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.
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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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    New question here. I'm totally lost in choosing a bike!

    Hi, I've been looking around for a while now for my first mountain bike! The thing is, the more I look and read about it the more confuse I am about which bike to pick! So here is the thing! I'm 6'4'' weight 230 pounds. I'll be ready to put 2000$ on a bike! A used bike under 2000$ would be awesome but good used L-XL frame are kind of rare! I'm looking toward trail and All MTB. I'm also wondering if I should go with 26'' wheels or a 29er and even 650b wheels. I read a lot about 29er and they seems great for beginner. So far i'd say the bike that most attract me is the giant reign and giant trance. What do you think?

  2. #2
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    The general consensus around here is go to your local bike shops (commonly referred to as LBS) and see how they rub you. Two grand is a good deal of money and will net you a more than adequate first steed. Try Google or Yellow pages for your nearest LBS and report back. Mainly just get your rear on some saddles and you'll start answering your own questions.

    PS- dont forget to post pics or youll be shunned.
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  3. #3
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    You're making this way too complicated. Agreeing with Koppuh, I say head down to your LBS and test ride everything you can get your hands on. You might need to go to a few shops as you'll be taller than average and bike shops may not have a wide variety in stock for you. Try to test ride anything that you have considered and buy whatever you like best. It doesn't matter why you like it best because everyone has personal preferences.

    I personally ride a 26" wheeled 7" travel full suspension bike in an area where most riders choose hardtail 29ers. Why? (First off, it doesn't matter why but I'll tell you) Because when I get to travel to Moab and other areas with some rough desert riding I want to make sure I'm not out-gunned. So my personal preference is to ride a big travel bike everywhere. Moral of the story: it doesn't matter why you like one bike over another because you're the one who has to ride the thing.

    Discussions are being had over each little detail of a bike so if you're curious about 29 vs 26 vs 27.5 or this fork vs that fork just do some reading around the forum. You're bound to run into information and if you can't, then ask away. Just try to keep reminding yourself that a bicycle is almost always more than the sum of its parts; that just because one bike has a more expensive fork attached to it or has the higher model shifter doesn't automatically mean it's a better bike for you. Sometimes there are intangibles like ride quality and handling that don't show up in the spec sheet.
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  4. #4
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    Re: I'm totally lost in choosing a bike!

    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    Moral of the story: it doesn't matter why you like one bike over another because you're the one who has to ride the thing.
    Real-est post ever.

    You're going to get a lot of "demo bikes!" Responses. It's true. Ride as many as you can. Fight off the impatience. You're going to wanna pull the trigger on every bike you try. Borrow friends bikes too and make sure you get trail time on some of them. Obviously not all shops will let you trail ride them, so you're stuck to a parkinglot demo. Just be patient!
    There's something about those long grueling climbs that gets my front end all stiff... And I'm not talking about lockout...

  5. #5
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    totally disagree with going to lbs. I would aim for 2-4 year old used hardtail bike on ebay or on craigslist. This is where the value lies.

    this will get you started on auctions that went through. Some of these are reba or better forks, american classic wheelsets, etc. This bike will run well over $2000 in shops.
    reba in Mountain Bikes | eBay


    If you want to go new, bikesdirect or airborne. Both will get you much better bike/$ vs an LBS. You get get the much better tiered bike for hte price of a lowtier in a lbs.

  6. #6
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    I'm totally lost in choosing a bike!

    Value means nothing if he doesn't know what he is looking for or what he wants. I say LBS too.

  7. #7
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    RE: I'm totally lost in choosing a bike!

    If its your first bike you'll want the support of your lbs at first. Mine offers lifetime tune ups when you buy new. That's great if you're not so sure how to set up your gears etc. Go to a few and see what you like.

    If you are buying used I'd say you want 30% off retail for a brand new current model as you don't get a warranty and 50% off if its had a year of riding and in good condition.

    This is a good time to buy as there are some 2012 models the shops are wanting to get rid of. Could get 20% off a new 2012 model.


