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
    mtbr member
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    Broke MTBr's Unite

    Look I will start off by saying I am jealous, I love you all. So many people on here talking about their bikes, that when I look them up, are thousands of dollars. Also reading forums where people are posting what cranksets to get ($300+), brake sets ($200+), shifters ($250+), forks ($800+). It's just a little disheartening for some of the new guys like myself. So I decided to make a thread about the busted up, pieced together, cheap bikes and the average crappy components that make them what they are. I wanted to come out to the world and say "YES, I am a newbie, I bought my bike for $125 dollars on craigslist. I have no idea if I was ripped off or not but, Guess what???!! I frickin love my bike!!!!". Oh man does that feel good. Since I bought my bike I have put $22 in for new grips and $6 in for a triangle bag to hold tools if my bike breaks. I have now had the bike for 3 months and ridden 4 different trails from beginner to intermediate and it has worked out awesome (of course having nothing to compare it to is great). So if you want to post your run of the mill, mediocre, ho-hum bike along with mine then maybe I wont feel so bad next time I roll up alongside a guy on the trail with a $4000 dollar bike. So come on don't be shy, post that Huffy. All that matters is you love it.

    That all being said here it is... 1996 Mongoose IBOC Comp SX (only upgrade is the ODI Rogue grips, I also made my own slap guard)

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  2. #2
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    Re: Broke MTBr's Unite

    Everyone starts somewhere.. When I tell people how much bikes are, they get all cross eyed. I dump a few hundred into my bike every few seasons, but i haven't bought a bike in well over 10 years. This season was major upgrades, new wheels brakes and fork, handlebars are coming tomorrow, new rd.. Some grips. But I seek out deals, so it's really not that bad. Plus it's fun getting new ****.

    I think next year I'm gonna go with a full suspension frame. I don't want to leave 26" because everything is so cheap now and it works fine for me.



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  3. #3
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    Broke MTBr's Unite

    This post intrigues me a great deal. This spring I purchased, what is for me, an excellent entry level bike. A 2012 Specialized Rockhopper 29er. I started riding this spring and have loved it more than I ever thought I would. I wanted to mountain bike for several years but had been told repeatedly that I could not ride trails on a cheap bike. What I have now learned, is that all that advice did was rob me of a few years of trail riding on a subpar bike. I know now that it doesn't matter if all that you can afford is a Huffy, get out and ride. You will probably break something. Have fun until you do, then fix it. Or get another Huffy, or move up to a used trail bike. But get a helmet, and get out there. You do not have to spend $2000 on a bike in order to have fun.


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  4. #4
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    Yeah!!!!

    I been at this **** since 1990, and goddamnit, back in my day we didn't even have feet. We went everywhere on bloody stumps!!! AND WE LIKED IT!!!!!

    Gear worship is a frigging stain on the soul of mountain biking IMHO, and retail is for suckers. I'm not all that broke these days, and I've wormed my way into a few decent bikes, but it's always been more about the act of riding for me than the equipment. Posts like this give me hope. Stop shopping and start riding!!!!
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  5. #5
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    Ha. Stumps... Love these replies. I agree with all that's been replied. I guess this is the way society goes. Always trying to beat the neighbors. " Oh yeah, well mine is newer and more expensive". I hope this just gives the new guy with little money confidence to ride and realize you don't need that pricey bike. Hell riding a crap bike might make you better and definitely will make you appreciate every single upgrade you ever get to do.

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  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    So I have to admit I have a multithousand dollar bike now. I finished grad school and got a j-o-b last year; figured if I was going to sell my soul to the military/industrial complex, I could at least get a racing bike out of it.

    But I rode an '07 Hardrock from 2007 until then. Raced it too. And beat some people, no less. I tended to finish "above the fold" in Sport class in my unemployed and community college years. Grad school nuked my fitness and I didn't do so well for a while. :-p I seem to be back now, though.

    I'm too lazy to hunt down the pictures of my Hardrock; I've posted it a couple times. There's a good thread on this that gets revived from time to time, "post your cheap bike." You can see what people have done for less than $200.

