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.
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 99
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mack_turtle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    2,962

    "I'm not going to do anything crazy"

    "Bicycling pop culture is a world of unrealistic extremes that are portrayed as normal. ... normal bicycle pursuits are often relegated to the shadows cast by the highly-publicized, extreme versions of bike-riding." thus writes Jim Thill in On Bicycle Touring in Issue 1 of Bunyan Velo*.

    It comes as no surprise that I hear this "nothing too crazy" sentiment frequently from new riders who are looking for a new bike. Working at a bike shop and volunteering at a co-op, I often meet people who want to cobble together a co-op bike from donated parts for $30 and then ride the rocky, fast trails around here, or compete in a triathlon. People who want to keep up with group rides and start racing have a budget of $600 for a road bike and can't understand why that won't cut it in the market today. I would like to better understand what this means.

    usually I hear this from people who have a limited budget, whether that budget is imposed on them by outside forces (nagging spouse, small income, bills, obligations to kids, etc), or they are just plain cheap. many are legitimately skeptical of the prices they see on bikes, but experience has shown me that you usually get what you pay for, even if all those prices (LBS and mail order alike) are a bit over-inflated. regardless of what you think of the cost of bike gear, you have to pay to play one way or another. if cycling is too rich for your blood, get into competitive chess or running. sneakers are cheaper than bikes.

    before this becomes another "mail order versus LBS thread," that topic has been discussed to death, so let's not go there.

    Thill is writing about bicycle touring in the quote above, but I think the same applies to mountain biking as well. people tell me that they want to ride legitimate mountain bike trails, but their budget only allows them a bike with Tourney components (junk) and a noodly coil spring fork with no damping (aka a "lousy pogo stick fork). if they have been watching Red Bull's Rampage events, reading Decline Magazine, or watching videos of Whistler bike park freeriding, I can see why the "crazy" bar has been set pretty high for them. they think, "I am not doing THAT, so I can just buy the cheapest bike possible and plod along the trails on it and it will be fine.

    but most mountain biking is NOT like the rowdy stuff you see in these videos, yet it's demanding enough on your equipment that most of the bikes in the lowest end of the price range are not going to hold up. I might not be flying off 10 foot drops at 50 mph after being helicopter-dropped off the top of some Rocky crag, but I want to maintain traction while climbing long hills, flowing through the trees at pace that gets my adrenaline pumping, and get a little loose on some downhills that might have some rocks and roots on them. a rider might be limiting the amount of challenge and fun he or she is going to get out of mountain biking by limiting the amount of bike they are willing to buy.

    I think a rider should consider what kind of terrain they have available to them, what kind of riding they want to do, then ask some trusted, experienced riders (or your favorite message board) "how much bike" they will need for that. then generate the money needed to accomplish that goal. sell some stuff, make some compromises, give up some wasteful habits, etc. if you want it, you will get the money somehow.

    if you want a mountain bike but you know you're not really going ride trails, don't fool yourself. you will be much better off with a solid $600 hybrid than a flimsy $600 mountain bike.

    *Awesome magazine by the way, Issue 2 just came out, for free to read online. check it out.

  2. #2
    Never Forget 9-11
    Reputation: FujNoob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    405
    Sometimes it takes riding a piece of junk to fully understand why spending a little more coin on a better bike makes sense.
    It's such a fine line between idiocy and genius.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: theMeat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    4,554
    Interesting view. Then there's the other side of things, like how many people buy much more bike than they're ever going to need, or how many people think they're taking up a new hobby and want to put their best foot forward to, in the end, never take it up for whatever reason and it sits in the garage.
    Like they say, you can lead a horse to water but ......
    In the end everyone learns what's right for them, some learn the hard way.
    And if it makes some people happy to get all decked out and show off their latest and greatest in the parking lot, who am I to judge what tickles their fancy. Just makes for a better used market for me.
    Live and let live.
    Round and round we go

  4. #4
    banned
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,041
    Condescending crap ? ... You don't have to spend thousands to have a good time, and you don't need to spend thousands to be as good as someone who spends that kind of money thinking they will perform better because of it.

