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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    Advise - First Bike in a Long Time...Trek

    Hi, I've been looking around on this site for a while trying to gather info on what bike to purchase. I've been out of biking for 10+ yrs. I'm 35 yrs old and 6'1 205. I'm looking for a bike mainly for trail riding, nothing too crazy. My kids are starting to ride now and want to be able to get out there with them. I am partial to Trek as that's what I always rode back in the day. So the question is what bike to buy??? I'd like to stay in the $500-$700 range but still want a good quality bike that will serve me well for years to come and something that would be a good platform to upgrade in the future. I've gone to a few LBS to check out some bikes and really like the Trek X-Cal 6. Are there other Trek bikes I should be looking at in that price range? Also for size, I have gotten different opinions from LBS on whether I should buy a Lg or X-Lg frame (19'' 0r 21'') for someone 6'1 205. Any help would be appreciated. Thank You

  2. #2
    I'd rather be on my bike
    Reputation: TenSpeed's Avatar
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    What are you looking to upgrade? If you need to upgrade and you don't even have the bike yet, might not be the right bike for you. Buy once, cry once. Do it the first time, and don't look back.
    '13 FELT TK3 / '09 Jamis Sonik
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.
    2014 miles - 2746/2500

  3. #3
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    That model has workable components and a fork with rebound damping. You can ride many trails and develop your skill level.
    It will be ok for as long as you are satisfied. As things wear out you can upgrade.
    An alternative is to figure 1 or 2 seasons until you will want something more performance matched to where you are then.
    Save for that next bike instead of trying to make this one better.

    It can be upgraded.
    The fork steerer is straight and most better forks and bikes are tapered. But you can still find a decent fork for that bike.
    Hubs are 9mm QR front 135mm QR rear. 15mm thru-axle and 142 thru are on upper level bikes. Changeable endcaps on an upgrade wheelset could then fit on your next bike.

    Frame size is not standover but how you feel while riding with the cockpit space to start. Ride the sizes on the grass and in and out of ditches for info.

  4. #4
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    I'm 6'0", about 185LBs, and I got a Trek X-Caliber 9 a few months ago in 19.5" (large). Fits me pretty good. It was $1200, which is a little above your budget, but it might be worth it for better components.

  5. #5
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    Advise - First Bike in a Long Time...Trek

    Last year I was in the same spot as you. I bought the wrong bike and regretted it a year later. If you think your going to ride more aggressively with friends then leisure family rides my advice, don't buy a hard tail. Get a full suspension bike out of the gate. I was a Trek guy too but ended up buying a Giant Trance and sold my Trek x cal on Craig's list. Giant makes nice bikes with great speced components for the money.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the advise. I'm going to try to go to a few bike shops today and see what I can find. There are not a ton of bike shops in my area, so I'm somewhat limited on brands to choose from. Mostly Specialized, Trek, and Fuji.

    Is it better to buy from a small bike shop or a chain like Landry's in my area? I would think I'd get better service at a LBS and rather support them if possible.

    I could go up to about 1k with my budget, but thought it may make more sense to get an entry level bike (500-700) for now and if this hobby escalates, as they usually do, I could sell it in a year or two and get a higher end bike in the 1k-2k range.

    I'll see what I find at the shops today

  7. #7
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    I wouldn't get a bike expecting to make money on it. They never do. Especially bikes in the $500 area. Almost always you end up losing part of your ass on the resale of it. If you can afford to get the better bike now, get it.
    '13 FELT TK3 / '09 Jamis Sonik
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.
    2014 miles - 2746/2500

  8. #8
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    Hi, I am 6'2" 220 and I owned a trek x caliber a few years ago it was 21 size tried both sizes in the parking lot went 21 felt better to me ran a 60 mm stem and loved that bike wish I held on to it. I got into biking 5 years ago now and started with a 500$ Rocky mountain rode the snot out of it for a year then upgraded to x caliber rode for 2 seasons, but moved on to FS and sold it. I have had 5 bikes in 6 years and will probably sell my current and try something new in a couple years and finally get higher spec bike with no reason to upgrade.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockymtnhi View Post
    Last year I was in the same spot as you. I bought the wrong bike and regretted it a year later. If you think your going to ride more aggressively with friends then leisure family rides my advice, don't buy a hard tail. Get a full suspension bike out of the gate. I was a Trek guy too but ended up buying a Giant Trance and sold my Trek x cal on Craig's list. Giant makes nice bikes with great speced components for the money.
    Good advice, but if your budget is 1k you won't be able to get a decent full suspension bike for that price, so don't bother. Extend your budget another 500 and you may be able to get something decent on clearance from one of the online places. I got a killer deal on mine that way.

