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 the sport, and Saying but with questions.

    Hello all, been browsing the site the last two nights. My wife and i have decided to pick up some biking as a new hobby. Well, not only for a hobby but for getting back in to shape, and good health .

    LOL birthday was the 12th, and had to have a check up, and blood pressure was super pumped( hereditary) .... Turned 28 on the 12th. Well after a good talk with the Dr, And the wife. Blood pressure medicine and discussing some life style changes we have decided upon biking. ( i know not funny, but i guess it helps a little trying to find some humor in it)

    Well, here is where my problem comes in....
    I purchased before i researched...

    And of course we stopped at walmart..

    Well, I was able to pick up a mongoose snare for cheap.(an older bike after coming home and researching) and my wife was picked up a mongoose element. all in all i think we came out 420 some dollars.
    We have a 2 year old and my wife is a stay at home mom. So a budget was in play here as well.
    We picked these up on friday and have rode the jeebus out of them. Nice wooded trails with nice stumps, a little mud some inclines, and declinces. Nothing to major i would say. Other than the butt hurting
    neither of us can complain. We have had a blast on this weekend .
    After reading online , i regret my purchase as i feel our bikes are going to fall apart.. From all the reading and mongoose/wallyworld bashing.
    But i guess my question is... Did i screw up and possibly make this experience bad for my wife and by purchasing these two bikes?
    sorry for the length of my first post here on the forums.

  2. #2
    'Tis but a scratch
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    Dude, you made some right decisions. You realized you need to work on your health and your doing something about it.

    You did not buy the greatest bikes, but I assume you bought what you can afford. If you have been riding the bejesus out of them, then you can't return them. So, asking us if you screwed up will only depress you. Not too many people start in any sport and buy the best. So, I've owned some serious POS bikes in my life. When i was a kid what I used to take in the woods was definitely not made for the purpose, but I did it anyways.

    I doubt you will find any recommendations on MTBR for Walmart bikes. Do not sink much money into them as far as upgrading them. Basic repairs and such, OK, but understand that the core of the bike being the frame and the wheels are not worth hanging pricey components off of.

    Just realize that Walmart bikes are not made for aggressive trail riding. In all likelihood they may even say that they are not trail rated. So, be careful not to take them on anything too aggressive. As you progress in the sport you will want better equipment. As such, save and buy something nicer when you can.

    Ride what you got, don't worry what others think and enjoy. But, do realize those bikes are not made for hard trail riding.

    And welcome to the sport! Its addicting.

  3. #3
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Did she have fun?

    There's your answer.

    Let's look at what you have in hand: Two time-limited but, at present, functional bicycles that you're learning about the sport on.

    Now, I share the forum's general opinion of Walmart Mongooses. But you made a first step - I don't think you should beat yourself up over it. Some people stay on the couch and do the medication and sometimes people still die in their 40s even though a lot of this stuff is pretty well understood and they have doctors to tell them what they should be changing.

    Moving forward, IMO you should take these bikes as giving you a chance to learn about bikes and riding, and help you go into a more informed future purchase. You do also have a little more time to look for a bike you're likely to be able to ride long-term and that fits in your budget.

    Depending on your budget, you can stretch a buck pretty far buying used bikes. It helps to know a bit about bikes, of course. For $200, I think I could pick up an older rigid bike from a major brand and with reasonably good components bolted to it. Moving up in price, of course you move up in features. But you have a budget. I'd consider a bicycle to fit in a similar budget range to a home entertainment system or a mattress, to give you a sense of a way to peg the cost.

    So figure out what you're comfortable spending and let us know. People will have a few ideas of how best to stretch your buck.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    We have seen that its very addicting, and will not be upgrading them. I did finally find some reviews on the SNARE and everyone seemed to love it, other than the weight . We could have splurged a good bit more... But we got to get the jist of the sport. And thanks for reply. We will probably have many more questions during our learning process here. lol .

    The wife has approved if we get comfy with what we have and enjoy it this much in a few months time then we can spend some savings ($1200-$2200) on two bikes :-)

  5. #5
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    Re: New to the sport, and Saying but with questions.

