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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    Tips for buying first MB? - X-Caliber 8 + Accessories

    Hey all, I've been looking to buy a good mountain bike for a while and am ready to jump in soon. I'm looking at picking up a Trek X-Caliber 8 from my local bike shop and just wanted a little advice since this is a first for me. My main use for the bike is to go up some trails near me, and also just some good exercise.

    -If I pay cash should I be able to negotiate down a bit? Currently they are offering this bike for $950 which is the same offered at another LBS.
    -It seems like most people replace the stock seats, what are some good replacements I should consider?
    -Should I get the Trek extended warranty? I'm sure everyone has their personal preference on this, but being that I'm a new rider I figure it might be a good idea when I crash, (notice I said when, not if )
    -Speaking of crashing, are elbow and knee pads really necessary? I'm not going to be doing anything crazy while starting out and plan to get a good quality helmet in the $70-100 range.

    Any other general tips or advice would be helpful. Personally, I can't wait to pick up this new bike but I just wanted to get some 2nd opinions first. Thanks all!

  2. #2
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    You can try negotiating on the bike if you'd like...whether it will actually work will depend on the shop. As far as the seat is concerned...I always recommend that folks try the stock seat for several rides to see if it works for them. You'll need to get past that initial saddle soreness in order to see if the seat will be a good fit to your body and then if it's just crazy uncomfortable go for something else. It's normal to be sore in the beginning and a good pair of padded shorts will help with this.

    As far as the warranty is concerned, I'm not familiar with it, but I would say it depends on what the extended warranty costs and the benefits it provides. Maybe someone else can weigh in on this.

    Don't limit yourself to helmets in a set price range. All bike helmets have to meet the same safety standards, so go for the helmet that fits you. More expensive helmets generally have better air flow and better fit systems.

    In addition to that, a good pair of padded shorts is a great thing to buy, as well as some sort of water carrying system, a flat repair kit, and decent pedals and shoes. That will make the whole experience a little bit better for you.

  3. #3
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    It's called Trek Care Plus, and I just found a few threads on it here and it seems like most people say its worth it, so I think I have my answer For this bike it runs $180, but I do plan on using my bike a good bit over the next 3 years so I don't think it sounds like a bad deal.

    As far as negotiating, I'm horrible at it, but I just wasn't sure if I should expect much of a discount for paying cash vs credit. I'm comfortable with the $950 price offered, but if I can get it for a little less that's always nice.

  4. #4
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    You can negotiate on the bike and the extended warranty. But you have to negotiate with an owner or manager only. Sales people won't come down. Figure a price, say 15 off, and say this is where you have to be to do the deal--cash. You may have to check more than one shop.

  5. #5
    rjx
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    -If I pay cash should I be able to negotiate down a bit? Currently they are offering this bike for $950 which is the same offered at another LBS.

    IMO you should be able to buy the bike for AT LEAST 10% off of the MSRP. Later in the season / off season the discount should be higher.

    First I'd find out what their 10+% off price is, THEN I'd ask if I paid cash if I could save more money. But first establish what their 10+% off MSRP price is.

    I just did this last week actually.

    I called a shop and inquired about a certain bike that has a $1050 MSRP.
    He told me they'd have to order it, but the price would be $999
    I asked if that was with or without tax
    He thought about it and then said he'd let me have it for $950 + Tax
    I went in to talk to the same person I talked to over the phone and he remembered me from our conversation.
    I asked if I paid for the bike with cash if I could receive a further discount and he knocked off $50 which brought the bike down to $899 + tax
    I ordered it.

    -It seems like most people replace the stock seats, what are some good replacements I should consider?

    I'd only replace the seat after you've ridden it for a while to determine if you really need to spend money on a seat. you're ass might hurt or ache at first, but you might get used to it. If not, there are some comfortable inexpensive (to me) saddles.

    Seriously look into the Charge Scoop and Charge Spoon.

    Charge Spoon saddle review - BikeRadar
    Charge Scoop saddle review - BikeRadar
    7 of the best: Saddles - Cycling Active

    I just picked up my bike yesterday and if my ass doesn't adjust to the seat, i'm buying a Charge Scoop at Universal Cycles with a discount code.

