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
    mtbr member
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    New HT Bike. $600-800

    Need an advice.
    Friend of mine (with 0 experience in MTB) is looking for a starter XC HT bike in $600-800 price range.
    He is about 57 and will be riding in So Cal, mostly fire roads with some single treks. Occasional paved road.
    Can you please suggest any HT in his price range? Does it make a sense to buy a new bike? CL?
    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Short-Change-Hero
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    Go to ALL your local bike shops and have him try everything he likes out. Fit will trump anything we can suggest. Due to the increasing popularity of 29ers you are starting to see more and more entry level 29ers; all from Giant, FELT, Kona, Rocky Mountain, Specialized, Trek, Gary Fisher, Diamondback, Raliegh, etc.
    On-One Inbred 29er (Purple People Eater)
    Kona Jake
    Bikes for Boobs F*ck Cancer! One too many, 6/24/13. Miss ya ma'.

  3. #3
    Chubby Chaser
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    I agree, take him to some local bike shops and look around. He can get a pretty decent HT for that price range.

    If you have any doubts that he'll seriously get into riding, you might even want to take a look at the GT avalanche 3.0 from performance bikes, $399.... really can't beat that.

    If/when later he knows for sure he likes mountain biking he can upgrade to a nice full suspension.

  4. #4
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Your friend should ride lots of bikes and do his own research. This sort of thing is like playing "telephone."

    I'd start with phoning shops to see if any carry used or consignment.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
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    I'm new here, so I can't start my own thread yet. So, I'll piggyback on here. Is there any place to compare components in order of quality? From everything I'm reading, the frames on most bikes under $1200 or so are very similar. However, the components seem to be the major difference. Is there a way for a layman to know how to gauge the quality of components?

  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    The manufacturers list them in order of pricepoint.

    Comparison across brands is a can of worms that I'll let someone else open.

    Most bikes in the same pricepoint are pretty much a wash as far as the components. You can sometimes get a better deal on store brands and Fuji. You may take a hit on frame weight, quality and design doing that.

    Go to your local shops, ride all the bikes that cost what you want to pay, and buy your favorite. As far as I'm concerned, if I want a bike within the next couple of weeks, if it's not in stock at a shop, they don't have it. Leave ordering for a bike you don't need to start riding.

    bikepedia.com is an excellent resource for getting all the specs in the same place, and comparing bikes across brands.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    Thanks. I'll check that out.

  8. #8
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    Giant and Fuji gives you bang for your buck, check them out.

  9. #9
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    If I may piggyback as well on your post since I cant create my own. I am also in Socal looking for a few of the same things.

    Been reading a couple mags recently and seems like there is a huge debate on the 26 vs 29. The 29 seems to get the better review so far.

    With that said, do you guys recommend a 29 for beginners? Im open to both because I dont exactly know what im looking for. Many of you suggested trying them out at local shops, but how do i know how it will handle on the trail? Im 6ft. 180.

    Last, what bike make/models would you recommend. I see a bunch of brands posted I can research in the meantime. Are they upgradable? Worth upgrading? Suppose im looking for a 600 buck bike is it worth it to fork out the extra 100 or 200 for the next level? Obviously im not looking for the full suspension, mainly a weekend warrior in dry socal.Im even up for building my own if that's the way to go.

    I appreciate the inputs here on the forums for us new guys!

  10. #10
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    In XC hardtails, at least, I think the 26" vs. 29" debate is pretty overblown. I tried one the other day and was impressed, but it hasn't changed my religion.

    The purpose of the ride at a local shop is more to get a sense of whether the bike is a good size for you. Some will feel mysteriously better or worse. And you can make sure you get the right size, doing test rides, even if it doesn't tell you a ton about how the bike will feel on the trail.

    That said, I'd corner at slow and fast speeds, climb something in and out of the saddle, ride up and down some stairs, sprint, do some bunny hops and manuals. Obviously you'll be limited by available terrain and maybe also by your skill level, so just do as much as you can.

    I don't care to recommend a make or model. There are a billion threads already, and within the group of bikes available at your LBS, I think it's pretty much a wash. Spend as much as you can stomach. All bikes are upgradeable, but it's rarely a cost-effective way to go - the bike company gets a much better deal than you on components, and a $600 bike can benefit, to a greater or lesser degree, from having literally every single component replaced. If you find you're really falling in love with riding and you want to bolt some new parts onto your bike, start saving money, or sell your golf clubs, or pick up a little OT, and get a more expensive bike that already has a build you'll be able to live with for the life of the components.

    (This coming from a guy whose bike is a poster child for upgradeitis. But if I had access to the deals when I bought the bike that I did when I started upgrading, I'd have bought more bike for the same money in the first place.)
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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  12. #12
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    To the OP and others asking, as you can tell from my post count, I am new to the forum. I am also fairly new to riding.

    However, I recently bought my first mountain bike after riding my sons bike for about 6 weeks. Not a big deal except:

    I started on my son's 26 FS. It is a great bike, easy to ride and I thoroughly enjoy it.

    The bike I bought was a 29'er. It is fun to ride as well.

    The LBS I purchased from had a very good selection of nice bikes in the price range the OP mentioned. Both 26 and 29. I really like my 29, but my son's 26 is nice too. Not a big deal. I do, in my humble opinion, think the 29 handles trail junk just a little better, but I wouldn't let that be a deal breaker.

    I tried out several bikes before deciding, the decision came down to:

    1. Feel. The bike I went with felt great. Comfortable and handled well.
    2. Options. I went with a little higher priced bike with several upgrades. I could have probably went with a lower costed bike and not tell much if any difference, however I'm gettin' old and figure "why not"! BUT, if I were stretched for cash, I would think hard about spending more for things like hydraulic brakes etc... Especially if you are beginner and not sure if biking is your thing. I tried out two lower priced bikes that would have probably been a very good fit for me.

    YMMV
    Hope this helps!
    Trek Mamba, '97 Specialized FSR

  13. #13
    Knowledge over Swag
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    I have this bike and it rocks!

  14. #14
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    I got a Revel 1 a few months ago, would have gotten the Revel 0 if they wouldn't have had to order it.

    Love my friggen bike

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