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  1. #1
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    Getting my first bike

    Hi Guys,
    I am planning to buy my first bike soon (noob). I would be doing mostly neighburhood / soft trails riding. Thinking about buying a hardtail mountain bike. Planning to spend approx $300-500. I don't have the stomach for trying out a used one. I've realized that sticking with local bikes shop is the way to go. I've got a "specialized" dealer in town from where I'm planning to buy. I test rode a few and liked one called "hardrock". I want to know if spending more to get a disc brake is worth it? I've tried some in my price range and I felt the discs were noisy but smoother and didn't have the braking power of normal V calipers. Am I right..? I wouldn't be doing any serious off road / downhill racing anyway.
    What are your thoughts? Thanks in advance.

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    Are you mostly going to be cycling the paved roads of the neighborhood, or the soft dirt trails of some wooded area?

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    A hardtail Would be my first choice in bikes for light off road. As for disc brakes, I will personally vouch for them. They have to be broken in (ride and stop) but they are more reliable than v brakes. They aren't really affected by the wet and they stay clear of most of the abuse a rim takes. And in the off chance you warp/bend a rim slightly they won't rub. Just my 2c though

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    Quote Originally Posted by WestPablo View Post
    Are you mostly going to be cycling the paved roads of the neighborhood, or the soft dirt trails of some wooded area?
    To be honest, I will mostly be doing the neighborhood rides on roads in the beginning and then move on to trails. I don't know how far I would delve into this mountain cycling thing, but it'll likely be soft trails.
    Having said that the roads in my neighborhood are quite narrow and there are no cycle paths or even footpaths. So it may be a bit challenging and risky to stick to roads for long. It is very hilly terrain here and therefore I'm looking forward to having some fun with exercise. Thanks.
    Last edited by ranger007; 05-30-14 at 08:55 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by suncruiser View Post
    A hardtail Would be my first choice in bikes for light off road. As for disc brakes, I will personally vouch for them. They have to be broken in (ride and stop) but they are more reliable than v brakes. They aren't really affected by the wet and they stay clear of most of the abuse a rim takes. And in the off chance you warp/bend a rim slightly they won't rub. Just my 2c though
    You mean after I ride for some time the disc brakes will likely bite better and be less noisier? I understand your point about rain/ wet roads and warped rims. I just didn't like the rough noise the discs made. Anyway I'll test ride a few more soon. Everyone else is advising me to get the discs too. Thanks for your opinions. As far as I'm not too far from the general thought in my selection of bikes I'd feel okay.

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    IMHO, your current budget doesn't allow you to purchase a really good mtb with a decent fork. I would think you'd be better off with a wide tired hybrid, unless you buy online. At least for $500, you could quite easily get a really nice hybrid with wide enough tires to meet the challenge of "soft trails".

    OTOH, there are some pretty interesting mtbikes available to you for a reduced online price, that $500 could afford.

    Checkout Save Up To 60% Off Road Bikes, Bicycles, Mountain Bikes and Bicycles with Bikesdirect.com, New with full warranties

    If you stick to your $500 budget (or perhaps even more) and you just concentrate on hardtails, then you should be alright. Brand names I like are Motobecane and Dawes...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by WestPablo View Post
    IMHO, your current budget doesn't allow you to purchase a really good mtb with a decent fork. I would think you'd be better off with a wide tired hybrid, unless you buy online. At least for $500, you could quite easily get a really nice hybrid with wide enough tires to meet the challenge of "soft trails". OTOH, there are some pretty interesting mtbikes available to you for a reduced online price, that $500 could afford. Checkout Save Up To 60% Off Road Bikes, Bicycles, Mountain Bikes and Bicycles with Bikesdirect.com, New with full warranties
    If you stick to your $500 budget (or perhaps even more) and you just concentrate on hardtails, then you should be alright. Brand names I like are Motobecane and Dawes...
    Man..... that bikesdirect.com website offers some serious discounts on quality bikes. I agree they are mouth watering but in my situation I wouldn't be able to assemble / fix them up myself, I mean I wouldn't want to try until I have a few years of real first hand biking experience behind me. For an experience person it's a real sweet deal. I also wouldn't want to burn bridges with my local bike shop since I would likely be dependent on them for a few years at least. Anyway Westpablo, with your well intentioned advice....I must say you did add to my plate of indecision and confusion. (just joking). Thanks a lot dude.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ranger007 View Post
    Man..... that bikesdirect.com website offers some serious discounts on quality bikes. I agree they are mouth watering but in my situation I wouldn't be able to assemble / fix them up myself, I mean I wouldn't want to try until I have a few years of real first hand biking experience behind me. For an experience person it's a real sweet deal. I also wouldn't want to burn bridges with my local bike shop since I would likely be dependent on them for a few years at least. Anyway Westpablo, with your well intentioned advice....I must say you did add to my plate of indecision and confusion. (just joking). Thanks a lot dude.
    Bikesdirect sends you the bike 90% assembled already. They even have a video that shows you how to make the attachments. If you get stumped, you can always come back here and we could assist you. Besides, there's so many youtube vides, Parktool videos, and self help bicycle mechanic outside sources, that you shouldn't even worry about it. Don't sweat the small stuff!

