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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    Overwhelmed with options....

    Hi! Let me first explain my situation. I am young. I bike hard. Very hard. I have a Diamondback Outlook that I've had for a few years and it's taken me wherever I have wanted to go. However, I bent the seat brackets on a descent, I have worn out the break pads (normal), wheels need adjusting (normal), tires worn down a lot (almost like slicks in the middle of the rears), the shocks in front rattle and "stick" in certain places (wd40...), gears slip a bit, broke the plastic chain thing that keeps in on the wheel, popped a few tires on big rocks, and the pedals are toast (sharp turns and lean ins on road wears em down quick)...anyways I want to know which bike is best for me. It needs to be under $800...closer to 5 or 6 is better...shocks are a big deal, as is reliability...weight isn't too much of a big deal...good tires are great...the main thing though is toughness and reliability...like landing jumps hard...and big rocks...lockout shocks are good too as I ride for fun on road (on road tires and handling DO NOT MATTER) the main purpose is to fly down hills on rocky trails and get it back in one piece with no creaky gears or anything...im open to all options...including NO suspension at all...the reason I wanted good shocks was for not bottoming out and for reliability, so if o can get better gear components and reliability for the same price by eliminating suspension, that's fine too.....thanks in advance! I may be asking too much, but most anything is more reliable than my current bike...I hope

  2. #2
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    ShockS? For that price range I'd stick with a hardtail, even new at 800 you won't be getting a fork that is jump worthy or at least that will last with that abuse. I'd shop around used, Pinkbike or Craigslist. You can find decent deals on used FS bike's for around $800, they won't have top end spec but they will be reliable so as long as the bike was taken care of.

    But again even used you won't be getting a top of the line or even a really good fork unless you get realllllllly lucky. I always find good deals on Craigslist when I'm not looking for a bike or parts, but once I want a new bike or looking for specifc parts nothing to be found, so be patient and keep looking around, post up some of your findings in your area and we (or some, at least I'll check back) will help let you know if it's worth the price and part spec, etc etc.
    Just make sure you get one that fits you correctly.

  3. #3
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    Most of those problems would still happen on a new bike. Bikes ridden off-road require a certain amount of maintenance.

    How do you feel about the fit of the frame? I suggest you catch up on your back maintenance, price replacements for the things that are damaged or worn out, and see what you'd have left for a nice fork. The upgradeitis thing has its downsides, but one major advantage is that you can take your existing bike and your budget and choose how to leverage both - if you put as much as possible in the fork, you won't be looking for a new one for a while.

    Look around on your local CL too. $600-$800 can sometimes mean race-ready in my region.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    I'm confused. In one sentence you say: "shocks are a big deal", but later you say: "I'm open to all options ... including NO suspension at all."

    If you buy a new $800 bike, no matter what brand, you will get $800 worth of bike. Some brands will have a better component in one place than another brand, but will have a lesser one in another. None will be as good as a $1,200 bike.

    I don't see you getting a good bike for the DHs you want for the money hou want to spend.

    Either wait until you have more to spend -- sorry if that sounds trite -- or change what you intend to do with it. It's like the fellow who wanted a new car...he wanted a high performance sports car but was a carpet salesman who needed to be able carry rolls of carpet.

    Sorry.

  5. #5
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    are you riding xc trails or dirt jumps/ freeride type stuff? it sounds like you are pretty hard on bikes, so you are going to spend a LOT more than $800 on a new bike if you want something that will last. there are a lot of types of bikes out there, and without knowing where and how you ride your bike (other than "I bike hard), we don't know where to point you.

    it sounds like a dirt jump/FR bike might suit you well. again, you're not going to get anything but an entry-level hardtail for that price and you are going to destroy that just as quickly as the bike you have.

    visit some local bike shops and don't tell them anything about your price range. tell them where you ride, how you ride, and ask them what bikes would suit you. be sure they don't just point you at something they have in stock but ask about options that would be special-order. (most of the bike shops where I have worked do not carry a bike like what you are looking for, but most places I have lived don't have a lot of the clientele that is looking for something like that.) then consider the price of the bikes they are showing you.

    also consider maintenance costs for a bike like that. you are going to need to replace parts, bleed brakes, rebuild suspension, etc from time to time. it gets pricey.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the advice guys!

