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 question here. Newb needs advice on how much to spend

    Hi guys,
    This is my first post on the forum.

    I'm looking at getting into riding with my wife, for fun and fitness at weekends. We will be riding x-country and trails, but no downhill (South Florida= no hills!)
    Ive seen lots of posts and info about 29 or 26 and decided to go with 29er, and am looking at the Fuji Nevada range. (open to other suggestions of course!)
    I can go up to $1000

    My question is: how much will i notice the difference between:
    $460 ($349 online) 2013 Fuji Nevada 29 1.9
    $890 ($675 online) 2013 Fuji Nevada 29 1.3
    $1100 ($835 online) 2013 Fuji Nevada 29 1.1

    Does price make such a big difference at my experience (almost zero) level?
    and how quickly will i grow out of these bikes, riding every weekend?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    I don't have a lot of time, but you more than likely will see a huge difference between the $1100 and $460, a big difference! Try them all out and see how they fit (they should have the same geometry right?)

  3. #3
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    Are you getting his and hers? I would recommend the 1.1, out of that list. I wouldn't trust the durability of the components on the other ones. The 1.1 has a decent drivetrain and okay brakes. I don't think any of them have great forks.

    Are you going the online route? Bikesdirect has Fantom Elite and X7 bikes that are at the top of your range, but have decent forks and some darn good other stuff. If you buy online, you'll have to do a little assembly yourself. You can pay a shop to do it, but they definitely charge ya.

    edit: at a certain price point, more money=lighter weight, more adjustability, and less noticeable performance improvements. At the prices you're looking at, durability is still a factor. Unless you are just riding around town every now and then, I'd avoid anything that's not close to the $1K mark.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    You guys suck im all bummed now

  4. #4
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    Yes his and hers: I was thinking about the Fuji Addy Sport or Addy Comp for her. What do you think?

    I was looking at Find Bikes, Cycling Clothing, Bike Parts & Bike Shoes Or Your Local Bike Store at Performance. for fuji. They deliver to their local shops for pickup, and assemble and tune it for free.
    I'll look at the bikesdirect options too.


    I am really only going to be riding trail/offroad, and not much about town, so if the durability is such a big factor then i guess i will have to go closer to the 1k mark than i was hoping!

  5. #5
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    When you say 1K, do you mean the List Price or the discounted Online price?

    BTW thanks for the help

  6. #6
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    The drivetrain will be fine. For whatever that's worth. I'd do my research on those brakes. And the fork's probably not going to last that long if you're out there every weekend.

    $1000 is a hard pricepoint because it's more money than, say, $500, but it still doesn't buy you name brand components with available service parts. You're relatively likely to want a new fork of some description down the road.

    Are you good with machines? As with cars, buying used can move the conversation away from comparing Kias...
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    If you can spend 1000 then spend it. Good advice above, 500 is going to need upgrades sooner then later. 1000 will at least let you find out how much you are into the sport. If you like it throw a better fork on the bike or sell it and buy a more expensive bike.

    Trek Mamba would be in that price range too with a rock shox x32 which isn't a great fork but is definitely better then the suntour.

  8. #8
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    If you are looking at Performance Bike and Fuji as your brand, I would suggest a 2012 closeout deal on the Fuji Tahoe. Much better components then the Nevada.
    2012 Fuji Tahoe 29 2.0 Mountain Bike - 29er Mountain Bikes
    2008 Redline Monocog 29er SS/Rigid
    2013 Marin Mount Vision XM7

  9. #9
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    I would skip the "savings" of a internet sourced bike myself, especially for a new rider. Your LBS can be a very valuable resource for free advice and minor repairs. Bring your internet bike into them and they'll be much less likely to give you anything.

    1) Your a new rider. Are you prepared to put together a partially assembled bike that arrives in pieces on your doorstep? Will the online vendor honor the warranty if not professionally assembled? Will you be able to make all of the "feel" adjustments to the bearings, shifters, and brakes that any bike requires?

    2) If anything does go wrong, are you comfortable dealing with the various mfrs that make each component in an attempt to get warranty service?

