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 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 29
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    9

    Looking for a HT under $400... few choices

    Hi everybody,

    I'm returning to biking after, lets see... about 8 years now! My current bike is a locally-made Cromoly fixed fork from the mid-90s. It's been stored inside, its still in pretty good shape except the shifters are shot. I took it out last week for a little cleaning and kinda felt the same need for a lighter bike with a front suspension that I had on my last few rides before I stopped riding altogether.

    So as the title says, I'm looking for an HT and budget is limited to $400 (Canadian dollars). I'm 5'7" 130 lbs and intend to do mostly paved, dirt/gravel mountain trails and light XC.

    I visited 4 LBS and asked lots of questions to which I did not always get real answers

    It's been a learning process about all the different components of a MTB, but being a mechanical engineer and curious by nature I always enjoy talking about gears, bearings and materials

    There are a few models that seem of interest to me and how much I can get them for:
    2009 Marin Pioneer Trail, 360$
    2008 Specialized Hardrock Sport, 425$ (availability of a 17" is uncertain)
    2009 Giant Boulder SE, 350$
    2009 (or 2008? not sure) GT Avalanche 3.0, 350$

    I attached a comparison of the specs for these 4 bikes.

    What I found used until now:
    2006 Giant STP1, 450$
    2007 Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc, 350$

    What do you guys think? Which has the best components?

    Thanks a bunch in advance
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Looking for a HT under 0... few choices-bikes.png  

    Last edited by mach128x; 04-17-2010 at 03:51 PM.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: High Side's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    270
    Every one of those bikes has garbage components that will wear out in no time if used for real trail riding. I know this because just a few years ago, I started off on a comparably equipped HT. But that's OK, because you can just upgrade components as they break.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    9
    I know these are not high-end bikes. Like I said I'm not going to go down a mountain at full speed with this thing, and I woundn't expect it to hold up flawlessly if I ever did. But I'd appreciate some help in discerning what's really crappy, from what will provide good performance and durability for my use as well as survive in case it ever suffers some light abuse.

    I mean, the used Giant STP1 has a Deore derailleur in the rear, I thought Deores were pretty good

  4. #4
    No longer a hardtailkid.
    Reputation: hardtailkid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,839
    If you cant possibly save up more money and the money you have is burning a hole in your pocket, I say go for the Avalanche. Did you check out Jensonusa.com , Performancebike.com , Pricepoint.com and blueskycycling.com? If not, you definitely should. Jenson is the only place I buy from, and I've put over $500 into my bike with parts from them. And another thing, witht that price limit, stay away from disc brakes. You will end up with TERRIBLE ones....

    Andy

  5. #5
    Puss Wobbles
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    11

    Good job!

    Check out bikesdirect.com. They have pretty well spec'd bikes at great prices. For instance, here is a Motobecane 600HT for 399.99

    Frame Custom 7005 Aluminum Trail-Tuned POWER STAY frame, box section chainstays, bi-axial gussetted downtube, sculpted rear dropouts with replaceable rear derailleur hanger, 2x H2O bosses, International Standard rear disc mounts Detailed Picture Gallery
    Fork RockShox Dart ONE 100mm long travel, Adjustable Preload
    Crankset TruVativ Isoflow Aluminum arms 175mm, Triple Rings 22/32/42T
    Bottom Bracket Sealed Cartridge
    Pedals ATB Beartrap
    Front Derailleur Shimano Alivio Top Swing
    Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore LX long cage
    Shifters Shimano Alivio Mega 8 Speed STI Rapidfire Pods (24 speeds total)
    Cassette/Freewheel 12-28T 8 Speed PowerglideRamps
    Chain 8 Speed Z72 Narrow
    Hubs Formula DiscSpecific Aluminum (black) Sealed Bearing mechanism
    Spokes Stainless Steel
    Rims WTB SpeedDisc Rims Double Wall Aluminum
    Tires WTB Velociraptor Blackwall 26 x 2.10 (front and rear specific)
    Brakes TEKTRO IO Mechanical Disc Brakes with Multi Pad Angle adjustments
    Brake Levers Tektro for Disc
    Headset Cane Creek Internal Sealed caged ball bearing VP A42E 1.125 inch
    Handlebar Skye Comp Aluminum Riser
    Stem Skye Comp Threadless Aluminum 1.125 inch
    Tape/Grip WTB Dual Compound Palm Pillow
    Saddle WTB Speed V with comfort groove
    Seat Post Skye Aluminum Micro-Adjust
    Seat Clamp Alloy w/QR
    Sizes 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23 inch
    Colors MatteBlack Detailed Picture Gallery