    Ditto on Giant bikes. I have been looking at Giants lately, and they seem to have great value for the money. i think part of that comes from the fact that Giant is one of the few bike makers that actually builds their own frames. Most other bike companies only design thier frames then farm out the mfg process. Chances are if you buy a Trek, Specialized, etc, it will be made by Giant anyway.

    I love my Salsa, but I'm already thinking a 27.5 Giant Trance will be my next MTB. I've already decided on a Giant Defy as my next road bike.

    And whatever bike you buy then sell later on, just realize that you'll be lucky to get 50% of what you originally paid. That few extra hundred now for the next model up is usually money well spent.
    '13 Salsa Horsethief 2
    '12 Trek 6000
    '11 Ridley X-Ride

  10. #10
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    Any bike can be upgraded, and if that's part of what you want from your ownership of this bike, it almost doesn't matter what comes on it. Or you might consider something relatively inexpensive but sticking a "real" fork on it at time of purchase.

    Start with a frame you'll be content with keeping long-term. Nothing wrong with the X-Cal if you want a XC hardtail.

    Look at some other brands too. The new Specialized Pitch starts at $560. Why spend an extra $200 if you're going to throw everything away over time anyway? The Giant Talon starts at $575. Or you could really commit and do bikesdirect. They have front suspension disc brake bikes with rear wheels with freehubs starting at about $300. I think there's some real value-added to test riding, but the parts that come on a bike to begin with are only as valuable as how long you keep them.

    I'm trying to avoid the "upgrade everything" model with my current bike, and it's actually working really well. But my upgradeitis Hardrock eventually became a pretty reliable bike and I still ride it at least once most weeks. And the new bike isn't mine the way the Hardrock is - it's very similar to every other '13 Kona Hei Hei DL, and some of the choices in the spec aren't choices I'd make if I gave myself the opportunity.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    I went to three different bike shops today to see what they had. All of them happened to had 90% Specialized and Trek. None of them had what I was looking for, maybe it's because of the turnover from 2014-2015 model year bikes. Their stock was limited. I don't mind ordering the bike, but I'd like to be able to test ride a couple before pulling the trigger. There is another shop a bit further away that I will try, they're supposed to have more inventory.
    I was looking for the Trek X-Cal 6, 7, or 8 and other comparable Specialized (hardrock and pitch). Bases on the specs, the x-cal 7 seems like a good compromise of price and performance. Hopefully I can take some for a test ride when I go to the other shop on Tuesday.

    As I'm just getting back into it, I think a hardtail in that price range will serve me well to get going. I don't mind selling it in a year or to for $350 and getting the "right" bike that will fit my needs once I've advanced a bit and know what I want out of a bike.

  12. #12
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    Advise - First Bike in a Long Time...Trek

    Good luck finding something! I sold my old Trek this weekend on Craigs list for about 300 less than I paid for it 13 months ago.

  13. #13
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    I went to another LBS today that had a better selection. I was able to ride the Trek x-cal 6, 7, and 8 as well as two other brands. I liked the feel of the x-cal over the other bikes. So then it was just a matter of which one the get.
    I ended up buying the 2015 X-Cal 7 (19.5"). It seemed like the best compromise of components and price that fit my needs. It was dark by the time I got home, but still took it for a few laps around the backyard. I should be able to get out this weekend to get some dirt on it.
    The only thing I'd like to change right away is the pedals. Need to find some good studded platforms. Other than that, I really like the bike, can't wait to get out on it!

  14. #14
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