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
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    New question here. Hardtail or Full-Suspension?

    I'm trying to decide whether to get a full-suspension or hardtail bike. I'm thinking either freeride or trail bike. What are the pros/cons of full-suspension and hardtail?

  2. #2
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    What's your price range?

  3. #3
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    $400 and under.

  4. #4
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    At that price range, you only real option is hardtail. The only full suspension you will find under that price will be a walmart special. You can get a decent starter hardtail for the price, but you won't be able to find a full suspension unless you are looking used.

  5. #5
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    OK. Anyone else?

  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    If you ask enough times, someone might tell you full-suspension.

    But I don't think they start getting worthwhile until about $1000, unless you find a kickass deal on a used bike.

    How do you feel about used?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    Used is Ok if theres a good description or i can see the bike for myself. So are you guys telling mr that a full-suspension bike is better for what I'm looking for?

  8. #8
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    FS is a lot more comfy.

    At $400 though, your only real option is HT, and it'll be entry level at that. But if you're just getting into mountain biking, that's probably the price range you want to start at until you know how much you enjoy the sport.

  9. #9
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    Where do you suggest I buy a bike? I mean I found some HT's online at dick's sporting goods some for 200 and some for less. Are those just not good quality?

  10. #10
    usually cranky
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    go to a bike store (not a store that sells bikes and grills and baseballs, just a bike shop) and look at all the bikes in your price range. test the ones that call out to you. buy the one you like best. enjoy riding your new hardtail.

  11. #11
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    There's a whole thread on this forum on why not to buy a bike from a Walmart, sporting goods store, etc. That's not just elitism - I really don't think they're adequate for off-road use. I've bought bikes at REI and can imagine doing it again, and Performance carries both garbage and more serious bikes.

    Big hit bikes are almost always full-suspension now. There are a few exceptions, but I think it's safe to say that downhill and freeride are best done on full-suspension.

    For trail riding, it depends on rider taste, budget and skill level. I think most people who ride for fun, don't race and can afford it are on full-suspension bikes, at least in my area. People who do race can be competitive on a relatively inexpensive hardtail but in general, the full-suspension bikes I see at races are very expensive models.

    It doesn't sound like you know mountain bikes that well yet. In that case, I think trying to buy used via Craig's List or EBay is a pretty tricky proposition. See if there's a used bike store in your area and follow b-kul's advice. Pay special attention to geared dirt jump bikes, but don't limit yourself to them.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  12. #12
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    Well..

    Basically I want a quality bike that will last and effectively traverse rough terrain wiithout spending more than 400 dollars.

  13. #13
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneWolf27
    Basically I want a quality bike that will last and effectively traverse rough terrain wiithout spending more than 400 dollars.
    hardtail......

    OR...full rigid SS
    Visit these 2 places to help advance trail access:
    http://www.sharingthepct.org/
    http://www.facebook.com/SharingThePct

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHUM
    OR...full rigid SS
    What's that?

    Also, would a nautilus bike shop be a good place to get a bike?

  15. #15
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneWolf27
    What's that?...
    bike with zero suspension (rigid) and 1 gear (SS..or singlespeed)....

    more fun than you know....

    makes you a stronger rider to boot
    Visit these 2 places to help advance trail access:
    http://www.sharingthepct.org/
    http://www.facebook.com/SharingThePct

  16. #16
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    Um..that doesn't sound like what I'm looking for. Could anyone tell me if nautilus bike shop would be a good place to buy a HT?

  17. #17
    Permanent Noob
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneWolf27
    Um..that doesn't sound like what I'm looking for. Could anyone tell me if nautilus bike shop would be a good place to buy a HT?
    Never been there...

    Their website is a bit thin... but they appear to carry a couple of good brands - Cannondale and GT. If you're in Sherman, you might want to take a trip to DFW - lots more options there.

