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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    I want to mountain bike again after 20 years of not playing the game

    back then i did prob 1050 miles a year on a 1990 stump jumper in our local Los Angeles county mountains, even did the bridge to no-where ride a few times... but now im lot older and kinda want to buy another bike under $1000.00 and get back into this game again, what bike now is the best for the buck? back then my unicrown fork specialized never failed, really! I went everywhere... and all i had maybe was flat tires so now what is the best bang for the buck?

  2. #2
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    well.... bikes have gone through golification since then. I regularly see $3-6k bikes on the trails. Bikes keep going up in and people keep paying it(not that it makes a whole lot of difference).

    What kind of riding terrain you looking at? (relevant for FS vs hardtail) Back problems? I ride Northern Ca and a hardtail suits my riding.

    Best new bike for the money, easy, online value brands that don't pay for sponsorship. look at the $1200 airborne and the bikesdirect bikes. $1200 is the lowest you can go to get something with a reba fork.

    Best bike for the money, used on ebay.

  3. #3
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    check with Sheldonbrown dot com and re-familiarize yourself with component levels.
    Then go to at least two competing bike stores, If in doubt which ones are currently good (things change)... go to your local trails and ask 5 people wearing proper cycling gear.
    Next, don't buy anything, ask to try out several for size. Find out if the extra weight of a full suspension is really worth it etc.. (get out and climb a hill if you have them!!!)

    Then - ignore the hype - it shouldn't apply to bikes $1000 or less, and buy the bike that fits you best, in your budget, with the best components you can afford.
    Basic problems - Cheap hydraulics are worse than good Avid BB5 (ok) or BB7 (great) mechanical brakes.
    - Suntour forks are the base level for forks that actually work, buy Rockshox or Fox if you can.
    - buying a last year bike just because it's a "great deal", and not a good fit.

  4. #4
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    This is demo season for bike companies, so I would suggest trying a few out. Bikes have come a ways in the past 20 years. The choices vary quite a bit now compared to then, although at the $1,000 price point, not as much. Especially, if you're on the tall side, you may want to try something with 29" wheels. If you want a bike from the local bike shop, and all of the support that may come with it, then at least check out the big three brands (Giant, Specialized, and Trek), and whatever else your local shops carry.

    If you don't necessarily need the higher level of support of your local shop, and can do some of the fine tuning by yourself (unless you're willing to pay someone to do that), check out Airborne's Goblin (it's a 29er). It's $200 over your budget, but the level of componentry (especially the Reba fork) can't be touched at MSRP prices.

    If you're looking to be as economical as possible over the long haul, get the most bike you can from the get-go as upgrading things as you go gets very expensive in comparison. $1,000 bikes (which are still in the entry level IMHO) compromise the most on three very important components, the fork, the wheelset, and the brakes. Entry level bikes are called entry level a reason, and serve a good purpose in the evolution of a rider as they progress. They get you out and riding at a palatable price so you can develop your skills, while you also discover what niche of riding (and therefore bikes) you will eventually gravitate towards. The components function well enough for the average novice rider's skill level during the first couple years of riding. It also lets the entry level rider figure out if this sport is even for you at all, while not breaking the bank.

    In the evolution of the average rider getting into the sport, this is the most economical way to get to where you will eventually end up if you stick with the sport, and that is on the bike that fits your developed skill level, and is more specifically suited to the type of riding you really like to do.

    You (the OP), are a little different since you have actually spent a fair amount of time riding, and know more or less what type of riding you prefer, and are likely (if I can make some assumptions from what info has been provided) to regularly do, and would like a bike suited for this that you will keep for a while(?). If this is indeed the case, and you're going to spend much riding time up in the San Gabriel or San Bernardino mountains as you alluded to, I would suggest upping the budget so that you can get a bike that is not necessarily designed for the purpose of getting entry level riders into the sport. If you are looking at this as a bike to get you back into the sport, and then maybe be looking to get something better in 1-3 years, then the entry level bike is a good way to do it economically.

    At any rate, I would suggest you do take advantage of of some of the demo rides happening this time of year through shops in the greater SoCal area.

    Buying used is an option, but it can be a risky proposition if you're not patient enough to wait for the right bike that fits you well to come along (yet willing to pull the trigger when a truly good deal presents itself). There are plenty of good deals on clapped out, obsolete, and/or stolen merchandise that you'll do best to avoid, but there is a chance that you could score a good deal on a bike that is still near new and fits you and your riding style well.

  5. #5
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    Another mail order bike at 1200 is the 2012 Gravity Point 6 from Bike Direct. It has the more tuneable 2012 dual air Reba instead of the dumbed down 13 solo on the Goblin.
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Gravity 29Point5 29er Mountain Bikes

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Another mail order bike at 1200 is the 2012 Gravity Point 6 from Bike Direct. It has the more tuneable 2012 dual air Reba instead of the dumbed down 13 solo on the Goblin.
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Gravity 29Point5 29er Mountain Bikes
    wow, good catch.

  7. #7
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    Buying used is an option, but it can be a risky proposition if you're not patient enough to wait for the right bike that fits you well to come along (yet willing to pull the trigger when a truly good deal presents itself). There are plenty of good deals on clapped out, obsolete, and/or stolen merchandise that you'll do best to avoid, but there is a chance that you could score a good deal on a bike that is still near new and fits you and your riding style well
    used bike scare mongering. Buying a used bike on ebay is perfectly fine, you will need to put in a bit of research in to it.

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