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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    Beginner needs help

    Hey everyone

    I recently returned a 2012 Marin Iron springs due to defect issue and poor service. I enjoyed riding and the feel of a higher quality bike then the department store crap I used to ride. The experience has left with me with a desire to reach a bit further in terms of components but it is a dangerous game that comes at a cost. I'm sure many on here know the allure of reaching just a bit further up the scale. What would a beginner mountain bike rider looking for a hardtail for street, trails and general XC dirt trails look for in terms of shocks, brakes, shifters etc. It seems the more research I do on each bike the harder it becomes. Budget for the bike is roughly 500-600cdn. Depending on the deal. As an example I've seen a LBS advertise a 2013 diamondback overdrive comp for $700 reg $1100. I'm sure prices are higher here then in states. Any help is appreciated.
    Last edited by trailblazer295; 08-02-2013 at 04:36 AM.

  2. #2
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    I was on the same boat before. Stop the research and get the Airborne Guardian. Rockshox fork, X-5 component and hydraulic brakes for $599.95.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the link but that bike won't be that price in Canada sadly.

  4. #4
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    would it be sheaper to buy in the states and shipped to you

  5. #5
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    A few bikes to look at...

    Jamis Exile Comp - CAD$682.17

    Jamis Exile Comp Mountain Bike 2012 > Complete Bikes > Cross-Country Mountain Bikes | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    Giant Talon 650B - CAD$589.15

    Giant Bikes Talon 5 27.5" Bike 2014 > Complete Bikes > Cross-Country Mountain Bikes | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    There are also lots of used bikes in Canada on Pink Bikes. For CAD$500-700, you can pick up a pretty nice bike.

  6. #6
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    What are your guys thoughts on a 2010 Fuel Ex 5? I don't really need a FS bike for my riding but if I end up pushing the budget to close to the same price on a new hardtail. This will still have higher end front shocks.

  7. #7
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    For $500-$600, you will have to look hard to find a bike that's overall 'good' in Canadian market.
    For drivetrain(shifters,Derailures, cassette, Crankset)Typically you will see Shimano Acera(good/average), Alivio(better) or even better-Deroe drivetrain(if you're lucky), try to avoid Tourney or Altus.
    As for Shock, Rockshox XC 28 is what you should look for. Avoid SR Suntour XCT/XCM fork if you could cuz they just don't work on the tails, but sometimes you just can't get the best of everything so the fork gets cheap out on most the time.

    I found one that I find 'good' for the price, so here is an example.
    Norco Wolverine - Evolution Cycles-Richmond Hill,Ontario

  8. #8
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    I'm within driving distance of that store. I'm currently out browsing bike shops. Thanks for the help.

  9. #9
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    Well what I figured might happen did. Between my desire to understand the technology of the item I'm buying, researching for hours at a time for weeks, quick ability to learn, desire to have something good even if it is overkill, pull the trigger with complete confidence. Equals blowing my budget out of the water. I went to half a dozen LBS today looking at various models, paying close attention to dérailleur, brake type and forks. Sticking with bikes that have Acera level shifters or higher and trying to stay away from suntour forks. I could always upgrade at a later date with a but I'm aware it's a more expensive way of doing it. The giant has the components I'm looking for but it's only the fork that falls back. Finding a Rockshox 28 seemed to be impossible the other 2 are running 32s instead. I did look a the norco wolverine but they didn't have stock and would have to order it which requires the intent to buy. Something I wasn't comfortable doing. So in the end here are a few models I'm considering:

    2013 Giant Revel 0 29er - $700
    2013 Trek Mamba - $1000
    2013 Norco Charge 9.1 - $885

    One thing I learned during my brief ownership of a 2012 Marin Iron springs was how nice hydraulic brakes feel, so light but stopping power was insane.

  10. #10
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    The Mamba has excellent stable but good steering geo. Start looking for a discount on '13s of 30% possibly.

  11. #11
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    other options are

    2013 Jamis Exile Comp- $1000 ($800 with coupon from Sportchek)
    2012 Jamis Dakar XC COMP- $1040 from RB Inc.

    but if that's out of your budget, I would go what you came across 2013 Norco Charge 9.1 - $885

  12. #12
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    I took the Mamba for another test ride today, most of the bike is fine with the exception of the brakes. Now I know they aren't bedded yet being brand new. But also have read a lot of reviews of this being the main downfall of this bike and at a higher price then the Charge. I took the Giant out today as well, much better feel and ride for my size. I've had tektro brakes on my last bike that I returned so I know when bedded they would be okay. I'll be test riding the Charge again tuesday as they lbs wasn't open today or tomorrow which is a holiday. I think it will be the best combination of components, brakes, shocks and derauilleurs. Regular price is higher I just was offered a lower price if I made a move soon.

