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  1. #1
    25-yr old Retrogrouch
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    My problem with the beginner forum...

    I originally posted this elsewhere but decided to make my own thread:

    I don't read the beginner forums much because every post falls into the following three categories:

    1. Which bike is better, the ABC or the XYZ?
    2. Clipless! Help!
    3. How can i get better at climbing/descending/cornering/jumping?

    Not to mention many posts begin with the qualifier "Total n00b question!"

    I understand that people new to the sport want their questions answered and that's great and all but honestly, use the "search" function or scroll through a couple of pages. I guarantee the question has been asked before.
    Last edited by Slimpee; 06-30-2008 at 04:15 PM.

  2. #2
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    What do you want it to be? Most forums I've been a part of use the noob area for the same questions over and over to keep them out of other areas, and introductions.

    Would you rather beginners not have a forum or ask advanced questions?

  3. #3
    25-yr old Retrogrouch
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    Quote Originally Posted by msummers80
    What do you want it to be? Most forums I've been a part of use the noob area for the same questions over and over to keep them out of other areas, and introductions.

    Would you rather beginners not have a forum or ask advanced questions?
    I totally understand, which is why I don't spend much time here but if the same questions keep getting asked perhaps stickies or more "how-tos" would help cleanup the forum.

  4. #4
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    I slightly agree. I swear every other thread is about which entry level hardtail is the best. Oh well, it's still a good spot for beginners so I suppose it's actually quite appropriate.

  5. #5
    bi-winning
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    I don't always feel like answering repeated noob questions either. The great thing is, i have the option not to, as we all do. I answer some questions now and then, and so do other people. If the regular posters stop by this forum once in a while, it is enough to keep it going. Nobody has to spend hours in the beginners corner every day answering questions.

    Bottom line is, most questions have been answered already. Yes, some new members should do a better search before posting, but not all will. If you are bothered by repeated questions, just move on, and keep browsing until you find something which interests you.

    You can preach "STFU NOOB, do a search," but some people will always feel that their "which bike" question is different from everyone else's.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  6. #6
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    if you dont like it, dont click it. its easy. its not your job to monitor, rate, organize, or even participate in a free public forum.

    i dont like talking about which 300 dollar bike is best, so i just dont. if someone else wants to, have at it. none of us are paying for the bandwidth.

  7. #7
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    Just as you and lots of other experienced posters don't like the beginner forum I'm sure there are just as many that do like it. Maybe they like helping people, maybe they want to feel important, or maybe they like showing off their knowledge. Imagine if there was no beginner forum - all the questions normally in it would be filling up all the other forums!

  8. #8
    Hey! Watch This!
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    Total N00B Question!!

    I'm not sure if this is the right spot to ask this, but which is bike is better: the Next Power Climber, or the Mongoose XR-75?

    And also, should I get clipless pedals with that and which ones?

  9. #9
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    I like soup.

  10. #10
    spec4life???..smh...
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    I think that most noobs like an exact answer to their specific question. Sure there are other peoples post that revolve around the same principle question but I know from experience when looking to buy a first bike you are overloaded with info and are looking for someone to just tell you what to get because you have no clue.

    I personally like to answer noob questions and do at any chance I get(when i know the answer). I know i sure apreiciated the help and still do. Think back to where you came from not where you are now.

  11. #11
    Thread Killer
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    i'm guilty of starting my share of simple questions in the beginner forum...i do search, quite often. but more often than not, MOST of the threads that come up have nothing to do with what i'm looking for. i imagine that this is a result of this forum being so big, lol. but, i also troll the beginner forum and read the "recently updated" threads to see if i can learn a thing or two.
    I ride a 26'er with tubes and rim brakes.
    Yeah, I'm basically living in the stone age.

  12. #12
    R.I.P. DogFriend
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    Although it appears that it is the same questions over and over, there can be a lot of different variations depending on the minute details that may or may not apply to each individual's own (somewhat) unique situation.