    Buying an Indy car doesn't make you a World Class racer anymore than spending thousands to own, what a factory rider is given, can make you a better MTB'r.

    But I do get what you're saying about the bottom dollar bikes that are available.
    I guess that's why we all read, so often, the suggestion (@ MTBR) that a new rider buy used, and thus get more bang for their buck.

    There are many good USED bikes in the $300-$1000 range that would suit many riders.
    And,
    There are a lot of FREE - $300 bikes that will also suit many riders.

    What you ride don't mean squat

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: LB412's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    886
    Well said... do the same people go for a jog in their Keds? Doubtful.

  6. #6
    banned
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,041
    Quote Originally Posted by LB412 View Post
    Well said... do the same people go for a jog in their Keds? Doubtful.
    Some jog barefoot, and some run ... Hey it's exercise, don't knock it.

    Shoes don't make you an athlete

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: LB412's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    886
    Quote Originally Posted by bikeabuser View Post
    Some jog barefoot, and some run ... Hey it's exercise, don't knock it.

    Shoes don't make you an athlete
    Better for the body to go barefoot than run in a totally inappropriate shoe.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: theMeat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    4,554
    Yup, I'v said this before up in here but it's so true and obvious I have no problem saying it again.
    I just love it when a guy shows up on a beat up old clunker and all the folks with their shiny new state of the art rides are snickering, talking behind his back, or at least thinking how much better they are. Until that guy out skills and performs them without question. Then comes the inevitable, oh my shock wasn't tuned right, or my psi was off. Just gotta love it.
    Round and round we go

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: LB412's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    886
    That clunker was probably a quality bike in its day. Now you have big box crap that literally falls apart on the trail. Different story.

    A guy I ride with is on a 1992 Gary Fischer HT and does great.

  10. #10
    AZ
    AZ is offline
    banned
    Reputation: AZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    19,997
    I ride with a guy occasionally that happily rides single track on his pos single speed road bike fitted with cx tires. Funny thing is, he can drop 99.9% of the riders out here on any given day. It ain't about the bike.

  11. #11
    banned
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,041
    Quote Originally Posted by LB412 View Post
    Better for the body to go barefoot than run in a totally inappropriate shoe.
    Especially on a gravel road

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    1,625
    That was a fun read, thanks for the link. As for the topic at hand, you pretty much hit the nail on the head...working in a shop, whether I'm on the sales floor or wrenching, the first question I ask is almost always 'what kind of riding do you [want to] do?'

    My personal experience talking to people is that (generally) they want a mountain bike to 'try out' mountain biking, and then wind up riding it around town. A year or two later, if they're still riding the bike, they invariably want smoother tires. Not that I have a problem with that--most 'entry level' mountain bikes tend to be set more towards an upright position, and make fairly good street/around town bikes--but rather that the original desire for the bike could have been better served, as you said, by a completely different one.

    As an aside, the author of the article says that, contrary to this, you can tour on whatever you want--this is true. The penalty for failure of components (barring total handlebar/stem/wheel) on the road is pretty low, other than having to hitch a ride. The penalty of failure on the trail, trying to clear an obstacle, or on a loose slope/off camber, is far higher.

    Anyhow, I tell people this (and stand by it). Any mountain bike in the shop will be capable of most of the trails here, and certainly all of the ones you should be riding as a beginner. The catch is, you will outpace your bicycle very quickly, and to keep advancing your skills, you will need to buy another bike. So, suddenly that $200 walmart bike (or $300-something shop bike) isn't such a good bargain anymore. Yes, in most cases, you could upgrade the bike, but you'll spend the cost of a bike with better components on it than what you'll be getting, in almost every case.

