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.
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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
    w00tmaster
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    New question here. Beginner/Intermediate Bike Sugestions (what to get)

    Hey all. Just wanted to take a few and introduce myself and ask a few questions.

    I'm Chris, have been biking since I was a kid, broke my first bone (left clavicle) at the ripe age of 13 on my dads old 10 speed. I didn't start getting heavily into biking until about 2004/2005. I had a cheap walmart bike, but quickly inherited my older brothers Trek Mountain bike in 2005(I forget the model), but It had no suspension. I traded that in after that year, for the Bike I own now, a Trek 3900 without disc breaks.

    It has served its purpose, and done it well. I'm not amazing with fixing bikes, but I've replaced the wheels 2x, gone through about 8 pairs of tires, dozens of breaks, replaced break wires, but luckily never had to replace much more than that.

    As far as HOW I ride, the first few years, I rode only about 400 miles per year, 80% road, 20% beginner single/doubletrack.

    the last, I want to say, 4 years, I put at least 1000 miles on the bike, the first 3 of those years, was about 60% road, and 40% beginner-intermediate single/doubletrack, and a lot of high-power line trails. the last year, I started doing harder more technical tracks with narrow crossings, etc. about 40% road and 60% off-road.

    My Trek is getting old guys. I need full suspension. After looking around at a lot of the threads here, and a lot of the websites everyone suggests grabbing bikes from, I had a good idea of the next non-massively expensive bike I was thinking of purchasing.

    As far as price limit, around $600 is probably what I want to spend on just the bike. Accessories and tires/parts etc is not included in that(separate budget).

    I was thinking about http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/dawes/rh_25.htm as a decent intermediate bike to upgrade my Trek 3900.

    As far as my person, I'm 6'1", and right now about 215lbs(winter weight, post summer weight = about 180-190lbs).

    I don't do a lot of jumps or wheelie drops, maybe once in a while. I'm planning on, in the next few years, to start heavily getting into downhill biking. I LOVE going to local events, watching it, and it really seems like something I'd love at least trying, once I get enough money.

    I'm just looking for something to last a few years that I can toss a few upgrades at it once in a while if needed, for about 500-600 bucks. Anyone else have any suggestions/questions I can answer to better help you help me!?
    Last edited by wangmauler; 03-08-2011 at 05:08 PM.

  2. #2
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    I wouldn't bother with a full suspension at that price range, it's more of a gimmick than anything, get a decent hardtail.

  3. #3
    w00tmaster
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    I understand that, but I really need full suspension. I paid about $380 for my bike when I bought it. What would you suggest I get for, say, $1000 in that case?

  4. #4
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    Full-Suspension Bike

    Most of the better full-suspension bikes are much more that a $1000, most frames cost about that much. I would suggest seeing what a bike shop has first, they will be able to fit you to a quality used bike that should suite you well. If you are looking for something new for under $1000, check this bike out. http://bicyclewarehouse.com/product/...ng-75070-1.htm This bike has good entry level components much like the lower end hardtails.

  5. #5
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    Full-Suspension Bike

    This is also a good beginner level bike to consider, it may not come from a well know maker but all the components are good quality and would be a solid beginner bike. http://www.motobecane.com/400_700ds/5ds.html

  6. #6
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    Why do you feel you "need" a full suspension bike? Dundundata has it right, a full suspension bike isn't an option on your original price range and $1000 will get you a used bike of a reasonable quality (which I rarely think is the best option). If you're thinking about DH biking, then you're going to need a much more expensive bike then the $1000 price limit, so my advice is to get a good quality hardtail and rent a DH bike at a local mountain for the day. If you find that you like DH biking, then it's time to start saving your pennies; but you'll still have a bike to ride while you save and for the days you can't get to the hill.

    Make sure you get a bike that is the proper size for you. Have a bike shop tell you what size bike you are and look for that size. Every manufacturer fits a bit differently so try as many bikes as you can. Remember, used bike are a good value but can be a minefield of hidden problems. I suggest taking any bike you are considering to a bike shop and having them look it over before you agree to purchase it. Or better yet, just buy new from a bike shop. And finally, keep your eye out in bike shops for leftovers from prior years. You can get a good deal on old stock.
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  7. #7
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    I tried to post to this thread last night, but the server was having issues.

