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 17 of 17
  1. #1
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    Beginner Cheat Sheet?

    Hey,

    New to MTB, or at least I would like to get more into it. I have raced tri's for a few years and would also like to do some of the other trail races out there (XTERRA). In addition to my TT bike I have a Trek 4300 MTB that is about 10-12 years old. Not much trail riding on it, was used mainly while living in Chicago during my single days.

    I was curious if some folks could point me in the right direction in terms of just starting out. Websites, links, how to, what bike to buy, etc. resources. My goal would be first to get a bike that I can trails while I am learning the nuances of MTB vs Road/TT. I am not a gear head but I have been able to navigate a couple of different purchases road /TT bikes, so I am not completely ignorant in the ways of bikes. After I gain some comfort/confidence in MTB riding, I would like to do some of the trail tris around the country.

    I also plan on heading into my local LBS, but I always feel bad getting all of my info from them, then buying used on CL or some other online classified forum.

    Thanks in advance for any feedback.

  2. #2
    o<o NYC pebble jumper!
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    If you already have the Trek, take that out and go on your local trails. See if it is something you enjoy. Even an old Trek would be fine enough to take out on XC trails.
    I would say that probably the only two things you may want to do initially is make sure that the bike is in working condition. Do a tune up on the bike, replace any cables, brake pads, tires that may have gone bad since the bike was sitting around.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by skene View Post
    If you already have the Trek, take that out and go on your local trails. See if it is something you enjoy. Even an old Trek would be fine enough to take out on XC trails.
    I would say that probably the only two things you may want to do initially is make sure that the bike is in working condition. Do a tune up on the bike, replace any cables, brake pads, tires that may have gone bad since the bike was sitting around.
    Yeah, my bike is still in good working condition, as I have maintained it even though I do more road/TT riding. I take it out on some local Chicago area paths from time to time, but haven't taken it out on the single track areas since I got it some years ago. Ideally fine tuning my current bike would be great, as this will put less of a dent in the wallet. But I do like new toys and I imagine pretty soon I'll get the itch to upgrade.

  4. #4
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    You tube has videos on riding skills ,maintance Park tools has stuff, mountain bike mags have online issues.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by skene View Post
    If you already have the Trek, take that out and go on your local trails. See if it is something you enjoy. Even an old Trek would be fine enough to take out on XC trails.
    I would say that probably the only two things you may want to do initially is make sure that the bike is in working condition. Do a tune up on the bike, replace any cables, brake pads, tires that may have gone bad since the bike was sitting around.
    Other than replacing/servicing any of the above, is there anything else that I can upgrade or change on it that would improve the ride? Understanding that getting out and riding is the number one priority, but just thinking ahead to immediate upgrades/modifications that may be necessary. Everything is as it was when purchased in 2002-2003'ish, aside from tires/tubes which have been replaced a few times.

  6. #6
    T.W.O.
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    There are some good info here http://forums.mtbr.com/groups/t-w-o-two-wheel-offroad/, may be it could help you.

  7. #7
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    Even an old Trek would be fine enough to take out on XC trails.

  8. #8
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Do you want to finish an XTERRA, or compete in one?

    Regardless, dusting off the existing bike would be a good start. Don't throw any money at it if you'll be getting another racing bike anyway.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Do you want to finish an XTERRA, or compete in one?

    Regardless, dusting off the existing bike would be a good start. Don't throw any money at it if you'll be getting another racing bike anyway.
    Learning the sport and finishing would probably be the initial goal, but as with anything else, once you do something, you'd like to do it faster. Regardless of what the article "the slowest generation" says. I'm defintely going to start with my old bike, then doing some research/checking out some bikes this winter if I really enjoy it. I will almost certainly try and buy used and/or piece any bike together as this may save me some money.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by seanlove22 View Post
    Learning the sport and finishing would probably be the initial goal, but as with anything else, once you do something, you'd like to do it faster. Regardless of what the article "the slowest generation" says. I'm defintely going to start with my old bike, then doing some research/checking out some bikes this winter if I really enjoy it. I will almost certainly try and buy used and/or piece any bike together as this may save me some money.
    I ride my early 2000s (can't remember) Trek 4900 3 times a week. Still have fun with it although I have bought the bike over with repairs at LBS. Wife finally agreed to a new bike, I am sticking with trek but still plenty of great choices jus tin the Trek line.

  11. #11
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    You can learn a lot at a demo day riding different bikes on trails.
    Trek has two coming up 10/19-20 10-3pm near Rockford about 70 miles from you.
    On Saturday it starts at the bike shop and you can ride on a bike path 2 mies to Rock Cut Park for trails.
    On Sunday everything will be set up at the park.
    You can use up 5 hours or more having fun checking out different bikes. I can recommend the Superfly 9.8 carbon(9.6 has the same frame). You will probably get a coupon for participating.

