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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    My brain hurts! Newbie thread

    My wife and I are getting back into biking and are now ready to buy better bikes (ours are entry-level GT and Mongoose from '96 with no suspension). I've been researching bikes for the past month and visiting local bike shops to see what bikes are out there and get an idea of prices.

    Here's a bit about us: I'm 35, she is 40, so we're not looking to do super hardcore stuff. We're in the Houston TX area so there's not much in the way of mountains, therefore most of what we do is trail riding and whatever technical challenges some of the trails have. However, we don't want to limit ourselves when we travel and take our bikes elsewhere. We are budgeting $1000 each for bikes, but can go up to $1500 each if we find something that is just awesome bang-for-your-buck.

    Since our butts are getting older we do want FS bikes. I like the concept behind GT's I-Drive suspension and likewise with Mongoose's Freedrive. I rode my first I-Drive last week at Performance, a 2009 Marathon Sport, and honestly it felt really nice. But there's just so many brands and models out there, I seem to be going around and around in circles trying to lock in on what to get.

    Would the XC bikes like the Marathon have enough rear travel (seems 4" is pretty normal) for what we want to do? There are several bikes in our range (looking at 2009 models) in the XC category. I know the more you pay the better components you get to start with, and obviously I want the best bang for my buck. When I look at AM bikes with better travel the options dwindle because of price. Maybe I'm too picky but I don't want to end up with crappy components that will just fail on us a few years down the road, but I also don't want to overextend ourselves.

    Any advice or comments?

  2. #2
    I Have Cookies
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    For that price your not gonna get much of an am bike... I'd stick to a xc bike but even with that you'll be cutting your self short. If you can find some close-out '09 bikes it might be more for your money. Try a bunch of diffrent bikes in your price range. And you you should find somthing nice!
    The most important thing is what God thinks about it. He will have the final say. Joshua Stinebrink

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  3. #3
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    BMC trailfox at cc for 1300?

  4. #4
    local jackass
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    its slightly more but for sure a nice rig
    Hers: Specialized Myka FSR comp

    His: Specialized FSR XC comp

    i have test ridden the xc expert and will be picking up the one i ordered next month when i get back from a trip its a great ride at a great price if you can swing it maybe look into an 09 also i know some shops have test bikes that they sell off for cheaper
    His
    2010 FSR XC
    2010 ALLEZ
    Hers
    2012 Myka 29'r
    2009 Cannondale Synapse 5
    Down East Cyclists

  5. #5
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    Bang for you buck Full Suspension XC would be the Motobecane http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...mcomp_ds08.htm. Sette Ace, sorry I cant link it...do a google search. Both of these bikes would be something you would either have to pay a bike shop to assemble, or do it yourself.

    Dont forget a shock pump if the bike has a air fork or shock, which the 2 above do.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dremer03
    Bang for you buck Full Suspension XC would be the Motobecane http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...mcomp_ds08.htm. Sette Ace, sorry I cant link it...do a google search. Both of these bikes would be something you would either have to pay a bike shop to assemble, or do it yourself.

    Dont forget a shock pump if the bike has a air fork or shock, which the 2 above do.
    Thanks for the recommendation
    Actually - OP is in Houston - so he can go the either Cycle Spectrum and see a Moto FS bike and get it at a low price and get free service -- which is not a bad deal

    But you are correct; the Moto and the Sette are both good deals on full suspension bikes

  7. #7
    AZ
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    The BMC Trailfox 02 @ www.competitivecyclist.com is on of the best values available right now .

  8. #8
    usually cranky
    Reputation: b-kul's Avatar
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    4 inches of suspension should be good. i dont think you would want any more, it will take the edge off just enough.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Killer Squirrel
    My wife and I are getting back into biking and are now ready to buy better bikes (ours are entry-level GT and Mongoose from '96 with no suspension). I've been researching bikes for the past month and visiting local bike shops to see what bikes are out there and get an idea of prices.

    Here's a bit about us: I'm 35, she is 40, so we're not looking to do super hardcore stuff. We're in the Houston TX area so there's not much in the way of mountains, therefore most of what we do is trail riding and whatever technical challenges some of the trails have. However, we don't want to limit ourselves when we travel and take our bikes elsewhere. We are budgeting $1000 each for bikes, but can go up to $1500 each if we find something that is just awesome bang-for-your-buck.

    Since our butts are getting older we do want FS bikes. I like the concept behind GT's I-Drive suspension and likewise with Mongoose's Freedrive. I rode my first I-Drive last week at Performance, a 2009 Marathon Sport, and honestly it felt really nice. But there's just so many brands and models out there, I seem to be going around and around in circles trying to lock in on what to get.

