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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    Ex BMXer Totally confused about what MTB to get.

    Hi Guys im jack

    I used to ride BMX in my teens, im 25 now. I was a good competent rider. My favourite was Trails or (Dirt jumps) I cant really remember why is stopped riding to be honest.

    Anyway i am a Kitesurfer/Kitelandboarder predominantly but the wind is not always good. When the wind isnt blowing, a few of my mates ride downhill and cross country, i started tagging along with them on my dads Giant XTC 2.5 but now i have the bug!!

    So i have decided to really get back into riding but coming from a BMX back ground i know nothing atall!! (apart from the first ever Saracen raw i used to shred through the woods when i was a kid).

    I would like a hard tail Dirt jumper with the capability of doing downhill runs drop offs etc. I would also want gears, (just at the back) And shocks on the front but im aware that i might not be able to get exactly what i want unless i build it myself.

    I am looking to spend no more than 400 GBP on preferably a brand new bike.

    I got a short list of bikes i have been seriously considering, even fell in Love with one or two.. other than these i am lost.

    Specialized P1 2011 (Fell head over heels in love with this but cant buy em brand new anymore, i had the shocks in mind i wanted to put on too)


    Mongoose Fireball (meh?)


    Diamond Back bandito (meh?)


    Voodoo Shango (it was in halfords so that put me off)
    Kona Downsider (too expensive)

    ABD derelikt 2 (Fell in love with this and its in my price range but not sure how capable it is seeing as the brand derived from a BMX race background i think)

    Saracen Amplitude CR2 (in my price range and i know the brand but other than that i know nothing about it)

    Specialized P.Street 1 2013 (just about in my price range if i push but the base model in the P series now looks like its too soft and focused on everday use aswell, that put me off.. STREET in the name put me off too)

    Thats all i got in ideas.


    Please advise me, or suggest a bike i may not know about.

    Thanks Guys.

    P.S if you are between Bourenmouth and Southampton i would like to hook up and ride sometime!

  2. #2
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    I'm going to break your heart straight away: dirt jumper and trails are very different requirements and one bike will never do both well. In fact, dirt jumping is so specialized of a need that what makes a good dirt jump bike can be a real pain when you hit the trails. For example, I'm 6' tall and when I try to ride my dirt jump bike out on regular trails, I can't get the saddle high enough for proper leg extension. And even at its highest point, I feel like I'm very poorly positioned on the bike as far as handling goes. Now, when the trail turns back downhill, it's an absolute blast but anything more than minor climbing is nearly out of the question. They're heavy, and many aren't built to accommodate knobby tires, you'd have to search the specs on anything you considered.

    You'll probably say to yourself "Self, it doesn't matter because you'll catch the people you're riding with at the top of the hills". Well I'm here to tell you that on both sides of that it gets old. It gets old waiting for people to catch up all the time, every ride and it gets old not being able to hang with your friends who have more trail-oriented bikes. There are exceptions to everything, and you might end up being the one person who can ride your DJ bike everywhere and keep up just fine, but that's not often the case.

    Ideally, you would want what is known as an "all mountain hardtail" but those aren't cheap and they aren't easy to come by. Something like the On-One 456 or Ragley Blue Pig are the typical choices in the category. Specialized made a P Trail line for a while which might turn up something and Gary Fisher had the Biggins line which were both aggressive mass-produced hardtails. Kona has also made some great examples over the years, one that comes to mind instantly is the Steely.

    Honestly, I would buy a trail bike then save up and buy a BMX bike for hitting jumps with.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    I'm going to break your heart straight away: dirt jumper and trails are very different requirements and one bike will never do both well. In fact, dirt jumping is so specialized of a need that what makes a good dirt jump bike can be a real pain when you hit the trails. For example, I'm 6' tall and when I try to ride my dirt jump bike out on regular trails, I can't get the saddle high enough for proper leg extension. And even at its highest point, I feel like I'm very poorly positioned on the bike as far as handling goes. Now, when the trail turns back downhill, it's an absolute blast but anything more than minor climbing is nearly out of the question. They're heavy, and many aren't built to accommodate knobby tires, you'd have to search the specs on anything you considered.

    You'll probably say to yourself "Self, it doesn't matter because you'll catch the people you're riding with at the top of the hills". Well I'm here to tell you that on both sides of that it gets old. It gets old waiting for people to catch up all the time, every ride and it gets old not being able to hang with your friends who have more trail-oriented bikes. There are exceptions to everything, and you might end up being the one person who can ride your DJ bike everywhere and keep up just fine, but that's not often the case.

