Hello from Italy- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Hello from Italy

    I'm currently stationed in Italy right now and I can't stay away from the allure of mountain biking. I was into road cycling back in the states for a while but that died away when i got a motorcycle but anyways im here in Italy and i'm kind of stuck. I recently bought a Trek 3900 from the BX and went out this past weekend just zipping through a few towns and on a few gravel paths and i'm not sure this bike will handle any serious trail riding if i do indeed get into that. So im considering taking it back.I have researched a bit and I keep seeing that you should buy the most bike you can at first and I know i can buy something more than this. However buying from bike shops in Italy just seems ridiculous because i'm paying 100s of dollars more because of the Euro to USD exchange rate. I'm thinking of ordering online and shipping to my APO address but im concerned about size and fitting the bike. My budget is around $900 and I'd like a hardtail but the BX is really limited on options. I'm wondering if anyone can offer some advice on what I should do. I dont know if i should just make due with the Trek for a while or what.


    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Hello! Thank you for your service!! My daughter was stationed in Italy for several years. She is a roadie! Said was some super nice riding over there. If you do go online check out Jenson.com. They have some new 2012 bikes with good specs at good prices. I bought through the LBS but I was here and you are not! Could always talk to th shop and see what they have to say. Could also pay a small fee to get them to size you and order online. May even do it for free if you tell em upfront what the deal is. I will als ask my daughter if she has any advice.
    2013 Cannondale F29 1 Alloy
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    2017 Trek Farley 7
    2017Trek Domane SLR 6

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishboy316 View Post
    Hello! Thank you for your service!! My daughter was stationed in Italy for several years. She is a roadie! Said was some super nice riding over there. If you do go online check out Jenson.com. They have some new 2012 bikes with good specs at good prices. I bought through the LBS but I was here and you are not! Could always talk to th shop and see what they have to say. Could also pay a small fee to get them to size you and order online. May even do it for free if you tell em upfront what the deal is. I will als ask my daughter if she has any advice.

    Thanks for the reply. It is indeed beautiful over here and I know the riding will be great once i get situated. I've been browsing JensonUSA's site and I'm interested in the FUJI 29 2.0 simply because I used to ride a Fuji road bike. But I don't think I've done enough research to really take a stab at buying yet. I have the trek 3900. It is an 18 in. It fits quite well I think. To go about buying online, should i just compare the Trek's Seat Tube height with the sizing online? Im probably going to take the Trek back tomorrow and get deathly stares from the Italians working at the customer service desk but I think it is for the best. There are too many amazing places to ride here to be limited by such a bike.

    Thanks in advance.

  4. #4
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    Looks like a nice bike. I am new here but I did 3 months of research before riding and eventually buying a Cdale lefty! Found in most cases you can barely get the components on a leftover bike for what you pay for the bike! My lefty was a leftover 2013 and had x9 and avid elixer brakes. Real nice package for $1700. The fuji looks good. You could buy a lot more bike for about $400 more. The specs are A bit better. How tall are you?There will be more to chime in. The Italians will be ok! You don't want to be stuck with a bike you don't like! Get what you want. From all my searching I blew the budget by $1100 bucks but now am glad i did so! Someone here told me that nobody ever said I wish I had bought less of a bike! I agree.
    2013 Cannondale F29 1 Alloy
    2013 Cervelo S5 Rival
    2012 Trek X01 crosser
    2017 Trek Farley 7
    2017Trek Domane SLR 6

  5. #5
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    $900 isn't going to get you much of a bike, but you'll have less money.

    On other servicemen's threads (thank you, btw) I read about people leaving bikes overseas when they get stationed elsewhere. Maybe ask around and see if you can buy something from someone on his way home.

    Trek 3-series bikes have weird sizing. It's not really comparable to anything else.

    Do you pay shipping on a catalog bike? What about a European catalog bike, like a Cube or a Focus?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    Thank you for the reply AndrwSwitch. There are some local classifieds for those stationed here and I was surprised to see so few bikes listed. There is really nothing worth viewing on them and I have yet to meet anyone interested in cycling yet. Although i have only been here for about 4 months.

    Thanks for the heads up regarding the Trek 3 series sizing. I ended up taking it back today and getting my money back. Honestly money is not really the issue. I could easily budget up to $2000, but really, why would I want to do that before I've even really gotten into mountain biking. I don't quite know what I'm capable of or what the bike I'm buying would be capable of since I'm coming off the pavement and onto the trails. That's why I'm thinking I'd like to pay at most $1000 just to get my feet wet and pick up some experience before I dive in.


