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.
Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
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    New and don't know what to buy!

    I'm looking to start taking a morning ride to get my mind cleared and ready for work (And get a bit of exercise, too). We have many large, extensive trail systems around here that I can ride on. Some are smooth and paved, some are through the woods. I'd like to be able to utilize both. I would also like to be able to ride on our roads fairly comfortably.
    As I'm new to this (Haven't ridden in about 13 years...since I was a teenager), I don't know where to start. I don't want to spend too much money since I may hate it, but I don't want to cheap out and have something that I hate riding. I'm also unsure of what type of bike I need, what features to look for, what size, etc...
    I'm about 5'11" and 280 pounds (Part of the reason I want to start riding). Let's say that I want to stay under $400 to start with (And that is pushing my limit). What can I get?
    I'm open to buying used on CL, but again, I don't know what I'm looking for. I know that brands like Schwinn, Next, Mongoose, etc.. (Anything at Wal-Mart) is generally regarded as poor, but aside from that I'm lost.
    I want something that won't break the bank and that I truly enjoy riding or this will just end up a dead hobby.

    I've been scouring craigslist and have found several Trek 4300s for $300-$350 but I'm unsure if these bikes will suit me since they are "mountain bikes" and what I will be doing, at least for now, is trail riding. I know that a road bike is not what I need, but I'm lost when it comes to Hybrid / Mountain.

    The 4300s that I have found are all 18" frames. At 5'11", will that provide a good fit for me or do I need to upsize?

    Any information you can throw my way would be useful at this point.

  2. #2
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    Go to some local shops ,ask questions ,test ride some bikes . You should check out Cycle Cross bikes. 400$ is entry level for mountain bikes,that are good for bike paths and dirt roads. Not knowing what to look for in a used bike could be a problem,a used bike could need a couple of hundred in parts. Have any friends that ride or clubs around? The bikes that sold at Walmart etc ,aren't really made to ride often ,they are made to ride around the block once in while. Some people can ride any bike anywhere .Used bikes ,if you can find one in good shape would be the way to go. The issue with the low price used bikes is that are low quality .

  3. #3
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    Re: New and don't know what to buy!

    After searching craigs list all summer & not finding anything decent, I purchased a 14 specialized hardrock for 430. Its a basic starter, but I really enjoy it and gets the job done.

    Sent from my Milestone X using Tapatalk 2

  4. #4
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    New and don't know what to buy!

    New bikes in your price range tend to be more for general riding than for anything specific. The mountain bikes don't tend to be durable enough for heavy off road use but are capable enough to go off road occasionally if you keep them maintained.

    Hybrids in your price range are pretty much for pavement and crushed stone paths/dirt roads. The bigger wheels and narrower tires give you a little more range and speed on pavement than a mountain bike but the upright position will keep your speed down compared to a proper road bike with drop handlebars. They do not generally have what it takes for mountain bike trails.

    A cyclocross bike is going to be well out of your price range. They are built for racing and carry that kind of price point.

  5. #5
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    I will mostly be doing dirt and paved trails that are also used for running so nothing extreme. Will also want to ride the road from time to time. What type should I be looking at for these needs? And do you have any specific models that you recommend? What about those mentioned in my first post--the trek 4300s that I've found on Craigslist?

  6. #6
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    If you start to ride difficult/fun trails the fork on your bike will be outside its designed use. Additionally its coil spring is meant for a rider who weighs less. An air fork is what you would need.
    If you want to upgrade your Suntour fork
    A Raidon air fork upgrade from Nick at Suntour is about $200 shipped.

  7. #7
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    New and don't know what to buy!

    The mtb would be a little better on the dirt stuff and be slower on the road, and would have you leaning over the bars more.

    Your description of the dirt trails doesn't mean much. Dirt can be seriously variable, ranging from hardpack not unlike pavement with no roots or rocks poking out to all kinds of loose sand, with any amount of roots or rocks. I would run on just about any of it.

    The type of dirt in question matters a lot for the hybrid. If pretty flat and smooth hardpack, hybrids will be fine. If it gets loose or bumpy at all, the usefulness of the hybrid declines sharply. It is quite a bit faster on pavement, though. Most have a more upright position. The ones with a position more like mountain bikes are even less suited to riding dirt.