    Ideally, you would want what is known as an "all mountain hardtail" but those aren't cheap and they aren't easy to come by. Something like the On-One 456 or Ragley Blue Pig are the typical choices in the category. Specialized made a P Trail line for a while which might turn up something and Gary Fisher had the Biggins line which were both aggressive mass-produced hardtails. Kona has also made some great examples over the years, one that comes to mind instantly is the Steely.

    Honestly, I would buy a trail bike then save up and buy a BMX bike for hitting jumps with.
    Hi there.

    Sorry to contradict your input before i have even settled in.Could i not get a longer seatpost? I am used to standing up and peddling everywhere from the BMX days, i feel could live with that problem if it ever bothered me and there was no longer seat posts about. cant say id be much of a weight weenie (stumbled across that terminolgy) Although the knobbly tires not fitting drop outs and forks could be an issue that id now check before hand. thanks.

    Cant say the being slow and getting left behind thing is really something i consider, im quite much younger and fitter than my mates Doom and gloom thinking about it though, id like to think my mates wont take it that seriously! Maybe i will be that guy that has no problems with keeping up or even out in front!?

    I have been using my Dads GIANT XTC 2.5 for jumps and cross country and downhill. Is that the kind of bike you are referring to?.. Its great for everything but i want a bike to be lower, i want more control, i want it to feel like its under neath me and not always going to buckaroo me, i even bought my own seat post for it to cut down! i want a Jump bike that i can take downhill. forget the up hill woes for now, ile deal with that when i get there, or should i say if i get up there lol.

  4. #4
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    Maybe look for an older used Santa Cruz Chameleon and pair it with a travel adjust fork up front. This was a great setup on my old bike, unwind the Pike to 140mm and the bike rails trails, crank it down to 100mm and it's perfect for skatepark, BMX tracks, urban. Ultimately though if the bars were adjusted for one setting they felt off in the other and eventually I turned the bike into a full time dirt jumper and build up a trail bike.

    Should be able to do the same with an On One 456 since the geo is very similar only problem is that the Sektor is the only U-turn for Rockshox makes anymore. Just get a size smaller bike than what you would normally ride - this will get you a shorter wheelbase and more standover for jumping.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiter_Jack View Post
    Hi there.

    Sorry to contradict your input before i have even settled in.Could i not get a longer seatpost? I am used to standing up and peddling everywhere from the BMX days, i feel could live with that problem if it ever bothered me and there was no longer seat posts about. cant say id be much of a weight weenie (stumbled across that terminolgy) Although the knobbly tires not fitting drop outs and forks could be an issue that id now check before hand. thanks.

    Cant say the being slow and getting left behind thing is really something i consider, im quite much younger and fitter than my mates Doom and gloom thinking about it though, id like to think my mates wont take it that seriously! Maybe i will be that guy that has no problems with keeping up or even out in front!?

    I have been using my Dads GIANT XTC 2.5 for jumps and cross country and downhill. Is that the kind of bike you are referring to?.. Its great for everything but i want a bike to be lower, i want more control, i want it to feel like its under neath me and not always going to buckaroo me, i even bought my own seat post for it to cut down! i want a Jump bike that i can take downhill. forget the up hill woes for now, ile deal with that when i get there, or should i say if i get up there lol.
    Well, it all depends on your height. Remember that DJ bikes are typically equivalent to a 15" frame, where I normally ride a 19" frame. That means that even with a 400mm post, one of the longest you can get and reasonably put on a frame without putting it in danger, I can not raise my saddle to the proper height for pedaling. Not to mention, like I said before, that the riding position in that raised saddle position is really awkward with how small the rest of the frame is. With the saddle down, no problem.

    What exactly are we talking about when you say "jumps and cross country and downhill"? What kind of bikes do other trail users (not in your group of friends) ride on the trails you're talking about? Jumps and DH mean a lot of different things to a lot of people so it's hard to pin down exactly what you need without being clear.

    GT brings up a frame that I constantly forget about and should be able to be found in the Chameleon. Pretty much the original AM HT. A very solid suggestion.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTscoob View Post
    Maybe look for an older used Santa Cruz Chameleon and pair it with a travel adjust fork up front. This was a great setup on my old bike, unwind the Pike to 140mm and the bike rails trails, crank it down to 100mm and it's perfect for skatepark, BMX tracks, urban. Ultimately though if the bars were adjusted for one setting they felt off in the other and eventually I turned the bike into a full time dirt jumper and build up a trail bike.

