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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    Looking to start a new hobby, but haven't had much luck starting!

    I've had a friend who started riding around a year ago and he has had nothing but great things to say. So lately I have been looking into getting a bike to start with, but it feels almost the same as whenever I started looking into my first car!

    I went to a local shop and quickly realized that this hobby can be quite expensive(I'm about to finish up college, so I don't have an amazing budget), so then I started looking on craigslist and couldn't find anything that didn't seem to be overpriced, or rusted out.

    The saleswoman at the shop told me that the ideal bike size for me would be around 21", but I don't know where to go with my current budget (Would like to stick close to $450) So I was hoping to get some tips on where to start. I'm a pretty big guy, so I was thinking some kind of 29er? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    TL;DR - Looking to get into the sport, but dont know where to start on a $450 budget.

  2. #2
    Now, THAT'S gonna hurt!
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    I live in/near a college town. I assume you do too since you mentioned you are a college student. Maybe we share very different college demographics but my craigslist is filled constantly with mountain bikes. Lots of young mtb riders around here that change bikes as often as they change underwear. There's ALWAYS stuff available.

    In the price range you're looking, you're not going to find an awesome, like new, squishy bike but I can't imagine there aren't decent, maybe well used, hardtails with at least some decent components that you can at least get started on and get out on the trail and learning the ride as well as what equipment you'll eventually want to upgrade to. Most importantly, study bike fit and know your appropriate measurements so you can buy a frame size with a cockpit that fits your need. Nothing worse than getting a bike that too big or too small. You'll enjoy the ride so much more if you're fit correctly.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
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    I was in the same boat as you. Like most hobbies I guess it is up to you how much you want to invest into it.

    I used other peoples bikes and quickly realised the difference compared to test driving bikes at the shop that I needed the right one for me, so I cut back on day's out and saved like crazy to get it.

  4. #4
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    500 bucks gets you all you need to mountain bike. A decent hardtail that wont fall apart when you ride it

  5. #5
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    I bought my bike on bikesdirect.com 3 years ago, everything still works fine and I abuse her on the trails pretty bad. I have changed some things but that was't because of something breaking. Also I only spent $400.
    Cheers

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RiderLife View Post
    I was in the same boat as you. Like most hobbies I guess it is up to you how much you want to invest into it.

    I used other peoples bikes and quickly realised the difference compared to test driving bikes at the shop that I needed the right one for me, so I cut back on day's out and saved like crazy to get it.
    Trying good bikes on your trails it a great way to see what works. For difficult/fun trails the fork is the most important component. Your friend's bike should give you info on a fork that works. Most 400-800 bikes have a Suntour 'X' series fork and the guys who make it say this about it---

    "RTR: Recreational trail
    Work out with your buddies: No rough terrain, no steep climbs or downhills! Just floating along the city river or through the forest behind your house."
    SR SUNTOUR Cycling
    Left click the little 'RTR'

    If you are just going to blast along bike paths you will be OK. Just don't go near any fun singletrack. One ride and you will be hooked.

    Suntour offers an upgrade to owners(with sales slip) to a Raidon air fork for 189.
    If you want to upgrade your Suntour fork

    Ride some Trek X-Cal or cheaper HTs or Scott Scale 950 or lower bikes to get a feel for your size. Those manufacturers have the right 29er geo.

  7. #7
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    Thank you for all of the tips, guys! I live in a pretty small town in East Texas, which is probably the main reason I've had trouble finding something on craigslist. I found a couple in the Dallas area, but the guys sold them before I could make it(I told them I was coming, and it would take a couple hour drive before I get there).

    I would love to use friends bikes, but I currently only have the one friend who has a bike. And he's just now starting out as well, so we're trying to find trails and gear etc.

  8. #8
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  9. #9
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    That's an Acera 8sp with 700c road rims.
    Also look at this Gravity Point 1
    Alivio/Deore 9 sp with mtb rims.
    Better geo with shorter chain stays.
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Gravity 29Point1 29er Mountain Bikes

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    That's an Acera 8sp with 700c road rims.
    Also look at this Gravity Point 1
    Alivio/Deore 9 sp with mtb rims.
    Better geo with shorter chain stays.
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Gravity 29Point1 29er Mountain Bikes
    yeah do this, or go the used route (which takes quite a bit of research). if you want go used, read my post here.
    Newbie - Used bikes

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