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.
Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
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    Is it worth it to upgrade?

    Hello MRBR Forum! I am new to the site and somewhat new to mountain biking.

    My question to the greater group is the following:
    Is it worth the extra money to buy a bike from a local bike shop vs the "big box" retail stores?

    My last bike was a K2 Zed 3.0 that I got from a big box and it was a nice bike.

    I am currently looking at another K2 bike that MSRP had at over $600 bucks. It is the Shadow Nine (Which I think is a Sports Authority exclusive). On closeout for $299

    The other bike is a Trek Marlin which is also a nice bike. It is $569 on closeout.

    I dont know enough about bikes to determine if the additional $300 is worth the spend.

    I am an weekly rider, primarily on developed trails and neighborhood rides w/ my son.

    Thanks for your help and input.

  2. #2
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    Local shop will or should always give you better service than a big BOX store. Once you buy the bike they could careless, a LBS wants you back for upgrades, tune ups and other goodies for your sport. You would have to compare components to see what's better.

  3. #3
    o<o NYC pebble jumper!
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    Purchase from LBS.. Support your LBS.. They are the only ones that can service a bike other than yourself (if you are handy enough). You will usually get basic extras like free maintenance/adjustments and other small needs that will far outweigh a big box store.

  4. #4
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    OP, does your bike fit you, go, stop, and shift? If yes, another bike is not worth it.

    If no, is the size in the right ballpark for you? Have you tried tuning it up?

    I would never spend the kind of money you're proposing on a commuter, let alone a bike I used for casual rides. And I'm willing to spend a lot on bikes.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
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    The Marlin has a better lighter frame with better geo and slightly drive components than the K2.
    But you may not need that level for what you're doing.
    Here's an in between model at $419.
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Gravity 29Point1 29er Mountain Bikes
    Better components than the K2 or the Marlin.

  6. #6
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    For what you do buy the cheaper one.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by skene View Post
    Purchase from LBS.. Support your LBS.. They are the only ones that can service a bike other than yourself (if you are handy enough). You will usually get basic extras like free maintenance/adjustments and other small needs that will far outweigh a big box store.
    I am all for supporting your LBS however Sports Authority does have a bike shop that does repairs.
    Sometimes box stores offer as good and even better service than an LBS.

    Bought a bike at REI, got a free tune up which is all some local shops offer.
    Also got a free lifetime satisfaction guarantee which no local shops offer.
    They even offered to return a crashed bike with a bent frame for me (the offered, I didn't ask) and I know no local shop does that.

    I think now their guarantee is a 1 year, but still better than what an LBS offers.
    On top of that, it is a pretty safe bet that the box store will be there tomorrow but you never know about the small business.

    BTW, I don't know about Sports Authority but REI puts a lot of money back in to the communities that they are in and offer a lot of free classes on things like bicycle maintenance. Some shops could care less about the communities they are in.

    Point is, don't just buy from a small shop because you think they will give you better service than the box store. It may or may not be true.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    OP, does your bike fit you, go, stop, and shift? If yes, another bike is not worth it.

    If no, is the size in the right ballpark for you? Have you tried tuning it up?

    I would never spend the kind of money you're proposing on a commuter, let alone a bike I used for casual rides. And I'm willing to spend a lot on bikes.
    This makes sense.

    If you have a bike that works or just needs a little TLC there is no point in replacing it with another entry level bike especially if it is for casual rides. Now if you are wanting to upgrade that is another story.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    ... On top of that, it is a pretty safe bet that the box store will be there tomorrow but you never know about the small business.
    ...
    Tell that to Circuit City and Borders Books... just saying.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammie View Post
    Tell that to Circuit City and Borders Books... just saying.
    Yes, any business can go under but the percentage of box stores that go under vs small businesses is much smaller.

    BTW, anyone who didn't see the demise of those stores years prior to it actually happening isn't too bright.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  11. #11
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    REI and perhaps even Performance Bike may be the exception to the rules... but I have yet to see a bike shop at Sports Authority to make it worthwhile. Maybe they do, maybe they don't.
    Small LBS that have been serving communities for long periods of time have already established themselves within communities and maybe quick startups will have that hard time playing catch up. Your LBS that has probably been there for 40+ years will probably end up still being there until they are ready. They are the ones that will usually have your special bells and whistles that no big box store will have. Because they will have specialized themselves within their niche.

