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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    The next level-bike advice?

    Fellow bikers, maybe some words of wisdom...

    I have been mtbiking for only a few years. I'm still a student so funds are tight so I bought a cheap $200 hardtail Raleigh "Mt. bike" a few years back. I'm living in south fl. now and have been riding it down here at places like Markham and Oleta and almost ALWAYS after I bike the thing is in the shop getting something tuned or fixed. I finally came to the realization that I need an upgrade instead of throwing my money away.

    I'm still on a budget being in school so I can't spend more than a couple hundred but I want to get the best I can for the limited funds. I looked at the cannondale trail 7 but am not entirely sure.

    I will be out of Florida eventually (and the technical/speed type of riding) and enjoy downhill the most and small jumps....any advice on a type of bike that would be worth a small investment in for a poor grad student? Thanks for the help!

    Cody

  2. #2
    Level 5 Rider!
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    Wow.. kinda kiboshed no matter what you do. I would carefully try to buy used with that amount of cash. Any new bike your just going to run into the same problems as they are going to have cheap components that break down quick. Not sure exactly what you are after but sometimes you can find a decent older bike used. Downhill bikes around here go for cheaper used than XC bikes and maybe that will be true over there as well.
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  3. #3
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    Get involved with your local club that is maintaining those trails and become friends with some of the other members. Most serious mountain bikers have a stable of old bikes and you might be able to cut an incredible deal on one of their used bikes.

  4. #4
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    If you learn how to work on your bike ,you'll save money and the bike won't be in the shop. Look on Youtube ,Park Tools or Sheldon Brown. Ebay ,Craig's list,here or Pinkbike for used bikes.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rangeriderdave View Post
    If you learn how to work on your bike ,you'll save money and the bike won't be in the shop. Look on Youtube ,Park Tools or Sheldon Brown. Ebay ,Craig's list,here or Pinkbike for used bikes.
    Thanks! I've been utilizing and observing friends with more know how and have learned from them for minor repairs. I have completely torn off my derailer, bent my chainwell and bent spokes (in addition to busted innertubes almost every ride). So I guess a better question is, is this normal with any lower end bike that I would buy- even a $5-600 cannondale? Or is there a bike in that range that I'd have better luck with and take more time to learn the repairs since they won't be as frequent? Thanks!

  6. #6
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    Great advice! I enjoy riding on these trails, the style of riding is not my favorite but maybe it could be beneficial to hook up with some of the riders. Once I relocate in an area with people with similar riding interest I think this is a great idea to get more involved in. Thanks!

  7. #7
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    Riding MT. bikes is hard on equipment,I've broken wheels,frames,deraileur's cables ,chains,seats and seatposts.And worn out a lot more .Within a price range bikes are more or less equal. The ways to make things last longer are ,keeping them lubed ,ajusted and clean,learning how to ride smooth and not crashing. What air pressure are you running? You shouldn't be" busting" tubes that often, what does busting mean? If you hitting things hard enough to pop tubes ,you need to increase pressure or ride different.

  8. #8
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    This is normal with crashing a lot, regardless of what you spend. There's a reason jump damage is specifically excluded from the warranties on bikes, including dirt jumpers.

    What's a "chainwell?"

    For the spokes, don't sweat it. True your wheels and get back at it. If your bike is old enough to have Vs, this is actually a little easier - you can use the brakes to gauge wheel trueness.

    For inner tubes, figure out why you keep flatting. If it's punctures, you need to remove the debris from your tire when you change a flat. If it's pinch flats, you need fatter tires and/or more pressure.

    My advice, as someone who was in grad. school and nursing a $600 hardtail through training and racing at this time last year, is this: don't be impressed by bling and don't be precious about your bike. Mountain bikes are kinda noisy and collect scuffs and damage, especially if you have a wheels-off-the-ground riding style. Be a little bit of a dirtbag. Wheels can cost as little as $15 complete if you don't need them to be new. (You don't.) Treat it like a hammer or a cordless drill.

    If you won't regret it too much later and you really are focused on the pump-and-jump style, you can look around for an actual dirt jump bike for your price, or just slap a DJ fork on the front of what you've got. You can probably fit either option inside $500.

    An entry-level hardtail would be one of the least effective ways to spend your money, IMO.

    And, +1 to maintaining it yourself.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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