    Welcome! We've all been there. I hope you and you're wife are having fun. If you are, kudos! If not, its gets better. I promise. Go ahead and start hanging out at a bike shop near you and developed a relationship with them. They will be your best friends for many years to come. Start thinking of a budget and feel free to post any CL findings here. I'm sure me or someone else will help when we can. Your bike shop.may even have previous year or older entry level bikes at a nice discount. They're typically a good frame with lower spec fork and wheels. You can ride the Crap outta them and replace what breaks and you would feel no.regret putting money Into it. Also i advise against a full suspension until you decide you really like the sport and want to stick withit. You want to invest a good amount for a safe, good full suspension bike. There are awesome hardtails for well under $1000. Can't say the same for FS unless its older.
    There's something about those long grueling climbs that gets my front end all stiff... And I'm not talking about lockout...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Did she have fun?
    There's your answer.
    .
    She had an absolute blast.LOL
    Thanks for the constructive replies guys. It really means alot to us "noobs" lol
    We are going to give it a few months and see how it goes. we have no plans of anytype of serious down hill, or xtreme mtn climbing or anything. just casual trail riding and road riding. ( "yet") lol

  7. #7
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    $1200-$2200 (or $600-$1100 as the case may be) is a pretty big range. IME, $600 is enough for my friends to start out on used but race-ready bikes. And me to kick myself for having spent about the same at retail. $1100 is kind of a funny pricepoint. While used bikes go for that sometimes, they do start to get harder to find. I think bikes that cost enough new to sell for that used tend to circulate within groups of friends by word-of-mouth, or go through a few incarnations and get parted, or at least their owners hold onto them until they're good and obsolete and everyone here will tell you to steer clear. But, it's good to have some head room in your budget and it wouldn't be the first time I'm wrong...

    I don't see $1100 as a great price on a retail mountain bike right now. It's just a tiny bit too low to get something that comes with a "real" fork out of the box, and the rest of the specs sometimes still have a compromise or two. I figure if I'm not getting a bike that I like right out of the box at that price, why should I pay so much more when there are other bikes I won't quite like right out of the box and that cost a lot less?

    It's good that you're going to take some time, however. Figure out where riding takes you. Mountain bikes may not even be where you go, ultimately. I always feel like a traitor saying it on this site, but I get more of my miles on the road and probably more of my saddle time, especially when I count commuting. $1100 is actually a pretty good pricepoint on new road bikes. While they don't come with parts that impress fashion victims, they do come with a solid build that will give good service.

    The only thing I really worry about with Walmart bikes is the brakes. Can you post some pics? Otherwise, I think that a lot of the immediate problems people have with them are related to tuning, which you can fix easily enough. Check out parktool.com. It has clear and well-photographed articles concerning almost every maintenance task on a bike.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    WM has a 90 day return policy. Or you can buy insurance to extend that to 1 year no questions asked.

  9. #9
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    if you have the option to return it like eb1888 said I would do it while you can. I broke my $400 department store bike 4 times while under warranty before they finally oferred me a refund. Once they did I took my $400 i got back and bought a qaulity used bike. I've never had a problem since getting my "real" bike. It's funer, lighter, and stronger!

  10. #10
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    Thanks again guys for the help. My wife and i talked a good bit about it all again last night before laying down. Told her what you guys had mentioned and she seems to look at it the way i do for right now and agree with all of you.
    We will hold on to what we got for a few months, learn and grasp everything we can and get comfortable with the sport. Then splurge and spend some money.

