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.
Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
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    ANOTHER First bike Thread!!!!

    Besides riding when I was a kid, I have NO experience with bikes. I was looking at getting a 13 Trek Mamba at LBS. I don't quite know what I love about it because I am an idiot to MTB. What I do know is that it looks great, The colors pop, it is under $1k, and there have been good reviews.

    So tell me, great first bike? or am I missing something?

  2. #2
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    It makes a good bike to develop skills on for a couple seasons.

  3. #3
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    I know for sure I wouldn't have spent that much on my first mountain bike, but hey, if you've got the money, why not?

  4. #4
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    If you are set on a Trek the 4700 is similarly equipped but has 26" wheels. It also has a better drivetrain and is within $100. If you weigh over 180 you won't be getting the best out of the forks on either of them. Of course if I hadn't told you that you might not ever notice. The most important thing is to test ride a few and see what fits best for you. The Mamba is a good bike though and is beyond what a lot of people start with. I, like many others, only spent around 5-600 on the first one.

  5. #5
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    The RockShox XC32 on the Mamba is a good quality coil fork with adjustable rebound damping which will hold up to riding difficult trails and 32mm stantions are not flexy. If you are outside of the design weight, either lighter or heavier a different coil spring can be swapped in. The exploded view on Sram's site gives the part number. If you are real heavy you will need an air fork.
    The Suntour XCR on the 4700 is a low level fork without adjustable rebound damping(pogo) designed for bike paths and easy trails. It can be upgraded to an air Raidon fork for 175 from Nick at Suntour or a 1.5lb lighter RS Recon Gold from Random Bike Parts for 240.
    There is no reason to get a 4700 especially when you will need to spend more immediately.
    Spend less on this bike--it will need the above fork upgrade. The total is still lower 690 with the Gold.
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Gravity 29Point1 29er Mountain Bikes

  6. #6
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    ANOTHER First bike Thread!!!!

    The rockshox xc32 is on my girlfriends built and it is actually not that bad of a fork. It performs way better than I ha anticipated.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for all of the responses. I am a bit overweight at 5'9 210, but I hope to be shedding a few of those lbs off soon! I appreciate the advise on the forks especially. Being uneducated about mtb's, you have given me some great ideas and first upgrade hints. Maybe I will grab that gravity 29'r as it's not nearly as expensive to get involved in the sport and see what I really like about the bike and what I don't like, then, upgrade when I REALLY know what I want.

    Once again I appreciate all the opinions and advice and will update the thread when I receive it, ride it a few times and even give an uneducated review.

  8. #8
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    ANOTHER First bike Thread!!!!

    To the OP... I started out riding at 5' 9" and about 170 lbs, on a cheap ole Walmart 26" Mongoose. Ride the crap out of that bike for a couple months trying to figure out the whole MTB thing. Ended up buying a '13 Mamba (17.5" frame) after looking at the Trek Wahoo and Marlin models. The Mamba just ended up in the sweet spot of my budget, but with decent starter-level components. Knew I needed more than a Suntour lower level fork for the trails I already frequented and the ones I hoped to be riding in the near future.

    A Cobia would've been nice, but I'd already boosted my budget from Wahoo dollars up to the Mamba cost and hit my limit. Gotta say that I've thoroughly enjoyed my Mamba for the last 9 months. The XC32 fork has held up extremely well for me, and I've worked it fairly hard out on the trails. The lockout and rebound dampening features cannot be overlooked if you're interested in any trails beyond the smooth, well-groomed type dirt paths. The frame's been rock solid so far and while the components are far from high-end, I'd consider them more intermediate-level than starter-level. If you're just starting out and not really looking to get into racing, Downhill or All-Mountain, then I think the Mamba still gives you room to grow while improving your skills.

    I ended up buying a 2nd bike last year as well (a full-suspension 29er), but still love riding my Mamba!

  9. #9
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    Thanks Hawk. Until I get my feet wet, I'll be frequenting the paved bike trails and low intensity single tracks that are around my area. I won't be doing any hardcore biking until I can drop a few pounds and I feel REALLY comfortable on my bike.