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/instructionhelp.htm

    Get your bike, dude!
    Last edited by WestPablo; 05-31-14 at 03:00 AM.

  9. #9
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    OK, I've done some online research into these companies and here are my observations (some good and some not so good).
    Motobecane and Dawes bikes sold by bikesdirect have absolutely no connection to their original European companies. Somehow Bikesdirect.com (even though a seller) has control of these names in USA (Motobecane USA). They simply put these stickers / paint to whatever bikes they get from Taiwan. That may be the reason both these bike models look way similar design wise (with the exception of names). I guess all the R&D and testing (if at all) is done by their OEMs rather than bikesdirect.
    These bikes most likely are made by the same / similar OEMs manufacturing bikes for the established companies such as Trek, Specialized, etc but they cannot use the same exact design, so they tend to use a bit older / slightly different designs. This set up can be compared to Dicks sporting goods owning bike brand called Nishiki but using OEMs exclusively.
    Having said that if the components are similar there is no reason for the bikes performance and structure to be radically different from the good brands. Some customers have mentioned poor quality on small items such as pedals, brake discs, and seat posts and many had them replaced. some had good / bad experiences with replacement process.
    I would rather have the LBS do all the work / quality / warranty issues and let me not have to worry about that aspect for now. I can see, test ride and assure myself that what I get is of decent quality. That is my view point but I'm not discounting the value for money aspect from online purchase.
    This is what my plan is going to look like. For now I will buy from LBS and enjoy riding. As I'm completely new to biking I may not need the most sophisticated one, I don't even know if I'm going to like biking or pursue it further. Meanwhile I'll try to get a hands-on testing of Motobecane / Dawes / other online bikes (from friends or bikes buddies....etc) and see how I like it. For my next purchase (if and when that happens), I would have some real world information about my wants and needs and relate it with what is available at LBS and online.
    Online purchase is worthwhile if I know exactly that what I want and have a first hand knowledge about the product itself. If not, then I will be taking a small gamble which I'm not ready for at present but will consider in future.
    My sincere thanks to WestPablo for the information on instructional videos.
    Guys, Please do not hesitate to correct me on whatever I got "wrong" in my facts and plan. Thanks.
    Last edited by ranger007; 05-31-14 at 10:11 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ranger007 View Post
    OK, I've done some online research into these companies and here are my observations (some good and some not so good).
    Motobecane and Dawes bikes sold by bikesdirect have absolutely no connection to their original European companies. Somehow Bikesdirect.com (even though a seller) has control of these names in USA (Motobecane USA). They simply put these stickers / paint to whatever bikes they get from Taiwan. That may be the reason both these bike models look way similar design wise (with the exception of names). I guess all the R&D and testing (if at all) is done by their OEMs rather than bikesdirect.
    These bikes most likely are made by the same / similar OEMs manufacturing bikes for the established companies such as Trek, Specialized, etc but they cannot use the same exact design, so they tend to use a bit older / slightly different designs. This set up can be compared to Dicks sporting goods owning bike brand called Nishiki but using OEMs exclusively.
    Having said that if the components are similar there is no reason for the bikes performance and structure to be radically different from the good brands. Some customers have mentioned poor quality on small items such as pedals, brake discs, and seat posts and many had them replaced. some had good / bad experiences with replacement process.
    I would rather have the LBS do all the work / quality / warranty issues and let me not have to worry about that aspect for now. I can see, test ride and assure myself that what I get is of decent quality. That is my view point but I'm not discounting the value for money aspect from online purchase.
    This is what my plan is going to look like. For now I will buy from LBS and enjoy riding. As I'm completely new to biking I may not need the most sophisticated one, I don't even know if I'm going to like biking or pursue it further. Meanwhile I'll try to get a hands-on testing of Motobecane / Dawes / other online bikes (from friends or bikes buddies....etc) and see how I like it. For my next purchase (if and when that happens), I would have some real world information about my wants and needs and relate it with what is available at LBS and online.
    Online purchase is worthwhile if I know exactly that what I want and have a first hand knowledge about the product itself. If not, then I will be taking a small gamble which I'm not ready for at present but will consider in future.
    My sincere thanks to WestPablo for the information on instructional videos.
    Guys, Please do not hesitate to correct me on whatever I got "wrong" in my facts and plan. Thanks.
    Looks like you've done a considerable amount of homework, Ranger007! I'm impressed!

    Let's just add a little more info to your studies.

