Cheap Mountain Bikes Worth Considering- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Cheap Mountain Bikes Worth Considering

    First off if you want to do jumps and fast downhill rides these bikes are not for you; I'd hate to have someone buy one of these thinking they can take a lot of punishment --- they probably cannot. There are four criteria I've picked below, for what some would call entry-level mountain bikes, and others would call disposable crap bikes, depending on your view and pocketbook of course. The four minimum criteria are: aluminum frame, click/trigger shifters (most likely Shimano, and sorry SRAM fans), at least a 3x7 freewheel drivetrain, and at least mechanical disk brakes. If the drivetrain has a 3x8 cassette and brakes are hydraulic, that's a big plus but for the price of around or under $500 they are still going to be in the entry-level/disposable bike group. Why disposable? Many of these bikes will sooner or later have a fatal flaw such as no derailleur hanger if the derailleur brakes, or one of the wheels is damaged beyond repair. Then the part or parts, if they can even be replaced, may be 1/2 as much or more than the entire price of the original bike. So you then either upgrade to a more expensive bike, or you buy the same one and use the disabled one as parts. Some people would find that repulsive, and others may do just fine with buying a new cheap bike every 500-1000 miles of riding. Many bikes below will have no comment meaning they probably have a 26" wheel, 3x7 freewheel and mechanical disks (all have Shimano click-shifters and aluminum frames). Most will also be hardtails, and comments will therefore be for if they are full suspension, 3x8 cassettes, or hydraulic brakes. You should assume that they are 26" and I'll note if they are 27.5" or 29".

    Last but not least, there will be "experts" on this site that will of course criticize the bikes below, and for good reason IF they assume everyone SHOULD do downhill, freestyle, and all-mountain biking like they themselves do. If someone rides on dirt roads and then some trails that are not too hardcore, that to the experts is not "real" mountain biking. OK, point taken, that is their opinion. As mentioned at the very beginning, the bikes below are not going to handle 4-foot air jumps and 20+ mph downhill bombs. It would be very foolish to try those with a sub-$500 bike, I get that, and everyone reading this should get that. These bikes can do rocky trails and some downhill trails SLOWLY, maybe half as fast as a ride with a much more expensive bike. I'm thinking 3-5 mph over level tough terrain and 5-8 mph down rocky trails; that's my personal cadence with these types of bikes. Anything more than that will lead to crashes (unless you want to crash for some reason or don't care).

    There is also a quality and durability issue. No one said the bikes below are quality compared to a more expensive bike. No one said that the parts mentioned above: aluminum frame, dual disk brakes, Shimano click shifters, and at least a 21-speed freewheel are all "quality" parts that are equal to the equivalent parts on more expensive bikes. Guys, this is all RELATIVE. This is the bare-bones price you can pay to actually get the parts mentioned above for the bikes below. It's a starting point, a baseline to set as the lowest standard of what a contemporary mountain bike should have in 2017. Ten years ago, a steel frame, friction twist-shifters, and V-brakes were the entry-level standard. They are considered crap now. So what is in-between crap and a good mountain bike? The bikes below. That statement will confuse and/or anger the perfectionists on this site. To them I say, try to look at things from a relative, graded perspective, difficult as that may be. On a practical level, many bikers on here have 2-3 different bikes, and the ones below would make a great backup bike while your good bike is in the shop (no hardcore biking though, that will have to wait). Also, the bikes below could also be used in the rainy/wet season when you don't want your good bike to get rained on and muddy. If the ones below have parts that end up rusted and gunky, big deal, you eventually just get another cheap one. You don't want to do that for a $2000 bike.