    I ended up getting the Gravity 29 point 1. Since I'm pretty much brand new to mtb I thought that it was a fairly comfortable price for me to pay to get a feel for the sport. I'm sure the fork will probably be the first thing I replace once I have been riding for a few months and actually know what I'm doing out there! I don't want to buy a new fork now if I'm going to be losing a bunch of weight soon so I will probably hold off on that for a little bit. Like I said I won't really be doing too much hardcore riding.

    I'm like a kid on christmas eve. I can't wait for this bike to get here, I've been looking up trails, walked a few of them to see what they were like. Fantasizing about how they would feel on my new 29'r. I really think I'm going to develop a passion for this sport. I don't even have my bike yet and I'm already obsessed. I won't really know what parts to upgrade first obviously, as I have no prior knowledge with mtb's. I suppose I can ride it for a while and then come back on the forum's and describe what I like and what I don't like about the bike and hopefully one of you fine gentlemen will help me with some upgrade info I'm so stoked!!

  10. #10
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    get an airborne Airborne Bicycles. Goblin
    $1200 shipped I believe. higher end components everywhere. much better and lighter fork.

    or buy used.

  11. #11
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    *******UPDATE*******

    I ended up going for the gravity 29.1. It's a great entry level bike if nothing more than for the affordability of it. I stopped by my LBS for some tools and accessories (camelback, tire pump, helmet, various tools) and boy, am I glad I did. I ordered the $30 tool kit from bd.com but it didn't show up when my bike did (10 am this morning) maybe it will be in the mail tomorrow? Either way that was pretty annoying. The bike came assembled except for the tires, seat post, handlebars, and the front disc brake tubing (not sure what else to call it) needed to be connected to the handlebars.

    I'm not bike savvy at all, but I am of an above average intellect. Once again, thank god because the 2 disc instructions on how to assemble the bike, and calibrate the disc brakes as well as fine tuning everything, didn't come with my bike either... I'm a little pissed about that, but what can ya do, it was an online bike. It took about 3 hours, but I was able to fully assemble the bike and did a lot of fine tuning.

    At first when I put everything together the discs were rubbing on the brake pads so much that the tire wouldn't even make 2 full revolutions if I spun it with average force. Also after I bleeded the brakes I had to adjust the brake lines so it was right in that sweet spot. A couple of good youtube videos led me through some of it (adjusting the pad location so the disc wasn't constantly rubbing against them wasn't anywhere I looked so I did that myself.) Anyway it wasn't too much of a hassle and now i have a glorious bike sitting in my garage!

    It's a bit cold and wet out so I probably won't be making my maiden voyage today (I ran it around the block once to make sure everything was kosher and the seat and handlebars positions were to my liking) but I'll definitely be taking it out tomorrow as it's suppose to be in the lower 60's.

    I'll update the thread then. To all the nooblettes, like myself, if you have any reservations about buying online, just make sure that you go to the lbs and find the right size for you by testing a few 29's out and also asking the staff. When I first walked into the bike shop the guy kind of greeted me coldly because my first sentence was "I bought a bike off the internet last week" but once he realized I would be dropping about $400 there today and I will definitely be back he was more responsive, and had a lot of great tips and ideas.

    It can be a pain to fine tune everything and put it together the first time, BUT, you will have to end up learning how to do that anyway unless you want to take your bike to the shop every other month.

    Overall I am very happy with my purchase and my bike. I'll update this tomorrow after I have it on a few trails!

  12. #12
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    So, I simply couldn't help myself and I ended up taking it out for a little 4 mile run out to the golf course and back.

    First Impressions: I am out of shape!!! holy smokes, it was less than 4 miles with very little hills and my quads are SCREAMING!!! If I had any doubts about getting in tip top shape with only a mountain bike before, they are completely gone now. I am very much looking forward to my new love affair (sorry honey).

    The seat was very hard and I noticed it more and more the longer I rode. It got to the point where I didn't even want to sit back down on that thing. I think that will definitely be my first upgrade. My ass is probably going to have bruises, I didn't even know that was possible.