    Here is a picture i found online of my bike , i will take more when i get home from work and some of my wife's so you can tell us what you think AndrwSwitch.
    Shimano Altus 24-speed drive train
    24-speed with EZ-Fire trigger shifters
    Suntour cross-country suspension fork
    36-spoke black anodized alloy rims
    Aluminum dual suspension frame with mega spring
    Alloy forged 3-piece crank
    ProMax dual disc brakes

    Name:  0003867548688_500X500.jpg
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Legrant View Post
    ...Well, I was able to pick up a mongoose snare for cheap.(an older bike after coming home and researching) and my wife was picked up a mongoose element. all in all i think we came out 420 some dollars.
    ...
    We picked these up on friday and have rode the jeebus out of them. Nice wooded trails with nice stumps, a little mud some inclines, and declinces. Nothing to major i would say. Other than the butt hurting
    neither of us can complain. We have had a blast on this weekend .....
    Look you paid $420 for 2 bikes. That is cheap and given that both of you are just starting... Fine. Ride these till something happens and enjoy. You can get better bikes, but will be spending double the money. The bikes will not fall apart right way, but if they get out pedaling that is nothing, but good. This sport can seem expensive and when you are looking at 2 bikes expenses are double. It is fine to start simple and move on as time goes on.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  12. #12
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    Thanks Joe. We talked about the whole having to budget for 2 , and it does seem expensive. But my wife and i enjoy doing all we can together, and i need the healthy benefits of this.

  13. #13
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    Cheap FS bikes are a weird thing. They look like they can handle alot, but really can't and are heavy. Best advice is to keep the trails mild and ride them. In time learn what you like to ride and where. Do you like the climbs, downhills or flats. Do you avoid the rocks and roots or seek them out. Or are you just happier on smooth ground?

    Saving up for bikes at 1200-2200 is a good idea, but the best thing to do is ride what have and use this time understand your wants and needs for the next bikes. To be honest first purchases are often very hard since you don't know what you don't know. Now that you have something to ride you can learn and make well informed second purchases that hit the mark spot on.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  14. #14
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    Around here we don't have any rocks so its normally just large roots and some hills. Narrow wooded paths with downed limbs . So its not to rough , and nothing to fast. And we like that right now. But like you said , in time we will find what makes us happy.
    As far as the bike is concerned my snare seems to handle the trails we have here pretty good, Its a comfortable ride (once i got it adjusted to my liking)

  15. #15
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    Looks like Promax uses a clone of the Avid BB5 pad. So you can maintain them.

    Some Walmart bikes have stamped sheet metal brakes that are pretty scary. But you're probably fine for as long as these bikes last.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    Lol. Well that makes me feel a little better.

  17. #17
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    I'm very glad you went to the doctor and have come up with a plan to get healthy. I'm 47 and was in the same boat as you. For years I did a little bit of activity took the pills that were prescribed but I never really improved my health. I was slightly over weight, my cholesterol was too high and I had hypertension. Even with taking my meds.

    2 years ago my wife dragged me to the gym because she got a groupon for 90 day trial membership. We took a bunch of group fitness classes but eventually ended up on really liking spin classes. I've been going at least 3 times a week for the last year and a half. I also started to commute to work by bicycle 2 times a week during spring, summer and fall.

    I've lost my extra weight, my cholesterol is well under control, and with a low sodium diet my hypertension is gone. If I can do it, you can do it.

    As far as your bikes go, it sounds like they will work for riding around the neighborhood. I wouldn't recommend any advanced down hill runs or large jumps on those. (lol) They should last you a good year or longer. After that you will know if you will keep up with it, and can make the decision on getting better bikes latter on.

    Have fun, keep up with it. Good luck!

  18. #18
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    Thank you for the constructive help as well.
    My health as a whole is good. Not really over weight im 6'3 and 230 lbs. But im a solid guy. Dr said i was good except for the blood pressure, Was high enough to get her worried and to put the whole get it fixed or stroke out later talk. That and have a history of it in my family. LOL . I used to be a lot healthier, ate better. Worked out, lifted weights. Got married, had a child and kinda got out of the grind. But its time to get this fixed, I have no plans of leaving my wife and son behind because of something like this. And im glad you guys have been here on the backing of the sport , and with your opinions on what we should do.

  19. #19
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    Put the time into riding and I bet you can drop 40lbs easy and drop the blood pressure to the excellent range. Just get out there and work at it.