    $350-550 Range (entry-level):
    Co-op Cycles DRT 1.0 Bike 3x8, hydraulic
    Diamondback Overdrive 27.5, 3x8
    Diamondback Overdrive 29 Hardtail Mountain Bike 3x8
    Diamondback Trace Bike 27.5
    Diamondback Bicycles Recoil 29er Complete READY RIDE Full Suspension 3x8
    Giant Talon 3 27.5, 3x8, hydraulic
    GMC Yukon Bike 26x4 tire
    GT Avalanche Comp 27.5" Mountain Bike 27.5, 3x9, hydraulic
    Motobecane 350DS 3x8
    SE Bikes Big Mountain 27.5" 1.0 Hardtail Bike hydraulic
    SE Bikes Big Mountain 27.5" 2.0 Hardtail Bike
    SE Bikes Big Mountain 29" 2.0 Hardtail Bike
    Specialized Hardrock Disc 650b
    Specialized Rockhopper 29, 3x8



    $150-350 Range (disposable):
    ALTRUISM X5 pro Mountain Bikes 21 Speed Bicycle 26inch
    Forge Sawback 7XX Mountain - 27.5" Bike
    Gravity FSX 1.0 Dual Full Suspension Mountain Bike with Disc Brakes 3x8
    Iron Horse Men's Sinister 6.2 Mountain Bike 29"
    Kawasaki DX Full Suspension Mountain Bike, 26 inch Wheels
    Kent Hawkeye 29er Mountain Bike
    Kent RCT 27.5
    Kent Thruster KZ2600 Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike, 26-Inch
    Merax Finiss 26" Dual Disc Brakes 21 Speed Hardtail Mountain Bike
    Schwinn Boundary 29"
    Schwinn Protocol 1.0 Men's Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike 3x8
    Schwinn Ember Dual Suspension Mountain Bike, 29" Wheels 3x8
    Titan 26-Inch Glacier-Pro Alloy Dual-Suspension All-Terrain Mountain Bike
    Vilano 26" Mountain Bike Ridge 1.0/2.0 MTB 21 Speed Shimano with Disc Brakes
    Last edited by richj8990; 05-06-2017 at 08:52 AM.

  2. #2
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    Cheap Mountain Bikes Worth Considering

    A good addition to the $350-$550 range would be the Giant Talon 3 & the Trek Marlin 6.


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  3. #3
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    Nice write-up! Hopefully the "I'm new to mtb what bike should I get" folks read this before posting...

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    Thank you. I'm far, far from an expert on this stuff, but I feel that too many people want to get into mountain biking and think they have to plunk down $1000+ just to keep up with the crowd. Mountain biking is a little bit like skiing, you first do the beginner slopes before the expert ones. A $1000 bike is not going to turn an amateur into a pro. And many on here don't realize how much bike technology has advanced in the last 10 years or so. Cheap bikes today have way better technology than more expensive bikes in the past.

    I'll give you a perfect example: my wife (before we met) bought a Specialized Vertical Outreach around 2006, so right now it's 11 years old, and still works, not many miles on it, not more than 1000 miles in 11 years. She got it at Costco for $450, which means at a retail store back then it probably sold for around $600. If you adjust for inflation you are up to $800. Think of what you can get for $800 now: aluminum frame for sure, pretty decent hydraulic brakes, 3x8 cassette drivetrain or a more customized one, and 100 mm+ shocks. You can get a pretty decent overall bike. Even for $450 you can (almost) get hydraulic brakes, and you can for sure get an aluminum frame, dual disk brakes, trigger shifters and a 3x8 cassette.

    Now let me tell you what she got in 2006 for $450; it would sound like a ripoff today: top-heavy steel frame, dual V-brakes, friction twist-shifters, 7x3 freewheel. The only decent thing is the full suspension. And it's a 24" as well. What would that level of bike sell for now? It would be in the crap bike section at Walmart or Target for $100-200. In fact, I can think of two different bikes available at Walmart (Kent RCT and Merax Finiss) that each start at $150 and have way better technology than the older Specialized mentioned above. Both of the $150 bikes have trigger Shimano's and dual disk brakes, and the Kent has an aluminum frame and is a 27.5" to boot (although as you can imagine, the Kent also has cheap stuff like no front release skewer, a rattling kickstand, horrible tires, uncomfortable handlebars, stiff shocks, and no derailleur hanger). But it CAN take a tough trail (not at 20 mph or anything, don't get me wrong). It may pop a tube every week, but it can take tough trails. If you just focus on the main technology on a mountain bike: brakes, drivetrain, wheel size, frame type, then the technology for the money has advanced 300-600% in the last 10-12 years. So if someone is a beginner don't be embarrassed about starting with a cheaper bike, it will probably be all you need while you are learning.

