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
    Wayne, PA
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    New question here. Best Hardtail for $600

    I'm new to mountain biking... And not very knowledgeable. I have a ~$600 budget, and I went around checking some stores today.

    It turns out that my first "Internet pick", the Marin B-17, is nowhere to be found, except at REI-outlet, in a small size that isn't going to work for me. Does Marin have a newer replacement for this great bike?

    Speaking of REI, they have a rather nice bike called 08 Novara Panderosa at $670 (http://www.rei.com/product/760853). Does anybody have info on this bike? And Novara bikes in general?

    Is it possible to get anything better with a $600 budget? I know there is no "best", but I'm looking for a good all-around bike.

    I have another question relating to which size of bike I should get. I'm 5'11 with an inseam of 33 inches. So apparently I should get a 19 inch frame. Is this correct?

  2. #2
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    19" should be fine,I'm 5'-10" with a 32" inseam and I ride a 20" that fits pretty good.

    Here's a couple suggestions...

    http://www.ibexbikes.com/Bikes/ALP-650-Details.html

    But if you can,save up a little more for this...

    http://www.ibexbikes.com/Bikes/TR-COMP-X7-Details.html

    It's well worth it IMHO.

    There's others,Iron Horse makes good bikes and checkout Motobecanes,they're well spec'ed for the price.

  3. #3
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    Try a DiamondBack Response Sport 08. I payed $520. Nice STRONG lifetime warranty frame.

    People always stop to check the bike and say how awesome the frame looks.

  4. #4
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    If $600 is the total budget, I think good advice is to spend $500-520 on a bike so you have money left over for bike accessories. You will easily spend $60 on top of the bike. If you plan to get clipless pedals/shoes, you may want to adjust your budget.

  5. #5
    Wayne, PA
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    I had actually noticed the Ibex 650 before. Looks like a nice bike. The X7 is really nice but seriously over the budget

    DiamondBack Response... Originally wanted one, but I feel they are Walmart/Target kind of bikes, like Mangoose. I may be wrong, I'm a noob, this is just a feeling. I'm no racer but they felt really heavy in the store. I want to climb!

  6. #6
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    I think this is a great deal...

    http://www.rscycle.com/s.nl/it.A/id....&category=4959

    Nice specs for the price and you have some money left over for accessories with it being only $399 plus free shipping.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nibar
    I had actually noticed the Ibex 650 before. Looks like a nice bike. The X7 is really nice but seriously over the budget

    DiamondBack Response... Originally wanted one, but I feel they are Walmart/Target kind of bikes, like Mangoose. I may be wrong, I'm a noob, this is just a feeling. I'm no racer but they felt really heavy in the store. I want to climb!
    You're wrong about that,DB makes some excellent bikes,those dept. store models are pieces of you know what.I think they get a bad rep because of those crappy dept store bikes.

  8. #8
    Newbie in japan
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    mongoose does too

    they make solid DH bikes

  9. #9
    Wayne, PA
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    Mmh, nice pick there CRed. But at almost 32 lbs, that's starting to get heavy, no? Well I guess it's proportionally to the price, too.

    Sorry about DB, as I said it's just a feeling, I guess it's just a bad strategy.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nibar
    Mmh, nice pick there CRed. But at almost 32 lbs, that's starting to get heavy, no? Well I guess it's proportionally to the price, too.

    Sorry about DB, as I said it's just a feeling, I guess it's just a bad strategy.

    Thanks.

    Yeah,weight is usually proportionate to price.At the $600 or less price point you won't get much lighter then that.I have spent $1300 or so on my custom built bike and it weighs in at about 24 Lbs.

    I know what you mean,it's hard to get past the dept. store rep they have,but they really do make good bikes as does Mongoose.

    Chris

  11. #11
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    Here's another one for you to consider...

    http://www.forgebikes.com/saw5blu.asp

    http://www.target.com/Forge-Sawback-...3Aforge&page=1

    Forge Sawback 5xx 17" Silver

    I still like the Iron Horse better,but there's nothing wrong with having lots of choices,although it can get nerve wrscking I'm sure.

    Chris

  12. #12
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    From what I have heard Novara & Marin are made by the same company but as normal I cant find the proof.

    The Ibex Alpine 550 is a sweet bike also using X5 shifters & rear der.

    http://www.ibexbikes.com/Bikes/ALP-550-Details.html
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  13. #13
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    I am in the same position as you with the budget being 600. I don't want to go too overboard and I've been doing my best to research components to figure out which bike has the best to offer and am pretty much giving up.
    I've also looked at the ibex alpine 550 and the fezzari kings peak
    http://http://www.fezzari.com/produc...XC/14/35#Specs

    If you could help me out too that would be great.
    I have no LBS so that's not much of an issue.

    JAWZ

  14. #14
    I hate sugar sand.
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    I'm also looking into bikes in the $600 and under range. After doing some research and rankings on various bikes, I've come up with the three that seem like the best deals to me.

    Prices may vary in your area by the way:

    Specialized Rockhopper - $519.99
    Gary Fisher Marlin - $589.99 (the non-disc version)
    Ibex Alpine 550 - $604 (with shipping)

    Rockhopper
    - lowest price
    - RockShox Dart 3 fork
    - 29 lbs. (middle of the group)
    - lower end components

    Marlin
    - middle price
    - Dart 2 fork
    - 30.6 lbs (heaviest)
    - Deore components

    Alpine 550
    - most expensive
    - can't try before you buy
    - Marzocchi MZ Race fork
    - 28 lbs. (lightest)
    - SRAM 3.0, X5 components

    Honestly, no one bike seems to blow the others away. The Ibex seems like it might be the best deal, but it kinda sucks that you can't test ride it first. I think the best bang for the buck would be getting a 2006 or 2007 model of a better spec'd bike. What was worth $1000 two years ago shouldn't cost you more than $500 today. Or buy last year's entry level model and upgrade until you hit the $600 mark.