    The bike seemed to respond very well, I didn't move the chain at all in the front cog and only messed around with the rear gear. Very crisp shifts from low to high. I've had mountain bikes before that simply didn't like to go from small cog to big cog, this was a nice surprise that I'm sure is pretty standard on almost all shift kits. So far the Shimano derailers have been amazing. I love the Shimano Alivio trigger shift concept. That is probably my favorite thing about the bike so far.

    I was only on paved roads/trails so I have no opinion about the Suntour XCT V3 MLO fork. I forgot to use the lockout feature to see what kind of difference that made while riding on easy ground.

    The brakes need re-adjusted again. At the end of my ride I was clamping down on them as far as they could go and was still slow to stop. I hope I don't have to do that after every ride.

    After the ride I found that I am somewhat uncomfortable with the handlebars in general. I'm not sure if I want them to be longer, or thicker. I remember reading on mtbr that a lot of people changed out the handlebars on the gravity models. I may be doing that as soon as next week after I do some more research.

    The tires and rims seemed to be fine, however, I didn't really need to dig into anything because I didn't try any crazy steep slopes.

    My first real ride on a 29'r and I can't get over how much momentum those bikes have once you get them rolling. I did find that the weight of the bike was a little bit of a problem for me. But I attribute that to being out of shape and not riding a bike in over 10 years more than the weight of the actual bike.

    I'm not sure if I will be going out tomorrow after all, I'm sure my quads are going to be unhappy after I put them through that shock. I can't wait to get a few weeks on the bike so I can fully utilize it's capabilities and use it the way it was meant to be used, to bike on single track, climb, and free ride. I seriously couldn't be happier with how my first mtb experience turned out. I have the confidence of being able to fix 99% of what goes wrong on my bike after only having it for a day, and I've made great connections at my LBS and hope to get more involved with this wonderful sport.

    Thank you all who have responded to me in pm's and in this thread.


  13. #13
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    Nothing better than a new bike.
    Good move doing your own tuning. No on trail service.
    You need to ride a few times to get toughened up. It happens to everyone. A new saddle will not usually help.
    Specialized has a pad to sit on to get the impression of your sit bones. The measurement helps determine the correct seat width.
    Brakes need to be bedded in. 10-15 almost stops at the bottom of a hill for speed will deposit brake pad material on the rotors to give you good stopping power. Should be dry out.
    Eat some complex carbs/protein before a ride to fuel up. Hydrate.

  14. #14
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    If you aren't currently a cyclist I'd probably suggest a road bike over a tri bike. Not saying you can't start on a tri bike (I did) but a roadie will give you a lot more options down the road. You can always throw some shorty aerobars on it later if you want to get in a more aero position for your half.

    As far as the Cdale 2000... you are probably talking about a 10-12 year old bike. It's also on 650c wheels instead of 700's. Neither of those has to be a dealbreaker, but 650's are basically forgotten technology these days (tires/tubes/wheels/etc will be a bit harder to find)

  15. #15
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    Thank you eb!!! I didn't realize you had to bed the brakes in. It makes sense because they are disc brakes, but I thought that method was only used on cars. The stopping power is a lot better now after I rode on it this morning. My ass HURTS! Holy smokes!! I'm going to go ahead and follow your advice and just tough it out rather then buying a new saddle.

    The chain seems to be a bit loose, I'm not sure if it actually is or not, but there is a lot of give on the chain and it isn't stressed hardly at all. It's not bending down due to gravity, but it does seem pretty loose. Is that normal or should I take a few links out?

