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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    Help me out with a bike.

    So I'm looking at getting into mountain biking . I have a decent understanding for bikes but not too much. I was looking to spend in the $600 range. Also I am decently hefty at 5'10 235 lbs. So far iI have 3 bikes on my radar.

    The first is a fuji Nevada 1.5 on closeout (just using the site as a reference)
    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/m...3/rp-prod95002

    Next is the Raleigh Tokul 1. I like the idea of the 27.5 but the fuji looks like a better deal for tthe same price.
    http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes-moun...-tokul-tokul-1

    Last is the used Cannondale Trail sl3
    http://longisland.craigslist.org/bik/4256412991.html.

    While the Cannondale seems like the best deal, I feel like for a first bike I should go through a Lbs because many offer warranties on their bikes and since i don't know how to adjust anything on a bike I feel as if it would be good to have. What are your opinions.

  2. #2
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    Read the info at the top of this page. The bikes in any price range are very much alike as far as parts. What kind of riding are you looking to do?

  3. #3
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    Re: Help me out with a bike.

    Honestly I'm not sure. I have never been to the trails around long island. From my understanding it's a lot of single track no huge drops or jumps that I know of but I'm not sure.

    I do understand that paying the extra coin is generally recommended to get decent components but I am trying to get into this with minimal hit on my wallet incase I find I don't like it(unlikely) or my knee can't handle it. That's why I am currently leaning toward the Cannondale.

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  4. #4
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    Go used when you can (assuming it's in good condition, bring a friend who knows about bikes). When it comes time to upgrade, which you will, you'll be able to sell it for about the same price or just a litle less.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rangeriderdave View Post
    Read the info at the top of this page. The bikes in any price range are very much alike as far as parts. What kind of riding are you looking to do?
    +1 on bikes in this price range are pretty similar. Just depends on if you particularly like a bike shop or not. Also, does the LBS organize any kind of regular rides? Do you have a circle of friends that you ride with?

    It's tough to go into a sport cold. But MTB experience, for me, is shaped around riding with friends (beyond just the technical.)

    You need a bike that is safe (can handle the abuse of hitting real bumps and ridden hard) and has strong enough components like brakes and forks for what you want to do.

    Beyond that, it's more about your fitness and skill level or leveling up. Once you actually start to ride, you should be able to develop a feel for the type of riding you like. Then you can taylor your bike purchase or mods appropriately.

    Going used, if you know enough about maintenance, is always a good way to save some coin. Also, it makes the transition to a different bike easier to swallow. But sometimes, you can spend almost as much repairing a used bike or doing the maintenance as finding a cleaner one. This is where having a biking buddy that knows stuff about bikes will help out a lot.
    Just get out and ride!

  6. #6
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    Re: Help me out with a bike.

    Ya Ill be completely honest, I don't know anyone who mountain bikes. I know long island has a large biking community and an online forum which I just joined so that's a start, but I went to go ride my old walmart bike that I haven't ridden since I was 16(5 years ago) and it was falling apart so I began to do research.

    I don't mind going used, I like the idea. However I also don't mind getting a bike with lower end components because honestly anything will be better then my old bike.

  7. #7
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    I don't think the warranty is worth very much. They only cover components for a year, in general, and that just means that you get another of the same crappy thing you broke. Frames are warrantied for longer, usually at least five years and up to for life, but you can get a hardtail frame for $300 or so, which fits inside what you'd save buying used.

    See if you can get more detail - at least a year - on that Cannondale. The seller doesn't sound like he has any idea what he's doing. The drivetrain's gotta be a couple years old to be 3x9.

    I never got to ride Long Island much. I lived in Manhattan and didn't have a car. But I rode Cunningham in Queens a couple times and something a bit further out. I don't remember a ton of vert, or the trails being particularly rough. Sandy, sometimes.

    Have you ridden the Raleigh and the Fuji? Getting sizing right is really important with bikes.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    One thing I would recomend, if it fits you, try to ride the bike you have. this is just for short term until you find a bike you like. It'll give you experience fixing bikes, and you won't feel rushed to buy the first bike you come across.
    It should cost about $10 for a new cable kit/tube patch kit from walmart, and it'll give you the experience of working on bikes. Learning how to adjust a derailure and brakes on a junk bike will give you tons of experience. Youtube videos have lots of info too. Use some WD40 on the chain to get it going (not recommended for a good bike, but if the chain is cheap and rusted solid, it can't hurt). If you let us know what's falling apart, we can tell you how to fix it enough to ride. Once again, not a long term fix, but should be good enough to get you through April.

  9. #9
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    Re: Help me out with a bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post

    See if you can get more detail - at least a year - on that Cannondale. The seller doesn't sound like he has any idea what he's doing. The drivetrain's gotta be a couple years old to be 3x9.

