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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    Another NOOB, more dumb questions

    Hi all,
    I'm looking to buy a bike for a few reasons. Mostly probably cruising around the neighborhood, campgrounds, some "off-road" but (at least for now) no technical hard-core type trails. FWIW my last bike was a full suspension Pacific I bought at Toys-R-Us around 2001 and never had a real problem with it, but left it with a friend in college and now it's 500 miles away and not worth the gas $ to go get it.

    I started out looking at Wal-Mart FS bikes, but a big problem I have is that I'm 5'6" and the big box stores don't seem to have smaller frame sizes so I end up on my tippy toes. I got to reading online and saw a lot of info that has convinced me to look for a bit nicer, but hardtail, bike.

    I have a strict limit of about $300 (in addition to the bike I will also need to acquire a "swing away" type bike rack), which pretty much rules out anything new from a bike shop. I would like to have something that's stout enough that I could at least try some trails and see if it's something I want to invest more in when some $ frees up.

    Browsing Craigslist I came across a ~2009 Trek 3900 listed at $175. Owner still has the user manual and purchase receipt, I am going to look at it in person tomorrow. It's a 16" frame which is what Trek recommends for my height, and looks to be in decent shape from the pictures.

    I'm hoping (if everything looks good) to get it for about $160, which will give me a good cushion below my $300 budget to do some upgrades or repair if needed.

    Does that seem like a reasonable price for the bike, and a decent plan? From what I've read on here the 3900 has a good frame but some troublesome components so I could see if I have any problems and have some $ to upgrade where if I spend $300 on a Wal-Mart bike then I'm stuck with junk until I save up more.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    The trek is an entry level bike but is still far better than the walmart bikes. It is also very important to get a bike that fits you well.

    If you are looking to get into the sport for cheap that trek is a good way to go.

  3. #3
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    Thanks,

    Does $160-175 seem reasonable if it is in decent condition? It also has a kickstand and back rack which are both things I would like to have.

    Are there better options out there on a $300 budget?

    It looks like this would have been in the $500 range new? Seems the 3900 isn't around anymore, but the 3500 without disc brakes is $430 msrp..

  4. #4
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    Get the Trek for $150. Happy riding...
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  5. #5
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    It's reasonable.

  6. #6
    Mountain Biking Madman
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    The trek would be a good bike for getting your feet wet into biking.I would offer 150 or maybe even a little less.And as you said you have a little wiggle room for maintenance or repairs.But no matter what price you can get one for make sure that it fits right and you are comfortable and that you enjoy the bike.

  7. #7
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    Well she's cozy in my garage now. Did $160. It has the bontrager back rack, kick stand and bottle cage, which would have cost me about $60 on a new bike and all things I would have added to another bike.

    Frame looks like new. Shifter/derailleurs need adjustment but that doesn't look too difficult. To up shift the rear I have to hit it twice, and then it jumps 2 cogs.

    Was a high school kid who had played with it a little then lost interest, and now decided he wanted the $.

    Thanks for the advice, I think this will be perfect to get me started and see if I want something more serious or just stick withi this one for casual riding.

  8. #8
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by mackguy View Post
    Well she's cozy in my garage now. Did $160. It has the bontrager back rack, kick stand and bottle cage, which would have cost me about $60 on a new bike and all things I would have added to another bike.

    Frame looks like new. Shifter/derailleurs need adjustment but that doesn't look too difficult. To up shift the rear I have to hit it twice, and then it jumps 2 cogs.

    Was a high school kid who had played with it a little then lost interest, and now decided he wanted the $.

    Thanks for the advice, I think this will be perfect to get me started and see if I want something more serious or just stick withi this one for casual riding.
    Hey....not so soon. Let's see some pics of your new bike! How 'bout it?
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  9. #9
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    I will try to get some pics up soon. On my iPad now and not sure how to do it from here. Went on a mini shopping spree today, got a trek water bottle, frame mounted air pump, new grips (original were dirty and sticky), etc... Now I just need it to stop raining!

  10. #10
    help with the zip please
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    please make sure you get yourself a helmet out of the $140 you have left. Good buy, enjoy your riding.

  11. #11
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    Sounds to me like you got your moneys worth. Emu26 is right make sure to buy a helmet I find that specialized makes some very nice universal fit helmets that can fit your budget they are common place and can be found at any fine dealer.
    If you decide to get into some more serious riding you may want to consider buying a new fork (front shock) I am not sure what size would work for that bike but any dealer should be abel to tell you very simply I would say at least a 150mm shock will coverall of your riding needs just be sure that the type of shock will be compatible with your bike. I would recommend fox racing shocks.
    As for the frame stick with it. Th frame itself should be more than capable of handling anything you throw at it. As for shifters and derailers if you want to upgrade Sham excellent products otherwise check out the Shimano catalogue. Stay safe happy riding, and I hope this helped!
    "If you have built castles in the air, that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them."
    -Thoreau

  12. #12
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    pics as requested. Another NOOB, more dumb questions-imag0512.jpgAnother NOOB, more dumb questions-imag0514.jpg

  13. #13
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    Re: Another NOOB, more dumb questions

    If you plan on riding trail ditch the kick stand. One less thing to get caught and/or hurt you. Congrats and have fun!
    Here is the thing about equality, everyone's equal when they're dead. - Gavroche, Les MisÚrables

  14. #14
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    definitely a good buy!

  15. #15
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    seconded on the kick stand. if you are going to ride mtb trails, lose the kickstand and the rear rack. I also recommend some grippier, stickier pedals. riding trails with pedals that allow your shoes to easily and unexpectedly slip off is really scary.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigkat273 View Post
    If you plan on riding trail ditch the kick stand. One less thing to get caught and/or hurt you. Congrats and have fun!
    Trails will be something to work up to... been about 10 years since I've been on a bike, and just a mile on pavement yesterday killed my legs (granted I was still recovering from squats at the gym for the first time in 2 weeks) but I will keep that in mind if it ever becomes a problem.

    New pedals may be down the road as well, or I had thought of using some grip tape as a stop-gap. but for now just need to get my legs back into biking shape!

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