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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    Read it all but still confused

    Me and my better half are planning to get back into cycling since the local government has decided to promote it with a few tracks around town. Technically we should be investing into road bikes but since both of us are photographers, we feel it would make sense to invest in mountain bikes to have the ability to go down the beaten track when we get more confident.

    Following the noob buyer guide...

    What region of the country do I live in?
    Metropolitan city with easy access to tracks in sandy areas.

    Where do I plan to ride my new bike?
    Bike tracks, pavement, tracks in sand dunes and mountains.

    Are there any YouTube videos of the trails I plan to ride?
    In 6 months I plan to be able to do this (Can't post link) youtube watch?v=dXyaEzD1xII

    How much time do I plan on devoting to this hobby?
    Once a week to start with and then use it as alternative mode of transport.

    What is my previous cycling experience?
    Used to ride a basic mountain bike in the city around 10 years back

    Have I participated in other hobbies, sports or activities that may give me relevant skills?
    Vollyball, Football/Soccer, Cricket.

    What are my mechanical abilities?
    None.

    Do I currently own a bike?
    No

    Do I currently own a helmet, gloves, padded shorts, proper shoes, Cyclocomputer, Finish line bike wash, Finishline brush kit, shop rags, chain lube, chain stay protector (I like Shelter), Gloves, good socks, solid tire pressure gauge, floor tire pump, on trail tire pump or cartridges, shock pump, good three way hex, mufti tool, spare bottles, cages, backpack to put all your gear in?
    No

    Why do I want to buy a new bike?
    Not young anymore so to keep the fitness up thought cycling would be great especially if I can add photography to it.

    How much research have I already done and do I have an idea of what I want?
    Plenty of research but I feel like I'm going in circles.

    Do I have friends who are into the hobby? What's their mechanical and riding experience?
    Nope

    What kind of bikes do my riding buddies ride?
    N/A

    What kind of bikes do I see on the trails I plan to ride? (Full suspension, hardtail, rigid, single speed, geared)
    I've usually seen hardtail and Full suspension.

    Can I really afford this hobby? Are my credit cards paid off? Do I have savings in the bank and money to burn?
    Yes

    How much money do I want to spend on this hobby over the next year?
    Technically I'd like to top it off at around $1,500 but that includes the huge mark up involved in getting stuff done her so I'd say $1,000-1,200

    What am I trying to accomplish by participating in this hobby?
    Stress buster

    How do I expect my life to be different a year from the day my new bike arrives?
    Not too sure....

  2. #2
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    With the limited availability of bikes at the LBSs here, we've managed to zero in on the following

    - 2012 (I think) Scott Contessa 640 (US$695) - 630 (US$815) -620 (US$925) -610 (US$1088)
    - 2013 Scott Aspect 930 (US$912) - 920 (US$1088) - 910 (US$1306)
    - 2013 Giant Revel W1 (US$681)
    - 2013 Giant Talon 3 (US$1430)
    - 2012 Giant Talon 2 (US$1089)
    - Merida Matts 40MD (US$734) , 40D (US$788) , 70D (US$952)
    - Merida Matts 300-D (US$1088)

    I am 5'9 and weigh around 155lbs. Better half is 5'4 and 140lbs
    Last edited by faisal; 12-21-2012 at 04:29 AM.

  3. #3
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    I've been reading quite a bit about forks, Crankset, Derailleur etc but when I look at the spec sheets all I see are different brands w/o any experience at deciphering which is better and what to avoid. So any help in those regards will be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

  4. #4
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    Too common a problem, spending too much time deciphering and trying to get 20+ years of usable experience by reading. Reading is great, but ultimately if you have been dealing with a shop, they should be able to give you better direction. With what I have read in your post, it seems as though you are looking at specs a little too much. You have a price point, most brands within $100 of each other will be pretty close in specification or at least comparable. If you want to take it to the Nth degree trying to make up your own mind of which is better SRAM or Shimano, Rock Shox or Fox, Specialized or Giant then go ahead and waste as much time as you want. The LBS should be the one making the difference, not what brand of bike or what crank comes on what bike. If the LBS is doing their job correctly they will guide you to the right style of bike (and give you the reasons why you should be looking at this style versus another...) and let you know what you are capable of using and should have to start as far as accessories. They way I am perceiving your post, I would suggest finding another bike shop or two and see how their staff treats you and what they direct you towards. Test ride, who knows maybe the saddle will be the deciding factor.

