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Which 29er to choose (Newbie)

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Which 29er to choose (Newbie)

Old 03-03-16, 11:53 AM
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Mattsen77
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Which 29er to choose (Newbie)

Hello people of great knowledge!

I just joined the forum (just as I'm about to get back to biking again).
However, it has been MANY years (and frankly- many lbs.) since I was actively biking as a younger guy!

The first thing is to buy a bike, and when I first saw the department store bikes- I was excited with the prices but figured some research was required.. As I figured- the consensus is that they are mostly bottom of the barrel, cheap components, prone to breaking and that a lot more money would be spent on repairing them.
I really didnít want to spend too much money on this (economy is tight at the moment)- just to get a basic bike- get my butt out there basically.
Iíve realized that it may be a very bad idea to only spend $150 and that I need to up the budget, however, I just canít come up with $500 which SEEMS to be the rough estimate for a ok-quality bike (with my dilemma- see below).

My budget is $350- thatís it, and I HAVE heard you can get a fairly ok bike for that (or get a good used-bike deal).

I have a couple of bikes that Iím considering (from some advice on forums), and I wanted to get yíalls opinion on these choices- or other suggestions.

So whatís my dilemma?
Iím a big boy- Iím 6í6Ē and about 270lbs..
Back in the days when I used to ride- I was the same height (slightly less heavy though, lol) and I know that the bike I used was too small for me, but that was what I was used to so I didnít know how a perfect sized bike would feel anyway.

Now however, Iíd like to try getting a bike that is a bit better fitted for me although with my budget- Iím guessing it wonít be perfect, but probably better than before (Iím thinking a 29er will help a bit)

The options Iíve looked at are the following:
The Gravity bike seems like an awesome deal since the MSRP is almost $1000 and now just over $300, but with my size and weight- maybe it ISNT the best deal?

Iím assuming I may have to replace some parts, seat post , maybe raise handle bar (if possible etc)

Any advice or opinions would be very welcomed- thanks for your time.

Diamondback Apex Mountain Bike ($299 on sale Orig. $349.99)

Diamondback Apex Mountain Bike - Performance Exclusive

Bottom Bracket: Square Taper
Brakes: Promax V-Brake
Cassette: Shimano 14/28, 7-speed
Chain: KMC Z51, 7-speed
Crankset: Steel Triple, 42/34/24
Fork: SR Suntour M3030, 75mm travel
Frame: Steel, double water bottle mounts, replaceable rear hanger, standard 1 1/8" head tube, (I canít seem to find the frame size- 20in?)
Front Derailleur: Shimano Tourney
Grips/Tape: Kraton, DB4L
Handlebar: 620mm width, 20mm rise
Headset: Integrated
Levers: Shimano
Pedals: Platform, resin
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Altus
Rear Shock: None
Saddle: Diamondback
Seatpost: Alloy, 28.6x300mm
Shifters: Shimano ST-EF51, 3x7
Stem: Aluminum, 20 degree rise
Tires: 29" Wheel Size: 29x2.1
Wheelset: Alloy, 32-hole; 29"

Vilano Blackjack 2.0 29er Mountain Bike ($328.14 on sale on Amazon. Orig $599)


Vilano Blackjack 2.0 29er Mountain Bike MTB with 29-Inch Wheels

Frame: Hand Built Butted 6061 Alloy 29er Hard Tail Frame
Fork: 29er Suspension Fork Alloy 80mm Travel
Front Derailleur Shimano TX50
Rear Derailleur Shimano Altus RD-M280 8spd
Shifters Shimano 8 Speed EF-51 Integrated Shifter/ Brake Lever
Crankset Alloy Triple 42/34/24
Brakes Mechanical Disc
Wheelset Double Wall Alloy 32H
Tires Innova 29 x2.1
Bottom Bracket Cartridge Type, Sealed
Brake levers Shimano EF-51 Integrated Shifter / Brake Lever
Handlebar 31.8mm Alloy
Saddle Sport Comfort
Pedals Free Platform Pedals
Chain KMC z72


2016 Gravity FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension ($329.95 on sale Amazon Orig $995)

http://gravitybikes.com/mountain/ds-fsx-1-0.html

frame: alloy 6061- 21 inches
fork: suntour suspension fork, alloy black / kindshock 750 psi rear shock
shifters: shimano st-ef51, 24 speed, grip shift
derailleurs: fr/rr - shimano fd-m190 / shimano acera rd-m360sgs
wheelset: jalco dx221 double wall, alloy black
crankset/bb: suntour 22/32/42t, alloy black, without chaincover / suntour square
brakeset: tektro novela disc brake / shimano st-ef51 lever
seat/post/chain: wtb speed v sport, black vinyl / 300mm, alloy black / kmc z-72 steel
bar/stem/grips: alloy black / alloy black / wtb black/gray kraton
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Old 03-03-16, 12:24 PM
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So, what you are asking us is our opinion on which crappy bike should a big guy ride out of the three you've selected.....

