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 a newbie get into MTB

    Hello,

    So I am posting here because today I had my first ever MTB experience at the Wompatuck State park in Hingham,MA, USA.

    I have been riding a (rigid) hybrid for two years, mostly on roads and paved bike trails. BUT todays experience has got me thinking, and thinking hard about MTB.

    I went to the WOmpatuck park today, rode on my hybrid, rode pretty hard, spent 3 hours, and did about 15 miles. It was tough, but man was it awesome. I had to do a LOT of walking, since my bike wasn't upto the task.

    So, that brings me to the topic:
    Help me choose a bike, and also help me recognize what is the technical term for the kind of terrain you see here (the video is from a Wompatuck race...got it from youtube)

    (Skip to around 5:50 for real action...)


    (it seems much easier in the beginning but gets hard towards the end)

    This is the kind of trail I want to be riding. When I rode today, it had a lot of rocks, wasn't too uphill, plenty of wet ground, a lot of roots, some streams, some gravel etc.


    For my bike, from what I have read in past two hours, seems like a hardtail is recommended for beginners.

    My budget is around $600-700. I have been checking out Jamis Durango, and would like suggestions on similarly priced 29ers ?

    I am 29yrs old man,6'2'', 205 pounds, in decent shape.

  2. #2
    Hi There!
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    That Jamis Durango could handle it no problem. Look at bikes by the main manufacturers like Trek, Specialized, your Jamis, etc. The main thing, and you may know this with your experience: get the proper fit. The most important thing on mountain bikes is front fork and fit. Go around to different bike shops and try different ones to see what feels best.
    NTFTC

  3. #3
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    That looks like fun technical trail riding and I'm sure your area has similar trails with more steepness/ups and downs and sharper turns.
    I'd look for a 29er with a good fork. The Suntour 'X' series you see on most bikes in the sub 1k price range is classified as recreational by Suntour for bike paths. An upgrade fork would be needed for trails like this.
    If you want to upgrade your Suntour fork
    It's kind of scummy to sell hard rocks and rockhoppers as entry level bikes when they are set up with forks made for bike paths only.
    The Bike Direct Gravity Point 1 is $450 and the Raidon air fork upgrade is $175 or so-- that puts you within your budget with something for that trail.
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Gravity 29Point1 29er Mountain Bikes
    You can also go used or up your budget.
    If you can go closer to 1k you can skip some steps by lightening the front end for much better steering and handling.
    Instead of the 5lb Raidon go with the 3lb Epicon 250 upgrade and add another 215 for a ZTR ArchEX front wheel. Strong enough to pound on those rocks and 1lb or more lighter. Run a Nobby Nic Performance for $35 at 20psi and save another pound with great traction and no washout in the turns.

  4. #4
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    Re: Help a newbie get into MTB

    The trail should always challenge you no matter what bike you are riding. Plenty of people could own that on cyclocross skinny knobby tire bike on that trail. A common misconception is that bikes make a larger difference when it's always skill as the limiting factor

    Post a pic of your current rig and take close up shots of tires, fork clearance. I would think about buying a high quality fork $325ish in the deals forum here for a Reba or fox. Then buy some beefier tires. To get the above quality bike, it'll be $1200 new. It really depends if we can adapt what you got now

    If you go the route of another bike, $600 airborne or check bikes direct.

  5. #5
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    I would classify that is a typical cross country trail. It is hard to get perspective with the camera - they always make things look shallow, but it seems like there were no big ledges or drops, even the rocky sections were reasonably smooth. No big downhills either.

    I think a 29" hardtail would be good on that trail. As someone mentioned your current bike could be fine with the addition of a suspension fork. Then, rather than getting a kind of crappy $600 bike with a crappy fork, you are paying $300-$400 for a great fork.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob13bob View Post
    The trail should always challenge you no matter what bike you are riding. Plenty of people could own that on cyclocross skinny knobby tire bike on that trail. A common misconception is that bikes make a larger difference when it's always skill as the limiting factor

    Post a pic of your current rig and take close up shots of tires, fork clearance. I would think about buying a high quality fork $325ish in the deals forum here for a Reba or fox. Then buy some beefier tires. To get the above quality bike, it'll be $1200 new. It really depends if we can adapt what you got now
    Thats an idea I didn't think of till now.
    I have this exact bike right now. I would guess I put around 800 miles on it so far.
    Cannondale Quick 5 2011 Hybrid Bike | Evans Cycles

    Do you guys think I can get the fork replaced on this ? That would be great because I love the fit of this bike. Of course I need to put thicker tires.