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob13bob View Post
    totally disagree with going to lbs. I would aim for 2-4 year old used hardtail bike on ebay or on craigslist. This is where the value lies.

    this will get you started on auctions that went through. Some of these are reba or better forks, american classic wheelsets, etc. This bike will run well over $2000 in shops.
    reba in Mountain Bikes | eBay


    If you want to go new, bikesdirect or airborne. Both will get you much better bike/$ vs an LBS. You get get the much better tiered bike for hte price of a lowtier in a lbs.
    I'm going to try and keep my nice guy pants on so let's just keep it at I disagree with all of this. The budget stated is $2k which is ample to get a well equipped new bike even including bikes like the Giant Trance or other "name brand" full suspension models. Used is a solid advice when someone is looking to spend under a grand and often even more but there are some huge caveats to buying used.
    - You (or someone you know who you will bring with you to shop) must have a very solid understanding of cycling technology, how it has changed over the years, and how to identify good from bad.
    - You must be able to identify signs of wear, damage, and failure.
    - You must know about the geometry of any bike, how to read geometry tables, and how those tables relate to how a bike feels on trail.
    - You must be able to identify when you're getting a good deal and when you're getting hosed; something which is often difficult even for people who are very good at working with bikes.

    Even when one of these threads comes up where the OP is set on buying used I always still recommend going to a LBS first. Here's why: you get to test ride many different frame types, wheel sizes, travel types, and you get to do it all back to back to back. You get to actually compare bikes to each other and learn what you like best instead of relying on the internet or blind guessing to choose a bike. You get to feel what it means to ride the next size down or up and how you fit on that. Anyone who says a parking lot test ride is useless is dead wrong, you can learn a ton any time you ride any bike.

    If you wanted to buy an internet bike or a used bike then going to the LBS gives you, at minimum, a baseline for comparison. It allows you to form an experience base with bikes quickly and gives you something to think about when comparing bikes. Not everyone is going to want to deal with their LBS and unfortunately "bad" shops seem to be the rule rather than the exception so I can understand why people pursue online or used market bikes. However, without an LBS you're relying on you guessing that you don't have a long torso or long legs and that this catalog frame will fit because the internet said it will. Having a website tell you that a bike is "comparable to ____ brand $6000 bike" is all marketing. When it comes down to it, a bike can have the best parts attached to it and still fit or perform like crap; and if that bike fits or performs like crap, you're not going to ride it and it's going to be a waste of your money.

    OP: I forgot to mention to make sure you leave room in your budget for any accessories you might need like a helmet or gloves or repair kits. Buy a floor pump or only ride with people who bring one with them, you won't regret it.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  9. #9
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    If someone starts a thread and states they are totally lost I would only recommend an LBS. It can be overwhelming when you are a newb. I wasn't a total newb but purchased my first nice bike at my LBS. I am glad I did. Some of the bikes I rode I didn't care for even though they were sized for me. Now that I know what I am looking for I could buy online without worrying.

    As far as Craigslist. I would stay away unless you know your stuff. Very easy to get ripped off or not get a good deal. Also depends on your area. I hardly ever see good deals in mine.

  10. #10
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    It's hard to disagree with zebrahum sound logic here

    At the end of the day, if op is somewhat lost at all of this choices and he has a reasonable budget I'd say lbs is the best route to go. Warranty and free tune up would give him plenty of time to build up wrenching skills and tools.

    I'm sure zebrahum would agree, given the same budget he and I would go different route, but all our dues were paid up

    Most important, unless you are a racer or plan to become one, don't waste 2k on a hardtail, it's not that kind of time anymore

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the replies everyone! it's been very helpful! I was about to blind guess on a bike on the internet! So i'll just get around a couple LBS to test some bikes. I kind know what I want but I don't have the experience and the feel of different bike! The fact that I'm tall doesn't let me any room to blind guess! So yeah i'm definitely going to try a couple of bike in a simple flat parking lot!:P And yeah 2k might be a litlle too much but with all the accessories that might be right i think!

