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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    Help on what to buy

    Hey guys I am definitely a noob here so forgive my ignorance and I've been riding for about 6months now and my wife is going to let me buy my first "real" mtb for my 30th birthday I am limited on funds, only $400, but I have found two bikes I would like some help deciding on.

    First:

    Airborne Skyhawk-

    Frame: 6061 Aluminum Hardtail MTB

    Fork: SR Suntour XCM 100mm Travel

    Headset: Ahead Sealed Cartridge 1 1/8"

    Brake Levers: Tektro Auriga Comp

    Brakes: Tektro Auriga Comp Hydraulic Disc

    Rotors: Tektro 160mm Rotor

    Shifters: SRAM X-4 Trigger 8 Speed

    F Derailleur: Shimano FD-C050

    R Derailleur: SRAM X-4

    Cassette: SRAM PG-820 13-32t 8-Speed

    Chain: KMC Z-72 Nickel Plated

    Crank: SR Suntour PGIG 22-32-42t

    Bottom Bracket: Cartridge Type

    Pedals: NONE

    Rims: Alex DP17 Double Wall 32h Disk Specific PV

    Hubs: 32h Alloy QR Disc Specific

    Spokes: Black 14g Stainless

    Tires: KENDA 26 x 2.1" Front/Rear Specific

    Handlebar: Kalloy Alloy 31.8mm Dia., 640mm Wide, Mid-Rise

    Stem: Kalloy Alloy 31.8 Clamp Dial, +/- 7 Degree Rise

    Saddle: WTB Speed V Saddle

    Seat Post: Kalloy Alloy 30mm Dia., 350mm Length

    Extras: Owner's Manual, Clear Coat, H20 Bottle Mounts


    And


    Nashbar AT-3-


    FRAME: TIG-welded 6061 aluminum, disc mount and replaceable derailleur hanger

    FORK: Suntour suspension fork with 120mm travel, 1 1/8" threadless steerer, preload adjust and hydraulic speed lock-out

    HEADSET: Ritchey 1 1/8" threadless

    CRANKSET: FSA Dynadrive 44X32X22T

    BOTTOM BRACKET: Shimano BB-UN26, sealed cartridge, square type

    SHIFTERS: Shimano Alivio

    LEVERS: Tektro 2-finger

    HANDLEBAR: Alloy 15mm rise

    STEM: Alloy 3D Forged, 17 degree rise

    FRONT DERAILLEUR: Shimano Alivio

    REAR DERAILLEUR: Shimano Deore

    CASSETTE: CS-HG30-9 9-Speed, 11-34T

    BRAKES: Tektro Novela mechanical disc

    WHEELSET: Rims: Alex TD-24 32-hole Doublewall Alloy; Hubs: Alloy Disc

    TIRES: Maxxis Mobster, 26x2.35 front, 26x2.1 rear

    PEDALS: Aluminum body, steel cage

    SEATPOST: Alloy, 27.2mm

    SADDLE: WTB Pure V-Sport

    CHAIN: KMC HG53

    GRIPS/TAPE: Velo

    I know for my price range it's better to look used but I'm in East Texas and craigslist is mostly Wal-Mart and Taget bikes in my area. Any help would be appreciated.
    Last edited by ahrice; 10-04-2012 at 02:53 AM. Reason: Adding links

  2. #2
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    For 400$ all bikes are pretty much the same ,one might have better shifters the other might have better brakes. It looks like you are shopping on line do yourself a favor and at least call around to shops and see if they have any left over 2011 bike that have onsale.You might find a killer deal.

  3. #3
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    ok, thanks for the info

  4. #4
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    The skyhawk is a sweet bike I've read. A guy at the trails had one and loved it. I considered that bike but my funds were lower then yours! I ended up with a used bike.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

  5. #5
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    Also remember to add in another $150-200 for gear, tools, etc.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

  6. #6
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    Are you handy enough to inspect and fix up a used bike? Or know someone who can go check out a couple on Craigslist with you? I generally think that's a good bet in your price range. I picked up a super sweet Voodoo Bizango with lots of XTR stuff for $300, swapped out cables & pads, and had a nice bike for under $400.

  7. #7
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    It definately has a better look than the at-3, I'm just not familiar enough with the difference in the components ones shimano and the other sram. Guess that's why I'm here

  8. #8
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    Ya, I've been doing my own tune ups currently with the bike I have. With limited funds can't afford a lbs to do it for me so I've spent many hrs learning on you tube and other fourms. The only thing with craigslist as mentioned earlier is that theres not a lot in the east texas area

  9. #9
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    Read Noob Buyer's Guide and answer the questions. It will help you and help us help you.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahrice View Post
    Ya, I've been doing my own tune ups currently with the bike I have. With limited funds can't afford a lbs to do it for me so I've spent many hrs learning on you tube and other fourms. The only thing with craigslist as mentioned earlier is that theres not a lot in the east texas area
    Like I told another guy look in the Austin Craigslist see if y'all can meet halfway. Ton of bikes in Austin.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

  11. #11
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    Bikes with a Suntour fork don't have adjustable rebound damping and begin to have trouble with the multiple hits on more difficult trails. They are really meant for dirt bike paths. For a 26" bike like the Skyhawk a minimum upgrade would be $79 for a RockShox XC 28TK from Bluesky. No pogoing.
    .BlueSkyCycling.com - Rock Shox XC 28 TK Disc Coil Fork

  12. #12
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    East TX? whereabouts? I'm in Nac. Judging by your mention of Target, it sounds like you're in Lufkin. At your pricepoint, most bikes are going to be very similar overall. Some will spec slightly better parts in once place, but not so good somewhere else. Another bike you look at will put the better parts in different spots.

