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  1. #1
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    How Should I Start? What Should I Get?!

    Hi guys, I'm from Western PA and want to get into to XC Mountain Biking/Downhill Mountain Biking hard out. My budget is between $1,000 $1,700. I'm leaning towards a full suspension after comparing it to the hard tails I rode, but I want a bike that can be a "jack of all trades" if I decide to do a couple paved/groomed gravel trails. Frankly im really confused about what the right purchase is for me, even though I know the type of biking I want to focus on (if that makes sense). If anyone can send me some links or advice on the best "first mountain bike" purchase with my budget it would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Best advice is to walk in to a local bike shop and tell them exactly what you said here. A good shop will listen to you and should offer up some options. Good sign of a shop is that they show you bikes in your budget. They will try to upsell you on something above your budtet but hopefully, if they're good and interested in you as a customer, most of the options they'll show you will be in your price range.

    Having said that. Kind of tough to get a decent full suspension for 1K. Definitely better options on the upper end of your budget but still a little on the low side but deals can be had for sure. You'll definitely have better luck finding more value if you get a hardtail.

    Most important thing for your first bike is FIT!!! Regardless of whether you go hardtail or full suspension, make sure it's the right size for you and you feel comfortable on it while you ride.

    As to what bikes you should look at... Not sure what's around you locally but here are some ideas:

    Giant Trance X3: Trance X3 (2013) - Bikes | Giant Bicycles | United States

    Kona Tanuki: KONAWORLD

    Diamondback Sortie: Diamondback Sortie Bike 2013 > Complete Bikes > All-Mountain & Trail Mountain Bikes | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    Jamis Dakar XCT: Jamis Dakar XCT Comp Mountain Bike 2012 > Complete Bikes > All-Mountain & Trail Mountain Bikes | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    Have fun!

  3. #3
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    I've ridden various trails throughout PA on a trek 6000 and never once thought "damn... My riding experience here has been hindered because the back of my bicycle doesn't move up and down". Hardtail is totally suitable and you'll learn how to pick lines and when to get out of the saddle when rolling over messes of roots/rocks to keep things comfortable.

    If you want to get into DH, it's my opinion that you're better off renting and putting wear and tear on someone else's rig purposefully made for that style of riding. It might seem expensive to rent, but when you consider the cost of replacing things that won't stand up to the abuse on an XC rig, it's really pretty cost effective.

    You can try the all mountain set up, but in your price range I think options are probably limited.

    The advice on going through a local bike shop (LBS) is spotty. If you have people in the biking community that you know and they all highly recomend a particular bike shop for it's knowlegable staff/outstanding service, then I'd probably lean that way. But to warn you, the knowlegable staff/outstanding service doesn't always exist and they can lead you into spending extra time and money you didn't need too. (Not because they're bastards and are tyring to make an extra dollar off of you, but because they just don't really know what they're doing). Additionally, people like to bring up the point of "yeah but you can get free maintenece on your bike" . This is great until you move one day and then realise you might have spent a few extra hundred dollars (vs something online) for free service that you can only get if you drive X amount of hours to get to that particular bike shop.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
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    @Sfmtber Thanks, I understand the "get what you pay for" when it comes to biking, I'm an avid snowboarder and believe greatly in that mentality as well. Before I began my membership and posted this, I was really interested in the KONA Tanuki and even the Specialized camber 29. For hard tails I was also looking at the KONA Taro and Specialized Carve Comp and Carve Expert. I know it seems like I'm only looking at these brands, but I'm not. I've looked at Trek and Jamis. I have a friend who has a Giant and constantly complains about its performance.

    @rmh2282 thanks for you input on hard tails, I keep reading that it helps gain better experience and feel,before making the upgrade for a great $2000+ mountain bike. Would you even recommend me looking at a KONA Tanuki or Specialized camber 29 (as examples of good starter full suspensions bikes)? I agree with you on the local bike shops, I told them that my goal is to be able to ride downhill trails, both lift access and public, and they looked at me like I was so strange. They proceeded to just recommend to me $3,000+ bikes even though I told them I was new to the sport and trying to find a good starting point and benchmarks for progression.

