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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.
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  3. #3
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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....

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  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
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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.
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  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
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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....
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  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
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  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/
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  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.

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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.
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  17. #17
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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'.
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  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!
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  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

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  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

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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

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  24. #24
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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!

  26. #26
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    Ok, so I just got back from visiting the first of a few bike shops I plan on today and here's what the owner (who helped me) suggested.
    first of all, when I told him my price range and purpose he immediately said he had the perfect thing for me. However, upon incorrectly guessing that I was 5'9 and learning my actual height, he seemed to have a bit of a conflict. He said he had to check in back for something in my size and when he came back he recommended to me the Giant Roam 2.

    He said that it is perfect for me because it can do some easy riding on dirt trails, but that it also has thin tires so it will work well on pavement for commutes.
    When I inquired about mountain bikes he said that they aren't great for street riding regularly, but some people opt to buy thinner tires for easier use on pavement.

    The bike that I've had my eye on (though they didn't have it in my size at the bs) is the Revel 2. It's in my price range and from what I hear is a decent starter bike. though it is not ideal for the streets

    So though I still have some stops to make and research to do, between the revel 2 and roam 2 which would you recommend?
    Right now I can only afford 1 bike and so I want to make sure that I don't regret not getting one or the other because of features or capabilities I wish it had.
    Thanks again guys.

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    Quote Originally Posted by j-curl View Post
    So though I still have some stops to make and research to do, between the revel 2 and roam 2 which would you recommend?
    The roam is a hybrid bike, the revel is a mountain bike. If you want to ride any off road trails at all you will need a mountain bike. A hybrid bike is not suitable to off road riding at all.

    If you want a bike for off road use then you will make a compromise for on road use. At your price point and experience level you can not find a bike that will stand up for both kinds of riding. Getting slick tires will help the on-road performance quite a bit, so that might be the best option. But again, hybrid bikes are not meant to go off road.
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  28. #28
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    I wouldn't go on anything beyond a smooth dirt path on a Roam. It will be a nice bike for the roads but avoid rocks and roots with that fork. Giant just doesn't have a very good cheap mountain bike. I'd look at the Jamis Trail series, Specialized Hotrock, Haro Flightline, Trek 3 series, GT Aggressor instead. New models are coming out so look for a 2010 to really save some cash
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by GOTA View Post
    I wouldn't go on anything beyond a smooth dirt path on a Roam. It will be a nice bike for the roads but avoid rocks and roots with that fork. Giant just doesn't have a very good cheap mountain bike. I'd look at the Jamis Trail series, Specialized Hotrock, Haro Flightline, Trek 3 series instead
    I think you mean Hardrock, the Hotrock is a kids bike.
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  30. #30
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    For what you are gonna do the revel might be a better do it all bike. But if it were me id go with the roam as it will be a more efficient commuter and contrrary to popular belief yes that bike can go off road. But it will nom excel in certan situations (mud roots etc) but for smoother trails it should do fine! I was on vacation and rode some rather rough and steep trails on a hybrid that I barrowed from a friend. Was rather impressed with it btw. Go test some other models also.
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  31. #31
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    Don't go with either. Go with a Norco bike instead, for that price range the Norco's give you similar shocks (might not come with preload adjust but other than that the same) and disc breaks which is pretty basic. Try to find a different LBS, here is a link to ones near you:

    http://norco.com/bikes/find-a-retailer/
    "Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." - John F. Kennedy

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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    The roam is a hybrid bike, the revel is a mountain bike. If you want to ride any off road trails at all you will need a mountain bike. A hybrid bike is not suitable to off road riding at all.

    If you want a bike for off road use then you will make a compromise for on road use. At your price point and experience level you can not find a bike that will stand up for both kinds of riding. Getting slick tires will help the on-road performance quite a bit, so that might be the best option. But again, hybrid bikes are not meant to go off road.
    I was going to suggest slicks but bikes in his price point don't have the quick release wheelsets so it would be a pain in the ass to remove it every time he wanted to go off road. Also, my dad rode a hybrid bike that I would often take to trails and go off small ramps with without a problem.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikojan View Post
    I was going to suggest slicks but bikes in his price point don't have the quick release wheelsets so it would be a pain in the ass to remove it every time he wanted to go off road. Also, my dad rode a hybrid bike that I would often take to trails and go off small ramps with without a problem.
    Bike at any price point from a major manufacturer will come with quick release wheels unless they are through axle bikes (high end stuff). Yes you can ride a hybrid on a trail but it won't live long and you won't be getting a good ride from it.
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    alright guys thanks. unfortunately I'm having trouble finding a norco dealer in my relative area. I may have to make a decent drive to sample some of their wares.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    Bike at any price point from a major manufacturer will come with quick release wheels unless they are through axle bikes (high end stuff). Yes you can ride a hybrid on a trail but it won't live long and you won't be getting a good ride from it.
    Hey, sorry about that you're right it does come with a quick release. The roam specs didn't list it and the image looked like it was a bolt.

