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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    Type of trails for cheap Cannondale Trail

    I enjoy my entry level cannondale. Ride like a bat out of hell on fire roads, abandon park paved roads and some rocky trail. As long as i do not jump or do drops is this frame going to hold up? The headtube looks a little thin. Does this matter?
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  2. #2
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    A Cannondale Trail 6? Pretty solid mountain bike. Its life span is heavily dependant on how you ride it and how well you take care of it. Take good care of it, address any creaks or knocks as soon as they happen, and frequently check the nuts and bolts and you'll find that you're more likely to outgrow it than you are to break it.

    If you're smooth you could do some mild jumping or drops with good landings (good transitions, not drops to flat) and you'll find that your skills will probably keep you off more trails than your bike will. If you're considering more rough usage, fit fatter tires and run a nice low pressure.

    It's not the bike, it's the rider.

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  3. #3
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    The frame is fine. And you're not going to make any of the components fail catastrophically unless you're already crashing. Go ride everything you think you can/you're curious about.

    Setup is really important. Do you ride with friends?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    I ride alone so can't really copy any friends. Was really only worried about thin nature of headtube but your and other person's response has made me think that my ignorance was creating concerns in my head. Tell me a few key points in set up and i will look them up. Thanks

  5. #5
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    That headtube is 1 1/8" which was the standard for years up until recently. I wouldn't do any insane jumps or drops, but it should be fine for small drops, jumps, rocks, etc.

  6. #6
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    Re: Type of trails for cheap Cannondale Trail

    Quote Originally Posted by Minimaltread View Post
    I ride alone so can't really copy any friends. Was really only worried about thin nature of headtube but your and other person's response has made me think that my ignorance was creating concerns in my head. Tell me a few key points in set up and i will look them up. Thanks
    Mountain bike setup comes down to a couple things. The bike needs to fit your body, and it needs to maximize traction. A guy named Peter White wrote an article on bike fit that I really like. Google it; should be the first hit.

    For traction, the main event is tires. I ride the lowest pressure I can without pinch flatting. Some riders use a little bit more. You need to experiment with it and figure it out for yourself. If you weigh around 160 lb, 25 psi is not a bad starting point. I realize your tires probably tell you to use more. They're wrong.

    What kind of pedals and fork do you have? Post pics if you're not sure how to answer.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    I think i got the best size. Will try the lower psi when i get a hand pump as i ride the bike on the street to get to the trails

    Pedals are the disposable ones that come on the bike. Would rather stay away from anything fancy, as i like to ride when going to work

    The fork is a problem. It is a suntour xct 80mm. If it is colder than 50 outside it will not move. Looked into replacing it with a rock shox xc30 or raidon upgrade but really can spend more than 200 for other options.

    will check out the article by white this evening

  8. #8
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    Can you fix a flat if it comes up? If not, I highly recommend putting together a flats and repair kit. IMO, pretty much a must for commuting and for being further away from my house or car than I care to walk with a disabled bike.

    Having good pedals is huge. If you want to be able to wear regular shoes, that's fine. Go with flat pedals. Just, nicer ones. For cheap, I had Redline Alloy pedals I used for a while for skills practice and to be able to wear waterproof boots. It's about a $17 pedal, but alloy, so less slippery, big, and with concave faces. It's a huge improvement. I assume some of the more expensive ones are better, but don't really know them. I use clipless for most of my fun riding, and used old-school flats with straps for commuting, so an expensive MTB flat never fit in.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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