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 bike type or School the noob

    Ok, in my research for buying my first good mtn bike, I have figured out that what I am looking for is either an All Mountain or a Cross Country, but I'm not sure which would be better for the trails I ride, or if they are more or less the same thing.
    Such as I am looking at probably a Specialized Rockhopper due to local price and availability.

    So, if you wouldn't mind watching the accompanying video, these are the trails I mainly ride right now. I did not take the video, it is NOT mine. The language is Dutch.
    Some key spots are around the 2:45 and 3:30 points in the video.
    Curaçao MTB - Compilatie Jan Thiel zoutpannen 2012 - YouTube
    Last edited by joshh; 11-28-2012 at 11:50 AM. Reason: Forgot link

  2. #2
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    Link please. Also, more data needed. Read the Noob Buyer's Guide and answer questions for better information.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  3. #3
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    Uh yeah, I guess if I ask people to watch the video, I should remember to link the video (edited into post above)...
    Curaçao MTB - Compilatie Jan Thiel zoutpannen 2012 - YouTube

    What region of the country do I live in? Idaho / Curacao

    Where do I plan to ride my new bike? Jan Thiel and other local trails for the next 9 months at least (Jan Thiel is the video)

    Are there any YouTube videos of the trails I plan to ride? Linked

    How much time do I plan on devoting to this hobby? Shooting for 2-3 rides a week, from 1-4+ hours at a time

    What is my previous cycling experience? Very little in this particular area

    Have I participated in other hobbies, sports or activities that may give me relevant skills? Overall athletic activities, but not cycling related specifically

    What are my mechanical abilities? Mechanics is my career field of choice, been doing it for 15 years.

    Do I currently own a bike? Walmart special Mongoose

    Do I currently own a helmet, gloves, padded shorts, proper shoes, Cyclocomputer, Finish line bike wash, Finishline brush kit, shop rags, chain lube, chain stay protector (I like Shelter), Gloves, good socks, solid tire pressure gauge, floor tire pump, on trail tire pump or cartridges, shock pump, good three way hex, mufti tool, spare bottles, cages, backpack to put all your gear in? Gloves, helmet, pumps, socks, gauge, leatherman, bottles. Will get proper shoes, and possibly some of that other stuff.

    Why do I want to buy a new bike? Mine is not suited for the areas I ride.

    How much research have I already done and do I have an idea of what I want? Some ersearch done, more in work, ideas of XC or All Mtn, currently eyeballing Specialized Rockhopper

    Do I have friends who are into the hobby? What's their mechanical and riding experience? Yes. Similar. Good bit longer then me.

    What kind of bikes do my riding buddies ride? Trek 6700, Specialized Stumpjumper

    What kind of bikes do I see on the trails I plan to ride? (Full suspension, hardtail, rigid, single speed, geared) FS and hardtail

    Can I really afford this hobby? Are my credit cards paid off? Do I have savings in the bank and money to burn? I can afford the bikes in the price range I am looking at ($1Kish), so probably not even a decent entry FS.

    How much money do I want to spend on this hobby over the next year? Up to $1K for a bike, couple/few hundred for gear and accessories.

    What am I trying to accomplish by participating in this hobby? Entertainment, more exercise, better health/endurance/stamina

    How do I expect my life to be different a year from the day my new bike arrives? Expect the previous to be fulfilled to the best of my ability

  4. #4
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    Here are some online retailers for you to browse:

    at Price Point

    Airborne Bicycles. Cross Country 26&29"

    Save up to 60% off Mountain Bikes, All Mountain Bikes, Full Suspension SRAM MTN and Shimano Mountain Bikes and Hardtail Front Suspension and 29er Mountain Bikes from Bikesdirect.com

    See if anything catches your eye. I'd stay away from anything FS at that price point. You'll be fine on a hard tail, just not as comfortable. For what you're trying to accomplish, anything in the $700+ range will be sufficient.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  5. #5
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    Taking the sections you mentioned downhill is a little technical, but a XC bike could handle it and save you weight. If you want to ride that level of terrain you need a better fork than comes on the Rockhopper. The Suntour fork is ok for most of the trail in the video. It has no adjustable rebound damping so it would pogo and eventually fail on the more difficult stuff. Everything has its design limits. Throw a RockShox XC 32 or dual air Reba on it and it will be fine for the more difficult trails. $155 for a XC32.
    .BlueSkyCycling.com - Rock Shox XC 32 TK 29er Coil Fork
    Or find a bike with that level of fork already as its equipment.
    The Airborne Goblin currently has a dual air Reba. A used Scott Scale Elite also has one and better geo.