    Why don't you go test ride some bikes and find out what you like?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    The mtb would be a little better on the dirt stuff and be slower on the road, and would have you leaning over the bars more.

    Your description of the dirt trails doesn't mean much. Dirt can be seriously variable, ranging from hardpack not unlike pavement with no roots or rocks poking out to all kinds of loose sand, with any amount of roots or rocks. I would run on just about any of it.

    The type of dirt in question matters a lot for the hybrid. If pretty flat and smooth hardpack, hybrids will be fine. If it gets loose or bumpy at all, the usefulness of the hybrid declines sharply. It is quite a bit faster on pavement, though. Most have a more upright position. The ones with a position more like mountain bikes are even less suited to riding dirt.

    Why don't you go test ride some bikes and find out what you like?
    It's mostly hardpack dirt with some rough sections (Roots, rocks, holes) and large white rock gravel. I'm thinking a mtb is going to be what I need just because of the terrain. I won't be using it for its intended purposes I don't want to take a hybrid out and break something because of the rough terrain.

    I guess I'll stop by our only bike shop and see what they have to say.

  9. #9
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    Hybrids suck. You can "faster" a MTB to make it competitive with a hybrid, but hybrids have design limitations that make them impossible to make competitive with a MTB on trails. As far as I'm concerned, they shouldn't exist.

    There's nothing wrong with riding a mountain bike on the road. Well, there are a few things wrong with it, but they also apply to hybrids. Certainly you can do it. Most of my MTB rides have four or five paved road miles lately.

    Riding a 'cross bike off-road takes some finesse. As Nate says, saying you can run on a trail doesn't tell us that much. I sometimes run sections of trail I can't ride. However, if you do an MTB, you won't be limited by bike class.

    I guess the real question is if you want a bike with suspension and disc brakes or a late '90s model that will come to you with a rigid fork. If there's decent traffic on your CL, you do get to make that choice.

    Check out bikepedia.com for retail prices on bikes you're considering. I think value drops about 40% when the first owner wheels the bike out of the shop and continues to drop with age, wear, and changes in standards and technology. Ultimately it's subjective, same as a used car.

    For size, I think you're most likely in the 17"-20" range. Some companies do odd numbers and some do even; I think that the closest equivalency is the smaller odd number to the next larger even number. In other words, a 17" is more similar to an 18" than an 18" is to a 19".

    Ride a few bikes and buy your favorite. Do you get along well with machines?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Hybrids suck. You can "faster" a MTB to make it competitive with a hybrid, but hybrids have design limitations that make them impossible to make competitive with a MTB on trails. As far as I'm concerned, they shouldn't exist.

    There's nothing wrong with riding a mountain bike on the road. Well, there are a few things wrong with it, but they also apply to hybrids. Certainly you can do it. Most of my MTB rides have four or five paved road miles lately.

    Riding a 'cross bike off-road takes some finesse. As Nate says, saying you can run on a trail doesn't tell us that much. I sometimes run sections of trail I can't ride. However, if you do an MTB, you won't be limited by bike class.

    I guess the real question is if you want a bike with suspension and disc brakes or a late '90s model that will come to you with a rigid fork. If there's decent traffic on your CL, you do get to make that choice.

    Check out bikepedia.com for retail prices on bikes you're considering. I think value drops about 40% when the first owner wheels the bike out of the shop and continues to drop with age, wear, and changes in standards and technology. Ultimately it's subjective, same as a used car.

    For size, I think you're most likely in the 17"-20" range. Some companies do odd numbers and some do even; I think that the closest equivalency is the smaller odd number to the next larger even number. In other words, a 17" is more similar to an 18" than an 18" is to a 19".

    Ride a few bikes and buy your favorite. Do you get along well with machines?
    Thanks for all of the information. It's definitely useful knowledge to have.

    Not sure what your last question means, but I think you're asking if I'm handy and the answer is yes. I have no fear of fixing, modifying, or upgrading anything I own, bikes included.

  11. #11
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    You seem to have the right idea. A mountain bike is probably what you are looking for. If you are interested in a 29er (29 inch wheels instead of 26 inch) check out this guy:
    29er Mountain Bikes Up to 60% Off - MTB - Motobecane 429HT
    349 bucks when you put it in the cart. It should be able to do what you are asking it to do and will be better for small bumps and streets.

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