    Hardtails haven't changed much, so if your bike goes, stops, shifts and fits you, you're on the right side of the 80/20 rule. You're also making the choice I wish I had in starting out by buying used.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    Started in a $299 brand new old stock bike back in '99 to see what this was all about and got hooked, have changed bikes several times between then and now but have never had one of those bikes that we drool about due to financial limitations and self control. The most fun was probably the cheapest, rigid ss built from spare parts.

    Still having fun with my upgraded entry level bike and keep in mind that in this game just like horse racing, is not the horse, is the jockey.

  8. #8
    _CJ
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    It's not about the bike

    I built up the bike I've been riding for the past several years for less than $500.00 and it's one of my favorite bikes of all time. Simple, reliable, fun to ride. What more can you ask for? Make no mistake I could be riding the latest whiz-bang gizmo bike if I wanted to, it's not about the money. I've certainly owned a lot of expensive bikes in years past, but I just don't care about all the monkey motion market driven do-dads. My steel 23 pound, 26" wheel, rigid frame/fork, v-brake, 1x8 is all I need.

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  9. #9
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    its great to have a $500 bike you love but drinking PBR is unacceptable!

  10. #10
    _CJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfruits View Post
    its great to have a $500 bike you love but drinking PBR is unacceptable!
    yeah, but it's the only beer I had in a can at the time and you know what they say....oatmeal's better than no-meal.

  11. #11
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    First off, I'm not broke... at least not at the moment.

    My perception is tainted because I come from a road background and my road bikes are from the 80's. After the kids, hockey, surfing, etc., I got back into riding and even though I looked at new road bikes I was, and still am, convinced that my 80's road bikes with downtube friction shifters can take me wherever I want to go and get there almost as quickly as any new bike. If I were racing, that is a different story.

    A year ago a neighbor gave me an old GT, it is now my loaner bike, and based on my road perceptions I proceeded to ride that bike and build up 2 more vintage mountain bikes. I really enjoy the bikes and they work flawlessly and they are anything but beaters. As I have been riding a little tougher terrain, I have come to the realization that there is a much bigger difference between old and new technology when it comes to riding a mountain vs. road bike. If I were 30 years younger, I'd probably be looking to move into the 21st century, (larger wheels, disc brakes, etc.), but for my level it is just not worth it and I am having a ton of fun.

    If you can master the trails on that old 26er, it will only help you to be a better rider when you step up, if you step up, to a newer bike.

    John
    1995 Trek 970 - 80mm Atom Race
    1992 Serotta T-Max - 70mm Z3 Light
    1993 GT All Terra - 46mm Mag 21

  12. #12
    My little friends
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    It's not about the bike, it's about the rider, right?




  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by EABiker View Post
    It's not about the bike, it's about the rider, right?



    Hey!!! I didn't give you permission to use a picture of me.

    John
    1995 Trek 970 - 80mm Atom Race
    1992 Serotta T-Max - 70mm Z3 Light
    1993 GT All Terra - 46mm Mag 21

  14. #14
    _CJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
    If you can master the trails on that old 26er, it will only help you to be a better rider when you step up, if you step up, to a newer bike.
    I get so tired of this assertion....that a newer and/or more expensive bike is an "upgrade" or a "step up".

    For me, and the way I ride, and what I enjoy about mountain bikes, my $500 bike represents the pinnacle of MTB technology and performance. Bigger wheels, disc brakes, suspension, blah, blah, blah....it's all a bunch of crap that does nothing to enhance the experience, and in my opinion actually detracts.

  15. #15
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    So my friend is going into the nypd and wanted a cheap bike to ride to get into shape, and all I could find him free was an old huffy in our other friends girlfriends garage. I rode it around the parking lot... It was pretty bad. Heavy, geo felt like a mess compared to what I'm used to riding.. It was all around bad lol.. So, money does make a bike better haha

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  16. #16
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    The gear can certainly be a distraction. Part of it is social pressure - it's hard to line up next to a bunch of guys on wonderbikes, and so much of the chit-chat at group rides seems to center around doo-dads. None of that matters all that much during actual riding, but I catch myself doing it too. I even got all excited about the prospect of buying a dropper post several months ago; demoing killed that.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  17. #17
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    Trust me I love dreaming about the upgrades I plan on. Can't even tell you how many things have been in my shopping cart online and all I have to do is put in my billing info then I back out at the last moment screaming at the computer, then unplugging it so I won't go buy the stuff.

