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Need help finding a first bike.

Old 04-26-10, 09:26 AM
  #1  
Matt715
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Need help finding a first bike.

Hello everyone!

I am thinking about getting my first bike in 15 years and I would like a few suggestions on what brands and models I should look at.

I'm in my late 20s, 6'4" tall and about 225 pounds. I live in an area that has a few trails (nothing extreme) and lots of back roads to ride on- both gravel and paved. I would like to be able to use the bike for all of the above types of riding. I don't see myself as being an aggressive rider.

My budget is around $500. If I can get something better for a little more I will definitely consider it. I don't want to go crazy because I'm not sure if I am going to really get into riding and I don't have much money.

I stopped by my local mom and pop sporting goods store which has a bike shop that carries Trek and Specialized. I talked to the salesperson and he showed me a few different bikes that ranged from around $350-$750. I tried a $500 29" Specialized (unsure on the model), and a Trek 4300 Disc that was one size frame too small for me. The specialized felt very uncomfortable to me but the Trek seemed alright- not great. I'm not sure if they could feel more comfortable with some adjustments as he gave me the bikes and told me to take them for a ride.

I have a couple dealers within an hour drive from me so I should be able to go and try out a few different brands and models.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-26-10, 09:01 PM
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Johnny Law
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get a GIANT Rincon, or a GIANT Boulder SE. very good bang for the buck bikes. Very reliable. I've owned them both
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Old 04-26-10, 10:00 PM
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Darth_Firebolt
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what was uncomfy about the specialized? do you know what size frame it was?
just ride what feels best. ride lots of bikes, then go for the one that feels best.
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Old 04-27-10, 08:21 AM
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CRAIGSLIST. Make sure you know what size frame you would need for your height, because I don't know. All I know is that I'm 5'10 & 18" works for me. Then get on craiglist & look at everything from about $300-500. Use google to figure out which one is the best deal both in price & in quality (mtbr.com is a good site. Stands for MounTain Bike Review, & all the reviewers have to list the price they bought it for). Then go try it out. If you don't like it, try the next one in the list. For $500, you're likely to find a bike in good to new condition that was $1000-1500 new.
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Old 04-27-10, 02:33 PM
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Bike fit and riding the right sized frame and configurement is the key. First you need to know which frame size will fit you then if you have a great lbs and a owner/sales staff that cares, they will fit you even more. For instance, I just got back into mtn. biking and my lbs I went with first matched frame size I needed then watched me ride. The owner then switched out the stem length due to it being the incorrect one on the bike and did fine adjustments to the angle of the brake levers as well as seat adjustments. We learned the day of the fitting I needed a 100 mm stem and not a 110 mm that was on the bike.

That is what you need to be perfectly fit for a bike. Ask your lbs if they do this and how beyond frame alone they fit you. If they do not, then search for a lbs that does take them time to fit your correctly.

Good luck.
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Old 04-27-10, 04:49 PM
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Matt715
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Thanks guys for the information and suggestions!

Originally Posted by Darth_Firebolt View Post
what was uncomfy about the specialized? do you know what size frame it was?
just ride what feels best. ride lots of bikes, then go for the one that feels best.
Looking at the Specialized website, I think I was riding a Hardroc Sport Disc 29 and I believe it was a 23" frame. I'm not 100% sure as I wasn't really prepared to take some notes on what I was looking at.

Compared to the Trek I rode, the handlebars seemed uncomfortable and something about the seating position was off. I did play around with the seat height a little bit but nothing felt right about it. I will say this, it truly was the first time I rode a bike in 15 years so it might just have been me getting used to riding a bike again.

Originally Posted by samburger View Post
CRAIGSLIST. Make sure you know what size frame you would need for your height, because I don't know. All I know is that I'm 5'10 & 18" works for me. Then get on craiglist & look at everything from about $300-500. Use google to figure out which one is the best deal both in price & in quality (mtbr.com is a good site. Stands for MounTain Bike Review, & all the reviewers have to list the price they bought it for). Then go try it out. If you don't like it, try the next one in the list. For $500, you're likely to find a bike in good to new condition that was $1000-1500 new.
Thanks for the heads up on CL. I live out in the boonies so there really isn't much in the way of anything on CL for my area let alone bikes. I will keep my eye out but it's not looking promising.

Originally Posted by BurnNotice View Post
Bike fit and riding the right sized frame and configurement is the key. First you need to know which frame size will fit you then if you have a great lbs and a owner/sales staff that cares, they will fit you even more. For instance, I just got back into mtn. biking and my lbs I went with first matched frame size I needed then watched me ride. The owner then switched out the stem length due to it being the incorrect one on the bike and did fine adjustments to the angle of the brake levers as well as seat adjustments. We learned the day of the fitting I needed a 100 mm stem and not a 110 mm that was on the bike.

That is what you need to be perfectly fit for a bike. Ask your lbs if they do this and how beyond frame alone they fit you. If they do not, then search for a lbs that does take them time to fit your correctly.

Good luck.
I am only going to shop at my local bike stores that can help me find what I am looking for instead of shopping by price. I work in a small nitch industry with products that rely on proper setup for the customer to have a good experience so I know the value of a good service department and I don't mind paying a little bit more for it.

While looking at the Giant models I found that a shop in my town carries both Giant and Gary Fisher so when I get a chance I am going to go and see what they have to offer.

Originally Posted by Johnny Law View Post
get a GIANT Rincon, or a GIANT Boulder SE. very good bang for the buck bikes. Very reliable. I've owned them both
The Rincon looks like it might be right up my alley. Thanks for the tip.
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Old 05-03-10, 01:54 PM
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I stopped by my other lbs today and learned a lot more about bikes in general. The sales staff was very knowledgeable and I was very impressed by the shop. As I said before this shop carries Giant and Gary Fisher. They have a nice selection of mid to upper end bikes as well as a few lower end models. Unfortunately, they didn't have the Rincon but they did have a Gary Fisher Tarpon which he said was pretty similar to the Rincon.

I tried two different bikes this time, the Fisher Tarpon and the Fisher Mamba which is a 29er. The sales guy suggested a 29er for me due to my size and I think he may be right as the Mamba fit me better but it wasn't as "comfortable" as the 26" Tarpon.

He also had me follow him on a small trail that they had through the woods behind their shop. The 29er was much harder for me to handle than the 26 but I also rode the 29er first. Remember this is the first time I have been off road on a bike in about 15 years. I would have liked to try the 29er again after the 26 but I was in a bit of a time crunch.

I guess I wouldn't be so hesitant to buy a 29er if they didn't cost so much. The Mamba was about $1,000 which is about double of my original budget. I'm a little worried that I won't get used to the bike which would probably keep me from riding it. Why are 29ers so expensive?

He also gave me a Giant catalog too which has some interesting 26" models in it that are more in my price range (Rincon $450, Yukon $600). Any more opinions on these models? How about the Fisher Wahoo, Advance, or Marlin?

Am I over thinking this too much? Should I just go and buy one or should I keep looking? I really hate to order a bike from them without riding it first.

What do you guys think?
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