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  1. #1
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    Help a noob choose a bike

    Soooo, I'm totally new to mountain biking and want to purchase my first bike. I did some mild downhill last Sunday on a rental bike and got hooked. I've visited two lbs in my area and here's what they got:
    One lbs sells mainly Fuji bikes and the only option they had was the Nevada 1.7. The other lbs had more options: Specialized Rockhopper, Trek X-Caliber 6, X-Caliber 8, and Felt 7-sixty. I'm still doing my research on the different components, but for a total newb it's a bit confusing. By budget is about $1,000. My other options would be ordering online from bikesdirect or Airborne. I know there's a lot of knowledgeable people on this forum so can you please help me out. What would be the best bike in this price range. Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    So what kind of riding are you interesting in doing? Mainly DH or some XC riding with plenty of climbing as well? Was the bike you rented a full suspension or hard tail?

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    Mostly XC. The bike I rented was a full suspension specialized which I was told was a $5k bike. That's definitely not the type of a bike I would need. Looking for a hard tail

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    As a complete noon myself I had no idea of all the different bike styles. I walked in asking for a mountain bike and the sales guys ask me what kind of riding. I wasnt sure how to answer that and new I needed to do more research.

    So make sure you know what you want out of the bike and just buy the best you can now. Don't think to upgrade cause that will end up costing more later.

    Also I never took adjustments into account but I bought my bike from my lbs and comes with free adjustments. Had I bought my bike from online store I would have to pay $15-25 per adjustments.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 330ZHP View Post
    Mostly XC. The bike I rented was a full suspension specialized which I was told was a $5k bike. That's definitely not the type of a bike I would need. Looking for a hard tail
    You can check out some used bikes and could score a pretty good hard tail for under $1000. If you're into getting one new, you should check out the Giant Talon 27.5" as well. Its a nice riding bike for the money. Diamond Cycle in Montclair should carry them. Definitely worth a test ride.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 330ZHP View Post
    Mostly XC. The bike I rented was a full suspension specialized which I was told was a $5k bike. That's definitely not the type of a bike I would need. Looking for a hard tail
    Quote Originally Posted by 330ZHP View Post
    budget is about $1,000.
    If you're looking for a hardtail (which will definitely give you more bang for your buck) in the $1000 range for an XC bike, I would strongly recommend you go with Airborne.

    If you can somehow swing the Goblin instead of the Seeker, getting a Reba shock on a bike in that price range is a great deal, and the front shock is one of the most important components. The Seeker is also a very nice bike at the price they are asking, and the Recon is a nice fork.

    Hardtail XC is a great way to get into the sport, and either of the bikes above are much better beginner mountain bikes than most people's first bikes.

    Shakester has recommended a 27.5" bike. I have a strong personal preference for 29". There is no wrong answer when it comes to XC, but you might want to try riding both and seeing if you strongly prefer one wheel size over the other. (Try to ride comparable XC hardtails with similar geometry) Assuming you like the 29" wheel size, I definitely recommend going to the Airborne route for an XC hardtail.

  7. #7
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    I would look on bikes direct and go a little cheaper and upgrade the fork. You don't want to spend a ton on your first bike because you don't know what kind of riding you're going to be doing, and you should really have some experience when purchasing a bike. As for adjustments, learn to do it yourself that way if you're out and tweak something you can fix it. It's such a waste of money to pay somebody to take knowledge away from you.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ou2mame View Post
    I would look on bikes direct and go a little cheaper and upgrade the fork. You don't want to spend a ton on your first bike because you don't know what kind of riding you're going to be doing, and you should really have some experience when purchasing a bike. As for adjustments, learn to do it yourself that way if you're out and tweak something you can fix it. It's such a waste of money to pay somebody to take knowledge away from you.
    I don't think that's necessarily a bad idea, but even a nice Bikes Direct bike with a good deal on a fork purchased separately is going to cost more than the equivalent build from Airborne. And I do think that a heavy entry level coil spring fork is really a waste of money and should be avoided. Even if you're upgrading it, why bother buying it if Airborne can give you a better finished product without the hassle at the same price?

    As for upgrading the fork and adjusting the bike, these are both great skills to learn...eventually. If you get really into the sport, you'll want to be able to clean, maintain and tweak your own bike, and replacing a fork is not as daunting as it might seem. That said, I wouldn't start by trying to be a bike mechanic, I'd buy a reasonable bike, which your budget will definitely support, and assemble it yourself if you're comfortable.