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    I'm not up on cheap bikes but some less obvious places companies cut corners to come in at a lower price point are headset, bottom bracket, wheels (regardless of the size) and tires. Also stem, handlebar, seat post and saddle, though these should last longer than a cheap headset or bottom bracket.
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    Thank you. I'm far, far from an expert on this stuff, but I feel that too many people want to get into mountain biking and think they have to plunk down $1000+ just to keep up with the crowd. Mountain biking is a little bit like skiing, you first do the beginner slopes before the expert ones. A $1000 bike is not going to turn an amateur into a pro. And many on here don't realize how much bike technology has advanced in the last 10 years or so. Cheap bikes today have way better technology than more expensive bikes in the past.

    I'll give you a perfect example: my wife (before we met) bought a Specialized Vertical Outreach around 2006, so right now it's 11 years old, and still works, not many miles on it, not more than 1000 miles in 11 years. She got it at Costco for $450, which means at a retail store back then it probably sold for around $600. If you adjust for inflation you are up to $800. Think of what you can get for $800 now: aluminum frame for sure, pretty decent hydraulic brakes, 3x8 cassette drivetrain or a more customized one, and 100 mm+ shocks. You can get a pretty decent overall bike. Even for $450 you can (almost) get hydraulic brakes, and you can for sure get an aluminum frame, dual disk brakes, trigger shifters and a 3x8 cassette.

    Now let me tell you what she got in 2006 for $450; it would sound like a ripoff today: top-heavy steel frame, dual V-brakes, friction twist-shifters, 7x3 freewheel. The only decent thing is the full suspension. And it's a 24" as well. What would that level of bike sell for now? It would be in the crap bike section at Walmart or Target for $100-200. In fact, I can think of two different bikes available at Walmart (Kent RCT and Merax Finiss) that each start at $150 and have way better technology than the older Specialized mentioned above. Both of the $150 bikes have trigger Shimano's and dual disk brakes, and the Kent has an aluminum frame and is a 27.5" to boot (although as you can imagine, the Kent also has cheap stuff like no front release skewer, a rattling kickstand, horrible tires, uncomfortable handlebars, stiff shocks, and no derailleur hanger). But it CAN take a tough trail (not at 20 mph or anything, don't get me wrong). It may pop a tube every week, but it can take tough trails. If you just focus on the main technology on a mountain bike: brakes, drivetrain, wheel size, frame type, then the technology for the money has advanced 300-600% in the last 10-12 years. So if someone is a beginner don't be embarrassed about starting with a cheaper bike, it will probably be all you need while you are learning.
    There's cheap bikes and then there's entry level bikes. Generally, entry level bikes make the cycling experience less painful to get into, but will fall into disrepair in a very short amount of time. A cheap bike could be like a singlespeed with the bare necessities, with nothing luxurious about it (kind of like the fixie of the mtb world), but is the last thing a beginner wants (these are for riders who have gained so much experience, that they need to increase their challenge). The entry level bike just is good enough to build a decent base of cycling muscles... can't expect someone who's been off a bike in years to get into an aggressive tucked position with no core, nor upper body strength, and hold that for 30 minutes.

    It's like a cheap $3 chef's knife vs a $30 one. The $3 one quickly loses its sharpness, isn't properly made to withstand regular use, and is prone to breakage. It's like a replica, which people who know better would deem to be dangerous to use. You can successfully use it the same way as more expensive ones, but it requires far more care and effort. Multiply the prices by 100, and you have yourself what the bike market looks like. There's a paring knives, fillet knives, butcher knives... there's singlespeed rigids, trail bikes, and DH bikes... I personally chose a premium trail bike (akin to premium $40 chef knife), since I have found that I enjoy the sport and see myself putting it to use enough to justify such an investment.

