Beginner questions and bike recommendations- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Beginner questions and bike recommendations

    Hello all! I'm new to the sport and here as well. I just have a few questions.

    How are mountain bikes sized? When people say 29", 24" What does that mean exactly?

    Also i'm looking for a beginner bike. I'm 27yrs old, 5'5" and 160lbs. I'm looking to do a mix of road and trail riding.I'm probably not going to spend more than $500 but may push that up to in the 600.

    I have found a few bikes i like on my own, and have also been recommended to check used. If anyone would like to share their knowledge with me i would be so happy!

  2. #2
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    Answers....

    Quote Originally Posted by ShawnCS View Post
    Hello all! I'm new to the sport and here as well. I just have a few questions.

    How are mountain bikes sized? When people say 29", 24" What does that mean exactly?

    Also i'm looking for a beginner bike. I'm 27yrs old, 5'5" and 160lbs. I'm looking to do a mix of road and trail riding.I'm probably not going to spend more than $500 but may push that up to in the 600.

    I have found a few bikes i like on my own, and have also been recommended to check used. If anyone would like to share their knowledge with me i would be so happy!
    Mountain bikes typically come in two different wheel sizes: 26" wheels and 29" wheels. They're then typically sized as Small, Medium, Large, XL, etc. or by inches (13", 15" 17"... etc).

    So you have two preliminary decisions to make before purchasing: What wheel size do I prefer and what size bike do I need.

    Fortunately, the answer to both of these questions is the same:

    - Ride as many different types of bike from as many different OEM's as you can. Select the bike that feels the best to you.

    In your price range of $500 - $600, you'll be able to find a really nice entry level bike. Any major manufacturer will offer a good bike in that price range. Ride a bunch of them and pick the one that feels the best to you.

    Ken
    JPark - 3.5- don't listen to dremer

  3. #3
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    Since you're getting started with the sport definitely do some research and pay your local bike shop(s) a visit - in the long run they'll be your best friend for questions and maintenance work you can't find answers for here.

    At your LBS you'll be able to test different frame sizes and bikes to find one that fits you best. Also do some research online on proper bike fitting as it can make a tremendous difference in comfort, fatigue, efficiency, etc..

    Different manufacturers also do things differently (listing sizes as 19"/19.5"/LG) so the measurements you can make at home or from a bike shop fitting can be very useful if you try and buy used from somewhere online.

    As Ken said there will be tons of options available for you so just find something that feels right and then get out there and ride!

  4. #4
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    Here is what I'm narrowing it down to based on my lbs visit:
    b/w Cannondale Quick CX3 vs Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disk vs Disk

    Please help me decide b/w the following. I was first going for the cheaper $579 Crosstrail disk, but the LBS person suggested looking at the ones with the suspension lock out. I'm trying to keep my budget reasonable. I'll be more of a Sunday rider with my son who I bought the Specialized Hotrock 24 21-speed bike

    I'm trying to find the best bang for buck b/w the following 3... the LBS rep suggested looking at hydraulic disks too but I think staying with regular disk brakes may be plenty for me. I'm trying to figure out at this price point, is there a major difference b/w cannondale vs specialized specs/quality and what I'll be getting for my $

    Cannondale Quick CX3 $799

    Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disk $749

    Specialized Crosstrail Disk $579

    Thanks in advance

  5. #5
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    Cannondale and Specialized are both reputable brands so the thing you want to pay attention to most back at the LBS will be the quality of components on the different bikes versus their price.

    All three bikes you listed were Hybrids - their wheels are less knobby and their forks have smaller amounts of travel than would be on a bike designed for more trail use. Just be sure you pick for the kind of riding you'll doing with the bike! (those wheels won't corner as well, etc..)

    The Specialized Hardrock series has several good trail-specific bikes in your price range as well as the Cannondale Trail SL series. Also you're right, hydraulic brakes will be more difficult to adjust and maintain than some good mechanical ones..

    Good choices either way though - it's however you like to ride. The difference between the two Specialized is the more expensive is a 9sp versus the less an 8sp - the 9sp being of a little higher quality..

  6. #6
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    Thanks. I'll mostly be doing weekend rides with my son on bike rides in a park, some dirt roads and ride with some adult friends...
    i thought so about the hydraulic brakes re: maintenance...

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    newbie question: what is a 9sp? the other reason i was going with the more expensive $700 range is that it gives the suspension lock... i'm figuring out that if i maximize my money in getting into a suspension lock and disk brakes that may be the sweet spot rather than the lower costing crosstrail disk... seems like having a suspension lock makes a significant difference ?

  8. #8
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    9 speed versus 8 speed, not much of a difference though a 9 speed has far greater upgrade-able and replaceable options.

    suspension lockout is definitely not very necessary at that level of fork travel

  9. #9
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    wow.. .thank you drblauston... this feedback is helping me see that the Specialized Crosstrail Disk $579 may actually be better for my budget and i'm not gaining a huge lot more with the $200+ higher level bikes.... i could use that $ towards the other gear needed for the bike...

  10. #10
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    Is the fork on the Sport model an upgrade (better fork) other than the lockout feature?

  11. #11
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    yep, you're welcome! and I agree, go with the $579 and put the rest towards a hydration pack or other goodies. have fun out there!

  12. #12
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    SR Suntour SF11-NVX-DS-MLO on the $749 and SR Suntour SF11-NVX-DS on the $579, the MLO stands for mechanical lock-out so other than that I believe they are the exact same

  13. #13
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    seems like a big jump in $$ for just that feature

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by drblauston View Post
    SR Suntour SF11-NVX-DS-MLO on the $749 and SR Suntour SF11-NVX-DS on the $579, the MLO stands for mechanical lock-out so other than that I believe they are the exact same
    You can always change the fork later - don't think of your bike as one unit, it is an assembly of parts. For many of us, swapping bits in and out is part of the fun of the sport. Test drive the cheaper fork model and if the lack of a lockout doesn't bother you, go for it! (try climbing a few hills, that is typically when you would use the lockout..)

  15. #15
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    Fork lockout is not neccessary for your level of riding. Your lbs rep should know that and shame on him for trying to upgrade you so he can make a few extra bucks.

    Mechanical brakes are easy to adjust even for a noob so thats a good route, but Vbrakes rarely need service or adjusting so either way is fine.
    People ask me all the time "who beat you up"? I tell them "a tree". They just look at me funny....

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