    In any event, with what you have indicated you want to do, I would recommend a 29" wheel hardtail MTB or what might be described as a "dual sport" bike (700c wheel [same dia. as the 29"] but narrower and not quite as aggressive a tire). The only thing that you mentioned that could be an issue is sand. Yes, a bigger tire will do better in sand, but if the sand is deep enough, any normal mtb tire is only going to be so good in real sand.

    Go to another LBS or two... see who treats you with the most respect, listens the most and gives you information that actually helps you make your own decision.
    Anyone who rides a bike is a friend of mine.
    My favorite bike is whatever I am riding.
    My favorite trail is where ever I am.
    Bikes and equipment are replaceable, friends and trails are not.

  5. #5
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    Should have mentioned this earlier...

    The problem is I've gone to three LBS's and each of them only sells one brand so obviously each one wants to sell the brand they have and therefore the confusion. They also tend to recommend the costliest bike that fits my budget w/o really justifying it apart from saying the components are better and they keep throwing the name Shimano at me like that's all the matters.

    So the LBS hasn't been very helpful and therefore I'm forced to read about things that I honestly didn't know existed a week back...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by faisal View Post
    I've been reading quite a bit about forks, Crankset, Derailleur etc but when I look at the spec sheets all I see are different brands w/o any experience at deciphering which is better and what to avoid. So any help in those regards will be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
    In order from basic level to highest.
    Shimano:
    Altus
    Acera
    Alivio
    Deore
    SLX
    XT
    XTR

    SRAM:
    3.0
    5.0
    7.0
    9.0
    XO
    XX

    For you I would suggest a 29er HT (hard tail) and maybe one for the wife as well depending on how it fits. That's the biggest thing to do, is to test ride as many bikes as you can before purchasing. For a fork. Sense this will be used for both road/dirt I would at least look into having a bike with a fork lockout in which you can make the front ridged when on the road. Usually Suntour is spec'd on bikes with a lower price point. While they are not horrible forks the Rock Shox XC32TK based around the same price group will be better in the long run. Some may beg to differ but that's how I see it fit, for the forks in that price range.

    Quote Originally Posted by faisal View Post
    Should have mentioned this earlier...

    The problem is I've gone to three LBS's and each of them only sells one brand so obviously each one wants to sell the brand they have and therefore the confusion. They also tend to recommend the costliest bike that fits my budget w/o really justifying it apart from saying the components are better and they keep throwing the name Shimano at me like that's all the matters.

    So the LBS hasn't been very helpful and therefore I'm forced to read about things that I honestly didn't know existed a week back...
    Sorry to hear about the problems with your LBS, sometimes sales people can get pushy with trying to sell a product. That's not good business IMO. Take that into consideration as well. If the LBS is a bunch of *****, I wouldn't purchase anything from there.

  7. #7
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    Yeah, bummer you haven't gotten solid info from 2 different LBS. Brand aside, I hope they informed you about what you would get with a MTB versus a "dual sport" and why you want that STYLE of bike, not necessarily the specific model or brand. Even if you are a techno weenie and want the best value, you still should let your body and comfort make your decision, test ride as much and as many as the LBS will let you.

    Ultimately, with just getting back into it, don't let yourself think that this will be the last bike. I have seen it many times, your needs/wants may change a little or a lot once you are back in the saddle. Doesn't mean you should stop your investigation, you need to be secure in your decision, but don't pigeon hole your future of riding by being steadfast that this bike is the last..... although I am quite biased, the correct number of bikes is X+1!
    Anyone who rides a bike is a friend of mine.
    My favorite bike is whatever I am riding.
    My favorite trail is where ever I am.
    Bikes and equipment are replaceable, friends and trails are not.

