What can Target Mountain Bikes handle?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    What can Target Mountain Bikes handle?

    I'm trying to get a couple of my buddies into mountain biking but they do not have "quality" bikes. They own Target bikes (Schwinn, Low End Mongoose, etc). I want to take them on some of the local trails such as Saratoga Gap, Quicksilver, etc but I don't want their bike to fall apart on the ride.

    Any suggestions on a fun but easy trail where their bike won't fail on them?

    I was thinking of doing a short loop at Quicksilver from the Hicks entrance.

  2. #2
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    Quicksilver won't be a problem with those bikes.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by QBallTBEB
    I'm trying to get a couple of my buddies into mountain biking but they do not have "quality" bikes. They own Target bikes (Schwinn, Low End Mongoose, etc). I want to take them on some of the local trails such as Saratoga Gap, Quicksilver, etc but I don't want their bike to fall apart on the ride.

    Any suggestions on a fun but easy trail where their bike won't fail on them?

    I was thinking of doing a short loop at Quicksilver from the Hicks entrance.
    Think about the guys that invented our sport.

    You think they went online whining about "Safety" and "Quality" and all this kind of Bull*****???

    You think they cared if their bikes were from Target?

    HELL NO!

    They hucked their collective carcasses down hills, awash in myriad hallucinogenics and THC!

    That's what real men do!

    Charlie Don't Surf!

    Now get your asses out there and huck it for God, America and the U S of A!

    (don't mind the redundancy, that's just my poetic license talking)
    Stupid, but sometimes witty. Occasionally brilliant. Slow and fat though.

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  4. #4
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    just make sure they don't ride one of those yellow catapult equator bikes....

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katana
    just make sure they don't ride one of those yellow catapult equator bikes....
    that was pure GOLD!

    Crown stacking - I gotta try that!
    Stupid, but sometimes witty. Occasionally brilliant. Slow and fat though.

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  6. #6
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    The bikes aren't the problem. Yet.

    Lube, put air in the tires, tweak a bit and go.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by QBallTBEB
    I was thinking of doing a short loop at Quicksilver from the Hicks entrance.
    That's loop in Quicksilver from Hicks is a favorite training ride for my wife. Out Woods to Mexican camp, down to English Camp, back up to Bull Run, and back over to Hicks. It's about 6 miles and 1000' of climbing.

    The only thing is to realize fire roads can actually be more dangerous than singletrack. I've known several beginners who've had bad accidents on the fast steep Quicksilver fire roads.

    In particular, right after my wife got a Gravity Dropper, she was having fun going fast down hills. On that steep downhill just over the hill from Hicks, there's a turn and sandy spot in the open. My wife couldn't handle the sand at speed in a turn, and ended up with a nasty gash in her chin down to the bone. Blood all over her neck like a Halloween nightmare. It was an expensive ER visit with the plastic surgeon and all.

    Just respect the slippery dirt roads and have your kids keep their speed in check.

    BTW, my wife decided to get back in the saddle and complete the same loop again the very next weekend. But once she saw that downhill, she exclaimed "I went down that!" and walked the second time. It took weeks to build her confidence back up.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  8. #8
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    Arastradero in Palo Alto will not be a problem at all.

    Fremont Older in Cupertino, if they can handle the light climbing, will also be fine.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by iheartbicycles
    Think about the guys that invented our sport.

    You think they went online whining about "Safety" and "Quality" and all this kind of Bull*****???

    You think they cared if their bikes were from Target?

    HELL NO!

    They hucked their collective carcasses down hills, awash in myriad hallucinogenics and THC!

    That's what real men do!

    Charlie Don't Surf!

    Now get your asses out there and huck it for God, America and the U S of A!

    (don't mind the redundancy, that's just my poetic license talking)
    I don't often say this in regards to your posts, but that was beautiful.

  10. #10
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    Huge props to your wife.

    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry

    BTW, my wife decided to get back in the saddle and complete the same loop again the very next weekend. But once she saw that downhill, she exclaimed "I went down that!" and walked the second time. It took weeks to build her confidence back up.
    She's coming back!

