Recovering runner transitioning to mtn biking - need advice on entry bike- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Recovering runner transitioning to mtn biking - need advice on entry bike

    I have torn/damaged meniscus (on both knees, one had a meniscectomy - 50% removal). Bottom line is I can't run trails anymore so I'd like to try mtn biking.

    Looking at Diamondback Overdrive Comp 29er (used maybe around $500) or a used Santa Cruz Nomad or Superlight (not sure how much used but to be less than $1000 it maybe very old).

    I know very little about the components except I know that I need an aluminum frame as it's much cheaper than carbon frame.

    Also, not sure about hard-tail (front suspension only) or full suspension.

    I think I saw a Specialized FSR bike as well below $1000.

    Trying to spend max $600 but need something durable/quality. So I read that the fork in the Diamondback Overdrive (not Comp edition) is crappy and won't last. So i'd think I should avoid that bike or upgrade it.

    Any advice appreciate, I'm 6 feet tall so I know I need a Large size bike. thx.

  2. #2
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    Good intro bike for the sport. But, if you do end-up liking MTB - I suggest getting the lightest bike you can afford, for your next bike.....your knees will love you for it!
    "This is a male-dominated forum... there will be lots of Testosterone sword-shaming here" ~ Kenfucius

  3. #3
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    If you're new, then go with something entry level or cheaper. The diamondback comp is a good entry level bike. If you decide MTB is not for you, you wouldn't be sorry you spent 2000 on a bike. The components on the diamondback overdrive comp are a bit above entry level, so you got yourself a good hardtail bike.

  4. #4
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    Any links to the specific used bikes, maybe with pics?

    I'd recommend a decent used bike over a low-end new bike any day of the week. I don't think the extra cush from a FS would be a bad thing for your knees either.
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  5. #5
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    I typed out a rather lengthy post that timed out so here are the cliffsnotes. I made the transition to mountain biking from running for the same reasons as you 9 months ago and it has worked wonders for my knees. I have been able to go out and run 3-5 miles any day of the week after a 6 month hiatus(without pain).

    Go with a nice mid rang used hardtail for now and buy a different bike when you decide you want more.

    1. If you are going to ride trails with rocks, you may need a medium 17-18.5. Make sure you can stand over the bike when the front wheel is up 2 steps on an entry.
    2. weight doesn't matter right now. buy A DIFFERENT bike when you start to worry about that.
    3. Try to find a good drivetrain and or a bike that has a rear wheel that CAN be upgraded with a different cassette. (SRAM x7,x9, / Shimano slx , deore, xt )
    Get a bike with an ok fork. NO rst or suntour low end junk i.e. xct, xcm, etc (xcr air is fine) Lockout is fine, but not necessary and will probably break soon anyway.

    My bike was 33 pounds for the first 6 months and it has been great. My only knee pain came from when I switched to Clipless pedals and SPD and had not set up my angles to the ideal degree. Now that I know that I like mountain biking far more than running, I am building a lighter hardtail. I have ridden Full suspensions and bought an FSR for my wife to ride with us, but all I need is a hardtail to handle our trails and my fitness goals.

  6. #6
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    I bought a giant revel 29er about a month ago and have been loving it. The kind of bike you buy will depend on the kind of riding you will do. I'm 45 with 4 kids. I'm not going to go crazy so a hardtail is just fine for me. Budget was a major factor for me as well. I am planning on upgrading over the next two years. (Better fork and drivetrain). I am sure I will be happy with what I have. Go to your local bikes shop (lbs) and test ride as many bikes as you can. Salesguy I'm sure will give you good pointers. Go with what is comfortable for you. I had a road bike I rode for years and decided to give the mtb a shot. I'm really glad I did. A much more comfortable ride. I still ride the road but with my new bike. Good luck with your decision. I hope it works out for you and you enjoy it.

  7. #7
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    FS by no means is just for 'going crazy' as far as riding style and terrain goes. It's main benefits are better control and more comfort IME, particularly where there's lots of 'chatter' on the trails. I'm creeping up on 50 myself and find that my FS bikes tend to beat me up a lot less then my HT or rigid bikes do. In the OPs particular case, on a HT, you need to get your ass out of the saddle and use your legs to absorb stuff, which pretty much drives it all through your knees. A FS bike will help take a lot of that action out of your legs and put into the rear shock instead.
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    FS by no means is just for 'going crazy' as far as riding style and terrain goes. It's main benefits are better control and more comfort IME, particularly where there's lots of 'chatter' on the trails. I'm creeping up on 50 myself and find that my FS bikes tend to beat me up a lot less then my HT or rigid bikes do. In the OPs particular case, on a HT, you need to get your ass out of the saddle and use your legs to absorb stuff, which pretty much drives it all through your knees. A FS bike will help take a lot of that action out of your legs and put into the rear shock instead.
    Ok so sounds like a FS may be better for someone with knee issues (or no mtn biking at all). Issue is that most shops don't seem to allow you to borrow/demo/test a bike for a day or so. So you end up buying and trying and flipping possibly.

    And I'm not trying to do back flips, etc. I am 40 with 3 kids...