  5. #5
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    I think I'd try to figure out which aspect of riding you're going to enjoy more... Are you more into high mileage and physical fitness, or flying down hills trying to experiment with flight and not really giving a damn about the miles in between?

    If you're in to the first one, I'd go with a hardtail XC rig. I haven't been on either of the bikes you mentioned but I'm not crazy about the taro because it looked like it's a 1x9, and I'm not crazy about the 2x10 on the carve either but thats just me. I like the options of three chain rings myself. You can also get a nice hardtail for under a grand and save yourself some $$. Use that money for lift passes and a rental?

    If you decide you mostly just want to float downhills, get a bike designed for it. I can't tell what the inteded purpose is of the FS bikes you mentioned, but I've had 2 buddies trash FS XC bikes from 2 different manufacturer's taking pretty good drops. The Trek broke the frame, and the Giant was a rear suspension issue. I can't recall exactly what went out.. But the warranty support wasn't real great from either manufacturer since they were "being abused". So just make sure you get the right bike for the right purpose and know the limits of what you're buying.

  6. #6
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    @rmh2282 I think I'm going to enjoy flying down hills, experimenting with flight/speed, and not really concentrating on miles (maybe the occasional casual trail ride). I think one of my goals is definitely to be able to do the Dr. J Trail at North Park. A more high intensity extreme riding is the style I think I'm going to find the more enjoyment in personally. Definitely still feeling a little confused on what kind of bike I want because I want something that I can use from regular trails to Dr. J in North Park, which I think a FS Bike is going to be the answer. Definitely have some soul searching within myself to do, but the advice has helped a lot and much appreciated

  7. #7
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    I read that you see yourself more interested in 'more high intensity extreme riding' like downhill, but do you already have experience at XC? If not you're likely going to want to get some XC experience before you step it up (unless you're ten times the athlete that I am (very possible)).

    I'd second the hardtail recommendations - it's easy to fall in love with a beautiful DH machine for it's design and performance - but you've gotta walk before you run.

    I'd say learn to rip on some of the local trails like Kennerdell, Brady's Run & Moraine (my personal favorite) before you step it up to DH.

    I apologize if I'm totally off track on this assessment :/

    Steve Z
    Pedaling when it's dry
    And paddling when it's wet

    My insignificant blog:
    http://swampboy62.blogspot.com/

  8. #8
    The White Jeff W
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    How tall are you? I have a 5" Jamis full suspension bike in Pittsburgh Craigslist listed at $1200 asking price, but you'll need to be at least 6 feet tall to fit on it. Its a good all 'rounder.

    *shameless plug*

    Jamis 650B full suspension mountain bike
    No moss...

  9. #9
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    @swampboy6 my XC experience is pretty minimal and I do think I am getting a little ahead of myself for DH (eyes are definitely bigger than my stomach). I think I'm looking at this as an investment to minimize spending on bikes over the next few years. While I am falling in love with MTN Biking, lets be honest, it gets expensive having a bike for every style on top of costs such as student loans, rent etc etc. Like I said my budget is $1000-1800ish. And I'm leaning towards the KONA Tanuki after reviews for components, reliability, and versatility (I am all new to this so I could be wrong too lol).

  10. #10
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    Hey much appreciated!! I've just returned home from traveling for a year in New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji (New Zealand where I experimented with XC/Downhill) and I just got hired for a job that I start June 25th. Basically I won't be able to afford it till mid August so keep shopping it around and I'll be a hold of you when I have the money, but by no means wait around.

  11. #11
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    RockyMountain Altitude 27.5. The econo version. Has a slick little gadget that allows multiple head angle adjustment at the shock mount. A review said DH confidence very good, yet there's XC and AM as well.
    '10 Marin MountVision 650b conversion

  12. #12
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    That's a tough call man. I'm of the camp that believes in getting a bike that does one thing well instead of a bike that does two things so-so.

  13. #13
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    somebody is spamming

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