    Here's just a tad bit more about Kinesis. Something everyone should know, who has ever wondered about BikesDirect bikes: Kinesis Industry - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Kinesis has an excellent reputation for manufacturing all kinds of bicycles. As you can plainly see, they also make bicycles for some fairly well-known bicycle companies. However, the fact remains, that if you purchase from BikesDirect, there is some risk as to ride comfort and proper fitting. Should you experience dissatisfaction with the bike ordered, it will most likely be your dime which ships the bike back to BikesDirect for either a refund, or a reorder. That's the reason that I prefer Performance. Ordering thru Performance affords you the privilege of actually going to a "Performance" bicycle shop to pick up your bike. If you aren't pleased with any aspect of the bike after a test ride, you will be entitled to a refund.

    Therefore, you might wanna checkout their website: www.performancebike.com
    Last edited by WestPablo; 06-01-14 at 02:18 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by WestPablo View Post
    Looks like you've done a considerable amount of homework, Ranger007! I'm impressed!

    Let's just add a little more info to your studies.

    Here's just a tad bit more about Kinesis. Something everyone should know, who has ever wondered about BikesDirect bikes: Kinesis Industry - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Kinesis has an excellent reputation for manufacturing all kinds of bicycles. As you can plainly see, they also make bicycles for some fairly well-known bicycle companies. However, the fact remains, that if you purchase from BikesDirect, there is some risk as to ride comfort and proper fitting. Should you experience dissatisfaction with the bike ordered, it will most likely be your dime which ships the bike back to BikesDirect for either a refund, or a reorder. That's the reason that I prefer Performance. Ordering thru Performance affords you the privilege of actually going to a "Performance" bicycle shop to pick up your bike. If you aren't pleased with any aspect of the bike after a test ride, you will be entitled to a refund.

    Therefore, you might wanna checkout there website: www.performancebike.com
    Performance is selling Fujis at just ridiculous discounts at this time. You'd most definitely get more bang for your buck buying a Fuji from Performance. For example, the Fuji Absolute 2.1 is selling for only $349, as a "Fitness" bike...(Looks like they're quickly running out, though)...

    * Also, Nashbar is selling the Schwinn Slicker for only $480 and Amazon is selling the Marin Muirwoods 29er for only $450. These are both really excellent deals for less than $500.

    Otherwise, you can get the Giant Escape 2 for only $420 at any of their local bike shops.
    Last edited by WestPablo; 06-01-14 at 08:07 AM.

  12. #12
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    Thanks again WestPablo.
    Somehow you seem to have a knack in throwing a spanner in my plans. (Or may be you enjoy it....)
    Anyhow, bikesdirect, Nashbar and Amazon are similar as far as I'm concerned (with regards to price, aftersales service, test ride, fitting, etc).
    "Performance bikes" is the set up I would like, but the nearest shop is at least 3 hours drive for me. Don't know if it's worth driving that much for a $50-100 discount. Again there might be problems with after sales and maintenance (I don't want to travel up there every time I'll have an issue).
    "Giant" bikes shop also are far away for me, therefore similar situation.
    The end result is ...you have made me work a lot for buying a bike which I was anyway going to buy beforehand.....
    But now I feel far more comfortable in knowing that it's the best deal in my particular situation (given my likes and dislikes) and I can go ahead with more confidence.
    p.s. my wife has been giving me looks due to the long...time I 've spent on computers and says ..why don't you go to the nearest shop and buy whatever that suits you..... doesn't seem like a bad advise.
    Its great to have a forum like this. Thanks gentlemen.
    Last edited by ranger007; 06-01-14 at 05:13 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ranger007 View Post
    Thanks again WestPablo.
    Somehow you seem to have a knack in throwing a spanner in my plans. (Or may be you enjoy it....)
    Anyhow, bikesdirect, Nashbar and Amazon are similar as far as I'm concerned (with regards to price, aftersales service, test ride, fitting, etc).
    "Performance bikes" is the set up I would like, but the nearest shop is at least 3 hours drive for me. Don't know if it's worth driving that much for a $50-100 discount. Again there might be problems with after sales and maintenance (I don't want to travel up there every time I'll have an issue).
    "Giant" bikes shop also are far away for me, therefore similar situation.
    The end result is ...you have make me work a lot for buying a bike which I was anyway going to buy beforehand.....
    But now I feel far more comfortable in knowing that it's the best deal in my particular situation (given my likes and dislikes) and I can go ahead with more confidence.
    p.s. my wife has been giving me looks due to the long...time I 've spent on computers and says ..why don't you go the nearest shop and buy whatever that suits you..... doesn't seem like a bad advise.
    Its great to have a forum like this. Thanks gentlemen.
    Sounds like marital bliss to me!

    Good Luck!

  14. #14
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    Sure, I got myself the specialized Hardrock. Thanks to this forum. I've started riding and loving it so far. I must admit that riding uphills are hard work even on roads and using gears. Some part if me still feels glad that I didn't spend too much on purchasing a bike. Hopefully it'll get easier as I continue to ride ( and work hard ).
    Last edited by ranger007; 06-08-14 at 11:06 AM.

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