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.
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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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    Newbie "what bike to get" question

    I've mountain biked before, maybe once or twice, but I want to start getting more into it. I want to buy a bike of my own but I'm not sure if I want to invest a lot of money with a very expensive bike. However I don't want to buy and be stuck with a poor performing bike. So my question is, is there a bike I can get that is fairly inexpensive but I can upgrade it at a personal pace to get it to perform like a high performence mountain bike? Sorry if my question is hard to understand and vague.

    Thank you

  2. #2
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    What is the budget?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonC71 View Post
    What is the budget?
    Around a grand?

  4. #4
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    Ok.

    Given the budget, no full suspension...buy a hard tail.

    You can go new or used. Used can get you more bang for the buck, but you have to be patient and know what your looking for.

    New. Find a LBS near you and go ride some bikes. Your budget is enough to buy you a decent entry hard tail. Ride different bikes, different manufacturers...see what feels comfortable. All of the big brands will have a bike in your range....Trek X-Cal series, Giant Talon, Specialized Crave (maybe). Your other option is buying over the internet...Airborne Bikes...I think there are still some closeout Marin bikes out there as well.

  5. #5
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    I second Jason's recommendations above. You can't go wrong with the big named brands and with the new lines coming out there will be a lot of closeouts at your local lbs for 2013/2014 lines. You'll be surprised with the deals that are available out there for closeout bikes. My husband rides a 2012 Marin Indian Firetrail and he loves it. Saw this one on closeout for close to 40% off: 2013 Marin Nail Trail 29er Hardtail MTB Bike Shimano SLX 10s Fox Disc | Random Bike Parts

    It's got some great specs that could last you a few seasons of riding. This could be a winner deal for you and you wouldn't have to upgrade for a few years or at least before things break down and will need to be replaced.


    edit--note that the fork alone for the Marin costs about $600!
    I'm hard yet soft, I am coloured yet clear, I am fruity and sweet. I am jelly. What am I?

  6. #6
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    The Marin Bobcat Trail 29 is also listed under hot deals on this site.
    But the ebay listings can be less expensive, usually around 600. A good trail ready bike.
    For this you get a good Raidon air fork and decent Shimano Alivio/Deore drive components.
    2013 Marin Bobcat Trail 29er 17" MTB Hardtail Bike Shimano 9S Hydraulic Disc New | eBay

  7. #7
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    Thank you very much for the information, I'll look around for a used but if not I'll look at some of the bikes that you 2 suggested. But Jason, if I got a hard tail (which I probably am) could I upgrade that same bike to full suspension? or do I need to buy a whole new bike

  8. #8
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    FS is dictated by your terrain not something everyone needs or wants. They are more expensive to buy and maintain.
    I ride a carbon hardtail with good compliance. No chance a fs would be better. It would be a lot heavier than 22 lbs.

  9. #9
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    That will be a whole new bike which you'll know you'll need further down the road-- if you do end up liking riding. I went through this path too. Got a hard tail with 100mm travel as my first "real" mtb and then upgraded to a full squish shortly after. All you need now is a bike that will get you out there, riding and exploring the trails and learning what style you like and will likely be doing. For this an HT is all you really need.
    I'm hard yet soft, I am coloured yet clear, I am fruity and sweet. I am jelly. What am I?

  10. #10
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    You cannot upgrade a ht to full suspension. As eb said though, there is nothing wrong with a hardtail. They are more than capable bikes...they are just not designed for the extreme stuff (generally speaking).

    The bikes in your range...esp the close out deals...are very nice and ready to hit the trail from day one. 1k is around the price point where you start to see this in bikes. Now this doesn't mean there won't be something that you want to change in the future, it just means that these bikes will come with decent mid range parts that are trail ready.

  11. #11
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    You can't? If you get a nicely equipped hardtail, and later down the road want to swap everything over to a full suspension frame, you can do that. There may be some cabling that will need to be changed, and minor other things, but stuff will definitely swap over.
    '13 FELT TK3 / '09 Jamis Sonik
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Christensen View Post
    Thank you very much for the information, I'll look around for a used but if not I'll look at some of the bikes that you 2 suggested. But Jason, if I got a hard tail (which I probably am) could I upgrade that same bike to full suspension? or do I need to buy a whole new bike
    You are getting a bit ahead of yourself....many, many , many people who have unlimited budgets and have ridden for years CHOOSE to ride a hardtail. Learn how to ride, work on your skills, have fun. You may not want a FS.
    - MOOTS Mooto X
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Christensen View Post
    Thank you very much for the information, I'll look around for a used but if not I'll look at some of the bikes that you 2 suggested. But Jason, if I got a hard tail (which I probably am) could I upgrade that same bike to full suspension? or do I need to buy a whole new bike
    It's possible to swap a frame from hard tail to FS, but generally, it's not an easy thing to do, mostly from a compatability perspective. If you specifically go out looking for a hardtail setup that would lend itself to easily swapping the wheels, fork and drive train, then you could do it. Compatibility will be the issue meaning will the crank, fork and wheels "fit" on the new frame. If you go to a LBS and ask specifically to look at a hardtail that would be easier to swap out the frame, it might be worth asking. I think that most people that really get into mountain biking like having a hardtail and a full suspension bike for a number of different reasons.
    Are you really sure about that?

  14. #14
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    The LBS is one of the best choices. As mentioned before you can find deals on 2013 bikes. I grabbed a Cannondale Trail SL3 (2013) for $699.00 (Plus I sold my first Motobecane so the bike came well under $600.00). The MSRP was like $1100.00 and most importantly you get to test your bike for fit and feel.

    I'm very happy w/it - Good Luck!
    2013 Cannondale Trail SL 3

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  15. #15
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    I would check out your LBS as well. Go for a hardtail - that's what I went with to get started. Find a bike that will hold up well on the trail but is also in your budget, and ride the living hell out of it. Save up while riding the hardtail, and if you decide you DO want a FS bike you can buy one when the time is right. If you're anything like me, that's just what you'll do. LBS are the way to go for many reasons.
    1) You'll more than likely get good deals on servicing/maintenance.
    2) You'll more than likely get a warranty/replacement program. (I saw the Giant Talon listed above, I'm a Giant guy, and I know they do lifetime frame replacement.)
    3) You'll get to know the owners and employees, who can teach you more and more about riding, maintenance, where trails are, etc. I walked into my LBS for the first time and after getting caught in conversation with the owner, I learned of four new trails in the area, one new one that was being built, the best bike brands for the buck, AND became a member of their trailbuilding organization. Most of em are great dudes, and you can make great friends out of it.
    4) MOST IMPORTANTLY: You'll get to test ride the bike. Gotta make sure it fits you. Can't do that online.

    Another brand I would look into: Fuji. They have some nice hardtails that can shred up the trails, although I don't know of any specific models at the moment. Good luck on finding a bike man! It's a hopeless addiction!
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