  11. #11
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    I think I'm just going to fix up an old Klein Attitude and Proflex 855 that I have stored in my garage and have them ride that instead.

    I hope they enjoy the ride. Having old high school buddies to ride with would be pretty cool.

  12. #12
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    keep the rubber on the ground and you'll be o.k. I've seen the occasional fork collapse and snapped crank arm with the cheapest of bikes. You get what you pay for, even if its another $100.

  13. #13
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    If you're talking a $150 full suspension bike, they can handle nothing. Nothing!

    If you're talking a $150 hardtail, they'd be good for Los Gatos Creek trail or Shoreline trail. Sure, you can push it some but it is not fun and not ideal.

    The key is to have a mechanic or experienced friend go through and tune the bike thoroughly since assembly is awful on these!

    fc

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    That's loop in Quicksilver from Hicks is a favorite training ride for my wife. Out Woods to Mexican camp, down to English Camp, back up to Bull Run, and back over to Hicks. It's about 6 miles and 1000' of climbing.

    The only thing is to realize fire roads can actually be more dangerous than singletrack. I've known several beginners who've had bad accidents on the fast steep Quicksilver fire roads.

    In particular, right after my wife got a Gravity Dropper, she was having fun going fast down hills. On that steep downhill just over the hill from Hicks, there's a turn and sandy spot in the open. My wife couldn't handle the sand at speed in a turn, and ended up with a nasty gash in her chin down to the bone. Blood all over her neck like a Halloween nightmare. It was an expensive ER visit with the plastic surgeon and all.

    Just respect the slippery dirt roads and have your kids keep their speed in check.

    BTW, my wife decided to get back in the saddle and complete the same loop again the very next weekend. But once she saw that downhill, she exclaimed "I went down that!" and walked the second time. It took weeks to build her confidence back up.
    I climbed Quicksilver the other day on the CX bike for a training ride after Almaden day. Going back down, it's pretty hairy - I ain't gonna lie. In fact, I think that place is just as dangerous as Rocky Ridge because it is unassuming. It's slick, has insane off-camber turns and, as BigLarry's wife found our first hand, the ground is very unforgiving .

    BTW, I had to bunnyhop a rattlesnake last minute on that ride. HEEBEE JEEBEES!

    It's a cool place to go and climb where you don't have to worry too much about crazy terrain going up (as opposed to STP). I've been timing myself on some of these climbs lately and showing progress. I've been doing 30+ milers for my lunch rides that combine some of the local pavement climbs with some of the dirt climbs.

    Don't know why more people don't ride CX bikes out here. You have hardcore lycra Cervelo roadies and then you have big suspension/baggies/Camelbak MTB'ers - but I've only seen two other folks on CX bikes out here EVER. Almaden Valley is perfect for CX riding. Sorry for going off topic, but it makes me wonder. People look at me coming from the road right to the trails on my "road bike" like I'm some sort of freak.

  15. #15
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    If I put drop bars on my 1990 Rockhopper rigid, could it be almost a CX? :P The geo is probably similar, except for wheels and wheel clearance.

    A friend of mine took his Schwinn down N* :O Just make sure everything works, including brakes, tire condition, and the bolts are tight. If it's a rigid, it should be fine. The lower the tech, the more reliable, IMO. A pre-ride ride to gauge the condition might be in order.

  16. #16
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    My first mountain bike was a used Murray (Target brand, at least at that time). This was back around 93-94, so fully rigid. I got 6 months of riding out of it before I broke it past being with being repaired. Wasn't super hard or aggressive riding, but was a good bike to get me into the sport.

    The brake was I rolled one of the chain rings over on itself (metal failure, not due to a crash or anything). The chain rings are all riveted together, so I would have had to replace crank and chainrings, which would be more than I paid for the bike. That was when I decided to upgrade to a new bike with front suspension.
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  17. #17
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    A lot of us started on cheap, crappy bikes. As long as you keep riding you learn pretty quick what works and what doesn't. Then your credit card balance starts going up quick

  18. #18
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    As long as the bike(s) maintained

    it should the purpose..fine

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland
    The geo is probably similar...
    Climb with a CX bike and climb with the old school Rockhopper and report back the difference in geometry!