    @ricky916, sorry when I said shocks as a plural I meant the two shocks on the fork....I can't afford a full suspension

    @AndrSwitch thanks for the advi*
    03-19-2010, 02:41 PM
    ce...fit feels great and I have no problems with flinging it and leaning and stuff on road

    @bruceinsocal When I said shocks are a big deal but rigid (learned the word for it!) is okay too, I meant that I need something that won't break or bottom out (like the clunky 50mm painted :..( ones on mine) so good shocks, or a rigid fork would be great. It's not about suspension being there, more about durability...also, what's a DH? Sorry for my newbishness

    @mack_turtle I ride some on road, but don't really care too much about on road handling, rolling resistance, etc. I love to ride on local mountains and trails...some trails where tabs aren't aloud and I have to go over 8-12 inch rock walls placed there to keep em out...also ride 4 wheeler trails (in Maine so more rocky than dirt tracks) and FLY down them (maybe not so fast for more experienced but maybe 15-25 mph down rocky trails...and you guys will probably laugh and I know bikes aren't exactly meant for it (probably a rigid would be best for this part because of simplicity) but I do some mud and water riding...about to inflatable kiddy pool height...with slick mud underneath...through ruts from tires...only 10-15 or so feet across...off road terrain can be pictured as like power line trails kinda, or like skidder trails (a little less soft, but you get the idea) as for biking hard that means like everything from flying down trails (sometimes catching a bit of air) to going down big on road hills to about 20-30 mph and hitting the edge of a driveway perpendicular to catch some air...also I don't know if I would dare tackle my driveway on a road bike lol...friends scrape up the bottoms of their cars a lot...also I do hit pot holes about 6-8 inches deep as fast as I can...I have gone off the side of trails I'd never been on because I didn't know the turns and they come up too suddenly to stop...so I have knocked over a few baby trees (stood em back up of course, they were fine) and I see 4 rocks placed in a row as something fun to go over (one rock to the next, a few inches of space in between) in short, I am young, a bit fearless (danger+speed=fun) and sometimes take trails a bit too fast...

    Thanks for the help though! Also, at what price point would bikes be worth having. I know with guitars it's about $400-600 but that's it lol...and I would think rigid 10 speed bikes would be cheaper than hard tails but I haven't found any modern ones for under about 800-1000

    Lastly, there is a Specialized Hardrock on my local Craigslist and it's been there for a while so it could have been sold and the posting not removed...anyways it's a couple of years old...not like 90s (frame has fewer angles and no shock boots) and he wants 200 for it...on google images for the design and colors...looks like a 2011 good deal? 2012 Trek 3500 for $230? Another 3 series trek for $250...

  7. #7
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    Re: Overwhelmed with options....

    If you're going to buy another 'low' end bike I would keep yours, do what Andrew said and fix and maintain any worn parts.
    Buy a nice used fork or even new (manitou minute expert is like $280-350 new and its a solid ass fork, 80-100-130mm your choice)
    And get decent/good brakes. Most important things to me on my bike are the fork and brakes.

    Sent from my HTC EVO LTE

  8. #8
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    About the google images I meant I researched for the same colors and designs and determined that the one on craigslist is a 2011...

    Also I found specs on my current bike:
    Fork: Trail XC 50mm travel
    Spokes:14g
    Hubset: (F) 32h QR (R) 32h QR
    Headset: threaded 1 1/8
    Cassette: Freewheel (14-28t)
    Cranks: MTB w/chain guard 24/32/42t
    F.derailleur: Shimano Tourney, top pull, 31.8
    R. derailleur: Shimano TZ-40 seven speed
    Wheels: 32h ssw26 double tunnel alloy
    Chain: KMC-Z51

    I assume I literally have the worst fork on the market...
    Note: rear wheel with cassette was changed when the cassette hub would turn freely and only catch gears a few times per rotation...currently seventh slips

  9. #9
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    @ricky I see why you're saying but as for those being low end...they are but I was hoping for an improvement over a bike I paid like 250 for new...

  10. #10
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    And thanks for the advice...I just have a hard time justifying more than...well more than $50 in upgrades non-essential to the bike's working...as $50 is a fifth of the price and a nice new fork is like 1.5 times what the bike was worth NEW haha

  11. #11
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    Re: Overwhelmed with options....

