Help me choose 1 of these beginner bikes?-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2015

    Help me choose 1 of these beginner bikes?

    Hello everybody I've recently become really interested in mountain biking however I am on a VERY tight budget as any normal university student who comes from a poverty stricken background is.I'm looking at around $200 max.
    I've been to my local bike shops and took a look around, upon asking the lowest priced bike I could pick up the cheapest I have came across is $350 for a beginner bike, which I assume is about the average price.

    I've done some research at this point I'm coming to the conclusion I'm going to have to get a "Toy" Bike which I think will be acceptable for my local trail I'm wanting to "Start" on. which mostly consists of dirt and a few small vines along the trail. It's nothing to serious, no rocks or jumps but something I believe I could have fun on just cruising.
    With that being said I have found 2 bikes that fit my budget, yes they are walmart bikes (Wal-mart Fall apart heard it,don't want to again. I just wan't some valuable feedback <3)

    I've read a-lot of bad reviews about "cheap" bikes with full suspension, so I'm a bit Leary of the Ranger. I'm kind of looking more for a top-end Rigid bike if possible
    These 2 are what I could find, though being inexperienced with bikes I'm not 100% sure what I'm looking for.
    I'm not to worried about "The fits good and rides good" at the moment as much as I am about getting into the sport, if I enjoy the sport then I will indeed save up for a few months to pick up a bike from a shop. Until then if any suggestions could be made I would be rather thankful.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    First, welcome to the forums and welcome to the sport.

    I know you don't want to hear it again, but I'll say it: buying a bike from Walmart is not a way to get good value for your money. The bikes are so bad that they can potentially turn off a beginner from the sport. You have better options frankly, even with your budget.

    Your best option is to look for a used hardtail in places like the MTBR classifieds, Pinkbike buy/sell, and craigslist. You can definitely find a good (used) beginner bike in your budget. Look for a name-brand bike (Trek, Specialized, Giant, etc) and not a department store brand (Roadmaster, Next, Hyper, Mongoose, Schwinn, etc). If you don't know, ask here.

    You should be worried about whether it fits well. I don't mean "I would prefer this measurement 12mm shorter", I mean in broad terms of small, medium, large. Getting the wrong size bike can lead to an uncomfortable ride and turn people off from the sport. How tall are you? We can let you know what you should be looking for.

    Sometimes bike shop people know someone who's trying to get rid of something. Try talking to some mechanics (not salespeople), explain your situation and what you're looking for. You never know.

    In terms of parts on the bike, don't worry much about how many gears it has or whether it has disc brakes. If it has a name-brand fork (Rockshox, Manitou, Marzocchi, not Suntour) that's a big huge plus - it's very rare in your price range but it can happen. And again, no full suspension. If it has a spring under the seat, it isn't worth your time - if it's in your price range there's something wrong with it.

    Hope all that helps! Post if you have any questions.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator SuperModerator
    Reputation: AVL-MTB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Welcome to MTBR.

    Do not buy a bike from walmart. They're not made for off road use. If you look on the frame, there is a sticker on them that says "Not for offroad use". Your best bet is to buy an used bike off craigslist. There's plenty of good old used bikes. Make sure the frame is aluminum and not steel.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mack_turtle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    sorry, but you are going to have to hear it again: buying a mountain bike from Walmart, Academy, Target, etc is a recipe for a disaster. there is a good reason why you keep hearing that- it's true. buy a bike that is not a pile of junk or you will regret your purchase within an hour of riding. if you can't extend your budget, just be patient and save more money. otherwise, you might as well just take up hiking (nothing wrong with that) because face it, sometimes you really do have to "pay to play."

    Polaris bike: typical FS "mountain bike" from a department store. I have seen dozens of these and they are always unrideable and useless for anything but scrap metal after a few months of casual urban riding. will self-destruct after one ride on any sort of actual trail that has a root or two. I used to work in a bicycle co-op where we would take donated bikes and spruce them up for poor people at a nominal price. whenever I saw one of these bikes in the donations, I would take a few useful parts off of it and scrap the rest. heavy junk that is a liability even if I gave it away for free.

    the kawasaki is not even a mountain bike. it si a hybrid designed for pavement, maybe a gravel walking path.

    do you have a bicycle co-op nearby? used bike shop?

    how tall are you, and about where do you live? i/we can search local Craiglist for you.

    the cost of a functional mountain bike these day starts at a bare minimum of $500 for a new bike. $500 is stretching it. even with the cheapness of Chinese manufacturing, $500 barely gets you anything that will last more than a year of any significant amount of miles on pavement, and much less on dirt.

