I am newer to riding (haven't been for several years due to other commitments and other pursuits) I used to just rent when I was younger.However, seeing the benefits to owning my own bike, I am looking into getting my own. Being a beginner though, and a university student, my budget is relatively low.
I work for a national sports retailer (that will not be named) here in Calgary, Alberta that carries Jamis and GT which I can purchase at a nice discount. Now, before everyone begins crying out recommendations for their top end bikes such as the Zaskar or Dakar lines, I'll say right now they are out of my price range.
The bikes i am looking at are the 2013 GT Karakoram (retailing here at 800) or the 2012 (or possibly the '13) Jamis Exile Sport (1000 orig price, but currently one for 8). I won't mention the discounted prices mostly because I am pretty sure I legally cannot BUT i can say that they are virtually the same, the GT being marginally higher.
In regards to the riding I would be doing it will start primarily with basic trails in Nose Hill park and out in Canmore/Banff with my dog to get back in shape (the winter and a severly broken ankle in autumn have left me about 25lbs overweight, normally I am ~190bs) but by mid simmer I am planning on progressing more challenging terrain.
I've done a lot of research, as one should before any purchase, and I am leaning quite strongly towards the GT. I have spoken very readily to our bike guys and they have given me plenty of info/recommendation, I would be more comfortable getting it here as they are more specs and info sheet driven than by true experience.
I know i would probably not notice the difference between most of the components at first however this IS something I am hoping to immerse myself into and want a solid platform with which to build upon.
Any and all advice is welcome and will be taken with merit.
As well if any of you guys are from the Calgary/Eastern Rockies/S. BC areas and have tips on where for a beginner is good to ride that would be appreciated too.
Edit: I also have access to ordering parts for wholesale, so I can upgrade readily once I'm more experienced.
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