    Something that might be worth a try is finding out when the SFA UPD is having their next auction. Likely to be a bunch of bikes there. Most will be junk, but I see a few gems around from time to time. Also check with the Bike Shop in Nac occasionally for used bikes. They deal with used bikes and they occasionally get a good one in. They've got an old Ti Airborne barn find right now. It's way above your price range ($1200) but it's the kind of thing to keep an eye out for.

    I was selling a used hardtail about a year ago and had to post it on the Houston Craigslist site to get any sort of audience for it. You might consider searching Houston, Dallas, and the Longview/Tyler ones (maybe even Shreveport) as they are all much closer than Austin.

  13. #13
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    I'm actually in the Longview area where I plan on riding where there really aren't any smooth or flat roads(pleanty of hills) and I plan on riding some trails at Tyler State Park, and I just started looking in the Dallas area theres a lot more to choose from
    Last edited by ahrice; 10-04-2012 at 05:26 AM. Reason: More description

  14. #14
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    Check the MTB clubs' websites in the surrounding area as well
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  15. #15
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    I've only recently come across the Airborne brand and what I can see from their site is that they have pretty good quality bikes for the price, but then again I haven't ever ridden one

  16. #16
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    I agree with others about Craigslist. Here's a tip....look for older ads (closer to the 45 day limit mark which Is when the posts are deleted). If they haven't sold the bike in 30-45 days and need the cash they will be more willing to deal and potentially meet you half way.

    I've bought a ton on craigslist from Ski's to roof racks and most recently my first "good" mountain bike. Picked up a 2008 Specialized XC Comp ridden 5 times. Its a 1400 bike new and the guy was asking 750. I didn't pay 750 that's for sure. Also pre-negotiate over the phone, assuming the bike is in the condition stated make it clear what your looking to pay. You don't wanna waste his time or yours.

    There are deals to be had just be patient. I missed out on about 3 bikes because I couldn't drive to them fast enough and they were sold before I got there.

    In the end I got a great deal on a decent FSR.

    Kenny

  17. #17
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    I don't like either. What are you riding now?

    Used can be a great way to do it. It helps to know bikes fairly well, though, so you can avoid buying something that's expensively damaged in some way. Used from a bike shop can be a really good "best of both worlds" option.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  18. #18
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    I'm currently riding Nashbar AT-1 so anything from that is going to be a big change.

  19. #19
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    Do-over is the right way to go.

    Phone all the bike shops within a reasonable distance of you and find out if anyone does used. Sometimes closeouts, especially from chains, can be a good way to go too. Much as I dislike them, Performance Bike can be particularly good for that.

    It's pretty impressive what Performance/Nashbar can stuff into $200. Until you get to a significantly higher retail pricepoint, though, you don't start getting into bikes with components that you'd keep on purpose. IMO, the value's not great on anything that someone would review as "A good bike, it really came alive when I spent $XXXX bolting YYY to it." You can often make an end-run around that doing used, consignment, and sometimes closeout bikes.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  20. #20
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    I'm thinking of expanding my budget a little more and getting the Airborne Guardian 29er, maybe ordering today

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahrice View Post
    I'm thinking of expanding my budget a little more and getting the Airborne Guardian 29er, maybe ordering today
    I'd say that's not a bad deal, if you can swing it.

  22. #22
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    I just ordered the guardian, with my wife's consent. I can't wait for it to arrive

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahrice View Post
    I just ordered the guardian, with my wife's consent. I can't wait for it to arrive
    Oy! You nearly double the budget, and neglect to mention there's a wife involved?

    You ARE a noob!

    Congrats on the new bike! You're gonna love it (for a couple of years, anyway)!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahrice View Post
    I just ordered the guardian, with my wife's consent. I can't wait for it to arrive
    Congrats! Good for you.. While you went over budget you will be happy you spent more upfront. You will get many miles in with that before needing to upgrade, just research the maintenance stuff to keep it riding good. Happy birthday too!

    I'm sure you've seen this but if not:

    Airborne Gaurdian Test Tracks Cruise - YouTube

    Oh.. And I too know all about the importance of the wife's consent!
    Quote Originally Posted by CannondaleF9 View Post
    You see, I don't have a single brand name in my signature because I know most bike brands and component brands 99%.

  25. #25
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    Got my Guardian in yesterday but I've only had time to put it together but it looks sharp, can't ride it yet I will take it out tomorrow for the first time...wish I could leave work and go ride it now

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