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  1. #1
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    Need help deciding on my first bike!

    Hi everyone! I've recently made the decision to start mountain biking to try something new & get some exercise at the same time I am definitely looking for a beginner bike, as I just rode a bike this summer for the first time in about 10 years! Looking to do fairly basic trails.. at least for a while! I have been to a few lbs to try a few out & have somewhat narrowed it down to either a 2015 Specialized jynx 650B (women's version of the Pitch) or the 2014 Cannondale trail 5 women's. They are the exact same price (the cannondale is last year's model & is on clearance for $560). It seems as though the components are a little better on the cannondale but the specialized has the 650b tire, which I would probably rather have. Another issue is that I really don't like the color choices on the jynx. Because of this I am considering the Pitch even though the fit of the men's isn't great.

    If anyone has any recommendations, please help! Or if you have any other bikes in mind.. the budget is $650 MAX, prefer a new bike vs used, do not plan on doing any upgrades. The links are below.. thanks in advance!


    Evans Cycles
    Specialized Bicycle Components

  2. #2
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    The Cannondale fork has a remote lockout. If it is hydraulic(2014) it will incorporate rebound damping. The version on the Spec doesn't have that. It comes into play when you ride fun/difficult trails and hit multiple bumps like rocks and roots going down a hill at speed. Rebound damping stops pogoing which would feel like the front of the bike is trying to bounce your hands off the bars as you ride over the bumps.
    Be certain to test ride any bike to get the right size. Not just in the lot but use the grass and ditches, etc. to get handling info to help you compare different bikes.

  3. #3
    I ride bikes
    Reputation: moefosho's Avatar
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    If you are just getting in to the sport, I would be more focused on fit, geometry, and components than colors and wheelsize.
    Depending on your size this might be a good deal:
    http://m.ebay.com/itm/400784925735?nav=SEARCH

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  4. #4
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    I wouldn't get caught up on wheel sizes too much. Bigger isn't better it's just different. Especially in lower budget wheels, the bigger they are the more flex they have and the worse they perform. Ride a few bikes and see what feels right with an open mind. Its hard to know what to buy when you don't ride cause you dont know what you want yet, so I'd try to spend as little as possible for the first bike and go used, and then drop some money on a bike you know you want for specific reasons.

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  5. #5
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    It would be better to rent a bike then buy a entry level bike, after a couple of rides you will have an idea of what you will be riding and what you like. You are often allowed to apply rental cost to the purchase and you will not be wasting money on a disposible entry level bike.

  6. #6
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    Here we go again with the fork. Man, you need to stop this already. This fear mongering propaganda is just ridiculous already with the forks and the rebound dampening and bike path only nonsense.

    OP is looking for a beginner bike.
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  7. #7
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    I would hazard a guess that beginner bikes probably have a pretty good percent of the responsibility for scaring away more beginners. If you want to start SCUBA Diving it is going to cost you around $3000, if you wanted to take up skiing maybe close to the same if you include sport specific clothing... pick a sport it will cost you about 3k to really get geared to an appropriate level, and take you 10k hours or so to become profecient at it. This is the cost for pursuing a past time on average.

    Yes by all means recommend to somone to add another $600-1000 dollars on to that with a beginner bike, that which sole purpose is to be replaced eventually.

    I understand that people have budgets, but with people with budgets it would be better not to waste that signifigant sum on a temporary situation. Most LBS have a layaway program, or rent to buy program. That is where we should be recommend they go.

  8. #8
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    When it comes to buying a bike FIT coming first.If it's uncomfortable you won't ride it. There are a lot of bikes in your price range ,shop around.

  9. #9
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I question how important the bike really is in whether people stick with this. Expensive bikes lose drivetrain adjustment and get flat tires too. People still fall on expensive derailleurs.

    At the same time, there's no reason to put oneself in a position to suffer more equipment failures or early wear than is really necessary.

    OP, talk to your local shops and make a few calls. See who in your area deals in used bikes. You can get something pretty reliable for $650 that way. They still require maintenance, but starting with something a little nicer will let you worry less about the gear and focus more on the actual riding.

    Don't compromise on fit. If the dimensions of the bike are too far wrong, you'll never be able to get the bike to fit your body and handle well at the same time. Be aware that in a year, you may want something different in terms of fit, maybe even the class of bike you ride. That's another advantage to buying used - if you make a mistake, you can resell for a lot more of what you paid.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
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    Suntour designs and manufacturers a range of forks. They know more about them than you or me or 1-speed.
    For the 'X' series without hydraulic lockout/rebound damping this is their statement---

    "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."

    If that's how you will use it things will be ok. Use it on the fun/difficult trails it wasn't built for and expect poor performance. Same goes for Walmart Zoom forks and RST forks.

    Suntour has setup a program for riders with one of those forks to upgrade to a Raidon air fork for about $200 shipped. You have to promise to put the old fork in the trash. But at least you don't have to dump riding because of a crappy fork.

  11. #11
    Reluctant Tree Hugger
    Reputation: Saladin's Avatar
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    Too much talk about forks, wheels, or any certain aspect of a bike besides fit and what's in their budget better than a department store bike, is all kind of overwhelming to someone new to the sport. If I had come to this forum and asked you guys what to get for a beginner bike, it would've taken me 6 more months to get the bike doing all the research everyone pointed me to.

    OP, I recommend speaking to someone at your local shop about your budget and fit. They're not likely to overwhelm you with the terminology like rebound damping and wheel stiffness and defibrillator ratings and stuff. They'll let you sit on some bikes and try them out to an extent to find what's comfortable and within your budget, and be able to show you other things for the future of your riding, whether you wish to upgrade your current one or later invest $3,000+ in the bike you know you'll want. It sounds like you've already narrowed it down. To you as a beginner looking for a basic riding bike, I'd say whichever one of those choices feels best under your butt, feet, and hands.
    Live like there's no tomorrow. But pay your bills just in case there is.

  12. #12
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    Yeah you wouldn't want to learn too much before spending upwards of 600 bucks.... Ugh. If you want to know what it is you're buying let us know, but until then we must listen to salad and only talk about certain aspects. And if it's up to him, you should have the people selling you something to help make the choice for you regardless of motive.

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  13. #13
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    Thank you for the responses... I understand the idea that buying a more expensive bike could cut expense in the long term in the event that I start riding a lot and ride difficult trails, however I'm not looking to become a serious mountain biker trying to ride the most difficult trails and putting hundreds of miles on the bike each month. I am looking to get exercise on easy to moderate(eventually) trails on the weekends. As for the person who said I shouldn't worry about color, I doubt you spent $700+ on a bike that you didn't like the color of.

    The bikes are located at different shops, and I rode them within 2 days of each other, but couldn't tell a big difference in fit. I was just wondering if anyone had experience with either of these bikes or if anyone had thoughts on sacrificing better components for wheel size.

  14. #14
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Try riding a broader range of sizes until you've been on something that feels clearly too big to you and something that feels clearly too small. I think that should give you a better sense of what the bike size affects.

    If there's a wheel size you like better, it's worth a certain amount of compromise. You can always replace a component, but changing something as basic as wheel size or frame geometry isn't practical.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  15. #15
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    Need help deciding on my first bike!

    Choosing a beginner bike properly is critical. Good gear will result in a better first experience. I have seen many people give up mountain biking due to poor gear and conversely many people get into the sport because of a positive first few rides experience. As others have said fit is paramount. Try a number of bikes if possible on the trails you will ride on. Parking lot tests are only useful if you will be riding parking lots. Get brand name components entry level is fine but choosing sram or Shimano will at least hold a tune. Good luck and post back how you made out. New bike day is exciting!


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