New rider: Overwhelmed with the selections!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New rider: Overwhelmed with the selections!

    Hello,

    I am looking at picking up mountain biking for fun and also fitness. I have friends that I will be able to tag along with that ride here in San Diego and want a bike that I can not only go on longer road trips for fitness/weight loss but also go on trails and have fun.

    One big budget thing is brakes. Many of the bikes have the option of Disc or "V" brakes. At my current skill level I'm not sure if the Disc's are something I need. However I would like to get a bike that has the mounts already for the Disc conversion without having to buy a new fork. That is one reason I am not looking at the Trek 3 series.

    Information from sticky:

    1) Your budget. I would like to keep the price of just the bike to $550 to $600 out the door
    2) What bikes, if any, are you already considering? I'm currently internet browsing the Trek 4300/disc, Giant Rincon, Specialized Rockhopper or Hardrock and Gary Fisher Advance.
    3) What type of riding do you intend to do? Paved Paths, road side, trails, etc. Pretty much open to any type of riding, but would like it to handle most standard paths.
    4) Do you have a preference over a hardtail or full suspension? Price wise Hardtail
    5) Age, weight and height. 28, 210lbs, 6' 1"
    6) What sources will you consider buying from? Looking at LBS's and online, pretty much where ever I can get the best deal.
    7) Do you want people to offer you alternative suggestions to issues such as budget, bikes already considered, and sources? Please do!

  2. #2
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    For being overwelmed, you seem to have a firm grasp of where to go from here. A hardtail would definitely be wise since you want something that is well rounded for road usage as well. While you may not "need" disc brakes, I would recommend getting a bike with disc brakes. Reasoning for this is you seem to be somewhat curious about upgrading to disc brakes in the future. If you get a bike with v-brakes, your hubs will not have the mounts for the rotors for disc brakes. Sure, you may have mounts on your fork and maybe even your frame, but without mounts on the hubs for the rotors, you would need to upgrade your wheelset as well.

    If you have even the slightest amount of interest in disc brakes, do yourself a favor and just get a bike with them. Considering your price range, you shouldn't have much issue finding a hardtail equipped with disc brakes.

  3. #3
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    I am going to give you my opinion. To people who are complete newbies to mountain biking I always recommend getting a used bike off craigslist. When you are new, you have no idea what you want or need and end up letting other people/salespeople direct you towards a bikes. If you get a cheap used bike you can ride it around and decide what you like and what you don't. This way when you feel ready to get a new bike you will have more of an idea what you want out of a bike. At the same time you can save up money for a new bike while you ride the used one. And if you got a decent deal on the used bike you should be able to sell it on craigslist for around what you paid for it.

    I say this because I am all too familiar with two types of people.

    1. The guy who buys the best bike he can find in the store. This guy goes and drops a few thousand on a top of the line bike, rides it twice and then decides he doesn't like riding. The bike becomes his trophy that hangs in the garage so all his friends can be impressed by it, but it just collects dust. Of course there are guys like this who don't buy the best bike. But the point is people buy bikes all the time and never use them.

    2. The guy who buys a low end bike. This guy gets a very entry level bike and then finds he loves biking. Since he just dropped money on this bike, he would feel guilty about buying a better bike. So what does he do? He slowly upgrades the entry level bike over time and ends up spending a ton of money to get a low end frame that has a bunch of nice parts on it when it would have been cheaper to buy a nicer bike in the first place.
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  4. #4
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    Thanks Guys

    @Roasted - I've tried to do as much reading as possible to understand what I want. The overwhelming part is the decision itself, I'm going tonight to a few LBS to test ride a few and I'm hoping that may limit my scope to a few selections (2 or 3). Just soo many bikes in small variations between multiple companies. Its not like a new car where you can easily pick the one that looks better, etc.

