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Best Hardtail for Under 500 bucks?

Old 09-03-19, 07:35 AM
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7tevoffun
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Best Hardtail for Under 500 bucks?

Hi all,

Brand new to the forum - I posted a question about value of an old Cannondale mountainbike a few days ago, so not a total newbie.

I am in the market for a good introductory hardtail mountainbike that I can use to lug my daughter around in her trailer as well as enjoy some trail riding when I have the time. I'm not looking for anything amazing at the moment and want something that will last me a while and be a decent investment over the next handfull of years. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
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Old 09-03-19, 07:58 AM
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Leebo
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Shop used, this fall you should find some end of season deals. Wheel size? 27.5 or 29er would work.
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Old 09-03-19, 07:59 AM
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7tevoffun
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I'm good with either wheel size. I'm around 6 foot 1 if that helps any recommendations.
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Old 09-03-19, 09:52 AM
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Anything new under $500 will be department store junk.

As is always the case with these types of threads...You want to start your budget around $1000 for a new hardtail or half that for good used hardtail.

$500 or less new mountain bikes will be a pile of junk
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Old 09-03-19, 10:02 AM
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The new GT Aggressor sold by Dick's Sporting Goods is a solid entry level MTB. Definitely a step above what you'll find at Wal-Mart etc. I recently bought one for one of my kids and I have no issues with it. Good disc brakes, modern geometry, and mostly Shimano components. Watch the sales, I got mine for $299. It's $399 right now.

https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/p...ggrssrprxxxprf

It's geared perfect for pulling your trailer too.

I ordered mine online and had it shipped. Shipping was free and it was fast, about a week. It arrived in perfect condition. It does need minimal assembly, but nothing too complicated.
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Old 09-03-19, 12:49 PM
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For about $100 more than that GT Aggressor, a Trek Marlin 5 will get you hydraulic brakes.
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Old 09-03-19, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by fly135 View Post
For about $100 more than that GT Aggressor, a Trek Marlin 5 will get you hydraulic brakes.
I have had terrible experience with Treks. Does anyone have first hand experience with that trek?
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Old 09-03-19, 04:29 PM
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Also, I've heard good things about REIs in house co-op brand. Can anyone comment on them?
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Old 09-04-19, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by riverdrifter View Post
The new GT Aggressor sold by Dick's Sporting Goods is a solid entry level MTB. Definitely a step above what you'll find at Wal-Mart etc. I recently bought one for one of my kids and I have no issues with it. Good disc brakes, modern geometry, and mostly Shimano components. Watch the sales, I got mine for $299. It's $399 right now.

https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/p...ggrssrprxxxprf

It's geared perfect for pulling your trailer too.

I ordered mine online and had it shipped. Shipping was free and it was fast, about a week. It arrived in perfect condition. It does need minimal assembly, but nothing too complicated.
Ugh...Heavy pogo stick fork, cable brakes, lowest level (cheap) Shimano components etc.
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Old 09-04-19, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by 7tevoffun View Post
I have had terrible experience with Treks. Does anyone have first hand experience with that trek?
Trek, Specialized, Giant, Cannondale are going to be your best bets and you need to up your budget to a $1000 or more.
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Old 09-04-19, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
Ugh...Heavy pogo stick fork, cable brakes, lowest level (cheap) Shimano components etc.
OP is looking for a $500 bike to pull a child trailer and do some occasional, recreational trail riding. He is not looking for a $1,000 trail rig.

Let's not try to convince him that it's not worth riding a bike and spending time with his family unless he doubles his budget.
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Old 09-04-19, 08:20 AM
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@7tevoffun $1000 won't even get you the $1000 bike these guys are imagining any more. I agree with them that's a preferable bike, but it's hard to find. SRAM Eagle and dropper seat posts this year didn't help the price tag.

@prj71 is right about the features of the GT but that level bike is pretty much the same across the board and doesn't change much year to year, it's really about the same as a Specialized I bought back in 2002 except for the wheel size. It's not a bad bike and it does have a role in the market. This will give you indefinite years of service on the street with your kids, has mounts for all the normal racks and kid seats and fenders, and has parts that have been made to the same standards for 25 years. If you put it up to daily commuting or fast trail riding it's going to wear and if you compare it to the "$1000" bike with better trail geometry, air+oil fork, hydraulic disc brakes and better shifting, it will seem primitive indeed.

You might not like Trek but that Marlin 5 is a good simulation of a more expensive bike. It has the newer geometry with the cheaper components. I'll bet other brands have one like it. REI's house brand is called Co-Op Cycles (it used to be Novara but they changed the decals and all the paint to camo/poop shades). They usually hit a pretty sweet price point that's above Walmart junk but also nothing really premium. The prices don't look amazing at first glance unless you consider the rebate or catch a sale.
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Old 09-04-19, 08:34 AM
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Here is my take if you have the money sure get the most of what you can but if you spend 1k plus on a bike and you don't like riding mtb you wasted a bunch of money for nothing. if you want to try out mtb or just planning on light trail/gravel use you get a sub 500 dollar bike you won't be on advanced trails anyway in the beginning. once you try it and like it and want to upgrade to try out harder trails then do it. I have a fuji nevada and the trails I ride it works just fine. i'm in my 40s I won't be doing jump lines or extreme downhills. I don't plan on racing xc so I don't need the lightest bike. everyone rode coil forks with elastomers back when the suspension forks first came out. air sprung forks are fairly new. air is better I get that but coil works for what it's designed for. even a bike with lower level bike parts will work for the purpose. I've ridden tourney derailleurs they work great. you are still going to bugger a derailleur or two eventually because accidents happen price isn't going to change that. I've got hydraulics they have the stopping power but so do cable drive disk brakes. Avoid rim brakes if you can. there is a significant difference between sub 500 dollar bikes and department store(walmart bikes) name branded sub 500 dollar bikes will have gone through quality control on the frame specs ie welds etc the parts although cheaper will have gone through same process. most walmart bikes with unnamed parts will not have seen the same scrutiny. once you progress the real difference in a entry level bike and a 1000 dollar hard tail is frame geometry. you get a slacker head angle which is a huge deal on more difficult level trails.

