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  1. #1
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    MTB newb, start out SS?

    Sorry to create a new thread as my first post, and I did search first.

    I'm a big time newb when it comes to mountain biking, I haven't ridden a bike in almost 15 years and that was before I got my first car... so yeah.

    I really want to get into mountain biking and plan to buy my first bike here very soon. I'm all but set on the 29er. The super basic minimalistic approach of the singlespeed full rigid is really appealing.

    I live in the Phoenix area, so we have a lot of trails to choose from but not exactly sure what kind of terrain I'd be covering. I imagine mostly flat with some occasional steep technical portions?

    At any rate, would you SS veterans recommend going SS for a complete newb or would you push to start off with a more "modern" (and I use quotes as to not offend) approach like say a Trek Mamba 29er?

    I appreciate your feedback and look forward to getting into the sport and joining the online community here.

  2. #2
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    Re: MTB newb, start out SS?

    I started biking about 6 months ago, 1st bike was a cheap, steel 29er, rigid singlespeed. I still ride it and love it.
    The simplicity is great, and I felt it helped me build strength quickly. Riding it kicked my butt for the first month or two, but if you ride regularly the strength will come.
    I just ordered me a carve sl 29er, so i am upgrading my bike, but still sticking with the rigid single!

    Sent from my C771 using Tapatalk 2

  3. #3
    Sleek Jamis Exile Rider
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    MTB newb, start out SS?

    I've been on a single speed for a few years now. I started out on a cheap geared bike. After a few months I realized that I hated worrying about shifting gears, wondering if I was in the right gear, etc. so I just found a gear i was comfortable with and never shifted from there. I then found my current bike and haven't missed shifting

  4. #4
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    I think a rigid SS is a great way to start MTBing. It'll teach you to carry momentum, pick lines really well, use you whole body for riding, etc. It will also really get your fitness jumpstarted IMHO. The simplicity is also a huge part of the appeal of mountain biking for me, I definitely don't want to use high cost, high tech stuff to conquer the trail just to win races/KOM/etc.

  5. #5
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    I think its a good idea, unless you plan to ride a lot on the road where spinning out can be a bit more frustrating. My brother had done a lot of road biking but started mountain biking on a rigid SS and loved it. Maybe get something that can run as SS or geared in case you want to try gears later (but you probably won't )

    One nice benefit is you can get into a much nicer bike for the same money if you go SS, especially if its a rigid one.
    Yeah I only carry cans cause I'm a weight weenie.

  6. #6
    undercover brother
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    I definitely recommend it. Too many people start out on FS geared and never learn proper technique it takes to ride a rigid SS. I ride both geared and SS, and riding SS helps my geared riding immensely. Climbing sucks, but theres something significantly more rewarding about doing a sustained climb on SS rather than geared. You can only blame yourself, never the bike.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the feedback, that is kind of what I was expecting. I'm about 6'1" and 180lbs, so I'm not really overweight but my fitness level has pretty much never been worse... walking up a few flights of stairs gets me huffing more than it should. So it's time to do something about it and living in the middle of all these great desert trails I think I've found my outlet.
    As for a good rigid SS under $800 or so, what would you recommend? I have to admit I haven't seen any singlespeeds marketed from the major brands (for obvious reasons, $$$) and I don't want to just blindly buy something and regret it.

  8. #8
    Just Ride
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    Check out your local LBS, they can help point you in the right direction. Also keep an eye on craigslist. Sometimes you can find killer deals there as well.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  9. #9
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    Some suggestions

    Quote Originally Posted by ParsedOut View Post
    Thanks for the feedback, that is kind of what I was expecting. I'm about 6'1" and 180lbs, so I'm not really overweight but my fitness level has pretty much never been worse... walking up a few flights of stairs gets me huffing more than it should. So it's time to do something about it and living in the middle of all these great desert trails I think I've found my outlet.
    As for a good rigid SS under $800 or so, what would you recommend? I have to admit I haven't seen any singlespeeds marketed from the major brands (for obvious reasons, $$$) and I don't want to just blindly buy something and regret it.
    Agree that starting with the LBS is a good idea - especially as a noob. You may be able to throw a leg over one and take it for a test spin, talk about the right size for you, etc. The only problem I've found with that (at least with shops around here) is that they don't carry much (if any) SS bikes in stock. However, sometimes they have the geared versions of the same bike so you can at least tell about the size.

    A few suggestions (none in particular order, and many a bit over your budget):
    Cannondale Trail 3 SS ($930)
    Redline Monocog ($650)
    Redline Monocog Flight [better steel, better components, different sliders than regular 'Cog] ($1000)
    Kona Unit ($1000)
    Surly Karate Monkey ($1100)
    Salsa El Mariachi SS ($1250) but has squishy fork (shop may be able to swap out rigid)

    Then you have your online bikes (downside is you have no chance of trying before you ride, and don't get the free tune-ups that often come with an LBS bike purchase):

    Civilian Luddite ($891): Civilian Bicycle Co. Luddite - 2012 | Backcountry.com
    Nashbar SS ($500): Nashbar Single-Speed 29er Mountain Bike - Overweight Code G Restricted
    Gravity SS 29er ($350): Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Gravity 29 SS Single Speed 29er Mountain Bikes
    Dawes Bullseye ($399): Mountain Bikes - 29er SingleSpeed - Dawes Deadeye

    That should get you started. Happy research! :-)
    2013 Santa Cruz Solo C
    2013 Santa Cruz Chameleon 650b SS
    2012 Giant Defy (Roadie)

  10. #10
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    keep data
    Best bike for you . Looking Best bike. See Best bike review Best bike

  11. #11
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    Re: MTB newb, start out SS?