  8. #8
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    Same as you I like to over think things a little to often and Components make a big price difference.

    Since you stated that you do not have experience in maintaining a bicycle you need to develop a good relationship with a lbs, find a fellow rider in your area who has those skills and/or develop them your self.

    Which I would do, at least for the basic stuff because you will need them on the trail at one point and at least for me it is very satisfying to be able to work on the bike myself.

    If you keep your budget around a grand there is a good chance that all the bikes you look at came out of the same factory somewhere east anyway.

    While a FS might be nice it costs more to maintain because it is more complex.

    I hope that at least some stuff I wrote makes any sense, it was a rough night and I am still on my first coffee.

  9. #9
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    Fs

    Just got first bike. It is FS and I like it. Very comfortable. Good for bad back.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hutch3637 View Post
    In order from basic level to highest.
    Shimano:
    Altus
    Acera
    Alivio
    Deore
    SLX
    XT
    XTR

    SRAM:
    3.0
    5.0
    7.0
    9.0
    XO
    XX

    For you I would suggest a 29er HT (hard tail) and maybe one for the wife as well depending on how it fits. That's the biggest thing to do, is to test ride as many bikes as you can before purchasing. For a fork. Sense this will be used for both road/dirt I would at least look into having a bike with a fork lockout in which you can make the front ridged when on the road. Usually Suntour is spec'd on bikes with a lower price point. While they are not horrible forks the Rock Shox XC32TK based around the same price group will be better in the long run. Some may beg to differ but that's how I see it fit, for the forks in that price range.

    Sorry to hear about the problems with your LBS, sometimes sales people can get pushy with trying to sell a product. That's not good business IMO. Take that into consideration as well. If the LBS is a bunch of *****, I wouldn't purchase anything from there.
    The thing is sales people irrespective of which LBS don't take me seriously. Even though I'm in my mid 20's, I look like a college kid. So most are a bunch of idiots to me which also means I get minimal or no ride time on the sparkling clean display pieces they've got.... LOL.

    Looking at what you've mentioned, the Scott Aspect 910 seems to fit the bill even though it's pushing the budget a little since it comes with the XC32 and better Shimano components. I've tried the 920 which was pretty comfortable.

    The Scott Contessa 620 looks good for the wife since she's tried it and liked it. It's not much different from the pricier 610 apart from a few things here and there so I guess she won't miss it.

    Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by lew s lugnut View Post
    Yeah, bummer you haven't gotten solid info from 2 different LBS. Brand aside, I hope they informed you about what you would get with a MTB versus a "dual sport" and why you want that STYLE of bike, not necessarily the specific model or brand. Even if you are a techno weenie and want the best value, you still should let your body and comfort make your decision, test ride as much and as many as the LBS will let you.

    Ultimately, with just getting back into it, don't let yourself think that this will be the last bike. I have seen it many times, your needs/wants may change a little or a lot once you are back in the saddle. Doesn't mean you should stop your investigation, you need to be secure in your decision, but don't pigeon hole your future of riding by being steadfast that this bike is the last..... although I am quite biased, the correct number of bikes is X+1!
    One LBS did explain it well and recommended the hardtail 29er for me and the 26" for the wife which was good starting point for me to start my research on. And a friend's friend said the same thing about letting your body adapt to it all and that my riding style will change over time so this will in fact end up becoming my back up bike.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by faisal; 12-21-2012 at 05:43 AM.

  11. #11
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    29r hardtail, you need to test ride each brand, and balance how each bike feels with how each shop feels...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by acer66 View Post
    Same as you I like to over think things a little to often and Components make a big price difference.

    Since you stated that you do not have experience in maintaining a bicycle you need to develop a good relationship with a lbs, find a fellow rider in your area who has those skills and/or develop them your self.

    Which I would do, at least for the basic stuff because you will need them on the trail at one point and at least for me it is very satisfying to be able to work on the bike myself.

    If you keep your budget around a grand there is a good chance that all the bikes you look at came out of the same factory somewhere east anyway.

    While a FS might be nice it costs more to maintain because it is more complex.