    I do know that FS cost more than HT as well which is another issue so maybe I can find a decent shape used Santa Cruz or Specialized FS?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by asookazian View Post
    Ok so sounds like a FS may be better for someone with knee issues (or no mtn biking at all). Issue is that most shops don't seem to allow you to borrow/demo/test a bike for a day or so. So you end up buying and trying and flipping possibly.

    And I'm not trying to do back flips, etc. I am 40 with 3 kids...

    I do know that FS cost more than HT as well which is another issue so maybe I can find a decent shape used Santa Cruz or Specialized FS?
    There are a number of shops in my area that do demos where you can take the bike for a day or two and really try it out; you'd have to check locally to see what's up near you.

    I don't think I've seen anyone pull a backflip on an FS bike personally. See BMXers do them regularly though. Tricky bastards...and don't let your age be an excuse - there are tons and tons of us out there that are older and many (not me) that kill it well into their 60s and 70s.

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  10. #10
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    And in fact there's a guy at the gym who told me of all the things he tried (he was a marathon runner with knee issues) mtn biking was by far the worst for his knees. Didn't sound too good...

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    Thats kind of silly. I've heard about 1 in ten have that opinion. Hardtail or plush FS its a lot softer period unless you have a specific injury that is aggravated by pedaling. It does hurt your knee when you go OTB and hit a rock, but nothing like the falls I took running on that same terrain.

    Training for half marathons are what put my knees in this situation, and mountain biking has allowed them to get 80% better. Sure the right one still creeks, but its just noise at this point.

    Spin class was extremely hard on my knees! In fact it was a few day recovery with ice. I also usually spin at lower cadence because I am heavy and strong. I place my saddle at a level where my knees never get close to locking(15 degrees). i give up some efficiency but it saves my meniscus. I also had a little pain when I first started riding in SPD shoes into I set the cleat at the ideal angles.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by asookazian View Post
    And in fact there's a guy at the gym who told me of all the things he tried (he was a marathon runner with knee issues) mtn biking was by far the worst for his knees. Didn't sound too good...
    If he "tried" mountain biking but was not knowledgeable on bike setup he could have caused the pain simply by having the seat an inch to low.

  13. #13
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    2013 Diamondback Recoil 29 - New and Used Bike Value

    Diamondback 2013 Recoil 29er

    how bout that bike for $350, i've read it's heavy but I guess it would do for a FS bike.

  14. #14
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    Thats a crap full suspension with terrible shocks and fork. Go mid range hard tail over entry level full suspension which is what that is.

    Ive ridden xct forks and they are just bad.

  15. #15
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    I have some of the same physical issues as you and have been biking for many years. Hard tail or full suspension is a choice only you can decide on but my body feels better after a day of riding on FS. Please make sure you get a bike that fits you and have the bike fit to you. Knees will get worse if you don't have the seat to pedal geometry set correctly. You can rent bikes by the day to try them out. MTB is a lot more fun than road biking but I still do both since they complement each other regarding your fitness.
    Good Luck and let us know what choices you've made. BTW you can find good used bikes that are alot less expensive than new.

  16. #16
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    FYI, my knee problems continued on the bike after I stopped running. Knee pain is one of the most common problems for cyclists too. Full suspension didn't help, the pain is caused by pedaling. A bike fitting has really helped. Now I have wedges in my shoes that help my knees track correctly.

  17. #17
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Knee pain,,mashing is bad,, learn to spin..
    Bike fit Is EVERYTHING..
    After a proper bike fit done my ME I had to move my seat back 1/2 inch to end a small knee pain. I'm good now///

    Get wet brakes,,
    Get SLX level drive train stuff, Get ANYTHING better than those Suntour front forks that have this little sticker down low on the Inside that sez, 'This fork is for light duty trail riding only'

    That sticker should read, 'This fork is for mom and dad to ride around the park with the Kids In tow on the double tracks only'
    “I seek only the Flow”,
    Climbing Is Supposed To Be Hard,
    Shut Up Legs :P

  18. #18
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    Find a lbs w/ fs demo bikes for sale...

    -------------------------------------
    Opinions are like A-holes... everybody
    has one & they're usually full of...??
    "Mountain biking: the under-rated and drug-free antidepressant"

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by targnik View Post
    Find a lbs w/ fs demo bikes for sale...

    -------------------------------------
    Opinions are like A-holes... everybody
    has one & they're usually full of...??
    Yeah ? Do Dat !
    “I seek only the Flow”,
    Climbing Is Supposed To Be Hard,
    Shut Up Legs :P

  20. #20
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    Well I have found a local 2013 Diamondback Overdrive Comp (HT 29er; size L) for $500 in good shape.

    Also found a local 2009 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp (size XL) for ~$950 in good shape.

    any suggestions? I'd like to spend not too much more than $600 and these are fairly valued as per BBB:

    2013 Diamondback Overdrive Comp - New and Used Bike Value

  21. #21
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    btw I'm 6 ft tall so I believe a L size bike would probably fit me better than a XL...