    The other thing that happens is that new members learn to start using this forum. It gives them a place to ask noobie questions (hopefully) without worrying about being criticised for asking questions that many already have their own answers for before venturing into other forums where things can get a bit dicier.

    I would advise those asking specific questions to provide as much background info as possible to give responders the best chance to give a well considered answer.

    To those that tire of cheerfully offering assistance in this forum, it's probably best to not bother as sarcastic or otherwise negative responses will do more to hurt than to help.

    Also, to try to keep a sticky up to date with the latest bikes or equipment advice would need to be regularly updated and i doubt anyone will be volunteering for that chore anytime soon.

    There are other things, such as how to go about adjusting saddle position and handlebar mounted controls, and adjusting derailleurs, I have word documents saved where I have gone into verbose detail explanations. I can merely cut and paste those into a post to save time with things that don't really change much if at all over time.

    One of the things I do notice is that I often see responses to noobie questions from other noobies that IMHO are not good sound advice. I may try to offer my own solution and offer a logical explanation of why, without directly attacking the other poster(s). From there, it's up to the individual to sort through the data and come to their own conclusions.

  13. #13
    song of the saw-whet owl
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj
    .....before venturing into other forums where things can get a bit dicier.
    just like venturing off of the fire roads onto some technical single track
    just another piece of chaga

  14. #14
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    If you do not want to see the same ?'s over and over, stay out of it. This is one of the charactersitics of ALL forums. Search functions are great, but if you are a complete noob, alot of times you have no idea what to search for....When I joined this site,I read and read for weeks b4 I posted anything. I def see info that pertained to my ?'s, but none of them were specific enough to make me comfortable with my decision.. Asking questions in the Getting started section should never be a problem...... Asking here is the same as asking at a LBS..... Being frustrated by something you can def avoid is very questionable.

  15. #15
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    True, forums are designed to ask questions and get answers but at the same time old and new information is not deleted.
    So being a "noob" doesn't been you have to be lazy. The answers are here. You just have to take the time to look and do some research. And the good thing about doing your own research first it will only make you smarter.
    But again, look around the forum first...look at all the topics. Try to find what you're looking for first before you take one or two peoples opinions to heart.
    Then if you don't find what you're looking for or you don't understand what's in front of you...then you should ask questions.

  16. #16
    spec4life???..smh...
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    well i personally take evry opinion or suggestion and compare it to the reveiws posted on mtbr. That gives a pretty good overall consensus of the product.

    Secondly stay of this forum if questions irk you once again noone is holding a gun to your head making you flip over here.

  17. #17
    Dirt Deviant
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    There are alot of helpful people here on MTBR. And the n00b section is great to have here. I graze through here every day or so, and if I feel I can help someone with a question I won't hesitate.
    I really have no other reason to be in this section, besides the fact that I try to help if I can.
    In fact, alot of experienced riders and such check here everyday just to try and help somebody that may be stuck, or have a decision to make on a bike purchase.
    Try to remember back to before you had a MTB, or when you were just starting.
    For me that was a long time ago. Way before the internet was around.
    I wish there had been a place like this when I was a n00b.

    Sure, some questions have been asked to death, and better searching may yield answers to the poster, but we all have the option not to reply and we also have the option not to view this forum.
    I'd say almost half of the people that view this section are here only to help out, and I think that is awesome. It proves what a great bunch of people we mountain bikers are.
    Look, whatever happens, don't fight the mountain.

  18. #18
    Old man on a bike
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    If each forum here got rid of the repetitive questions that would be nice, but the search function would have to be better (it really does suck, I too find it very annoying). Google works better for the most part than using the search function within the forums. And people would still have to use a search, something many just don't and won't, even if it did work better. They'd rather yak about it than research it, c'est la vie. Technologies change, hot products churn, whatever, it's all part of what the forums are.
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
    suum quique

  19. #19
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    Nothing wrong, IMHO, with the regular repeats of similar questions in the Beginner, or in any other forum. People are social creatures. We all want personal attention. When you're in a group of people and you have a question, don't you just ask it? Or do you stop and think: hey, I bet that's been asked 1000 times, maybe I should go home and look it up in the encyclopedia or on the Internet? Most people just ask.

