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
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    New member, new (to me) bike

    I'm new to all this, and wanted a decent cheap starter bike to start putting money into. My budget is right around $300, and here's what I got.

    Iron Horse Warrior 1.3
    Dart 1 Rock Shock fork
    Alexrims TD17 Anti-snakebite wheels
    Panaracer Fire XC 2.1 Tires
    Shimano trigger shifters and derailleurs
    Hayes MX4 disc brakes

    His FS ad said "lots of upgrades" but if I'm not mistaken, the shifters/derailleurs/brakes all came stock on the bike.

    Anyhow, when I rode it, it was a bit rough shifting... so I'm debating throwing some kind of better parts on it or just getting a good tune-up and deciding what I want to upgrade later.

    He was asking $150, I took it home for $120... good deal or no? I figured even if the Shimano derailleurs are junk, I've got $180 left in my budget for that, pedals, grips, a helmet, crank, front fork, whatever....

  2. #2
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    What is the level of the Shifters and Derailers?

    Just because they say Shimano doesn't mean anything. Shimano makes some great stuff but they also make Junk as well.

    I would recommend a tune up to see if that fixes your problems.

    Edit: Also if you can that extra money should go to a new fork. The darts suck.

  3. #3
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    I tried posting pics but I need a few more posts lol

    I'm unsure of the kind, I'll find out when I get home tonight... judging by comparing pics I have with what I'm looking at online, I'd GUESS they're in the Altus line

  4. #4
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    Start with some time spent on parktool.com. They have instructions for tuning pretty much everything on a bike, and they're well-illustrated.

    Replacing all the components on an entry-level bike to get something higher end is usually a very inefficient way to get that bike. But it depends how you do it. If you have something specific in mind, just buying a complete bike isn't really the way to get it.

    If I were trying to build up a nice bike from something inexpensive, and already had the inexpensive bike in hand, I'd start with a new frame. Then I'd figure out where compatibility problems were hiding out (likely issues are seatpost size, seat clamp size, bottom bracket standard, headset standard and fork travel. A few frames will have a weird rear hub/axle standard, mostly DH/freeride bikes, and older frames may not support disc brakes. I'd get the parts for those strange standards, that wouldn't transfer from the old bike. Once I had that worked out, I'd cannibalize the old bike to finish the new one, maybe weighing parts as I went. Then I'd have a nice new frame with a really uneven build, but at least I'd be able to ride it, and I wouldn't risk having issues moving the nice new parts I bought for it onto a new frame later. (Well, I could - the idea here is not to buy a new frame later.)
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
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    Since you're new to this i'd say welcome to the site and the sport, and just tune it and ride for a while. After that you'll have a better idea of what you wanna change/upgrade. So another words, ride upgrades, don't buy upgrades, at least for now. Buy a helmet and gloves and hit some trails.
    Round and round we go

  6. #6
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    First purchases will be helmet, gloves and grips.. aside from there, I plan on taking it one step at a time and figuring out what's important. My previous trail experience was from a womens frame trek with no suspension and in dire need of a tune up, so I won't complain about this upgrade for now lol

    Thanks for the advice guys, I'm looking forward to hitting some trails later this week

    And just checked the derailleurs... Shimano c050 up front, Shimano Acera in back

  7. #7
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    Just get it tuned up then. Your bike isn't worth enough to upgrade. It will do fine as a starter bike, but investing into that is a money pit. If you save up to 419 you can get a Haymaker 1500 that has significantly better components, but I would recommend saving a bit more so you can actually have a good fork with your bike. It doesn't make much sense to go from a newb bike to a better newb bike. 800 dollars online can get you a pretty beasty machine if you look around and will get you a lot better components then spending a few hundred hear and there.

  8. #8
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    For the price you did good I would suggest you do these steps.
    1. Clean and lube the cables
    2. Replace or at least clean and lube the chain if needs.
    4. clean and lube and adjust the front and rear derailleur
    5. Clean the brakes with denatured alcohol
    6. Use simple green for degreaser
    7. Take some 600 grit wet dry paper to the rotors for a fresh braking surface.
    8. clean around the seals with a hook tool.
    9. Be careful not to get oil on the brakes.