    CX bikes smoke up fireroad climbs.

  20. #20
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    Everyone is wrong. The only way to properly be introduced to the sport is to spend $$$$ on the lightest, latest, and mostest tre' cool ride.

    Just PM me, I've got one I'd love to sell......

    El Cid is Spanish for The Cid..
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion
    Climb with a CX bike and climb with the old school Rockhopper and report back the difference in geometry!

    CX bikes smoke up fireroad climbs.
    lol, I am trying to find the geo specs on my old bike. I can't find it.

    It probably won't matter to me. I got no skillz.

  22. #22
    wg
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    ....The key is to have a mechanic or experienced friend go through and tune the bike thoroughly since assembly is awful on these!

    fc

    What he said
    Don't harsh my mello

  23. #23
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    What can Target mtn bikes handle? Come on NorCal, there is only one true answer:

    Let's find out

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland
    If I put drop bars on my 1990 Rockhopper rigid, could it be almost a CX? :P The geo is probably similar, except for wheels and wheel clearance.


    Circa 1988 or so GF Hoo Koo E Koo, frankenbiked into rough road touring bike.

    It's not a CX bike, but it's even more fun to ride in a old monster cadillac kind of way. It's a blast decending on bad pavement mountain roads.

    The closest "roadie" bikes currently made in geometry to the old MTB bikes are touring bikes like the Surly Long Haul Trucker. True CX bikes are kind of twitchy and unstable in comparison.

    _ Booker C. Bense

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbense


    Circa 1988 or so GF Hoo Koo E Koo, frankenbiked into rough road touring bike.

    It's not a CX bike, but it's even more fun to ride in a old monster cadillac kind of way. It's a blast decending on bad pavement mountain roads.

    The closest "roadie" bikes currently made in geometry to the old MTB bikes are touring bikes like the Surly Long Haul Trucker. True CX bikes are kind of twitchy and unstable in comparison.

    _ Booker C. Bense
    Your steer tube has an erection.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Hungus
    Your steer tube has an erection.
    I think it was Dion who calls that the Peter North model.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  27. #27
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    I would recommend to your friends to spend $700 and get a Spesh Rockhopper with disc brakes. Not a bad starter bike, IMO! Rode mine (with rim brakes) all over the bay area before getting a Mojo. There are probably a ton on craigslist used for much less...

    However, I like iheartbicycles & J's responses the best, lol!
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    The key is to have a mechanic or experienced friend go through and tune the bike thoroughly since assembly is awful on these!
    I'll third this. At the VERY least, make sure the brakes are adjusted as well as possible. Last thing you want is for a noob to hit the brakes hard coming down a hill and have one of the pads slide under the rim or, worse, over the rim and blow the tire. I think I still have some dirt in my elbow from that happening to me on my Murray Baja I bought at Wal-Mart in 1985. I saved my allowance for almost 2 years to buy that thing, and could only afford it because they dropped the price from $146.86 down to 89.86. With tax it came out to $95.26. I had to borrow $4.00 from my dad to cover some of the tax. OK, I've probably said too much.

    C/N - make sure the brakes are decent enough. Carry tools, tube and a crash and burn kit.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland
    lol, I am trying to find the geo specs on my old bike. I can't find it.

    It probably won't matter to me. I got no skillz.
    Actually, check out the old Rock Combo. That bike was SAWEET!


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    +1 for brakes

    I haven't had much experience with department store bikes (except my first one which was an Iron Horse quantum from Sports Authority--the only thing that ever broke was the derailleur hanger), but I agree with other reviewers that decent brakes are a must. The long descents at QS are hard on cheap brakes. My biking buddy had his brake pads fail at high speed ($50 bike), and another person I know had to stop every once in a while to wait for his pads to cool down because they would lose grip when hot (department store Schwinn). It's not very likely for any other component to fail at QS unless you take a spill. My friend fell on his Costco Schwinn at Saratoga Gap and the non-replaceable derailleur hanger bent like butter. But if their bike hasn't been through much abuse they should work just fine.

    My 2 cents: QS should be alright as long as you make sure the brakes work.