    I don't see a forum as being much different than a physical group. People come here for the satisfaction of personal interaction -- such as can be had via the Internet -- and so the result is a long series of conversations that probably does revisit the same topics on a regular basis. Nothing wrong with that. It's the way humans are. The same thing would happen if you had a large community of people drifting in and out of out a bike shop all day long -- you'd get different combinations of individuals hashing out similar questions.

    I don't worry about the repetition. I join in whatever threads are interesting at the time, and let the rest go.

  20. #20
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    Why doesn't someone make a master sticky that answers all the noob questions? Making links to the posts or summarizing them would help. This would solve the problem, but then the beginner page wouldn't get very many new posts. Its a trade off I guess.

  21. #21
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    "The same thing would happen if you had a large community of people drifting in and out of out a bike shop all day long -- you'd get different combinations of individuals hashing out similar questions." JonathanGennick

    Exactly. And it's the sentiments expressed in this thread that give many bike shops their snotty, elitist reputations. I'd been snubbed many times by shop employees as a noob, and I simply took my business elsewhere.

    This is a place to learn. This is "elementary school" and if you seniors want to come in here and make fun of those who are learning how to read, and roll your eyes at their "silly" questions, we'd rather you didn't come at all. However, if you're interested in tutoring those interested in our sport, I'm sure they'd appreciate the help.

  22. #22
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    Slimpee, your first post on this forum was on 10/3/2007 and in it you noted that you had been racing mountain bikes since 10 years prior. As such, you were never in the position that a "newbie" to mountain biking is in when they first post on mtbr.com.

    You have to put yourself in the shoes of a person who is completely new to the sport and to the forums.

    Every forum on every subject faces the same issue.

  23. #23
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    Speaking as a total noob to this, I can say that forum searches generally return so much information that results are generally vague and inconclusive unless you already have some idea of what the answer might be. Sometimes it's easier to ask a specific question in hopes of a specific answer, especially if you have absolutely no background or knowledge of the category.

    I did my forum/review research before buying my first bike but I honestly can't say that my overall knowledge of mountain biking increased as a result. That said, I was able to zero in on what appeared to be a forum consensus for my price range and riding expectations (and keep in mind that a lot of people don't know enough to define 'riding expectations'). Even still, I still can't really say why it was a better choice than any other even after reading countless pages of posts outside of the generic "good frameset for upgrading" or "componentry isn't horrible" explanations. (BTW - I ended up buying a 2009 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 26")

    I agree that a sticky would be beneficial, but it should be written such that a total noob (like myself) can gain a better understanding of the gear and make a choice as an educated consumer. Even though I'm still brand new to this, I'd be willing to come up with an outline and preliminary information for a sticky based on what I think would have been helpful when I was starting my search. I'll post a start in another reply - the rest of the group can add or modify it should the mood strike them.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double_J
    Even still, I still can't really say why it was a better choice than any other even after reading countless pages of posts outside of the generic "good frameset for upgrading" or "componentry isn't horrible" explanations.
    Do not feel badly about that. The bike industry sometimes does a poor job of quantifying why one level of component is "better" than another, and under what circumstances, etc. For example, why is an XT derailler better than an LX? You'll hear words like "lighter" and "stiffer", but rarely will anyone quantify those attributes, and it's just as rare to see them translated into what you'll feel when riding the bike.

  25. #25
    don't move for trees
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    I wonder if the OP used the search function, because this has been covered many times. Yes some people do get angry about the repeated questions, so if you don't have something nice to say, then don't post. Also, theres no one forcing you to be in the beginner forum. If you don't want to try and help then stay out.
    "Get a bicycle.You will not regret it if you live." Mark Twain

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by BKnight
    I wonder if the OP used the search function, because this has been covered many times.
    burn
    :wq

  27. #27
    25-yr old Retrogrouch
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    Quote Originally Posted by BKnight
    I wonder if the OP used the search function, because this has been covered many times. Yes some people do get angry about the repeated questions, so if you don't have something nice to say, then don't post. Also, theres no one forcing you to be in the beginner forum. If you don't want to try and help then stay out.
    Touche. I glanced through the first 6 or 7 pages of the forum and didn't see anything. My bad if I missed it.