With that said, forget the Gravity and the rear suspension at your weight. Cheap rear suspension combined with a heavier than average rider will only lead to disappointments. Stick to a hard tail for now until you build up endurance, drop weight and gain enthusiasm for a sport that you will spend more money on a better bike soon enough.

Value per dollar, I'd go with the Vilano, but only because it was on your list. Search Ebay and Craigslist for a better used bike than a cheaper new one.
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Old 03-03-16, 12:50 PM
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Try something used, or bikes direct. 270 lbs? I'm 230 and have broken everything. Pay attention to your wheels, that will be the weak point.
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Old 03-03-16, 12:50 PM
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Thank you NYMXer for your great encouragement , and helpful advice, I do appreciate it

The enthusiasm is there but even though I'd like a Ferrari to go racing, the reality is that I may have to settle for an Altima- just to do some basic driving!
Its an eyeopener to hear that a $1000 bike has very "cheap" equipment- makes you wonder how some people can ride their Walmart bought bike for as long as they do- perhaps they are the ones who got lucky? I would however like to get something a tad better.. hopefully these options are a bit LESS crappy at least.. ebay is definitely a place I will look but I don't know that much about bikes and whats consider good and bad like yourself.
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Old 03-03-16, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
Try something used, or bikes direct. 270 lbs? I'm 230 and have broken everything. Pay attention to your wheels, that will be the weak point.
I have seen that website but wasn't sure if it was a reputable place, some deals almost looks TOO good to be true and the website looks like its made by a 5y.o (makes you hesitate a bit)...
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Old 03-03-16, 01:04 PM
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Bikes direct bikes are fine, but you HAVE TO HAVE bike shop experience to put the bikes together properly. I've ordered and received bikes direct bikes no problem.

Do not go full suspension. Period.

Go to your local bike coop if you have one and look for bikes there. They'll set you up nicely. Otherwise you are much better off buying a used bike off of craigslist in your price range.
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Old 03-03-16, 01:08 PM
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Thank you for your response, I will check into that before committing on a new bike. And definitely have a pro assembly it, no doubt.
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Old 03-03-16, 01:20 PM
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The Gravity is not a $1000 bike. Is a $300 bike, and a crappy one at that. Same with everything Bikesdirect sells. Their "list" prices are bogus.
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Old 03-03-16, 01:27 PM
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Bikes Direct is an on line bike store, selling good deals on older frames and mixed components. Regardless, BD does have some great deals and is certainly worth looking into at your riding level and price point. What I mean is that unless you are a hard core or dedicated club rider, Bikes Direct will have something for you at a greater savings over any other bike vendor.

I bought two bikes from them this year and three in total (almost 4) and ma happy with each purchase. I had some shipping issues that broke a brake perch and BD sent me a replacement right away, so service after the sale is also very good. I've bought tools and other parts from them too, and always satisfied.

The only two caveats in dealing with BD, or any other online bike vendor is bike fit (you must really trust your knowledge of sizing a bike from their geometry) and assembly. Assembly is easy and straight forward is you have basic mechanical abilities, so be honest with yourself and your abilities. The other way around this is to have a local bike shop assemble the bike for you and then you have peace of mind.

BTW, Bikes Direct sells Gravity bikes, just like the one in your list, but I would suggest that you stay away from cheap full suspension and get a hardtail. Good luck in your search and I hope you enjoy whichever bike you decide on buying.
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Old 03-03-16, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Mattsen77 View Post
Hello people of great knowledge!

I just joined the forum (just as I'm about to get back to biking again).
However, it has been MANY years (and frankly- many lbs.) since I was actively biking as a younger guy!

The first thing is to buy a bike, and when I first saw the department store bikes- I was excited with the prices but figured some research was required.. As I figured- the consensus is that they are mostly bottom of the barrel, cheap components, prone to breaking and that a lot more money would be spent on repairing them.
I really didnít want to spend too much money on this (economy is tight at the moment)- just to get a basic bike- get my butt out there basically.
Iíve realized that it may be a very bad idea to only spend $150 and that I need to up the budget, however, I just canít come up with $500 which SEEMS to be the rough estimate for a ok-quality bike (with my dilemma- see below).

My budget is $350- thatís it, and I HAVE heard you can get a fairly ok bike for that (or get a good used-bike deal).

