1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    29er noob looking for a value packed trail bike

    So I have been biking for a pretty long time. Raced BMX for a few years when I was younger, mostly in middle school. Rode a P2 all through high school doing all sorts of dirt jumping, urban riding, a little trials and other misc. riding. I sold my P2 last year when I started college to get a fixed gear. Bought a Windsor "The Hour", rode it maybe a week before it got stolen. Now I was gifted an old 10spd road bike a few weeks ago that I have been riding close to 20 miles a day having a blast and now I feel confident that I will be fit enough and motivated enough to really enjoy spending money on a decent mountain bike. I went to my LBS, tried a pretty wide range of bikes, everything from a Hardrock, Mamba, Carve, Stumpjumper in 26&29, Superfly, and a few other I don't really remember the models. I really liked the Mamba for the price except for the brakes (I am fairly familiar with disks, so I know they need to be broke in before they start biting) felt weak and squishy. I have a buddy who works at the shop and can cut me a deal on just about any new Specialized or Trek pretty much at cost.The Giant Talon also looks great but I can't find where to test ride one or to purchase one used. I've kept browsing though online for used deals, direct deals and such and I found Airborne. Seems like their bikes are incredibly value packed for the price! I especially like their New Goblin. I would actually prefer to assemble my own bike, I am a very competent bike mechanic so that is not a drawback. Any other recommendations besides what I've mentioned? The new Goblin is really at the ragged edge of my comfortable budget, so please keep that in mind.

    and here is some more info

    Q. What region of the country do I live in?
    A. Both South and East Bay area, CA

    Q. Where do I plan to ride my new bike?
    A. Del Valle, Sunol Regional Wilderness, Brushy Peak, Frank Raines, and regular trips up into the Sierras.

    Q. Are there any YouTube videos of the trails I plan to ride?
    A. Not that I've found yet, sorry.

    Q. How much time do I plan on devoting to this hobby?
    A. 3-4 days a week

    Q. What is my previous cycling experience?
    A. BMX for several years, and dirt jumping for several years and a lot of misc stuff in between.

    Q. Have I participated in other hobbies, sports or activities that may give me relevant skills?
    A. I have been dirtbiking since I was 7 and have gotten quite good

    Q. What are my mechanical abilities?
    A. Quite good. I have been working on my own bikes/motorcycles/cars since I have owned any of them, I am a ME student, and a machinist/metal fabricator on the side...

    Q. Do I currently own a bike?
    A. An old 10 spd road bike that I use for transportation and fitness.

    Q. Do I currently own a helmet, gloves, padded shorts, proper shoes, Cyclocomputer,
    Finish line bike wash, Finishline brush kit, shop rags, chain lube, chain stay protector (I like Shelter), Gloves, good socks, solid tire pressure gauge, floor tire pump, on trail tire pump or cartridges, shock pump, good three way hex, mufti tool, spare bottles, cages, backpack to put all your gear in?

    A. Yup, pretty much everything except the bike maintenance stuff.

    Q. Why do I want to buy a new bike?
    A. Want to ride some trails for fun and fitness

    Q. How much research have I already done and do I have an idea of what I want?
    A. Reading forums, user reviews, professional reviews, talking to my LBS. I am looking at a wide range of 29er hardtails between $600-1100

    Q. Do I have friends who are into the hobby?
    A. Yup.

    Q. What's their mechanical and riding experience?
    A. A lot

    Q. What kind of bikes do my riding buddies ride?
    A. Mostly road bikes or some cheaper mtn bikes like Specialized Hardrock, Giant STP, and some kind of Raleigh.

    Q. What kind of bikes do I see on the trails I plan to ride? (Full suspension, hardtail, rigid, single speed, geared)
    A. Hardtail, at least 2x10 or 3x9 gears, fairly decent forks such as rockshox recon, reba, or fox float 29s, and pretty decent hydro brakes.