    Think about things in this way and you'll start making sense of the kind of quality you're getting. $3 knives don't get vital features like heat-treating, and tend to break easily. Their tips can snap off and get lost in your food. You're trusting your body at 15 mph or faster to these low price bikes. Seriously, a sharper knife is far safer and easier to use than a blunt one. People recommend stepping up because the junky bikes can spoil the experience; every root, rut, rock, and decline is straight up terrifying. People riding more extreme are looked at as if they are out of their minds, to people who have been terrorized by even the most basic of trails. Are you handy with a knife in the kitchen, thinking that food prep is enjoyable? If so, do you have a nice knife? If not, it's likely because your shitty equipment is to blame. Those Acera, Alivio, Deore drivetrains are more prone to rust, wear, and deterioration (from neglect). They don't have the anti-friction and anti-corrosive coatings like the higher quality groupsets do (ex. nickel-plating, fluorine-based treatments like Sil-Tec), and are made from lesser quality materials that are easier for the machines to produce in higher quantities. For example, a cheap rotor might say only for use with resin/organic pads, because it's not a hardened steel--it might warp from merely crossing a puddle after some hard braking.

    Can't just distill "quality" into a check list of "features". I might believe that tires and brakes are the first thing I'd ensure could be safely ridden, but I'd make sure assembly is done right too. Proper assembly is extremely important. It's like having a handle come loose on a knife, and your greased hand going straight for the sharp/pointy part of the knife in the middle of use. You might foresee this issue, and add to your checklist that you require a nice handle made out of a certain material, but you have just unfairly crossed off all the viable options that are all metal with well shaped/designed handles. Give me a cheap blunt knife and I'd be increasingly more likely to stick it into your back after each use for even the most basic foods, but give me a quality knife and I'd be more likely to use it, and on a wider variety of things (I'd be worried about the nice blade edge chipping on your bones if the thought about sticking it into you crossed my mind).

    P.S. multiply the cost of bikes by 10 and you get the relative quality of the car market too. Hmm, I guess I got a bike that's akin to a VW Golf GTI Clubsport.

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    the correct answer, is whatever bike is being clearanced out for a good price.
    get this one.
    Newbie looking for first bike.. 2012 Giant Talon 29 for $430?- Mtbr.com

    if you going for a budget bike (which is totally fine), then get one with at least disc brakes and an XCT imo. That way when stuff breaks later, you have better and cheaper options for upgrades.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zooey View Post
    There's a paring knives, fillet knives, butcher knives... there's singlespeed rigids, trail bikes, and DH bikes... I personally chose a premium trail bike (akin to premium $40 chef knife), since I have found that I enjoy the sport and see myself putting it to use enough to justify such an investment.

    Think about things in this way and you'll start making sense of the kind of quality you're getting. $3 knives don't get vital features like heat-treating, and tend to break easily. Their tips can snap off and get lost in your food. You're trusting your body at 15 mph or faster to these low price bikes. Seriously, a sharper knife is far safer and easier to use than a blunt one. People recommend stepping up because the junky bikes can spoil the experience; every root, rut, rock, and decline is straight up terrifying. People riding more extreme are looked at as if they are out of their minds, to people who have been terrorized by even the most basic of trails. Are you handy with a knife in the kitchen, thinking that food prep is enjoyable? If so, do you have a nice knife? If not, it's likely because your shitty equipment is to blame. Those Acera, Alivio, Deore drivetrains are more prone to rust, wear, and deterioration (from neglect). They don't have the anti-friction and anti-corrosive coatings like the higher quality groupsets do (ex. nickel-plating, fluorine-based treatments like Sil-Tec), and are made from lesser quality materials that are easier for the machines to produce in higher quantities. For example, a cheap rotor might say only for use with resin/organic pads, because it's not a hardened steel--it might warp from merely crossing a puddle after some hard braking.
    Yes, I get that quality and long-lasting parts are the main difference in a cheaper vs. more expensive bike. But for the actual riding on a normal intermediate trail, nothing too downhill or crazy, how much of a difference is there? I've found a difference more in the shocks, tire size, and quality of tire than anything else for the average trail. On that one Specialized old bike I've followed a couple of guys going downhill on a relatively smooth trail and kept up (when I shouldn't have because their bikes were way more expensive). I've also followed a dude in the dark on a $350 Amazon
    bike and kept up as well. On the other hand I have a lot of problems with rutted switchbacks on cheaper bikes as you basically mentioned above. Again, the shocks, tire size (27.5" is better) and tire quality are all important for downhill turns. I personally find a 27.5" better for turning downhill unlike some others on the site. But when I read on here that people are considering spending $1200 on a bike just to ride on gravel roads I chuckle to myself. I do way more than that on a much cheaper bike, not as fast as the pros but have a lot of fun doing it and not spending $1200+ either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zooey View Post
    I personally chose a premium trail bike (akin to premium $40 chef knife), since I have found that I enjoy the sport and see myself putting it to use enough to justify such an investment.
    I disagree with most of what you wrote. Including the suggestion that a "premium" chef's knife can be had for $40.

