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.
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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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    disc brakes or not?

    Well I am pretty new to mountain biking, and I have a a budget of about $450 and I mostly ride on trails with wet and muddy terrain. I am looking at major brands suck as trek, specialized and haro.

    Today I went to many bike shops and looked at many different models. I tried a few out, and have 4 to choose from. Trek 4500, 4300 with disc, spec. hardrock, and the haro v3.

    My major question is if it is worth it to get disc brakes, or to get better parts instead. I ride mostly in the woods, but on the road aswell. I live in maine, so the weather is fairly wet and muddy. But it does dry out in the summer.

    If anyone could please give me opinions of these bikes, and I am willing to accept any other options aswell.
    Thanks

  2. #2
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    i think it is worth it disc brakes add a little weight but if your wheel is not true the brakes will not rub, i think disc stop better and in med a lot better than v brakes and unless you bend the rotor braking is not hurt, wheel a little bit off can have brake rubbing and lose braking power. i ride a haro and love them.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by walter7361
    i think it is worth it disc brakes add a little weight but if your wheel is not true the brakes will not rub, i think disc stop better and in med a lot better than v brakes and unless you bend the rotor braking is not hurt, wheel a little bit off can have brake rubbing and lose braking power. i ride a haro and love them.
    what haro do you ride? if you don't mind me asking

  4. #4
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    Welcome to the forums

    I think disc brakes are a great option, but I have to admit that in the price range of bikes you're looking at, I think the money is better spent on other components. It really depends on what bike you're considering and what disc brakes it's equipped with, too. If you can provide links to the bikes you're considering, it will make it easier on those willing to give their opinions (we don't always know the specs on every bike ).

    For more information on disc brakes in general, check out this link, which can be found in the upper right hand corner of any post in the Brake Time Forum here on mtbr.

    http://www.mtbr.com/techtalks/brakes/brakesfaq.shtml

    Best wishes in choosing the right bike.

    Bob
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  5. #5
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    Thanks for your help call me clyde!

    Trek 4300 w/disc: http://www2.trekbikes.com/bikes/bike...d=1019600&f=18

    Trek 4500: http://www2.trekbikes.com/bikes/bike...d=1022600&f=18

    Haro V3 w/disc: http://www.harobikes.com/mtb/bikes/v3.php

    Specialized hardrock: specs not available(server down)

  6. #6
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    Disc brakes are less prone to get their power reduced by mud and wet conditions, so if stuff really does get muddy in your area, I'd consider them. Mind you, a crappy set of disc brakes won't stop you any better than v-brakes could, keep that in mind.

    In my opinion, Avid BB5's and BB7's are the only mechanical brakes that are worth your while as far as discs go. For hydraulics, Hayes work well if you get a good set, anything Avid works very nice as well. I've heard good thing about the shimano offerings too.

  7. #7
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    I completely agree with CMC that Discs are great, but at the $450 pricepoint you would be better off focusing on other components.

  8. #8
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    I third that...the disc brakes that are spec'd on the bikes your looking at are not going to be a significant increase over v-brakes. So go with the better components for now...meaning the Trek 4500

  9. #9
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    Fourth.
    When your budget allows Avid BB5, then get the disks.

  10. #10
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    here is my bike

    i have a haro shift R3 but also add $1000 in to it i don't think you need a bike like this but i do like haro's. a shift R3 stock is about $890 stock before tax but a great starter bike for trails, so if you are not riding sigle course trails you don't need this bike, don't waste your money and buy anything that you will not need for your ability of riding.
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    Last edited by walter7361; 04-21-2007 at 12:18 AM.

  11. #11
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    Trek 4500

    Of the bikes you mentioed, I would get the Trek 4500. If you find you take to the sport, start saving money. Ride the Trek until you have about $1000 saved. Keep hanging out in the forums here and learing about the sport, different bikes and manufacturers, different components, etc. By the time you have your $1000 saved you'll have a much better idea of what makes one bike better (or different) than another, what kind of riding you'll be doing and the conditions of the terrain of those trails. At that point you'll then be able to pick a bike that will suit all those needs and the money you've saved will buy you a very nice hardtail with above average components.

    Bob
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  12. #12
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    ok thanks for everyones help! Since everyone has said to get a bike without disc brakes, can anyone recommend a cheaper bike like say around 420 to 430? For the 4500 I would be paying 479.99, is that a good deal? Finally what are the most important components to look for?
    thanks

  13. #13
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    Spend the $480

    That's $40 off list price, which isn't bad for a current model year bike.

    When looking at a bike's components, in addition to the frame, look at everything as follows:

    Fork-The most expensive part on any bike, and the area where most manufacturers skimp. You need a good damping system and some adjustibility.

    Drivetrain components-Cranks, shifters, derailleurs and cassette. Again, expensive components and the better quality, the smoother and more accurate your shifting will be.

    Wheelset-You want wheels that are tough enough for the terrain you're riding and spin freely.A good wheelset will balance weight, durability and have quality internals (bearings, pawls, axle, etc.)

    Tires-make sure you research and buy tires suitable for the terrain and riding conditions.

    Brakes and levers-You need sufficient stopping power, so you want brakes that have good modulation and power, and a reputation for being reliable!