    I hope that at least some stuff I wrote makes any sense, it was a rough night and I am still on my first coffee.
    The LBS that sells the Scott has the best after sale service from what we've heard even though the prices are a little on the higher side. The best bit is if you maintain your bike right then they extend the 3 year frame warranty two more years.

    A friends friend is a rider but he's in the advance zone and his 'what to buy' advice was rather over the budget. There are local groups that I plan to join to help develop my skills to ride and fix things.

    Thanks

  13. #13
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    The Scott looks like a good choice. Here's how you choose a bike for yourself:

    Ride them all and buy the one you like the most.

    None of your options have anything so outstanding about them that you should ignore the one that you like the most. Essentially in any given price range you'll find that the bikes are very similar and on average they'll be equivalently spec'd. You're not buying the thing as a crank or as a wheel, you're buying it as a bike so make sure the whole package together is something you would enjoy owning and don't stress about what derailleur or handlebar is attached to it so long as it feels right.

    After watching the video you referenced, I would avoid all hybrid or "dual sport" bikes unless they can fit full size mountain bike tires on them. If you're hitting sandy and rocky trails hybrid bikes are not appropriate.

    Also, don't ignore 26" wheel bikes just because some anonymous people on an internet forum say 29ers are cool. They are cool, but all bikes in your price range should be considered including 26" bikes.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  14. #14
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    Your local choices are limited. But for your budget you have some other options. The Grand Canyon 29 AL 7.9 is a great long term bike. Canyon ships to you with all sizes except the new small available from stock. This bike equates to a Scott Scale 950 with the engineered seat stay compliance of carbon bikes like the Scott Scale 930. Here's a couple short reviews of the line.
    Eurobike 2011 Demo Day Report: Canyon "Grand Canyon AL 29"
    Canyon Presents 2013 CF SLX Carbon Hard Tail 29"ers
    This second is for their carbon version something your friend would probably recommend. His recommendations seem outside your budget but are meant to save you money in the long run.
    Bikes seem unreasonably expensive until you have them on the challenging technical and difficult trails that are the most fun. The big return you get changes your view. I would also recommend the CF SLX 8.9 although it is sold out until February in some sizes.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Read it all but still confused-grand-canyon-al-29.jpg  


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by faisal View Post
    Me and my better half are planning to get back into cycling since the local government has decided to promote it with a few tracks around town. Technically we should be investing into road bikes but since both of us are photographers, we feel it would make sense to invest in mountain bikes to have the ability to go down the beaten track when we get more confident.

    Following the noob buyer guide...

    What region of the country do I live in?
    Metropolitan city with easy access to tracks in sandy areas.

    Where do I plan to ride my new bike?
    Bike tracks, pavement, tracks in sand dunes and mountains.

    Are there any YouTube videos of the trails I plan to ride?
    In 6 months I plan to be able to do this (Can't post link) youtube watch?v=dXyaEzD1xII

    How much time do I plan on devoting to this hobby?
    Once a week to start with and then use it as alternative mode of transport.

    What is my previous cycling experience?
    Used to ride a basic mountain bike in the city around 10 years back

    Have I participated in other hobbies, sports or activities that may give me relevant skills?
    Vollyball, Football/Soccer, Cricket.

    What are my mechanical abilities?
    None.

    Do I currently own a bike?
    No

    Do I currently own a helmet, gloves, padded shorts, proper shoes, Cyclocomputer, Finish line bike wash, Finishline brush kit, shop rags, chain lube, chain stay protector (I like Shelter), Gloves, good socks, solid tire pressure gauge, floor tire pump, on trail tire pump or cartridges, shock pump, good three way hex, mufti tool, spare bottles, cages, backpack to put all your gear in?
    No

    Why do I want to buy a new bike?
    Not young anymore so to keep the fitness up thought cycling would be great especially if I can add photography to it.

    How much research have I already done and do I have an idea of what I want?
    Plenty of research but I feel like I'm going in circles.