  31. #31
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    When my buddies and I got back into MTB 2 years ago we all had Costco and Target Schwinn bikes... the Gap tore the bikes up, parts started breaking, pieces went missing, we got about 10 good solid rides in with lots of laughs.

    A crappy bike to start will make you appreciate everything else afterwards, plus it won't be a large investment ahead of time if you're really not that into it.

    One thing to keep in mind our Schwinn's didn't have quick releases on the back... this made for a heck of a tire change when we got flats...which seemed to happen quite frequently with the Schwinn's.

    Good luck to you and your buddies!

  32. #32
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    My buddy attempted the Dowieville Downhill on a "Next" bike (for fun). I believe he only got part way down Butcher when things started breaking and falling off, including the rear derailleur If I remember correctly, the bike didn't make it all the way down. But lots of laughs were had!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What can Target Mountain Bikes handle?-dsc09955_small.jpg  

    What can Target Mountain Bikes handle?-dsc09956_vga.jpg  


  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion
    Actually, check out the old Rock Combo. That bike was SAWEET
    Since we're doing old bike porn, here's my 1990 Rockhopper.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What can Target Mountain Bikes handle?-rockhopper.jpg  


  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Beer
    butcher
    Haha I was going to suggest someone do this but thanks for posting.

    PS nice socks on your boy there

  35. #35
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boognish
    I think I still have some dirt in my elbow from that happening to me on my Murray Baja I bought at Wal-Mart in 1985. I saved my allowance for almost 2 years to buy that thing, and could only afford it because they dropped the price from $146.86 down to 89.86. With tax it came out to $95.26. I had to borrow $4.00 from my dad to cover some of the tax. OK, I've probably said too much.

    Damn dude how can you remember the exact cost to the penny including sale price and tax from something you bought in 1985!?!
    Kappius Components Ambassador - Ping me a note for a discount code

  37. #37
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    I guess we'll see how tough these Target bikes are. If they get hurt then I'm sure that will be the end of it for them w/ mt. biking.

    At least I gave it a shot to get them in to it.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces
    Damn dude how can you remember the exact cost to the penny including sale price and tax from something you bought in 1985!?!
    Wal-Mart was the only store in town and we went at least once a week. Every time we went in there I would stare at that bike. My family was struggling financially, we lived in the country and that bike symbolized freedom to me. It was a big big deal. My savings were in one dollar bills and coins kept in a little box carefully hidden from my younger brother and sister. Man I wanted that damn bike so bad for so long! She was silver with black rims and I probably put 500 or more miles on her even though the shifter sucked, the brakes needed constant adjusting and the beauty probably weighed more than 40#'s.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Entrenador
    nevermind
    Last edited by Empty_Beer; 09-15-2010 at 01:56 PM. Reason: cussing in vid

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boognish
    that bike
    Thats a great story, and it makes you appreciate what you have. A lot of us can afford nice gear now that we're adults, but I bet just as many of us have stories of getting schooled on bikes that "aren't as nice". I sure as heck do.

    PS nice username all hail boognish

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by QBallTBEB
    I'm trying to get a couple of my buddies into mountain biking but they do not have "quality" bikes. They own Target bikes (Schwinn, Low End Mongoose, etc). I want to take them on some of the local trails such as Saratoga Gap, Quicksilver, etc but I don't want their bike to fall apart on the ride.

    Any suggestions on a fun but easy trail where their bike won't fail on them?

    I was thinking of doing a short loop at Quicksilver from the Hicks entrance.
    Are they riders otherwise? As in they're accustom to the rigors of riding?

    I ran QS again last nite and only now am I starting to really have fun out there; I'm back riding again (been about a month) after an almost 6 year layoff. It was my memories of the passion that has kept me going back to QS though... not because it was anything like a good time. That's a LOT of climbing for someone not used to it, and its a LOT of downhill for someone who doesn't know how to position themselves, or releive hand pressures and what not.

    How big are they? Normal sized folks? I ask because if they're on the heavier side, bombing down hill (or even cranking hard going up) might stress that frame beyond its ability to cope. I've broken my share of frames... not something I care to repeat, especially at speed.

