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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    Total Newb Looking to Get Into Mountain Biking

    I'm amazed and overwhelmed at the amount of options there are for bikes. I'm also not sure if I should be somewhat skeptical.

    Currently my main thing is Snowboarding, I love it and ride the slopes whenever I get a chance. I'm hoping that I can bring biking into the mix.

    Of course as a kid I biked all the time and everywhere and have plenty of scars to prove it. But that was on the cheapest of the cheap bikes. My favorite bike as a teen was an old Sears ten speed. It was ugly, but it was light and just the right sitting angle for getting speed down the road.

    I'm so much of a newb that I didn't realize shocks were an essential part of mountain biking.

    I don't want to spend a lot of money in the short term, but I'd also like to make an investment that's going to last me a while. I want to have a good experience.

    I read about derailleurs, shocks, rims, etc. It sounds like there are some definite quality differences out there, but I'm not clear on why I'd want an Sram X7 or X9 vs something much cheaper. What difference does it make?

    I've read into the hardtail/full Suspension issue. I think a hardtail is best for me as it serve me a long time, and it's less expensive per quality measure than a FS. Is that right?

    Here's the bike I've been looking at but like I said I don't want to spend a lot I'd like to keep it closer to $300, even if I could find something used. Ibex has pushed me beyond the initial $300 though with the Ibex Trophy Comp X7 It' looks like all I could ever need. I'm thinking I need the 18" as I'm about 5'9." I don't know if weight matters but I'm at 170.

    I'm not sure about the geometry issue, perhaps I shouldn't be buying quite yet?

    I guess the core of my question is can I have a terrific biking experience without the higher range stuff? Or am I going to be better off making the investment now?

    If there is a lower price to performance setup I could look into I'd love to hear about it.

    Thanks for your time and any thoughts you may have on this.

  2. #2
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    You get what you pay for. There is a certain price break where you can't upgrade parts if the bike is too cheap. For hardtails, it's around $500-600. Cheaper and the upgradeability of the bike suffers.

    One issue with getting a cheaper bike is as your skills increase you will exceed the bike's abilities. Since you sound pretty active, I'm thinking this will happen with you pretty quick. The bike will start shifting badly, or on it's own. The suspension will be too bouncy, or the brakes will be too sluggish then lock-up and be too hard. These are the issues that new riders start seeing as they over-ride the bikes.

  3. #3
    spec4life???..smh...
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    My main intrest is skiing but i too picked up mtb as something to do in the summer months. And let me just say im addicted and there is a pretty good chance you will be to.

    You can definently have fun on an entry level hardtail especially if you are just riding your local xc trails. As far as the ibex I would first find my local bike shop and check out what theve have. Set on some bikes and see which one feels comfortable. Then if you want you can go online and find the bike you liked at the lbs and compare its geo to the ibex.

    Most entry level bikes have simular componets so just see which one feels right and go ride.

  4. #4
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    Used might be your best bet. $300 could by a pretty good used hardtail. I don't know much about Ibex, the prices are good and I was really happy with them answering my questions quickly, but I didn't like not being able to swap out certain components at the time of sale and the fact that I couldn't ride it before purchase. Your LBS will help you get the perfect fit, this is important since you are new to the scene and may not be sure what you want out of it.

    Looking at the geometry, your top tube length and stand over height are important when sizing the frame. The 18" may or may not be a good fit. I'm 5'10 and ride a 17" Rockhopper. I might ride an 18 in another model, and none of the Gary Fisher's I rode felt right.

    You can have a great experience on an entry level hardtail without investing in the high end stuff. A $300 - $400 bike can take a good amount of abuse. You can start with the stock components and replace them with similar levels of quality as the break or wear out. As mlepito said, eventually you'll exceed the capabilities of the bike. I had an entry level, fully rigid Trek in high school. I didn't maintain it well (I know better now) and crashed quite a bit. My bike shop let me replace parts with spares left behind by other customers for dirt cheap. It was a great bike to learn on, lasted about 5 years before it was stolen, and the thief made off with a well used, but great running bike.

    It's not dissimilar to buying snowboarding equipment. I've upgraded my skis as my skills have progressed and as I've jumped into other aspects of the sport. I'm doing the same with my bike, I'm sure you will as well.

    Good luck. Ask any questions you have before you buy, it is overwhelming at first.

  5. #5
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    Mlepito,
    Thanks for the thought on "exceeding the bikes abilities." If I am going to be needing higher end stuff and it is going to start happening pretty quick then that makes it easier to think about better sooner.

    spec4life,
    Sounds like Im going to have to go sit on some bikes.

    emtnate
    you're right finding something used to get started on might be the best idea right now. There is a nice appeal to LBS being able to perform warranty service etc. Getting the perfect fit, etc.

  6. #6
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    get a quality 800 dollar bike off craig's list for around 300. scope out the surroundings and come back late at night and maybe you can get it for free.

    it will be obvious if the bike is beat up or not. you can replace parts as needed and learn to work on the bike. x7 and above is fine

    get something like a spec hard rock or whatever with disc brakes.

    mx

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