    And the suggestion that quality in cars is largely reflected in the price of a car?! A Camry or Corrola are high quality but inexpensive cars; ditto many, many other makes and models.

    And $400 entry level bikes are not dangerous, nor terrifying, and do not fall into disrepair in very short order.

    Absurd.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gr7070 View Post
    I disagree with most of what you wrote. Including the suggestion that a "premium" chef's knife can be had for $40.

    And the suggestion that quality in cars is largely reflected in the price of a car?! A Camry or Corrola are high quality but inexpensive cars; ditto many, many other makes and models.

    And $400 entry level bikes are not dangerous, nor terrifying, and do not fall into disrepair in very short order.

    Absurd.
    Can get a finer edge investing in a quality whetstone, with a lower cost knife, than vice versa. A $400 knife is absurd.

    Toyota relies heavily on partnerships with their suppliers. They use economies of scale to get their prices to be affordable, being the biggest auto mfg in the world. To get quality at an affordable price takes god-like business management to be successful--they're an exception to the rule. Any other suggestions? Ford and VW are also big, but are their best sellers exceptional values (ex. Golf and Fusion, ignoring F-series to make it apples to apples)?

    Plenty of evidence to support that such challenges are terrifying on a cheap bike when ridden by a beginner, and are relatively dangerous and fall into disrepair in short order compared to a higher quality/priced bike. Heck, there was need for an entire forum, this Beginner's Corner, to manage these issues.

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    I think the point of this thread was to give people an idea of decent entry level bikes in a price range that wouldn't discourage them from taking up the sport. I'm still very new to this, but I was looking at many of those bikes before buying a Giant Revel 29er (which could be added to the above list). When I first started researching a couple of months or so ago, I was pretty discouraged after reading some of the threads here and on other forums. It had been many years since I had a bike and my prior experience was with department store bikes. So not a great experience. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on something that I wasn't 100% sure I was going to like.

    Many of the threads that I read were asking about bikes for a similar riding style to mine. Around the neighborhood, some gravel or dirt roads, and some singletrack trails for some occasional fun. The replies to those threads were usually some variation of "if you're spending less than 1k, you're wasting your money." My Revel was less than $500 and I think it's perfect for me at this point. Down the road I may want to upgrade if I start riding more advanced trails, but I doubt that most people who are just starting out are going to jump on advanced trails on day one.

    I'm not trying to say that my Revel or any of the bikes on the above list are comparable to a 1 or 2k bike. They're not. But they each have a purpose. For someone like me, who is just starting out and wasn't sure if they would like it, those entry level bikes provide an opportunity to get involved in the sport. Obviously these aren't made for big jumps or serious downhills, but I won't be doing that anytime soon. My point is, I would hate for people to be discouraged and give up on pursuing the sport because they're being told they have drop 1k or more on a bike just to start.

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    It all depends on what you are doing with the bike. It's funny how the "experts" don't understand that. Everything revolves around what they do with their bikes, because everyone is supposed to do what they are doing in order to be a "real" mountain biker. It's nothing more than a form of peer pressure. If we buy their $5000 bikes, then to them that justifies them buying their $5000 bikes.