    Our low price is $399.99 Compare at $895 MSRP

    Or the 700HT for $449

    Frame Custom 7005 Aluminum Trail-Tuned POWER STAY frame, box section chainstays, bi-axial gussetted downtube, sculpted rear dropouts with replaceable rear derailleur hanger, 2x H2O bosses, International Standard rear disc mounts Detailed Picture Gallery
    Fork RockShox Dart 2 Adjustable with Hydraulic damping
    Crankset TruVativ 5D Aluminum Triple 22/32/42T 175mm (TruShift Rings)
    Bottom Bracket Sealed Cartridge
    Pedals ATB Beartrap (metal cages)
    Front Derailleur Shimano Deore Mega 9 top swing
    Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore XT long cage
    Shifters Shimano Deore Mega 9 Speed STI Rapidfire Pods (27 speeds total)
    Cassette/Freewheel Cassette 11-32T 9 Speed Hyperglide
    Chain 9 Speed Z9000 Super Narrow
    Hubs Formula DiscSpecific Aluminum (black) Sealed Ball Bearing mechanism
    Spokes Stainless Steel
    Rims WTB SpeedDisc Rims Double Wall Aluminum
    Tires WTB Velociraptor Blackwall 26 x 2.10
    Brakes TEKTRO AQUILA Mechanical Disc Brakes with Multi Pad Angle adjustments
    Brake Levers Tektro for Disc
    Headset Cane Creek Internal Sealed caged ball bearing VP A42E 1.125 inch
    Handlebar Skye Comp Aluminum Riser
    Stem Skye Comp Threadless Aluminum
    Tape/Grip WTB Dual Compound
    Saddle WTB Speed V with comfort groove
    Seat Post Skye Aluminum Micro-Adjust
    Seat Clamp Alloy w/QR
    Sizes 15, 17, 19, 21, 23 inch
    Colors Polished Silver Detailed Picture Gallery

    Our low price is $449.95 Compare at $1095 MSRP

    There are also some other bikes there in your price range, I just threw a couple up to give you an idea. I ordered a bike from there and was totally pleased. great price and fast delivery. Comes 90% assembled, so all you have to do is bolt on the bars and put on the front wheel, then just check to make sure everything else is tight, and you're ready to roll.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    34
    my advice would be to steer clear of a new bike and find a nice used one on craigslist. you can score a 800-1000 used bike for under $500 if you just look around. plus most people are willing to bargain with you on price. i just recently scored a 7 month old avalanche disc 2.0 for $300. the deals are out there, dont be in a hurry to give your $$$ to a business that will give you less bike for the money

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    162
    Also, consider the Forge Sawback 5xx from Target. Decent bike (much better than the ones you've listed), although probably not quite as good as the 700HT.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    14
    I just did the same with the same budget ($400 USD), i ordered a Windsor Cliff 4900 from Bikesdirect. I also went to 3 LBS's and tried treks and specialized, but for that money you dont get discs. i tried a 09 specialized hardrock Disc for $350 but it felt damn heavy and just didnt like it. Tried a 09 Trek 4500 for $400 without discs. It was really nice but i need discs cuz i rains a lot here in Miami during summer time.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    9
    @hardtailkid, thanks for the links. JensonUSA is a bit over my budget.

    PerformanceBike has this
    - 2010 Mongoose Tyax Comp Disc (Alivio rear der. and Tektro Novela discs), on sale at $369. Are those amongst the bad disc brakes?
    - GT Avalanche 2.0 V-Brake (rear Deore), $399 on sale. Seems like a good setup?

    @The Mad Scientist, I did check bikesdirect out (not extensively though). Importing a bike in Canada should not be so much of a problem, as long as no problems arise, as shipping such a thing back is not something I'd rather do (although it is feasible). Since you own one of their bikes, how good are their frames? I guess I will chekc their site out some more.

    @ValhallaGSXR, I did check out Craigslist and other local websites; suprisingly there's nothing out there right now thats worth looking at, except the 2006 Giant STP1 and '07 Hardrock Sport Disc that I mentionned already. Will keep checking.