    Pedals-personal preference as to flats or clipless, and the choices are many. Sealed bearings are recommended.

    Cockpit components: Stem, bars, grips, seatpost and saddle. Most are competent, but there are definitely differences in quality and durability. Saddles and grips are a matter of personal prefernce. What feels good to one person may not feel good to others.

    I think I covered everything. Obviously, with an entry level bike like the ones you're considering, the components will be similar in quality and functionality. As you move up into that $1000 range, you'll start to see more significant differences in builds. It will take time to educate yourself and for things to make sense, but if you hang around the forums long enough, some of this will sink in.

    Bob
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  14. #14
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    thanks for such a great post cmc. I am sure that there athor bikes that are similar to the 4500 in that price range. can anyone name some? I just want to try out more than one bike in that price range.
    thanks

  15. #15
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    I was able to get a Rockhopper at my LBS for $450 out the door (after tax). This was during a sale period which obviously helped. I looked at the HardRock disk, but felt like the others that it would be better getting a better bike w/ the 'Hopper than the disk brakes w/ the HardRock.

    For me it was between the Rockhopper and Trek 4500 as my final choices. Each has different advantages / disadvantages with the components (of which I don't know enough about).

  16. #16
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    A couple more recommendations

    Besides the Trek 4500, look at these:

    Specialized Rockhopper

    http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=22177

    Giant Yukon-$470 and comes with nice drivetrain and a decent set of disc brakes!

    http://www.giantbicycle.com/en-US/bikes/mountain/10/

    If you're comfortable in buying online without a test ride (definitely NOT for everyone, espeically new riders who might be intimidated by having to assemble some of the bike and make adjustments) Consider the Ibex Alipne 550 or 650

    http://www.ibexbikes.com/Stacks/Series_Alpine.html

    There ya go.

    bob
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  17. #17
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    Thanks so much to everyone! I really appreciate it. CMC, out of all the bikes you mentioned incuding the 4500, what has the best setup?

  18. #18
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    The tricky thing about buying a first bike online, or just based on components, is that it is hard to determine if the "cockpit" dimensions will be right. As I have posted a few hundred times elsewhere, you need to get a bike that is the right length for you.

    Test ride as many bikes as you can trying to get a feel for if you are too stretched out (long bike) or cramped (short bike). A shop should be able to swap or adjust some components if you are close but not quite right.

  19. #19
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    Pros and cons to all of them

    If it were me (and I realize you aren't me ) and I had $500 to spend, I would plunk my money down on the Giant Yukon. The pros and cons are there, and the differences somewhat minute, but I think overall the Giant Yukon would be the best bet for a first time buyer. If you're comfortable with a wrench, then the Ibex 650 is my choice. It has by far, the very best components spec overall. There's just no disputing this, IMO. It's also $635 including delivery, which is out of your range.

    Bob
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    The tricky thing about buying a first bike online, or just based on components, is that it is hard to determine if the "cockpit" dimensions will be right. As I have posted a few hundred times elsewhere, you need to get a bike that is the right length for you.

    Test ride as many bikes as you can trying to get a feel for if you are too stretched out (long bike) or cramped (short bike). A shop should be able to swap or adjust some components if you are close but not quite right.
    I am 5'5'' and 115 lbs. and my LBS was fitting me on an 18". what size would better?

  21. #21
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    Perttime is right

    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    The tricky thing about buying a first bike online, or just based on components, is that it is hard to determine if the "cockpit" dimensions will be right. As I have posted a few hundred times elsewhere, you need to get a bike that is the right length for you.

    Test ride as many bikes as you can trying to get a feel for if you are too stretched out (long bike) or cramped (short bike). A shop should be able to swap or adjust some components if you are close but not quite right.
    Another point I missed, and it's a huge point. Another reason to think hard about whether or not buying online is right for you. Regarding your question about frame size, I'm 5' 9", and anything over 17" is usually too big. My guess is that the 18" will be too big. Be sure you have good standover clearance (2 or so inches between your crotch and the top tube as you stand with feet on the ground). More importantly, make sure you don't feel too cramped or too stretched out in the cockpit while you ride the bike.

    Bob
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  22. #22
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    ok another question. What is cheaper to add on to a bike, good disc brakes or a new shock, like the rock shox?

  23. #23
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    I would say that a good fork/shock is going to be more expensive than a good disc brake.

    Also, RockShox is a brand name of suspenion systems sold by SRAM- they have various models of RockShox, such as RockShox Reba, RockShox Dart, RockShox Sid..... the prices for them range from $100 all the way till $600+

    I would recommend that you wait until something breaks, or if your riding abilities are hindered because of them- then go ahead and upgrade the parts.
    "Winners never quit. Quitters never win. But those who never win and never quit are idiots."

  24. #24
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    Looking at a Trek geometry table ( http://www2.trekbikes.com/bikes/geom...omid=318&eir=1 ) and referring to a table for one of my favorite bikes ( http://www.bansheebikes.com/pages/scirocco/geo.htm ), it looks like a 16" (S) Trek with horizontal top tube measurement of close to 22" might work for a person who is 5'5".

    Try a couple of different sizes to see how they feel.

  25. #25
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    I am 5'6'' and ride a 22.3 Top Tube if this can help you out. You should be pretty comfy on a bike with a top tube close to 22''.

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