Results 1 to 20 of 20
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    6

    New to MTB and need advice

    I'm a roadie and need and entry level mountain bike to do some tame trails and run my dogs. I'm 62 and go about 170lbs and hit the road or a trainer for 20-30 miles a day. I may use the MTB once or twice a week. I have a budget of about $700. There's a Specialized store in town that can get me out the door with a Rockhopper Comp for that price. Understanding the downside is the fork, does anyone have a better suggestion?

    Any advice taken and appreciated.

    Steve

  2. #2
    ●●●●●●●●◌◌
    Reputation: phlegm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,055
    Welcome!

    Going used is always better value, but there's some risk, and it requires a bit more knowledge and research. Your road background would surely help you identify (and likely fix) drivetrain issues, however you'd probably have to familiarize yourself with suspension a bit more. (That said, leaks and scratched stanchions are easy to see.)

    I think though that for most newcomers the warranty and included service is worth the extra cost of that bike. As per a specific brand, the big names all offer similar bikes for any given pricepoint, so it really comes down to the local shop, and how you like them.

    Don't skimp on the helmet (consider MIPS on any you buy), and you likely already have clear eye protection. (Road-based shaded likely too dark for the bush.)

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    6
    Thanks phlegm for the welcome and sound advice on the bike purchase. The few used bikes I've looked at have been ridden hard, so I was going to go in the new direction until I learn more.

    I was hoping to use my Bell road MIPS helmet, is there some reason why it won't work?

    I hadn't even thought about the eye protection, what do you ride with? Do you recommend clear or lightly tinted shades? So much to learn.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    190
    if you are just wanting a bike that you can ride on 'tame trails' then you could just about buy anything out there and it will fill the need. Coming from a road bike line, I'd suggest getting a 29er as you are likely to find it more comfortable to ride. I'd just suggest if getting a bike with a front shock so make sure it's air/oil and not just spring ( I don't think they make any elistimer ones still ).

    With a dog in tow, your not going to be going very fast.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    6
    Thanks roadkill401, I had a 29er in my sights. I've tried to read a bunch about these bikes and there seems to be a ever present theme to stay away from coil forks. The Rockhopper I'm looking at has this fork - "SR Suntour XCM w/ MCD 29, coil spring, custom Multi-Circuit damping, QR, 80/90/100mm travel (size-specific), 51mm offset"

    Can you or someone else point me to a thread that explains the downside to this type of fork? So far I've only read the "pogo stick" comparison.

    I appreciate any and all feedback. Thanks!

  6. #6
    jcd's best friend
    Reputation: Battery's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    1,001
    I think it depends on how you want to ride a spring fork bike. Most casual riders who prefer flat dirt trails or concrete paths would not mind an entry level bike with a spring fork.

    I started out on a Rockhopper 29er myself and didn't mind it at first. After about a month of riding, I became more aggressive and the fork didn't do me any favors.

    Eventually, I sold that Rockhopper and picked up an 05 Intense Uzzi VPX which had a Rock Shox 160mm spring fork and a spring rear shock. I tell ya what...that bike handled all my shenanigans! That bike was designed for all-mountain style riding so it handled all the punishment at the expense of climbing. I had a hard time climbing due to the bike weight and the fork.

    So what did I learn about spring forks? Well, the 100mm spring forks are great for easy riding while the 160mm spring forks are awesome for free ride trails. This was my experience with spring forks and everyone else may have other conclusions or experiences that differ from mine.

    I have an air fork now and it feels very smooth. I also love the idea that I can add or remove air to help dial in the ride.
    Trek Émonda SL6 | Octane One Prone 29

  7. #7
    ●●●●●●●●◌◌
    Reputation: phlegm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,055
    Quote Originally Posted by steking View Post
    Thanks phlegm for the welcome and sound advice on the bike purchase. The few used bikes I've looked at have been ridden hard, so I was going to go in the new direction until I learn more.

    I was hoping to use my Bell road MIPS helmet, is there some reason why it won't work?

    I hadn't even thought about the eye protection, what do you ride with? Do you recommend clear or lightly tinted shades? So much to learn.
    Helmet should be fine. For whatever reason I see MIPS (extra concussion protection supposedly) as even more important in the woods, but I suppose any crash is a crash.

    Bugs hit me on the road, but bugs AND branches hit me in the woods. While you can get light-adjusting shades, I've found clear eye protection to be the best, and they're cheap. Some people, including myself, use gloves as well. Your call on knee protection - I don't use them. Also, wear your road chamois or bib on the trails too for a bit of extra protection. You may or may not want to swap out the OEM saddle to suit your sit bones - exactly as you might on the road.