    I listed Norco just as an example. Don't buy a bike until you've looked at all of the major brands. I'll post a few others you might want to consider.

    Specialized:
    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/home.jsp

    29ers:
    SE Stout:
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...r+Bike+11.aspx

    Diamond Overdrive:
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...r+Bike+11.aspx


    26ers:
    Jamis Durango:
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...ango+1+10.aspx

    Rockymountain:
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...+Vapor+11.aspx

    A few are above your price range but they don't charge tax when you order online like they would at your lbs. I also suggest you look at the website of each brand to see if there are any other bikes.
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  36. #36
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    Try calling all the LBSs and write down which brands they carry. Let us know so you dont get a bunch of recommendations for bikes that youll have a hard time finding. I was liking the Felts but theres not a dealer within 300 miles.
    I'm a ******bag in real life so I dont have to be one on the interwebz.

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    What idiot left me negative feedback saying "Recommending a hybrid to someone going off-road."... if you're going to say some stupid **** like that at least put your name on. Pathetic.. 'saskuatch rides an ss' and 1000's of others go off road with a rigid without a problem and you honestly think that a hardtail with a decent fork wont be able to handle it?
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikojan View Post
    What idiot left me negative feedback saying "Recommending a hybrid to someone going off-road."... if you're going to say some stupid **** like that at least put your name on. Pathetic.. 'saskuatch rides an ss' and 1000's of others go off road with a rigid without a problem and you honestly think that a hardtail with a decent fork wont be able to handle it?
    It happens all the time to me for giving an alternate opinion. Don't stress it, I'll rep you back up if you say something smart.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    I think you mean Hardrock, the Hotrock is a kids bike.
    Yes. I do. That's what I get for going way too fast
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by GOTA View Post
    Yes. I do. That's what I get for going way too fast
    you mean you meant for him to get the kids bike, haha, can just see it now on the mountain path.... (j/k)

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    Here is my .02 cents based on my extensive (two months or so) experience... Check out the bikesdirect.com bikes. I research everything that I purchase and I bought a Dawes Haymaker 1500 for $410.00. I don't really have another point of reference but what I can tell you is that I have been riding as much as possible on all sorts of rough New England trails with friends on very expensive machines and I am very happy with my bike. I had to upgrade pedals but I have no problem keeping up (when I'm not crashed in the bushes) and for the $$$ my feeling was to see how much I liked mountain biking after 20+ absence from bicycling (love it) and to ride the hell out of my cheap bike until I exceed it's limitations... So far, the bike has been as solid as a rock and performed flawlessly. Good luck in your search!

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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    I'll rep you back up if you say something smart.
    Cute....
    The most important thing is what God thinks about it. He will have the final say.” – Joshua Stinebrink

    ____
    Kimo

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHUM View Post
    i thought darts would be a cheap hobby.....
    lol, so did I, 2 leagues and a couple sets of darts later I realized I was wrong, although it may be my cheapest hobby!
    Trek Fuel EX 6
    Cannondale F5
    Felt Z100

    My photos

  44. #44
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    I wanted to come back and see how things were going for you. I picked up my well cared for Schwinn 4 banger the other day and couldn't be happier. For the money I paid I couldn't have gotten nearly what I got out of a new bike from my LBS. I did learn a lot from my LBS and my bike is there tonight getting tuned up and getting a spoke fixed for my first major ride tomorrow. I hope you're figuring things out so you can get on the road.

    You can check out my thread here for a pic of the bike.
    4 banger/straight 6 question

  45. #45
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    so did you go ahead with a purchase yet? inquiring minds want to know.

  46. #46
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    Yes, do tell.. Did you find something you like??

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