    Some of us don't want to go 20 mph+ down a hill whether we have an expensive bike or not; that point is 100% lost on many of the "experts". News flash: you can actually have fun mountain biking without doing crazy stuff. And a very profound quote on here from another poster was that a $250 bike that's being ridden is better than a $1000 bike that's sitting in the garage, because that $1000 bike beginner lost interest in biking. Just because a beginner buys a $1000+ bike doesn't mean they will automatically fall in love with mountain biking and suddenly have the skills to handle fast downhill descents. When you are learning how to ski, you don't start out with $5000 skis and start on the black square expert slopes. You buy entry-level skis, start on the green sign beginner slopes, and see how you like it first. Then if you like it you can slowly upgrade what you have or get a new set of skis that can handle a tougher slope. Same with mountain biking. This is all common sense isn't it?

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    Im in the market now as a "beginner" having come from a semi hardcore bmx backround. Mountain bikes and bmxs are really like apples and oranges. Im looking for something in the 800-1100 range and so far Iv'e checked out the Salsa timberjack Nx1 and the Trek x-caliber 8 and 9
    I dont really understand the in and outs of parts and components on these thing but from a technical stand point although the Salsa sounds like it could be the clear winner, its not as visually appealing as the trek. Im also open to check out other brands but don't know which direction to go in. As for the salsa looks. At the 1400 price point i like the salsa timberjack gx1 but im not sure it offers 29ers. With that said the wheel spec is something I'm also fairly unfamiliar with.
    Sheesh. Lol
    P.s. i intend to do some occasional moderate trail riding but mostly cruising. Im 6'2 and would like to avoid the retail store bike selections

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    it's funny you guys bring up knives, i happen to have a decent collection of kitchen knives over $1k. my most used and best knife is my cheapest one, a $50 carbon kanemesa e series 210mm gyuto with a a single bevel. my wet stones collection is over $200.

    money doesn't get you better knives after a certain point. a far more knowledgeable a rich resturant owner pro chef named saltydog has $5k+ in gyutos alone. His best knife is one of his cheapest knives = $220 blue steel plated gyuto (forget the name). he puts his knives through objective benchmarks and posts results as well extensive real world usage. The guy is so functional, he dips his exotic knife handles in black epoxy to rubbarize the grip, because that cheap plastic coating is better than all the crazy form over function stuff.

    Spending money is easy, researching to know what to buy, and what is good is hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bob13bob View Post
    it's funny you guys bring up knives, i happen to have a decent collection of kitchen knives over $1k. my most used and best knife is my cheapest one, a $50 carbon kanemesa e series 210mm gyuto with a a single bevel. my wet stones collection is over $200.

    money doesn't get you better knives after a certain point. a far more knowledgeable a rich resturant owner pro chef named saltydog has $5k+ in gyutos alone. His best knife is one of his cheapest knives = $220 blue steel plated gyuto (forget the name). he puts his knives through objective benchmarks and posts results as well extensive real world usage. The guy is so functional, he dips his exotic knife handles in black epoxy to rubbarize the grip, because that cheap plastic coating is better than all the crazy form over function stuff.

    Spending money is easy, researching to know what to buy, and what is good is hard.
    Oh, that was me. I was hoping that it would be an analogy that was more understandable, but I guess not. A masterfully made stamped knife can compete with a forged knife in which corners cut to bring it into the desired price point--this is to counter the idea of making a "checklist" of quality features that a product should have, especially at a price point where everything's a compromise.

    I generally agree with the folks that say, for most value, buy a heavily discounted model from a respected brand, generally a brand that emphasizes quality and has great knowledge and experience at making bikes at all price points (giving up on aesthetics can score a lot of value). Depending on whether or not your garage is full of tools, I'd heavily encourage a Trek to someone without mechanical prowess, and a discounted bike from JensonUSA to someone who has rolling toolboxes and a pegboard full of various tools and have a habit of comparing maintenance costs to tool costs.

    Basically, abuse the heck out of trickle down tech. I see every dollar, up to $1200, as money well spent on a bike (hardtail, $2500 for a FS) as it doesn't hit that point of diminishing returns until around then. Researching can take way too much time, and listening to other "regular" consumers, is like "baaaahhhh"ing like sheep in different herds, building up wool coats (saving $$$) until it's time for you to get shaved (by the retailers). Don't bet on getting yourself lost and hoping some good shepard will save you. It's also not as cool as you think being a black sheep.