  6. #6
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    You should get whichever one you want.

  7. #7
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    Get the bike that fits you best! Some frames may fit you better than others, so if you can, hop on over to your LBS and sit on a couple. Any bike above $650.00 will handle what you need there, and some things you are just going to replace soon enough anyway - for example, if you want to spend ~$1k on your first bike, then you might as well get a $700.00 bike from your LBS (with lifetime tuneups? win) and have a few doll hairs to put towards your new pedals that you will definitely be buying, or that worthwhile fork that everyone immediately starts looking for. In short, 1,000 dollar bikes don't give you a WHOLE lot more in the long term over a 700.00, frames fit differently, your LBS needs your support, but you'll also get buckets more love from them with a bike that you bought from them.
    "Faster, Faster until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death." - Hunter S. Thompson

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    The Airborne Goblin currently has a dual air Reba. A used Scott Scale Elite also has one and better geo.
    I mean no offense in saying this, but I've seen you post this a few times in the past and I feel the need to address this statement.

    "Better" is subjective and misleading. There is nothing wrong with the Goblin's geometry, We and many owners are very happy with the way the bike rides. It's very stable and still handles/corners great. Have you ridden one?

    Jeremy
    Airborne Dude.

  9. #9
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    Wow, those trails look pretty awsome. I think you would be happy with most bike's in your price range, I would focus on fit and comfort. Enjoy, and let us know which one you choose.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyFlyer View Post
    I mean no offense in saying this, but I've seen you post this a few times in the past and I feel the need to address this statement.

    "Better" is subjective and misleading. There is nothing wrong with the Goblin's geometry, We and many owners are very happy with the way the bike rides. It's very stable and still handles/corners great. Have you ridden one?

    Jeremy

    It is a really nice bike with good geo and a great fork.

    Here's some current geo(M) in the market for competitive products(some outside the US)-
    Scott Scale Elite(950) CS 440 HT>69.5 ST>72.5
    ----the RC has CS 438 and World Cup XC Championships
    Trek XCal CS 445 HT>69.3 ST>72.5 G2 fork 51mm offset to quicken steering a little
    ----same as new carbon Apollo Superfly frame
    Canyon Grand Canyon 29 AL CS 438 HT>70 ST>74
    ----carbon CF SLX 29 has shorter CS 433.8 and TransAlp and Leadville wins
    Like Airborne Canyon only sells direct but no current shipping to US or Canada.
    These guys all offer an entrance level bike with the same or close geo to their high end bikes.
    Airborne Goblin CS 450 HT>71(was 71.5 with 80mm fork) ST>74
    Twentynineinches reviewed the original Goblin and named it a 10 best product of 2011 when they released their list in January 2012. They ride a lot of 29ers and can compare handling. They really liked the bike and said this about handling.---

    " As for handling, Airborne has dialed in a “middle of the road” feel to the bike which should please most riders. For me, I would term it as a “classic 29″er feeling bike”. It has a more stable feel than some of the early 29″ers that used steep head angles to achieve a more “26″er-like” feel. But it isn’t a tank-ish feeling rig like some bikes that totally missed the mark on handling either. I really like the way this bike handles most trail situations, and I think most riders looking for a capable XC/trail bike will agree. "
    .Airborne Goblin 29: Final Review

    This is classic handling, but 29er development is still relatively new and some manufacturers continue to march forward. with curved seat tubes or BB interface changes and shorter chainstays for example.
    The guys at twentynineinches notice these things. But probably 95% of new riders wouldn't notice the difference on their first few rides. They are ignorant of the difference at that point. This sport also creates passion to improve and you can see little changes affect your riding as you improve. I wouldn't bet on the 95% ignorance to justify fork or geo choices. I think the passion will change that to skill and fun. I'd aim to keep those riders' loyalty after they are out of the 95%. You made good improvements to the new Goblin with more rear tire clearance and a tapered head tube. I'd keep improving for those guys in the 95%..

  11. #11
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    Thanks everyone for the information. I have to wait til the turn of the year before I buy, so don't go holding your breath waiting for me to update with a bike purchase. This just gives me plenty of time to figure it out.

