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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    Best 29er under $500? please help..

    Hi guys. I'm a newbie and interested in MTB'g, but don't want to spend more than $500. I tried craigslist and have had little luck. The good ones go like lightening!! Are there any new bikes from 300-500 that are very decent bikes? I plan on doing more paved trails than actual vertical terrain (thought about hybrids, but don't like the design). Thanks so much if u can point me in the right direction!

    Kurt

  2. #2
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    Outside online likes this one (and so do I).

    Diamondback Overdrive Mountain Bike | Mountain Bikes | OutsideOnline.com

    Bluesky also has this for $520 ($560 with shipping)

    BlueSkyCycling.com - GT Karakoram 2.0 Disc 29er Bike

    And this for $320 ($360 with shipping):

    BlueSkyCycling.com - GT Karakoram 3.0 29er Bike

    Bikes Direct has a few like this one in that price range:

    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Gravity 29Point1 29er Mountain Bikes

    And if you can stretch to $650 (with shipping) Airborne has this:

    Airborne Bicycles. Guardian
    ~ 2011 GT Avalanche 2.0
    ~ 1993 Diamondback Topanga
    ~ 2012 Diamondback Overdrive Expert

  3. #3
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    Hi Luclin. Thanks so much for your input. I was at Dick's this morning and the Diamondback Overdrive was on sale for $449. U think I should go for it? I also saw a Fuji Nevada 1.0 elsewhere for $500. My only worry is the Chinese-made bike. Thanks again!

    Kurt

    BTW, would it behoove me to go for the 2.o for $200 more? Thanks
    Last edited by Mango7; 08-04-2012 at 06:00 PM.

  4. #4
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    I don't think you could go wrong with the DB Overdrive. REI outlet is also blowing out the 2012's for $459 and if you are an REI member they throw in free shipping. I'd say go for it!

  5. #5
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    The Overdrive is a good bike but if you buy it from a non-dedicated bike store (like Dick's) then be certain to check it over thoroughly to insure that it was assembled correctly and with the correct components.

    I saw two Overdrives at a Sport's Authority (a store like *****) here in Houston that were side by side on the floor but each had been assembled with different components. One looked correct to the specs listed on the Diamondback site while the other appeared to have had the drive train and brakes assembled from random left over parts they had lying around in the back of the store.
    ~ 2011 GT Avalanche 2.0
    ~ 1993 Diamondback Topanga
    ~ 2012 Diamondback Overdrive Expert

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luclin999 View Post
    The Overdrive is a good bike but if you buy it from a non-dedicated bike store (like Dick's) then be certain to check it over thoroughly to insure that it was assembled correctly and with the correct components.

    I saw two Overdrives at a Sport's Authority (a store like *****) here in Houston that were side by side on the floor but each had been assembled with different components. One looked correct to the specs listed on the Diamondback site while the other appeared to have had the drive train and brakes assembled from random left over parts they had lying around in the back of the store.
    Wow. Thanks for that, L!

  7. #7
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    I am thinking about going for the GT Karakoram 3.0, but the only one they have is an XL size (32.77" standover height). That would contact the boys down there, but will that still be OK? Thanks again..

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissoulaGriz View Post
    I don't think you could go wrong with the DB Overdrive. REI outlet is also blowing out the 2012's for $459 and if you are an REI member they throw in free shipping. I'd say go for it!
    Thanks MG!!

  9. #9
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    Outside says it true-
    "Itís the SR Suntour XCT 100mm fork that we had real issues with. The preload dial, which is meant to change the stiffness of the shock, didnít work, and thereís no rebound adjustment, so the fork simply rockets compression off bumps right back into you at full speed"
    Other reviewer have called it "punishing offroad".
    So anything with an x series Suntour needs to include the cost of an immediate upgrade to a minimum of a RockShox XC 29-32.
    A Reba would be best or Manitou Tower Pro or a Suntour Epicon.
    The Guardian has a XC29.
    GT Karakoram 2.0 Disc 29er has a Dart3 a no longer produced version renamed the XC32. But the bottom end Alivio drivetrain is hard to adjust and slow shifting.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Outside says it true-
    "Itís the SR Suntour XCT 100mm fork that we had real issues with. The preload dial, which is meant to change the stiffness of the shock, didnít work, and thereís no rebound adjustment, so the fork simply rockets compression off bumps right back into you at full speed"
    Other reviewer have called it "punishing offroad".
    So anything with an x series Suntour needs to include the cost of an immediate upgrade to a minimum of a RockShox XC 29-32.
    A Reba would be best or Manitou Tower Pro or a Suntour Epicon.
    The Guardian has a XC29.
    GT Karakoram 2.0 Disc 29er has a Dart3 a no longer produced version renamed the XC32. But the bottom end Alivio drivetrain is hard to adjust and slow shifting.
    Thank u for that, EB! Seems when I'm about to home in on what looks like an solid, reasonably priced entry-level 29er someone wakes me up!! Do I have no choice but to spend above $600 for a bike that's going to spend most of its time on paved and gravel trails? Thanks again

  11. #11
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    Its hard finding the perfect bike on a budget. Iīm in the same boat. Good luck!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinaNorway View Post
    Its hard finding the perfect bike on a budget. Iīm in the same boat. Good luck!
    Thanks Tina U too!