    EDIT: Went back through the thread and read your first reply eb. I don't know if I want to spend half the cost of the bike on the RS Gold fork. The one I have now has a damper, and it has the lockout feature. Maybe a couple months down the road when I'm actually doing trails that will require a decent fork. The end game here is to get pretty good on the starter bike I have now and then upgrade to a TI Frame that will be 10 lbs lighter than the one I have. I expect this process to take about 18 months and I can't really justify spending 250 on the fork when that money could eventually go towards my TI bike. Thank you for the idea though and I will monitor my fork more closely to see if it would be worth it to upgrade now.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antomine View Post
    I don't know if I want to spend half the cost of the bike on the RS Gold fork. The one I have now has a damper, and it has the lockout feature. Maybe a couple months down the road when I'm actually doing trails that will require a decent fork. The end game here is to get pretty good on the starter bike I have now and then upgrade to a TI Frame that will be 10 lbs lighter than the one I have. I expect this process to take about 18 months and I can't really justify spending 250 on the fork when that money could eventually go towards my TI bike. Thank you for the idea though and I will monitor my fork more closely to see if it would be worth it to upgrade now.
    Your fork is adequate for a certain level of riding for sure. Upgrades only if needed.
    It's good to plan for future bike purchases so not to waste money. A used Recon Gold when you decide to move to ti could go for 150 easy to someone with an entry bike. Leave an inch or so extra when cutting it for mounting as shown in the YouTube video if you get an upgrade fork.
    An upgrade will come into play when you start riding faster more technical trails with bumps, rocks and roots. And that depends on what is in your location. Check with your LBS fortheir favorites. Looks like Kickapoo has something. Here's a review---

    "Considering this trail is found in flat Central Illinois, it is a pleasant surprise! There has been some considerable expansion done since the last review. It appears that there are at least 3 more trails and several more miles of single track available now (Oct. 2000). Now, I know this isn't Moab, but it's nice to know there is a fun and somewhat challenging ride close by. There are several challenging descents into ravines...creek crossings, and some fairly intense technical climbs. Hats off to the Kickapoo Mountain Bike club for some very hard work putting this trail together. If you don't plan to fly west with your bike anytime soon...this ride is worth your time.

    Read more at Trails.com: Kickapoo State Park | Danville Illinois Mountain Bike Trails | Trails.com Kickapoo State Park | Danville Illinois Mountain Bike Trails | Trails.com

    Check your chain length on the largest front and rear cogs. If their is some slack count the links. Use the Javascript or Park's Tool info to check your length. You need a hardened pin chain break to remove a pin and a missing link in best to put it back together. For 9sp I like the Sram link for ease of use. The chain comes with good lube from the manufacturer. I'd just wipe with a dry cloth the outside plates and not use soap or thinner on it. The important lube spots are pins inside rollers/plates and it's difficult to get lube in there. That is the spot that grooves and the groove makes the chain dimension lengthen.
    Last edited by eb1888; 04-26-2013 at 03:50 AM.

  17. #17
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    Thanks again eb. I've been looking at heading over to Kickapoo before I even got my bike lol. I'm pretty damn raw however, so it will probably be at least a month before I can build up the stamina and get reacquainted with my mtb. I've only rode once since I got it because my ass hurts so damn much. Really appreciate the advise on the chain length, I'll check on that tomorrow.

  18. #18
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    Enjoy the bike! It's good to see another Illini on here as well.

  19. #19
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    Just a little update, I've been riding on paved trails/roads for the last three weeks to get myself used to biking again. At one point I was considering if I had bought the wrong bike because I enjoyed road biking so much. That thought was put to rest yesterday as I took it off the comfortable paved surfaces that I was used to and put it through an off road test.

    I am so happy I went with a 29'r mtb. I biked more miles yesterday (13) than I had done previously, and most of those miles were off the trails. Almost all of my previous rides had only taken about 30 minutes, but I was out for about 3 hours yesterday exploring every little bike, pedestrian, and even animal single track trails. There were a few I came up on that looked really difficult with big drop offs and extremely steep slopes that I decided to wait a little bit before I attempted them. But for the most part I became immersed in my surroundings and talked with several people along the way. I even saw a couple that I had screamed at about 2 weeks ago (another thread) and we are all friends now .

    I just want to say that I'm extremely happy with my purchase, and for those that are looking for an entry level mountain bike and don't want to shell out 1k+, you really can't go wrong with bd.com. One of the best things about getting a bd bike is that it forces you to work on it and adjust disc brakes and fine tune derailers so you know how to do that stuff in the future. Very happy bd.com customer, but I think my next bike will be bought from my lbs because of the many benefits of having an LBS bike. I just didn't want to shell out the outrageous cash up front as I didn't even know if I would really take to the sport. Anyway, happy riding!

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