I have a couple of bikes that Iím considering (from some advice on forums), and I wanted to get yíalls opinion on these choices- or other suggestions.

So whatís my dilemma?
Iím a big boy- Iím 6í6Ē and about 270lbs..
Back in the days when I used to ride- I was the same height (slightly less heavy though, lol) and I know that the bike I used was too small for me, but that was what I was used to so I didnít know how a perfect sized bike would feel anyway.

Now however, Iíd like to try getting a bike that is a bit better fitted for me although with my budget- Iím guessing it wonít be perfect, but probably better than before (Iím thinking a 29er will help a bit)
What type of riding are you planning on doing?
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Old 03-03-16, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by NYMXer View Post
Bikes Direct is an on line bike store, selling good deals on older frames and mixed components. Regardless, BD does have some great deals and is certainly worth looking into at your riding level and price point. What I mean is that unless you are a hard core or dedicated club rider, Bikes Direct will have something for you at a greater savings over any other bike vendor.

I bought two bikes from them this year and three in total (almost 4) and ma happy with each purchase. I had some shipping issues that broke a brake perch and BD sent me a replacement right away, so service after the sale is also very good. I've bought tools and other parts from them too, and always satisfied.

The only two caveats in dealing with BD, or any other online bike vendor is bike fit (you must really trust your knowledge of sizing a bike from their geometry) and assembly. Assembly is easy and straight forward is you have basic mechanical abilities, so be honest with yourself and your abilities. The other way around this is to have a local bike shop assemble the bike for you and then you have peace of mind.

BTW, Bikes Direct sells Gravity bikes, just like the one in your list, but I would suggest that you stay away from cheap full suspension and get a hardtail. Good luck in your search and I hope you enjoy whichever bike you decide on buying.
Thanks again, I'll be checking BD! Definitely will get a hardtail after all the feedback (and have a PRO assemble it)
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Old 03-03-16, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Wingsprint View Post
What type of riding are you planning on doing?

I'm definitely not planning on doing any HEAVY trail biking, maybe just some very light ones, gravel and regular paved roads.
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Old 03-03-16, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Mattsen77 View Post
Its an eyeopener to hear that a $1000 bike has very "cheap" equipment- makes you wonder how some people can ride their Walmart bought bike for as long as they do- perhaps they are the ones who got lucky? .
Yes- its admittedly an expensive sport past a certain level --- Not many people actually ride Wal Mart bikes -- they buy them thinking to themselves they will ride them, and then sell them on Craigslist 7 years later when they need to free up space in the garage

But as others have said , i would check into a used bike on Craigslist -- in your price range, your best bet is to go with a slightly older "big brand" fully rigid 26" bike in your size, -- which is XL -- big brand meaning Specialized, Trek, Raleigh, Fuji, Norco, Cannondale to name just a handful/

They are out there and big sizes seem to come up quite a bit, as they are tougher sells on the used market .

This gets you into a bike that will out-perform a $300 new bike, but may need a little bit of TLC -- and with the riding you are describing, a nice steel framed MTB would likely last forever, -- or spend a few months on it to get the hang of the sport and determine if this is a long term adventure for you- then budget a bit more for a nicer new bike

But out of the 3 you linked, i like the Diamondback best, but if its got a spring assisted fork, you will need a more appropriate spring for your weight than what it comes with
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Old 03-03-16, 04:28 PM
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There's lots of choices out there in MTB's for big men on the used market



https://oklahomacity.craigslist.org/bik/5469727285.html

https://fortcollins.craigslist.org/bik/5456665118.html

https://lincoln.craigslist.org/bik/5428183537.html

https://denver.craigslist.org/bik/5396454312.html

https://palmsprings.craigslist.org/bik/5402039115.html
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Old 03-03-16, 04:38 PM
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Making the same push for used. I bought my first hardtail for $300 (instead of the $500+ new pricetag) and my second hardtail for $800 (instead of the $2,000+ new price tag). Both in great shape. If you're near a decent CL community, just be patient and check regularly. Even nearby towns would be worth the drive.
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Old 03-03-16, 05:08 PM
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Good Point, perhaps this is a good deal then?
Hmmmm
https://austin.craigslist.org/bik/5470506423.html
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Old 03-03-16, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Mattsen77 View Post
Its an eyeopener to hear that a $1000 bike has very "cheap" equipment- makes you wonder how some people can ride their Walmart bought bike for as long as they do- perhaps they are the ones who got lucky?
Haha the people who "ride" their walmart BSOs generally don't push very hard. My wife had one for 10ish years before we met and took it "trail riding" every once in a while. First time she came out with me she ended up busting her rear shock, breaking a couple spokes and her rear derailleur just quit; the internal spring snapped. She hasn't been on a MTB since.
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Old 03-03-16, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Mattsen77 View Post
Good Point, perhaps this is a good deal then?
Hmmmm
https://austin.craigslist.org/bik/5470506423.html
That's not a bad choice but it has no front suspension but is a quality bike. Find something like that with front spring type suspension. IF you want, you can add a seat post suspension to a bike later on. I did that to my fat tire bike and love the ride.
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Old 03-03-16, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by NYMXer View Post
That's not a bad choice but it has no front suspension but is a quality bike. Find something like that with front spring type suspension. IF you want, you can add a seat post suspension to a bike later on. I did that to my fat tire bike and love the ride.

