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  1. #1
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    Hey all! New rider from central California. Need input.

    Hey all, I just wanted to introduce myself, my name is Matt, I reside in the Central Valley.

    I've yet to pull the trigger on my first bike. I've been reading and reading, but here's my thought process which has led me to my current sitation. I planned to get a mountain bike because I told my girlfriend I wanted a road bike. We discussed riding together and she wants a bike as well, but isnt really interested in roadbiking, so we decided to both purchase mountain bikes, and if I liked it enough I would then buy a roadbike.

    So after much reading I have become really excited about mountain biking. I want a bike that I can pretty much do anything on, street rides, rides with the family, nice long 10-20+ mile trail rides, etc. I am very competitive athletic and I can definitely see myself wanting to get more serious about trail riding and riding tougher and tough trails. But I don't want to drop too much ($1500 +) on my first bike in case I end up not getting serious about it. If I do, then I have no problem with that.

    I originally planned to spend about $600 on my bike, but quickly realized that will only get me a base model hard tail, and base model toys just aren't really my style (expensive tastes I suppose). Like everyone else I want the best bang for my buck, so I've been looking at the trek cobia and the specialized rockhopper comp 29'er. These are in the $1100 range.

    I was guided towards 29'ers by the owner of a local bike store who leaned me towards them without trying to make a sale. This will be my first mountain bike since my POS department store bike when I was 15. I am 25 now.

    I don't want to drop too much money now if I am going to want to upgrade to an expensive bike later. Plus I still plan on purchasing a road bike later down the road. I guess I am wary because I don't know exactly where I want to with cycling yet. Whether it be hard core mountain biking, weekend trail riding with the girlfriend only, casual road biking, or serious road biking, and I can justify having a 600$ mountain bike even if I don't ride it a lot.

    Any and all opinions and advice are welcome! 600$ to 1300$ bikes, plus my views/opinions, what do you guys think!?

    Thanks everyone!

    Edit: let me just specify that we will, at the very least, be doing some occasional weekend trail riding, and probably more often than occasionally.

  2. #2
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    The best thing you can do is ride everything you can get your hands on before making a purchase. If your like me, very impatient, then just pick one that fits your body and budget. Really you can't go wrong as long as it fits and you can afford it. Giant, Specialized, Trek are all similar components until you narrow it down to a couple of specifics. The most important part is that it fits and I am sure you have figured out what to look for there.

    Also be aware that you will probably also need:
    Helmet
    Air pump
    spare tube
    patch kit
    water bottle holder
    multi-tool

  3. #3
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    It sounds like your bike shop isn't trying to steer you in any strange direction with your first purchase. A HT 29er is a good place to start for most regions. I have to confess my lack of knowledge about the trails in your area but to start with it sounds fine to run that sort of bike.

    I wouldn't go too crazy on your first bike, if $1500 is breaking the bank for you then I would suggest pulling it back a little. Think about it like a car; if you bought a 911 as your first car and spent all your money on it but ended up liking rock crawling better than racing then you'd be pretty stuck. Same thing in bikes; I wouldn't spend a ton of money until you get an idea of what kind of riding you will like best. You might end up wanting to start racing (carbon HT 29ers come to mind), you might want to go travel to the resorts and ride DH trails (DH bikes only up there), something in the middle (5" travel AM bike), you might not even like mountain biking and go exclusively road bike (means you don't like fun). Let your first purchase be your guide, learn your trail system, learn bike control, and you'll probably work out what type of riding you would be interested in. Let's be honest, with your self professed desire for the good stuff it won't be long until you're blowing all your cash on multi-thousand dollar bikes like some of us do. I would just suggest that you work out what kind of multi-thousand dollar bike you want to spend too much money on by getting a decent but not top shelf bike for your first.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  4. #4
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    Matt, where are you located? I'm in Atwater. I would advise putting a "looking for bike" ad up as suggested in another post. That way, the folks come to you. Sure, the scammers try to get you, but if you just remember the "cash in hand, bike in hand" rule, no prob. Even set up a temp e-mail if you so choose to monitor.

    A $600 used bike is way better than a $600 new bike a lot of times!

  5. #5
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    Hey thanks for the replies and good advice.

    JStrube: I'm in Turlock, but I work in Atwater.