    Food for thought. Have a qualified mechanic look them over and tweak as needed, at a minimum. And if they're not really in riding shape, maybe reconsider asking them to climb the first time out. Might turn them off after the first couple hundred yards.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by QBallTBEB
    I want to take them on some of the local trails such as Saratoga Gap, Quicksilver, etc but I don't want their bike to fall apart on the ride.
    If they've got these warning stickers on them (and some do!), then I'd think twice.

    Yes, it's probably for product liability reasons and the bike's not likely to disintegrate when it touches dirt. But, why would you put your trust in a wanna-be piece of crap built to the lowest (im)possible price point when its own manufacturer won't?
    Looking for local rides? You'll find plenty on my website: Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonWilliam
    And if they're not really in riding shape, maybe reconsider asking them to climb the first time out. Might turn them off after the first couple hundred yards.
    What JasonWilliam said. Coming from a newbie, I'd not want to do Quicksilver for my very first ride....not even remotely close to even wanting it.

    Something simpler, Old Haul Road, I just did that with the family. It was challenging enough to be interesting, but not physically taxing. It's a great environment, nice and shady, no sun to beat down on you like many areas in the south bay, and a lovely area to get lost in....and quiet to boot! It's a good steady climb, after the first up and down section. The ups and downs give enough room in between to have frequent breaks and chats, and sometimes to just watch the wildlife.

    The drive out there can take a while though, but guaranteed a walmart bike can ride that trail.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland
    What JasonWilliam said. Coming from a newbie, I'd not want to do Quicksilver for my very first ride....not even remotely close to even wanting it.
    I would agree, actually.

    There's a description of the Quicksilver ride on my website, and it might be enlightening to read a comment left there by (apparently) an inexperienced rider at the bottom of the page.

    I agree that Old Haul Road makes an excellent ride for beginners. Another such option would be Ohlone Bluff Trail in Wilder Ranch State Park (included in the ride referred to in this description). If you have time to deal with ferries, Angel Island would be another such good option. (Yes, Perimeter Road is paved; but the second higher loop over fire roads is a reasonable trail ride for beginners.) I'd even place China Camp way before Almaden Quicksilver in sutiability for beginners, and China Camp is singletrack to boot.
    Looking for local rides? You'll find plenty on my website: Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides.

  45. #45
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    The route I was planning was a small loop at the top of Quicksilver. We would park at the Hicks entrance. There shouldn't be much climbing that way. At least I don't think it is. It would by pass the 2 - 3 mile uphill climb from the Hacienda entrance.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by QBallTBEB
    The route I was planning was a small loop at the top of Quicksilver. We would park at the Hicks entrance. There shouldn't be much climbing that way. At least I don't think it is. It would by pass the 2 - 3 mile uphill climb from the Hacienda entrance.
    You're right. That would save you more than 900 feet of elevation gain.
    Looking for local rides? You'll find plenty on my website: Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by QBallTBEB
    The route I was planning was a small loop at the top of Quicksilver. We would park at the Hicks entrance. There shouldn't be much climbing that way. At least I don't think it is. It would by pass the 2 - 3 mile uphill climb from the Hacienda entrance.
    Gotcha. Good plan.

    I took a newbie rider out there last nite. That's what made me think of warning ya. She did great for a first time, although she walked 90% of the first incline. But she had the right attitude; she was out there to work out, not to "ride" per say. So it didn't have a negative impact on her perception of mtbing in general. If we had gone out there to ride, I think she would have come away hating it.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by QBallTBEB
    I'm trying to get a couple of my buddies into mountain biking but they do not have "quality" bikes. They own Target bikes (Schwinn, Low End Mongoose, etc). I want to take them on some of the local trails such as Saratoga Gap, Quicksilver, etc but I don't want their bike to fall apart on the ride.

    Any suggestions on a fun but easy trail where their bike won't fail on them?

    I was thinking of doing a short loop at Quicksilver from the Hicks entrance.
    Isn't Quicksilver a big, boring fire road climb? Take them to Arastradero. I mistakenly took my GF to Quicksilver for one of her first MTB rides and she didn't ride again for like 6 months.

