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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    New question here. Input on MTB Purchase

    Hey everybody, thanks in advance for any input/advice y'all can provide..

    I'm somewhat a newbie to mtbing, will primarily be riding the miles and miles of paved paths/roads around the inner loop of houston, but intend to eventually work up to some offroad trails. I'm looking for a quality, versatile bike with relatively low maintenance if possible, that will last me for some time to come.

    I went to my lbs and rode the specialized crave comp, crave pro, stumpjumper comp, and stumpjumper evo.. and was just about dead set on the stumpjumper evo ($2150) until my roommate told me I was an idiot and I didn't need to spend that much $ for what I'll be riding and that a 2x10 drivetrain would be better for pavement anyways.

    So what do you think?

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Cowboy up and go ride trails. Or buy a road bike.

    Do you have a bike now?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    I don't have a bike right now, and I fully intend to hit offroad trails at some point, but my house is literally surrounded by miles of paved trails, so that will prolly be 90% of my riding in the near term. Appreciate the reply but a road bike is out of the question. My roommate is suggesting a Trek instead of a SJ, but idk.

  4. #4
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    Bonking ... not feelin' well My simple 2 cents.

    Hey! Good to meet you on here.

    As a newbie I've been riding about 50/50 trail and pavement. My personal experience is to hit Craigslist. Like the Soloflex, there are a lot of people that think they want to mountain bike and go out and make a crazy purchase out of the blue on a whim, like a mtb for $1200 or more. Then they ride the bike a dozen times to the liquor store and hang it up in their garage.

    Then in a few years they get tired of looking at it and put it on Craigslist. After a few weeks of asking list price they are willing to let their $1200 ride go for $200, just so they can get past it and have the cash.

    Sure, it'll be 'old tech' when you buy it but if you're a true newbie you don't know any better anyway, and you're still commanding a high quality well made bicycle, unlike anything you've ever ridden. That's been my approach and I have to say I don't mind riding 'behind the curve' at all. My bike is a 10 year old GF and I hit the single tracks as hard as I can and don't give a ****. I'm just overjoyed that I'm riding a quality bike 20 miles out in the middle of nowhere alone that I can count on getting my sorry ass back.

    I don't kid myself, I know the high dollar high performance bikes are for the people that are waaaaaay beyond where I am. I'm just doing it because I love it. I hope the day comes where I'm ready to drop a few grand on a bike, but for now as a newbie I couldn't be happier on my old tech $200 Gary Tass.

    Of course if you have the scratch go for it! I would, hell, where's the carbon fiber rims!. I'm just speaking as a guy on a budget.

  5. #5
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by smtex85 View Post
    I don't have a bike right now, and I fully intend to hit offroad trails at some point, but my house is literally surrounded by miles of paved trails, so that will prolly be 90% of my riding in the near term. Appreciate the reply but a road bike is out of the question. My roommate is suggesting a Trek instead of a SJ, but idk.
    Mountain bikes are a bummer to ride on the road. The handlebars are wrong, they handle slowly, the tires and suspension waste a lot of energy, and you'll wear out off-road tires really fast. People insist on doing it, but I think a lot of the time, it's that they've never ridden a road bike that's set up well.

    Road bikes have evolved over decades to have great ergonomics, snappy handling, good high-speed stability, great efficiency, and they come with (and there's a huge selection available) the right kind of tire.

    You're going to do whatever you're going to do. But I can't say I know anybody in real life who's stuck with a flat handlebar bike for road use long-term, and a number of my friends (and me) started that way. At least test ride a couple road and cyclocross bikes.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    For starters...buy the bike you want, not what your roommate wants you to buy. AndrwSwitch is right, mountain bikes aren't fun to ride on pavement. Here's some food for thought. If you're considering ponying up a touch over 2 grand for a Stumpy Evo, why not buy a slightly less expensive mountain bike, such as the Crave AND buy something for road use as well. Road bikes are fun to ride, but hybrids can be another good option if you're just looking to ride around casually.

  7. #7
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    I wholeheartedly endorse Jeff H's advice. Especially when you're new to the sport it is easy to fall for the sexy marketing. Try it out first, then once you've tested the waters you can spend more for a brand new bike. On Craigslist you can get a high quality used bike for $300 if you are patient. You can get download apps that alert you when a particular bike is posted on Craigslist. You could set up different searches based on different keywords too. For the riding you describe I think a cyclocross bike would be great. Once you venture out to the trails you can buy a dedicated trail bike. For now I'd see if any MTBers in Houston can take you along on a group ride and loan you a bike. With MTBs most people are not going to worry that a beginner is going to ruin it. MTBs are durable. Once you've ridden the terrain you can decide what type of suspension is actually relevant versus sexy marketing hype. The important thing to remember is the have fun and as Surly says "don't freak out about your bike."

  8. #8
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    If you're buying a bike mainly for pavement riding, you're really just throwing away money on the wrong tool for the job with a full suspension mountain bike.

    To get a better idea as to what exactly might work best for you - are you mainly planning on doing riding that just consists of sitting and pedaling for longish distances on smooth paved paths, or are you thinking you might like to get a little more adventurous (ie - exploring off the beaten path, which could include some random dirt riding, bombing staircases, even messing around a skateparks or hitting some random jumps/drops, etc)? Any BMX background? Do you see yourself ever wanting to spend time just screwing around on your bike in a parking lot, learning how to hang a manual or pop a 180? Or are you looking for something that's going to help you cover miles most efficiently?

    If if you're not looking to get all BMXy or catch some air, and don't really care that much about being uber-efficient, I think a hardtail XC style mountain bike with some slick tires on could make a great all-around ride, and you can easily swap the knobby tires back on when you want to venture out on some trails. Something like a Rockhopper, or maybe even a Crosstrails (to use Specialized models as an example).

    Personally if I were to find myself back in the city, I'd likely be riding something along the lines of the Specialized P-Street, but I wouldn't be out on it looking to cover a ton of miles or set any land speed records.
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  9. #9
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    Great advice, really appreciate it guys.

    Definitely going to entertain Jeff H & Dan Zulu's suggestion to keep tabs on craigslist for the next week or two, and wait until I have a better idea of what I want/need before throwing a couple grand at something.

    I've seriously hurt myself on road bikes and don't really like staying in the road, so I've ruled out road bikes, but I'll definitely take your advice Andrw & Owens and try out a couple cyclocross/hybrids.

    @slap Not rly planning to get all bmxy, but definitely plan to get adventurous and go off the beaten path. I want to cover some miles, but not worried about doing it most efficiently. I want to be able to ride anywhere.. roads, sidewalks, paved & dirt paths.. below are some pictures of places around my house to give you a better idea:

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  10. #10
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    I love my Stumpy evo, but it never touches pavement. For $2,200 I'd buy a cheaper hardtail like the rockhopper for $1100, a hybrid for around $500, a nice car rack $300, and whatever else riding gear I might need. Or I'd bite the bullet, buy the stumpy and really get into mountain biking.

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