  12. #12
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    This may come across as harsh towards the LBS, but...

    My LBS (any of them) can't come close to matching the prices of online stores like CRC. Which is unfortunate, because they tend to be decent folk. I think of the LBS more as a beginners corner - not the sort of beginners who come on forums and actually ask about bikes, but the sort who simply go in an spend 400 quid on something they'll use twice a year. But, the LBS do have bikes, and you probably can demo them and then almost certainly can go away, buy the same bike/size online, save lots of money and more than make up for the fact you'll have to pay for servicing every now and then, which you won't at first because CRC sets up bikes more than well enough for beginners (and breathe)...

    I know it's pretty ruthless to abuse the LBS just for test rides, and if they could match the online prices (or at least get close) then I wouldn't suggest it. But the fact is, round here they can't. It may be different where you are.

    So yeah, tl;dr, test ride at LBS, but buy where you get the best deal.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by sof View Post
    This may come across as harsh towards the LBS, but...

    My LBS (any of them) can't come close to matching the prices of online stores like CRC. Which is unfortunate, because they tend to be decent folk. I think of the LBS more as a beginners corner - not the sort of beginners who come on forums and actually ask about bikes, but the sort who simply go in an spend 400 quid on something they'll use twice a year. But, the LBS do have bikes, and you probably can demo them and then almost certainly can go away, buy the same bike/size online, save lots of money and more than make up for the fact you'll have to pay for servicing every now and then, which you won't at first because CRC sets up bikes more than well enough for beginners (and breathe)...

    I know it's pretty ruthless to abuse the LBS just for test rides, and if they could match the online prices (or at least get close) then I wouldn't suggest it. But the fact is, round here they can't. It may be different where you are.

    So yeah, tl;dr, test ride at LBS, but buy where you get the best deal.
    That's just wrong. If you want to do it, just do it. Don't shout out about it. It's just bad form. I guess you have no clue why lbs can't match the online price.

  14. #14
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    Test rides are ok for fit options, but a demo on trail is more helpful when trying to evaluate geo and handling. To get a little closer go off the parking lot up and down grass hills and through ditches, over ruts and bumps. Add some speed. Currently winter conditions may limit you a bit.
    Trek X-Cal(12 has a better dual air Reba fork) is a HT 29er worth a try.
    Scott Scale 950 or '12 Elite with a better fork is another HT 29 option.
    Getting a 2012 of either would allow for an upgrade of brakes to SLK and a ZTR FlowEX wheelset.

  15. #15
    sof
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    That's just wrong. If you want to do it, just do it. Don't shout out about it. It's just bad form. I guess you have no clue why lbs can't match the online price.
    Of course I know why they can't. But that doesn't change the fact they can't.

    If it's considered bad form on the forums to state it, then I apologise unreservedly, and will refrain from such in the future.

  16. #16
    Vincit qui patitur
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    Go LBS!!
    These guys work hard and keep the money local.
    The customer service is almost always top notch.
    I almost always support Brick and Mortar shops.
    The price you pay is irrevelant to the service you get.
    BUY LOCAL!
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welric View Post
    Hi, I've been looking around for a while now for my first mountain bike! The thing is, the more I look and read about it the more confuse I am about which bike to pick! So here is the thing! I'm 6'4'' weight 230 pounds. I'll be ready to put 2000$ on a bike! A used bike under 2000$ would be awesome but good used L-XL frame are kind of rare! I'm looking toward trail and All MTB. I'm also wondering if I should go with 26'' wheels or a 29er and even 650b wheels. I read a lot about 29er and they seems great for beginner. So far i'd say the bike that most attract me is the giant reign and giant trance. What do you think?
    You have very good taste in bikes for a beginner.

    The reign and trance are killer bikes for the 2k mark.

    I have ridden both, but own a 2012 reign, its a great bike, and with a bit of tweeking can tackle anything you can throw at it.

    You can also look at the trance 29er base model, its around 2k, you wont go wrong with that either.