    3) These internet bikes tend to look very good from a listed component perspective, but all the parts that are not name brand, listed parts (such as the frame itself, stems, handlebars, seatposts, etc.) will be of the lowest possible quality. This limits repair-ability and upgrade-ability. For instance, the crankset is Shimano, but it's an octalink. These do not accept the same replaceable chain rings that the higher end cranksets do. So, if you wear out a chain ring, or want to change a ring out for any other reason, you need a whole new crankset. Also, the headset is 1-1/8" straight steerer. If you want to replace the fork, you'll have more limited upgrade options as the trend is towards tapered steerers so higher end forks are harder to find in 1-1/8". The general rule of thumb used to be "get the best frame you can afford, since you can upgrade the components over time." Still a good rule to live by, IMO. Internet bikes are the exact opposite: nice component list to draw you in, crappy frame and ancillary bits since you can't see them before buying, can't easily compare them just based on a name and part number, and mostly likely don't know what you're looking for anyway.

  10. #10
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    I remember reading some advice that suggested to spend as much as you can on the bike. I never really agreed with it until I bought a bike. As time went on, I slowly upgraded the bike and ended up with a bill of $800 more dollars to get better components, including a fork. So my advice, spend as much as you can now and it will save you money in the long run because there is no end when it comes to upgrades.

  11. #11
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    I knew there was a lot to consider... Thanks for the input guys
    I was hoping somebody would say: "go ahead and buy the $300 bike and see how you like it!!" but i kinda knew that wasn't going to happen.

    I'm pretty handy (work as marine engineer) and i guess i can learn to deal with the various repairs and adjustments, but no- i really don't have a clue about the "feel" adjustments. It seems like i ought to have the bike set up professionally at first, so i know what the standard is.

    By the same rational, if i buy a used bike i'm not sure i will be able to tell a good deal from a bad one, so that makes me a bit nervous. I think i will stick to buying a new bike, until i know the score a little more.

    I starting to get the idea about the different quality of components, so all this info you are giving me is making more sense.
    I think i'll go to a local store, demo some bikes, and then spend as much as i can afford!

    Thanks again for all the help. Much appreciated

  12. #12
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    The Airborne Guardian or Seeker are two bikes with good specs within your range.
    Airborne Bicycles. Guardian 2.0
    Airborne Bicycles. Seeker

    Want to put in a little more effort for a good bike? The BikeDirect Gravity Point 1 is a good base to build on. $419 to start. Good Alivio/Deore drive.
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Gravity 29Point1 29er Mountain Bikes
    Next upgrade the fork for 200 shipped from Nick at Suntour to a Raidon air.
    If you want to upgrade your Suntour fork
    Put on a Shimano SLX front brake for $70 from Bluesky--the best value out there.
    BlueSkyCycling.com - Shimano SLX M666 IceTech Disc Brake w/Adapter
    Add a Nobby Nic front tire from ebikestop for 37.
    Schwalbe Nobby Nic Tire 29x2. 25 Performance Folding @ eBikeStop.com
    You're only at $740.
    An ArchEX/Hope Pro 2 Evo front wheel would be another good move(9 1& 15mm caps, light and strong) $140 or so with a coupon at Wiggle.
    http://www.wiggle.com/hope-hoops-pro...nt-wheel/(says Arch but means Ex)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by milwocky View Post
    Hi guys,
    This is my first post on the forum.

    I'm looking at getting into riding with my wife, for fun and fitness at weekends. We will be riding x-country and trails, but no downhill (South Florida= no hills!)
    While there are no 'hills' in South Florida, most of the x-country down here are pretty awesome trails that require quite a bit of skill and a sturdy bike. Where are you in SOFLO and what trails do you plan on riding?
    NTFTC

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    The Airborne Guardian or Seeker are two bikes with good specs within your range.
    Airborne Bicycles. Guardian 2.0
    Airborne Bicycles. Seeker

    This was going to be my suggestion. A damn good spec and great reputation on this site.
    If $1k was my budget, I would go with the Seeker hands down!
    www.getbusylivin.org