    Do I have friends who are into the hobby? What's their mechanical and riding experience?
    Nope

    What kind of bikes do my riding buddies ride?
    N/A

    What kind of bikes do I see on the trails I plan to ride? (Full suspension, hardtail, rigid, single speed, geared)
    I've usually seen hardtail and Full suspension.

    Can I really afford this hobby? Are my credit cards paid off? Do I have savings in the bank and money to burn?
    Yes

    How much money do I want to spend on this hobby over the next year?
    Technically I'd like to top it off at around $1,500 but that includes the huge mark up involved in getting stuff done her so I'd say $1,000-1,200

    What am I trying to accomplish by participating in this hobby?
    Stress buster

    How do I expect my life to be different a year from the day my new bike arrives?
    Not too sure....
    Without reading through your list.....go to your LBS find a good salesmen and ride a few bikes.....pick one that fits your eye.....stay on the low end of cost, cause you can always buy another one after riding for a year or so.

  16. #16
    Clyde on a mission!
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    Getting your first bike is all about fit and feel. Forget about specifications because you'll end up with your head spinning trying to figure it all out. Forget about wheel size too, there is just so much hype on the subject and hardly any proven facts.

    I would aim for a 26" hardtail at around the $900 mark, that will get you a good, rugged quality bike with strong parts no matter what brand you pick. It won't be sexy or ultra light or anything like that, but it will be proven quality that can handle the stress of off road riding. You could go for a 29" but that means either upping the price or having to do with lesser parts.

    Once you've set your sight on a price go ask your local bike shops what they can do for you. Ride the suggested bikes and don't be afraid to leave if you're not in love with what you're offered. Nothing wrong with visiting more than one shop to find the right bike. It's about finding the bike that feels right for you and also get a feel for how the bike dealer treats you.

    You can research stuff forever, but you won't really learn anything before you get out and start riding.

  17. #17
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    The video you posted is very helpful in showing what you plan on riding. Out of curiosity, are you actually in the United Arab Emirates, or is that just similar to what you will be riding?

    I agree with everyone who has been recommending a hardtail bike. Why? Because two quality hardtails will be much cheaper than two quality full suspension bikes, since you're buying for you and your wife. What wheel size you choose - whether 29er or 26er - is up to you. If I may put it in a camera analogy, a 26" wheel is like a lens without image stabilization, and a 29" wheel is a lens with IS. The non-IS lens is perfectly capable of performing, but you know that an IS lens is just a little more versatile and makes life a little easier in every way. I think that analogy holds true for 26 vs 29.

    I think one question that is unique to your situation will help us narrow down the advice we give you. Do you want a bike just for transportation to good shooting locales, or do you want a bike that you can give you an adrenaline rush for riding in and of itself?

    While we're making analogies, the rule that you get what you pay for - which applies to camera equipment - also applies to bikes. A $300 lens will never perform like L-glass. That holds true to mountain bikes, and just like different quality lenses, you will notice a difference.

  18. #18
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    Like others have said the the bikes in a price range are pretty much the same. The two most important things are fit and finding someone to help with that ,it maybe a shop or a friend. Is there another town or city you could go to? As to the shops that you've been to maybe go back and talk to the owner or manager and tell then your experiences .

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    The Scott looks like a good choice. Here's how you choose a bike for yourself:

    Ride them all and buy the one you like the most.

    None of your options have anything so outstanding about them that you should ignore the one that you like the most. Essentially in any given price range you'll find that the bikes are very similar and on average they'll be equivalently spec'd. You're not buying the thing as a crank or as a wheel, you're buying it as a bike so make sure the whole package together is something you would enjoy owning and don't stress about what derailleur or handlebar is attached to it so long as it feels right.

    After watching the video you referenced, I would avoid all hybrid or "dual sport" bikes unless they can fit full size mountain bike tires on them. If you're hitting sandy and rocky trails hybrid bikes are not appropriate.

    Also, don't ignore 26" wheel bikes just because some anonymous people on an internet forum say 29ers are cool. They are cool, but all bikes in your price range should be considered including 26" bikes.
    Noted. No nitpicking the specs but go for the feel of it.

