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 to MTB converting from Motocross Looking for First Bike

    How's it going everyone?

    So I am trying to get into MTBing after being a motocross rider for 13 years because I was told I wasn't allowed to ride my motorcycle to avoid getting hurt prior to attending a police academy. This is the 2nd time this happened so it will leave me off my bike for 3 of the last 6 years. I came to the conclusion mountain biking would be the closest to motocross I could get and it would also provide for some really good exercise to get me ready for my academy.

    So that introduction is put into perspective where I am coming from and maybe see if that will help you help in picking a new bike and maybe even some riding styles that would be helpful.

    I am looking for a decent entry level bike. Weight is not an issue to me... after riding a 280 pound bike, a bicycle weighing 30 - 40 pounds seems really light to me. I want something that I can be aggressive on, but won't require me to apply for a 2nd mortgage to pay off. I would like Full Suspension, but at least for sure Front Suspension. Disk brakes would be nice because there are some good hills back home that the extra stopping power would be helpful.

    I am not really sure about what other components would be important to me, but any bike suggestions y'all can come up with or any info you need to help you make a suggest let me know.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Do you have a price range in mind?
    "Ideal bikes are not bought, they evolve beneath you"

  3. #3
    Interplanetary Poultry
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    Quote Originally Posted by jearl View Post
    Do you have a price range in mind?
    +1 Price makes all the difference. Also, are you going to be aiming more towards dirt jumping and downhill, or more trail/XC riding?
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  4. #4
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    Price Range... well Free would be the preferred price, but being that the likelihood of that is low, I would say I would like to look in the $300 - $500 range just to get things started.

    I am looking to ride some XC/Trials, as well as do some downhill and some jumping. Basically a little of everything, the XC/Trials for the exercise and the downhill for the speed and adrenaline I got on the dirt bike. Right now in San Antonio it will probably be mostly XC/Trials until I move back to CA.

    Also if it saves me money, I am very mechanically inclined and I am not opposed to building a bike. Also not at all opposed to being a well used bike and upgrading as necessary.

  5. #5
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    "Trials" or "trails?"

    Even used, I think $500 is really challenging for a full suspension bike that would be worth owning. It can get you a nice hardtail though.

    IME, upgrading a cheap bike is an expensive way to put together a mid-priced bike. Spend what you can afford/stomach upfront and try not to throw parts at the bike afterwards.

    For trail riding, getting the fit right is the most important thing. Having a used bike shop near you can help with this - you get the opportunity to ride a bunch of bikes in your size range, and each only costs you a few minutes.

    For $500, look for a name-brand suspension fork and disc brakes.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    I don't think a FS bike worth riding for under $1500 exists. You can get a decent entry level hard tail for aroubd $800. You will want to replace it in a year or so.

  7. #7
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    You can get an Airborne Guardian for $600. Not a poorly spec'ed out bike for the price. Granted it is a hardtail 29er. Otherwise it'll be tough to find something in your price range that will do what you want it to. You can get a hardtail dirtjumper from Airborne, Soul, or maybe a few other places for about that much as well but you won't be doing XC on it.
    Editor In Chief, "Internet Tough Guy Magazine"
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  8. #8
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    I just went into a bike shop and got sized for a 15.5 inch top tube from but all the bikes were over 2000. I am a bit surprised considering a used dirt bike costs about the same.

    Besides the obvious, what is the real difference in riding a full suspension and fork suspension bike?

  9. #9
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    You can sit while pedalling a FS bike through stuff that you would have to stand and mash through on a hardtail. There's more to it to that but that is the main advantage for xc riding.

    Get ready to open your wallet wiiiiide! You generally get what you pay for in terms of performance and durability.
    Last edited by mack_turtle; 09-23-2013 at 01:10 PM.

  10. #10
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    So essentially with the exception of the downhill riding I want to do, the difference would be using my knees as suspension as opposed to the bike.

  11. #11
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    For the price range you are in I would keep my eye out for a used hard tail with a better front suspension on it then what you will get if you buy new at the same price.
    "Ideal bikes are not bought, they evolve beneath you"

  12. #12
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    So at the risk of being alienated for being super cheap...

