newbie, want to gain some skills- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    newbie, want to gain some skills

    Alright, so here's my deal.

    I just moved to New Zealand from MN, along with me came my trusty cross bike. One of the benefits of New Zealand is that I now live a 5 minute ride from a large mountain biking park... on an actual (small) mountain. Unable to resist temptation, I hopped on my bike and went exploring... only to discover that 80% of the trails are beyond my abilities or the abilities of my cross bike. Thankfully I was smart enough for this not to be a very painful discovery.

    So, I'm in the market for a mountain bike, but (coming from MN) have very little knowledge to work with. This (hopefully) is where you come in. I want a bike to develop some skills and eventually do some moderate downhill on. I'm 26, 5'8" and 160lbs.

    Alrighty, so I know the basics of road-bike components, but mtb components are new to me. So what I need to know... hardtail vs. full suspension, what's worth paying for, what's not. What's the right amount of bike for me (cost wise) and what I should/shouldn't compromise on?

    My LBS is having an end of summer sale and the bike suggested by them was a 2007 GT Avalanche 1.0 (like this, but with an XT rear derailleur: http://www.kiwivelo.co.nz/product_de...asso?proId=842) for the equivalent of $700 US. I've noticed bikes are pricey here, so I'm wondering if I can do much better if I have a friend bring something from the states. I'm flexible on cost to a point , mostly just want to get a bike that fits my needs/abilities.

    Anywho, thanks for your thoughts.

    Sam

  2. #2
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    If you have a friend whos on the way to New Zealand anyways, the US will always be cheaper.

    For HT vs FS,

    check your local trails
    If they have lots of rocks, roots, and bumpy stuff that will interfere with traction, get a full suspension bike.

    If its relatively smooth, get a hardtail.

    PS. if you want to do downhill, you might not want a XC bike like the GT Avalanche 1.0

  3. #3
    ride hard take risks
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    If the trails are 80% past your X bike you definatly want at least 5 inch travel front & rear. As taikuodo pointed out your best value is a HT which means a FS will cost more to = the components. Bump your price 2 X.
    Formotion Products
    http://www.formot

  4. #4
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by owleabf
    my trusty cross bike.
    ...
    I want a bike to develop some skills and eventually do some moderate downhill on. I'm 26, 5'8" and 160lbs.
    ...2007 GT Avalanche 1.0
    Is that a Cyclo Cross bike?

    The GT Avalanche is a step towards gear that is suitable for rougher trails and it is certainly a decent bike. You mention "moderate downhill" and that would suggest something a little tougher. On the other hand, tougher is usually heavier and harder to pedal up the hill.

    Shimano XT and SRAM X9 are, IMHO, the best components that a mere mortal should consider, unless there is a lot of money burning in the pockets. LX and X7 will work just fine.

    I think everybody should have a hard tail bike. I have HT and FS and I think I prefer the HT.

    Sizing is important. Get a bike that is the right size. Then see that it has a fork that works.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    Is that a Cyclo Cross bike?

    The GT Avalanche is a step towards gear that is suitable for rougher trails and it is certainly a decent bike. You mention "moderate downhill" and that would suggest something a little tougher. On the other hand, tougher is usually heavier and harder to pedal up the hill.

    Shimano XT and SRAM X9 are, IMHO, the best components that a mere mortal should consider, unless there is a lot of money burning in the pockets. LX and X7 will work just fine.

    I think everybody should have a hard tail bike. I have HT and FS and I think I prefer the HT.

    Sizing is important. Get a bike that is the right size. Then see that it has a fork that works.
    Yeah my current bike is a '05 Surly CrossCheck... sorry, guess I should have specified.

    Moderate downhill is my relatively uneducated approximation of the trails that are options... to my untrained eye many of the trails are pretty nuts, but it's all relative. Judging by the number of mountains and mountain bikers around here I would guess most levels of trail are available to me if/when I get to that point.