    Didn't really like the hybrid and felt more at home with a hard tail. Will look into the 26" ones as well when I get back to the LBS this weekend.

    Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    Your local choices are limited. But for your budget you have some other options. The Grand Canyon 29 AL 7.9 is a great long term bike. Canyon ships to you with all sizes except the new small available from stock. This bike equates to a Scott Scale 950 with the engineered seat stay compliance of carbon bikes like the Scott Scale 930. Here's a couple short reviews of the line.
    Eurobike 2011 Demo Day Report: Canyon "Grand Canyon AL 29"
    Canyon Presents 2013 CF SLX Carbon Hard Tail 29"ers
    This second is for their carbon version something your friend would probably recommend. His recommendations seem outside your budget but are meant to save you money in the long run.
    Bikes seem unreasonably expensive until you have them on the challenging technical and difficult trails that are the most fun. The big return you get changes your view. I would also recommend the CF SLX 8.9 although it is sold out until February in some sizes.
    Getting something shipped to the UAE is generally quite expensive due to import duty and all that stuff. Plus I'd rather physically buy it then get it in a box. Just my preference I guess....

    Also the budget is limited because I don't want to splurge too much w/o knowing how much I'll be able to invest into the hobby...

    Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    Without reading through your list.....go to your LBS find a good salesmen and ride a few bikes.....pick one that fits your eye.....stay on the low end of cost, cause you can always buy another one after riding for a year or so.
    Noted. Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandrenseren View Post
    Getting your first bike is all about fit and feel. Forget about specifications because you'll end up with your head spinning trying to figure it all out. Forget about wheel size too, there is just so much hype on the subject and hardly any proven facts.

    I would aim for a 26" hardtail at around the $900 mark, that will get you a good, rugged quality bike with strong parts no matter what brand you pick. It won't be sexy or ultra light or anything like that, but it will be proven quality that can handle the stress of off road riding. You could go for a 29" but that means either upping the price or having to do with lesser parts.

    Once you've set your sight on a price go ask your local bike shops what they can do for you. Ride the suggested bikes and don't be afraid to leave if you're not in love with what you're offered. Nothing wrong with visiting more than one shop to find the right bike. It's about finding the bike that feels right for you and also get a feel for how the bike dealer treats you.

    You can research stuff forever, but you won't really learn anything before you get out and start riding.
    Another vote for the 26'. Will look into it. Thanks...

    Quote Originally Posted by Zuarte View Post
    The video you posted is very helpful in showing what you plan on riding. Out of curiosity, are you actually in the United Arab Emirates, or is that just similar to what you will be riding?

    I agree with everyone who has been recommending a hardtail bike. Why? Because two quality hardtails will be much cheaper than two quality full suspension bikes, since you're buying for you and your wife. What wheel size you choose - whether 29er or 26er - is up to you. If I may put it in a camera analogy, a 26" wheel is like a lens without image stabilization, and a 29" wheel is a lens with IS. The non-IS lens is perfectly capable of performing, but you know that an IS lens is just a little more versatile and makes life a little easier in every way. I think that analogy holds true for 26 vs 29.

    I think one question that is unique to your situation will help us narrow down the advice we give you. Do you want a bike just for transportation to good shooting locales, or do you want a bike that you can give you an adrenaline rush for riding in and of itself?

    While we're making analogies, the rule that you get what you pay for - which applies to camera equipment - also applies to bikes. A $300 lens will never perform like L-glass. That holds true to mountain bikes, and just like different quality lenses, you will notice a difference.
    Live in Dubai, UAE.

    Good analogies. Makes sense but to put it in perspective....as a professional I prefer shooting with prime L lenses and most of them don't come with IS...

    Transportation and adrenaline rush....

    Thanks...

    Quote Originally Posted by rangeriderdave View Post
    Like others have said the the bikes in a price range are pretty much the same. The two most important things are fit and finding someone to help with that ,it maybe a shop or a friend. Is there another town or city you could go to? As to the shops that you've been to maybe go back and talk to the owner or manager and tell then your experiences .
    The way things are over here...I doubt the neighboring cities will have something more to provide. I'll revisit the ones in the city and try a different tact since I can claim to be more knowledgeable now...