    I have found some full suspension bikes from places like Dick's Sporting Goods, Wal-Mart, etc.

    Some of the bikes of full suspension and disk brakes; I realize these aren't going to perform at the same level as other bikes and probably will not last as long, but for a bike just to get me out there and test the waters of MTBing, would these do the trick?

  13. #13
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    Well, they may well make you never want to ride again. . . . . .
    Editor In Chief, "Internet Tough Guy Magazine"
    "Home of Chuck Norris' Keyboard"

  14. #14
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    Most of those bikes have sticker on them that says not intended for off road use. I started mountain biking to stay in shape for enduro's . Bought a $350 bike ,broke the frame in about 5 months ,upgraded to a $1000 bike ,rode that for 8 months or so ,upgraded that to a used 1800$ bike rode that for next 8 or 9 years replacing parts as they wore. Buy something used ,mid grade ,ride it until it breaks .If you decide you don't like biking you will be able to sell it for about what you paid for it.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MotoXConvert View Post
    So at the risk of being alienated for being super cheap...
    The topic of department store bikes has been discussed to death on this forum. The general conclusion is that they are a waste of time and often dangerous to ride on any "real" trails. The suspension on a cheap bike like that perform like crap. Like i said, you get what you pay for. How would you expect a $250 motorcycle to perform? And if it was assembled by guys with impact wrenches and no clue in a back room at Walmart?

    Your best bet is to look for a used hard tail in good condition or expand your budget a lot.

  16. #16
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    Quote Originally Posted by MotoXConvert View Post
    So at the risk of being alienated for being super cheap...

    I have found some full suspension bikes from places like Dick's Sporting Goods, Wal-Mart, etc.

    Some of the bikes of full suspension and disk brakes; I realize these aren't going to perform at the same level as other bikes and probably will not last as long, but for a bike just to get me out there and test the waters of MTBing, would these do the trick?
    Well, buying an FS bike at one of those places would be like purchasing a sniper rifle at Toys R' Us.
    "We LOVE cows! They make trails for us.....

    And then we eat them."

  17. #17
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    lol, well it would appear as though the point has been made on department store bikes... I am either going to set my sights on a used Hard Tail or the unlikely chance someone is selling an older full suspension bike in my price range. If I can't find either I may just find myself financing a new Trek.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MotoXConvert View Post
    How's it going everyone?

    So I am trying to get into MTBing after being a motocross rider for 13 years because I was told I wasn't allowed to ride my motorcycle to avoid getting hurt prior to attending a police academy. This is the 2nd time this happened so it will leave me off my bike for 3 of the last 6 years. I came to the conclusion mountain biking would be the closest to motocross I could get and it would also provide for some really good exercise to get me ready for my academy.

    So that introduction is put into perspective where I am coming from and maybe see if that will help you help in picking a new bike and maybe even some riding styles that would be helpful.

    I am looking for a decent entry level bike. Weight is not an issue to me... after riding a 280 pound bike, a bicycle weighing 30 - 40 pounds seems really light to me. I want something that I can be aggressive on, but won't require me to apply for a 2nd mortgage to pay off. I would like Full Suspension, but at least for sure Front Suspension. Disk brakes would be nice because there are some good hills back home that the extra stopping power would be helpful.

    I am not really sure about what other components would be important to me, but any bike suggestions y'all can come up with or any info you need to help you make a suggest let me know.

    Thanks in advance.
    To be fair that 280 pound bike you were riding had an GAS ENGINE, right? Well, with this one, YOU are the engine, and you will NOT like powering a 40 pound bike up much of a hill, my guess is you would end up giving up on the sport very quickly and then end up creating a great craigslist add for your "NEW" awesome mountain bike (check out the craigslist wtf thread).

