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Pool: need advice on my 1st MTB after 20 years

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View Poll Results: Best entry level MTB around $1000
Trek Marlin 6 Gen 2
Trek Marlin 7 Gen 2
Canondale Trail 5
Canondale Trail SE 4
Rockhopper Comp
Rockhopper Elite
Talon 1
Voters: 4. You may not vote on this poll

Pool: need advice on my 1st MTB after 20 years

Old 06-09-23, 07:11 AM
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Need advice on my 1st MTB after 20 years

Narrowing down my search to get my first MTB after 20 years.
any suggestion is welcome

Last edited by BrazukaMTB; 06-09-23 at 07:30 AM. Reason: Wrong spelling
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Old 06-09-23, 09:08 AM
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Three of my friends purchased Trek Marlin 7's and they have enjoyed them, but IMO you'd be better off test riding a few yourself. Similarly priced bikes from major manufacturers probably won't vary much. If you rely on reader's opinions you'll find that some will like the lightest, or the one with the longest/shortest toptube, or the easiest to upgrade etc.
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Old 06-09-23, 03:43 PM
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With $1,000 to spend I would look for something for sale on Craigslist. The bikes in the $1,000 or less price range are not going to have something like a dropper seat post but a used bike may have one or be selling at enough of a discount to have room in the budget to buy one. Also pedals are likely to need to be added to a new bike as my last two mountain bikes did not include pedals.
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Old 06-09-23, 08:30 PM
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I think the Rockhopper Elite is the only one on that list with a semi-decent fork so from that list that would be the choice. It also does have decent components elsewhere but it does lack thru-axles which aren't strictly necessary but are extremely common on modern mountain bikes. I think the only one on that list to have them is the C'Dale Trail SE 4 but I would rather have the air shock vs. thru-axles.

I would not in 2023 purchase a bike with a coil fork unless magically some OEM put on a nice high end coil fork like say a Cane Creek Helm.

Generally these days the decent bikes are going to be in the 1200 on up price point. Ideally nothing below 10 speed and air fork and depending on where you are riding and what you want to do you might want something with a little more travel. I built up a bike with 100mm travel and have another with 140 and I much prefer the longer travel and might end up swapping to a 120-130 on that bike. Like I said above while thru-axles aren't necessary QR stuff for MTB is less common these days (not impossible to find or worry about) and if I did get a decent enough bike where some upgrades could make sense having the more modern stuff is a plus. Also with thru-axles flat fixes and wheel install/removal is a much easier process maybe slightly long but way harder to install incorrectly and no way for your brakes to rub on the rotor because you put the wheel in slightly crooked or something. It also stiffens up the axle giving a better ride.

If I could swing the budget a bit I would probably go with the Specialized Chisel (which was going to be my choice for a frame till they ran out of the color I wanted and I gave up on the project for a bunch of months and then got a Ti frame from Salsa) it ticks a lot more boxes on the modernity side and while maybe not as much travel as I would personally want still a good solid bike and a fun ride. Having known a few people with them, they are quite happy. It is a good candidate for upgrading down the line as it is a DSW frame so really nice internal welding. Which is supposed to make it lighter and stiffer and stuff but also just looks a little better for an aluminum frame but is a higher quality frame with a modern set up so I can easily add more modern parts and upgrade as needed but can also ride as is for many many miles and smiles without worry.
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Old 06-09-23, 09:57 PM
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I just saw this thing. Hard to find a better one for the price.

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Old 06-10-23, 03:04 PM
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The biggest difference between the poll bikes is which dealership you’re standing in. They are all great bikes if you want a MTB in the garage for a do-it-all bicycle.

If you want to do MTB as a drive to trailhead hobby, then they are not at that level. The 2nd level Fuse or Roscoe would be good. But, on the other hand, those are not good do it all bikes. You would have a harder time putting racks and fenders on them, for example.
Genesis 49:16-17
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Old 06-10-23, 07:08 PM
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I need another MTB, my 2022 Marlin 7 literally fell apart after one light season of riding. Bottom bracket, fork, brakes all broke, and the tires wore out. The Marlin felt "rickity" and was noisy all over, even when new. I miss having something to ride the trails with, I suspect it's going to take about $1800 min. to get a trailworthy bike.
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Old 06-12-23, 09:51 AM
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I would agree that it seems the price point to get what I consider a good component spec is around $1800. For instance my LBS has the Trek X-Caliber 9 on sale for $1679 from $1929, has the SLX/XT build that seems popular, and a decent fork. That said, I know you said your budget is 1K, so I do think the Marlin 7 is a decent bike. My 11 yr. old son has the Marlin 5, and the rack mount and kickstand integration are nice for someone that isn't just looking for a trail only bike. It's heavy, but at that price point I suppose everything is. I'd really look for a closeout more expensive bike that has been marked down closer to your budget, I think that's the smart thing right now.
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Old 06-18-23, 06:15 PM
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I think prices are ridiculous but being 67 years old might have something to do with my opinion. I wish you luck. I just have 3 stupid words that still work on me. "Go for it!"
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Old 06-18-23, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Fdo
I think prices are ridiculous but being 67 years old might have something to do with my opinion. I wish you luck. I just have 3 stupid words that still work on me. "Go for it!"
No. They are objectively ridiculous. The good news is that the components have gotten a lot better, but even before pando/inflation, the prices had shot up out of proportion to the quality. (Another way of looking at it is that actual inflation is much greater than claimed.)

OTOH, the newest Trek Fuel EX8 is about $3.5K (on sale $500 off); my wife got hers in 2008 for about $2.5k, so that is about a 30% increase in about 15 years, which isn't so bad. The parts, etc, I think are better now as well.

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Old 06-18-23, 07:08 PM
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Thanks all! I just bought a Cannondale Trail SE 4. All ready for my first trail. Couldn't do this weekend because of rain. Cheers
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Old 06-18-23, 07:19 PM
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I ike the Giant Talon 1. IMO the best value bike is one that balances performance with the price. This is much more important for bikes with complex hydraulic brakes and suspension forks then a bike with rigid forks and rim brakes, They really aren't that hard to make. But I wouldn't trust a cheap mountain bike with hydraulic brakes for regular off road duty.


That Cannondale looks like a nice bike too, Enjoy.

Last edited by xroadcharlie; 06-19-23 at 05:12 PM.
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