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  1. #1
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    New Bike Advice Appreciated

    Hello, I am new to biking and really need some good advice. I am 52 years old, 5’ 10” 225 lbs. Typically I plan to use the bike after work for exercise and weekends for fun. I live in a rural area and the road conditions that I plan to ride on are a mixture of pavement and dirt roads with some sandy patches. For weekends maybe some single track trails. I have some birthday money that I have been saving for a bike and can afford to spend around 500 dollars.

    I have been to 2 LBS, one has recommend a Specialized Crosstrail ($500) and the other a Trek Dual Sport 8.2 ($429)


    I have taken both for a short ride and feel the 8.2 is a little faster than the Crosstrail and both have the same comfort level. I would love to hear any alternative suggestions that you may have, also if these bikes are good for what I plan to do then great.

    I would consider buying a used bike or a new bike from a LBS.

    The more I read the topics in the various forums, the more excited I am getting about biking and looking forward to and appreciate any advice offered.

  2. #2
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    I had a lot of fun today, I went to the LBS today and road a few bikes, the 2012 Trek Marlin (580), 2012 Trek Wahoo (529) and a 2011 Specialized Hardrock 29er (500).

    I am wanted to see the difference between the Dual Sport types and a hardtail bikes. As figured the hardtials were not as fast on the road but the ride was not too bad. I wish I could compare the Dual Sports to the others on the dirt roads and a little light trail riding to see what the difference is. I am thinking that maybe the hardtails might be a bit versatile.

  3. #3
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    I'd suggest sticking with the LBS for your first bike. You get more for your money on the used market, but if you don't know what you're looking for or at, you can just as easily get bitten with a bad bike.

    Given your anticipated riding conditions, you'll probably feel better on a true mountain bike versus a hybrid/commuter bike (different riding position). That said, you're doing the right thing by riding different bikes and seeing what you like. If you're comfortable on the bike, it matters less what kind of bike it is. The LBS can also steer you to suggestions based on your physique and riding conditions (equipment specs).

  4. #4
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    It really depends on how rough your off road riding is going to get. If you plan on going on real mountain bike trails then you aren't going to be safe on a hybrid. If you are just talking about dirt roads and smooth paths without rocks or roots then the hybrid is fine. Figure out what you want to do and then eliminate the hybrids or the mountain bikes because they really do different things.

    You're doing the right thing and trying all your options before you buy.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Okayfine View Post
    I'd suggest sticking with the LBS for your first bike. You get more for your money on the used market, but if you don't know what you're looking for or at, you can just as easily get bitten with a bad bike.

    Given your anticipated riding conditions, you'll probably feel better on a true mountain bike versus a hybrid/commuter bike (different riding position). That said, you're doing the right thing by riding different bikes and seeing what you like. If you're comfortable on the bike, it matters less what kind of bike it is. The LBS can also steer you to suggestions based on your physique and riding conditions (equipment specs).
    Agreed. It's a good idea to establish a relationship with your local mechanic, and buying your first bike from him is a great way to start. You'll need his help in the future, and he'll be able to steer you in the right direction for future purchases.
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  6. #6
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    Thanks for the information, I will probably buy from a LBS. I appreciate them taking their time to show me the different bikes and what makes them different and also not doing a hard sell. I do believe in supporting local small business as well. I think you are right that it would be better off establishing a good relationship with LBS.

    Because I live in rural area the riding conditions can vary. One of the folks suggested putting a little less aggressive tire on the mountain bike and that way I would have a little more versatility. Like taking the tires from the Trek 8.2 and putting them on the Marlin.

    I did notice that on the Hardrock I felt a little more upright then the Marlin. The Marlin I felt a little more hunched over.

    I plan to take my Wally bike up to an area where they have some single tracks, were motorcycles ride. It is real close to house and see what the conditions are. Don’t think I will get to do it tomorrow, my wife would kill me. Hope to do so this Thursday

  7. #7
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    You will have to use your knowledge of the conditions you ride in to choose tires. I would lean towards more "aggressive" tires unless the majority of your time is going to be spent on pavement. You'll be a lot slower on dirt with city tires than you will be on the road with knobby tires.