    Should be able to do the same with an On One 456 since the geo is very similar only problem is that the Sektor is the only U-turn for Rockshox makes anymore. Just get a size smaller bike than what you would normally ride - this will get you a shorter wheelbase and more standover for jumping.
    Say what? I had a look at the Chameleon, very expensive and seems to be the same style of Bike as my dads, it looks like exactly what im not looking for. I do like the Santa Cruz Jackel, thats a really sexy bike. Once again though, too expensive for my budget..even if i did have the money, im not sure if i could justify spending over 500 on a Bicycle although i do know why they are so expensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    What exactly are we talking about when you say "jumps and cross country and downhill"? What kind of bikes do other trail users (not in your group of friends) ride on the trails you're talking about? Jumps and DH mean a lot of different things to a lot of people so it's hard to pin down exactly what you need without being clear.
    My local Bikepark is where i have been riding to hone my MTB skills. Its Watchmoore Bike park. A run would consist of starting at the top of the hill. Riding up onto the Northshore platform and dropping off to flat about 6ft. dodging some tree stumps down a slope and the going onto more North shore which drops off at the end of it by about a foot, then beside the log run (i fell off first time) the slop steepens and there is tree stump kicker to flat, then steepens some more and speeds up towards the bottom of the hill with a purpose made kicker to flat or a giant northshore table top with a drop off downslope thing.

    Also there is a 5 pack of Doubles which i can ride on my dads bike but it just doesnt feel right on it.

    There is downhill tracks at the back of the park too, everytime i go ride them i see the guys with full face helmets and Full sus bikes.

    The kids down there are mostly on Jump bikes and they barrell down the DH tracks with ease.

    Cross country wise, i rode along the cliff tops on a dog walking trail 4 miles, mostly gravel and muddy grass and dryed dirt, long decents and ascents. but steep ones, dads bike was good for that but an old granny basher i had was good for that,

    Anyway, can anyone suggest a predominant dirt Jump bike that i could get away with using for trails, slalom, bit of dh, an all rounder Dirt jump bike. I know what style i want tbh. My shortlist up there you can get an idea of what im after. I just dont know which is which. For example, i thought the Current cheapest Halfords dirt bike would be good until i researched it and found out it was Toilet.

  7. #7
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    Im gonna agree with GTscoob and say On One 456 (or Ragley Blue Pig, or Transition TransAM (My baby), or Chromag Sakura). Highly capable bikes with relaxed geometry for crushing trails.

    If you're not convinced that they're up your alley then look at the Transition Bank (4X bike) or step up to a Transition Bottlerocket. The Specialized P1 would be a good bike too if your budget is tight. The frame is solid, but the rest of it is borderline durable enough for the kind of riding its intended for.

  8. #8
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    Still again, the On one 456 isnt the style im looking for and its a bit out of price range even if i was looking for that type of bike, its like My dads Giant xtc. I actually really like the Ragley blue thing, very nice bike but 1700 quid?.. Trans am bike for over 2k?..

    My budget is tight im afraid a si said no more than 500 and thats a complete bike. If i had the money id would quite happily build on a Specialized P1 frame but i havent.

    I guess i should have been more careful with the title of this thread as the feedback isnt helping me so far.I really am just looking for a purpose made Dirt Jump bike, preferably under 400 pounds. Is there any dirt jumpers here that like to take their "jump bike" off the doubles and onto the north shore kickers, drop offs, slamom like trails, etc?..

    4X?DJ Transition Bank, im drooling, but the price :/

    Right so effectivly i need a 4X/DJ bike, thats a start.


    i really like this ABD Derelikt 2 Dirt Jump Bike 2012 Model Lime Green 26" BRAND NEW! RRP's £680! | eBay
    Last edited by Kiter_Jack; 05-01-2013 at 03:46 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiter_Jack View Post
    Still again, the On one 456 isnt the style im looking for and its a bit out of price range even if i was looking for that type of bike, its like My dads Giant xtc. I actually really like the Ragley blue thing, very nice bike but 1700 quid?.. Trans am bike for over 2k?..

    My budget is tight im afraid a si said no more than 500 and thats a complete bike. If i had the money id would quite happily build on a Specialized P1 frame but i havent.

    I guess i should have been more careful with the title of this thread as the feedback isnt helping me so far.I really am just looking for a purpose made Dirt Jump bike, preferably under 400 pounds. Is there any dirt jumpers here that like to take their "jump bike" off the doubles and onto the north shore kickers, drop offs, slamom like trails, etc?..

    4X?DJ Transition Bank, im drooling, but the price :/

    Right so effectivly i need a 4X/DJ bike, thats a start.


    i really like this ABD Derelikt 2 Dirt Jump Bike 2012 Model Lime Green 26" BRAND NEW! RRP's £680! | eBay
    A 4X/DJ bike does not go uphill, as long as you're ok with that then you're on the right track. Your OP indicates that you want a "do it all" bike, but your most recent post indicates that you actually don't. You actually want a DJ bike, which is fine, but is not what your initial post says. A DJ bike is not a "do it all" bike, in fact it's a do one thing well but others not so much bike. But if all you're doing is lapping a hill with hits on it then you'll probably be fine. I'd personally look at finding something like a used Parker or Bottlerocket, but you seem set on buying the thing you said you'd buy in the OP and advice be damned!