    (Forgive me if this next part is not allowed in the open forum...) And if any of you are selling a bike in the price range I am looking for, I would entertain offers. Maybe I can find a good used FS this way

  12. #12
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    Check local clubs to see if anyone gets a new bike for the holidays and is looking to sell their old one
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmac View Post
    Check local clubs to see if anyone gets a new bike for the holidays and is looking to sell their old one
    ^^^^ Excellent idea!

  14. #14
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    I only know of a couple clubs, and they are kids clubs. There's quite a few Dutch riders on the island, but I don't speak Dutch and have no idea where they hang out. Not exactly a Craigslist for this location. I did just find out about a second bike shop on the island. I am going to stop in there and see what they have.

  15. #15
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    Ask the guys at the shop if there is a club.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  16. #16
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    Should be able to google a club in your area.

  17. #17
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    Well I have a tentative deal set up with the local Specialized shop. He just took in a Rockhopper 29er five days ago that's either a 2010 or 11 (not sure, paint is primarily white with red striping), and in good condition. Coincidently I met the guy this morning that traded it into the shop, and that's how I knew the shop had the bike, so I can also get any history on it. The owner is going to hold it for a week for me, before putting it up for sale.
    In the meantime, I am renting one of the shop's Rockhopper 29ers for a day so I can take it out and see if I want to go the 29 route since I have only ever rode 26's. If I don't care for it, no hard feelings and he puts the bike out for sale. If I decide to go for it, it will be $800 that he will let me make a couple payments on.

    I also stopped by the other LBS that I recently found out about. They are a Trek dealer. I was looking at a 2012 4300 for about $800. They had a Fuel EX that was real nice. Too bad it was a couple grand out of my price range.

    I am stepping up the search for this bike, cuz I broke my cheapo Mongoose good this morning, and paid the price for it. Was doing about 20mph on a downhill when suddenly the front dug in. When I got up, the rear tire's axle was bent, the chain was twisted, and the rear derailuer was broken into 2 pieces and pinching the chain. The guys I was with helped me turn it into a single speed so I could get back to the car without walking 2 miles of trail.
    I'm not sure what happened. I thought I lost the front wheel the way it felt when it dug in. I got up expecting there to be a missing or folded front wheel. It's been raining and the trail was soft, so the best I can figure is I hit a soft spot that stopped the front wheel. I know it wasn't the front brake, because I wasn't touching the brake, trying to get max speed.

  18. #18
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    Sounds like the derailuer got caught in the spokes.

  19. #19
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    joshh my old rockhopper 29er is a 2012. correct white with red. It had 422 miles on it when i traded it in. Guys hes not kidding, that poor mongoose was twisted up!

  20. #20
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    Mike, you joined just to correct me on year? I feel so special. lol

    I'll have to hit you up about it later. I should know Saturday if I will give it a new home or not.

  21. #21
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    i joined cause it was time, i have been getting great info off this site for some time. just wanted to let you know the bike had low miles on it, but had to join to post anything.

    how did you like riding a 29er?

  22. #22
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    I haven't yet. Taking one of Barry's rentals on Saturday. Probably at Jan Thiel again with Lance.

    I heard you're gonna be in the Extreme Duo.

  23. #23
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    Well I took the 29er rental out. I was quite impressed. I don't know if it's better then a 26, because my comparison is a wal-mart special Mongoose, a decade old Trek, and this Rockhopper 29er. But I know that I have no complaints over a 26. The trails I was on do have some tight corners and spots that a 26 holds an advantage. The 29er climbed the hills better though. I was walking away from my 2 riding partners who were always waiting on me at the end of hill climbs.

    So when I returned the rental, I told the shop owner that I want the bike. I have a couple payments to make, and some pedals to buy, but I will soon have a 2012 Rockhopper 29 sitting in my apartment.

  24. #24
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    congrats!! see you on the trail soon i hope. we learned of a couple new trails while racing....... well finishing the extreme duo today. our nutrition was off! at 40k we managed a top 20 position. however soon later my partner and I took our turns laid up on the side of the track with hardcore upper leg cramps.

  25. #25
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    Congrats on the Extreme Duo. Top 20 is a whole lot better then I did, since I wasn't out there. Was it 40k total or for each of you?
    The longest ride I've done so far out here was around 25k with plenty of breaks. I would definitely need to build up to anything like the duo.

    Hope you got those cramps worked out.

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