    The Forge Sawback at Target is one of the few department store bikes I would ever recommend, but it costs only marginally less than a decent entry level bike from a bike shop. if you factor in the hidden costs of (proper) assembly and maintenance that come "free" at a bike shop but do not exist at department stores, it's not a good deal. read this- 6 Reasons to Avoid Department Store Bikes | Bicycling

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    buy from craigslist

    If you must buy a walmart bike then there are a million to choose from on craigslist for 50 bucks. You will be able to find a much better used bike for your budget though, just put in a price range of 100-250 (give a little buffer over your max since you can always offer lower than asking price, and putting in 100 minimum gets rid of the walmart and kids bikes)

    Walmart bikes are pretty disposable so the most you should spend on one is around 50-75 bucks.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    If you can save up in a few months ,for better bike do that. Why would you spend twice ,buying once is cheaper. A lot of schools have bike co op's ,ask around ,some schools have bike race teams ,ask, someone might have something.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    To add to what everyone else has said. If you buy a decend name brand hard tail for around $500 you'll be able to sell it for around $250 if its in good condition.

    My first bike was a GT Avalanche that was on sale for $400. I rode it HARD and it took a lot of adjustments and maintenance along the way but I've ridden it 450miles before I upgraded. The fork and cheap disk brake calipers crapped out around 300 miles though. For me the wheels wouldn't stay true after 100 miles but thats likely to do with the trails. Had to replace then, total price spent on the bike is $700 to keep it in working condition for 450miles. I hope that brings into perspective how long you can expect any department store bike to last compared to a low end name brand bike.

  8. #8
    Ludicrous Speed
    Reputation: tualmbr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    If you're really and truly in love with Mountain Biking - join the Tulsa IMBA group - see if they have any meetings coming up, see if they have a chat board, I bet someone has a bike laying around they would be willing to let go to an aspiring university kid.

    This guy has been trying to sell this bike for 23 days, he would probably take your $200 Trail ready mountain bike!

    This guy has been trying to sell this bike for 12 days, he would probably take your $200 Cannondale M300 or this guy 2012 Trek 3500

    Granted not the best bikes in the world, but good starter bikes for $200

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: bakerjw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    +1 for Craigslist. Also, see if there is a mountain bike club in the area. Many of us believe in bike karma and you might find something decent that needs some TLC that will suit you much better than a WalMart bike.

    Also don't get in a rush. The right bike will come along.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: VeniVidiVici's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Some of us are on tight budgets. I bought a Walmart Genesis 29er $149.99. This is my first MTB my other bike was a 20" bmx bike that is 38 years old. I used to work in a bicycle shop 40 years ago and raced bmx back in the mid 70's. And I felt the same way to back then that department store bikes were cheap junk!. But some of the bikes now are pretty decent quality if you know what to look for. This bike I bought I felt was a good base to build on. Alloy frame and alloy wheels. I don't care for shock forks but seem all MTB come with them now. So far I changed the steel crank arms to alloy. Changed the steel stem bars and seat post to alloy. Changed the steel pedals for Titanium magnesium ones and a better quality seat. And swapped out my heavy shock forks for chromoly rigid forks. I just put a 3.00 fat tire up front. I'm old school BMX racer I like rigid bikes I like my bars higher then my seat. I de-stickered it and renamed it "Punisher" I upgraded it they way I want it. I bought all my parts online probably got close to $500 into it now. If I bought the parts from the local bike store probably have 700 into it. Could I have just bought a $500-700 bike yeah but it didn't feel like I spent that all at once hahaha. But I know most riders on this forum like to ride expensive name brands.
    Help me choose 1 of these beginner bikes?-img_20151120_161316.jpg
    Last edited by VeniVidiVici; 11-25-2015 at 12:04 AM.

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