Noob needs HELP choosing a bike-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2020

    Noob needs HELP choosing a bike

    Hello! I'm a noob looking for some advice and was hoping you'd be kind enough to help me out

    I haven't been a rider in 15+ years and it seems a lot has changed! Now my 5yo has a bike and I want to begin riding with him with the other children in a carrier behind me, as well as go on my own rides as well.
    Terrain is going to largely be roads, greenways, dirt and gravel paths, but I have a feeling I'm going to also want to try my luck on basic mountain bike trails through the woods (there are some within riding distance of home) and that my son will also want to do the same.

    I was originally looking at hybrid bikes but the shop suggested I go with mtb. He said hybrid will be better on roads but would not be reliable or equipped enough for rockier trails or wooded trails. But a mtb could do everything, just not as efficient on the road. Figured mtb wouldn't prevent me from doing anything whereas a hybrid would be potentially limited down the road. Would you agree?

    I plan to be just a casual rider/exercise rider/ basic mtb'er. I do not need competition level nor will I be doing huge jumps nor will I be entering any races. That being said, I don't want a cheap Walmart bike that will fall apart and also do not need a premium bike either.
    Budget is in the $400-$600 range.

    As much as I would like to hop on a bike or a couple bikes and see what kinds of things fit me well in my price range, there are literally no bikes available in my area in my price range. All have been sold and the only ones remaining are premium pro level bikes.

    It seems most basic entry level mountain bikes start around $480 to $650 and include models like polygon cascade 4, GT aggressor pro, co-op cycles DRT 1.1, trek Marlin 5, giant talon 3, etc.
    However, from what I gather online a bicycle from May actually give me more bangs for my buck and assembling the bike will teach me about how it all comes together. As I'm sure some of you are aware though, The website is not super user friendly and since I'm not familiar with a lot of the components the brands and the models it is a bit daunting.

    I have a slim build and I'm about 6 ft tall. The guy at the bike shop suggested I would be at home on a 29er instead of a 27.5. is that accurate?
    From what I read a 29er may feel more secure and since it is a little bit more efficient I figure that may also help while riding on smoother trails or roads?
    I also like the idea of disc brakes and it see everyone pushes for hydraulic?

    At my price point looking at what parts of a bike are worth reaching a little bit for? Rock shox suspension instead of sun tour? Higher level derailleurs over Shimano tourney? Upgraded tires? Upgraded rims? Etc? I cannot get all of these things at the price point of my very limited budget so I'm going to have to choose one or another to focus on.

    I also looked at handlebar width, which apparently should be 760 to 800 for my body according to online calculators but who knows. One I saw online that I had been considering was only 620 which seems too small?

    I don't need a bike delivered tomorrow but I also don't want to wait until September either.

    There are only a few models on with delivery dates between now and July in my price point. I will try to attach a few links to make it easier.
    Any tips or tricks or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! But please don't just tell me to spend more or just save up for a better bike or whatever. Keep in mind I'm looking for something casual and increasing the budget really is not an option.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Let us attempt to answer a few points mentioned in this essay. Based on what i have read above I have come to the conclusion that you plan on using this bike on mtb single tracks with minor climbs and a few turn pops, no insane downhills or major jumps kowabanga scissor kicks. Therefore I strongly believe that a fork suspension or rear suspension (and of course both) would be unnecessary and pricey. Most times at the price point of a "beginner bike" most suspensions that will be provided are either cheap and don't work at all, and if they are half decent then they require unnecessary maintenance, and on the odd chance that they wont require maintenance and are decent you're still paying for something that you don't want-or need. If my assertion is correct, and you have come to the same conclusion then we can both agree that you are looking for a hard tail rigid fork stallion to rip through the tracks with precision and no frills, confidently passing by slowpokes and man handling your caballitos directing it aggressively with passion.

    Now i will add that you may want plus tires 2.6-3.0 (plus not fat) for a bit of comfort. And if thats the case then you're looking for 27.5 tires (most likely because 29 plus tires are rare and will drill a crater in your wallet-expensive)

    In regards to this preposterous myth that 29 wheels are more fit for your size, I am a big 6 foot heavy weight man, and I am very content with 27.5 wheels (make sure the bike size is right you'll need a large 19-20 bike). Again this is assuming you're getting plus tires, but if your not then i would concur with the unnamed bike shop guy. Don't get a hybrid because there is no such thing as a bad MTB on the road, i ride mine on the road for 10 miles for exercise when i can't get to the trails, its fast and far more comfortable than what the roadie looks like on his spaghetti wheels, DON'T HYBRID.

    One last thing, handlebars, if you ask me for my professional and coveted opinion (as you can see my reputation has 2 RED dots, one of them for being snarky) wide aggressive bars are for sky flying hyper jumps, therefore wide bars ain't for you, cause short 50mm stems with 800mm wide bars are meant for landing control and downhill dominance. I would suggest that if you find a cheap hard tail with a longer 80mm-100mm stem with 130-170mm wide bars then your in a good riding position for all around mtb, but of course if you find a 50mm stem with a 800mm wide bar then take it, but expect harder climbs.

    OK, I think i've helped you...maybe... to a trivial degree. but help is help, right? good luck!

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