    Mostly, though, the other posters have covered it. The FS rig in your link is a marginal upgrade at best - your Vs probably outperform its discs most days, the rear shock is a no-name shock, and the linkage design may not work well. Also, if the drivetrain's any better, it's by a very small margin. FS designs are still changing, so going outside the name brands is a bit of a gamble. Same with that Motobecane, and the Diamondback too, for that matter.

    If you must have a FS bike and you must have it now, Giant's Yukon FX is about the only one I've heard of people who actually ride it actually liking, for your new pricepoint.

    What's actually wrong with your Trek? I was going to suggest cannibalizing to build up a new bike, but it's probably got too many things that won't be compatible with current components - brakes, front wheel, fork size, probably the front derailleur clamp size, seat clamp and seatpost, etc. So I'd say either tune it up, fix what's broken, and ride the hell out of it, renting a DH bike on days you can do lift-served, or look for a complete used bike. Used is problematic, as mentioned above, but if you know your gear or have the help of someone who does, you can get some very nice bikes for what you can spend.

    If you truly start charging hard enough to put the Trek at risk, a dirt jump bike or long-travel hardtail could be feasible.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
    w00tmaster
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    Thanks a lot for everyones input.

    I wanted to let everyone know what's actually wrong(why I'm deciding to get a new bike), and why I want full suspension.

    Whats wrong:

    *The rear cassette is worn, the teeth on it are dulling and flattening out.

    *Last summer, in Maine, I bunny hoped over a rock, hit a branch above the log, dislocated my shoulder, and landed directly on my bike(the and the rock, bending (somehow) the 1st gear portion of the sprocket, to a 90 degree angle. I had to bang it with a boulder(not a rock) to bend it back in place to at least ride it back to my vehicle. I still havn't replaced it, and still cant use 1st gear(but the other two work fine).

    *I've replaced the chain a few times, and it skips gears sometimes while going over intermediate terrain(probably because the rear derailleur is crap).

    *Pedaling uphill hard(which I do very often) results in the chain skipping, completely ruining my momentum.

    *I go for long 2-6 hours bike rides, when time permits(at least 1x per week during spring/summer/fall), and most of it is rough bumpy terrain, resulting in a very sore bottom, sore hands, and sore feet from the non-existing shocks basically(front suspension bottoms out and is very worn now. Almost does not work).


    As far as a bike to purchase for myself, I don't mind buying used at all, even if I have to put a bunch of money into it.

    **EDIT**
    I put the wrong model for my bike(fixed now). Its a Trek 3900.

  9. #9
    w00tmaster
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    On a side note, how do people feel about
    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/...-bike-ec026073

    ?

  10. #10
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    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...fx/7326/44104/
    I've heard and read good things about this bike. Retail $1,000.

  11. #11
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    Ok well I think there's a few points to clear up, and keep in mind, I'm not trying to attack you or anything I just think there's a few items that will help the future of your bike buying.

    Your chain may not be working because you have been changing it without changing the rest of the drivetrain. If you wait too long before you replace a chain, the links stretch and start to wear out the chainrings and cassette. If you try and put a new chain on worn rings and cassette, then you'll get lots of slipping when you pedal. If that's not the case, then you probably just need a good tune up. New cables and housing and having someone look at the alignment of the rear derailleur hanger is a huge step in maintaing any bike, new or used.

    Your sore bottom isn't caused by the lack of suspension, many many people get along just fine with hardtail bikes (I have a pair of great hardtail bikes). You need to learn to stand up over the rough stuff. Your bottom is probably suffering from some combination of lack of toughening and a poor saddle setup/shape. Padded shorts help a small amount but most likely you'll want to start looking for saddles that fit your sit bones. DO NOT get a gel padded saddle or some huge sofa, they make things worse. Do find a bike shop that can measure your sit bones and match you with the proper saddle.