  6. #6
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    Right on. You might have some good luck with Craig's for a good used bike, lots of guys hurting for cash. I know Kevin's in Merced had some bikes on discount pricing, probably closer to your $1500 limit than $600 goal. Is there a good shop in Turlock? I usually hit Modesto for my son's Cannondale & Kevin's for my Specialized. I went the 29er route & love it. I bought an Epic Comp, a bit higher priced than your goal though. I am super happy with how the 29er rolls though.

  7. #7
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    The main reason I want to stay on the the lower in just because I still need to purchase a hitch, bike rack, helmets, riding clothes, camelback, everything that goes in a pack for long rides, etc.

    Expensive hobby! Every day that passes I'm wishing I would have just pulled the trigger already so I can go riding!

  8. #8
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    Im moving up in the area next month to modesto. I check for trails around the area and there doesnt seem to be much trails near by. Im really going to miss socal and being only 15 minutes from a trail. Its September the temperature is cooling down so you got until about December to ride before the rain and snow starts coming in.

  9. #9
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    also there is a nice decent trail with good amount of single tracks in modesto at dry creek if you heard of the spot. I took my bike up there about a month ago I rode with my roadie friend he stayed on the paved part but I venture off on the single tracks.

  10. #10
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    I borrowed my first bike from a friend then started looking on craiglist for something less then 300. Picked up a cheap older Trek for a 200 in my size while I took care of the little things. There is kind of a natural transition I went through. My first rides weren't long enough to need a $100 camel back. I just used a 1 liter water bottle until lack of water was an issue. I didn't buy shorts until I got a little chapped etc. I do recommend a hand pump and at least a spare tire patch kit along with a helmet for the first ride. Walking the bike back for miles absolutely sucks..

    You would also be surprised what you can carry a bike with. I had the old trek 3700 in the trunk of my 2012 Mustang and it fit pretty easily. I just use the truck to carry the new one but my daughter has had to use it while hers is in the shop. Thinking very seriously about putting a hitch on the Mustang for times like this just because I don't want to adjust the thing every ride. Haven't been able to go for a week now and it sucks.

  11. #11
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    yeah a good bike can run you less than half of a new one on craigslist. with the money you save you can put it in other supplies and equipment you may need.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by anekin007 View Post
    also there is a nice decent trail with good amount of single tracks in modesto at dry creek if you heard of the spot. I took my bike up there about a month ago I rode with my roadie friend he stayed on the paved part but I venture off on the single tracks.
    I used to ride down there 30 years ago when I was a kid! At the western end, there was a set of bowl shaped jumps we called "The Widowmaker" Single track up by the fence, right? Right off of El Vista?

    As for where I go to ride out of Atwater, I usually head to Santa Cruz & ride WIlder Ranch, or down to SLO & ride Poly Canyon. Have not ventured up into the Sierras yet, though I hear there is an old rail bed from Strawberry down to MiWuk or so...

    John.

  13. #13
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    Another tip is to check REI. Not sure of the quality of MTBs they have, but I do know you can return them if you are a member... & they have road bikes!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkb77 View Post
    The main reason I want to stay on the the lower in just because I still need to purchase a hitch, bike rack, helmets, riding clothes, camelback, everything that goes in a pack for long rides, etc.

    Expensive hobby! Every day that passes I'm wishing I would have just pulled the trigger already so I can go riding!
    Definitely stay within your budget. Those accessories will add up and you'll be spending over 1500 easy by the time you get everything. I'd just get a nice, new, shiny base model hardtail bike in the colors you like. Make sure it fits and you get a nice seat asap. As you ride more and more you'll figure out what you'll want and how you want to ride. Then you'll be thinking about spending just a little bit more

    No doubt this hobby can get expensive, but the benefits outweigh the cost in the long run.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JStrube View Post
    I used to ride down there 30 years ago when I was a kid! At the western end, there was a set of bowl shaped jumps we called "The Widowmaker" Single track up by the fence, right? Right off of El Vista?

    As for where I go to ride out of Atwater, I usually head to Santa Cruz & ride WIlder Ranch, or down to SLO & ride Poly Canyon. Have not ventured up into the Sierras yet, though I hear there is an old rail bed from Strawberry down to MiWuk or so...

    John.
    Yup that's the spot off of El Vista. I was surprise when my friend showed me the bike path. Didn't expect a small city to have a decent bike path/trail.

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