    When I started riding I was about 200lbs , but only 5'7". Never worried about blood pressure, but I was young(24 yrs old) and no family history. It took me about 4-5 months, but I dropped 45lbs and have been down in 150-160 range ever since. I also took a break from riding when I got married had a child, but I started back up about 18 months ago. This time I went from 170 to 152 and am at 38 years old strong, leaner and more fit than ever. Blood Pressure is excellent as well. I eat well to stay healthy and fit, but that is sort of side effect. At this point I ride and eat to stay fit because when I am fit I ride faster, longer and clean more demanding terrain as compared to being less fit and more tired. This allows me to have more fun. All the other benefits are just gravy. Right now I am more fit and riding better at 38 than ever did at 28.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  20. #20
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    LOL, i havent weighed less that 200 lbs since middle school always been active though (soccer, paintball etc) . But i agree , just get straight to it. Eat healthier, exercise, and ride.
    Hoping its not raining when i get home so i can get a little time in when i get home from work here @ 5 .

  21. #21
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    I would check the warranty to see how long it lasts. maybe consider extending it. (check the deductible)

    just keep riding, . If they start to break down, get warranty service on them. If they don't, you're fine. There is nothing to worry about on the bikes. After the warranty expires and the bike breaks?, then you have a year of riding under your belt and will better understand what you want.

  22. #22
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    Hi Legrant and welcome to MTBR and the sport.

    I started on a Sam's club bike. I think they really are better than a lot of people here believe. It was hardtail with a rigid fork, and I didn't ride nearly as aggressively as I do now. I ended up donating it to a bike charity and someone is probably riding it to work now

    I "upgraded" to an old Schwinn Mesa that I found at a thrift store. Not a great bike, but has a nice low gear, better brakes, and doesn't weigh a ton. I still keep it running as a spare or when we go to the beach. THAT is what got me interested enough in the sport to go blow a couple grand on a "good" bike.

    Now I'm hooked and Wife just mentioned that I don't need to lose any more weight. Better get that one in writing!


    So, just enjoy what you have (take off the reflectors and kick stands tho ) -- they aren't going to fly apart and kill you or anything. Have fun, and meanwhile learn more about it, try other people's bikes, go to factory demos, and about this time next year if not sooner you will be be knowledgeable about the sport and know what you want, and have some money saved up. Donate the Wal-Mart bikes and get a tax writeoff. They will be a hell of a lot better than walking for someone.
    Last edited by DennisF; 03-19-2013 at 07:17 PM.

  23. #23
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    I will look in to that Bob13bob , Thanks for that idea.

    Reflectors are already off, but the kick stand is still there lol. The wife wants to sit down tonight and do some local bike shop searching. Just so we can take a look and better ideas on pricing .

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Legrant View Post
    I will look in to that Bob13bob , Thanks for that idea.

    Reflectors are already off, but the kick stand is still there lol. The wife wants to sit down tonight and do some local bike shop searching. Just so we can take a look and better ideas on pricing .
    Even if you want to buy new bikes right now... Don't. Ride what you have for bit just to get feel for what you like. If you don't you might buy a new "better" bike only to find that does fit they way you want to ride. What you have is enough to get you riding and trying out the trails.

    As a rule of thumb. $600 should get you a good entry level hardtail bike that you can ride everywhere and will last, but will be a little on the heavy side and not have all the cool bits. $1500 will get you nice long term hardtail. For a really good FS bike you probably need to be $2500 or more. This is a lot of money to spend, but can be worth it if that is what you want to ride.

    Or you may choose to just ride on roads and get road bike. $1100 for road bike will get you nice road bike you hang on to for years and ride many many miles.


    Personally I have nice light hardtail and it suits my needs very well. I ride a mixture trails from smooth to rocky to technical. Given my enjoyment I see no need for a FS, but every rider is different.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  25. #25
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    Here are the pics you wanted AndrwSwitch sorry for the delay. The little man of the house got sick, so been helping the wife around the house and with him.

    Name:  20130318_190321.jpg
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Size:  74.4 KBNew to the sport, and Saying but with questions.-20130318_190429.jpg

    the red and white is hers. the grey is mine.

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