Another thing to consider is just how spoiled we are on technology advances. the guys who started this sport rode 50 pound schwinns with single speeds and custom parts.

OP here is what you should look for at a minimum a threadless stem, disk brakes, frame sized to fit you, quick release or through axle wheels(not bolt on), 27.5 or 29 wheels, aluminum double walled rims, removable derailleur hanger and name branded components. Go to a bike store see what they have sit on them test ride one in the parking lot(most let you do this). Hard for most here to recommend a bike because we all have our own preferences. I like fuji bikes for instance.

I might add this is a walmart bike so not downing all of their bikes.
https://www.viathonbicycles.com/products/m1-gx-eagle

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Old 09-04-19, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
@7tevoffun camo/poop shades
he he
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Old 09-04-19, 08:57 AM
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I really appreciate all these replies everyone. Thanks!
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Old 09-04-19, 09:17 AM
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All Shimano components are good quality, even the entry level stuff. They are designed to be rugged and reliable. When you move up to the higher level spec you will get smoother shifting and lighter weight. I would not worry one bit about reliability of entry level Shimano.
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Old 09-04-19, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by carlosponti View Post
he he
Well the poop colors are an improvement on the Cannondales and Ghosts in the store that all look like a bunch of burnt twigs
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Old 09-04-19, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Well the poop colors are an improvement on the Cannondales and Ghosts in the store that all look like a bunch of burnt twigs
I mean I'll ride a poop colored bike if it's a great buy; poop color < good deal.
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Old 09-04-19, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Well the poop colors are an improvement on the Cannondales and Ghosts in the store that all look like a bunch of burnt twigs
it was a juvenile chuckle on my part. I did tire of seeing all the black on bicycles for a while. they are finally getting back to more exuberant color options. mine is bright yellow you can see me coming
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Old 09-04-19, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by riverdrifter View Post
OP is looking for a $500 bike to pull a child trailer and do some occasional, recreational trail riding. He is not looking for a $1,000 trail rig.

Let's not try to convince him that it's not worth riding a bike and spending time with his family unless he doubles his budget.
Why not? Under $500 gets you a piece of junk. That's just the truth of the matter.

Don't let facts get in the way of your opinion.
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Old 09-04-19, 01:20 PM
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what type of trails will you be riding and how are your bike maintenance skills
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Old 09-04-19, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
Why not? Under $500 gets you a piece of junk. That's just the truth of the matter.

Don't let facts get in the way of your opinion.
I'd say it's the other way around. Don't let facts get in the way of your opinion. You can most certainly buy a hardtail MTB for under $500 that will be reliable, trouble-free, and enjoyable for pulling a child trailer around town and occasional, weekend, light trail rides. Fact.

Don't try to make biking elitist, it's for everyone. In a lot of areas of the world people use bikes for utility, everyday work, and transportation that are nowhere near the quality of any new $500 bike available in the US.
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Old 09-04-19, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
Trek, Specialized, Giant, Cannondale are going to be your best bets and you need to up your budget to a $1000 or more.
Not true. For what he says he wants to do, he can spend in the $700 range and get a nice new bike...or in the 500-600 range for a used bike, Under $500 is hard to do well new. Just got a new Rockhopper Comp 1x and the reviews so far on it are pretty good. Labor Day sales meant $729 out the door. Hydraulic brakes, 1x9 drivetrain, not a great fork but that can be easily upgraded when/if I push it harder. I rode the giants and treks as well and even considered some in the $600 range but you can feel the diffence in the components when I got onto the Rockhopper. You can get the base Rockhopper for around $500 and upgrade the components. It'll have a coil shock, mechanical disc brakes and a 3x drivetrain. or spend $200 more get the comp and get a better shock, brakes and drivetrain.
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Old 09-04-19, 06:52 PM
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I've been riding a Schwinn GTX-3 from Dick's Sporting Goods for the past 5 years. It has wear now but not overly expensive to replace some parts. Especially if one does the work themselves. I wouldn't be shy nor embarrassed to buy a Schwinn at Walmart for 2 or 3 hundred dollars. It's not like these bikes just fall apart just outside the door.

I'll tell you what I am embarrassed to say..... I bought a Specialized for $2000 when I could have bought a bike at Walmart that does the same thing as the Specialized for $250.!!! Truth. To the OP.... Think about that. Plenty of good bikes out there for under $500.
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Old 09-05-19, 06:35 AM
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The $500 pricepoint is there but as mentioned, it will compromise on some parts which would matter to me. The key word is "me", stick to your budget, do your homework and test a few bikes. Giants are generally priced a few bucks less than the other big names. Look at the Talon. Someone here just got the Talon 3 for $550, Fall is a great time to buy overstock or last year's models at 20% off or better.
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