  22. #22
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    $500 or $10k first bike, will probably not be exactly what you want once you start doing some serious riding. It's just the way it is. It's also hard to judge your needs till you start riding ( unless you live in an area with endless flat ground )

  23. #23
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    I'm planning on riding here mostly (SoCal) which is mostly a fire road:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mb8nM_XU46o

  24. #24
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    That specialized is too big for you. That overdrive will be a good bike to start on. Id go in at 425.

    We just bought a large enduro specialized for 300 locally for my cousin to do the same thing you are. You can probably ride most 18 inch frames as well, so do t rule them out.

    full suspensions tend to have better standover height per virtual TT length. 6 foot does not neccessarily mean you will need a large and it definitely isnt an XL

  25. #25
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    bought the 2013 DB Overdrive Comp today and rode La Tuna Cyn for 6.5 miles (up/down). The front derailleur has issue dropping into lowest gear (this bike is a 3x10 for 30 gears total). So going uphill I had a very hard time in gear 11 until it finally dropped.

    Anyways, the brakes and performace for a HT seemed ok to me but I'm just a beginner. The seller recommended a tune up for the derailleur. He had also spent $150 on the springs for the RockShox fork (not sure exactly the purpose but it's adjustable in terms of looseness/tightness).

    Even in 1st gear, mtn biking uphill is way harder than jogging (I've done both now on this trail). Coming down it's pretty dangerous and sometimes rocky/slippery. 1 hr great workout.

    Only other issue is that I basically laid down both rear rows in my MDX and threw the bike in the back. Not sure if this is recommended or not. I saw a Thule attachment thing at Sport Chalet but they seem expensive. The seller said they're easily attachable/detachable.

  26. #26
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    Lay the bike derailleurs up and it'll be fine. If you stand up & pedal on the up hills you shouldn't need the small ring that often. You might try Searching YouTube for how to adjust a front derailleur & give it a shot before dropping it of at the LBS.
    . Later, mike
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    So the LBS wanted ~$57 for front + back derailleur tuneup. Also said come back in a couple months to check the disk brake pads.

    I saw this Specialized Epic (black/red) looks sick and costs sick.

  28. #28
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    You will most definitely need to spend some time on Youtube learning how the barrel adjustments, and limit screws work on your derailleurs. Most the time if you are not dropping into gear you can adjust the barrel while riding for a quick fix. Brakes pads are also not typically something you take your bike to the shop to change. Its about as easy as tying your shoes. You will find that your new mountain bike (any mountain bike) is higher maintenance then that cheerleader you dated in high school.

  29. #29
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    Ive seen people relate it to golf. Equipment can be very expensive, and there are things you may need to buy for each time out like tees and golfballs.

    I.e adjustments and wear and tear items like small tools, tubes, CO2, etc.

    Walmart has super cheap camelback made by coleman that you can fit everything from tubes to park tools to phone/walet.

    Some people chang tires and pedals quite a bit until thry find what thry want, while I have been happy runnjng my kenda kinetics until they were too bald in the rear to climb roots.

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    How can I determine which brand/model of disc brake pads I need to buy if I decide to change them myself? The DB website seems to list the specs for the 2015 models only. The LBS guy told me they are typically only 3mm thick? So how often do most guys go thru disc brake pads (I guess it depends on miles ridden, weight, braking style, etc.)?

    I guess other option is to order it from LBS and try to install myself. Also, how often does the tube rupture/blow? And I'm assuming it's pretty important to routinely carry a spare and know how to replace blown one.

    Running trails is not only easier and safer but cheaper, but oh well...

  31. #31
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    Sorry, Posting from the phone creates a bit of typos.

    Just source the pads that are specific to your brakes. You should be able to find that fairly easily. As stated before, you can do much of the maintenance yourself by watching the great how tos on youtube.

    You will probably get to a point where you dont spend money for a long time, Then all of a sudden you will drop some big tickets here and there. Initially, I replaced the cassette and chain and then didnt touch the bike until I switched to a 1x10 setup. Now I am building my second hardtail.

    Always carry a spare and a nylon lever unless you have crazy strong hands. I've had 3 flats in 9 months, but others have so many that it forces them to spend money and go tubeless. My first was my second ride ever and I drove over some nails near a brush pile and had to have the wife come get me. The next two were rear pinch flats when I hit a big root and poorly curb lip at a high speed. In each of these I was only stopped to change the flat for 5-10 minutes.

    I carry multi tool, 2 levers 2 tubes and 2 CO2 (now 1 $20 frame pump) if I am deep in the trail and 1 if I am in the park with friends who could lend me a tube so I can go back to the car.

    The only other thing that I broke that was catastrophic and caused me to hike out in the rain to where I could be picked up was a derailleur hanger and a quick link on the my chain on separate occasions . Its worth carrying one of these in hind sight.

  32. #32
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    2013 Diamondback Overdrive Comp - BikePedia

    There are the specs on your bike You should be able to get Avid elixir pads most places within a few days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FJSnoozer View Post
    2013 Diamondback Overdrive Comp - BikePedia

    There are the specs on your bike You should be able to get Avid elixir pads most places within a few days.
    thanks for posting that. what about the inner tube? sounds like a flat may happen so i need an inner tube and small pump...

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