    Quote Originally Posted by sandyeggo View Post
    Agree that starting with the LBS is a good idea - especially as a noob. You may be able to throw a leg over one and take it for a test spin, talk about the right size for you, etc. The only problem I've found with that (at least with shops around here) is that they don't carry much (if any) SS bikes in stock. However, sometimes they have the geared versions of the same bike so you can at least tell about the size.

    A few suggestions (none in particular order, and many a bit over your budget):
    Cannondale Trail 3 SS ($930)
    Redline Monocog ($650)
    Redline Monocog Flight [better steel, better components, different sliders than regular 'Cog] ($1000)
    Kona Unit ($1000)
    Surly Karate Monkey ($1100)
    Salsa El Mariachi SS ($1250) but has squishy fork (shop may be able to swap out rigid)

    Then you have your online bikes (downside is you have no chance of trying before you ride, and don't get the free tune-ups that often come with an LBS bike purchase):

    Civilian Luddite ($891): Civilian Bicycle Co. Luddite - 2012 | Backcountry.com
    Nashbar SS ($500): Nashbar Single-Speed 29er Mountain Bike - Overweight Code G Restricted
    Gravity SS 29er ($350): Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Gravity 29 SS Single Speed 29er Mountain Bikes
    Dawes Bullseye ($399): Mountain Bikes - 29er SingleSpeed - Dawes Deadeye

    That should get you started. Happy research! :-)

    The Dawes deadeye was my first bike, and it certainly works fine albeit on the heavy side. However I just received my Specialized Carve Sl and the difference in ride quality and feel is amazing.
    I would say if you can, save up and get something nice from the getgo if you think you will stay in the sport awhile. But the most important thing in the end is to ride and have fun on whatever you get.

    Sent from my C771 using Tapatalk 2

  12. #12
    meatier showers
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    Do yourself a favor and get a Kona Honzo.
    It's an "all mountain" hardtail, steel, slack head angle (allows you to go downhill really fast w/o twitch), short chainstays (easy manuals, wheelies, responsive feel), built to bash & crash. Short stem, wide bars, thru-axles F&R -- the real deal.
    Not light but you're a big guy. Man up.
    Honzo comes set up 1x10 but in addition to the rear derailleur hanger, it's also got rear sliders so you can easily take the gears off and run it SS w/o a pesky tensioner.
    Yes, it's a real SS.
    But it allows you the option of 1x10 gearing.
    I've owned a couple dozen bikes in my life -- at least.
    Honzo is the most fun thing I've owned in a while.
    P.S. Tell your shop to set the fork @140mm travel.
    Options... plus a bike you won't want to replace next year.
    You'll be happy.

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  13. #13
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    Thank you all for the suggestions, I read through the G29 thread and ended up ordering a 19" black G29 SS. I know it's far from top of the line, but it should be enough to get my feet wet (cheaply) and if I really get into it I can upgrade without being out much. I'll post back when I get the bike and give her a test ride.

  14. #14
    puts the FU in fun
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    Quote Originally Posted by ParsedOut View Post
    Thank you all for the suggestions, I read through the G29 thread and ended up ordering a 19" black G29 SS. I know it's far from top of the line, but it should be enough to get my feet wet (cheaply) and if I really get into it I can upgrade without being out much. I'll post back when I get the bike and give her a test ride.
    Good luck! I believe the stock gearing that comes with that bike is 33x18. I would highly recommend you throw on at least a 20-tooth cog for starting out. I know when I was new to riding there's no way I could have pushed a 33x18 comfortably on trails.
    Everything in moderation. Including moderation.

  15. #15
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    Awesome news. Another joins the ranks! Make sure you take at easy on the rides. Rest as much as possible and walk when ever the hill is too step.

    Zero fitness to geared mountain bike fitness is stressful on the body. Zero fitness to SS riding is like showing up at a UFC match against GSP after only watching Karate Kid part 2 as your training plan.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelscott View Post
    Awesome news. Another joins the ranks! Make sure you take at easy on the rides. Rest as much as possible and walk when ever the hill is too step.

    Zero fitness to geared mountain bike fitness is stressful on the body. Zero fitness to SS riding is like showing up at a UFC match against GSP after only watching Karate Kid part 2 as your training plan.
    I will take this advice to heart, don't plan on falling over dead in my tracks... I'm going to start off on some flat rolling trails near my house, nothing super scenic or exciting but at least it'll be a kick on the cardio.

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