    Bikes Direct and Airborne will both ship you a bike that's 90% assembled. The final 10% is not difficult, but if you're not confident to assemble it yourself, there's some piece of mind and a great learning opportunity to be had by having your LBS do the final assembly for you. Just find an LBS you are comfortable with that will let you watch and learn what they do and what they check to ensure the bike is good.

    Same goes for tune-ups. There's plenty of great videos that will show you how to adjust your derailleurs, but if you just can't seem to get it, a professional tune-up is a great idea, and try to find a nice LBS that will allow you to watch, ask questions and learn.

    Nothing wrong with just wanting to ride, but your ride will benefit from constant maintenance instead of just the rare full tune-up if you are willing to learn to do it yourself.

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    I was a bmw tech by trade and can do all the work easily. But I'm new to this sport so I would rather just ride and learn bit by bit. My lbs is only 5 blocks away so it no big deal to just drop in.
    My next bike I plan to build, but I must learn what I can before I start buying parts.

    Knowing how to do adjustments is a great skill but doing it wrong you might break something. I was adjusting the front cable and totally messed it up. So I just took it into the shop and the guy fixed it in about 5min.

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    Thank you guys. Lots of good advice. I'm gonna have to check out Diamond Cycle in Montclair. Looks like they have a lot of Giant and GT bikes. From the bikes I've checked out so far I like the Felt the most. Any opinions on it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 330ZHP View Post
    Thank you guys. Lots of good advice. I'm gonna have to check out Diamond Cycle in Montclair. Looks like they have a lot of Giant and GT bikes. From the bikes I've checked out so far I like the Felt the most. Any opinions on it?
    I do not have experience with the Felt, but I have a 2013 Karakoram 2.0, which is very similar to the current Karakorams, and it feels extremely similar (geometry) to the Airborne Seeker, which is what a riding buddy of mine rides.

    The higher end Karakorams came with, and still come with, XC28s, which are garbage. I like my Karakoram very much, but I've spent more on upgrades than I have on the bike. (I got the bike for less than $600, so no regrets )

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    Quote Originally Posted by peteer01 View Post
    I do not have experience with the Felt, but I have a 2013 Karakoram 2.0, which is very similar to the current Karakorams, and it feels extremely similar (geometry) to the Airborne Seeker, which is what a riding buddy of mine rides.

    The higher end Karakorams came with, and still come with, XC28s, which are garbage. I like my Karakoram very much, but I've spent more on upgrades than I have on the bike. (I got the bike for less than $600, so no regrets )
    Would you mind checking out the specs on this one 7 Sixty - Felt Bicycles

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 330ZHP View Post
    Would you mind checking out the specs on this one 7 Sixty - Felt Bicycles
    The XC30 is not a great fork. The diagram below is specifically for Rockshox's 29" forks, but it's true for 27.5 and 26" as well.
    Help a noob choose a bike-rockshox29.png
    The bike has 27.5 wheels, not 29, so I would compare it to other 27.5" bikes if that's what you're most comfortable on. Personally, I prefer 29ers as an XC or Trail bike, but it's personal preference. (I'm 6'2", and I think if I were significantly shorter I'd be significantly more likely to seriously consider a 27.5, but I'm happy with a 26" and two 29" bikes.)

    The geometry of the Felt is something you should ride to find out what you like, but as far as components go, they're not great. It's certainly a reasonable entry level bike, but if you compare it to Airborne's Seeker, the biggest difference between the two is a better fork. (They both have reasonable hydraulic brakes, which are great if you can afford them.)

    If you feel significantly more comfortable on a 27.5 than a 29, or you like the Felt significantly more than the Karakoram, don't buy the Seeker just to try to get a bike that gives you more bang for your buck. That said, if you do like the Karakoram as much as the Felt (as far as geometry goes) then I would recommend the Seeker. (For whatever reason, Airborne bikes come with really narrow handlebars, which is an easy thing to change, unless you like that.)

  14. #14
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    Hi im new to mtb and looking to buy a new bike. Pls tell me which bike to buy.

    Jamis trail x2 Or Gt timberline 1.0

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Youngmtb View Post
    Hi im new to mtb and looking to buy a new bike. Pls tell me which bike to buy.

