Buying your first 29er, what would you do differently?
I have been reading lots and thought to post up this question.
My wife and I are getting ready to drop the hammer on a couple new 29er bikes, but finding it tough to make a decision. It seems that there are so many options and bikes available within our price range ($600-$1000). We can afford to buy better bikes, but not sure we need anything more expensive or of better quality at the moment. We were advised to buy the best bike we can afford so that we will not need to upgrade parts or buy better bikes later.
We are recreational bikers with small children and wanted to get some new bikes so that we can do some family bike rides and also hit the trails with friends on occassion.
We visited many LBSs and the recommendation has been for us to consider either 700 hybrid/dual sport/cross-trails or 29er mountain bikes.
We have things narrowed down to the following models..
Giant Roam 2 - for her
Giant Talon 29er 1 -for me
These two models offer the best bang for the buck, really like the components, especially the hydraulic brakes and locking forks.
Many reviews I have read identify the forks of the Talon as a weakness, and should be upgraded. The Talon also seemed to roll pretty good on the pavement, so I don't think I need a hybrid type bike.
Also, my wife likes the colour of the Roam 2, but the tires seem too thin for her liking. She found it somewhat difficult riding off-road with it. We have been told we can swap out the tires with
Schwalbe Rapid Rob, 29x1.9 tires.Marlin - Trek Bicycle
These tires would allow for better off-road performance while still offering a lighter frame. We were told that these tires would fit no problem on the rim of the Roam. Since it's a 700 wheel it will take the 29 inch tire. I'm curious if this would work? She isn't really concerned with the quality of the forks, as long as they can be locked.
Other bikes in consideration....
TREK Marlin - for me
Wahoo - Trek Bicycle
TREK Wahoo - for her
We had a really fun time test riding these TREK models. The paint job and colours were awesome, but it seemed that these bikes were no comparison in terms of level of components that the GIANT models had. I have also read many reviews which identified weaknesses in the brakes, tires, and forks.
So we have to decide.... should we go with the GIANT models or the TREK models? We like them both and there are obvious compromises between models and brands. We rode them both and liked them about the same.
Also, my wife would really like a green bike and both the Roam 2 and the Wahoo offer these colour options
Bottom line... by the time we have our bikes at home in our garage, I am sure we will be happy with what we have and the minor differences will probably be a thing of the past.
If you could do it again, what would you look for in buying your first 29er and would you do it differently?
well, my first mountain bike was a 26er. What I woudl do differently, I wouldn't buy a new one. I would have bought a used one as
My girl and i just got giant talon 0's He He we both got the same bike. I learned the hard way when i got her a long board, To get her the same level of gear I i run. She may never power silde a long board or hit wicked trails on her bike but it solved any problems or frustration caused from the lingering thought that her gear was of a lesser value and holding her back.
Re: Buying your first 29er, what would you do differently?
I got the Talon 29er 2 and swapped out the fork for a Recon Gold TK. I'm really happy with it now. In hindsight I think I would have looked at dropping the $1000 or so (total investment so far) into an airborne or a nicer bike that wouldn't need a few hundred dollars in upgrades, but like I said... I'm happy with the bike I have and it serves its purpose quite well for me. No buyer's remorse here.
In general, if you plan on pretty "light" riding on paved and dirt trails you should be fine with the Giant choice and the stock forks. If you think you'll end up riding more aggressive single-track , steep, rutted trails with an occasional small drop then you'd be better off going for a better bike with better components from the get go. Upgrading is rarely cost-effective.
If you decide on better bikes then wait for a sale or consider buying used bikes if someone can help you assess price/condition of the bikes. Have fun!
I would ride bikes in your price range and get the one that just "feels" best.
Don't get too caught up on the interweb reviews of parts, as you seem to be doing with the forks. Most of the forks that people blast as being bad are way ahead of the "good" forks of not too many years ago.
Unless you are going to doing a lot of jumping or very technical riding, the fork will not hold you back and shouldn't be that much of a concern.
My Trek 6000 (26'er) has what is considered a low end fork, and it does fine for me. I know what the complaints are (lack of rebound control), and I've noticed it on a few occasions, but it hasn't held back my riding any, and while I'm getting back into it after some years off,trail wise I'm not a beginner.
edit: Also, the hydro disks are great to have, but the locking fork, I dunno... I have one on my bike, I've used it a handful of times i think. I mostly forget it's there becasue I never had one on past bikes and never really knew I needed one.