    Quote Originally Posted by JeepaholicNinja View Post
    @ricky I see why you're saying but as for those being low end...they are but I was hoping for an improvement over a bike I paid like 250 for new...
    Yes true didn't know what the outlook was til I looked it up. You could find a bike like you mentioned , get a fork and some breaks and still be under $800. Manitou minute expert $~300
    Shimano deore m596 brakes $150/set
    Used bike $200-300
    Rotors (SLX) $55 (at rei) that's just about $800.

    Sent from my HTC EVO LTE

  12. #12
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    Yeah I might look into something like a hardrock or 3 or 4 series trek and upgrade the fork...honestly my brakes work well enough for me on my current bike...rear brake locks up, so as long as I can stop I'm all good...thoughts on an 04 trek 4900 for $300?

  13. #13
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    Re: Overwhelmed with options....

    You can find a newer bike for $300.
    Id try for the newest one you can find. Better tech(on components), better geo.

    Sent from my HTC EVO LTE

  14. #14
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    Smal town makes buying used difficult without long drives...I feel like I'd be fine on a modern Hardrock or a Felt six series...opinions on these? Thanks, ricky, for the quick responses...other upside to Felt is a family member works for ll bean supervising the bike builders lol...they carry Schwinn, Felt, and Scott...some of the Scott's are AMAZING (pricy though...I've actually touched some 5,000 bikes there before...

  15. #15
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    I was too lazy to look up your bike too. Actually, you're probably best getting as much bike as you can, from zero, with the money you've got.

    How do you feel about climbing singletrack? IMO, that's really the biggest determiner of what class of bike to look at.

    Also, try to learn some technique! Don't just plow into things. Flow over them. Your bike will last longer and you'll carry more speed.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    Climbing single track? Lol I had to google single track...after learning some about it, I've never been on one...I guess climbing hills on 4 wheeler trails is okay...usually I have to stop when it gets bad enough that my back wheel cant get traction on tiny marble-like rocks

    Uhhh technique...I'm working on it...if that means trying to jump higher and go faster lol! I've recently discovered that if you lean in on road and drag your pedals it's pretty fun...and if they're plastic they melt a bit and you can pull off the hardened chunks that end up at the corners of your pedals lol...I have a collection of pieces of my pedals...

    Back on topic I don't ever have trouble getting through whatever but that's cause I just keep going even through deep mud and water...would washing my bike make it last longer? Closest to washing its ever had is snow riding and being covered in wd40. Honestly, it's been a pretty good bike to me even though I abuse it...so if I got a "low end" 500$ ish bike i feel like it might be okay? Also does anyone know how to post pics on here off of an iPod touch or Samsung galaxy?

  17. #17
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    Re: Overwhelmed with options....

    Quote Originally Posted by JeepaholicNinja View Post
    Smal town makes buying used difficult without long drives...I feel like I'd be fine on a modern Hardrock or a Felt six series...opinions on these? Thanks, ricky, for the quick responses...other upside to Felt is a family member works for ll bean supervising the bike builders lol...they carry Schwinn, Felt, and Scott...some of the Scott's are AMAZING (pricy though...I've actually touched some 5,000 bikes there before...
    If you want a good bike and a good price a drive may be worth it. I drove a little over 90 miles one way to get my bike at a great deal. It was worth it to me. (Ex girlfriends car got amazing MPG haha)

    Quote Originally Posted by JeepaholicNinja View Post
    Climbing single track? Lol I had to google single track...after learning some about it, I've never been on one...I guess climbing hills on 4 wheeler trails is okay...usually I have to stop when it gets bad enough that my back wheel cant get traction on tiny marble-like rocks

    Uhhh technique...I'm working on it...if that means trying to jump higher and go faster lol! I've recently discovered that if you lean in on road and drag your pedals it's pretty fun...and if they're plastic they melt a bit and you can pull off the hardened chunks that end up at the corners of your pedals lol...I have a collection of pieces of my pedals...