    Q. Can I really afford this hobby?
    A. I hope so

    Q. How much money do I want to spend on this hobby over the next year?
    A. Oh, probably $1600 or so

    Q. What am I trying to accomplish by participating in this hobby?
    A. Fun and fitness! Possibly go on trail rides with my GF and her horse

    Q. How do I expect my life to be different a year from the day my new bike arrives?
    A. I'll be back in college again... So not much different

  2. #2
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    A Trek Cobia at cost might be a good choice. The Reba fork on the Goblin would be good, and for $100 less you could get a Reba on a Gravity 29point5 (geometry almost the same as Cobia/Mamba):
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Gravity 29Point5 29er Mountain Bikes
    I ride at night - see my tips for Night Cycling
    My Blog: Cycling For Beginners

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeginnerCycling View Post
    A Trek Cobia at cost might be a good choice. The Reba fork on the Goblin would be good, and for $100 less you could get a Reba on a Gravity 29point5 (geometry almost the same as Cobia/Mamba):
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Gravity 29Point5 29er Mountain Bikes[/url]
    Well darn. Now I just added a whole bunch of bikes to my list

    The gravity 29point4 and 5 both look like great bikes. Along with the Motobecane counterparts. Is the biggest difference between the 4&5 the recon silver vs. reba?

    Basically, I think I'm looking for a bike with good enough core components that will tide me over several years without holding me back even if I get into it trail riding seriously. I don't mind crappy bars/saddle/tires and such because I will be changing them out anyways. I just want to know if the frame, fork, derailleurs, brakes, and possibly wheelset will be good enough to take a lot of abuse for a couple years at a novice/intermediate level of riding?

  4. #4
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    The Goblin is currently shipping with the dual air chamber 2012 Reba. That is an excellent component. The negative air chamber can be filled 5-10psi less than the positive. You get good small bump compliance. This is a tuning option Rockshox dropped across the 2013 line. Other 2013 bikes with a Reba will most likely be solo air. 2012s would have the dual, but check.

  5. #5
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    I paid $500 for my Marin Bolinas Ridge new from REI on closeout. (Reg price $679)
    It is not as nice as the $1k+ bikes you mentioned but I like it and can go everywhere my friends go on their more expensive bikes. Certainly in the years to come I will do some upgrades and eventually buy a much more expensive bike but for now, this one makes me smile.

    Only weak link I have found on this bike is the coil spring Suntour XCR and eventually will change that out. For now though, it does the trick. The brakes seem good and like the simplicity of the mechanical disk brakes. It also shifts well. The only other planned upgrades are grips (already ordered) and flat pedals.


    If I would have had another $500 to throw on more expensive bike, I most likely would have but I am not disappointed with my purchase at all.


    BTW, I ride anywhere from moderate to the more difficult trails 3x a week totaling 50+ miles here in Western NC.
    Last edited by kjlued; 11-10-2012 at 06:39 AM.

  6. #6
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    Just get a sweet deal on a good frame, then build it with the best parts you can afford. If you get all blowout deals your bike will be over $1000 better then the money you put out to build it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bataivah View Post
    Just get a sweet deal on a good frame, then build it with the best parts you can afford. If you get all blowout deals your bike will be over $1000 better then the money you put out to build it.
    I'm going to have to respectfully disagree -- at the OP's price point (said Goblin was at high end) and really at most price points, you can buy a complete bike for much less than the sum of an individual buying its parts (unless you are super patient/lucky in finding awesome deals and/or know how to buy good used parts).

    For instance, the Goblin frame is sold for $250, the Reba is about $400, by the time you add wheels, tires, bars, stem, saddle, brakes, cranks, etc. -- even of the same or lesser quality -- the average person would spend much more than the list price of the Goblin. It's just hard for the average individual to beat the economies of scale of a bike company.