    Anyhow, I've been viewing Airborne bicycle threads and looking up info regarding the Seeker and Goblin and I've been reading nothing but good things. They seem to be marketed towards people just like me. Budget conscious yet producing quality bikes. The only issue right now is the fact that I won't be able to test ride any bikes while here although possibly I can sit on some at the bike shop here to get an idea of proper size. The bike shop here resembles an REI btw except no one speaks English.I did notice they had a surplus of Focus bicycles though to answer your question Andrw. However, they are quite overpriced even if they had a $ next to them instead of a Euro sign. Also i'm not sure what you are asking about shipping on a catalog bike. Do you mean shipping it to the bike shop? Honestly doing business here is challenging enough as it is to buy most things so I don't see that being a simple task.

    Habit of too much typing. I guess my main dilemma right now is just the fact that I can't test ride any bikes and I don't know how to go about properly choosing the right size and model of the bike I need right now. Any advice would be great regarding this.

  7. #7
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    I was assuming if you bought a catalog bike, you'd have it shipped direct to you, to assemble yourself. I know shipping internationally can add wrinkles, but I understand the Armed Services give servicemen some perks concerning shipping as well, so I'm not sure what the bottom line is. If you buy from a European catalog, at least the bike doesn't need to cross an ocean.

    The major weak link on inexpensive bikes is the suspension fork. A good one costs hundreds of dollars, so it's easy to understand why a bike that costs hundreds of dollars doesn't come with a good one. They'd have no budget left to buy it wheels. :-P In the US, the least expensive reasonably good fork that shows up OEM is the RockShox Recon. In Europe, DT and Marzocchi's mid-range models will show up on some bikes and I think that Suntour's "real" forks put in some appearances too. From Suntour, that's the forks with names, not just a string of arbitrary letters.

    Have a look at some prices and spec lists and see where you land.

    I realize it's taking a bit of a flyer, but if this clicks for you, you'll probably kick yourself for not spending a bit more at the outset.

    You might also look for secondhand in the local community. I expect that's a bit trickier in a foreign country.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    I've met someone here who does a lot of mountain biking specifically DH. I am looking more towards longer distance XC and occasional downhill as well as taking a few strolls(maybe 30mi daily max) of riding through some of the local towns on the street(slicks will be bought). A lot to ask from a mountain bike i think? It sounds like a hardtail is more down my alley even though the fellow i met was pushing me more towards an FS. He said he might invite me out one weekend so i could test ride some of the guys' bikes he goes out there with. That would be great to get a feel for some things. I told him I'd up my budget to a max of $1500 and he said that was plenty to get started. Any other advice? From my searching it sounds like im interested in the All Mountain type of riding with occasional leisure city riding. I say leisure because I don't expect to be keeping a 20+ mph pace on a heavy mtb. Any add-ons would be welcome. I guess I'm just going to be patient now and wait till I can go up on the mountains with this guy to get a little taste.

  9. #9
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    Unless you're doing lift-served downhill, I think you'd be fine on a XC or Trail bike.

    I wouldn't bother swapping tires for the occasional visit to town. I have a hard enough time getting my butt out the door as it is. Other people have a different level of tolerance for screwing around with their gear.

    Trying a few bikes sounds great.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Unless you're doing lift-served downhill, I think you'd be fine on a XC or Trail bike.
    This. And, thank you for your service. Until you find trails that require more bike, no need spending the cash when you can gain all the fitness and learn bike handling on what you have. You will know when you have outgrown the bike. If you're not sure, you're not ready.

    Go into the local bike shops and ask about trails to ride since they will know best where they are between the towns. When i lived in Germany, there were miles of single track trails to ride. I only wish i took more time then to get into mtbing. Also, check with MWR. They may even have trips planned or have information about groups that get together to ride and even race. Racing with locals is a great way to enjoy your experience there and socialize with the community.

  11. #11
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    And again, gracias for serving. It's appreciated.

    Definitely make a point out of trying to get acquainted with some of the local riders, specially since the offer's already there. Having people to go riding with, particularly ones that can show you around and let you try out bikes, is a huge plus in my book. From my experience, most people that ride downhill also do trail ride, and I'm betting somebody will either have a decent bike they'd be willing to sell or at least be able to point you in the right direction. Dunno what the local trails are like where you are, but I would definitely weigh that in when deciding on what bike you choose. FS might be worth looking into, depending.
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