    Have you ridden the Raleigh and the Fuji? Getting sizing right is really important with bikes.
    I contacted the seller a few times he's only replied once and hasn't responded to anymore emails. Their was another Cannondale SL3 that was a 2012 but it was a 29er. I have ridden the Raleigh and while it was brief, I did like the slopes top tube. However I didn't like how tall I felt but that may have been how tall the seat post was not necessarily the fact that it was a 27.5

  10. #10
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    The floor sales guys are there to give their bikes the best chance to sell themselves. If the saddle height feels wrong, say something. Both the saddle and handle bars on a mountain bike have a very broad range of vertical adjustability and some horizontal. Also, try to hop on a couple sizes of the same bike. Getting something the right length is really important. It's actually fairly intuitive, but can be subtle, so riding some bikes back to back helps.

    I remember taking about two days to sell my bike when I left New York and kicking myself for only asking what I'd paid for it. Throwing out most of the drivetrain and setting it up singlespeed made it worth more. Who knew?? You may have to be really fast to pick up a bike in your market.

    bikepedia.com is a good source for original specs and MSRPs. You can use either bikepedia or manufacturer's web sites to date a bike based on the paint. The majors come out with Bold New Graphics every year.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    correct me if i'm wrong but isnt the sl3 a 3x9 setup?

    And yes the raleigh I should have adjusted the seat. I was in a hurry and was just window shopping at the time with no intention of buying at the time. The guy was very pushy towards this particular model as well

  12. #12
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    The SL3 is 3x9. I was mentioning that as a detail to help you narrow down the date range. 10-speed setups are in vogue right now, with doubles on a lot of the higher-end bikes. I don't think maintaining 3x9 will be a problem for another 5 years, at least, with availability of cassettes and chains lasting more like 20 years. So not something that would stop me from buying a bike.

    The Tokul's kind of a cool looking bike. The 1 has a pretty crappy fork, though. So does the Fuji; I think you're right to be watching Craig's List.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    Re: Help me out with a bike.

    So I just received pictures from the guy selling the sl3 and it has x5 derailleurs and tektro Draco brakes. I thought the sl3 had better components then that.

    Did it come with those parts at one point in its history

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  14. #14
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    2011 Cannondale TraiL SL 3 - BikePedia

    Looks like the 2011 model. Current hybrid model has Deore, which is about the same quality. Brand new is $850 from REI (where you'd get about $85 back with your REI rewards card)
    There is a 29er trail version at $1,050.

  15. #15
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    $525 is too much. $400 might be more reasonable - I think a bike loses about 40% of its value, vs. MSRP, when someone wheels it out the front door. They keep losing value with time and wear, so somewhere a little south of 50% seems right to me.

    IMO, a used bike should also compare favorably with what you could get from bikesdirect.com or Airborne for the same price.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    Re: Help me out with a bike.

    Ya I was thinking that I could probably get the price lower on the 2011. I'm definitely leaning towards the Cannondale. Something about it appeals to me. I also found a 2012 sl3 29er for $700 which I might be able to get a little lower if I can wait it out. I just don't now how I feel toward a 29er

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  17. #17
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    I like them. Based on what I recall about Long Island, they should have no real downsides on those trails.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  18. #18
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    This is the 2012 SL3 29er I found.
    2012 Cannondale Trail SL3 MTB 29er

    And here are the pics of the 2011 SL3 26er
    Help me out with a bike.-wp_20140104_005.jpgHelp me out with a bike.-wp_20140104_004.jpgHelp me out with a bike.-wp_20140104_003.jpgHelp me out with a bike.-wp_20140104_001.jpgHelp me out with a bike.-wp_20140104_006.jpg

    Im trying to figure out what I'd be able to get these bikes for and which of the two is the better deal. I used bike blue book as a reference but the prices seem to be a bit off from their listing price. I'm leaning toward the 26er but only because it can probably be had for cheaper. But then again the 29er was used less and it looks a bit a little more taken care of.

  19. #19
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    I'd go for the 29er, but you'd have to talk him down to about $550. That bike, when new was available for $850. For reference, you could get a brand new one from REI, today for under $1000 (including tax), and that's at MSRP, not on sale or clearance.

    And don't get the tires unless he's willing to sell a set separately for about $30. You can get decent quality brand new 29er tires online for under $40 a set, shipped.

    After seeing pictures of the 26", I'd proably offer $300 max. Based on wear of the tires, and scratches on the RD, it looks like it's been used a fair amount. It could be in good condition, but it has definately seen a lot of miles.

  20. #20
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    Re: Help me out with a bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by watts888 View Post
    I'd go for the 29er, but you'd have to talk him down to about $550. That bike, when new was available for $850. For reference, you could get a brand new one from REI, today for under $1000 (including tax), and that's at MSRP, not on sale or clearance.
    I checked rei and I couldn't find them that cheap. Are you sure that not the sl3 single speed rigid bike. If I could get him down to that price it would be awesome but Cannondale website has the msrp set around $1000


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  21. #21
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    the $850 was from when the 2012's were on sale last fall (last year model sales). Still able to find them for this price, but it's harder and sizes would be more limited.

    The $1000 out the door was based on the following bike, minus the $105 for REI membership refund (costs $20 for a lifetime membership and you get something like 10% back on everything you buy there)
    Cannondale Trail SL 29er 3 Bike - 2014 at REI.com

    This is just for reference so you'll be able to talk down the bike owner, I'd still go used.

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