  28. #28
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    I am thankful for the beginner's forum and have found it very helpful.

    The best qualities of the forum are less about which bike, but once I bought one and started riding then most of the "common" questions about terrain, techinque, gear were covered.

    I feel that I have been able to grow as a rider at an accelerated pace largely due to the info from this forum.

    Also, reading in the other forums on this site has helped a lot. I may not know everything that is being discussed but you can pick up a lot of tips from people that are more experienced as they discuss topics amongst themselves.

  29. #29
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    All right, here's the beginnings of a potential noob buyers guide based on my vast 1 week of research in the world of mountain biking. Feel free to sticky it, wiki it, ignore it, or tear it to shreds. It's still very incomplete and is based on my less than holistic knowledge so additions, corrections, or general suggestions are sorely needed.

    BIKE SEARCH ADVICE FROM A TOTAL NOOB

    WHAT KIND OF BIKE WOULD YOU LIKE? (GENERAL BICYCLE TYPES AND RIDING STYLES):

    Road bike – the classic “10-speed”, purpose built for high speed over long distances & road racing, visual cues can include large very thin and slick tires and curled under handlebars that encourage a streamlined rider profile for high speeds. Do not use suspension components.

    Urban/commuter transports/leisure bikes (also called “city bikes”, ‘multi-street’, or ‘beach cruisers’), generally designed & set up to provide stability and comfort for slower-paced rides on paved surfaces although some can handle very light off-road use. No specific styling, can look very mountain bike-ish with seat and handlebars level or very ‘chopper-ish’ with handlebars higher than the seat (think 1970’s era Schwinns or Harley Davidson choppers). visual cues can include non-knobby, pavement oriented or all-purpose tires (wheels are usually 26” or 29” across), cushy padded seats, and flat handle bars that encourage a more upright and comfortable riding position. Either use no suspension or have suspension on the front forks only (aka ‘hardtail’).

    Cross Country MB (can also be considered “all purpose” for recreational riders). Designed and set up to offer on-road and off road capabilities. Suitable for paved surfaces and non-mountain based trail work (e.g., fire roads, single-track paths through wooded areas, etc.). Can handle light jumps, climbs, downhills, drops, and obstacles normally found on a wooded trail, but not really meant for extremely aggressive mountain thrashing. Front suspension only (aka ‘hardtail) is suitable for recreational, beginner, or intermediate users. Full suspension (front forks and rear triangle) cross country bikes are available but are not absolutely necessary unless the rider possesses more advanced skills, aspirations, or is facing more aggressive than not terrain (in other words, if you fall into the targeted audience for this guide, you do not need to buy a full suspension cross country bike). In fact, full suspension can be a liability to a cross-country rider since the rear flex results in a less efficient transfer of pedal power to the rear wheel. Brakes can be either v-style (standard caliper system that grabs the wheel rim) or disc (the brake grabs a metal center hub on the wheel), depending on price point. Wheels can be 26” or 29” depending on rider preference.

    All-Mountain/Freeride/Downhill MB – designed for aggressive mountain-based terrain. Absolutely nothing wrong with using for cross-country or lighter fare, but designs (and pricing) might be overkill for non-mountain use. These bikes can also tend to favor strength, durability, and maneuverability over high-speed stability or momentum. Full suspension is a must for mountain riding to allow for continued control through the worst of circumstances and to protect the frame from damage over extreme terrain. Hardtail designs can be used for occasional mountain use by those looking to get a taste of the environment but repeated or frequent use is almost guaranteed to destroy your frame. Mountain based-bikes usually offer disc brakes, partially because of their higher selling prices, but also because disc brakes allow for a stronger wheel design. Wheels are usually 26” as the benefits of 29’ers can not generally be exploited in mountain terrain.