    As for positioning, a lot of that can be changed after the fact with different bars, stems, and seat position. Don't confuse positioning with comfort - the position required for off-road riding is different from that for hybrid-bike road riding. It comes down to what you'll spend the most time on/what you want to focus on. Easy to put around town on an upright bike, but you'll be very uncomfortable putting around town on a mountain bike.

  8. #8

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    I am going to have to leave some love for the Marlin. It was the bike that got me back in the saddle, and it was a great bike starting out! When I bought mine 3 years ago it was the Gary Fisher version, but trek bought the G2 frame which is a winner. Tires can be switched out easily enough, but I would advise waiting and getting a feel for your own personal riding style and learn what your needs are. Happy Trails!
    Leftys creep me out

  9. #9
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    This discussion is good timing. I'm a road cyclist but looking at getting a mountain bike so my wife and I can ride off road together. I've been looking at the Trek DS bikes but not set on one if there is a better choice.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LubbersLine View Post
    looking at getting a mountain bike so my wife and I can ride off road together.
    Get a tandem!!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Okayfine View Post
    Get a tandem!!
    Very funny. I couldn't imagine a tandem for off roadin. That would be interesting though.

  12. #12
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    No joking! Tandem is awesome off road. It's all we ride.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Okayfine View Post
    No joking! Tandem is awesome off road. It's all we ride.
    I scare the hell out of my wife with our road tandem. There's no way she'd get on an off road tandem, especially if I'm captain.

    OP, it sounds like you're on the right track. Don't worry about tires this season. Unless you start having traction issues make due with the stock rubber. Ease into it.
    Authorities speculate that speed may have been a factor. They are also holding gravity and inertia for questioning.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the input will keep you posted right now we are having a really good windstorm for the next couple of days, so won’t have chance to do any riding
    .
    As far as the tandem bikes go, maybe we good put those in the X-games, which would be fun to see!!

    To Lubbersline: the DS seems to ride really nice gets up to speed very quickly, you should try one.

  15. #15
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    If you get hooked "highly likely" your first bike will be temporary.

  16. #16
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    tandem bike riding with the wife, too funny. don't you have enough to fight over already?

    OP, If I were in your situation I'd go with a mountain bike. Unless it is uncomfortable for you, it will be the more versatile bike. You can easily ride a mtn bike on the road but trying to ride a cross bike on real single track (skills aside) isn't going to be easy for you. If you have the off-road skills already, different story.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnigro View Post
    tandem bike riding with the wife, too funny. don't you have enough to fight over already?
    Don't knock it 'til you try it. We get all sorts of comments like that out on the trail. Don't be jealous

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Okayfine View Post
    Don't knock it 'til you try it. We get all sorts of comments like that out on the trail. Don't be jealous
    we fight on car trips that are longer than an hour, ha. cannot imagine that scene with my wife.

    "pedal harder fat a$$ (her to me), f-off b!tch, I'm pedaling, and start leaning the bike in the turns so we don't have to bail again........" "(her) why don't we do that long climb again, it was a lot of fun" - (me) "I have no idea what happened, officer. One minute we were riding along and the next minute she was tumbling down that ravine..."

  19. #19
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    Hey this could be one of those Dateling Mysteries on TV!! here one minute gone the next.

  20. #20
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    Thanks for all information, I really appreciate it. We had a break in the windstorm, so yesterday after work I dusted off my Wal-Mart bike resized it and took it for a ride just to see the conditions. I figured at first I would be doing a bit more road then dirt roads but that changed. Seemed a lot fun going down the dirt roads than the streets plus there is much less auto traffic on the dirt roads.

    So most the paved road riding will be on the weekends. I would have posted yesterday but I had to do a sleep study and ran out of time.

    After about 50 minutes or so on the bike I noticed that my arms were a little numb when I got home.

    I have one more ride today, I believe it will be a bit more trail riding up some Pecan Orchards.

  21. #21
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    Let me know what bike you decide on. I too am looking at the cross trail vs. the fisher ds.

  22. #22
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    I am also looking at the Specialized Hardrock model as well. I would like to hear your thoughts once you get a feel for it if you decide on that model.