  18. #18
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    $390 specialized hardrock

    thats a good starter bike that you can pick up from a lbs that means it will be built correctly and any good bike shop will help you out if you need adjustments down the road
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  19. #19
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    here's a good article about department store bikes.

    http://www.dirtragmag.com/print/article.php?ID=657

  20. #20
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    As someone said earlier, most of the bikes at *****, or other sporting goods stores are not meant to be used as mountain bikes. They look like mountain bikes, they have suspension and everything else, but if you pay attention, most of them will have a little sticker on the head tube saying this bike is not meant for off-road use. Alot of those frames were not meant to withstand the abuse that mountain biking will through at you and will cause it to break. You can get a decent beginner hard tail for 400, but a FS will run you more along the lines of 1000-1500 to get a decent one. I just switched from a HT to a FS, but it hasn't came in yet so I don't have experience with it on the trail yet.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoneWolf27
    Where do you suggest I buy a bike? I mean I found some HT's online at dick's sporting goods some for 200 and some for less. Are those just not good quality?
    DO NOT listen to the cattle, you can get a good entry level bike from a sporting goods store. As far as the, "not for off road use," it's just a disclaimer. The same manufacturers of the parts on sporting store bikes are the same as the LBS bikes. The real truth is that any entry level bike is a transitional bike, and will likely be up-grade for a much better bike in a year. This is if you like the sport. At your price range anything you get is going to be garbage in the big sceme of bikes. What I do know is that ***** has this bike in your range with some quality components on it. here it is.
    http://www.*****sportinggoods.com/pr...367828.2716578
    There is other bike with the same name, but you DO NOT want that One. If you order make sure you get the idem # of the above bike. Let us know your height so we can empower you by showing you how pick the proper size frame yourself..
    Last edited by Drth Vadr; 04-01-2010 at 09:00 AM.

  22. #22
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drth Vadr
    DO NOT listen to the cattle, you can get a good entry level bike from a sporting goods store. As far as the, "not for off road use," it's just a disclaimer. The same manufacturers of the parts on sporting store bikes are the same as the LBS bikes. The real truth is that any entry level bike is a transitional bike, and will likely be up-grade for a much better bike in a year. This is if you like the sport. At your price range anything you get is going to be garbage in the big sceme of bikes. What I do know is that ***** has this bike in your range with some quality components on it. here it is.
    http://www.*****sportinggoods.com/pr...367828.2716578
    There is other bike with the same name, but you DO NOT want that One. If you order make sure you get the idem # of the above bike. Let us know your height so we can empower you by showing you how pick the proper size frame yourself..
    Actually, that bike looks like a pretty good start to me too, at least competitive with the sub-$400 Hardrock. I didn't realize that DB sold their "real" bikes outside of specialty stores.

    My experience has been that I've kept almost all of my bikes for at least a couple of years. I've had one of them since 2000, and I keep maintaining it and recently upgraded the shifters and handlebars. My "starter" mountain bike has given me three years so far, and at the moment I think I'm going to be trying for another three from it before I can consider something new.

    I'm still putting my vote in favor of a used bike from a shop. Make some phone calls and see what's in your area. You could get more from your dollar, and if the bike starts with an 8- or 9-speed cassette, disc brakes, and a 100+ mm fork, future maintenance and upgrades will be a lot easier; if you start with a mid-level bike and get the frame size right, it may give you a decade or more of service.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  23. #23
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    Hey that bike you saw at ***** for 200 is good if you think you will have fun jumping the curbs. If you deside to get one the only one i could say is the response or higher in db or something equal in another company.

  24. #24
    Nuts
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    That Diamondback is a smokin good deal, better then the specialized IMAO
    And I love beer!!

  25. #25
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    I haven't done any serious trail riding and have been out of MTBing for about 20 years or so. I'm now 40 and still have the bike I bought in 1991 in Fayetteville NC while in the Army. its a Trek 7000 rigid. Having wanting to ride again I just bought a Diamondback Response Sport from performancebike.com. I didn't want to spend alot yet before I really figiured out what kind of riding I wanted to do or what kind of bike I really wanted. After that maybe I'll drop more coin on something nicer.

    Will get my DB in a week or so and will try to let ya know how it is. My very first MB was a Diamondback Ascent (circa 1988) and took it everywhere.

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