    If you happen to feel that a big box store going under is a much smaller percentage, then you are wrong. Sure they have the capital to open their doors, supply large inventories... but what happens when the next "Big" thing opens. Then they are competing even harder just to stay afloat.

    Compare your big box, local mom and pops and just throw into the mix the available items on the internet... or better yet amazon.

    Amazon stocks a lot of items (and shares with store inventory) to provide great pricing, low overhead and free shipping. So they can clearly compete with your local big box and locals... and many will prefer to shop with them now as opposed to your local shopping. I for one have no problem purchasing from amazon, but when I want someone that offers the product, has it there and now and can support it properly then I would rather deal with the mom and pop shops. Sure you pay a little more, but sometimes those shops surprise you with their service from beginning to end and after. That is service that you don't get with online or big box.

  12. #12
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    You missed the point.

    Like I said, I am all for supporting local shops.
    Just don't discount box stores because you think they don't service after the sale and don't assume the LBS will deliver good service after the sale. Each shop/business is an individual entity. Some LBS are great, some suck. Some box stores are great, some suck.
    Some LBS here put lots of resources in making the trails better and some do nothing.
    Same with box stores.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  13. #13
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    I'm not missing the point. I understand clearly what you were trying to say. However like I said the small LBS mom & pop stores make purchasing from their stores a priority. This is their livelihood.

    When it comes to large purchases, here is the difference... You purchase from the reputable mom & pops, if you deal with them regularly you become part of a family with them.
    You purchase from a big box store and "Bill" that sold you that bike the other day would not remember you from the next person. Then when you have those all important questions, they can only relay that question to someone else, which will direct you to the next person and so forth.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by skene View Post
    When it comes to large purchases, here is the difference... You purchase from the reputable mom & pops, if you deal with them regularly you become part of a family with them.
    True but I have enough family and friends and don't need to buy any more.
    Besides, I don't have enough money to buy enough things to earn membership in their family. I also don't gather the OP is going to spend enough money to be invited to the families Christmas dinner since he is looking at entry level bikes for occasional riding.

    Again though many local shops are great and most around these parts are incredible.
    I also feel the same way about the super friendly people at my local REI.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by txagsbas23 View Post
    Hello MRBR Forum! I am new to the site and somewhat new to mountain biking.

    My question to the greater group is the following:
    Is it worth the extra money to buy a bike from a local bike shop vs the "big box" retail stores?

    My last bike was a K2 Zed 3.0 that I got from a big box and it was a nice bike.

    I am currently looking at another K2 bike that MSRP had at over $600 bucks. It is the Shadow Nine (Which I think is a Sports Authority exclusive). On closeout for $299

    The other bike is a Trek Marlin which is also a nice bike. It is $569 on closeout.

    I dont know enough about bikes to determine if the additional $300 is worth the spend.

    I am an weekly rider, primarily on developed trails and neighborhood rides w/ my son.

    Thanks for your help and input.

    For Similar money, is the Gravity bike in the links above a move up or just lateral from the K2 & Trek?

  16. #16
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    I can't see the specs on the K2 but I am going to guess that they are all specked out very similar. (Not a huge difference between the Gravity and the Marlin)
    Any way you slice it, they all will have entry level parts but from what you are describing as where you will be riding it, they will all get the job done and be fine.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  17. #17
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    I'd personally stick to my bike if it doesn't have any cracks in the frame and such. Supporting LBS all the way. There aren't many that close over night - bike industry kept growing in the past few years, right?

  18. #18
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    Suggest you go ride a bike at your "big box" retail store, then go ride a bike at your local bike shop. I think you'll find a vast difference in quality...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by txagsbas23 View Post
    For Similar money, is the Gravity bike in the links above a move up or just lateral from the K2 & Trek?
    The Gravity has Alivio/Deore drive, the Marlin has X4 and the K2 has Shimano Tourney/Revo (which is low grade).
    Alivio/Deore is a major few steps up from the K2 and two steps up from the Marlin.

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