Also, if you're looking at the Giant, did you look at Raleighs? I see them paired at LBS's a lot. The Raleigh Talus is actually a bit better value than the Talon, according to my bike shop guy I talked to at a LBS that carries them both.
I think with Trek, as well as Specialized, you pay a bit more for the nameand all the marketing they do. I went on a group ride this morning, there were mostly just Treks and Spec there. I got a lot of comments on my Ridley, as no one had seen one before.
I have yet to buy a 29er. I've promised myself I'm going to keep riding the 26" hardtail I bought in 2007 until I've paid Uncle Sam for my engineering degree. Since I got the degree several weeks ago... it'll be a while.
When I bought my current bike, there were two big considerations I had, and a smaller one. The big ones were that I was in a bit of a hurry and I was ready to spend $600. The smaller one was that I'd been away from mountain biking for a while and thought I was just going to ride with my girlfriend of that time and, since I lived in Manhattan, not do much riding, period.
In retrospect, $600 was way too low a budget to consider a retail bike. People take the comparison to cars too far, but one idea does hold true - retail bikes depreciate by close to half their value when one wheels them out of the shop. That doesn't necessarily make buying retail stupid, and I probably will (sort of, anyway, I compete now) next time. But if you ride much at all, you'll find you're fighting with the components a lot to keep the bike rolling. Kind of a bummer of a way to get into the sport.
The other thing that I think I messed up was my prediction about how much I'd ride. Now, one can't predict the future. At the time, I was making enough money that a do-over would likely have been feasible if I wanted to. But when I had time to start riding more, that wasn't true anymore. I doubt that that's what people are thinking of when they say to spend the most one can stomach, but I probably could have stomached more if I'd thought about it. The result was that once I started getting access to hookups on parts, I chipped away at the build on my bike a piece at a time. It's a pretty nice ride now and the irony of my upgradeitis is that I had the industry's help, but it took me a long time and a lot of extra effort to do something that I could probably have done just by spending a bit more at the outset, or by rushing a little less and buying used. I think that upgradeitis is what people are thinking of when they suggest people try to spend more up front - the bike manufacturer gets better prices on parts than you or I ever will, pro forms included, and buying complete bikes is when one gets to leverage that.
tl;dr: Either spend enough to get a bike that comes out of the box ready for you to actually like mountain biking, or let someone else pay for the new bike smell, and buy their low-mileage late-model bike from them now that they want the space back in their garage. (I kick myself a little every time one of my friends takes the second option.)
Lately, buying from an internet catalog is another choice. Those guys make me a little uncomfortable, but there's no denying that they help a rider stretch a buck on a new bike.
"Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx
What would I have done different with my purchase? Tough question. I did all of the research on what I wanted to do, the entrance level bikes, etc..
However, what you WANT to do and what you are ABLE to do are two different things. My intention was to purchase a bike that would allow me to do some bikecamping, trail hunting, and rock hunting; so I went with the Giant Revel 1.
Now, I'm finding out, that in Ohio, there isn't as much.. hardcore? trails / routes that I wanted to do. The verdict is still out though, since I haven't done much exploration / route finding yet. My guess, by the online research, is that I may have went too much mountain bike, and not enough road bike.
What would I have done different with my purchase? Save some more to get something cushy, don't have any regrets with the hardtail I got but might have gotten something better if had a more cash at the purchase time.
I did a ton of research, did test rides etc. Spent about 3600 on my second bike - a FS 29er (first was given to me and got me interested). I did a lot of things right. I found a great deal and I think my bike is pretty good.
The only thing I didnt like about my bike were the avid hydro brakes. I upgraded the wheels to chinese carbon but that was a luxury
My third bike was actually a bike I built myself out of parts from my first bike and a chinese carbon 26er frame.
I took the parts off my old 26er and built a hard tail carbon 26er. I wish that I had gone 29er instead. My challenge is that im so used to the 29er wheels it makes it hard to do technical stuff on a 26er. So now Im contemplating buying a 29er chinese carbon frame and fork, and moving everything over.
I actually got the Trek Marlin as my first ride and I absolutely love it. No complaints at all for the price point. So i'd recommend it first hand to anyone looking for a nice 29er.