    Rockford, Il. Demo
    2013/10/20 @ 10:00AM 3:00PM
    Loves Park, IL 61111, Illinois
    Rock Cut State Park
    7318 Harlem Road
    Loves Park, IL 61111

    Event Description
    Your Rockford area Trek, Gary Fisher Collection and Bontrager dealers will be the host of this demo at Rock Cut State Park. Stop by and check out whats new for 2014.

    Rock Cut State Park Mountain Bike Trail in Rockford, Illinois || SINGLETRACKS.COM

  12. #12
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by seanlove22 View Post
    Learning the sport and finishing would probably be the initial goal, but as with anything else, once you do something, you'd like to do it faster. Regardless of what the article "the slowest generation" says. I'm defintely going to start with my old bike, then doing some research/checking out some bikes this winter if I really enjoy it. I will almost certainly try and buy used and/or piece any bike together as this may save me some money.
    I dunno... I did a road duathlon a several weeks ago. I ended up deciding that they're a distraction from my other disciplines and I don't want to spend the money on a TT bike.

    Anyway, sounds like you're on the right track sticking with the existing bike for now. Check out some straight mountain bike racing too. And road, if you have a massed start bike. There's nothing quite like massed start bike racing.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
    Bellydraft
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    When I lived in Chicago, I used to ride at Palos, on the South Side, every chance I got. I was totally new and didn't have an awesome bike,nor awesome skills and fitness. I, in fact,recall very clearly stopping at the top of the very first climb to throw up. I met so many awesome people there and wound up being taught how to do what I needed to do to really grow to love mtb riding,and now racing. My one suggestion is to get a nice,lightish set of modern tires,go tubeless,and just ride. If u like people,mtb is the way to go. Chicago area bikers (CAMBR is one club I'm recalling) are awesome. Some of my best cycling memories are from up there.
    This may hurt a little..

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    You can learn a lot at a demo day riding different bikes on trails.
    Trek has two coming up 10/19-20 10-3pm near Rockford about 70 miles from you.
    On Saturday it starts at the bike shop and you can ride on a bike path 2 mies to Rock Cut Park for trails.
    On Sunday everything will be set up at the park.
    You can use up 5 hours or more having fun checking out different bikes. I can recommend the Superfly 9.8 carbon(9.6 has the same frame). You will probably get a coupon for participating.

    Rockford, Il. Demo
    2013/10/20 @ 10:00AM 3:00PM
    Loves Park, IL 61111, Illinois
    Rock Cut State Park
    7318 Harlem Road
    Loves Park, IL 61111

    Event Description
    Your Rockford area Trek, Gary Fisher Collection and Bontrager dealers will be the host of this demo at Rock Cut State Park. Stop by and check out whats new for 2014.

    Rock Cut State Park Mountain Bike Trail in Rockford, Illinois || SINGLETRACKS.COM

    Thanks! I will try and make it out to that.

  15. #15
    T.W.O.
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    Beginner Cheat Sheet?

    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    You can learn a lot at a demo day riding different bikes on trails.
    Trek has two coming up 10/19-20 10-3pm near Rockford about 70 miles from you.
    On Saturday it starts at the bike shop and you can ride on a bike path 2 mies to Rock Cut Park for trails.
    On Sunday everything will be set up at the park.
    You can use up 5 hours or more having fun checking out different bikes. I can recommend the Superfly 9.8 carbon(9.6 has the same frame). You will probably get a coupon for participating.

    Rockford, Il. Demo
    2013/10/20 @ 10:00AM 3:00PM
    Loves Park, IL 61111, Illinois
    Rock Cut State Park
    7318 Harlem Road
    Loves Park, IL 61111

    Event Description
    Your Rockford area Trek, Gary Fisher Collection and Bontrager dealers will be the host of this demo at Rock Cut State Park. Stop by and check out whats new for 2014.

    Rock Cut State Park Mountain Bike Trail in Rockford, Illinois || SINGLETRACKS.COM
    You are awesome, wish I could rep you again.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

  16. #16
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    I'd start the mtb you already have. Here's a link to get pricing and with tier list for components
    Newbie - Used bikes

    first question, FS or HT. If you gonna race XC, HT would be better. They are lighter, cheaper, and most XC race courses are super tame and can be done on rigid cyclocross bikes.

    If you riding more gnarly rooty bumpy terrain, FS might be for you. Would definitely try some of your local riding with your current bike.
    Last edited by bob13bob; 09-22-2013 at 04:14 PM.

  17. #17
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob13bob View Post
    first question, FS or HT. If you gonna race XC, HT would be better. They are lighter, cheaper, and most XC race courses are super tame and can be done on rigid cyclocross bikes.
    I don't necessarily agree with either of these statements. I don't know what the organizers in your region have on tap, but there's a lot of variety around here. One finds oneself climbing root beds, doing technical descents, manualing off of ledges, all the usual stuff that goes into MTB. It's not like there are special lame trails reserved for XC racing - courses are pretty representative of the region.

    Plenty of fast riders are on FS bikes. I still see them as more of a Masters' class choice, but I've been pleasantly surprised by mine - I'll be racing on it in about two weeks unless it pours and I want the tires that are on my old bike.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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