    Back on topic I don't ever have trouble getting through whatever but that's cause I just keep going even through deep mud and water...would washing my bike make it last longer? Closest to washing its ever had is snow riding and being covered in wd40. Honestly, it's been a pretty good bike to me even though I abuse it...so if I got a "low end" 500$ ish bike i feel like it might be okay? Also does anyone know how to post pics on here off of an iPod touch or Samsung galaxy?
    Dont use wd40. Its not a lube its a penetrating oil to loosen up seized bolts and such. Use a good chain lube ( I use DuPont Teflon chain saver got it at Lowes for $5-6 and its quiet and lasts a good amount of time) if you have 800 to spend use it all unless you need gear (helmet, gloves, camelbak, etc) and for those shop chain love and closouts and clearance. Unless you're one of those people who need the newest model of everything

    Sent from my HTC EVO LTE

  18. #18
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    Lol I have a camelbak...good start I guess...have a helmet, although I'll be replacing it soon as it's about 8-10 years old and used every single year an has many large cracks in the foam...thanks for the tip on wd40...I'm a bit of a...well how can I say....sophisticated, educated redneck haha. About actually having 800 I don't. I'm trying to decide what we're to happen as my birthday is coming up (usually get small presents though on birthdays) and...Christmas is only a few months away, which if I ask for just a bike...I could get a pretty mean bike lol...I got a Gibson SG (guitar) when I was 11 for Christmas, so of anyone knows anything about Gibsons...I could have gotten a pretty awesome bike instead lol...but I try not to brag and I'm not an I need everything new kid atm...I try to keep things for as long as possible...hence the helmet...

  19. #19
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    @AndrwSwitch I see what you mean about technique now...I just went out for a ride a little while ago and wiped out pretty good. Only minor bleed age though haha...I was going down a dirt trail and saw a good sized bump about 6-8 inches tall but it was diagonally across the path...I sped up, tried to jump off of it, got the front wheel up a bit but the front wheel slipped sideways and I flew off the bike...luckily only damage to the bike was chain fell off, handlebars at a 45 degree angle from tires, seat at a 90 degree angle from the tires and that's it...luckily I know how to fix things like this without tools, simply by pounding and kicking the pieces back to where they need to be and putting the chain back on the (crank?) Thanks for all of the input though, guys

    Also, ricky, don't get me started on gas mileage...I have a 14 year old jeep....

  20. #20
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    Sounds to me like you should be focused on bikes marketed as "all mountain." Basically for middle aged men who didn't ride like teenaged boys when they were, and now can afford a durable enough bike. The Specialized Enduro and Kona Dawg (I think? Maybe also the Coiler?) are examples. They can take some time to show up used, and condition can be either "beat to hell" or "garage art."
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  21. #21
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    the bottom line is that if you want to ride a bike in the manner you describe and you want it to hold up, you need to pay for that kind of performance and durability. that means a $3000-5000 bike or more. there's no way around it.

    you could consider a heavy, solid rigid single-speed bike if you want durability and cheap. however, you will end up with no suspension and no gears, but it will be cheap and will last. it's like a giant BMX bike. look into the Transition Klunker or some other dirt-jump/ bike park/ slopestyle type bike.

    if you want to spend less money on cheap junk, you will learn the hard way why cheap stuff is cheap and expensive stuff is expensive.

  22. #22
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    @AndrwSwitch those look pretty good....

    @Mack Turtle my bike has lasted a few years of hard use and abuse at $250....maybe if I get a 5-600 bike it'll last just as long? Im in highschool so my budget's not quite that big haha but thanks for the honest opinion.

    Any other good brands that sell rigids? Im not too sure which brands are good yet...I think specialized, Scott, Trek, Cannondale, and Felt have some pretty good reputations, and I like surly bikes but they only make 29ers, same as airborne...

    How are stumpjumpers? Full suspension with a fox shock in back...

    Again super helpful onfo guys! Learning a lot!

  23. #23
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    I'm pretty sure all of the big names make an entry level hardtail in your price point (sub 800). The main concern is that it sounds like you ride them pretty hard, and they will need to be maintained at an higher frequency than say a 3000 bike as mentioned above. I'm almost certain that an 800$ish bike of today will outperform that diamondback in every way. Here are a few bikes I suggest and considered when I made my purchase last month.

    SCOTT Aspect 940 Bike - SCOTT Sports

    Airborne Bicycles. Guardian 2.0

    TRAIL 29ER 6 - Trail 29er - Hardtail 29er - Mountain - Bikes - 2013

    Specialized Bicycle Components

  24. #24
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    Thanks for the suggestions...I'll take a look at those...I'm not sure about a 29er...never been on one...transporting it could be a problem because it would either stick out a lot to the sides on like a hitch bike rack or be super tall on the roof o my jeep with an aftermarket roof basket...how much is thy a concern?

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    Actually I really like Scott, Surly, Felt because they have them at an lbs that a family member works at, and we get a HUGE employee discount...

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