    Don't get me wrong, I think your search for a new bike is the right choice but you need to maintain your new bike and set it up properly to avoid the same pitfalls you've already fallen into with your existing bike. Have you test rode any full suspension bikes? That would be a good first step to determine if you really want to continue down the FS road.
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  12. #12
    R.I.P. DogFriend
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    Quote Originally Posted by wangmauler
    On a side note, how do people feel about
    http://www.evanscycles.com/products/...-bike-ec026073

    ?
    I think you would be supremely unhappy with that RST Gila fork. A friend of my son has one and it's . . . . . .

    Looking at your laundry list of broken parts over a period of time that is not really that long tells me that you were born to thrash. Nothing wrong with that, and I'm not trying to be negative or judgmental, but there are a few realities you need to come to grips with sooner or later.

    Thrashing costs money and bikes that are thrash-worthy are heavy.

    Relatively cheap thrash-worthy bikes are even heavier.

    Bikes that have XC in the name of the bike or in the name of the parts on the bike are not thrashers.

    That Jamis Dakar XC bike is not a thrasher.

    There is not a FS bike that sells for $600 that will not turn into a steaming pile of rubble with the beating it sounds like you were born to deliver.

    As an example, this is the type of bike that was built to survive in your world, yet doesn't cost an arm and a leg (but they won't sell this mail order and I don't think you're in SoCal):

    http://wheelworld.com/product/khs-08-dj-300-7574.htm

    Bottom line is that I think you should look for something sturdier than a typical cross country bike if you want it to last.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj
    I think you would be supremely unhappy with that RST Gila fork. A friend of my son has one and it's . . . . . .

    Looking at your laundry list of broken parts over a period of time that is not really that long tells me that you were born to thrash. Nothing wrong with that, and I'm not trying to be negative or judgmental, but there are a few realities you need to come to grips with sooner or later.

    Thrashing costs money and bikes that are thrash-worthy are heavy.

    Relatively cheap thrash-worthy bikes are even heavier.

    Bikes that have XC in the name of the bike or in the name of the parts on the bike are not thrashers.

    That Jamis Dakar XC bike is not a thrasher.

    There is not a FS bike that sells for $600 that will not turn into a steaming pile of rubble with the beating it sounds like you were born to deliver.

    As an example, this is the type of bike that was built to survive in your world, yet doesn't cost an arm and a leg (but they won't sell this mail order and I don't think you're in SoCal):

    http://wheelworld.com/product/khs-08-dj-300-7574.htm

    Bottom line is that I think you should look for something sturdier than a typical cross country bike if you want it to last.
    =======================
    And what is up with that screen name

    +100 to this!!!

    I would add that IMHO the OP would be wise to strongly consider DirtJump/ Park bikes or All Mountain hardtails. Given the price constraint, FS is mostly out of the question unless you happen to come across a smoking deal somewhere. A quality LBS should be able to point you in the right direction.

    The disappointing reality is that one has to accept the weight penalty these bikes incur for the benefit of greater durability at this price. As they say, "Durable, Lightweight, Cheap. Pick two."

    This is a bit more expensive than your budget, but its precisely the type of bike that I think the OP should be looking at. YMMV, of course.
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  14. #14
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    Why do you want a FS? Coming from experience (Diamondback Coil EX, very similar to that Moto) a FS in that price range is going to make riding more, not less difficult. The shock will bounce, in the saddle or out, bleeding energy. It just adds substantial weight, bleeding even more energy.

    There's no rebound adjustment on those cheap coil shocks... set it "plush" and your bike will constantly bob and waste energy. Set it too firm and the thing is going to kick your tire off of obstacles (and still bob). Either way it doesn't do much to keep your tire on the trail, which is the point of a FS.

    If you MUST have a FS in that price range, be patient and scan your local forums/CL for a used FSR XC or something. You'll regret the cheap FS... again from experience. At least I bought my crappy FS used, but I'd still love to have that $250 back.

  15. #15
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    Dawes Roundhouse 2500

    I just posted a thread abuot the Dawes. I just bought it and will take it out Friday for a maiden voyage. I described the kind of riding I do and should give you an idea of what paces I will put it through! I took a chance with a $500 budget because that is the ceiling for me these days. Iv'e had expensive bikes before and ride hard. I believe you can get a decent FS bike for your budget. If you your not hucking cliffs like some of these guys then you need not worry. If someone spends $250 on a bike then anything less then $200 is garbage...if someone spends $800 then everything under $600 is garbage...if somene spends $2000 they might admit that you can get something for $1000. Anyway, I will post a review soon after checking it out. If I break it then everyone else is right! If not then I garantee you will be ok because by the sound of it I ride a lot harder than you.

