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  1. #1
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    Completely new to the sport, help getting my first bike

    Hey guys i'm new to the sport and i'm looking at getting my first bike. I've done some research and everything has pointed me in the direction of pay now or pay later. I am a student so money is an issue, that being said I have taken a look at the jamis trail x2 and x3. I'm leaning toward the x2 simply because I can get a brand new one for 250. I guess my question is more for around 300 what bike do you think I would progress better on, x2 and x3 are the top two for me now (i like the way they look and from the reviews i've read seem that they are pretty good for a beginner) but i'll take any advice I can get. Thanks in advance for any responses!

  2. #2
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    For most of the 'soothsayers' that hang out here, an entry level bike would be a Giant Anthem X4 29er at about $1900. Or a front suspension only version of something like that for maybe $1400. Shops I frequent don't have anything under $500. What happens under that 'price point' can be, well, disappointing.

    It's not snobbery. It's just that by the time you get real bearings and real tires and safe brakes and such for 'mountain biking' it'll cost that much. Riding to the store is another matter. I have an old 3 speed from the '70's that does that perfectly and even has a center stand and cost $25 used a decade ago.

    If you're thinking 'sport' then you'd be better off getting a used bike and getting some books and tools to learn how to maintain it yourself. That will almost be a necessity if you're strapped for cash. It can be a long walk home from wherever you got lost to, so your bike will need to be sturdy and well maintained.

    The fact that a bike is new means little if it's poorly made and not up to the task. Or assembled haphazardly which is usually the case on bike at that price. Whereas a good quality but used bike for that price can serve you well and still have some resale value when you move up.

    'Round here, a budget fork is around $250.....

  3. #3
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    I think bulerias pretty much nailed the answer.
    You also need to communicate what type of riding you have in mind. What do you like about mountain biking and what do you see yourself doing in 12 months after you have ridden for a while? Will you ride 10 or a 100 miles a week?
    If you buy a $250 bike (I am generalizing since I am no familiar with the Jamis) the bike will fall apart if used on real trails. It won't do a great job for you before it falls apart. There is also the possibility of you finding a different past time in which case you'll have wasted $250 but not $2500. So a $250 bike is useful in some regards...
    If you really can't spend more than $300 then buy a used bike but make sure that you tap into the help of a friend who knows bikes and the trails you want to ride.

  4. #4
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    Don't pay attention to that guy. Buy the best you can afford, for sure, but as a student you're most likely accumulating a bunch of debt and there is no point in accumulating more for something that will command a certain amount of money spent as maintenance over the years (and if you can't afford to maintain it, what's the point?).

    You can get started on a cheap bike. I started on a $300 bike. I didn't know much about taking care of it and a thrashed it. I sold it in a few years and upgraded to a $600 bike. That one was by far, more reliable, but I upgraded again a few years later to a $1600 bike. I still ride that bike 10 years later, though I've worn out and replaced some parts, and I've upgraded a few things that weren't worn out.

    One thing to keep in mind is how you'll actually use it. If you want to ride aggressive terrain, do a lot of jumping, that sort of thing, a low end inexpensive mtb won't last long. It's not intended for that kind of riding. Bikes at that price point are essentially all going to be xc bikes. Mostly keeping the wheels on the ground, terrain not too rough/aggressive. They are great bikes for tooling around on college campuses and taking for the occasional mtb ride. If kept in a sheltered location, they can last many years with good maintenance.

    If you really want a bike for nothing but riding the trails, far from civilization, aggressively, fast, with as much air as you can find, the above poster has a point that your minimum price point is going to be a bit different. A bike built for types of riding that involve those aspects is going to have more reliable, more durable, and more precise parts than an entry level bike.

    I took my $300 bike onto a longer trail once and was pretty far away from things. I cased the landing to one jump off a waterbar and while I didn't hurt myself, I damaged my bike in a few ways that forced me to walk it 6mi back to the trailhead for repairs. Certainly more skill would have helped me regardless of the bike, but that bike just simply wasn't built for the type of jump I attempted on it that day.

  5. #5
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    I just got into the sport as well. Although I have been riding for years and know a lot about bikes I have just started mountain biking. Not to be mean but unless you plan on buying that bike for your grama to pick up groceries its not gunna cut it. The absolute bottom line for the lowest level of mountain biking is going to run you from 500-1000 dollars. I just bought a brand new bike for 780$ and so far it works perfect for me. I am in Florida though so im not bombing downhill runs in Colorado. Those type bikes run you around 3000-10000. So like bluerias said your best bet is a well maintained used bike and use the interweb to learn how to maintain it properly. The biggest problem you need to figure out is the best bike for your type of riding. Youre a beginner but where are you riding? are there jumps? do you need a hardtail or full suspension? These are the first things you need to figure out.