    Dirt Jumpers – BMX bikes for big kids (as phrased by Haro in the tagline for their Thread series of bikes). Designed for big air off dirt or street riding X-games style. Because these bikes tend to emphasize short bursts of activity over sustained distance rides, only purchase if you really know your riding will center on these activities. Visual cues can include a shorter stem, a lower more rear centered seating position, and single front sprocket.

    OTHER THINGS YOU MIGHT WANT TO KNOW ABOUT WHEN BUYING A BIKE:

    Fit is everything, nothing else matters if you don’t feel right on the bike. Once you decide on the style of bike you’d like to purchase, make sure you physically ride as many as you can in your price range (see below for quality expectations at various price points).

    Frame size: every model of frame/bike comes in an array of toptube sizes (from 13” women’s to 23”+ whoppers). An average men’s frame length is usually 19”, 20” or 21” but different frame geometries (e.g., seat post angle, headtube angles) can make one model’s 21” different than another model in the ‘supposedly’ same size so definitely ride anything you’re interested in. You’ll want to look for a frame that’s short enough so you don’t feel hunched over while seated and holding the handlebars but long enough that you don’t feel cramped (I think the techs say that your back should ideally be around 45 degrees in a seated position but bottom line is that it should feel natural and comfortable).

    Standover height: You’ll hear sales people and literature talk about ‘stand-over height’, this is really just the height of the top tube when the bike is upright. When standing flat-footed on the ground straddling the top tube, you’ll want to look for at least an inch of clearance between your crotch and the frame (more clearance is better than less). It’s not a terribly critical measurement but having more clearance does make it easier to mount and dismount, etc.

    Frame geometry: refers to the various angles of the bike’s tubing, geometry dictates the feel of a bike in motion (e.g., head tube angles dictate how quickly the bike responds to steering inputs, etc.). No need to sweat specifics if you’re a beginner – just worry about finding something that feels good and comfortable to ride. Geometry can be offset by component choices to a certain degree but in my opinion, there’s no substitute for a design that just works for you in the first place.

    Weight: Generally, lighter is better. While you’ll only really need to concern yourself with drastic weight saving measures (e.g., carbon fiber bars, etc.) once you’re ready to take your riding to the next level, heavy bikes are less enjoyable to ride even recreationally since they’re harder to get moving, to turn, and can seem clunky or clumsy. Your average stock mountain bike should generally be less than 35 pounds.


    V-brakes or disc? V-style brakes are cheaper and lighter than disc breaks, disc breaks are slightly heavier but require slightly less maintenance and adjustment. Stopping power is more than adequate on both for most recreational to low-intermediate users but disc brakes tend to be standard on all but the lowest price point rides. That said, a good pair of v-brakes is always better than a cheap set of disc, so don’t be sold by design alone.

    Full suspension (front forks and rear triangle) versus hardtail (front forks only): As stated above, full suspension is only critical in the most aggressive of riding circumstances so consider what type of riding style you’d be doing most often before making a choice. Good quality full suspension rides are generally much more expensive than their hardtail counterparts. Note that full suspension alone does not make a desirable bike so don’t be swayed by a cheap discount store brand with nothing more to offer than a flexy rear triangle. Honestly, even if the suspension system is up to par (which it won’t be), the rest of the bike will break well before you ever stress the system enough to benefit from the shock absorber set up. In today’s world (circa 2008), I’d be leery of any full suspension stock set up costing less than $1,500 USD, especially if from a less well-known or reputable brand.

    26 versus 29 inch wheels? Totally rider preference. 26 inches is the standard, 29 inchers (29ers) are gaining some momentum. 29-inch wheels have a greater rolling efficiency (higher inertia), which results in a more stable ride on flat surfaces, turns, and over obstacles (i.e., you’ll maintain momentum easier in most circumstances). The disadvantages of 29ers include heavier wheels/tires, harder starts (it takes more energy to get rolling), and (arguably) less maneuverability.