    Thanks.

    As everyone has pointed out...I guess I should stop aiming for a Rock Shox fork, higher end Shimano components etc and instead concentrate on how the whole package moves with me. Thank you everyone. Will update you soon on what I end up doing....

  20. #20
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    Couldn't watch the video at work, but based on the desrciptions of using the bike to get off the beaten path (i.e., light mountain biking), the Suntour fork that comes on lower priced bikes and is bashed often (and often deservedly) is probably perfect for faisal's situation. By the time you'd outgrow one of these bikes and the fork, you'd be ready to buy your 2.0 bike.

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    on stuff like that, you MIGHT be able to manage on a skinnier tire like you'd find on a hybrid or dual-sport bike, but you'd be pushing the capabilities of the tire when you hit the rockier spots or the locations with deeper sand.

    an actual mountain bike would give you more versatility. I also agree not to discount 26" wheels. nothing wrong with the classic 26er. 29ers are fine if that's what you like, too. Try them both. With either one, you could toss on a different narrower street tire if you weren't going anywhere near dirt.

    I also agree that you're looking too much at spec sheets. There are a lot of components out there that are roughly equivalent, and differences are subtle and tend to affect things like how maintenance is done, appearance, or have advantages only if you get into advanced aspects of bike setup. Cranksets are one of those things where differences are subtle. Also at the pricepoint you're looking at, there's not going to be a ton of variation and obviously the stuff at the lower end of your price range will be on the lower end of the quality scale. But with only a couple hundred $$ difference between the upper and lower end of your price range, the differences are going to be subtle in most cases.

    When it comes down to comparing a couple of bikes, fit should be your number 1 priority.

    If both bikes feel good and you're trying to decide between them, I'd look at suspension for the first tie breaker. Suspension forks are expensive and cut steerer tubes tend to reduce the resale value if you're a smaller rider because then taller riders can't use that fork on their bike.

    After that, I'd look at the brakes since a good set can also be fairly expensive. At least these are usually a relatively easy bolt on component. Hydro lines or cables can be trimmed or replaced so that's not a terribly big deal for reselling a part later.

    All of the wheels are going to be pretty similar quality at this price. Wheels are a simple change, although they can be very expensive.

    Drivetrain components are lower on my list of priority parts, but if you can't find anything else to help you decide a bike, they can help. SRAM and Shimano have different shift mechanisms, so it can be something as simple as the ergonomics of the shifters, or the properties of the differences between the two brands, or you could look at the component grade one bike gives you over another.

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    Interesting song choice for that video (Steely Dan?). Between the hypnotic rotation of the wheel and the soundtrack, I'm ready for nappy time.

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    That initial two track inthe video is within the scope of the Scott 970 and a Suntour. The fun stuff was starting when it ended. Your group could work that landscape with some singletrack construction. The terrain looks real promising and then that Suntour fork would be toast.

  24. #24
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    A Suntour fork is like a kit zoom lens on a camera. Such a package usually indicates a budget-minded approach. For some people, that is all they will ever need. For others who want to take things into the enthusiast territory (as you indicated), an air-sprung fork is a minimum. Instead of a coiled spring, the fork is suspended by the amount of air you pump into it (with a special high pressure fork pump). It allows the suspension to be finely tuned to each rider's weight. This can start mattering if one day you decide to ride with 20 lbs of camera gear, and the next day shred trails without gear. A coil fork on the other hand, can only go so far as letting you change out the spring from a very limited selection.

    Being where you are, you may very well be limited to what the local bike shops offer. If there's a local bike club, get in touch with the members and ask them about opinions on the local bike shops. If you don't plan on working on the bike yourself, you'll at least know where to take it for service.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdbruner View Post
    Couldn't watch the video at work, but based on the desrciptions of using the bike to get off the beaten path (i.e., light mountain biking), the Suntour fork that comes on lower priced bikes and is bashed often (and often deservedly) is probably perfect for faisal's situation. By the time you'd outgrow one of these bikes and the fork, you'd be ready to buy your 2.0 bike.
    That's the plan now. I'm hoping to get to the LBS today and get hold of one. Let's see if things go according to plan...

