Advice to beginners looking for advice
This is a great forum and there are several knowledgeable posters that check in regularly and dole out sound advice, but I advise those of you looking for answers to use the many other more specific forums here on MTBR for answers. You are limiting the wealth of advice available by asking other beginners (and those few helpful veterans here) for purchasing/maintenance/technical advice.
On one level this makes sense, however it also makes sense that beginners will feel compelled to post here, after all this is the beginner's forum. Perhaps it would be similarly effective to post in the other forums looking for experienced folks willing to take a little time and look into the beginner's inquiries here.
I have noticed a lot of cross-pollination on these forums. It's not like 29er riders post or browse that forum exclusively, the same goes for the female forums and other ones i've looked at. Although there are plenty of us newbs posting here, there do seem to be a lot of knowledgable folks sharing their advice too. I think with specific technical topics you are probably right and posting in another forum could be more effective, but it seems like this one is the right place for the common 'looking for a new/first bike' threads. I could be wrong though!
I was just thinking about this yesterday. Although maybe more in a style guide kind of a way.
I think my favorite bad post is
I don't know what crank this guy has or why he's looking for a chainring, but I know he can't be bothered to use punctuation. Half the time, the real problem is that he doesn't know how to tune a front derailleur!
what chainring should i get
I think if people feel more comfortable posting here than over in drivetrain or whatever, wtf. Although when someone starts a post by saying
I think maybe that guy could post elsewhere.
I've been riding for fifteen years and wrenching on bikes for twelve, but I still feel like a noob.
So here are my two pieces of advice...
First, try to state the actual root problem. If you're looking for a chainring because your shifting blows, don't immediately leap to the chainring - tell us you're having trouble getting your front shifting to work nicely and you've tried a few things. If it's that you want to do a 1x system without a chain retention device, tell us that. Etc.
Second, if it's an equipment problem, tell us what's involved. Don't tell me it's a GT Aggressor. I'm not a bike catalog, GT's been making something called the "Aggressor" for over a decade, and most companies have several levels of components that ship on bikes with variations of the same name. The Specialized Rockhopper works its way from fairly disposable parts to fairly tuneable parts, and used to have some really nice specs at the top end before the Crave came out. It affects the answer. I have a different solution to tuning a Promax disc brake and an Avid BB7.
Ooh, and one last thing. Are you mountain biking? I don't want to know the name of the trail you ride. It doesn't mean anything to me. But I'll tell someone something different about setting up a bike to ride bike paths and roads vs. setting it up to ride trails that present a bike handling challenge. And it's not whether they'd challenge me. It's whether they're a challenge for the poster. We can all benefit from forks that track straight, it's not like someone has to earn the right to buy a functional mountain bike.
OK, end rant.
"Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx
That made me grin. =)
Online forums are interesting things, for sure. On this one sometimes fairly inane queries are met with polite and helpful advice, while other more thought out posts are rebutted with ire and hostility, with often no obvious reason. There was one of those today. I guess that's what you get when you put something out there in a public space. I learned years ago to try not to take it personally, but i'll admit that being slighted by some stranger on a forum isn't the best feeling, especially when you are just looking for some helpful advice or support.
All in all I like the diversity here, and have been really enjoying reading through many of the forums. There are some strong personalities, for sure, but the shared love of mountain biking really creates some kind of comradarie too.
It's interesting to see that the beginners forum here is one of the busier ones. I'm glad it's here, and have seen a lot of good direction given, and some lessons taught. Andrew is right, though, it is very good to be clear on what you are asking, otherwise there isn't much anyone here can say to help...
Even I post in here sometimes because I'm looking for a quick answer to something. I go though here and answer whatever questions I can, but i generally don't look at the specific brake or drivetrain forums much.
Sometimes people are way too vague, but that's because they're new. They don't know the details and don't know if they're important. I can't count how many times I've asked someone what bike or what derailleur... If in doubt post a few pics. They're free. People post pics like they cost money or something... A pic is worth... You know.
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There are quite a few knowledgeable posters here in the Beginner Forum. If they dont know the answer to the question off the top of their head, they can usually properly search the forum and point them in the right direction fairly quick.
Although, because beginners tend to ask the same type typical questions repeatedly, along with usually not providing the correct information to properly answer the question, I believe beginners should usually stick to posting questions in the beginner forum until they get an idea of how things work.. rather than other sections, or bumping a 10 year old thread...
While questions posted in other sections can be met with sarcasm and rudeness when its obvious the poster has no clue what theyre talking about.. its expected in the beginner forum, and people who post here usually take the steps to politely guide them in the right direction.
Put a mountain biker in a room with 2 bowling balls and we'll break one and lose the other - GelatiCruiser
I've been lurking around here for a few months and have noticed how often you reply with actual, helpful advice to questions that even I have seen asked multiple times, questions that have seemingly obvious answers, or (as you describe in your quoted post) spend 3 posts just figuring out what the OP is trying to ask.
Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
On many of the other forums I go to for whatever topic, when someone asks that forum's equivalent of mtbr's "what bike should I get?" they usually get a "this has been asked to death, use the search button" reply.
So from a n00b who still can't tell his ass from his elbow...thanks.
Here is advice for my fellow new mountain bikers, take classes. In an effort to get my wife into the sport (makes it easier to spend time doing it, and buying what I want if she too is involved) I signed us up for classes via our local REI store. I can say I am usually the type that wants to figure it out myself, but after that class I am a much better mountain biker ... by orders of magnatude. I am not great, merely barely proficient, however I know what I need to keep working on and what good looks and feels like. My wife and I will be taking more classes next year from our REI group as the have IMBA trained instructors and their class and curiculum seem solid.
My advice is find a local IMBA instructor, be it at REI or where ever and take a class.... then take others... look to the forums for good tips, but an instructor to make you a better rider.
Beginners often don't know much. They not even realize this. So its not surprising they may not provide enough information to enable others to help them with a problem. It is rare when too much information about a problem is given. More experienced bikers can sort out the irrelevancies.
If you can't describe the kind of riding you do and must give the name of a trail, at least give the city and state where it is. That way others may be able to find YouTube videos where we can get a sense of the trail.
Now for my pet peave: Don't ask which bike to get. Bikes by the major manufacturers are just about the same at a given price point. Bikes at a higher price point are better than ones at a lower one. The only exception is for very different bikes, e.g. hard tail versus FS.
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