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'm as green as they come. I need help finding a good purchase.

    So I haven't ridden a bike since I was 12 but I want to get into it now the problem being that I have no idea what to look for. I could use some help finding something.
    Now, my issue is, while I am looking for as low cost as I can find for a starter bike, I don't want something cheap that will break on me and that I will regret 3 months from now.

    So here are some things I suppose you'll want to know:

    Usage - Daily I plan to use this as my transportation to and from work (streets only) which I estimate to be about 18 miles give or take. Naturally however, I also would like it to be sturdy enough to handle trails/off road for trips on the weekend. I do plan to take this seriously as time passes.

    Cost - New or used doesn't matter to me but I really don't want to spend more than I have to. as I mentioned earlier, this is a starter bike for me. I would like to stay as low cost as possible, preferably in the $3-400 range though I'm not opposed to spending a bit more if I come across a steal.

    Me - I'm a little bit taller so I don't know if this factors in and certain sized whatevers will be preferable for me. 6'2 170lbs.

    Anyway, I'm just looking for advice on good brands, materials, whatever that I should be on the look out for so any help will be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Go to a bike shop, shop for an entry level mountain bike (not a hybrid or path bike if you're going to go off road), and give some stuff a test ride. At your height, you might be able to find some left overs from '10 because shops sometimes have trouble getting rid of the largest or smallest sizes of bikes.

    I never recommend used or online bikes for brand new riders, get someone to help you pick out a bike in person. If you have a friend that knows a lot about biking that would work, otherwise at least give your LBS a try.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  3. #3
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    At your price point any bike from any of the 'brand' name manufacturers will work great for you.

    I, personally, would get a rigid (no suspension) bike...and faster rolling tires since you will primarily be riding in the streets.

    #1 rule for cycling is fit - the bike has to fit you. A LBS is good for this
    #2 you will need helmet, water bottle(s), gloves, glasses, tube, pump, patch kit.
    #3 enjoy your ride....

    my .02
    Visit these 2 places to help advance trail access:
    http://www.sharingthepct.org/
    http://www.facebook.com/SharingThePct

  4. #4
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    Ok thanks. So when you say any of the "brand" name manufacturers, who are you referring to and who are the good ones? I really don't know, and in terms of other products, I know that some brands are better than others.

    also If you wouldn't mind, I found an ad on craigslist and if you could let me know whether or not it's a reasonable deal I'd appreciate it.
    Apparently I'm not yet allowed to post links, so I'll post the ad:

    Rocky Mountain Slayer 30 - $650

    Hey I'v got an XL Rocky Mountain Slayer 30 Full suspension 27 speed in great working condition and a great price.

    It works excellent but has some minor cosmetic scratches. NO CRACKS OR STRUCTURAL DAMAGE.

    SPECS:

    Frame: HAND CRAFTED IN CANADA: XL ALUMINUM DOUBLE BUTTED FULL SUSPENSION

    Fork: MARZOCCHI EXR SUPRA (SPRING)

    Rear Shock: FOX FLOAT PRO PEDAL (AIR)

    Cranks: SHIMANO HOLLOW TECH OCTALINK

    Rear Derailleur: SHIMANO DEORE LX

    Front Derailleur: SHIMANO DEORE LX

    Shifters: SHIMANO DEORE

    Brakes: MAGURA CLARA HYDRAULIC DISC BRAKES

    Wheels: MAVIC MX 117 DISC

    Front Tire: MAXIS MINION DH DOWNHILL SPECIFIC 26*2.35

    Rear Tire: MAXXIS HANSVENTURE 26*2.35

    Gears: 27 speed.

  5. #5
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    I was generally in the same boat as you recently in needing to get a bike. I had a relatively low amount to spend ($700). I have a good friend who worked (not currently) at a bike shop and helped me out a LOT. The best thing he could have ever told me was to go to a local bike shop (LBS) and get on some bikes. I was dead set on buying a bike online because I could get a "good deal" on it. After riding said bike and some other bikes, I found that it was not a comfortable bike for me. I finally understood that a good bike is more about the fit than the specs. You can always upgrade the specs. That said, I am now buying a bike from craiglist based on a similar bike I took a ride on at my LBS. Taking the time to try it out saved me from a regrettable purchase.

  6. #6
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    Rocky Mountain makes nice bikes...so does Giant, Trek/Fisher, Specialized, etc..etc...

    the bike below would suck giant donkey pen0r to ride mostly on pavement....IMO

    kinda like commuting in a tractor...

    go visit some bike shops.