    Redline Monocog Flight 29er
    Specialized Rockhopper 26er

  15. #15
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    I'm with Reverend Maynard. For your first bike, I think there's a lot to be gained from going to your local bike shop if you have a good one. . .and if you don't, where's the closest place there would be a good one? You're probably going to pay a little more than you would online, but they'll be able to talk to you one on one about what you're looking for, give you good suggestions, and most importantly, at least let you sit on the bike and pedal it around the parking lot for a bit. If they'll actually let you ride it out on the trail, obviously that's a huge plus, but the smaller shops usually can't afford to do this. Then, especially at the smaller shops, after you drop $1K or more (which actually isn't all that much money in their pockets), they're usually going to be more than willing to help you set the bike up correctly, help you out with minor maintenance, and serve as a ready source of information. Granted, you do have to be careful they're not trying to push something on you that's not right for you, so do your own research as well, but at least around where I live, I haven't had a problem with this. A happy customer is a repeat customer, and especially for the smaller shops, that's what they're looking for.

  16. #16
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    You need more to get a better one

  17. #17
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    The Airborne both look like they are good value for money.

    @thegweed: I live in South West Miami, and was looking at trails around Black Pointe Park (closest), but primarily Oleta State Park.
    Can you recommend any other good ones in the area?

  18. #18
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    I bought a Hardrock Sport 29er as a way into the sport, and it definitely served that role. I set my budget at $1000 and walked out of the shop having spent only $700. I thought it was the smart move until I was sure I'd want to keep riding. I rode it hard, but took care of everything the best I could. That included learning to tune the derailleurs and brakes myself, and perform all required maintenance. Taking care of the bike also included returning it to the shop for an "official" tune up every so often. However, I spent LOTS of time fixing broken parts and adjusting and readjusting cheap components and wishing that I had spent my full budget or more. Cheap parts are just bad. Plain and simple, they are just hell to deal with.

    I have spent the past two years riding and getting frustrated as hell every time I ride because the cheap components are so awful. The fork was like a pogo stick and would launch me over even the smallest roots and rocks. The derailleurs and shifters wouldn't stay adjusted for more than a few miles, and then ended up stripping out altogether (gotta love plastic internals of SRAM X4 haha). The BB5 brakes were finicky and the BB7s I replaced them with are no better. I spend more time adjusting them than I do having them work right. The cheapo wheels both ended up bending and breaking within the first two months of riding, even with proper spoke maintenance. The hub on that OEM front wheel went before the wheels bent, and I had the front hub rebuilt twice, wasting money each time. I bent the front chainrings multiple times, bent them back and kept on going. I stripped gears off of the rear cassette, ripped the original front tire almost in half on a root, bent the bars, and wore the fork and the headset to the point where they would both would wobble around and no tightening or servicing would take care of it. I had my LBS take a look at it often and they said it was obviously just due to cheap components.

    Some people would say that I abused the bike, but it's simply not the case. Most of my riding was done on fast and flowy single track, the roughest being your typical roots and occasional rocks. The cheap stuff just can't take anything other than paved or packed dirt trails.

    I've now replaced every single part on the bike except for the frame and the seat. I tallied up the parts cost to replace everything and I'm at nearly $1100. That's including buying a used fork and almost every other part was a "last year" model and was heavily discounted. I have $1800 into my bike now (including the $700 new price) and it's only halfway decent and I still get frustrated at the brakes and other things every time I ride the bike.

    I'm no snob or gear whore but I have found out the hard way - if you're going to do any serious riding (as in anything other than dirt bike path riding), spend as much as you can on the best parts that your budget will allow. People like to say that it's not the bike that makes the rider, etc. That may be true to a point, I have seen people on old bikes absolutely ripping up the trail and having a blast. However, I have found that it's the bike that makes the ride, meaning that if you have a junk bike with old, worn, or cheap components you're going to have a miserable time because things just don't work as they should.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DC2.2GSR View Post
    I bought a Hardrock Sport 29er as a way into the sport, and it definitely served that role. I set my budget at $1000 and walked out of the shop having spent only $700. I thought it was the smart move until I was sure I'd want to keep riding. I rode it hard, but took care of everything the best I could. That included learning to tune the derailleurs and brakes myself, and perform all required maintenance. Taking care of the bike also included returning it to the shop for an "official" tune up every so often. However, I spent LOTS of time fixing broken parts and adjusting and readjusting cheap components and wishing that I had spent my full budget or more. Cheap parts are just bad. Plain and simple, they are just hell to deal with.

