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petertheelder 07-03-06 03:43 PM

Advice please (to catch grandchildren)
I would welcome advice on a specification for a bike for fitness and recreation with grandchildren. The bike will be used on largely off-road terrain such as local cross country ski trails and logging roads, with relatively gentle hills, for a 63 year old grandfather, whose last bike was a 3 speed road bike some 45 years ago. I am quite confused by the modern technology and conflicting advice from LBS, so would appreciate your input to help select a suitable bike.

I assume an entry level hybrid or comfort design will fit the bill but most designs seem to be for commuting/ bike path use. Would I be better looking at a hard-tail MTB design, and even with no suspension?

Should I go for 26 inch or 700 tires, disc or caliper brakes?

Which Trek bike comes closest to your recommendation (From that I can determine competing brand equivalents)?

big john 07-03-06 04:44 PM

Sounds like a job for a mountain bike. You might not think you need suspension, but a decent fork will give you much more control and comfort. You probably don't need disc brakes because the Vee brakes are so good, but there are modern discs that rival the weight of Vee type brakes. Any decent mtb with a relaxed, stable geometry and a good fork will work. Rear suspension would be a bonus, but to keep a reasonable weight will be more money. As with any bike, fit is of the utmost importance.

edp773 07-03-06 05:38 PM

Based on the information given, I would reccomend nothing lower than the Trek 4300. A hardtail mountain mountain bike should do you just fine. Definately go with 26 inch wheels as these will be stronger and designed for offroad use.

Go test ride as many bikes as you can before making a decision. A good FIT is one of the most important things to look for.

centexwoody 07-03-06 05:45 PM

I've been riding a Giant Boulder SE - hardtail, have put good tubes in the tires, changed out the seat, put a different stem on it to change my hand positions, added bar ends so had multiple hand positions possible. Paid ca. $ 225 for it new in 2002 & have been completely satisfied with all aspects of its MTB characteristics. Giant makes a great bike for the money. It has caliper V brakes & 26 x 1.5 knobby tires on it. My LBS where I bought it does lifetime service with only parts being charged: a great deal in my opinion that keeps me coming back.

The price difference for a softtail doesn't justify in my mind (ca. $ 900 new or thereabouts). The important dimension is to get a bike that fits, you can ride comfortably (that means at least having at least 8 or 10 hours on it to know of any needed aftermarket adjustments). Your LBS should sell you an entry-level mtb and promote your long term patronage as a rider pleased with their service.

DnvrFox 07-03-06 06:39 PM

Although I have ridden a non-suspended mtn bike for 8 years now, for what you describe (ski trails, logging road) I think you might want to look at some decent suspension.

Certainly you can survive on a non-suspended bike, but it might be a little jolting!

stapfam 07-04-06 12:46 AM

Centex woody has the same bike that a friend of mine started on and is not a bad bike. Think it has been replaced by the Yukon now but still a good bike for the price. Front suspension at the lower end of the Market is not that good- but The Giant Yukon does have a sensible fork on it. Rear suspension---Forget about it. Very heavy and does not work until you get into the upper price range. Poor quality disc brakes-as fitted on the low end bikes are not that good but the really cheap bikes have rubbish rim brakes. In my mind, rim brakes on a cheap bike are better.
Centex and I both know the Giant "Starter" bike and both can recommend it. Other manufacturers about so choice is vast- just don't go to Wallmarts.

Good tip for keeping with the grandchildren is to lower the tyre pressures and get the brakes binding---On their bikes. Another good tip is to enjoy your riding and use it to get fit.

Good luck.

petertheelder 07-04-06 04:30 PM

Thank you All
A definite consensus recommending an entry level hardtail MTB. I appreciate the advice and will look at the Trek 4300 & 4500, the Giant Boulder Series and similar bikes. I see that Giant call this type of machine a " Recreational Mountain Bike"; exactly what I believe will suit me.

So thank you all for guiding me. Enjoy the 4th of July celebrations (US responders)!! Stapfam & I will sulk a little over loss of a colony.

Stapfam: Before emigrating to Canada, I worked in your neck of the woods during construction of the Chichester Yacht Basin at Birdham. Many happy memories of the west Sussex coast, sailing over to Bosham for a pint or two.

Cheers, Pete

Digital Gee 07-04-06 05:14 PM

If it's not too late to toss in some advice, I'd highly recommend the bike I started back with -- the Trek 3900, which can be had on sale for less than $300 these days. I put nearly 2,000 miles on that bike, almost all on streets, so far. It's solid, dependable, and fun. I "upgraded" to slicks but that's about it. Just rode it again today and still love how it feels.

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