  7. #7
    Two Wheeled Terror
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    You could always look on pinkbike for a used bike as well. Then you could have your selection of great bikes for great prices. I saw some awesome hard tails and fs bikes this morning.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I727 using Tapatalk 4 Beta

  8. #8
    Captain Climber
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    Airborne Guardian
    Airborne Bicycles. Guardian

  9. #9
    I like pie.
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    Looking at the video a HT is more than enough. I wish the trails in my area were that mellow. Well some are, but many aren't.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pg123 View Post


    For my bike, from what I have read in past two hours, seems like a hardtail is recommended for beginners.

    My budget is around $600-700.
    Yup, for that price range a hard tail for sure.

    Some good choices already named here and many more that are not.
    I will say I am very happy with my 2012 Marin Bolinas Ridge and the trails I ride it on are some of the most technical in country (I live in Western NC). I paid $500 for it from REI on clearance. The MSRP was $700. However, they downgraded the fork for 2013 but upgraded the brakes.

    Best advice I think can be given is get out and ride some of the bikes and see what you are comfortable on. Also when searching for value, just don't shop price and components but also search the services that the bike shop will offer. You could get anything from 1 free tune up to free lifetime adjustments.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  11. #11
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    The rocky stuff you ran into in Wompy is pretty typical for a lot of trails in your general area. If that's the stuff that has kinda caught your interest, I would consider hunting down a used full suspension bike if you can find the right deal. In general, I think a sprung bike is a better choice for a beginner in New England. There's a lot of bony stuff around; functional suspension helps take the edge off. Not that you can't ride it all on a hardtail too; everybody did at one point. And you could pick up a nice one in your price range. But I wouldn't even think about throwing any money into trying to get the hybrid trailworthy. You sound too enthusiastic, and there too many trails near you that will kill that bike in short order, fork and tire upgrades notwithstanding. Wait'll you check out Vietnam in Milford.

    Go to NEMBA: New England Mountain Bike Association - Home for local info and stuff for sale. You can also hook up with organised rides, clinics, trail work parties, etc.

    You can find stuff for sale at New England source for mountain bike trails, bike pictures, trail maps and more. also.

    A couple

    BustedSpoke.com - View topic - 2006 Specialized Epic- Large, Crossmax UST wheels $875

    Medium Jamis Six Fifty B1

    Check out what's for sale in your price range locally. Your money can go a lot farther that way, and plenty of people will give you advice on choices.

  12. #12
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    There's no easy answer and no one answer for everyone.
    A few givens are for 6-700 $ you shouldn't be looking for a new fs, and if going used you can get alot more bang for the buck if you know what you're looking at. Most shops will give or sell a service plan if you buy new so is that worth it? Warranty?
    -A ht for beginner? Depends on whether you want to ride better right away because of the bike, or if you want to build skills to ride better. Sure both of some can be true for either, but that's the general gist.
    -from where I'm sitting if you had fun on a hybrid than a ht is the way to go.
    -the only way to know what the right choice is, or to make a better choice is to ride different bikes on the terrain you want to ride on.
    -fwiw my ht is usually my ride of choice.
    Welcome to the site and the sport.
    Round and round we go

  13. #13
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    I say go for a good hard tail first especially if you are on a budget.

    At a $600 to $700 price range their is no doubt that if you want to buy new, you should not even consider a full suspension.

    Yes, you could find a decent used full suspension in that price range but if you are willing to buy used, you can find a great used on in that price range.

    Also, at that budget, it makes me think your maintenance is money is budgeted and more moving parts means more maintenance.

    Lastly looking at the trail posted in that video although it looks nice, I see no need for a full suspension.

    I have both a hard tail and a full suspension and I think a nice hard tail 29er would be my tool of choice on those trails.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  14. #14
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    OK, thanks guys for all the comments so far. I did some more research, and it seems to me that at $600-700 price point, I would be really not getting a good new hardtail.

    While I have been searching around locally for used bikes, it seems to be a random process and I don't know whether I will have something I like.

    I have also decided that I could up the budget to see if close to $1000 would be a big jump in quality.

    I am not going to bother upgrading my hybrid, and would keep it for my road biking purposes.

    At $1K total budget, is it better to buy something high quality, or go with something like bikes direct (as mentioned above, $450 for 29er HT) and then spend another $500 upgrading everything (fork, and wheels mainly).