    Jamis trail x2 Or Gt timberline 1.0
    Start a new post, talk about where you live, what kind of riding you want to do, what bikes you've looked at, why you've narrowed it down to a specific few and what your budget is.

    Don't hijack someone else's thread unless you want to buy the right bike for them instead of the right bike for you.

  16. #16
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    ok thanks and sorry imnew

  17. #17
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    But honestly which one is better

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    I wouldn't say that the dart fork are bad, they are leaps above the suntour equivalent and will get you started. A dart might be heavy, but it is at least a fluid movement, and is a pretty much zero maintenence fork, considering the price. Later on if do an epicon for 200, but a dart will last you the first few years of learning the ropes. And by then, you might want a completely different bike anyways.

    Sent from my 831C using Tapatalk

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 330ZHP View Post
    Thank you guys. Lots of good advice. I'm gonna have to check out Diamond Cycle in Montclair. Looks like they have a lot of Giant and GT bikes. From the bikes I've checked out so far I like the Felt the most. Any opinions on it?
    The Felt is a great option for a beginner, go for it!
    Last edited by Max24; 03-02-2015 at 07:58 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jvh22a View Post
    I was a bmw tech by trade and can do all the work easily. But I'm new to this sport so I would rather just ride and learn bit by bit. My lbs is only 5 blocks away so it no big deal to just drop in.
    My next bike I plan to build, but I must learn what I can before I start buying parts.

    Knowing how to do adjustments is a great skill but doing it wrong you might break something. I was adjusting the front cable and totally messed it up. So I just took it into the shop and the guy fixed it in about 5min.
    why are you a "was..." BMW wrench...just wondering
    2014 Nail Trail 29...

  21. #21
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    You can make your search easier by dropping any bikes with XCR,M,T or lower 'X' forks. Those are limited to bike paths. The more difficult/fun the trail is the more important the fork is to bike control. $200 to upgrade one of those bikes to a Raidon air fork.
    The 2013 Marin Bobcat 29 on ebay is about 650 and has decent Shimano Alivio/Deore drive and a Raidon air fork.
    BD has a good deal on a Gravity Point 4 in 15 or 19. X7/X9 and a Recon Silver air. $699.

  22. #22
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    I just get whatever bike is laying around for cheap. Cant remember the last time I went out and bought a brand new bike. I like the used stuff because a derailleur breaks off the mount and the LBS says $200 to fix, and I just snatch it up for el-cheapo-mundo!!!!

  23. #23
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    Just checked out the airborne goblin.Airborne Bicycles. Goblin

    Says paypal has interest free for 6 months.

    I just paid $1200 for my jamis dragon.

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    Looks like the Airborne bikes give you the most bang for your buck. Will ride some 29ers at lbs and see how they fit me

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    No connection with this listing.
    2013 Marin Bobcat Trail 29er 17" MTB Hardtail Bike Shimano 9S Hydraulic Disc New | eBay

    This bike is the equivalent to a Seeker but a 2013 at a reduced price. For the 200 dif you can get Shimano Deore m615 brakes for a major upgrade $112/CRC. RXL 720mm carbon bars off ebay for $50. Uno shorter stem $25 off ebay.

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    Went down to another lbs and rode the Karakoram 1.0 and Cannondale Trail 29 4. Liked the Cannondale better, but still feel that I can get more bike for less if I go with either Airborne or Marin Bobcat. What do you think?

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    Parking lot test rides are how shops sell bikes with low grade forks designed for bike paths.
    The Bobcat stays rideable when you are hitting bumps on fast downhills.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by 330ZHP View Post
    Went down to another lbs and rode the Karakoram 1.0 and Cannondale Trail 29 4. Liked the Cannondale better, but still feel that I can get more bike for less if I go with either Airborne or Marin Bobcat. What do you think?
    The Airborne geometry will feel a lot like the Karakoram. I personally like it, as an XC bike. The airborne will have a much lighter, nicer fork, of course.

    Are you able to put your finger on what you like more about the Cannondale than the GT?

    If you'll be happy with the Airborne, it's a great bike, and the only thing I would personally change is the handlebar. (Too narrow) But buying the Cannondale and upgrading the fork later would be cheaper than buying a bike you don't like as much and upgrading the whole bike later.