    As for the bikes; if they're just getting into riding.. it's not like they're going to be thrashing on these things. They'll just be trying to get to the top of the hill with both lungs and probably on the brakes for the majority of the way down.

    My first mt. bike in recent history was a Schwinn Ranger from Target. It was fine until I actually developed some skills and fitness. Then, as you'd expect it broke and fell apart. Not that it matters, I'm on my third Trek Remedy and repaired my Stumpjumper FSR twice.

    Like FC said, it's all in the assembly -- making sure it's put together right and is safe, -- before riding. I rode Saratoga Gap, Fremont Older, Demo and I'm pretty sure Mr. Toad's on my Schwinn before upgrading to a bike shop quality hardtail. If you're taking them on trails that pose a threat to the bike, you're probably going to scare off a couple of new riders..

  49. #49
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    Climbed Quicksilver today for my lunch ride - unbelievable how much slower my 29er is compared to my CX bike - anyhow, I think it's very suitable for n00bies. I climbed Mine Hill to Randol, entered at Hacienda and exited at McAbee. The whole ride took about a 1:30, including the ride there.

    Aside from some steep areas, both up and down, it does level out at the top.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdubsl2
    Isn't Quicksilver a big, boring fire road climb? Take them to Arastradero. I mistakenly took my GF to Quicksilver for one of her first MTB rides and she didn't ride again for like 6 months.

    As for the bikes; if they're just getting into riding.. it's not like they're going to be thrashing on these things. They'll just be trying to get to the top of the hill with both lungs and probably on the brakes for the majority of the way down.

    My first mt. bike in recent history was a Schwinn Ranger from Target. It was fine until I actually developed some skills and fitness. Then, as you'd expect it broke and fell apart. Not that it matters, I'm on my third Trek Remedy and repaired my Stumpjumper FSR twice.

    Like FC said, it's all in the assembly -- making sure it's put together right and is safe, -- before riding. I rode Saratoga Gap, Fremont Older, Demo and I'm pretty sure Mr. Toad's on my Schwinn before upgrading to a bike shop quality hardtail. If you're taking them on trails that pose a threat to the bike, you're probably going to scare off a couple of new riders..

    Very similar to what I did! Got back into biking 2 years ago with the Schwinn ranger...broke me in well until I was ready for a quality HT and then a quality FS.

    Bought the Ranger for $100 at Target, ended up selling it in a garage sale a few weeks ago for $70 bucks... after some cleaning of course LOL!

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by erginguney
    You're right. That would save you more than 900 feet of elevation gain.
    Uh, not so much, depending. If you do the loop all the way down to English Camp, the total climb is 1000'. The total climb from Hacienda entrance to near the top at Bull Run is 1000'. High precision number is on another long thread here recently.

    If you just ride over to the first Mexican Camp mine and don't do anything else, you can save ~350' of climbing. But there's still a lot of climbing on a couple steep hills over to that spot. And you have to do it both ways. The only reason my wife prefers that route is that it breaks up the climbing into several 200' and 300' climbs. OTOH, going up from Hacienda, you can just turn around when tired.

    That loop is good hill climb training. And there's several great views if you know where they are. (At the table at Bull Run, and also go down the road 1000' from Bull Run and take a right on a short little single track.)

    Quicksilver is tough for complete beginners. For example the steep slippery roads can be a tough climb on the way up, and cause accidents on the way down. Just the insurance deductible on my wife's ER visit from the accident there could have bought about 10 Target bikes.
    (But preventing ER visits is a great excuse to upgrade later. It's worked for me after every accident. )

    Hopefully you've done easier routes already, like local flat bike trails to Almaden Lake or Los Gatos trails around Vasona Lake, just to build up a little. Some more level single track may be more fun. For instance, there's a lot of creek side single track along Camden Rd. between Harry and Redmond. It's medium technical that also may be hard for beginners but not a lot of climbing. There's similar sections along the Los Gatos trail.