  13. #13
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    Here's the usual problem. Nobody rides technical rocky, rooty singletrack on a road bike. So even if they have ridden for years, they have zero experience on that terrain. Bike paths and dirt roads are everywhere so it's easy to see what you need to ride them- wider than road tires and a suspension fork for added comfort- a Suntour fork is fine.

    And you now have a bike like the others going back into the woods. When you try it out the path is many times bumpier and sharply up and down with quick turns with trees and other obstacles and dropoffs a couple inches off the path. Throw in gravel, sand and mud for traction challenges too. These track are built by bikers for only one thing- fun. The intensity of effort to get up short steep hilly sections, the fast downhill excitement level and terror if you're on that Suntour fork can be a big draw. The most of the time bike paths and gravel roads become boring and get a lot less time. But you are sure you will die or totally wear out your brakes when you go back in the woods again.

    That's why you will not be happy with that fork even for 10% of your riding. And nobody only rides singletrack 10%
    .

  14. #14
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    Get the Airborne if you can afford it.
    Climb into the sky, never wonder why - Tailgunner
    You're a Tailgunner

  15. #15
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    And from someone who actually owns the Overdrive and has ridden it on singletrack I can agree that the fork is bike's weakest link.

    However, for the beginner trails (Which someone new to the hobby should be starting out on) the Suntour fork is not going to ruin your ride. It does what it is supposed to (for the most part) in that it smooths out the relatively minor bumps and impacts that you would experience on a basic trail.

    As such, it would probably suit you for a few weeks to a few months (depending on how often you ride and how quickly your skills progress) at which point you could look at tossing the extra $150-$200 for an entry level Rockshox fork (like the XC-28) that will hold up versus the intermediate level trails you would be getting into.

    IMO if you can't afford to spend $600+ on a bike today with a basic but decent fork, $400-500 now will at least get you on a bike and out on the trails. You can always set aside some cash over the following months and potentially be able to buy a much better fork upgrade for your 29er than anything you could buy today which comes stock in the $600 range..

    Like this:

    BlueSkyCycling.com - Rock Shox Recon Silver TK 29er Solo Air Fork

    Which is a considerably better fork than the Dart or XC-28 series.

    Also note that Nashbar has had the Overdrive Expert (spec'd between the basic and sport models) for between $400-500 over the past couple of weeks so if you keep an eye on their site you might catch a decent deal there..

    Diamondback Overdrive Expert 29er Mountain Bike - Twenty Niner
    ~ 2011 GT Avalanche 2.0
    ~ 1993 Diamondback Topanga
    ~ 2012 Diamondback Overdrive Expert

  16. #16
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    If you can afford an extra $99 or have a coupon...check out the Novara Buzz. More an urban trail king than a off roader but nice 4130 cro-mo frame with a quality 4130 rigid (maintenance free and functional...not to mention at least 2 lbs lighter) fork.


  17. #17
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    I just bought a Diamondback Overdrive through REI's website for around $450 and free shipping to the store. It is through their outlet and is a "special buy". Basically it just has slightly cheaper components then the $900-$1000 version. Bang for the buck it seems to be decent and latet if I want more I bet I could recoup most my money out if it.

  18. #18
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    There's always this one: (as long as there's a Costco nearby). It has the XCT problem too though.

    costco 29er.

  19. #19
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    Thanks so much guys! I thought this thread died...sorry for the delay!!

    I have seen the Diamondback OD for $449 at Dick's (in orange, blue or black). It seems like a nice bike but flimsy feeling(Is this normal??)
    Also found a 2011 Fuji Nevada 2.0 for $525 (I'm not sure its a 29'r tho).

    Will keep u posted on what I end up with. Thanks again!!

  20. #20
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    Btw, does anyone know where I can find an orange 2012 GT Karakoram 3.0?

  21. #21
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    Redline Monocog. You might be able to get a Flight version within your budget but you'd have to watch the for sale threads and move quickly. i dont think many people part with the Flight once they have it.

  22. #22
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    Check craigslist for a used bike. Not sure how active your area is, but I have seem a few lately.

  23. #23
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    I am in the same boat right now, I am trying to decide what I want to order. I was even thinking of ordering tonight. My budget is $450 or less.

    I am stuck between two bikes, which do you guys think is better for the money?

    BDs Gravity 29Point 1 or Diamondback Overdrive 29er?

    The main differences I can see between the two are the models of shifting components and wheels. Are the diamondbacks sram components really any better than what the Gravity has? What do you guys think is better??

    I have been leaning more towards the Gravity 29. Is there any disadvantage to it over the diamondback?

    Also, what size should I get? My buddy is about the same height and has a 19 and loves it. I am roughly 5-9 or 5-10.

    Thanks!!

  24. #24
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    The Airborne Guardian is the stand out among those for value.I`m kinda wanting one.

  25. #25
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    wmblalock-- Both those bikes are for bike paths and not trails. The Suntour fork does not have adjustable rebound dampening so it pogos you over multiple bumps offroad. You can't keep your line so no confidence in the bike and no skill development. The minimum usable is a RockShox XC 28 or 32 TK fork. A Recon Gold or Reba is better. Something like a 2010 Reba Team or Race used for 250 or up to 2012 takeoff to 350 could go on these bikes.

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