  9. #9
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    Austanian... what do you mean not worth enough for upgrading? Would it take more than its worth to get it to component riding level, or is this a bike that is not very easily modified?

    I'm thinking I'll just do what jpeters and others suggested... clean it up and ride it. It will be a good opportunity to get to know the mechanical aspects of bikes, and its something that I won't feel too bad if I mess something up on it. I may just save money for a bigger frame down the road and this way I'll have some sense of what I want later.

    Bottom line is... this is a bike that makes me want to hit the trails, and its begging me to fix 'er up. And for that, I'm diggin' it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sxshep View Post
    Austanian... what do you mean not worth enough for upgrading? Would it take more than its worth to get it to component riding level, or is this a bike that is not very easily modified?

    I'm thinking I'll just do what jpeters and others suggested... clean it up and ride it. It will be a good opportunity to get to know the mechanical aspects of bikes, and its something that I won't feel too bad if I mess something up on it. I may just save money for a bigger frame down the road and this way I'll have some sense of what I want later.

    Bottom line is... this is a bike that makes me want to hit the trails, and its begging me to fix 'er up. And for that, I'm diggin' it.

    The good thing about bikes is usually the parts are interchangeable so you can always move the upgrades to another frame.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpeters View Post
    The good thing about bikes is usually the parts are interchangeable so you can always move the upgrades to another frame.
    Very true, but besides the Fork and Pedals. A new bike that he spends a decent amount on say 800 plus will have better components then likely even his upgrades.

  12. #12
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    Well I rode this thing last night after work, about 4 miles around the neighborhood... The front derailleur is FUBAR, wouldn't let me into the 16 higher gears... so I played around in 1-8 basically lol

    It got me thinking though, how difficult would a single-speed "swap" be?

    This bike is way too small for me, but not that it's a bad thing... It's nimble, and I can move around on it fine, it's just not very comfortable for long slow cruises. So I'm thinking I may just use it as a trail bike, figure out what I want in a bigger frame, and go from there.

  13. #13
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    Oh and here's a pic now that I have 10 posts...


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sxshep View Post
    Well I rode this thing last night after work, about 4 miles around the neighborhood... The front derailleur is FUBAR, wouldn't let me into the 16 higher gears... so I played around in 1-8 basically lol

    It got me thinking though, how difficult would a single-speed "swap" be?

    This bike is way too small for me, but not that it's a bad thing... It's nimble, and I can move around on it fine, it's just not very comfortable for long slow cruises. So I'm thinking I may just use it as a trail bike, figure out what I want in a bigger frame, and go from there.
    Well before saying your derailleur is absolute crap you should get it tuned. IF the bike is way to small for you maybe you should just cough up the dough for a new one.

  15. #15
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    I didn't say it was absolute crap... I said it's not working. I also said in previous posts that it needs tuned.... sooooooo, I know lol

  16. #16
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    Saddle looks way low to me. What kind of riding do you do? For anything other than dirt jumping and downhill, you'd probably be happier with it higher. Experiment, and see what works for you.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  17. #17
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    Oh yeah, in that pic its way low... I jack it up to about as high as it can go normally, that pic was taken right after I got it out of my Jeep lol. I'd like to say my favorite riding style is coasting down off-road trails, but that's only because I'm out of shape and I don't have experience with anything else haha.

    I did my best at tuning it up after work tonight, and got it shifting better. I'm not so sure its the derailleurs fault as much as being gunked up and the cables and everything being dirty/old. I'd love to strip it all down, clean everything well and put it back together but I'm set to ride with some friends Thursday morning and won't have time.

    For the $120 I have in it thus far, I'm not complaining... but being that its a small frame and its my first bike, I doubt I'll be dumping money into this bike. I think I'll use this as a way to familiarize myself with the mechanical and maintenance aspect of the sport, and maybe make it just a single-speed downhill/trail bike while I save up for something I really want.

    Who knows, I'm new to all this... but I'm eager to get on the trail Thursday and work on cleaning it up, tuning it, breaking it, and riding the heck out of it for now haha

  18. #18
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    See, I have about the same budget. No luck to far.

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