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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    Please help me with selecting my first bike

    I'm looking to start some serious xc riding on single track and want to purchase a good 29 hardtail. Initially my budget was around $700 and I was looking at the Giant Revel 0, Specialized Hardrock sport disc, and Trek x-cal 5. One thing I've noticed in my research is that all those bikes DO NOT seem to be considered "trail-ready". I've read that the main issue is the forks are only good for bike paths and very light trails. I definitely want to do some serious riding on some good flowy single track as well as technical trails.

    I know you can always upgrade components but in the end it seems that you will spend just as much or even more than if you had just gotten a little bit more expensive bike in the first place. With that said I'm now considering spending up to $1,000. The trek x-cal 8 seems good because it has a Rockshox XC32 which should be adequate for handling intermediate single track. Also if I can find my size, a closeout trek mamba looks solid too.

    Based on what I have said does my logic make sense?

    Are the $700 bikes with suntour forks not going to be able to handle real trails and thus not worth buying if im going to have to upgrade anyway?

    Any other suggestions at the under $1,000 price range for a good trail ready bike?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Seems to me, if you are going to have to upgrade immediately, you may as well buy a decent used bike and spend the money you saved for upgrades.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jearl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Welcome to MTBR.
    I also started out at $1000 on my first bike and I got the 2011 Giant Talon 29er 1 and later upgraded the forks. I was not patiant and I did not do my research, if I had of reaserched it better I would have found that there where so many other bikes out there to chose from. Dont get me wrong I love my Talon, but I probably would have purchesed something else.

    Take your time, do the reaserch and you will find what you want. Have you considered used? There are ocasionally some great finds on craigslist and ebay.

    Check out the Seeker (link below) and the Guardian 2.0. I would have bought the Seeker before my Talon if I had known that airborne exsisted. It has some of the things you find on the higher end bikes. 2x10 drivetrain, and tapered headtube.

    Good luck

    Airborne Bicycles. Seeker
    "Ideal bikes are not bought, they evolve beneath you"

  4. #4
    Spherical Earther
    Reputation: Forster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    I traditionally like last year's model (bikes, not panning Elvis Costello's album "This Year's Model") but upgrading a bike is a tricky thing from a fiscal standpoint. Forks are pricy upgrades and if you figure the price of a new fork into the total purchase cost of a bike, you're probably better off spending the extra up-front (for a bike with a better fork) and getting better quality throughout the build. Forks also tend to last a long time (compared to wheels, drivetrain components, etc), so you almost never replace them on an entry level bike. Like my dad used to say, "buy quality and cry once." Used bikes (especially in larger markets) can be a great deal as well. I'm amazed at the deals I see in Denver/Boulder's Craigslist. You take a chance with a used bike, but one from an LBS can be a good deal. Ask you LBS folks to keep an eye out for a guy trading up. Very few of our LBSs give much for a trade, but you looking for one creates an opportunity for them as well as for you.

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