    Thus far I've only looked at the parks in my city, I'm guessing with a few hours of driving I could find just about any level of riding I want.

    Thanks for the input...

  6. #6
    local trails rider
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    Here's a thread with some pics from my local DH race trail. It could probably be ridden on that Avalanche, with some skill and caution.
    http://www.bikebb.org/bike/bb/viewtopic.php?t=1648

    A gallery page from a piece of trail that people frequently ride on cross country bikes. On a "big hit" bike you could just point and pedal harder but on a lightish HT bike you need to pick a line.
    http://asko7.softavenue.fi/kuvagalle...io.asp?HID=962

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    Here's a thread with some pics from my local DH race trail. It could probably be ridden on that Avalanche, with some skill and caution.
    http://www.bikebb.org/bike/bb/viewtopic.php?t=1648

    A gallery page from a piece of trail that people frequently ride on cross country bikes. On a "big hit" bike you could just point and pedal harder but on a lightish HT bike you need to pick a line.
    http://asko7.softavenue.fi/kuvagalle...io.asp?HID=962
    I'd say the race trail is closer to the trails I'd like to do... . The second gallery looks closer to the category of stuff I'm doing here on my cyclocross bike right now.

  8. #8
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    another q

    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    Here's a thread with some pics from my local DH race trail. It could probably be ridden on that Avalanche, with some skill and caution.
    http://www.bikebb.org/bike/bb/viewtopic.php?t=1648

    A gallery page from a piece of trail that people frequently ride on cross country bikes. On a "big hit" bike you could just point and pedal harder but on a lightish HT bike you need to pick a line.
    http://asko7.softavenue.fi/kuvagalle...io.asp?HID=962
    Another ignorant question, coming right up...

    So looking through the pictures I noticed that the cross country riders are generally in clipless while the downhill is mostly not... is that the standard? Not that the idea of being clipped into my bike sound fantastic while heading down a hill side, but I could see how it would create a lot more control.

  9. #9
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    Downhill riders will try a lot of various stunts perhaps and mabye very risky moves... thus they don't want clips to hinder then from that few milliseconds that could save their lives.

    Anyways, most coast downhill anyways so having clips is useless.

  10. #10
    local trails rider
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    The gallery pics are from an "Enduro" race, in this case the European concept as in motorcycle Enduro, and using tougher bikes than you would usually see in a XC race.

    Clipless is pretty much the norm for XC and other styles that involve covering some distance and riding both up and down the hills.

    For riding stunts, jumps, big drops and such, flat pedals are usually preferred because they allow you to "eject" instantaneously in any situation.

    Lots of world's top DH racers use clipless, because coasting just does not cut it when you try to win the last fractions of a second.

  11. #11
    Time is not a road.
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    There's a couple of Kiwi's on the boards...Trailadvent and Whafe are both Kiwis...they graduated to pretty heavy duty all mountain bikes like Turner RFX, Ellsworth Moments/Ids and so forth. You might inquire with them about what they recommend - you'll find them hanging out in the Turner and Titus boards.

    It seems to me that new riders will almost always outgrow their bikes within the first year. Skills come fast and people are generally looking to upgrade pretty quickly. I'm sure it's a plan of the bike makers to sell $500 HTs with cheap parts on them so that riders will have to upgrade outright quickly. It's good for the market! So, I'd recommend going big on your first purchase with the expectation that you'll grow into the bike. If you get something that's too much for what you want to do, at least it'll still have some value if you decide to get rid of it. The quality parts will last longer and be less likely to break within that first year. You'll enjoy riding a bike that's better designed to take the abuse, too.

    As far as getting your bike from America, it's a good plan. Just be cautious about duties on new items imported in. I suggest having your buddy ride the bike first as there is no duty on an item you own (it's used). I met a guy from Germany who bought a bike here and rode it a few times before taking it home so he didn't have to pay higher tax on it.

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