    Quote Originally Posted by j-curl View Post
    Ok thanks. So when you say any of the "brand" name manufacturers, who are you referring to and who are the good ones? I really don't know, and in terms of other products, I know that some brands are better than others.

    also If you wouldn't mind, I found an ad on craigslist and if you could let me know whether or not it's a reasonable deal I'd appreciate it.
    Apparently I'm not yet allowed to post links, so I'll post the ad:

    Rocky Mountain Slayer 30 - $650

    Hey I'v got an XL Rocky Mountain Slayer 30 Full suspension 27 speed in great working condition and a great price.

    It works excellent but has some minor cosmetic scratches. NO CRACKS OR STRUCTURAL DAMAGE.

    SPECS:

    Frame: HAND CRAFTED IN CANADA: XL ALUMINUM DOUBLE BUTTED FULL SUSPENSION

    Fork: MARZOCCHI EXR SUPRA (SPRING)

    Rear Shock: FOX FLOAT PRO PEDAL (AIR)

    Cranks: SHIMANO HOLLOW TECH OCTALINK

    Rear Derailleur: SHIMANO DEORE LX

    Front Derailleur: SHIMANO DEORE LX

    Shifters: SHIMANO DEORE

    Brakes: MAGURA CLARA HYDRAULIC DISC BRAKES

    Wheels: MAVIC MX 117 DISC

    Front Tire: MAXIS MINION DH DOWNHILL SPECIFIC 26*2.35

    Rear Tire: MAXXIS HANSVENTURE 26*2.35

    Gears: 27 speed.
    Visit these 2 places to help advance trail access:
    http://www.sharingthepct.org/
    http://www.facebook.com/SharingThePct

  7. #7
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    I guess I need to take tomorrow morning and head out to a couple shops then.
    Since I haven't been on a bike in so long, I suppose I just assumed that most bikes were generally "one-size-fits-all."

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHUM View Post
    Rocky Mountain makes nice bikes...so does Giant, Trek/Fisher, Specialized, etc..etc...

    the bike below would suck giant donkey pen0r to ride mostly on pavement....IMO

    kinda like commuting in a tractor...

    go visit some bike shops.

    rofl! Thanks for that and the advice.

  9. #9
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    Besides the size of the frame there are a surprising number of other geometry considerations. I tried out hardtail 29ers, hardtail 26"s and full suspention 26" bikes that were all in my general price range. They all felt a bit different. Even bikes with the same specs and same size but different geometry felt different to ride. Its hard to explain until you try it out yourself, I was definitely skeptical at first. Anyway, good luck finding a bike that fits you well. Let us know what your experiences are and what you decide on.

    I am most likely picking up an old Schwinn Straight 6 in a couple days to start out with. I am still drooling over the Trek Rumblefish I took for a spin. Way out of my price range though.... for now.

    On a side note, don't forget to try on some helmets while you are there. One "size fits all" isn't one size fits all comfortably. Since you are going to be on the bike for 18 miles a day you should get gloves and some kind of bike shorts if I'm not mistaken. All expenses to factor in.

  10. #10
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    lol, this is definitely not the cheapest of my extracurricular activities.
    Is it too much to ask to find a pastime that doesn't threaten to bankrupt me?

  11. #11
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by j-curl View Post
    lol, this is definitely not the cheapest of my extracurricular activities.
    Is it too much to ask to find a pastime that doesn't threaten to bankrupt me?
    i thought darts would be a cheap hobby....

    beer is expensive....
    Visit these 2 places to help advance trail access:
    http://www.sharingthepct.org/
    http://www.facebook.com/SharingThePct

  12. #12
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    If you're going to be using it as a commuter then I would stay as far away from a full suspension bike as possible, even a hardtail isn't really needed. Heres a list of hybrid bikes, keep in mind this store is only in Canada but it should still give you a good idea of your options. Nothing is better then going to an lbs and testing a few out to see what suits you best.

    http://www.cycle-solutions.com//Hybrid-C521.aspx
    "Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

    Setup:
    11' Giant XTC 2 29er

  13. #13
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    So a hybrid is what I should really be looking for?

  14. #14
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    From what I can tell...yea. There are two main problems with a full suspension bike, they are heavier and it will take more energy to move them because energy is going into move the fork and shock back and forth instead of propelling the bike forward. You could consider getting a hardtail but for your price range the fork that it comes with might not come with a lockout so you'd still have the same problem. You might want to look for an older/used bike that does come with a lockout but I think your best bet is to go without a bike without any shocks.