    Buy whatever you can find, your budget is your limiting factor as far as what you're going to be able to purchase, not your intended use. If you can find anything in your price range you might as well get whatever that happens to be.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiter_Jack View Post
    Still again, the On one 456 isnt the style im looking for and its a bit out of price range even if i was looking for that type of bike, its like My dads Giant xtc. I actually really like the Ragley blue thing, very nice bike but 1700 quid?.. Trans am bike for over 2k?..
    Um, so is it a style thing, that the Chameleon, 456, Blue Pig, etc look like your dads bike? Look at the geometry sheets and they're pretty far off from your dad's XC bike. About the only thing that they have in common is that they are a hardtail.

    Also re: Chameleon vs Jackal - the geo isnt too far off from one to the other, mainly steeper angles on the Jackal so that it's better for spins and a shorter top tube for DJs. Like I said before, size down and run a long seatpost and you'll have that same shorter top tube, be able to slam the seat and have more clearance, but also have more trail worthy geometry. Around my area most guys that focus on park and street riding go for the Jackal, guys that ride dirt/slalom/flow trails opt for the Chameleon.
    Post your lizards. (Chameleon)
    Dig around on the link above and you'll see a whole host of different builds on the Chameleon ranging from hardtail DH builds to lightweight XC racers - it's a great frame for doing a lot of different thigns. You asked for a bike for around $500 and you should be able to find a used one for that price, at least thats what they're going for stateside.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    A 4X/DJ bike does not go uphill, as long as you're ok with that then you're on the right track. Your OP indicates that you want a "do it all" bike, but your most recent post indicates that you actually don't. You actually want a DJ bike, which is fine, but is not what your initial post says. A DJ bike is not a "do it all" bike, in fact it's a do one thing well but others not so much bike. But if all you're doing is lapping a hill with hits on it then you'll probably be fine. I'd personally look at finding something like a used Parker or Bottlerocket, but you seem set on buying the thing you said you'd buy in the OP and advice be damned!

    Buy whatever you can find, your budget is your limiting factor as far as what you're going to be able to purchase, not your intended use. If you can find anything in your price range you might as well get whatever that happens to be.
    Yeah im ok with it not going uphill, seems like the kind of thing i will be most into DJ/4X, never heard of it before now but looks like my kind of thing. My bad for coming across like that in the OP, i know nothing lol. hehe i really do like the bottlerocket..I guess i should have just asked what people thought the best DJ/4X bike i could get for around 3to 4 hundred was. My bad.

    That last bit of your post gives me hope, i just dont know whats good and what isnt besides the well known Brands.

    Quote Originally Posted by GTscoob View Post
    Um, so is it a style thing, that the Chameleon, 456, Blue Pig, etc look like your dads bike? Look at the geometry sheets and they're pretty far off from your dad's XC bike. About the only thing that they have in common is that they are a hardtail.

    Also re: Chameleon vs Jackal - the geo isnt too far off from one to the other, mainly steeper angles on the Jackal so that it's better for spins and a shorter top tube for DJs. Like I said before, size down and run a long seatpost and you'll have that same shorter top tube, be able to slam the seat and have more clearance, but also have more trail worthy geometry. Around my area most guys that focus on park and street riding go for the Jackal, guys that ride dirt/slalom/flow trails opt for the Chameleon.
    Post your lizards. (Chameleon)
    Dig around on the link above and you'll see a whole host of different builds on the Chameleon ranging from hardtail DH builds to lightweight XC racers - it's a great frame for doing a lot of different thigns. You asked for a bike for around $500 and you should be able to find a used one for that price, at least thats what they're going for stateside.
    Ah ya see i know nothing of Geometry on bikes, all that i see is a DJ frame is the shape i want/feel i need for giving me the best from the dirt jumps on the trails whether it be kickers or full on doubles and pump sections, mainly because i need a MTB thats just that little closer to how a bmx would feel. And although i havent tried any other MTB really i know that the shape of the Giant XTC isnt what im looking for, i know its shallow but what my eye sees is generally my first point of judgment besides the geometry etc etc. I just cant see my self doing 360, inverts, Flat tables on these sorts of bikes, but i can on the DJ/4X types Frame shape.

    Id still definitly sway more towards the Jackal if i had the money to get one, the easier spins and tricks just give it the edge in my mind. If that means sacrifices on the trail side of things i will come back and have a moan and say "dude you were right" And youlle be like "i told ya so, Fool!" lol.

    I only just realised this is a Stateside forum

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