    I have spent the past two years riding and getting frustrated as hell every time I ride because the cheap components are so awful. The fork was like a pogo stick and would launch me over even the smallest roots and rocks. The derailleurs and shifters wouldn't stay adjusted for more than a few miles, and then ended up stripping out altogether (gotta love plastic internals of SRAM X4 haha). The BB5 brakes were finicky and the BB7s I replaced them with are no better. I spend more time adjusting them than I do having them work right. The cheapo wheels both ended up bending and breaking within the first two months of riding, even with proper spoke maintenance. The hub on that OEM front wheel went before the wheels bent, and I had the front hub rebuilt twice, wasting money each time. I bent the front chainrings multiple times, bent them back and kept on going. I stripped gears off of the rear cassette, ripped the original front tire almost in half on a root, bent the bars, and wore the fork and the headset to the point where they would both would wobble around and no tightening or servicing would take care of it. I had my LBS take a look at it often and they said it was obviously just due to cheap components.

    Some people would say that I abused the bike, but it's simply not the case. Most of my riding was done on fast and flowy single track, the roughest being your typical roots and occasional rocks. The cheap stuff just can't take anything other than paved or packed dirt trails.

    I've now replaced every single part on the bike except for the frame and the seat. I tallied up the parts cost to replace everything and I'm at nearly $1100. That's including buying a used fork and almost every other part was a "last year" model and was heavily discounted. I have $1800 into my bike now (including the $700 new price) and it's only halfway decent and I still get frustrated at the brakes and other things every time I ride the bike.

    I'm no snob or gear whore but I have found out the hard way - if you're going to do any serious riding (as in anything other than dirt bike path riding), spend as much as you can on the best parts that your budget will allow. People like to say that it's not the bike that makes the rider, etc. That may be true to a point, I have seen people on old bikes absolutely ripping up the trail and having a blast. However, I have found that it's the bike that makes the ride, meaning that if you have a junk bike with old, worn, or cheap components you're going to have a miserable time because things just don't work as they should.
    Holy crap I know Hardrock are 'entry level' bikes but I always thought durability and toughness was one of their great traits even if they don't have the greatest components. Sure you weren't hucking that bike over 6 foot jumps?

  20. #20
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    Yes, cheap components will be less durable and won't hold adjustments as long as higher end components. Keep in mind that DC2's experience is an extreme one.

    If the rest of his bike was holding up better, he'd have had less to complain about regarding the brakes. Yes, Avid's BB series of brakes are more fiddly than most hydros, but they're not too bad. I've got BB7's on two bikes and aside from turning a couple of knobs to adjust for pad wear, I don't have to worry about them. That's a good bit more than I have to do with my Magura hydros, but one bike can't take hydro brakes unless I want to spend an absolute fortune on the brand-newest road hydro stuff and the other is fine with them with the riding it goes through.

    But those bikes still have decent components elsewhere that I don't have to mess with much.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwi_GR_Biker View Post
    Holy crap I know Hardrock are 'entry level' bikes but I always thought durability and toughness was one of their great traits even if they don't have the greatest components. Sure you weren't hucking that bike over 6 foot jumps?
    haha yeah I'm sure, I don't even know if I'd withstand 6 foot jumps myself!

    The Hardrock is tough, if you count "Hardrock" as being the frame itself. It's been tough and has never given me a problem. Sure it's a bit heavy compared to other frames but by what, half a pound? Not enough to make a difference to me anyway. If you're referring to the Hardrock as being the entire package, right off the shop's floor as-new, then no, it's a giant pile of junk and tough is not in its vocabulary.


    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Yes, cheap components will be less durable and won't hold adjustments as long as higher end components. Keep in mind that DC2's experience is an extreme one.

    If the rest of his bike was holding up better, he'd have had less to complain about regarding the brakes. Yes, Avid's BB series of brakes are more fiddly than most hydros, but they're not too bad. I've got BB7's on two bikes and aside from turning a couple of knobs to adjust for pad wear, I don't have to worry about them. That's a good bit more than I have to do with my Magura hydros, but one bike can't take hydro brakes unless I want to spend an absolute fortune on the brand-newest road hydro stuff and the other is fine with them with the riding it goes through.