  13. #13
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    Great that you're test riding each bike, now use this time to think about what you like best about each bike. Think thru which bike offers the most for your money.
    A quick search has agree with your impression on the brakes from Mamba
    Trek Mamba Review - BikeRadar
    "The Hayes Dyno Sport brakes are powerful enough but not as nicely modulated as some others, and the pads need heating up on a long descent to bed in before you can rely on their stopping power."..."We were disappointed with the Trek’s brakes"
    Perhaps it just take really long time to bed in those pads Or the power just isn't good enough.

    What is your height btw?

  14. #14
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    I read a number of reviews on it and people have bed them, bled and rebled the lines without significant increase in performance. Not enough stopping power to lock the front wheel. I think over all the Charge gives my the best value. Rock shox xc32, alivo front and deore rear, shimano deore hyrdos. Over $100 less than the Mamba as well. I will re test it to check the ergos. I learned today how much each bike even with same frame size as other models can feel very different. I prefer a more angled forward riding position rather than upright. As well as reaching a bit further for the bars. I know it can be tweaked later with different stems and bars. I liked the look and riding position of the Mamba but didn't like that a $1000 bike might require replacing the brakes, really should have used better quality ones. Shimano deore seemed to be quite good for the level they are. Certainly appear to be good for my level of riding and skill. I forgot to add the charge is a 29er version.


    I'm 6ft with a longer legs and arms.

  15. #15
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    So let me repeat your thoughts, you pretty much like the look and feel of a XC racer, which is what the Mamba is all about but with new brakes that would shoot up the price past a grand even after selling those stock brakes. After all is just too pricy, on the other hand a new drop stem and flat bar on the Charger could cost $50-$100 but still doesn't have the XC Stance.
    Here come my part, you should try a bigger frame size on the Charger, cuz the top tube on that bike seems quit short which create a small cockpit. so if you tried the 18.5", try a 20", even try 21.5" just for the sake of getting the feel.
    What I am trying to say is that same frame size doesn't mean the same fit, some feel smaller than they really are, some the other way around

    I myself has been using Deroe M596 brakes for 3weeks, awesome brakes!

  16. #16
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    I believe the charge I tried was 18.5". I wouldn't need to change the stem and bar right away. just something I could do later on. I'll see how it feels on a second ride now that I will be paying more attention to the feel and position. I know spec wise it's the best value and good parts at this level.

  17. #17
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    Consider used. You can stretch your dollar a lot further.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  18. #18
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    Someone locally is selling a 2010 Fuel Ex 5. I haven't done research on FS bikes due to being out of my price point new and not having the need for my riding style or skill.

  19. #19
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    I know which one you're talking about exactly, 2010 Trek Fuel Ex 5 18.5 inch - City of Toronto Bikes For Sale - Kijiji City of Toronto Canada.

    Chances of you getting a hand of it is hard, as I could imagine there would already be tons of people trying to jump the deal

  20. #20
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    I saw it listed a week ago so it doesn't seem to have moved quick. I don't know if the frame size would be big enough for me. Seems frames large enough for me are harder to find.

  21. #21
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    I'm very cautious about buying a used bike with the same dollar value as buying new. I realize a good deal could be found but being near a large city and certain areas. The chance is high it's stolen or it's in an area I don't want to go. I'll be test riding the Norco Charge tomorrow and see how I like the feel of it. They should have a larger frame already ready in a 9.3 to at least give me the size comparison difference.

  22. #22
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    Test rode the charger 9.1 this morning, the 19" felt a bit cramped. Felt a little undersized under me so I tried a 20" storm just for a size reference, it's almost same geometry just different components. It felt much better size wise, I had the LBS order my a 20" charger 9.1, should be here in a day or two. The bike felt good and even though the brakes haven't broken in yet they are much better then that Mambas. Believe I've finally selected a bike that feels good with quality components. I'll upload pictures later. Thanks again for all those who helped me through this process.

  23. #23
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    The 20" frame came in friday but due to working late wasn't able to pick it up then. Picked up Saturday and went for a 25k ride around town. Very happy with my choice, I'm not the proud owner of a Norco Charger 9.1. I do have a few questions about the fork but I'll post those in the proper section. I'll post pictures of the bike soon. Hooked up my lights and horn today. Haven't had the chance to test all my lights. May have the desire to upgrade at a later date.

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