  15. #15
    Wayne, PA
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    Wow, I guess I'm not alone in this boat. $600 is indeed a psychological mark I'm reluctant to top.

    About the Novara = Marin issue, this is very plausible, I mean, look at the similarities between some frames. The only reason I got hooked up to Marin is because they got MTBR's 2007 award. It's funny given it's not produced anymore. Other models may not be specially good.

    It sucks not being able to test ride the Alpine, but frankly, it's like cars, what can you judge during a few minutes of a test ride in a parking lot... But still sucks. But these are lighter bikes in this price range, I like that.

  16. #16
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    You guys should look at the iron Horse that I linked to above,it has better components then all of those mentioned above AND is only $399.That's $120 less then the Rockhopper,$190 less then the Marlin and $204 less then the Ibex.Then you have the Forge which is only $319 and is comparable to the ones metioned above.

    I usually suggest Ibex,but in this case I'd get the Iron horse and use the extra money for other things.The only thing i don't like on it are the shocks,but they're all entry level forks anyways with the Dart 3's being the best of the bunch.It may be a little heavier,but you really have to take the published weights with a grain of salt as they are rarely accurate.

  17. #17
    ride hard take risks
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    There are a few companies that make a quality bike for a low price, IH, Jamis & Ibex off the top here. Test ride as Nibar said hard to tell in a parking lot so mail order isn't that bad a deal. Ibex has excellent CS both in house and on the forums http://forums.mtbr.com/ibex/ which many companies dont have. What is the perfect bike for each person is up to you not other posters, if a Motive turns ya on get it at that price range your fine just dont hit any real trails.
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  18. #18
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    Dog is right.Don't let anyone tell you what to get,but it doesn't hurt to have as many choices as possible along with as much information as possible so you can make the best choice for you.I love Ibex bikes,especially their Trophy series.They're just a great value IMHO.

    Chris

  19. #19
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    i love the marin b-17, i cant say i have veer road one before tho but i do like them a lot components wise
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  20. #20
    ride hard take risks
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    Quote Originally Posted by IrOn_MaN
    i love the marin b-17, i cant say i have veer road one before tho but i do like them a lot components wise
    Get it ride it enjoy it thats a awesome bike, not to mention there right here local to me.
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  21. #21
    Wayne, PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogonfr
    Get it ride it enjoy it thats a awesome bike, not to mention there right here local to me.
    Well, AFAIK B-17 is not manufactured anymore, and I can't find it anywhere. Otherwise I would have bought it on the spot.

    But nobody commented on the Novara? I know it's only sold at REI, so that explains it I guess, but these specs look pretty nice, to me at least:

    Frame AN6 Aluminum
    Fork RockShox Dart 2 w/ Lockout 100mm travel
    Crankset Truvativ Firex 3.1 44/32/22
    Shifters SRAM X-7
    Brakes Avid BB7 Disc
    Brake levers Avid Speed Dial 7
    Front derailleur SRAM X-7
    Rear derailleur SRAM X-9
    Head set Integrated semi-cartridge
    Bottom bracket Truvativ Giga Pipe
    Rear cog SRAM PG-950 11/34, 9-speed
    Front hub Shimano M475 Disc
    Rear hub Shimano M475 Disc
    Rims WTB SpeedDisc
    Tires WTB Raijin 26x2.1
    Stem Truvativ XR 3D
    Handlebar Truvativ XR Riserbar
    Seat post Truvativ XR
    Saddle WTB Pure V Comp
    Pedals Alloy platform
    Chain SRAM 950

    However I can't seem to find information on the weight... At this price ($650) I would expect something around 28 lbs.

  22. #22
    Wayne, PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nibar
    Well, AFAIK B-17 is not manufactured anymore, and I can't find it anywhere. Otherwise I would have bought it on the spot.

    But nobody commented on the Novara? I know it's only sold at REI, so that explains it I guess, but these specs look pretty nice, to me at least:

    Frame AN6 Aluminum
    Fork RockShox Dart 2 w/ Lockout 100mm travel
    Crankset Truvativ Firex 3.1 44/32/22
    Shifters SRAM X-7
    Brakes Avid BB7 Disc
    Brake levers Avid Speed Dial 7
    Front derailleur SRAM X-7
    Rear derailleur SRAM X-9
    Head set Integrated semi-cartridge
    Bottom bracket Truvativ Giga Pipe
    Rear cog SRAM PG-950 11/34, 9-speed
    Front hub Shimano M475 Disc
    Rear hub Shimano M475 Disc
    Rims WTB SpeedDisc
    Tires WTB Raijin 26x2.1
    Stem Truvativ XR 3D
    Handlebar Truvativ XR Riserbar
    Seat post Truvativ XR
    Saddle WTB Pure V Comp
    Pedals Alloy platform
    Chain SRAM 950

    However I can't seem to find information on the weight... At this price ($650) I would expect something around 28 lbs.
    http://www.rei.com/product/760853 and click "zoom" it's pretty nice.

  23. #23
    ride hard take risks
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nibar
    But nobody commented on the Novara? I know it's only sold at REI, so that explains it I guess
    Did I miss something??

    Quote Originally Posted by dogonfr
    From what I have heard Novara & Marin are made by the same company but as normal I cant find the proof. l

    If you supply a link insted of have people search it can be a helpfull thing for all.
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  24. #24
    Wayne, PA
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    huh? I did post the link, it's here http://www.rei.com/product/760853

  25. #25
    ride hard take risks
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nibar
    huh? I did post the link, it's here http://www.rei.com/product/760853
    One day I will learn how to read but dont hold your breath.
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