    Quote Originally Posted by steking View Post
    Thanks roadkill401, I had a 29er in my sights. I've tried to read a bunch about these bikes and there seems to be a ever present theme to stay away from coil forks. The Rockhopper I'm looking at has this fork - "SR Suntour XCM w/ MCD 29, coil spring, custom Multi-Circuit damping, QR, 80/90/100mm travel (size-specific), 51mm offset"

    Can you or someone else point me to a thread that explains the downside to this type of fork? So far I've only read the "pogo stick" comparison.

    I appreciate any and all feedback. Thanks!
    A coil fork has a fixed amount of force it can push back with, subject to some adjustment. An air fork has a broader range of adjustment, based on the pressure you use (you'd need a fork pump). Also, the lack of the physical coil makes the air-based shock far lighter.

    A coil could be perfect for a given rider, but riders on the light side of the range will fail to activate it sufficiently, while heavier riders won't get sufficient return.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    190
    The coil fork works on a different process than an air-oil. The spring inside the XCM has a pre-tensioned spring inside that basically used to absorb bumps on a trail. Your only control is the amount of pre-tension you put on the spring. Too little and you will bottom out the fork as you run out of travel before the spring can provide enough resistance. Too much pre-tension and the spring resistance force it too great to absorb anything. The design works great with lighter people and not so well with heavy.

    By comparison, an air/oil shock uses two systems to absorb bumps. The air on one side is like a better version of a coil spring. As the air compresses, it becomes stiffer and gives you more resistance. You can control two parts. the amount of air, and the amount of space in which the air is compressed. This allows you to adjust for the amount of sag from your weight and how quickly it will compress so you don't bottom out. On the other side is the oil. it goes through a damper that controls how fast (speed) the forks can move in both directions. This is what reduces the pogo effect as it limits the fork from compressing too quickly, and also from rebounding back too quickly when the load is taken away. This is the element missing in the Suntour XMC.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    462
    Suntour has an upgrade program so you can upgrade the fork at a later date for a relatively low cost, if you find out that you need something better: https://www.srsuntour.com/pages/upgrade.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    6
    Thanks phlegm, roadkill401, Battery and Sparkman999 for taking the time to educate me. I think it comes down to whether I want to pay for the fork now or later. If I bump my budget up $200 I can get into the Rockhopper Expert that has a SR Suntour XCR-Air 29, and some upgraded components. Almost seems like a no brainer at this point.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: targnik's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    4,632
    Stay away from coils!

    Just saying...

    $700 should get you a nice, lightly used HT ^^

    Always people looking for funds to get into full suss ;-)

    Perhaps, ask around @LBS? Check your local listings?

    Anything with straight Deore components will do the job.

    Get out into the wilderness! You'll definitely be hitting the trails more often, once you've tasted the kewl-ayd =)

    'We'll all make it to the top... Some of us, might not make it to the bottom'
    "Mountain biking: the under-rated and drug-free antidepressant"

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by targnik View Post

    Get out into the wilderness! You'll definitely be hitting the trails more often, once you've tasted the kewl-ayd =)
    I'm really looking forward to it. Just have to get the right vehicle to make it happen!

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Lone Rager's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    4,442
    ...unless of course you're looking at longer travel high-end bikes in which case coils can be superior to air springs.

    The fact is it's not the coil spring that makes the fork inferior. It just happens to be an inferior fork with a coil spring. At the low end, coils are cheaper than air springs. The next step up in forks use air because it's easier to adjust for a wide range of rider weights than changing out springs. The next step up also usually has better damping circuits. What that means is if you're looking at entry level bikes, air spring forks are generally better than coil spring forks.
    Do the math.

  14. #14
    ●●●●●●●●◌◌
    Reputation: phlegm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,055
    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    ...unless of course you're looking at longer travel high-end bikes in which case coils can be superior to air springs.

    The fact is it's not the coil spring that makes the fork inferior. It just happens to be an inferior fork with a coil spring. At the low end, coils are cheaper than air springs. The next step up in forks use air because it's easier to adjust for a wide range of rider weights than changing out springs. The next step up also usually has better damping circuits. What that means is if you're looking at entry level bikes, air spring forks are generally better than coil spring forks.
    Great point that often isn't mentioned, but in the context of entry level forks, the coil is a drawback for many unless you're in the sweet spot.

  15. #15
    since 4/10/2009
    Reputation: Harold's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    23,201
    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    ...unless of course you're looking at longer travel high-end bikes in which case coils can be superior to air springs.