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by _CJ View Post
    I get so tired of this assertion....that a newer and/or more expensive bike is an "upgrade" or a "step up".

    For me, and the way I ride, and what I enjoy about mountain bikes, my $500 bike represents the pinnacle of MTB technology and performance. Bigger wheels, disc brakes, suspension, blah, blah, blah....it's all a bunch of crap that does nothing to enhance the experience, and in my opinion actually detracts.
    Oh no, I think there are decent reasons for all those things, and they can definitely make the experience 'better' in certain applications. The problem is when all the dorks obsess on gear pretty much to the exclusion of everthing else and can't seem to ever STFU about it (probably a full 90% of this website's content and ~100% of a lot of the subforums).

    To avoid being bored to tears on group rides, you need to immediately start making fun of any part that someone won't shut up about ('fatbikers', or what I call 'fadbikers' are currently the worst offenders - anyone who has one seems to be required to evangalize about it ad nauseum and squeeze the word 'fatbike' into every sentence, sometimes more than once, for hours on end, followed by people that refer to their bikes by wheel size instead of just calling it a 'bike', as if they're riding more than one at a time and they need to make the distinction so we're not confused, followed by anybody who recently wildly overpaid for a bit of next season's "obsolete" equipment. Luckily, my regular riding group gets it. You're allowed a brief mention of a new part if it's been working well for you, or if you just put it on that day. Any more than that, and the heckling ramps up to relentless in very short order. Mention you're overpriced carbon wheels more than once, someone is very likely to throw a rock at them. If somone starts rambling on about the benefits of tubless tires, they're likely to be dealing with a flat in the very near future. The last poor bastard that showed up with some stupid carbon fiber '29er' a couple seasons ago and talked it up still hasn't lived it down,specially after it broke into pieces in short order just like we told him it would. Gear worship most be crushed whenever it rears it ugly head. Get it, ride it, shut up about it, whatever it is. And for gawd's sake, don't polish the frigging thing like it's a show car.

    :madman:

    ;)
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  19. #19
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    OK Cool thread, I started on a BD bike ($300.00) soon I was looking to upgrade and my buddy was all about me spending $2k on a bike (FS). I really can't justify having a $2k bike at my level, so I went for a better bike w/in my budget. This will last me a couple of years but I'm loving riding (which is the important part) more and more every time.

    I think we do have to drop some cash on equipment as a beginner so you have the 'right" tools for the job, not necessarily the more expensive tools.
    2013 Cannondale Trail SL 3

    "You will never ride alone"

  20. #20
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    I felt elated about getting a 6 y/o bike off CL for 130. Got the rear wheel respoked & I am g2g. Have my 96 Mongoose as a back. Now my daughter has placed a claim on the goose. Bought her a helmet & backpack. She starts college this fall & it might come in handy when she has to park six blocks from campus.

  21. #21
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    Broke MTBr's Unite

    Gear worship is a part of every hobby or sport. Do it cause you love it.


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  22. #22
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    I dunno - how many people you think leer at their basketballs and shoot pics of them for internet? Or think it's worthwhile to let the world know they raised the air pressure from 10 to 11? Pretty few I'm guessing.

    This bike been just like a basketball to me.

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  23. #23
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    Broke MTBr's Unite

    Gear worship is absolutely part of ever hobby, and in my opinion there is nothing wrong with it. My complaint is telling (or implying) folks that they must spend X amount of money on a bike in order to partake of the sport. If somebody can only afford a Huffy but wants to go out on the trail, encourage them.


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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwakefld View Post
    If somebody can only afford a Huffy but wants to go out on the trail, encourage them.
    That's the whole reason I started this thread. As a noob, when I was looking for my first bike and then when researching upgrades, I seriously started thinking of picking up a new hobby after all the prices I saw on what I "should" be getting. Boy am I glad I said screw it and went with what I did. Love my 18 yr old Mongoose. All about riding, not WHAT you're riding.

  25. #25
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Don't say "hobby" and you'll be a couple steps ahead. 😂
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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