  6. #6
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    thank you all for your replies. Perhaps I should clarify a few things first, whoops lol.. The x2 retails for 500 plus tax and the x3 for 650, however, my sister works the dealer that sells them and can get 65 percent off. I know I could get a 1000 dollar bike, but it would still be out of my price range. As for riding it goes, most will be on trails that are gravel and pavement with the odd time of doing a "bush trail". I'm from Toronto, so i'm not even too sure where there are extreme trails that you guys are talking about. So far i've read the x3 is a good bike just that the fork should be replaced if you're doing big jumps and stuff.

    Stonemxfan3 - I've read that a hardtail suits my riding needs and should be used more for off road than an all around bike < got that from the internet though lol

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgerova View Post
    Stonemxfan3 - I've read that a hardtail suits my riding needs and should be used more for off road than an all around bike < got that from the internet though lol
    A hardtail 29er is what I use. They are perfect for casual trails and can easily handle some pretty aggressive trail riding. A 29er will roll over obstacles easier and will coast farther than a 26er. They are both good for trails and its just a matter of opinion witch wheel size you get. I looked at the x3 and x2 and they are both perfect bikes for starting out and if you can get them at that price its a STEAL!! The x3 has hydraulic brakes and a lockout for the forks. The lockout will allow you to lock the front suspension so if youre riding around the street it will not compress. The x2 is just as good for a beginner but lacks in the brakes and no lockout on the forks so they will always be able to compress. The x2 has mechanical disk brakes which is what I have on my bike right now and they works fine for the trails I ride. So if you can spend the extra for the x3 I would definitely get the x3. Also I highly recommend the 29er wheel size they are awesome for trails! Just make sure you talk to the people at the dealer and get the right frame size and get out on those trails!!

  8. #8
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    Yea bulerias for those of us in the real world that is not economically feasible,nor is it remotely even necessary as beginners , nice try though.


    To the Op, the more money you are able to spend on a bike, the better the bike will be, a good beginner bike can be had in the right around 500 dollars that will give you years worth of enjoyment.

    If your mechanically inclined this is great bang for the buck, plus free shipping woooT!! Airborne Bicycles. Skyhawk

  9. #9
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    Totally agree with stonemxfan369 . The Jamis Trail X bikes are good enough as an entry level bike. They have decent Shimano components (cranks, FD, RD) and good enough for the trail (hence the name). Hardtails are pretty much the same frame-wise (except for Titanium and Carbon). The price justification comes from the high level of fork and components it comes with.

    Forks:
    Suntour/Manitou Good, Marzocchi/RockShox Better, Fox Best

    Drivetrain/Crank
    Altus/Acera/Alivio Good, Deore Better, SLX/XT Best

    Brakes:
    Mechanical Disc Good, Hydraulic Disc Better, Deore/XT Hydraulic Best

    You should also look into GT's Avalanche series. 3.0 Good, 2.0 Better, 1.0 Best. They have a better hard tail frame technology than Jamis Trail series.
    Last edited by Gundam168; 03-30-2013 at 08:56 PM.

  10. #10
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    Thanks everyone for your help. I ended up getting the trail x2, I did really want the x3 just so happened it was missing parts. Anywhoo I just want to thank you guys for your advice!

  11. #11
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    Okay, I exchanged the trail 2 for the 2011 exile 1. I figured since I had a hard time finding a review on the x2 i'm going to write a review on what I found.

    2013 Jamis trail x2

    The jamis trail x2 is supposed to be an entry level mountain bike and at a price of 500 plus tax seems as a good deal. I knew going in that the fork one the bike was bad and that the components were nothing special. This isn't surprising as the x2 is just one step above a depot bike. What was the most surprising was how odd the bike handled. Around a quick corner with a bit of braking the bike brake dove like no tomorrow. The back end felt really squirmy unless i leaned way back over the seat. I read in a review that the bike likes to "tuck and dive" which is the best way to put it. It constantly felt like it was trying to throw me over the handle bars. Much like everyone here suggested, it's better to spend the extra money and get a better bike. On a fork like that you'd also really want a lockout as pedalling was extremely difficult. I am on the heavier side of 5'7 (about 178 pounds) which may have added to the bad experience with the bike, but I wouldn't recommend this bike to anyone, not even as a commuter as the brakes were equally as bad. I'm not sure if this belongs here but I figured if anyone in the same boat as me starts searching, hopefully they'll read this before they waste there money.

  12. #12
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    If you can get some help from a friend that knows bike, it is a "buyers market" right now on eBay, for 26" wheel bikes. There are some GREAT deals. And you would end up with a much better bike than the new one you're looking at.

    I make the point about "finding a friend" because it can be a bit tricky, since there are SO many bikes listed on eBay. But, maybe you could ask here in this forum for help. But like I said, it's a buyers market for 26" wheel bikes. Good luck.

  13. #13
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    I would buy used. You will get more for your money. But a bike that is about 2 years old.

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