    Another option is to go the other direction at the top of Hicks Rd, riding into Sierra Azul. There's a little less climbing that's not as steep, and the fire road is more muddy than loose dirt of Quicksilver. Go out and back a few miles until you've had enough. I usually get my wife to go to the Barlow Rd. intersection. This ride is especially nice in the winter because it's got lots of little waterfalls, and it's legal to ride in the rain there.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    Uh, not so much, depending. If you do the loop all the way down to English Camp, the total climb is 1000'. The total climb from Hacienda entrance to near the top at Bull Run is 1000'. High precision number is on another long thread here recently.
    Well... The elevation of the Hacienda parking lot is 480 feet and the trailhead of Wood Road Trail on Hicks Road is at 1400 feet.

    Am I missing something?
    Looking for local rides? You'll find plenty on my website: Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by erginguney
    Well... The elevation of the Hacienda parking lot is 480 feet and the trailhead of Wood Road Trail on Hicks Road is at 1400 feet.

    Am I missing something?
    Yes. From Hicks, to get into Quicksilver there's a couple of hills each having a couple hundred feet. And to get out you got to climb them yet again. Even if you just go to the first road in Quicksilver at Mexican Camp and back, you've got maybe 600' of climb before you've even started the upper loop inside Quicksilver.

    If you do the scenic loop down to English Camp with all the old houses, and back up the other side of the peak to see April mine and others, your climbing increases to 935', about the same as if you'd come up from Hacienda for the same loop. (Bull Run is ~1600', the top of the road to get back to Mexican camp is 1680' elevation.)

    Here's the GPS track of that loop, showing distance and elevation. It also shows the little out and back to the great scenic view up by Bull Run.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  54. #54
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    On my ride the other day I took out my lame iPhone app that reads elevation and I was up a little past 1500' somewhere up there.

    That ride in plus the climb is a decent workout - but by MTB'ing standards (technical), it's just kind of *blah*. I think it's good for beginners, though. So what, if you have to walk? Gives you a target to shoot for, for the future.

    Just be careful on the slick stuff on the descends, and please stay clear of tattooed boys on cyclocross bikes.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by erginguney
    You said on your site that's the biggest loop? I've wanted to go further, but I guess that's pretty much it. I think a good ride would be to park at Almaden Lake park (for those non-locals) and hit both Quicksilver and STP on the same ride. I've done that before and it pretty much covers your bases.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLarry
    Yes. From Hicks, to get into Quicksilver there's a couple of hills each having a couple hundred feet. And to get out you got to climb them yet again. Even if you just go to the first road in Quicksilver at Mexican Camp and back, you've got maybe 600' of climb before you've even started the upper loop inside Quicksilver.
    Impressive. I thought the minor ups and downs along the way could be negligible, but "no such luck", I suppose...
    Looking for local rides? You'll find plenty on my website: Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion
    You said on your site that's the biggest loop? I've wanted to go further, but I guess that's pretty much it. I think a good ride would be to park at Almaden Lake park (for those non-locals) and hit both Quicksilver and STP on the same ride. I've done that before and it pretty much covers your bases.
    Yep. That's pretty much the only substantial bike-legal loop within the park, which also makes it the "biggest" by default.

    Connecting to other trails outside the park would open up a whole new set of opportunities, of course. One other connection option you have (perhaps a better one, actually, since you wouldn't have to add any road portion to your ride) is to take Woods Road/Trail and follow it into the Sierra Azul Open Space, right across Hicks Road. The climbs there will be brutal, though.
    Looking for local rides? You'll find plenty on my website: Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion
    please stay clear of tattooed boys on cyclocross bikes.
    Why is that?

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmHolland
    Why is that?
    Click on Dion's link in his signature and you'll see he matches.

    He's giving you a warning.
    It's not slow, it's doing more MTB time.

  60. #60
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    Going back to OP, I think any bike will be good to get started in mountain biking. There is no need to go out and spend $600 on a rockhopper or hardrock. Just go out with your friends and try it out. My first ride was at Skeggs with a 15 year old rigid and I was hooked bouncing all over the place. One month later I got the BLT frame on chainlove and figured out how to assembled it all on my own. Sure... I had to hammer in the headset because my DIY press didn't work quite as smooth as planned, but the bike turns left and right, that is all that matters. ;-)

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