    One last thing, my g/f needs a MTB too. She wants to buy brand new though as she never had a new bike, ever (all she ever had are old crappy AND beaten up left overs from cousins/family).
    One LBS has a 2009 Giant Boulder SE in the right size for sale at 350$. I would think that it's a better choice than the 2009 Marin Pioneer Trail, right? (Acera rear der. vs Altus, SR XCM fork vs Spinner Grind OS 2)

  10. #10
    No longer a hardtailkid.
    Reputation: hardtailkid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,839
    Mongoose:
    I personally like the feel of the Tektro Novelas. They are (or at least appear to be) very lightweight. As long as you get a Mongoose from an actual bike shop/website it's a good bike.....not the same crap as from Walmart, Target, or any of those places you may see them. I have looked at that bike on their website multiple times, and I would reccomend it to anybody with that budget that wants a good bike.

    Avalanche:
    Again, a good bike. You will get more bang for your buck if you buy a bike with V-brakes for that price, rather than getting a bike with discs if it isn't substantially more. (Say that 3 times fast. LOL.) The Avalanche probably has a stronger frame, and I am assuming it has disc brake tabs on the frame.

    I will look at the bikes momentarily and post back with maybe another choice or two. Be back in a few.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: SwampDonkeyDisco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    284
    Buy a unicycle and be the first to hit the dirt with it!!!! Be a trendsetter.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: shenny88's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    509
    not saying its the perfect choice for you but i got my Moto 700HT about 2 weeks ago and couldnt be happier given the budget i had. ive beat it up pretty good so far and it feels solid.

    as for the build, i put it all together myself, tuning the brakes was easy, i even did the rear der. but for some reason had trouble with the front. my local shop tuned the front for free in about 45 seconds. just my $.02

  13. #13
    No longer a hardtailkid.
    Reputation: hardtailkid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,839
    Performance Bike:
    2009 Diamondback Response Sport Hardtail:
    $369.00 on sale...marked down from $499.99
    Lightweight. Strong frame. A good frame to upgrade.
    120mm Fork.
    WTB saddle.
    Kenda tires.
    Double wall rims.
    Hayes mechanical discs (I have those on my bike, just a better model).
    SRAM X.4 Shifters and Derailleurs. 24 speed drivetrain.
    TruVativ Isoflo triple crankset. I have that on my bike, and I haven't had any problems with it.

    2010 Mongoose Tyax Comp Disc (U.S. exclusive):
    $369.99, on sale. Marked down from $549.99.
    Tektro Novela discs. Lightweight, strong brakes. Wouldn't mind having a pair myself.
    100mm fork, so not as much as the Diamondback, but not a good fork, either.
    Also has Kenda tires.
    I'm not feeling to good about that bike. I personally don't think it should be so expensive.

    So if you want to buy from Performance Bike, go for the Diamondback Response Sport Disc. Good bang for your buck.

    Another bit of advice: Go to Sports Authority and ***** Sporting Goods if you have one in your area and ride a few bike there that HAVE DISC BRAKES. I got my Iron Horse from Sports Authority and I am super happy with it, and all the upgrades I've done to it. Don't look at any bikes there if they have V-Brakes...they won't be any good.

    Here are some links to some eBay auctions, for bikes that I think would be appropriate for you. Click on the link and check them out for your self.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/2010-ALUMINUM-MO...item23067bc53a Nice lookin bike. But it looks a bit on the heavy side.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-ALUMINUM-FRO...item20b0680071 On second thought, BUY THIS! LOL. It looks like a really nice bike. Deore front derailleur, LX rear....check it out! It has a nice crankset, too.

    Check out Scott Aspect 60, and Scott Aspect 50, Gary Fisher Advance, and Gary Fisher Tarpon.

    Andy

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    9
    Thanks for all the input. For my ride I'm not decided yet, and I'm looking hard online.

    For my g/f's ride though I think I'm ready to make the move. She wants it new, she feels safer buying local and her budget is C$350 (and that is the stretched figure, after I talked her into the "real" bike vs. Wally World bike thing). Sadly I can't find any 2009 or 2008 GT Avalance 3.0 of here size (did find one with discs though, but its $400). So it's gonna be either the Marin Pioneer Trail or the Boulder SE. BTW I the specs I listed originally for the Boulder SE weren't correct, I attached the correct 2009 Canadian specs.

