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  1. #1
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    Need help deciding on mountain bike

    I need help figuring out what a good starter mountain bike would be. I mostly ride on gravel roads and smoother open trails. My budget is around a $1000 but I could push it a bit more if I need to. I am 6ft and about 170lbs if that helps. I had been looking at something like a diamondback overdrive comp 27.5.

  2. #2
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    I actually like the package on the 2016 Overdrive Comp more than the 2017. You get a bit more suspension travel, and while the 2017 has a 1x drivetrain, I actually think that for gravel road riding, 2x is better. So if your shop has a 2016, see if you can get it at a nice discount. Seems like a fine starter bike.

  3. #3
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    There's a lot of material in this thread that might be suitable for you, since your budget and requirements seem similar.

    Buying a bike tonight - Please HELP!!!

  4. #4
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    Also, do you plan to continue to do most of your riding on gravel roads? If I was six feet tall and planning on doing mostly gravel road riding, I'd look at a bike with 29 in wheels and fairly traditional cross country geometry (head tube angle >= 70 degrees). I'm considering getting one myself and putting drop bars on it for gravel roads/light single track.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusBrody View Post
    Also, do you plan to continue to do most of your riding on gravel roads? If I was six feet tall and planning on doing mostly gravel road riding, I'd look at a bike with 29 in wheels and fairly traditional cross country geometry (head tube angle >= 70 degrees). I'm considering getting one myself and putting drop bars on it for gravel roads/light single track.
    What would you recommend?

  6. #6
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    I'd look for a used Trek Superfly (2013, 2014) for under $1,000 in size large. You'll love it for the riding you describe & a lot more.

  7. #7
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    https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2025084/
    This carbon Superfly 9.7 is a bit more but a very good value.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2025084/
    This carbon Superfly 9.7 is a bit more but a very good value.
    Looks great but Park City, Utah is a little far from Tulsa, OK

  9. #9
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    I don't have a lot of personal experience with that bike style, but just browsing websites and looking at specs, it seems like this Niner EMD9 fits the criteria pretty well if you want to go new or your budget.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluehornet9 View Post
    Looks great but Park City, Utah is a little far from Tulsa, OK
    Bikeflights will ship it. Or two boxes for $75 FedEx. The seller gets the boxes free from his lbs and cuts and tapes them to be below the total dimension inches amount to get an oversize charge. Wheels in one.

    Here's another.
    https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2117264/

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by hdparrish View Post
    There's a lot of material in this thread that might be suitable for you, since your budget and requirements seem similar.

    Buying a bike tonight - Please HELP!!!
    It's a good idea to recycle some of the previous threads, as the same question keeps popping up. We really need a stock answer that we can use.


    "I'm looking for a [hardtail / full suspension / don't know] , with a budget of [$500 / $1000 / $1500 / $2000], and don't know if I should [buy new from LBS / buy new online / buy used]. I usually ride [summer ski slopes / all mountain / fire roads / paths / "trail" (whatever that is) / gravel / street / bike parks / fast XC routes / rocks & roots / steeps climbs and descents]."


    I'd ordinarily recommend a sticky, but there are already 7 of them in this subforum.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2025084/
    This carbon Superfly 9.7 is a bit more but a very good value.
    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Suspect the OP won't go for it, but I think these are a great idea. You pay via PayPal, so if there's anything not divulged you've got solid recourse. I like the price on the 2nd, but on an admitted race bike you'll tend to find more scuffs and cosmetic issues, whereas the first with his "clip" pedals tells me he wasn't riding it that much.

  13. #13
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    Those bikes have two different types of designed in compliance. The SF has vertical compliance in the rear frame for when you're on the pedals going through rocks and roots. It also has some seated compliance.
    The ProCal has no rear frame compliance. It's stiff on the pedals. But the IsoSpeed seat tube flex bearing has a lot more compliance when seated on gravel roads and smoother trails.

  14. #14
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    I've seen this one being promoted and it looks pretty solid a few hundred above your budget. I want it but can't have it

    TIMBERJACK 27.5+ GX1 | Bikes | Salsa Cycles
    2016 SC Heckler R build
    2012 CX Kona Jake
    Nashbar 29er (Rigid)

    Giggity!

