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Old 09-17-12, 02:01 PM   #1
rusty4269
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Advice for the new guy

Ok guys, I'm new here and new to mountain biking. And when I say new I mean I've never been. so here's my story and I need advice. I'm a crossfit instructor here in Ky looking for a new sport to try. So some guys and I decided to try mountain biking so here a I am. I have a cheap bike that I believe came from target, It's obviously not gonna cut it so I'm gonna upgrade. My problem is money, I'm not ready to spend a lot right now. Ideally I'd like wait till Christmas and get a nice bike. Plus I'd know more about it then and I'd know if I'm gonna like it or not. I'm willing to spend $150- $200 right now to get started. So do I upgrade current bike? Buy cheap walmart bike? or just make due and save my money til I can afford what I want? I'd really like to get started but I honestly don't trust the brakes or gears on this bike. I should mention that I'm fairly mechanically inclined and I work on my own cars, motorcycles and (I hope) bikes. I do however have enough sense to take it to a pro if it's over my head. But I would like to learn to work on my own stuff. To me it's part of the fun. Thanks guys, any help or advice is appreciated. Even if it's not an answer to the questions here.

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Old 09-17-12, 04:16 PM   #2
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Lots of people have mtb in their garages they never ride. You can easily find a decent used bike at a garage sale, on Craigslist, Goodwill, or at the local bicycle cooperative. It's a good idea to start with a cheap or free used bike after you've spent some time researching the right frame size to look for. The only thing that really matters is fit. The parts/components on real-brand bikes are all good. Sometimes you can find a bike that's barely been ridden. In my opinion a suspension isn't necessary, but if you must have one a suspended front fork is all you really need. I like to ride rigid bikes and love their reduced maintenance. I recently found a nice used mtb neighbors had put out on the curb and am liking it. My city has a non-profit bicycle cooperative so I go there to find parts. Use a helmet and buy clip-in mtb pedals and shoes. The mtb pedals/shoes make a big difference in pedaling efficiency and you can very quickly release your feet with a twist motion. It seems to me the Walmart type bikes run on the small side and unless you are small it's probably better to find a used real-brand bike.

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Old 09-17-12, 04:20 PM   #3
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Christmas is close. Not sure I'd spend $200 now knowing that I was going to replace whateverby the holiday.

If you can scrounge up $350, you could get one of these while they are on sale w/free shipping:

http://www.airbornebicycles.com/prod...2-skyhawk.aspx

I don't want to just shill for Airborne though. And I'm still not sure I'd buy one as an interim thing for just the few months between now and the holidays.
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Old 09-17-12, 04:39 PM   #4
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You can get super good deals ordering new bikes online, almost better deals than you can find used when you consider replacing worn out parts and time spent.
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Old 09-19-12, 06:29 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies guys, I appreciate the advice. Another couple questions, 1) do I want full suspension? And 2) let me hear it about bikesdirect.
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Old 09-19-12, 09:13 AM   #6
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A decent FS bike costs more than a hardtail. Your desired budget will make it extremely hard to get a decent starting hardtail, so you should absolutely skip the NEXT and other garbage full suspension bikes in Wal-Mart etc.
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Old 09-19-12, 09:23 AM   #7
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Since you are just getting into Mountain biking and have a limited budget you might even go with a rigid bike. A Hardtail would be the an OK starter bike. Most everyone here started with a rigid and graduated up the bike pyramid. I like that you want to learn to do your own work. Smart in many ways. Look for the Sheldon Brown bike thread here. It has tons of advice on repairing your bike.

As far as putting much money into your current bike, I would limit it to tires and tubes.

If you can get a 90's main name (Trek, Specialized, Giant, Norco, Bridgestone, etc.) bike with Deore components. Be patient and check Craigslist and look for local bike clubs and co-ops as mentioned above.
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Old 09-19-12, 11:32 AM   #8
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It depends on your trails and what you think you want to do... if your experience is limited to something like gravel rails-to-trails roads then stay with your current bike and just maintain it properly. If you think you want to do real trails with steep descents, climbs, hazards etc then I would strongly encourage you to look at a "real" MTB bike. I always tell beginners find the best hardtail in your price range. I recently sold an old Spec. Stumpjumper hardtail for $600. It was in mint condition and fully upgraded to XTR; Fox fork services by Push Industries. The rider will get years of use out of it and using a hardtail to start out will teach you valuable skills that you tend not to develope if starting out on a full suspension bike.

There is nothing worse then cheap full suspension. It can, in fact, be dangerous to ride. A good friend was using his WallyWorld bike on tough trails; the fork pistons (I think he had barely 1 1/2 " of travel which honestly is not really suspension at all) separated from the bike as he was descending and he sutained a serious injury. OK to ride inexpensive bikes, but just know they aren't meant for tough trails.

In the meantime, just start researching what is a good bike fit for you and your riding and then be patience checking CL or eBay or other sources to purchase (like a local MTB CLub website) a used bike. By that time, you will know if you want to commit to the sport and make the investment. Like Clem said, lots of folks have bikes sitting around that need ot be sold. Just know what is a good price and understand components, fit etc. All that is very important.
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Old 09-19-12, 02:16 PM   #9
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A lot of info here, I really appreciate the input from everyone. Now let me throw you a curve. If I can swing it somehow, is this bike an ok bike?

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/gravity/fsx_1.htm

Or should I go hardtail with something similar to this?