    Test ride the 29er and reign 26er and see what one takes your fancy, both bikes are a great choice and i can guarentee you, you will be stoked with either.

    cheers
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by owtdorz View Post
    Go LBS!!
    These guys work hard and keep the money local.
    The customer service is almost always top notch.
    I almost always support Brick and Mortar shops.
    The price you pay is irrevelant to the service you get.
    BUY LOCAL!
    Go to the shop that sells the bike you want, simple as that.
    Dont just buy a bike from a shop because its your local and thats what they have in stock and push at you...
    Thats not a very smart way to buy a bike..
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's View Post
    Go to the shop that sells the bike you want, simple as that.
    Dont just buy a bike from a shop because its your local and thats what they have in stock and push at you...
    Thats not a very smart way to buy a bike..
    I can agree with that. But most shops can get what you want. If you find a good one they will not push you into buying something you don't want, can't have or just isn't right for you.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danielrg_usa View Post
    Value means nothing if he doesn't know what he is looking for or what he wants. I say LBS too.
    That is correct. Buying used is great if you know what you want and can pick it out and deal with any issues. If you lack a knowledge of what you desire and how to determine if it is any good you will need a shop to help you. You will pay more, but what you are getting is their knowledge to guide you.

    Now the one thing I have not seen yet is if you know what trails you want to ride. Bikes are getting so specialized these days that many are focused on certain type of terrain. With 2k you can buy a nice bike, but it may not suit your needs. I ride a 26" hardtail and ride it everywhere and Zebrahum rides a 26" long travel bike everywhere, so you can ride any bike and place, but it makes not sense to buy a bike always feel like it does not match what you want to ride. I know the limitations of my 26" hardtail and I either say "screw it and ride it anyway" or just back off a bit and ride what I can they way I can. I don't let the bike impact my riding fun, but I am experienced enough know it and accept it. Zebrahum is probably the same way know the drawback to his long travel bike on certain terrain, but not really letting it bother him.

    So you are 6'4" and 230... Are you a fit 230 or do you plan to use the bike to drop weight? Do you seek fast riding and big drops? Do you have places to ride like that. Or will you spend most of your time on smoothish trails zipping through the forest for miles on end?
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    I...
    Most important, unless you are a racer or plan to become one, don't waste 2k on a hardtail, it's not that kind of time anymore
    But, don't rule out a hardtail either. Hardtails are great bikes and to be honest one need not spend $2k at all and still get a good bike that fits your needs. It comes down to what the OP's needs are.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by owtdorz View Post
    I can agree with that. But most shops can get what you want. If you find a good one they will not push you into buying something you don't want, can't have or just isn't right for you.
    Yep, i agree with you here, im all for buying a bike at a bike shop, i think if its your first one its a great idea to get it from a local, as long as its a bike you feel ok and lets face it, like the looks of for your first bike.
    You will get a lifetime frame warranty on a bike like a giant and you can take it back there if you have any issues and hopefully build up a healthy relationship with them..

    The OP has 2k to spend which i think is a perfect amount for a first bike that he can grow with.

    IMO 2k is about the lowest you want to go for a good full sus, and you can buy a very nice one for that, the OP has his eye on the trance or reign, and IMHO, you couldnt get a better bike than these two for that price..
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

  23. #23
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    -Joepaz, yeah I'm 239 abd fit. Around here it's mainly single track or smooth xc trails on the flat side. I can get lots of good tecnical all mountain and dowhill track at less than an hour of car from my place. What i'm looking for is a big with a fair amount of travel so that i can try some hader stuff as i get better, but a bike that would ride smooth also for xc and just riding smooth time to time.

    I think i'll go try the bikes i'm looking for in a bike shop and than buy the one i like on he internet. I found a great used 2009 giant reign 1 with lots of upgrade on the internet and that for a little more than 1k. And guess what it's a XL frame! looks good don't you think? ÉBut i might try it first in a lbs right?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Welric View Post
    -Joepaz, yeah I'm 239 abd fit. Around here it's mainly single track or smooth xc trails on the flat side. I can get lots of good tecnical all mountain and dowhill track at less than an hour of car from my place. What i'm looking for is a big with a fair amount of travel so that i can try some hader stuff as i get better, but a bike that would ride smooth also for xc and just riding smooth time to time.