Now what would I do differently? Nothing. I went on here to ask if a wally bike was for me. Found out it wasn't. Got advice from here to get fitted first, and try several makes and models. Haggled the LBS as much as I could. Checked craigslist daily for a good steal. Didn't rush into my purchase. 3 weeks later I found a Marlin, not used for more than a mile or two of street, perfectly my size down to the inch, and for little over half of the MSRP at the LBS.
TL;DR version, wouldn't change a thing about my purchase, and never been happier than I am with my Trek Marlin.
I bought my first bike used off craigslist. I didn't want to pay retail price(being new to biking made me thought everything was crazy expensive!). I got a 2011 Giant Revel 0 for less than half the msrp. It had probably less than 3 miles on it. Used that for a year. I am glad I went that route. Previously I had known very little about maintenance and preventative care. I am glad I bought a used bike a a very cheap price because a lot of things started going bad and I has spent more than what I have paid getting it back into great mechanical shape. It has taught me to take a lot better care of the bike and not having free tuneups forced me to learn how to do a lot on my own. I'm too cheap to pay to have everything adjusted.
I just went through this with my wife. We stared with a budget of $1000 each but ended out spending about 1400 each. I think the extra 400 was worth it up front instead of upgrading parts later. She was going to get a Giant 0 w 29er but it was out of stock so she got a Trek Cali sl and I got a Trek Stache 7. This will be our first time on mtn bikes with nice forks and trail riding. We both trail run/race now and are looking to x-train.
Also not included was helmets, pedals (which I already want to change) and who knows what else we will need. Oh, well I'm going to need so spandex probably. Good luck.
I would do it sooner - I was a 29er skeptic and held out too long.
I would have spent more. Of course then I would just want to upgrade to even more expensive parts. But really a few hundred more dollars will go a long ways. The Talon 0 is only 225 off what the Talon 1 is but the components on that will treat you much better. Just my opinion, but if you are able its something to consider.
I don't really care for the Marlin frame (my friend has one) and I'm pretty sure Giant makes most of Trek's lower end frames, not 100% though. I really like the entry level Cannondale and Scott frames. Again just my opinion, but they seem lighter and overall nicer for the price.
Good luck and get riding soon!
There really is a threshold where components stop interfering with going for a ride.
Not that some people don't still develop a need to throw more parts at the bike. But if that's not who you are, it becomes very possible to forget about it, and ride.
"Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx
Be honest with yourself about how you're actually going to ride these bikes. If it's mostly neighborhood/bike path/gravel/dirt road/fireroad stuff (this is what I'm reading and inferring from your post), something like that Giant Roam makes a more sense than a Talon or Marlin. It will be lighter and cheaper and better equipped for your needs. If you want to try mountain biking - singletrack, techy trails, jumps, etc. - and think you will ride on a regular basis, then by all means get the real deal with the beefy forks and tires, and associated weight. Ultimately, get what makes you happy but be advised that Craigslist is littered with mountain bikes that never saw dirt due to initially enthusiastic buyers who greatly exaggerated their intents or needs.
Re: Buying your first 29er, what would you do differently?
Being entirely new to mtb and not knowing what I liked or my riding style I bought a Kona splice. I like the bike, and am taking advantage of the suntour fork upgrade. I hope that will allow me to ride this bike longer.
If I knew then what I know now I would have saved up for an airborne goblin or something with better components up front. As far as starting out on a 29er, I wouldn't change that!
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I'm on my 2nd 29er...so did the do-over...
This time from a great local shop...and I'm super happy with my Trek!
That is all.
"Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx
Just bought my first 29er - a Stumpjumper Comp HT. Not sure that I would do anything differently, although I wish the LBS that I bought from was a little closer (about an hour away).
What did I do?
1. Rode bikes
2. Researched online
3. Rode some more bikes
4. Talked to LBS employees
5. Rode some more bikes
6. Talked to friends who ride
7. Rode some more bikes
In case you missed it, there's a common theme in my shopping experience. You'll never know what you like or don't like unless you ride, ride, ride.
Specific to the bikes you mentioned, does the Wahoo have a lockout on the front fork? I didn't see it in the bike's specs. Based on the type of riding you described, I would think you would want a lockout.
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