    But then again i'm 38yrs old with four kids so what do I know?

    This was a few years ago nothing major but not a paved bike trail rider

  16. #16
    w00tmaster
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    Okay again, thanks a lot to everyone for more great responses. I did some thinking, and looking around today at 4 bike shops locally, tested out some bikes in my price range. I'd have to agree, FS, for right now, is pretty much out of my price range. The main reason I wanted an FS bike is to absorb a lot of the rougher terrain that I can't pedal on, where I see people with FS bikes being able to pedal (such as over 2-4 inch tall roots like pictured http://lh5.ggpht.com/_aBqIveGO8zk/SV...8/PC290096.JPG. Pretend in that picture, the root systems are much more even and on flat ground. My bike is bouncing around so much trying to go fast over them, that i cant pedal without my feet slipping off ever 4 feet. I got to thinking, 'hey, maybe quick release pedals could help me out with that a bit?'

    As far as hard tails, I think a dirt jumper would be a great start for me, as I should be able to get a durable+cheap jumper hardtail, such as the one superjesus(awesome name btw) suggested at http://wheelworld.com/product/khs-08-dj-300-7574.htm.

    I'm gonna keep looking around, one of the local bike shops is this one guy, that has a lot of great used bikes rebuilt by him(hes in his 50's now), and said he'd give me 100-200 for my trek(brought it to show him), as opposed the to $50 the other 3 bike shops would give me for it. I think I'm gonna head back there tomorrow, and test a few more bikes, possibly make a decision.

  17. #17
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    You know, you might be a good candidate for a 29'er. I've heard people compare the larger diameter wheels to having a small amount of suspension. They are great at smoothing out rough trails.

    That dirt jump bike is a good idea, but you have to be wary because it will be quite small. I have a dirt jump bike and occasionally trail ride it, but I don't get full leg extension for pedaling and it is cramped for extended rides. It's also heavy. But what it lacks in pedaling, it almost always makes up for in joy of riding. It really is fun to ride when the trail turns downward. But if your trails are more rolling hills than up the hill/down the hill, then you probably won't want to pedal a DJ bike.

    And since you're back to mentioning bike shops in your area, I would highly suggest buying from one of them rather than online. If you like the people at your LBS, then support them and spend money there. In addition to being a great source of advice, most shops will provide a period of free service with the bike (which you will want to take advantage of) and a bike purchased at a shop will come with an easy to follow up with warranty period. Warranty claims with online companies may not be so easy to take care of. Plus, your LBS could probably use the customers.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  18. #18
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    hmmmmm

    Good advice from ZEBRAHUM!!!

  19. #19
    Truly Doneski
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    I wouldn't get a DJ bike if you're interested in more general trail riding.

    Look at 29er hardtails and look at some All Mtn hardtails. If your budget is 1000 now, you'll have quite a few quality bikes to choose from. If it's still in the 600 range, you'll be looking at getting an entry level 29er most likely.
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  20. #20
    w00tmaster
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    So I've been doing a LOT of searching and looking at shops, and I came accross a deal that seems really good, I checked out the bike, and as far as I can tell there are no breaks or cracks anywhere, and strong weld points:

    A 2007 Ironhorse Yakuza Aniki with a few upgraded parts(Sorry, I don't know what is upgraded) for $400. I know it's a downhill bike, but for $400, it just seems like a great bike to have for trying it out, and trying the downhill only trails, ya know? what do you all think?

  21. #21
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    Hmm... couldn't recommend that, either. Most single pivots need a platform to function well. Not sure what shock that bike has, but many of the reviews on MTBR talk about a spinner fork. Not good.

    Really would need a breakdown of the components, as that's what separates a good deal from a terrible one.

    Some links talk about retail price being $600. It's going to be heavy regardless. I still think you could do better but would need that component list to give any informed opinions.

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