    -Speaking of crashing, are elbow and knee pads really necessary? I'm not going to be doing anything crazy while starting out and plan to get a good quality helmet in the $70-100 range.

    If you're just going to take it easy. No. I'd only get protection if you're going to be aggressive on trails with jumps, drops, downhill speed, tight twisty turns, lot's of obstacles, etc.

    Any other general tips or advice would be helpful. Personally, I can't wait to pick up this new bike but I just wanted to get some 2nd opinions first. Thanks all!

    Try to contain the upgrade bug until you've ridden the bike for a while so you can better determine where (if any) to upgrade.

    Watch videos and learn technique.
    Join a meetup.com MTB group in your area.

  6. #6
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    I agree with waiting on replacing the seat. I love the seat that came on my bike, and none of the people I mountain bike with switched out their seat. On the other hand, anyone who has bought a box store bike have complained to me about the seat comfort. I would give the seat a try and then make up your mind after a few rides and many miles.
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  7. #7
    N79
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    I have an x-cal 8, I replaced the pedals with shimano saints, get some esi chunk grips and have fun. See what you need or want to replace from there. I've swapped my stem and handlebar and moved my controls around to better fit me.

  8. #8
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    My ass was kinda sore from the stock X-Cal seat at first (I have an X-Cal 6). I've gotten used to it. It doesn't seem to be as bad anymore. I got a better set of metal platform pedals (for now). I might switch to clipless later. I also switched out the stock 100mm stem and 680mm bars for 60mm stem and 740mm bars. These changes have improved the ride a lot for me based on my geometries. Might be different for you. Ride the bike for a little while first to get a feel for it before you start changing things.

  9. #9
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    Just an update, I went ahead and picked up the bike for $950. I have no complaints and love it! I took a short ride yesterday and could barely walk when I got back - I'm really out of shape! But it was a hell of a lot of fun and can't wait to take it out on some trails.

    My ass has been hurting all day today from the seat though, I'll take everyone's advice and just grind through it and see if I get used to it - but if anything get's replaced that'll likely be the first thing. I'm new to biking and really don't see the need to change anything else, it's a lot of bike compared to the little huffy I had when I was like 12!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron27 View Post
    Just an update, I went ahead and picked up the bike for $950. I have no complaints and love it! I took a short ride yesterday and could barely walk when I got back - I'm really out of shape! But it was a hell of a lot of fun and can't wait to take it out on some trails.

    My ass has been hurting all day today from the seat though, I'll take everyone's advice and just grind through it and see if I get used to it - but if anything get's replaced that'll likely be the first thing. I'm new to biking and really don't see the need to change anything else, it's a lot of bike compared to the little huffy I had when I was like 12!
    Awesome! You'll end up as hooked as I am I'm sure.

    My ass used to be sore after just short ~15km rides. However now it doesn't seem to bother me very much. I did a 60km ride not too long ago. It was pretty uncomfortable near the end of that one. Every ride it seems to be getting better and better.

    You could also try getting a pair of padded chamois shorts. That's what I was going to do if it got really bad. You can get some for pretty cheap off chain reaction cycles.

  11. #11
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    Welcome and congratulation on the new bike. It will get easier and more fun in the next few weeks as you get in shape.

    As for the sore butt, get cycling pants with a chamois padding -- this is a must!!! Then ride, and see where your butt gets sore. If your sit-bones are sore, the seat is OK. If it is sore elsewhere, you need a different seat or perhaps need to position the one you have differently.

    The factory seats work for most people. I have a Trek Superfly and the stock seat is fine. I was hoping to get a little lighter or better one at some point, but my son's new Trek came with the same seat, and it is too narrow for him. So now I have two stock seats, one brand-new. I guess I won't be spending money on seats anytime soon

    And you will get a sore butt no matter what. It will get better with time in the saddle. Also, as your technique improves -- picking better lines, carrying more speed over rough stuff, and standing up over rough stuff, your ass will take less of a beating.

    Eta on kneepads and elbow pads, they are typically not worn for the type of riding your bike is designed for (XC or cross country). However, I sometimes wear leg warmers doubled over my knees -- it keeps them from getting bloody when you go down. I've never hurt my elbows.
    Last edited by DennisF; 06-29-2014 at 04:19 AM.

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