    @ljsmith I've actually been looking and have rode a few bikes on Craigslist, but they is always something that is either broken, I don't like, or the price isn't that much of a savings that makes me want used instead of new. If I really fall in love and want better hardware I will sell the bike a purchase, I'm sure I can get 50 to 75% back out of the bike. I could afford to get a $2,000 bike now, but don't want to dive in head deep until I know for sure. If I buy this one for a $600 budget I can use it as a casual bike to ride if I ever want to. It will still be nice to have a newer bike that I don't have to worry about buying someone elese mistake and not knowing how it was treated. Anyone can paint a turd to make it look good.

  5. #5
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    I know what you mean. I'm a big car guy, however I'm only a big car guy with cars that "matter" to me. AKA - if it's anything less than a big fricken motor, chances are I couldn't give two shits about it. Can this car get good mileage and get me from A to B and back while being reliable? Okay, good. Other than that, I don't really dive any deeper into cars - whereas with a bike I want to make sure what I'm investing is going to be rock solid and fit *me* perfectly.

    You seem to be on the best track possible in terms of getting a bike. You seem very aware of future indecisiveness that normally plagues us as we get more and more into the sport.

    Just keep riding all bikes you can in your price range and pick one out. Then, go get it dirty.

  6. #6
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    Ok so I went to 5 shops this afternoon/evening and compared bikes/prices. I test rode a 2010 Trek 4300 disc 19 ($599, but could get it at $550), it felt good but kinda heavy feeling. Next tested a 2010 GT Avalanche 1.0 Large ($799, but could get it at $700), I really liked this bike it felt good and seemed right. Th then went to the last place and pretty sure I fell in love. They had a 2009 Rockhopper Comp Disc 21 in Satin Charcoal ($799, but he told me he would do $600). Spent the most time on the Rockhopper, rode smooth the only thing I think I liked more about the Avalanche is the hydraulic brakes vs the mechanical on the Rockhopper.

    So realistically I'm down to 2 bikes the Rockhopper at $600 or the Avalanche for $700............I'm thinking the Rockhopper, what about you guys?

  7. #7
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    Both are solid rides. If you don't mind mechanical brakes and feel great on the Rockhopper, I think that's a winner.

    Personally I tend to prefer mechanical brakes, for no real reason other than their simpler design. Last thing I need is to have a problem on the trail and have hydraulic fluid to deal with. Some people love them, but I'd rather just have the trusty cable to deal with.

    I honestly think either way you have a winner.

  8. #8
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    at that price point you can pretty much buy the bike with the coolest stickers, and you've made a good choice. xc hardtails just arent that much different.

    sounds like you like the rockhopper the most, you should buy it.

  9. #9
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    Hey Lem,
    I was in your exact same position. I am brand new to the sport and the choices were overwhelming. I ultimately decided that a hardtail was the place to start, more affordable, would ultimately make me a better rider, and when I am ready to transition to full suspension, I can keep this bike for friends to ride when they visit.

    I didn't ride too many bikes before making a choice. Like you, I felt like I was spinning from all those choices and I just wanted to get out and start riding. I decided that Rockhopper was a safe choice and decided on that bike. I found an '09 on Craigslist for $500. I called my local LBS, told him what I found on Craigslist and asked him what he could do on a new one. He said he could do $700 on a 2010 comp disc. I figured the extra $200 was worth the warranty, paper trail, and establishing a relationship with LBS. They had the charcoal/brown in stock, but I preferred the navy/charcoal so I decided to wait a few days and have it ordered. Should have it by the end of the week! Good luck, and I can sympathize with the difficulty absorbing and processing the amount of info and choices.

  10. #10
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    Welcome to the world of cycling (or more importantly, mountain biking). One thing I think is important in this conversation and Browardboy touched on, but wasn't fully talked about is when buying a new bike you get a lot of stuff from the LBS that you don't get online or buying used. Things like a warranty and typically a free 1 month and/or a 1 year tune up. For people new into cycling, this can be a godsend, as a lot of people don't event know how to lube their chains, much less do any maintenance.