    But those bikes still have decent components elsewhere that I don't have to mess with much.
    The BB7s were what I switched to because of the incredible reviews on this site and elsewhere. I've followed every write up and watched every video available to learn to set them up properly and they still suck.

    I've built engines, done motor swaps, suspension work, and I've been a painter/body guy in a body shop for years. I can MIG and TIG weld, fabricate suspension components, etc. I've tuned and modified firearms as an amateur gunsmith, and built some of the most complicated guns from bare bones. I've now done all of the tear down and reassembly of mountain bikes as well. With all of my collected experience tweaking and tuning different systems in many different industries and hobbies, and all of the technical research and learning in each one, I absolutely cannot get those damn brakes to stop worth a damn. Three local shops have adjusted them for me as well and all I ended up with was a grand total of close to $100 in wasted labor, each shop made the brakes a different level of "worse".

    I'm now on a 180mm BB7 in the front and I ended up switching back to the BB5 in the rear just because the BB7 was so bad. The BB5 160mm rear is now worlds better then the 180mm BB7 in the front. I'd switch back to the 160 BB5 in the front too but it was damaged in a fall. With the current BB7s I have properly bedded the pads/rotor, properly spaced the caliper and positioned it correctly on its mount, set up the pads the right way. I've sanded and Brakleen'ed the rotor and pads, everything possible to get the damn thing to stop and it still just howls and barely stops.

    I'm just biding my time until I can afford to upgrade to hydros. I could buy cheap ones but I'd rather just go with proven better brakes and be done with it.

  22. #22
    Hi There!
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    Quote Originally Posted by milwocky View Post
    The Airborne both look like they are good value for money.

    @thegweed: I live in South West Miami, and was looking at trails around Black Pointe Park (closest), but primarily Oleta State Park.
    Can you recommend any other good ones in the area?
    I've never been to the Virginia Key mountain bike trail, but I see most people really like it, I might head down there this weekend. Amelia Earhart Park in Hialeah has IMO the best trails in the Miami area. Oleta is okay, but lots of rocks and roots and I feel the trails aren't marked very well, and by that I mean you might come to the end of one trail and reach the connector road and not see a sign about which way to go. I like it a few times a year to mix it up, but I think most people would pick Amelia Earhart over Oleta.
    NTFTC

  23. #23
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    Im also new to mountain biking. I picked up an entry level 29er from a LBS. Scott aspect 940. They are priced well within your budget - around 680$. Scott has a line up with progressively better components all the way up to the aspect 920 (around 1000$. Basically i wanted to see if i liked mountain biking, so i went with the cheaper bike. Im developing skills on it and when im ready, im going to move on to a FS bike. So far the aspect has been great, but i am noticing that the fork is in need of an upgrade. I have about 70 miles on her currently.
    Not to hijack, im in WPB FL. If you ever make it up this way, shoot me a PM. I currently ride solo, but looking for riding friends. Thegweed, where do you ride?

  24. #24
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    Newb needs advice on how much to spend

    DC2, dude, gotta be something you're missing. What pad compounds you using? How much you weigh? Too many people using BB7's and happy with them to call them junk outright.

    It is usually better to just replace the pads outright if you suspect serious contamination than to try to sand or bake them. Results with those methods bary too much to rely on them as a true fix. Worth a shot for slight contamination? Sure, but be ready to buy new pads.

    Want a brake that really is crap? U brakes...they suck. Cantis and vees work well when well adjusted but adjusting for pad wear is not always so simple.

    There are also a lot of shop mechs who don't know much about discs. Sometimes you have to watch out.

  25. #25
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    My 2 cents is to go into your local bike shop. I bought my Rockhopper from my LBS for right around the same price as it was online.. I was able to ride it around the lot, learn how to set it up right, and they even threw on some tire liners and slime for free. Plus I can call or swing by any time and they help me out with my bike. I was unsure where to start when I bought my bike, and they lead me to a bike I love.

    Other pointers- a solid brand $1000 bike will be easy to get rid of if u decide its not for u.

    Buy a bike a little cheaper because it's very easy to spend another 200-300 bones on accessories after the bike purchase
    Rockhopper 29er

    -FSA Carbon handlebars, stem, & seatpost
    -2011 Rockshox Reba
    -Stan's Flow Wheelset
    -Ergon Grips

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