    WHAT WILL I GET FOR MY MONEY? IS THERE SUCH THING AS A ‘BEST BIKE FOR $X’? (Based on 2008 pricing)

    Generally speaking, most reputable manufacturers will offer similar quality at similar price points so there really is no ‘best bike’ at any given price point. Componentry may differ between Brand A’s $500 bike and Brand B’s offering at the same price, but generally overall quality will be relatively equal between the two (e.g., the better forks on one bike might be offset by a weaker derailleur, etc.). Again, it really comes down to the bike that ‘speaks’ to you when you ride it.

    Price points are by no means absolute truths, but they can give you an idea of what’s attainable from quality manufacturers given a certain budget and more importantly, what’s not attainable. Beware of brands or bikes offering what appears to be an amazing value – chances are that the quality won’t be there (e.g., don’t expect a good full suspension set up on a $500 bike).

    General Price Points and Standard Features You’ll Likely Get for the Dollar (men’s mountain bike focused – new bikes)

    Less than $500: Functional cross-country ride, good for day-to-day transportation and very recreational trail use. Go to your local bike shop to look, avoid department store models if there’s even the off chance that you can swing a slightly higher price (above $400) since quality might not equate to price with models specifically designed for the department store floor. Expect a hardtail design, lower grade aluminum frame, v-brakes. Definitely worth the spend if you’re not sure you really want to take on the hobby seriously. Frame and components may not withstand more serious use over a longer term or be suitable to upgrades, so be ready to discard everything (or sell on ebay!) and buy an entirely new ride after a couple of years should you maintain interest in the sport. For those who already have more serious aspirations but who simply don’t have the funds, it’s not a bad idea to scan Craigslist or eBay for a well-used example of an slightly older higher end model (representative models: TBD)

    $500-$1,200: High-level beginner/recreational user ($500-$900) or intermediate cross-country ($900-$1,200) models. Hardtail design, decent to good aluminum frame, moderate quality disc brakes or higher level v-brakes. Can withstand moderate trail use but lower end components may not survive repeated beatings or satisfy those with enough experience to distinguish good from bad. Frames are generally of good quality and are light & strong enough to act as a base for upgrades should the rider desire to increase the quality of his/her ride along with his/her skills. Price differences are dictated by the level of componentry that comes stock with the bike (representative models: TBD)

    $1,200 – $2,500: high intermediate to advanced cross country hardtail designs, introductory level mountain-action based rides with full suspension set ups ($1,600+). Could potentially be the last bike a semi-serious non-mountain rider would ever need to buy. While the framesets in this category will likely be of better quality than those under $1,200, the upcharge in price is mainly attributable to better stock components or the addition of a full suspension set up (but some components may still need upgrading as skills and knowledge progress) (representative models: TBD)

    $2,000+: high end cross country hardtails or full suspension models, high beginner to intermediate full suspension mountain rides ($2,000-$4,000), intermediate to expert full suspension rides ($4,000+). Frames will either be made of the highest quality aluminum for models below $4,000 or exotic materials (e.g., carbon) on anything higher. Componentry will be nothing that needs replacing too quickly although many shopping in this price range are knowledgeable enough to purchase a frame only and to add components a la carte. This ensures that the bike is perfectly suited to the rider’s desires. (representative models: TBD)


    WHAT MAKES ONE COMPONENT BETTER THAN ANOTHER? HOW DO I KNOW IF SOMETHING IS ‘GOOD’ OR NOT?

    Derailleur systems/shifters: smooth operation, accurate and fast shifts, weight, construction materials?

    Suspension systems: Lockout and preload adjustments? Travel length? Weight? Construction materials?

    Disc brakes: hydraulic versus mechanical?

    V-brakes: Strength, amount of flex, construction materials?

    Frames: Rigidity and weight? Component compatibility? Materials?

    Wheels: Weight, materials, strength?

    Handlebars & stem

    Etc…

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