    I went to the LBS's to check them both out with her.
    - The Marin felt a bit lighter, I wouldn't say dramatically but noticably. The frame sure has something to do with it, it's not as bulky as the Boulder SE. Also the Marin has a 6061 handlebar vs steel for the Boulder.
    - What bothers me a bit with the Marin, is the Altus rear derailleur. Although we can always upgrade it later with an SLX or something...
    - That being said, is the Shimano Acera on the Boulder really better than the Altus to begin with?
    - FYI the MSRP was a bit higher on the Marin (on sale now so doesn't mater)
    - Spinner Grind OS 2 fork vs SR XCM? Google doesn't report much on the Spinner except for a 2/5 rating on mtbr...
    - I kinda trust the LBSs with the Marin more since I did business with them in the past and not with the other.

    My feeling is to go with the lighter bike for her but... I'm personally more attracted to the Giant name.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Looking for a HT under 0... few choices-clipboard01.png  

    Looking for a HT under 0... few choices-boulder-se-mtn-700.jpg  

    Looking for a HT under 0... few choices-mht_aht_pio_c1.jpg  


  15. #15
    No longer a hardtailkid.
    Reputation: hardtailkid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,839
    Go for the Marin for her. It has a better crankset. As for the fork, convince her to put about $150 (U.S.) aside. Look for either a RockShox Dart 3, or a RockShox Tora. That Spinner piece of crap literally isn't safe. But yeah, Marin for her, Diamondback for you I belive. Did you check out those links? The second link is a better bike.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    9
    Yeah I checked the 2nd link out, its a Windsor. Looks good, thanks for the link. I think that's one of bikesdirect.com brand right?

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    1,382
    Better used bike versus lesser new bike.............

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    77
    I did the same thing you did and I regreted it. I got into riding way too much and my cheap khs alite 150 blew apart. But if you insist, anyone of those would be ok if you rode flat trails or as a commuter. If you started riding 3 or 4 times a week like I do, it will not hold up.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    9
    Here's a quick update. She got the Marin this week. Seems constructed well enough and weights 28 lbs. I think (hope) it will hold up fine for her use, I guess time will tell! And I will keep an eye on that Spinner fork

    As for me I'm still looking at the various BikesDirect models, notably the Motobecane 600HT. But I'm starting to seriously consider the Sawback 5xx. Right now I'm trying to learn more about frame geometry and fit. Effective Top Tube, reach, etc. many words new to me!

  20. #20
    No longer a hardtailkid.
    Reputation: hardtailkid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    1,839

  21. #21
    MTB Newbie
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    574
    Please avoid the Mongoose Tyax. I bought one last year and returned it b/c things just kept breaking. The pedaling doesn't feel smooth, the rings/BB were bent, the seals on the fork broke going over my 1st root, it's just a crappy crappy bike. I got mine for $300 on sale, but I couldn't see upgrading everyhting even though it was cheap. Save up as much as you can to get a better bike in the 1st place.

    I ordered a Windsor Cliff Pro 29er last week for $630 and it should be here this week. You can get a cheaper 26" bike for cheaper that still has a good 27sp drivetrain.

  22. #22
    MTB Newbie
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    574
    Quote Originally Posted by hardtailkid
    This is a great bike also. I bought one of these a year ago too and it was a quality bike, it was just a tad bit too small for me. I would've kept it for sure if they had a 20" frame size. There are plenty of 10% off coupons floating around, and my Chase credit card was another 4% off Target.com prices. They offer free shipping from time to time too.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    502
    Yep. I'm very happy with my Forge Bike"s". I few of Forge bikes - great all around bikes for the price. If you are a AAA member you get 10% off on target.com.

    I dig their new red model:
    http://www.forgebikes.com/saw5red.asp

    Does anyone have a picture?

  24. #24
    Omaha Mountains
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    51
    I'm returning to biking after, lets see... about 8 years now! My current bike is a locally-made Cromoly fixed fork from the mid-90s. It's been stored inside, its still in pretty good shape except the shifters are shot.
    A locally made steel frame that has been stored inside? Dude, you totally have to restore that bad boy! New wheelset and tires/tubes, new levers, a bit of lube and grease, you'll be set! There are a lot of people who pay decent money for handbuilt, domestic made steel frames and you have one just sitting around, begging to be ridden!

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    161
    I would go for the gt out of those. STP's are more for jumping and stuff.
    I would check out craigslist as former poster says as i got a bike that would have cost like 2000 brand new for 550.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

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