    Dont quote me on this but I think the new Giant Revel 2 fork (Suntour XCT V3) comes with a lock, not certain though:

    http://www.srsuntour-cycling.com/dst...100+26%27.html

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...ck/7509/44529/
    "Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

    Setup:
    11' Giant XTC 2 29er

  15. #15
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    I'm a beginner and may be wrong but I don't think a hybrid bike will get you the off road capabilities it sounds like you want. Most seem to be full rigid. My understanding was that taking a rigid off-road with any seriousness was not a beginner's endeavor. I understand that a full suspension bike will make climbing hills a little more difficult than a hardtail which may be a factor if your commute includes some substantial hills. You may have to strike a compromise or decide which type of riding is more important as far as rigid, hardtail or full suspension. Again, I'm a beginner and that is my limited understanding.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by j-curl View Post
    So a hybrid is what I should really be looking for?
    No, a hybrid bike would not be suitable off of a dirt or gravel road. If you are going to do off-road trail riding with your bike then you will probably have to sacrifice a bit of on-road performance. A hybrid bike is not made to go on trails; they have poor geometry, usually less durable parts, and skinny slick tires. Putting fat tires on a hybrid does not make it an off road bike and usually a fatter tire will not fit anyway.

    Get a mountain bike and get comfortable with the idea that it will be a little bit more work on pavement than a bike that is specifically designed for on road riding. But if you don't get a mountain bike, it will not last long when you take whatever bike you have out on the trails. You could always get another set of tires and switch them when you want to ride one or the other.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  17. #17
    fresh fish in stock...... SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    No, a hybrid bike would not be suitable off of a dirt or gravel road. If you are going to do off-road trail riding with your bike then you will probably have to sacrifice a bit of on-road performance..
    truth.

    i really like CX (CycloCross) bikes for the do-it-all rig...

    but for a noob the offroad experience may be 'daunting'.
    Visit these 2 places to help advance trail access:
    http://www.sharingthepct.org/
    http://www.facebook.com/SharingThePct

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHUM View Post
    truth.

    i really like CX (CycloCross) bikes for the do-it-all rig...

    but for a noob the offroad experience may be 'daunting'.
    Even as a self-proclaimed "experienced" rider, CX bikes are daunting sometimes!
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  19. #19
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    Theres a few people on this forum that ride a rigid for off road, if you get decent tires you should be good to go as long as its not too intense.

    I'm pretty sure sasquatch rides a rigid and it seems to have worked well for him...
    "Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

    Setup:
    11' Giant XTC 2 29er

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    No, a hybrid bike would not be suitable off of a dirt or gravel road. If you are going to do off-road trail riding with your bike then you will probably have to sacrifice a bit of on-road performance...
    That is very helpful to know. I am willing to sacrifice on-road performance for off-road capability since for me, the commute is essentially extra exercise for my daily routine. So a having to put in a little extra work is something that I'm willing to deal with.

  21. #21
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    "Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

    Setup:
    11' Giant XTC 2 29er

  22. #22
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    Dude, nikojan thanks man. That was way more than you needed to do. I'll be shopping tomorrow so if I get anything I'll be sure to post it here.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by j-curl View Post
    Dude, nikojan thanks man. That was way more than you needed to do. I'll be shopping tomorrow so if I get anything I'll be sure to post it here.
    No worries, just try not to get too deadset on a bike as most bike shops tend to only carry a few brands. I had to drive two hours in each direction to get to the only LBS that had my bike in stock... Also don't hesitate to ask around if you have questions about specs! Thats about all the advice that I can give
    "Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

    Setup:
    11' Giant XTC 2 29er

  24. #24
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    The most important thing is what God thinks about it. He will have the final say. Joshua Stinebrink

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  25. #25
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    I second (or third?) the recommendation of staying away from the FS rig because of both your price range and your planned commute.

    A decent entry-level hardtail from any of the non-Walmart manufacturers should suit you fine. I would recommend the bigger names rather than the boutique ones because of the price factor. You might be able to find an entry level one with lockouts. I have an '08 Specialized HRXC Sport and it came with a fork with lockouts.

    I have used it to get to class, about 13 miles one way, and it seemed to roll fairly easily. I wouldn't have minded some smoother tires but they weren't in my budget.

    Good luck and have fun shopping around!

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