  15. #15
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    That's an excellent build, jcd. Sharp-looking bike, too, with good trail/xc geo. My only criticism are the Performance tires, which are not tubeless ready (although they used tubeless ones to measure weight).

    Any bike over a thousand bucks should come with tubeless compatible rubber, imo.

    But, yeah, that would make a great all-arounder.

  16. #16
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    Should be an easy upgrade
    2016 SC Heckler R build
    2012 CX Kona Jake
    Nashbar 29er (Rigid)

    Giggity!

  17. #17
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    Sure, it's an easy upgrade, but a potentially expensive (~$100) one, especially for a beginner. On the other hand, OEM tubeless-ready rubber would've cost the manufacturer $10-$20 more, but it instead passed on those "savings" to the consumer.

    Just a bad trend I've been seeing. Tubeless (or at least tubeless ready) should be the standard, so all new bikes beyond economy entry level (a la BikesDirect.com) should be equipped appropriately.

  18. #18
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    When you buy from a dealer you get to negotiate before you give them cash. You can negotiate the price and you can swap out parts you don't need. You negotiate credit or many times a shop manager negotiating with you will offer to swap tires without changing the price. You may have to talk to several shop managers only before you find one willing to work with you to get the deal done.
    You control the money and that controls the deal. Always be prepared to walk. In fact, saying part way through you want to walk around a minute will put the fear of completely losing the deal into play.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    You control the money and that controls the deal. Always be prepared to walk.
    So true. Also works for buying cars, houses, etc.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    You control the money and that controls the deal. Always be prepared to walk.
    I'll third this. If they sense you "have" to buy, they will not be as flexible.

    Some of the best advice you'll ever read, regardless of forum.

  21. #21
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  22. #22
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    For the riding you described (gravel roads and smooth trails), I think you could get more bang for your buck with a hardtail. It'll also teach you better fundamentals, imo.

    But the REI bike you linked doesn't seem to be a bad deal in of itself.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluehornet9 View Post
    That's a trail bike(heavy, long wheel travel). Sounds like you want a XC bike more like
    https://www.rei.com/product/109590/g...7529-bike-2017
    or
    https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/b.../2043600-2017/

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by hdparrish View Post
    For the riding you described (gravel roads and smooth trails), I think you could get more bang for your buck with a hardtail. It'll also teach you better fundamentals, imo.

    But the REI bike you linked doesn't seem to be a bad deal in of itself.
    Be very careful recommending a hardtail around here. Many guys with full suspension hate the idea their bike is not best for every application. After paying a lot of money for ''what they were told is the best bike'' they have trouble stomaching a hardtail being better for certain roles. (ESPECIALLY THE ROLE THEY USE THEIR BIKE FOR). They yell at you also!!!

  25. #25
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    Haha, I'm an Equal Opportunity Rider--have a hardtail and a full-susser.

    You can definitely rail and bomb on a hardtail, but if you're not going to ask much of either, you can usually get a better spec with a hardtail for the same or less money.

  26. #26
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    And for what you want to do 29 will be better than 27.5 in a hardtail.

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  28. #28
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    The first link doesn't work for me. Both of the second two bikes look like they'd fit your needs, though I haven't been on either of them

    The Breezer looks slightly better specced to me. It has a better fork and a majority of its components are about 1 level above the Cannondale. Plus it's two pounds lighter. The 2.4 tires with the geometry look slightly odd to me, but I can't even quite describe why. The head tube angle is pretty steep by modern standards (72 degrees), but this isn't a problem for dirt/gravel road riding.

    The Cannondale is slightly cheaper. It's from a better known brand which would probably help resale if you decided you wanted something different down the line. I like it's geometry better for general riding and like the tires on it now for your current type of riding, even if they aren't amazing for general trail riding. For the purposes you're talking about, I prefer 2x to 1x in the front.

    If I were you, I'd buy the Cannondale, particularly if you have an REI near you so you can have it put together/set up in person for free and then get the after break in tune up. You save $500/600 dollars (depending on whether you'd pay someone to set up the Breezer), get slightly more versatile geometry, and would likely take less of a hit if you want something else down the road. If you start to ride more challenging trails, I'd take my savings and put them into some good, larger volume more aggressive tires (maybe something like the new Nobby Nic if you're staying with Schwalbe) and an inexpensive dropper post.

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