    I'm not saying it wouldn't be fun to build up exactly how you want to -- I'm just doubting most people would come out cheaper.
    I ride at night - see my tips for Night Cycling
    My Blog: Cycling For Beginners

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by p2rider426 View Post
    Is the biggest difference between the 4&5 the recon silver vs. reba?
    The fork would probably be the most noticeable difference, although the drivetrain and brake components are also a step up on the 5.

    I'll say this: if it is within your budget, you probably will never regret spending a couple hundred more for the upgrade. Though I really like my 29point3, I keep looking at Reba forks (a lot).
    I ride at night - see my tips for Night Cycling
    My Blog: Cycling For Beginners

  9. #9
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    Have to take your time and find major deals to to it. If your in a hurry and need to ride asap with nothing else to ride, then the savings may only be minimal. Winter is the best time for sure though.

  10. #10
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    Check out your Local Bike Shops, lots of guys will ride a bike for one season then trade it in. Its a great way to find a bike for a great value. Just traded in a XTC 29er with a bucket load of upgrades and the shop sold it for like $800.00, bike retailed at $1350.00 plus i would say i have 3-400.00 into it above that.

    You can Find great deals online, but the discount most of the time comes at the cost of service. Most shops will have you come back at 15hrs of riding so they can tighten up the cables and make sure everything is running how it should. And if something goes wrong its nice to have a person to deal with rather then a monitor and an email.
    2012 Giant Reign 1

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bataivah View Post
    Just get a sweet deal on a good frame, then build it with the best parts you can afford. If you get all blowout deals your bike will be over $1000 better then the money you put out to build it.
    ^^^^ THIS!!!

    ......and don't forget Black Friday is coming up - especially nice if you want to stretch your dollar.

    -S

  12. #12
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    So right now I am looking at a 20" Goblin frame w/Reba RL fork for $300 very lightly used. For one, I am in between 5'11" and 6'0" and about somewhere in between a 32-33" inseam. Would the frame be a good fit? Also, if I bought it, would I be able to build a bike with better components than say the Gravity 29Point5 for the money? I am having trouble finding a good source of lightly used parts to build with.

    Oh, and is this a fair asking price guys? I have studied the new market pretty thoroughly but I am unfamiliar with the used market.

    2009 Gary Fisher Mamba - Large - Upgraded throughout - Buy and Sell and Review Mountain Bikes and Accessories
    Last edited by p2rider426; 11-14-2012 at 09:04 AM.

  13. #13
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    Well today I pulled the trigger on a full set of components. The member who had the Fisher Mamba up for sale was willing to part with everything but the frameset for $695 shipped. The wheels are definitely the crown jewel of the component set. After taking a look at some better pics everything appears to be in very good shape. Also I am still pursuing the Goblin frame w/Reba RL dual air for $300 in like new condition. Hoping it will ride well for only $995.

    Components include:
    Truvativ Stylo Handlebars

    Truvativ XR Stem

    ESI Chunky Grips

    SRAM X9 3x9 Shifters

    Avid Juicy 7 Disc Brakes with Avid G2 rotors 160mm (Matchmaker clamp installed, original clamps included)

    Shimano SLX 175mm Triple Crankset

    SRAM X9 Front Deraileur

    Sram XO Read Deraileur

    SRAM XO PG-990 9-spd Cassette 11-34

    Recently changed Shimano XT 9spd chain

    Specialized Roval Control EL Wheelset Tubeless ready (installed with tubes right now, rims are taped, tubeless valves are included, rear hub has DT Swiss 240 internals).

    Specialized Titanium Skewers

    Hutchinson Python Tubeless Ready 29x2.1 tires with plenty of life left

    Thomson Elite Seatpost and seat collar

    WTB Saddle

    Shimano PDM540 Clipless pedals

  14. #14
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    Thats a nice build! I have titanium skewers and they are scary light, and seems like it helped me shave a whole pound off the bike lol.

  15. #15
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    29er

    from my research the cobia is a nice bike, a step up from the mamba..

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