    So, in addition to finding a bike you like (which sounds like the Rockhopper), get a good feel for the shop. Make sure that if you have issues with the bike, that they'll take care of it and you. Also, if you REALLY get into this (which you will, trust me ) see if the shop offers classes on things like bike maintenance, or if the mechanics will show you if you're unsure.

  11. #11
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    Thanks guys I've slept on it and I made my decision on the Rockhopper. The shop is a mom and pop shop here and offers a free 90 day inspections and also free flat fixes for 1 year. I asked around to a few of my friends into road racing and they told me to go there because of the feel of the shop. Its not a chain of stores so they were able to deal more than others. They have a few scheduled rides every week and are within 2 miles from my place so it works out pretty good.

  12. #12
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    Well I went and picked up my new 2009 Rockhopper Comp Disc. Out the door cost was $635. Super happy with my purchase, but now I need to wait till next payday to get a helmet and other accessories.


  13. #13
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    Congrats! I think you made a wise choice. Seems like this will be a keeper, even if you decide to upgrade in the future. Yeah, the accessories can add up. I've gotten some shorts, helmet, stand, car rack, tire pump, multi-tool, and patch kit. Still need gloves, seat bag, and extra tube or two, and some chain lube. Probably will replace the pedals once I get the damn thing, then everything else will be replaced as it breaks or wears.

    Oh yeah, I bought the misses a bike too and she needs accessories!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by lembowski
    free flat fixes for 1 year
    Better find out how to fix a flat on your own too. Mom and pop might not be there when you get a flat at the far end of your ride

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    Better find out how to fix a flat on your own too. Mom and pop might not be there when you get a flat at the far end of your ride
    Yeah I was actually wrong, its free for the life of the bike......

    I will learn, they have a 2 hr maintenance class each month. They go over cleaning and how to survive with your bike. This includes flat repair and items like that.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ljsmith
    I am going to give you my opinion. To people who are complete newbies to mountain biking I always recommend getting a used bike off craigslist. When you are new, you have no idea what you want or need and end up letting other people/salespeople direct you towards a bikes. If you get a cheap used bike you can ride it around and decide what you like and what you don't. This way when you feel ready to get a new bike you will have more of an idea what you want out of a bike. At the same time you can save up money for a new bike while you ride the used one. And if you got a decent deal on the used bike you should be able to sell it on craigslist for around what you paid for it.

    I say this because I am all too familiar with two types of people.

    1. The guy who buys the best bike he can find in the store. This guy goes and drops a few thousand on a top of the line bike, rides it twice and then decides he doesn't like riding. The bike becomes his trophy that hangs in the garage so all his friends can be impressed by it, but it just collects dust. Of course there are guys like this who don't buy the best bike. But the point is people buy bikes all the time and never use them.

    2. The guy who buys a low end bike. This guy gets a very entry level bike and then finds he loves biking. Since he just dropped money on this bike, he would feel guilty about buying a better bike. So what does he do? He slowly upgrades the entry level bike over time and ends up spending a ton of money to get a low end frame that has a bunch of nice parts on it when it would have been cheaper to buy a nicer bike in the first place.
    for the #2 guy a GT Avalanche would do very good. Great frame that is tough as nails with components ready to upgrade Get it!
    Heeere's Johnny! - The Shining

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roasted
    Both are solid rides. If you don't mind mechanical brakes and feel great on the Rockhopper, I think that's a winner.

    Personally I tend to prefer mechanical brakes, for no real reason other than their simpler design. Last thing I need is to have a problem on the trail and have hydraulic fluid to deal with. Some people love them, but I'd rather just have the trusty cable to deal with.

    I honestly think either way you have a winner.
    Ya to be honest I can't stand the hydraulics, they're nice and all that but they feel funny, i feel like I don't have much feel on the brake levers, whereas mechanical brakes have feel on the levers just my preferences. the rockhopper is a good bike!
    Last edited by SkinsFan; 08-10-2010 at 11:12 PM.
    Heeere's Johnny! - The Shining

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