    There's nothing wrong with a first mountain bike, just make it one that you don't throw in the trash can when you move on

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    491
    Good insight in the original post.

    A cheep bike can ride easy trails, even if it means hike-a-bike over some sections. That may be all the rider cares to do or can afford to do.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: LB412's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    886
    Quote Originally Posted by Dirty $anchez View Post
    I ride with a guy occasionally that happily rides single track on his pos single speed road bike fitted with cx tires. Funny thing is, he can drop 99.9% of the riders out here on any given day. It ain't about the bike.
    for 99% of the population a better bike improves their riding...

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation: LB412's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    886
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce in SoCal View Post
    Good insight in the original post.

    A cheep bike can ride easy trails, even if it means hike-a-bike over some sections. That may be all the rider cares to do or can afford to do.
    my six year old rides easy single track on her 20" Marin. good times

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: theMeat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    4,554
    Quote Originally Posted by LB412 View Post
    for 99% of the population a better bike improves their riding...
    lol
    Round and round we go

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    491
    Quote Originally Posted by LB412 View Post
    for 99% of the population a better bike improves their riding...
    For 99% of the population just *riding* improves their riding. A better bike merely hides their inadequacies as riders. Far fewer people are held back in skill development by their bikes.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    3,741
    Watch this then see if you still feel the same
    RIDE LIFE GRAVITY EDITION - Supermarket Bike Video - Pinkbike
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    3,741
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce in SoCal View Post
    For 99% of the population just *riding* improves their riding. A better bike merely hides their inadequacies as riders. Far fewer people are held back in skill development by their bikes.
    However you can reach a point where cheap equipment is holding you back
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  20. #20
    banned
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,041
    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Watch this then see if you still feel the same
    RIDE LIFE GRAVITY EDITION - Supermarket Bike Video - Pinkbike
    It's always the rider ... Dude does some amazing riding on a Supermarket Bike, thus proving it ain't the bike that makes him good.

    I mean really,
    He got that good on a Supermarket Bike ... And he rode it for 6 years before it broke.

  21. #21
    banned
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,041
    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    However you can reach a point where cheap equipment is holding you back
    Sorry, but the video you posted shows this to be a myth.

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    3,741
    Quote Originally Posted by bikeabuser View Post
    Sorry, but the video you posted shows this to be a myth.
    It's not a myth. I know through personal experience it can be very true.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    598
    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Watch this then see if you still feel the same
    RIDE LIFE GRAVITY EDITION - Supermarket Bike Video - Pinkbike
    Just absolutely awesome. His parents gave him what they could, and he APPRECIATED it. And he used it.
    Stay aware of those who hide in plain sight.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    491
    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    However you can reach a point where cheap equipment is holding you back
    True. And a supermarket bike is not an entry level bike store bike.

    The fellow in the video was exceeding the capabilities of the bike. To do what he was doing required a much better bike. If he could not afford one, he should have been doing different riding.

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    598
    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    However you can reach a point where cheap equipment is holding you back
    I do agree with this in Filp's case, because the integrity of the frame and the suspension etc. was able to handle what he has the skill to put into it.

    Watch the next vid where he wins the Giant and watch him torque the bike into manuals while coming out of hard turns to redirect the front wheel. That bike's feedback is definitely helping him push his riding (that his mind is the only limit of) to be able to do that.
    Stay aware of those who hide in plain sight.

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Who rides with "crazy" wide handlebar?
    By Dion in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: 03-17-2012, 01:06 AM
  2. Pinegrass Ridge (and "Crazy Chasm")
    By ward in forum Washington
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 10-02-2011, 10:49 PM
  3. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 05-11-2011, 02:13 PM
  4. RR: Selah "Crazy 8"- mixed results
    By verslowrdr in forum Washington
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 05-02-2011, 10:55 AM
  5. Crazy "urban DH" video...
    By The_Mickstar in forum Downhill - Freeride
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 03-03-2011, 07:56 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •