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Old 07-19-14, 11:46 AM   #1
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Looking to get a MTB

So i just sold off an old bike and want to take that cash and put it towards a mountain bike, and i have a few questions for you Seattle folk. Im looking at something in the lower end and have no problems running upgrades on it (mtb parts are cheap!) seeing as i dont have a lot to dump into an initial purchase. Im very comfortable working on my Cervelo so i dont think ill have a problem tuning/fixing whatever comes up on this cheaper bike.

I guess what i want to know is what should i be looking for to get me out and going? Cougar mountain looks like a good place to ride (in relation to where i live) with plenty of trail options. Will a hardtail do me good out there, or should i really be looking into full suspesion? Also 26" or 29er? Im not going to be doing some crazy free rides or anything, i just want to get out and get into the world of mountain biking without breaking the bank. If i decide i like it then i can worry about getting something crazy later.

Right now this seems to be my top pick under $700 Cannondale Trail 5 Bike - 2014 at

I like the Cannondale brand and im hoping some of that cadd tech trickles down into this frame. Id also prefer to buy new that way i can make sure i get something that fits properly and has a warranty.

Thoughts? Opinions?

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Old 07-19-14, 03:35 PM   #2
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Go to no sales tax Oregon .. Portland has like 300 bike shops . my town has 1.
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Old 07-19-14, 05:56 PM   #3
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I would spend a little more and get something with hydraulic disc brakes. Maybe something like this:

Cannondale Trail 4 Bike - 2014 at

Cougar Mountain is closed to mountain biking. Check out the Evergreen Mountain Bike trail guide for places to ride:

Evergreen Trail Guide
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Old 07-19-14, 06:15 PM   #4
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I'm very happy using a hardtail on the trails here in Oregon, but I've never ridden a bike with full suspension nor have I ever used disc brakes. Some full suspension bikes are heavy.

I've seen some good deals on craigslist every once in awhile - especially older bikes. 1st priority is the right size frame. A close second is the frame quality. 3rd is the wheels, 4th is the components. I just saw a USA made Klein with Deore XT components for $200 posted a couple days ago - I checked today and it's been sold. It might be harder to find a low priced mtb on CL in the Seattle area.

I know you're asking for info on new bikes, but I'd still peruse the bikes on CL in your area. Be sure to noticed the condition of the shocks, they may need replacement.

Last edited by mtnbud; 07-20-14 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 07-20-14, 12:26 AM   #5
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I've always been happy with full rigid and cantilevers, but I'm kind of a slow retrogrouch. That said, I am on the look-out for a particular old frame that is a front suspension bike for my next off road MTB. Discs are over rated though, and unless you are experienced and aggressive you don't need full squish, front suspension is plenty. My lady and I only get a chance to get our mountain bikes out of the city a 2-3 times of year, so we're perpetually in "getting the rust off our old skills" phase, so mostly we've been riding Banner and Capitol Forest as they are pretty mellow. Lots of options around here to ride though.

Edit: 26 vs 29: I prefer 26", when I rode a 29er it felt like I was perched too high up, I felt like I was not well balanced in comparison to when I mountain bike on a 26 inch wheeled bike. You might have a hard time finding a new 26 inch wheeled bike though.

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Old 07-21-14, 09:11 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Crimsonghost View Post
Cougar mountain looks like a good place to ride (in relation to where i live) with plenty of trail options.
I don't really know anything useful about mountain bikes, but it's been in the back of my mind for years that I should get one and I could have a lot of fun exploring with it. It would get me much deeper into the mountains than my feet can, if I only have a day to roam. I'll be really curious to hear what you come up with.

But I can offer some ideas about where you can ride it:

If you're fit, take it up the Fourth of July Creek trail in Leavenworth, which climbs pretty steeply toward the sky, go right when you get to the top of the mountain, and take the Icicle Ridge trail back down. Then follow the road a few miles back to your car. You could call that one "ass kick hill" but the scenery is breathtaking, it's pretty lonesome at the top, and feels wild and primitive for most of the ride. (Bring plenty of water!)

All of the trails in the Teanaway allow mountain bikes. A really scenic and not too steep option is to take the Beverly Creek trail to meet Iron Mountain, and follow that trail back down to the road. Great scenery and you could hang out with mountain goats. Koppen Mtn is popular with the MTB crowd. There's a loop around Esmeralda Peak that's not too hard, but very scenic and fun.

Winthrop is kind of a mecca for cycling, especially on trails (but it's fun for road riding, too).
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Old 07-21-14, 09:32 AM   #7
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If you are ever interested in buying a MTB... contact me first... I think you and my friend Richard (who is a "bike" hobbiest and always has 2 - 3 bikes for sale) are about the same size and I can hook you up with something nice!

Private docent led mountain bike rides through Limestone Canyon. Go to and register today! Also available: hikes, equestrian rides and family events as well as trail maintenance and science study.
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Old 07-21-14, 02:24 PM   #8
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So I finally pulled the trigger. Sold of an old bike and turned it into a new mtb. Even though I originally planned for about $600-700 I managed to get something for a little over $520 out the door.

Talon 27.5 4 (2015) (2014) | Giant Bicycles | United States

Condisering it such a cheap bike, I have to say I'm pretty happy with it. The 27.5" wheels make rolling over anything pretty effortless but still feel more in controll then a 29er. The shock is clearly the weak point here, but at this price point if functions well enough and the lockout works great. I can tell I'm not thrilled with the 8speed rd because the spacing just seems too high. Personally I think id get along better with closer ratios, but maybe that's just because I'm used to road riding. The hydraulic disks work like a charm and everything shifts fairly well. The rd has a little problem under heavy load, but nothing major. Luckily mountain parts are dirt cheap, so upgrades are not out of the question.

I ended up at Tiger mountain for my first ride. After some post ride reaserch, I found that I did the most difficult trail...backwards. That would explain why I did so much time walking. The ride was comfy and the bike handled well. It was only my first ride so of course it was a bit sketchy, but I just need to learn the bike a bit better. And work on my balance. Overall I ha a blast and can't wait to get back out. Personally, I'm not that impressed with the road rideing is Washington, but the mountains were more that insprieing.
@forest: I was in the same boat as you and that's why I decided to go with something cheap for my first mtb. It's something I really wanted to get into but seing as I spend most of my time on te road I just couldn't be bothered with it. But I tell you man, I'm glad I did. If you like nature and don't mind getting a bit dirty then you'll have a blast.
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