    Would the XC bikes like the Marathon have enough rear travel (seems 4" is pretty normal) for what we want to do? There are several bikes in our range (looking at 2009 models) in the XC category. I know the more you pay the better components you get to start with, and obviously I want the best bang for my buck. When I look at AM bikes with better travel the options dwindle because of price. Maybe I'm too picky but I don't want to end up with crappy components that will just fail on us a few years down the road, but I also don't want to overextend ourselves.

    Any advice or comments?
    That last bolded statement is a really confusing one. Here's the deal: if you ride enough, certain components are just going to wear out from use. My recomendation would be to not ride your bike, then you wouldn't have to worry about components failing.

    But assuming you do want to ride your bike and you want to buy a FS rig for under $1500, you are not going to get the most expensive components out there. However, I can point you to a few bikes that will deliver pretty good components close to that price range.

    http://jensonusa.com/store/product/B...c+Bike+08.aspx
    http://jensonusa.com/store/product/B...0+Bike+08.aspx
    http://jensonusa.com/store/product/B...p+Bike+08.aspx

    And some of the other Jamis bikes. They tend to be on the more inexpensive end of the spectrum, but still deliver up awesome performance.

    Airborne is also launching what looks to be a pretty good line up of bicycles. Check out some of these:

    "All Mountain" http://www.rscycle.com/Airborne-Mara...category=97364
    XC
    http://www.rscycle.com/Airborne-Zepp...category=97364
    http://www.rscycle.com/Airborne-Zepp...category=97364
    GregRidesTrails.com--An informational and instructional mountain bike blog.

  10. #10
    powered by peanut butter.
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    Just to make your choice a little more complicated...

    How about a decent hardtail with a Thudbuster?

    http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/136...G-Seatpost.htm

    I've got one of these that I use from time to time. By no means does it turn a hard tail into a full suspension, but it does "take the edge off" of rough trails pretty well.

    From your post, it doesn't sound like you plan on doing lots of technical riding, so buying solid hardtails with components you like (which you can get for $1000) and adding the TB might be a good compromise.

    Just my $.02 - happy shopping!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by stalker
    BMC trailfox at cc for 1300?
    Gotta love BMC bikes. The Swiss know how to design.


    Got a 2007 TF01 myself and love it.


  12. #12
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    If you're looking bang for the buck, *definitely* go into Cycle Spectrum and look at the Motobecanes. Phenominal pricing for what you get. A buddy of mine just got the BMC Trailfox from Competitive Cyclist and as mentioned it is one of the better deals going right now for a 5" trail bike. Good fork and rear shock with a solid component group for the price- but available sizes are starting to dwindle so move fast if you want that one.

    Most bikes in your range will be 4" travel XC bikes - I ride one and love it. It definitely takes the edge off of chattery terrain with the bonus that they are (generally speaking) slightly more efficient pedallers, so don't feel that you will missing out with a 4" bike.

    As mentioned, don't discount hardtails. You can get a very nice hardtail for a grand while a decent FS will be pushing the top of your budget. A good fork can manage the bumps and the solid rear end will be more effective pedalling.

  13. #13
    FKA Malibu412
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    GTs, Teocali, or Motos

    The GT Marathon and Mongoose Teocali from Performance are not bad ways to get into the FS end of mtbing. I have the '09 Marathon and really love how efficient it is when climbing or mashing on level--very little rear suspension bob. I have had to upgrade the bent stock seat post and GT replaced a cracked frame under warranty but I am a bigger guy (6'7" and 220#). For a more average sized person, their stuff should hold up well.

    The Motos are a fine deal as well. Since you have a brick and mortar dealer near you, you should certainly check them out also.
    "I love the bike. It's my meditation. I think I'm bike-sexual." -Robin Williams

  14. #14
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    The people at Performance have treated us well every time we step in there, and we finally made a decision to get a couple 2009 Teocali Comps. With the 20% points thing they had this weekend we got a really good deal on them. Picked mine up this morning and hers is being shipped to the store this week. I'm a little worried that the small is still going to be a little on the big side for her and goose doesn't have XS, but we're going to try it and see how she feels on it. Even though I don't have as much crotch clearance as I did on my old bike, I like the feel of the M. I think a S, while it would give me more clearance, would just feel too small. After picking up the bike this morning we went out to a trail to break it in and holy crap is it a world of difference compared to my old bike! I know it doesn't have premier components stock, but for what we're doing right now I think they are fine.

    One question for you guys (and if this isn't the right place to ask this just tell me). How well do the 3 ring bash guards work? I don't want to give up a ring but noticed how easily the outer ring could get damaged when we were hiking the bikes over several big trees in the middle of the trail. One of my friends that went with us had a bash guard that took the place of the 3rd ring, but I have seen ones that don't replace the ring and just wondered if they were beefy enough to do any good.

  15. #15
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    i absolutely love my marauder

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