    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post


    on stuff like that, you MIGHT be able to manage on a skinnier tire like you'd find on a hybrid or dual-sport bike, but you'd be pushing the capabilities of the tire when you hit the rockier spots or the locations with deeper sand.

    an actual mountain bike would give you more versatility. I also agree not to discount 26" wheels. nothing wrong with the classic 26er. 29ers are fine if that's what you like, too. Try them both. With either one, you could toss on a different narrower street tire if you weren't going anywhere near dirt.

    I also agree that you're looking too much at spec sheets. There are a lot of components out there that are roughly equivalent, and differences are subtle and tend to affect things like how maintenance is done, appearance, or have advantages only if you get into advanced aspects of bike setup. Cranksets are one of those things where differences are subtle. Also at the pricepoint you're looking at, there's not going to be a ton of variation and obviously the stuff at the lower end of your price range will be on the lower end of the quality scale. But with only a couple hundred $$ difference between the upper and lower end of your price range, the differences are going to be subtle in most cases.

    When it comes down to comparing a couple of bikes, fit should be your number 1 priority.

    If both bikes feel good and you're trying to decide between them, I'd look at suspension for the first tie breaker. Suspension forks are expensive and cut steerer tubes tend to reduce the resale value if you're a smaller rider because then taller riders can't use that fork on their bike.

    After that, I'd look at the brakes since a good set can also be fairly expensive. At least these are usually a relatively easy bolt on component. Hydro lines or cables can be trimmed or replaced so that's not a terribly big deal for reselling a part later.

    All of the wheels are going to be pretty similar quality at this price. Wheels are a simple change, although they can be very expensive.

    Drivetrain components are lower on my list of priority parts, but if you can't find anything else to help you decide a bike, they can help. SRAM and Shimano have different shift mechanisms, so it can be something as simple as the ergonomics of the shifters, or the properties of the differences between the two brands, or you could look at the component grade one bike gives you over another.
    Good info there. The only tie breaker in my head is to either go for the Hydraulic fork vs the manual one aka Rock Shox XC or Suntour XCR . Every other difference at the price level as you mentioned is minimal and I can live with it.

    Regarding the trail, I don't plan to hit such trails for at least 6 months if not more. I don't want to break myself, the bike or the camera.

    Quote Originally Posted by desertred View Post
    Interesting song choice for that video (Steely Dan?). Between the hypnotic rotation of the wheel and the soundtrack, I'm ready for nappy time.
    Exactly my thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    That initial two track inthe video is within the scope of the Scott 970 and a Suntour. The fun stuff was starting when it ended. Your group could work that landscape with some singletrack construction. The terrain looks real promising and then that Suntour fork would be toast.
    Can a fork be easily replaced i.e. if I were to go with a Rock Shox once the Suntour dies on me? Are there any warranties?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zuarte View Post
    A Suntour fork is like a kit zoom lens on a camera. Such a package usually indicates a budget-minded approach. For some people, that is all they will ever need. For others who want to take things into the enthusiast territory (as you indicated), an air-sprung fork is a minimum. Instead of a coiled spring, the fork is suspended by the amount of air you pump into it (with a special high pressure fork pump). It allows the suspension to be finely tuned to each rider's weight. This can start mattering if one day you decide to ride with 20 lbs of camera gear, and the next day shred trails without gear. A coil fork on the other hand, can only go so far as letting you change out the spring from a very limited selection.

    Being where you are, you may very well be limited to what the local bike shops offer. If there's a local bike club, get in touch with the members and ask them about opinions on the local bike shops. If you don't plan on working on the bike yourself, you'll at least know where to take it for service.
    Local bikers weren't too helpful...at least my friends *We're professional bikers* friends.

    Can a bike with a coiled spring fork be upgraded to a air-sprung fork? If yes, what's the minimum cost of it? Is the Rock Shox XC the ones I should be looking at or should I save up $200 or so and go with the Suntour ones for the time being?

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