    @Ratheruneeq1 sounds like you need a mtb buddy who's an expert. Just hang out at the trails that you'd like to ride at and chat some folks up. Way better than any answer you'd get here, but this place is alright to get "verification", if you want to double check your buddy's advice or if they gave you some options.

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    Hard to find "expert mtb buddys" when nobody around you rides. One guy I did speak to, his recommendations were too rich for my blood, he swore i needed a fs and specifically a yeti. Unfortunately i must be more realistic. Im getting close to pulling the trigger but I'm noticing the more I rack my brain over this the more confused i become. There are so many apsects to consider and when you don't have much direction or foundational knowledge to base from, the research seems all the more daunting. I may just close my eyes and pull the trigger. Atm I'm leaning toward the Salsa.

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    Well, considering your goal is just cruising, and not actually getting serious, the guy recommending a Yeti must think you're wanting to be a racer or at least an enthusiast, and have no time to lose on being mediocre. Probably sees some potential in you. Some can argue that a $300 is fine for cruising... better define "cruising" a bit more accurately if you want to know what's most suitable. Cruising for a former semi-hardcore BMXer is different than cruising for an average lazy American who's not so sporty.

    BTW, you narrowed down to two really solid choices. Hard to go wrong with either. I'd say it depends on who you want to give your money to. If you know the names of the people selling said bike, that might make the decision easier. Save 'em on your phone, ask that guy who recommended the Yeti about it, showing him the two choices. Seriously, sounds like he's done some research, just not so much in the budget range.

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    Great points sir. By cruising i mean i'd like a bike i can ride on the street if need (cruising/scenic) as well as something that can handle trails. Its hard to just yet to be honest. Its been years since I've ridden regularly. Secondly, having been a bmx'er and always having had an affinity for the "control/handling" element of a bmx, I still feel foreign whenever I hop on any Mountain. The feel of "knowing" if a particular bike feels like a good fit is very foreign to me on this platform as they all feel awkwardly large. Im used to planting both feet firmly while seated. With that the idea of riding a mountain "aggressively" sounds a bit intimidating. Although to be fair this may just be am issue of eventual adaptation and relearning a different kind of comfort. In short I liken a bmx to a passenger car and a mountain bike to an SUV lol.

    Lastly you mention the salsa and trek model I mentioned were both solid choices. Although a recent search on the trek x-caliber models i looked up implied that the wheels on those models are cheap and that the spokes have a tendency to blow out. That was dissapointing. Are there any Cannondales in that range worth looking at? Is GT any good these days? I heard they got bought out a while back.

  19. #19
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    The spoke issue is one for heavy weight people, to put it bluntly. Trek went with 28 hole wheels, which saves weight and may increase compliance (flex). The constant tensioning and release can detension the spokes, especially low-cost machine built ones that didn't get a good stress relieving (steps skipped to increase rate of wheels built per hour, and keep $$$ down). Goes hand-in-hand with other components on entry level bikes, which need more frequent inspection and maintenance to keep in order, compared to higher end bikes (though not race bikes). You're 6' 2", so naturally heavy, so that's a valid concern. I'd be worried about 28h 29er wheels holding up under you too, unless you happen to be really skinny.

    I must've been thinking street BMX... those guys typically know where their rear tire is, which is a skill a novice rider won't have. A novice would typically be staring at where their front is about to go, and neglecting their rear. Having the sense of the rear wheel and the urge to control/guide it, instantly ranks you as a better bike handler than a vast majority of other riders, even those with 10+ years on a bike. If you had some decent strength (ex. could do many push-ups easily), you could've just pumped all the obstacles.

  20. #20
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    I'm 6'2 but am at 175pds im not heavyset at all. As for bmxing yes. Lol i still have my GT speed series. Haha, I used to have a Bully Hotrod, moons ago but havent ridden at all in well over a decade so I'm a bit out the loop but certainly fit and athletic. The size of Mountaim bikes still throw me for a loop especially the suspension. Then again I'be never owned one or ridden one beyond a test ride at a local shop. Thanks for the input btw

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