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  1. #1
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    From Big Box to Local Bike Store

    I know the topic has been beat to death but I finally get it and wanted to share my experience going from a big box store FS to a local bike store hardtail.

    Three months ago I decided to try out MTB so I purchased a Mongoose XR200 from a local pawn shop. Neat looking bike with polished aluminum frame with black flames on it, full suspension and SR Suntour front suspension. I took it out to some of the beginner trails and cruised, loving the ride, loving the view. It ignited a passion for MTB I never imagined would be there. As my skills and love for the sport progressed I started looking for info on where my equipment was compared to my skill and over all fitness AKA is this bike ok to learn on. Needless to say there was a LOT of bashing and snobbery with not a lot of information just opinion.

    Two months later my 13 year old son decided that he wanted to join a local MTB club which meant I had to get him something decent that he could grow with. At the same time the trigger shifters I had installed on the Goose crapped out on me and I was almost in panic mode thinking that I wouldn't be able to ride for a week or so while the new shifter came in. Both of these things lead me to my local bike store where not being made of money I purchased two hardtails. A GT Avalanche 3.0 for myself and a Fuji Nevada 1.9D for my son.

    The first time I rode the GT was in the street in front of my house. In third gear I pedaled and the front wheel came off of the ground into a manual that I wasn't trying to do. Feeling like a kid again I rode it out for a bit then it hit me "THIS is the difference between big box and local brands". The thing was so nimble, so well geared and so smooth that I could do things MUCH easier almost to the point of think it and it happens. After building confidence and a feel for how the new bike behaves I jumped to intermediate trails floating over uphill roots and rocks that would have me pulling my shoulders out of socket on my Goose. I love my Goose. It showed me a way to what is now a true passion but it is a tank where my GT is a jet. I'm glad I started with the Mongoose to have a comparison. I don't think I would appreciate my new bike as much as I do without it.

    There will always be a place in my garage for my Goose and I will use the heavy beast to do some strength training but for aggressive, fun trail riding it's my hardtail all the way.

    I truly believe that some well put together big box store bikes can trek and conquer most beginner and intermediate trails with the right conditioning and believe that a proper rider can squeeze a lot of performance and fun of them but until you have pedaled a "brand named" bike you are holding yourself back from a lot of of untapped potential

  2. #2
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    Reputation: Berkeley Mike's Avatar
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    My son, a former successful High school racer on my teams, is working for a local national sporting goods store who does pretty good job with their bikes. He assembling kids bikes (they are lucky to have him) and he is baffled at the inconsistent quality.

    He is accustomed to our racing machines with XT/XTR quality that you can actually tune and know they will keep a "tune" and hold up to hard use.
    I don't rattle.

  3. #3
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    From Big Box to Local Bike Store

    Sounds just like my entry into MTB, except my Mongoose was an even lower end model than the OP's. Rode it (and beat the tar out of it) for a few months then upgraded to a new Trek 29er. I would never have appreciated how good the Trek is without having started on the Mongoose. Didn't keep the Mongoose though (donated it to a local bike charity organization).

  4. #4
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    Those low-foo bikes serve a purpose.
    I don't rattle.

  5. #5
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    I did the same, genesis saber. Rode it for a fee months beat the hell outta it (used eBay to get useable forks and rear shock). When I hit my first weightloss goal, wife agreed to let me buy a nice bike, trek ht 29er. My genesis I kept in great shape (looked and rode like brand new when I gave it to a friend to ride around town). Was a fun bike but I know the differences now and my trek is my baby, only my kids rate higher than it lol.
    Trek Marlin 29er

    Like It, Love It, Want Some More Of It!

  6. #6
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    I had the same Chrome mongoose with the flames about 4 5 yrs ago...Paid 60 dollars at the pawn shop for it...Then I got a 90s model gt hardtail and the difference was quite a bit..i would owe that partly due to the huge weight difference..that mongoose weighed about 39-40lbs..lol

    Now I have a 2014 Motobecane ( Mail order bike) and like it just the same as I did the GT however I still own and ride some lower end models..The 2013 Mongoose XR200 is quite a bit lighter than the previous models but its keeping a place in my choice of bikes to ride..Im adding more bikes to the arsenal as well but no matter what I get I cant see giving up the walgoose anytime soon...trickle down technology is getting better and better..i see in 5 to 7 yrs bikes from walmart with hydraulic brakes and a notch up on components...But a big difference in weight can always make for a better ride experience...My new GT avalanche project im starting soon will be a nice addition to the fleet... Then i can say I own a wally world bike..a mail order bike and a bike shop quality frame, build..lol

    I like them all.

    But hey..good deal that you found something to give you even more passion to ride...it only gets better with upgrades and practice..lol
    2014 Motobecane 550HT
    2013 Mongoose XR200

  7. #7
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    6shary9,
    I was looking at Motobecane and Dawes FS bikes as well for the day when my kidneys and back just can't handle a hardtail. Hopefully it will be a long time from now =).

  8. #8
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    Well the Dawes 2200 and 2500 use bearings on all the suspension points..not plastic bushings so its not bad at all...that's a great deal for a full suspension under 1000 dollars...Of course a better fork and shock are in order but a great start none the less.
    2014 Motobecane 550HT
    2013 Mongoose XR200

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