Pardon my newbie-status, but can a bike like this be upgraded with a front suspension and if so, is that even worth it?
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Old 03-03-16, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Mattsen77 View Post
Good Point, perhaps this is a good deal then?
Hmmmm
https://austin.craigslist.org/bik/5470506423.html

That looks like a pretty good deal, OP --- that leaves you plenty of cash to get anything minor repaired or tuned up --- i would seek a co-op if there is one in your area, for that



Originally Posted by NYMXer View Post
That's not a bad choice but it has no front suspension but is a quality bike. Find something like that with front spring type suspension. IF you want, you can add a seat post suspension to a bike later on. I did that to my fat tire bike and love the ride.
Suspension is not needed and in the OP's price range, is more of a liability than a plus --- At 270 pounds he will max out the capabilities of a cheap spring type fork very quickly and then have to spec a stiffer spring somewhere if any would even be available
--- plus, with the riding he stated he would be doing starting out, - its perfect. Light trails, some gravel -- that sounds like the terrain i ride my gravel/cyclocross bike on. Starting out with a rigid machine will teach you more about proper line selection as well in short order
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Old 03-03-16, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Mattsen77 View Post
Pardon my newbie-status, but can a bike like this be upgraded with a front suspension and if so, is that even worth it?
Its generally not worth it to upgrade ---- Just keep the wheels trued and the gears shifting right, etc. and thats all it needs. With rare exception , if a bike is more than 4 or 5 years old, its usually best to enjoy them as is and just fix things when or if they break, because the cost of upgrade parts would be better spent towards the purchase of something current
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Old 03-03-16, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
Suspension is not needed and in the OP's price range, is more of a liability than a plus --- At 270 pounds he will max out the capabilities of a cheap spring type fork very quickly --- plus, with the riding he stated he would be doing starting out, - its perfect. Light trails, some gravel -- that sounds like the terrain i ride my gravel/cyclocross bike on. Starting out with a rigid machine will teach you more about proper line selection as well in short order
I fully agree. If nothing else, a rigid fork will make him slow down and pick a smart line instead of bashing over stuff, and at his size, bashing over stuff would toast any entry-level suspension fork Really quickly.

If he really loves the trails and starts hankering for a better bike after a season or so, he can start to contemplate a real sprung bike for real money. At his size, I don't think he could get away with bargain-basement suspension front or rear.

Not saying I am right ... just one person's opinion.

Maybe he can find a good $300 used bike with a strong enough front fork ... maybe ....
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Old 03-03-16, 06:06 PM
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I really appreciate all the advice.. I started thinking that a front suspension would be really nice- but as stated, perhaps it's not needed in my situation (weight, riding style etc).. At this price, I have room to repair/tune and get my behind out there.. If the Biking bug catches me hard , it may be time to upgrade... I'd be stoked just to be on a bike that fits me- I never really had that (except as a kid)...
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Old 03-03-16, 06:59 PM
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IMHO, you will enjoy the benefits of front suspension. Even when I ride on paved rail trails, I prefer my front suspension comfort bike over the non-suspended cruiser bike. It takes the little bumps and eliminates them so you can go about enjoying the ride and hopefully, put in a few extra miles.

Now, remember that I live in NYS, the Catskills and we have severe freeze/thaw effect creating annoying bumps that tend to get worse year after year and never go away. If you live in the southern states and don't get frost, then maybe you won't benefit as much (or at all) from having front suspension.

Don't buy a bike and then upgrade it, take your time and buy the right one as best as your budget allows.
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Old 03-04-16, 03:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Mattsen77 View Post
Good Point, perhaps this is a good deal then?
Hmmmm
https://austin.craigslist.org/bik/5470506423.html
Bingo! Given the type of riding you will be doing, that would be a good choice. You can always upgrade the fork or bike if you start riding more rough trails.
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