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  1. #1
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    Help me shop for a bike

    First post, looking for some input on a bike purchase. I don't want to bias anyone, so I'm not going to share my thoughts straight away.

    Me: 40-y.o., been riding sporadically for 20 years, not much in the way of skills but my fitness is good. I'm looking for something that'll help me keep up on descents and tight/flowy/curvy trails, and ideally be versatile enough to bikepack (not a must), fun XC, and typical "trail" bike stuff. I don't ride more than twice/mo., I'm in the southeastern US, and I'm not a daredevil. My goal is to get a bike that smooths out some of my weaknesses (descending and tight handling, mainly), but is really just super fun, comfortable, light enough to not feel heavy, and fast enough to not feel sluggish.

    1. If you were me, what type of bike would you get? HT, FS, standard wheels, plus, trail, XC, etc?

    2. What level build quality should I be looking at? I don't mind spending some money, but I don't want to waste it. I probably wouldn't go over $3k; less is better.

    3. Specific make/model suggestions?

  2. #2
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    Well you probably need to decide for yourself if you want a HT or FS bike. They are very different. A nice hardtail is a great thing, but if it's not what you want then it won't work very well for you. I recommend going out an trying to rent a nice hardtail, and a nice FS bike to see what you want. Hardtails are definitely more suited for bikepacking though.

    From your description I'd recommend a nice trail oriented hardtail with 27.5 plus tires for confidence and comfort. I'm sure others with chime in with more bikes, but here are a few:

    -santa cruz chameleon
    -salsa timberjack slx
    -trek roscoe 8

  3. #3
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    Good thoughts on renting; I will see what I can turn up locally. Thanks.

  4. #4
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    there are soooo many good options in that price range that it's impossible to narrow it down. my shot-in-the-dark answer is to get a nicely equipped Salsa Timberjack from REI and count on a healthy dividend from the retailer to buy maintenance stuff in a few months.

    visit a few bike shops and choose the shop that fills you with confidence that they have a good staff. then start looking at brands that they carry.

    if you happen to be near Atlanta, check out Atlanta Cycling. I worked there for a year before moving away and they are and excellent company.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the tip. I like the Timberjack, but I'm thinking that (with my crappy descent skills) a dropper post is basically a must for this purchase.

  6. #6
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    Oh I agree! Must have a dropper. You can always just add one though. They aren't that expensive these days.

  7. #7
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    How are your knees and back? If not so good, go full suspension; your body will thank you. If good, any brand name 1x11 HT with a full air fork will do all you want to do, although you may still prefer FS. Try to find a couple of demo events and try some out some bikes.

  8. #8
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    with your budget, you can get a huge range of bikes and have money leftover to put a dropper on.

  9. #9
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    They're not too bad for an old guy! I could easily handle one more HT, I think.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudderNutter View Post
    Oh I agree! Must have a dropper. You can always just add one though. They aren't that expensive these days.
    Oh, and I agree with this. Droppers are like the icing on the mountain bike cake. For me they would be worth the money even if they were just for being able to get my feet on the ground in the parking lot.

  11. #11
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    Some good places to test lots of bikes, and just ride and hang out with other Mountain bikers, Outerbike, Bentonville AR Oct 26-28, (never been but supposed to be great, but expensive) Swamp fat tire festival, Brandon FL (Alafia River State Park) Nov 9-11, Santos Fat tire fest (Ocala FL) March 9-11. (I have been to both of those, and you can just show up and demo bike, no charge) those are the only ones I know of coming up. Most of the festivals this time of year are up North.

  12. #12
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    Sounds like fun, I'll keep an eye out for stuff in my area.

  13. #13
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    And FWIW, I was definitely thinking 27.5+ HT. Though I did see a nice used FS for sale locally and it made me wonder whether I should check it out. It's a '17 Giant Anthem Advanced SX. I'm not sure what "Aggressive XC" means, though - is that essentially a faster trail bike?

  14. #14
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    I would recommend a Trek Stache. You can rent one at Atlanta Trek. https://www.atlantatrek.com/about/bi...tals-pg781.htm
    I have one and am constantly amazed at it's capabilities. It is stable yet nimble as a ballerina. Many people also use them for bikepacking as well.
    Change begins by doing something different.

  15. #15
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    I personally like Trek's offerings for midrange aluminum bikes.

    (And I just edited. Thought I was in the Beginner Forum. Oops.


    And with that in mind, I'd love a Salsa Mukluk (fatbike). Personally, I want aluminum. But they make carbon, too.

    And I did a test-ride on a carbon Specialized Fuse27+. The bike felt like it had a motor in it going up a short, steep hill. The GX is about $3K. I loved the way that bike felt.
    2018 Surly Karate Monkey 'dingle' speed
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  16. #16
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    Marin has a rigid plus tire at $700 range = Pine Mtn as a twin to the front sus version Pine One more like $1100.

    Plus is forgiving in many good ways even providing some cush and still fun to get aggressive on trails with. You can tune the handling via tires and pressure choices by big margins offering a very multifaceted bike.
    Had a buddy ride my PMO for about an hour last week and he was sold on the bigger tires, ride, handling/geometry. He doesn't really need the sus fork so I'm picking up his new Pine Mtn (outgoing '18 I think) in :30 minutes.


    In the Middle Ages, the biggest mistake was not putting on your armor because you were 'just going down to the corner.'

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhnmtb View Post
    And FWIW, I was definitely thinking 27.5+ HT. Though I did see a nice used FS for sale locally and it made me wonder whether I should check it out. It's a '17 Giant Anthem Advanced SX. I'm not sure what "Aggressive XC" means, though - is that essentially a faster trail bike?
    Aggressive XC means less suspension travel than a trail bike but more than a normal XC bike. most xc bikes will be 100 to 110mm travel, the Anthem has 110 rear and 130 front. The Anthem is a very nice bike. Trail bikes usually have 120 to 140mm. The more travel, generally the more pedal bob you get when pedaling hard, and the less efficient it is getting power to the ground. There are different suspension systems and some are more efficient than others, and with the newer suspension systems, (Giant's is one of the better systems), adjustable shocks, and lockouts, you don't notice it that much unless you are a racing or a pretty hard rider.

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