    The fact is it's not the coil spring that makes the fork inferior. It just happens to be an inferior fork with a coil spring. At the low end, coils are cheaper than air springs. The next step up in forks use air because it's easier to adjust for a wide range of rider weights than changing out springs. The next step up also usually has better damping circuits. What that means is if you're looking at entry level bikes, air spring forks are generally better than coil spring forks.
    I was just going to make this point. It's not the coil that makes the fork crappy. What makes entry level forks not so hot are other things like durability, stiffness, long-term serviceability, less adjustability, and lower performing damping. One of the more obvious ways this manifests itself is with plastic parts on the fork. Still, today's entry level coil forks are infinitely better than my first suspension fork - which used elastomers. Depending on where in TX you are, your terrain may not push your suspension fork very hard, even with harder riding. Say, if you're in Houston, you'll have to push the bike far harder than you would in, say, Austin, which has terrain that will expose the weaknesses of an entry level fork pretty quickly, even with mellow riding.

    Honestly, I think that buying the less expensive bike and taking the Suntour Upgrade Program option (at about $200 will get you a much better fork upgrade) will have a better result than ponying up for a bike that spreads a $200 price increase over multiple components. Drivetrain components wear out or break (esp on mountain bikes that get crashed in the woods) and need replacing, anyway, so I wouldn't worry about the less expensive one being lower end there. That's easy enough to do later. The fork is a bigger deal, though.

    Your road helmet will be fine for now, but consider another one for mtb if you decide you really like it and want to do more.

    I feel like the best reasons why aren't really discussed much, but they're what result in some of the design differences you actually see. With conditions being a lot more variable in mtb, sometimes you want protection in different parts of your head. Many mtb helmets cover lower on the back and sides of your head for this reason. Another thing to consider. I read an article awhile back that discussed this, and at this point there's no way I'd be able to find it again, is that a helmet with a smoother, more rounded shape is more protective against concussions than MIPS alone. Think, nothing pointy in the back, and fewer hard edges to catch on irregularities in the ground and yank your head around.

    Just about all of Bell's mtb helmets this year have this kind of shape to some degree.
    https://www.bellhelmets.com/cycling/helmets/dirt/

    Glasses are just as important, if not moreso, than a helmet for mtb use, IMO. If all you do is start with a pair of clear safety glasses from the hardware store, you're in good shape. I like better ones, so I spend more. Most of the reason why is related to fit, honestly. Most of the rest is related to ventilation. I live/ride in humid climates mostly, so foggy lenses are a constant battle. Depending on where in TX you live, you may or may not have much trouble with this.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: iliketexmex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    517
    At that budget, you should also at least try a fat bike. They won't have suspension at that price, but you can get away without it with those big tires. Usually the brake and derailleur specs are good for the money because there is no suspension. They are a lot of fun. If you ride sand, or would like some extra grip confidence, it is hard to beat

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Posts
    6
    Harold, I am just outside of Houston, so that's why I put tame trails. I have to search hard for a decent hill to climb on the road.

    I ended up pulling the trigger on this today. 9 bills out the door....well they had to order it and when it comes in, it's out the door. I think it has everything I'll need for a while. Probably put a Deore on the front derailer.

    https://www.specialized.com/us/en/me...=240205-128928

    Just like road bikes there's no end to the amount of money you can spend on one. I do appreciate everyone's informed input.

    Steve

  18. #18
    ●●●●●●●●◌◌
    Reputation: phlegm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,055
    Cheers Steve, enjoy!

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation: tothetrail.tv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Posts
    43
    Quote Originally Posted by steking View Post
    I was hoping to use my Bell road MIPS helmet, is there some reason why it won't work?
    For tame trails, it'll be ok. For anything where you're potentially going to be getting to know the ground a little better a MTB specific helmet will likely give better coverage of your head (particularly the back). Might be worth looking into as you progress.
    A Mountain Biking Channel You Should Watch:
    http://tothetrail.tv

  20. #20
    since 4/10/2009
    Reputation: Harold's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    23,201
    Quote Originally Posted by steking View Post
    I ended up pulling the trigger on this today. 9 bills out the door....well they had to order it and when it comes in, it's out the door. I think it has everything I'll need for a while. Probably put a Deore on the front derailer.
    Congrats. Don't bother with the front derailleur. you're not going to notice any performance improvements.

Similar Threads

  1. New to MTB and need advice on bike choice
    By Nightwish76 in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 05-31-2015, 08:48 AM
  2. New to MTB and need advice
    By clarkster in forum 29er Bikes
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: 05-11-2013, 12:16 PM
  3. new to mtb need new bike advice pls
    By mirageman in forum Beginner's Corner
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 05-06-2012, 09:36 AM
  4. Replies: 18
    Last Post: 02-18-2012, 07:09 PM
  5. Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-15-2011, 06:25 AM

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

mtbr.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.