    Don't sweat it too much, if you buy a bike and start riding, I'm sure you'll be happy with whatever you decide on!

  29. #29
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    I see some people say that most frames come from a few factories in china/taiwan. Are there frames that are better then others( better as in lighter, stronger, or ??) ? Figured it would better to start with a better frame and upgrade as you go.

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    Ok, after a lot of thinking I narrowed my search down to two Airborne bikes: the Seeker and the Goblin. I do like how the Seeker looks better than the Goblin, plus it's cheaper. Just trying to figure out if I really need the better components on the Goblin, as the Seeker comes pretty well equipped for the price.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by 330ZHP View Post
    Ok, after a lot of thinking I narrowed my search down to two Airborne bikes: the Seeker and the Goblin. I do like how the Seeker looks better than the Goblin, plus it's cheaper. Just trying to figure out if I really need the better components on the Goblin, as the Seeker comes pretty well equipped for the price.
    I used to wonder why people always repeated the mantra, "buy the best bike you can" to beginners looking to buy a bike. Now I find myself doing it. It is so much cheaper to buy the nicer equipment now than it is to upgrade later.

    That said, you may want a bike store to assemble it for you if you don't have a knowledgeable bike friend to help and you aren't confident to do it yourself. You may want to buy a wider handlebar, as I do find the Airborne handlebars too narrow. You may want to buy a multitool, spare tire, chain lube, grease and a few other bike tools.

    Think carefully about your total budget, so you don't buy an amazing bike but then ride trails without pedals or a helmet because you forgot to budget for those...but if you can swing it, I'd direct you towards the Goblin, because the nicer fork, nicer shifting and nicer brakes are nice to have.

    You'll want pedals, and reasonably nice grippy pedals and FiveTen shoes (if you're not planning to clip in) are a nice to have. Once you start considering all the extras, you might find yourself needing to go Seeker. But if you're willing to spring for the Goblin, it is a nicer set of components upfront...

    Not sure that helps. Ultimately the decision is up to you. I think you'd be very happy either way, as long you don't buy anything you can't afford!

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    Just placed an order on the Goblin. Cannot wait to get it. Any suggestions on a set of pedals?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 330ZHP View Post
    Just placed an order on the Goblin. Cannot wait to get it. Any suggestions on a set of pedals?
    It depends on where you're riding and what size shoe you have.

    If you're going to be doing riding with roots, dirt and general XC riding, you can get away with a pair of VP-001s if your shoe size is 11 or smaller. (read about my experiences here)

    If you wear larger than a size 11, those pedals will likely be too small to be comfortable. You should be able to find those for around $50-$60 if you hunt down a deal.

    If you are will be riding in places with rocks, you have to worry more about pedal strikes. Pedal strikes require a stronger outer edge to survive impacts with rocks. I personally have a pair of VP-Vice on my new dream bike. (I show pictures and share details in this post) Mine have the Ti axle which makes them prohibitively expensive for an entry level bike, but you can find them on Ebay with the standard Cromoly axles for under $70.

    There is a Ti Axle upgrade, so if you get really into to the sport, when you're rebuilding your pedals, if you really like the Vices, you can always upgrade to a Ti Axle down the road. I think that helps solve some of the choose two: Cheap-Light-Strong conundrum, as you can turn Cheap(ish)-Strong into Light-Strong with the axle in the future if you know you like the pedals.

    If you're looking for cheaper than that, I definitely recommend Wellgo and Xpedo. They make a ton of pedals for a lot of brands, so their own products tend to give you more bang for the buck for the less expensive stuff.

    You can go clipless (where your shoe has a clip that snaps into the pedal, allowing you to pull up and push down) as well, but I think it's easier for a new rider to learn on flats (what you probably think of when you think of normal flat pedals you use with normal shoes). Any flats will benefit from a pair of FiveTens or similar grippy mountain bike specific shoes that give you more grip and a firmer sole, but the VPs I recommended above are both very grippy for a light, thin pedal.

    I also considered VP-69s, but they didn't have enough pins for me to feel confident in my grip on rough trails. They may be fine for you.

    Others can suggest other brands, but I wouldn't throw +500g pedals on a bike when there are plenty of nice pedals out there that are durable and work great.

    P.S. You are going to love your Goblin!
    2014 Horsethief, 2013 Karakoram, NB-AT3, <strike>2006 Giant XtC</strike>

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