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  1. #1
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    Beginner seeking advice on what bike to buy-->

    I'm seeking some advice about getting a bike. Basically, I just want something that I can take on singletrack on the weekends and ride on the road a bit during the week. I haven't really ridden a bike in about 10 years or so. I'm a pretty big guy- 6'2", 230 lbs- so I'm gonna need a pretty durable frame I suppose. I really don't wanna put more than $500 into it as I don't know how much I'm gonna actually ride yet- just want a good solid bike to get my feet wet and see how much I like riding.

    I was thinking about a Rockhopper/Hardrock or a Trek 3900/4300. I really don't know what to look for, though. I guess hardtail is what I want with my budget, but what about aluminum vs steel? What should I look for as far as components?

    Oh, and I know that the best thing, once I have some ideas in mind, is to go to my local shop and just ride some bikes around and see how they feel. Just wanna get some inkling of an idea about what's out there/prices/what to look for, etc.

    I also want the best, most inexpensive rack I can find. Probably gonna want just one that attaches to your trunk but any advice you can give me here would help also.

    Again, thanks for any input.

  2. #2
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    Trek 4300

    The Trek 4300 is a pretty good entry level hardtail. I have a few friends that ride them and all seem to like them (one guy is about your size). It will be a good bike to "get your feet wet" on and the frame has a lifetime warranty. As you mentioned though, you need to go ride the bike and see what fits.

    All bikes in this price range will generally have the same components, but some will have slightly better. One thing you will want is a good rear derailleur (sp) because it seems to take a lot of abuse. The Alivio RD on the 4300 is decent for the price range.

    You also have to decide if you want v brakes or discs. I prefer discs, but in this price range, v brakes might be the better option.

    Sorry I cant suggest a trunk rack, I have a truck and use the bed and also have a hitch rack.

  3. #3
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    New Rider

    In my opinion, the Specialized Hardrock is a hell of a deal for what you get. You can score one for under $500 retail and get a solid frame with low-mid range components. Not bad. The new Rockhoppers are nice two.

    Since you will be trail and road riding you'll want to make sure you get a more XC bike oriented bike that has fairly thin tires and lets you stretch out a little more in the cockpit. For the prices you are talking, don't worry about disk brakes, v-brakes will be fine. Most of the lower-priced bikes will have generic components on them (Specialized or Trek branded parts). They are never the lightest or the most durable but for starting out they should be fine. If you are going to drop additional money on upgrades, I would do it in four places, tires, seat, grips and fork.

    Tires are expendable parts but they make a big difference. Bottom line, if your tires are cheap and inappropriate for the situation you are going to have a lousy ride. Few parts make that big an impact. I would see if you could spring for some of the mid-end Geax or Kenda tires. They are moderately priced and are of solid quality. In terms of size, I would suggest 2.0. Tell your LBS, they will understand.

    Same goes with the seat and the grips. Most bike companies cheap out on these components when they spec out their bikes. Cheap seats and grips are uncomfortable and will make you want to stop riding. Get a WTB seat and some Oury grips. Your ass and your hands will thank you.

    Finally, in terms of fork, I would stay within the big three, Manitou, Marzocchi and Rock Shox. Suntour, for the most part make garbage forks. Even the lower end Marzocchi (the EXP Comp) will kick the ass of any generic or off-brand fork.

    But as you said the true test is going to the bike shop and riding. Go somewhere that sells Cannondale, Trek, Specialized, Kona or Gary Fisher. All those brands make solid beginner bikes. Let me know if you have any other questions.

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