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/gravity/fsx_1.htm

Or are these bikes not very "reputable"
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Old 09-19-12, 02:20 PM   #10
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Both of those link to the same bike...and I wouldn't recommend that bike.
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Old 09-19-12, 02:23 PM   #11
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Sorry

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...ht_new_xii.htm

And why not?
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Old 09-19-12, 02:24 PM   #12
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Here's the newbie mistake... trying to get too much with too little. Again do some research on components - on these bikes they are very low end which means they probably won't perform well and won't last that long. If you plan on doing mellow trails or bike paths you should be fine; less chance at epic failure of equipment. But again if you want to do real trails, get a better bike. Cheap full suspension is really not the way to go but then again I am fussy... if you want full suspension then start looking for a used bike...

PS can't say the Motebecane is a better bike. Since its a hardtail less chance of frame failure but its still low end, same components as the Gravity. But i understand having abudget and trying to stay in it. Good bikes are expensive even what I call good low end bikes (I figure $800 for a hardtail and about $1300 for full suspension) if you buy new.

BTW is there a shop nearby that rents out or loans out bikes for you to try?
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Old 09-19-12, 03:00 PM   #13
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I don"t necessarily mean those two bikes. Just something similar but if they arent worth then Ill just wait. But I dont see me spending $800-$1300 on a bike until Im very sure Im gonna stick with this for a while. And even then I dont have that kinda cash to drop on a bike. As I said before Im a crossfit instructor. Crossfit is my true love, this will be a secondary sport.

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Old 09-19-12, 03:06 PM   #14
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But again, I do appreciate the input.
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Old 09-19-12, 04:44 PM   #15
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I don"t necessarily mean those two bikes. Just something similar but if they arent worth then Ill just wait. But I dont see me spending $800-$1300 on a bike until Im very sure Im gonna stick with this for a while. And even then I dont have that kinda cash to drop on a bike. As I said before Im a crossfit instructor. Crossfit is my true love, this will be a secondary sport.
Then just wait and see if the sport bug bites you before making any investment. But as with any sport, good equipment helps get good results. All I can say about buying a heavy 50 lb quasi full suspension bike is that at least it will be a workout. Not certain I can ride a heavy bike like that up hills.

And in the meantime keep you eyes open for a good deal. Like i said I sold my Stump for $600 - it was a smoking deal. Good deals are out there... you just need to watch, know what they are and be prepared to act.

Have fun!
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Old 09-19-12, 11:06 PM   #16
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I recently sold an old Spec. Stumpjumper hardtail for $600. It was in mint condition and fully upgraded to XTR; Fox fork services by Push Industries.


You're kidding, right? Was this someone you are related to? You could have parted it out for a lot more, assuming it was 9-speed XTR and a semi-modern fork (at least 2004ish).


Anyway... yes. There can be deals on used MTBs.
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Old 09-20-12, 08:04 PM   #17
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I recently sold an old Spec. Stumpjumper hardtail for $600. It was in mint condition and fully upgraded to XTR; Fox fork services by Push Industries.
Wut? I would have taken that off of your hands for ya...
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Old 09-21-12, 09:17 AM   #18
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You're kidding, right? Was this someone you are related to? You could have parted it out for a lot more, assuming it was 9-speed XTR and a semi-modern fork (at least 2004ish).

Anyway... yes. There can be deals on used MTBs.
Yes I sold it really cheap acknowleding that the fork was an upgrade as were all the components (yes 9 sp XTR). It also had really nice wheels which I probably could have gotten $500 for and other "blingy" stuff. I did sell it to a friend of a friend who needed a bike. But point is, I am not unique. My BF sold his 2006 Santa Cruz Superlight with many upgrades, last year for $800. He just needed cash to buy parts for a new bike. JUst have to be patience... deals are out there...
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Old 09-21-12, 09:20 AM   #19
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Wut? I would have taken that off of your hands for ya...
Sad thing is... I sold it to someone who needed a bike but didn't know anything about bikes... he kept hedging on the price and was hoping to get it cheaper. His friend (my friend as well) kept saying "if you dont want it I will buy it for $700...$800...$900..." Bike is race ready quality in great shape and is super fast. I just hope the guy who bought it someday appreciates the deal he got. It was hard to let the bike go but I've gotten old and really need full suspension all the time...
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Old 09-21-12, 09:49 AM   #20
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Sad thing is.. I've gotten old and really need full suspension all the time...
Come on now, old is all in your mind......... and I'm an expert on old.
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Old 09-21-12, 10:15 AM   #21
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^^ Pfffft! You're practically a child still.
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Old 09-21-12, 12:10 PM   #22
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Pfffftttttt/.... has your Dr looked at your Xrays and given you a lecture on years of whiplash and impact injuries?? D, you are such a topper.
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Old 09-21-12, 02:17 PM   #23
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Uh my ortho - who over the years and lots of visits has become a good friend, shows my xray in training classes... lots to choose from. I have lost limited mobility of my right arm due to multiple fractures (r collarbone twice), neck won't turn to the right due to multiple head impacts and my knees are just mush. And I won't go into the basketball size hematoma I had on my thigh for 8 months... that was special... Bottom line, I ache all the time and well am getting soft... as fun and fast as the hardtail was... I now required full cush! I would like to ride another few years or so...
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Old 09-21-12, 02:58 PM   #24
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I'm so old that some of my X-rays are cave drawings.

Seriously, I did go in for an ankle xray and the DR commented, "I see that you have done this a few times."

Motrin is my recreational drug, if I don't take some I don't move well.
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Old 09-21-12, 03:49 PM   #25
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To be honest, last year when I told my Dr. that I might 'retire' from downhill racing, he expressed dismay at not having any cool stories to share with his colleagues anymore.
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