    The topic of why mountain bikes are so expensive (compared to moto for example) as been discussed many times. It really boils down to the materials used in mountain bikes. The materials have to be both lightweight AND strong. It is possible to get one of those two for cheap (think motocross parts), but it is not possible to get both for cheap. Our mountain bikes take nearly the same beating as motocross bikes to and have to weigh a FRACTION of what motos do, thus the price tag.

    In my opinion full suspension bikes are way too often purchased by people who really do not need them. Unless you are doing hardcore downhill runs with lots of big drops I would go with a hardtail (especially in your price range).

  19. #19
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    IMO, financing a bike is a bad idea. It's almost guaranteed to drop in value and won't make you any money. You can decide if you want to stick to your budget or stretch a little, but until recently, every time one of my friends spent $500-$600 on a used bike, I kicked myself for getting mine retail.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  20. #20
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    I agree with the above ONLY in terms of 'in your price range'. $500 is a tough number to hit for a decent used FS bike. Double that though, and you should open up a whole lot of choices.

    I've been riding since long before FS was a viable option, so I've put my time in on plenty of hardtails, and I would without hesitation recommend a full suspension bike for the vast majority of beginner riders out there. The days of FS being useful for only a certain little niche have been gone for 15 years or so. I find them more fun for most trails, and coming from a moto background, am willing to bet you will too.

    Also, though a super light bike can be easier to climb on and is probably a necessity if you're planning on XC racing, most of the time for regular trail riding, a few pounds really doesn't matter all that much IMO (there are riders that obsesses about weight - they're referred to as 'weenies'). I've put so many miles on bikes that many posters here would consider pigs, it's not even funny. Those few extra pounds in the right places make my bike far more suited to my particular style of riding as well as more durable overall. Right now, my main trail bike weighs about 37lbs and has slack angles and ~7" of travel front and rear. I can pretty much guarantee that you would have a great time riding it, a lot more so than you would chattering down the trail on a super-twitchy anorexic race hardtail. (I tried that route too, and I don't enjoy it anywhere near as much.)

    As always, YMMV.

  21. #21
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    After reviewing some youtube videos of different riding, I think I am going to be more in XC style of riding. I kinda consider XC to be closer to motocross and DH more in tune with supercross. So I think I am going to start out on a hardtail. I think it will work out for me because I am already used to standing up all the time to get through rough stuff anyways.

    What are some decent HTs to start with?

  22. #22
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    Given your budget, start from the other direction - "what is available in my area for $500?"

    There are some things you can look for to help you narrow your choices. To begin with, look for a bike with a fork from RockShox, Fox or Marzocchi. There are some other brands making good forks, but you're a lot less likely to bump into them on the secondary market. Look for something with disc brakes. Look for at least an 8-speed cassette. I forget how tall you are, but you can probably narrow your range of feasible sizes to two or three before you start.

    And, get off the Internet and on the phone - call your local bike shops and ask about used and consignment bikes. It should only take a couple calls to find out what local shops do secondhand.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  23. #23
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    This BikeDirect Gravity Point 1 is $420 delivered. It has decent Shimano Alivio/Deore drive components and a Suntour fork designed for bike paths.
    Good geo similar to Trek and Scott.
    Nick at Suntour will send you an upgrade Raidon air fork for about $200 shipped.
    If you want to upgrade your Suntour fork
    You can do the install in 30 minutes.
    I would throw this SLX brake on the front for $60.
    BlueSkyCycling.com - Shimano SLX M666 Disc Brake w/ Adapter
    The best front brake is just as important in mtbiking.
    Ready to ride for $680.
    Another good upgrade is Nobby Nic Performance tires $37ea from ebikestop.
    https://www.ebikestop.com/schwalbe_n...ing-TR4912.php

  24. #24
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    So what is the difference between a XC HT and an AM HT? Is it just the travel of the front fork?

  25. #25
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    AM bikes will usually have slacker angles and a fork with more travel, and I think your analogy that XC is like motocross and DH like supercross is a little off. I'd say XC is more like a hare scramble. What was your budget when you bought your MX bike compared to all bikes available? FYI, buying a bike from Bikes Direct is like getting a motocross bike from Scooter Depot.

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