  15. #15
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    It's generally always going to be less expensive to buy the bike whole than to upgrade. If you're wanting to spend around $1K then this cannot be beat IMO
    Airborne Bicycles. Goblin

    However, if you look at my post above for the Airborne Guardian, you are getting a whole lot of 29" bike for $700 shipped. Hydraulic disk brakes and a decent fork on a bike in that price range can't usually be found at a LBS even on their 26" bikes. Plus they have great customer service and you can call them on the phone, email them or post in their section of the forum below here and expect a quick answer. Their bikes have become so popular they cannot keep their 18" and 20" bikes in stock. The next batch, which will be larger is due in about three weeks. Check out what bigdaddyflyer said about upgrading the Guardian in this post. He is high up at Airborne and runs the Airborne forum here at mtbr.
    Let's talk Guardian component upgrades..

  16. #16
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    You can get a good bike at under $700
    I love my Marin I posted about and pull it out as much as my $2k full suspension.
    Also like mentioned, the terrain I ride is way more difficult and technical than what you posted in that video.

    Can you get a better bike if you up the budget? Sure, but don't think you can't get a good one for $600 to $700
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jem7sk View Post
    It's generally always going to be less expensive to buy the bike whole than to upgrade. If you're wanting to spend around $1K then this cannot be beat IMO
    Airborne Bicycles. Goblin

    However, if you look at my post above for the Airborne Guardian, you are getting a whole lot of 29" bike for $700 shipped. Hydraulic disk brakes and a decent fork on a bike in that price range can't usually be found at a LBS even on their 26" bikes. Plus they have great customer service and you can call them on the phone, email them or post in their section of the forum below here and expect a quick answer. Their bikes have become so popular they cannot keep their 18" and 20" bikes in stock. The next batch, which will be larger is due in about three weeks. Check out what bigdaddyflyer said about upgrading the Guardian in this post. He is high up at Airborne and runs the Airborne forum here at mtbr.
    Let's talk Guardian component upgrades..

    They are shown to be on back order till July 22 (my size) and shipping would probably take another week. I live here in MA, this is the prime riding season, I would die waiting till end of July.

  18. #18
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    This Bike Direct Gravity Point 6 is an excellent choice because it is a 2012 with the dual air Reba fork. The Goblin has the dumbed down 13 solo air Reba.
    It also has XT/XTR drive components.1199 shipped and in stock. Kinesis makes the frame. They make trek's frames.
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Gravity 29Point5 29er Mountain Bikes

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    This Bike Direct Gravity Point 6 is an excellent choice because it is a 2012 with the dual air Reba fork. The Goblin has the dumbed down 13 solo air Reba.
    It also has XT/XTR drive components.1199 shipped and in stock. Kinesis makes the frame. They make trek's frames.
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Gravity 29Point5 29er Mountain Bikes
    So, about buying bikes online. Is there any way to test these bikes locally ? I have never had a real MTB (only riding hybrid), so I have no clue about whether the geometry will suit me.
    Not even sure which size to order, I am between 6'2'' and 6'3'' ...so confused among the two largest sizes, and hence I am wary of buying without sitting on it first.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by pg123 View Post
    So, about buying bikes online. Is there any way to test these bikes locally ? I have never had a real MTB (only riding hybrid), so I have no clue about whether the geometry will suit me.
    Not even sure which size to order, I am between 6'2'' and 6'3'' ...so confused among the two largest sizes, and hence I am wary of buying without sitting on it first.
    Go into your Trek dealer and ride an X-Cal. It has very similar geo. You should be an XL, but of course ride an L. Go in and out of ditches and on the grass to get a feel. BD has a fast swap policy for a misfit

  21. #21
    Airborne Product Dude
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    Quote Originally Posted by pg123 View Post
    They are shown to be on back order till July 22 (my size) and shipping would probably take another week. I live here in MA, this is the prime riding season, I would die waiting till end of July.
    I know, it sucks that we are out. We've sold way more bikes this year than anticipated and its hard to keep up with demand.

    Good luck on your search; there are lots of great bikes out there!

    Jeremy
    Airborne Dude.

  22. #22
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    Thanks for all the advice people! I researched a lot, went to 3 different LBS and called another 5. Ended up buying a 2012 Trek X-Caliber 29er which was luckily on sale at a LBS for $1100 ...drove straight to the local trail and man the experience was sooo good, and so much better than my first (and last) time on the trail with my hybrid. The Rockshok Reba fork is one beauty.

    This bike is a fu^&*( piece of art.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by pg123 View Post
    Thanks for all the advice people! I researched a lot, went to 3 different LBS and called another 5. Ended up buying a 2012 Trek X-Caliber 29er which was luckily on sale at a LBS for $1100 ...drove straight to the local trail and man the experience was sooo good, and so much better than my first (and last) time on the trail with my hybrid. The Rockshok Reba fork is one beauty.

    This bike is a fu^&*( piece of art.
    You got an excellent deal on a great bike. Check the Suspension section for tuning tips for that Reba.

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