  23. #23
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    Between the weather, doing tax returns and cutting firewood, I finally got a chance to do some riding. The single track type trails close to my house where the motorcycles ride were very sandy and I could not ride there. The bike just sunk into the sand. The spots that were not sandy were a lot of fun to ride though, but overall not a good place for a bike.

    Later this week I plan to take a ride by the pecan orchids and see what kind of conditions they are. Seems like now I would be doing about 50/50 between dirt roads, ditch bansks and paved roads.

    To epic510 did you test ride the bikes, I am interested in what your thoughts are. If decide on the trek DS model I am wondering if it is worth it to get the 8.3 due to the lockout on the shocks.

    JonasV check out the Trek Marlin also, just to compare the ride to the Specialized Hardrock, to me they both road nice but each had a different fit to it.

  24. #24
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    @cwtsb. Well, I went with the Crosstrail. I rode both the Specialized and the Trek today. Before I really get in to it let me say this. I already have a Specialized Epic, a Hot Rock, and a Myka in my family so I was seriously biased to the Specialized brand. Mainly because the LBS I purchase from has thus far treated me right and I feel relatively comfortable dealing with them. I'm generally a little intimidated by the bike crowd but this particular shop has always treated me right.

    As far as riding impressions go, I really didn't notice a huge difference between the Fisher and Crosstrail. They both felt quick, fairly nimble, and stable. I think the lockout feature is a real bonus for any road riding that includes any significant climbs. My advice would be buy the best bike you can afford. An extra $75 or $100 bucks now will go a lot further than buying upgrades down the road (pun intended).

    Im 37, 230lbs and have been riding for about 4yrs. I do a lot of cross country, fire roads and single track. I have found my that on extended (25 plus miles) rides, the seating position on my Epic begins to hurt my neck. I bought the CT because of the more upright riding position. I guess my advice is in line with most others who have posted. If you are going to do short more agrressive single track rides and occasional road riding I would go with a 29er mt bike. If its gonna be monotonous pedaling for exercise I would definitely go with hybrid. There are of course others on these forums with much more knowledge and experience then me but I this is simply my opinion. Hope it helps.

  25. #25
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    Thanks epic510, once I defined the type of riding I would be doing the most the choice was very easy. I decided to with the 8.3 Fisher. I felt this LBS treated me very good, and that was pretty much the deciding factor. I could have easily went with the Cosstrail if I had the same connection with that LBS. The Crosstrail is a great bike and very fun to ride. I can now see why a lot of people have different types of bikes for the various riding conditions.

    I am glad that I took the time to ride the different areas to see what different conditions would be like.

    I really appreciate the advice of the advice of all the posters, they have educated me on bikes, made me think, and really helped me make good decision. As you can see the advice given was taken. Unfortunately the bike had to be ordered and won’t be in until next week. I just have ride that damn “wally bike” a little longer.

  26. #26
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    So i am new to biking as well. I have done a bit if research and my choices are the trek 820, fuji nevada 6.0, and the motobecane 500ht. The fuji and trek seem to be almost the same where the motobecane seems to have better parts but cannot ride to test the geometry. Also the thought of working on a bike myself does not scare me away, actually looking forward to tweaking on one. I plan on using whatever bike i get for about a year to learn and make sure ill get into it before spending a lot of money.

    Any reccomendations on which of these 3 bikes is better would be greatly appreciated.

  27. #27
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    I just got the 820 myself, so far so good. seems like a good bike to start off with. but Im a newbie too, so what do i know LOL

  28. #28
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    I posted in another thread that the first bike I bought was a used bike off craigslist. Maybe you can look there because you can find a good quality bike for cheap.

    In my area people buy new bikes to realize that they dont have time or dont like biking. It might be similar in your area. Check it out!

  29. #29
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    I have been told that the Trek DS forks have not been designed to be locked-out for a long period of time. Is that true?

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill76 View Post
    I have been told that the Trek DS forks have not been designed to be locked-out for a long period of time. Is that true?
    None of the suspensions front or rear are designed to be lockout for a long period of time. You do that something would give.


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