    I think i'll go try the bikes i'm looking for in a bike shop and than buy the one i like on he internet. I found a great used 2009 giant reign 1 with lots of upgrade on the internet and that for a little more than 1k. And guess what it's a XL frame! looks good don't you think? ÉBut i might try it first in a lbs right?
    Its a good theory mate, but one thing i dont think is very ethical is to try bikes out at bike shops knowing full well you will not buy it from them or even consider buying it from them, i sort as see this as using other people and just poor form.

    Im happy to buy unseen and unridden or try out a rental bike or a mates but i wont go in to a LBS and take the piss and use them to try something im not even thinking of buying from them, im not sure if others are with me here but im the same whether its a bike or a pair of shoes..

    cheers
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    I'm going to try and keep my nice guy pants on so let's just keep it at I disagree with all of this. The budget stated is $2k which is ample to get a well equipped new bike even including bikes like the Giant Trance or other "name brand" full suspension models. Used is a solid advice when someone is looking to spend under a grand and often even more but there are some huge caveats to buying used.
    - You (or someone you know who you will bring with you to shop) must have a very solid understanding of cycling technology, how it has changed over the years, and how to identify good from bad.
    - You must be able to identify signs of wear, damage, and failure.
    - You must know about the geometry of any bike, how to read geometry tables, and how those tables relate to how a bike feels on trail.
    - You must be able to identify when you're getting a good deal and when you're getting hosed; something which is often difficult even for people who are very good at working with bikes.

    Even when one of these threads comes up where the OP is set on buying used I always still recommend going to a LBS first. Here's why: you get to test ride many different frame types, wheel sizes, travel types, and you get to do it all back to back to back. You get to actually compare bikes to each other and learn what you like best instead of relying on the internet or blind guessing to choose a bike. You get to feel what it means to ride the next size down or up and how you fit on that. Anyone who says a parking lot test ride is useless is dead wrong, you can learn a ton any time you ride any bike.

    If you wanted to buy an internet bike or a used bike then going to the LBS gives you, at minimum, a baseline for comparison. It allows you to form an experience base with bikes quickly and gives you something to think about when comparing bikes. Not everyone is going to want to deal with their LBS and unfortunately "bad" shops seem to be the rule rather than the exception so I can understand why people pursue online or used market bikes. However, without an LBS you're relying on you guessing that you don't have a long torso or long legs and that this catalog frame will fit because the internet said it will. Having a website tell you that a bike is "comparable to ____ brand $6000 bike" is all marketing. When it comes down to it, a bike can have the best parts attached to it and still fit or perform like crap; and if that bike fits or performs like crap, you're not going to ride it and it's going to be a waste of your money.

    OP: I forgot to mention to make sure you leave room in your budget for any accessories you might need like a helmet or gloves or repair kits. Buy a floor pump or only ride with people who bring one with them, you won't regret it.
    +1.
    There are more than 1 LBS nearby, right? Go spend some time at each of the shops and see what the folks are like. Ask if they have any group rides that they lead or you can join up with. See if you there is a demo bike you can try out. Most shops will either loan you a bike or rent you a bike where the rental fee is applied towards the purchase of a new bike. Test the bike on the actual trail and not the parking lot.

    I will also echo the sentiment that buying a used bike, if you don't know much about bikes, may have pitfalls.

    You have a healthy budget. There are many nice bikes in that price range. Don't forget to budget for accessories and safety gear (helmet, shoes, pedals, gloves, eye protection, hydration pack, tools)

    My neighbor has about the same budget. I've advised him to take a look at a few non-current model "new" bikes (Cannodale Rize 120) that he can pick up for a good savings but keeps his warrantee in tact and still gets free service from the shop.

    Keep in mind that the local trails and riders will also influence the specific bike choices.
    Just get out and ride!

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