weigh in at 120lbs and i mainly do xc. I want a hardtail, but not rigid. Oh, i saw some posts on K2 bikes and other US manufacturers, but i live in Ontario, Canada and the selection is limited to Specialized, Kona, Norco, Giant, GT, umm...can't think of anything else right now, but yeah..So, suggestions please?

    by the way, if you happen to know the weight of any of the bikes, could you please tell me?

  22. #22
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksy
    heh...i was going to make a thread about getting a bike, but i saw this one in time and stopped myself. Okay..onto my question

    I need a bike that's under $500, but i need something that's really lightweight. I won't be doing dirt jumping or anything so it won't need to put up with too much abuse. Also, i only weigh in at 120lbs and i mainly do xc. I want a hardtail, but not rigid. Oh, i saw some posts on K2 bikes and other US manufacturers, but i live in Ontario, Canada and the selection is limited to Specialized, Kona, Norco, Giant, GT, umm...can't think of anything else right now, but yeah..So, suggestions please?

    by the way, if you happen to know the weight of any of the bikes, could you please tell me?
    Good the thread is working.
    Honestly all of the bikes at the $500 mark are going to weigh in fairly close to each other. You won't get to the light stuff untill you start looking at better equiped racing models which are normally double (or more) the pricepoint you have in mind. The bikes in this pricepoint (several links are provided just backtrack through the thread) are solid entry level bikes that are intended to get people interested in the sport so that they can decide to
    1. Continue in the sport upgrading to a more expensive bike later
      or
    2. Decide that they don't like the sport but find that they still aren't out that much money

    Go to your LBS (Local Bike Shop) see what they have and test ride. Find two or three that you really like and feel good then come back for our opinions. The #1 thing is "Does the bike FEEL right?" components are a secondary concern (You really don't want ***** components but it's still not as important as feel.

  23. #23
    beginer freerider
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    I think the 2004 kona blast is the best for the money

    save $99 and you got on of the best bikes for the price, better than similar price range bikes

    marzocchi forks
    deore an lx
    truvative five d is similar to lx
    frame!!
    if oy nat get 99$ , just wait a couple of months, ...kona is bringing 2005 bikes and 2004 are going to be cheaper.

    It is true, ride it and ride some other bikes at the same price range. In wich one you feel safe, and comfortable?
    to me the blast is the better choice

  24. #24
    ksy
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    Okay...here's the bikes at my LBS that are in my price range.

    Specialized HArdrock
    GT Avalanch
    Iron Horse Maverick
    Gaint Boulder SE
    Giant Rincon
    Norco Mountaineer? (not sure if i remeber this name correctly)

    Which bike would have the best frame and components? Also, they all weigh about the same right? or is there one that's extremly heavy?

    Also, does anyone live in Canada? have you seen, ridden, or heard about Miele bikes? They make some cheap dirt jumping and urban assault bikes. I saw them at my LBS, so they can't be as cheap as department store bikes right?

  25. #25
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    The specialized hardrock comp has disk brakes and a marzocchi fork. It goes for like $510

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