Putting Together First Bike- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Putting Together First Bike

    New to riding, watched tons of DH videos over the past year or so, been doing a lot of reading on the forums and I am beginning to understand it more and more, but beings how this would be my FIRST purchase/build I would really like some insight and help if its not too much.

    Saw a bunch of knowledgeable people recommending parts, prices, and what not but didn't really grasp as to how/why they choose those types.

    I suppose my question is more of okay, this type of riding you generally want this much travel, no less than #mm, or this type/size tire, looking on where I can find more in depth and to the bone specifics?

  2. #2
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    if you ride dh/fr, i always liked more travel cause you never know what youre going off of at what speed (i never walked the courses). the lowest amount i ran was 7" front and rear for fr, 7" front 8"rear dh. i also like running 2.5" tires or bigger, bigger contact patch, better traction.

    its all gunna be up to you really. some of us having been trying different setups for years and have different setups for different days. i have 6 sets of tires sitting in my garage, not to mention the 4 sets that are on the bikes, 2 for dry loose(26 and 24), moist packed(26 and 24), light mud, and street/urban. i also have a 26/26 setup and a 26/24 setup (getting away from the 24 rear on dh, rebuilt for my dj)

    my advice would be find a bike thats in your price range that you want to pursue. then after you get a feel for the riding and the trails you ride, then you can start upgrading the components, which mainly is suspension work

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by echo24 View Post
    my advice would be find a bike thats in your price range that you want to pursue. then after you get a feel for the riding and the trails you ride, then you can start upgrading the components, which mainly is suspension work
    This is key for a beginner.

    When building a bike I am looking for what parts are made for what purpose by what companies. I also read a lot of reviews and talk to other riders and techs, try to test stuff out when I can. A lot of what I buy also depends on the company backing it. Certain companies I will not support and others I am throwing my money at, Canfield Bros being one of the latter.

  4. #4
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    Good point about that, buying a decent starter bike and just working from there with what I like/dislike about the bike. I had been advised towards Specialized Rockhopper a while back when I was taking a peek, noticed they don't have a rear suspension.

    Figured that would be for a little less "intense" riding, would it make good decision on getting for the first year or so, before moving onto a DH bike and tackling the harder courses?

    Or.....could I do all of that starting out with a nice DH setup?

  5. #5
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    something like a Rockhopper will be good if you are completely new to mountain biking. But if you see yourself getting into anything more than light duty trail riding, you will outgrow, break (or both) that bike very quickly. My first bike was an old Cannondale, similar to a Rockhopper. After a year on it, I was ready for something bigger and better, as it was holding me back form riding the terrain that I enjoyed. I couldn't sell the bike for more than a hundred bucks because it was not a desirable bike. There was nothing I could do to upgrade it that would have been worth the money. My opinion is that it's a good idea to save up some more money, and get the type of bike you want to end up with. Upgrading is ok if you can't afford everything you want right away though. Just keep in mind that a full-on DH bike is a very purpose-built, special machine. They only do one thing well: go down super steep gnarly hills. Everything else on them (like pedaling up hills or service roads) is not much fun at all. There are other bike types that are a bit more versatile.

    My advice would be to get something with 4-6" of rear suspension, and ride that for a year or two. I had a 6" travel Giant Reign that I absolutely loved. Very capable bike, and it was relatively inexpensive compared to other bikes. An All Mountain bike like that will cost FAR less than a full DH bike, and will be a great intro to the sport. Then, if you decide you like riding the steep and chunky, you'll have something that you can sell and get at least a portion of your money back to spend on a beefier bike. Hope that helps.
    tangaroo: What electrolytes do chicken and turkey have again?
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  6. #6
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    Definitely helps, cause I was kinda eyeballing the Rockhopper but good point, thinking about it and looking at it more, that rear suspension that the Rockhopper lacks could really end up bad on any big drops, not to mention I would imagine a much less stable ride when going over rough terrain.

    Will check into Cannondale, was also looking at the Status I that Specialized had, but haha being new to riding mountain bikes and what not, not sure if its very smart to drop $2,500 on a brand new bike like that, then again I could be wrong?

  7. #7
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    Well, dropping 2500 on a bike is a substantial amount of money (at least to me), but if it is something you are sure you will like, it's worth it. Try looking at some used bikes maybe. I recently built up a new bike, and to get the funds necessary to do it, I sold my Giant Reign 1. It retailed for $2900, and I bought it for 2100 brand new. I put on a new $900 fork, $350 adjustable seatpost, bars, stem... a lot of stuff. It was in immaculate condition and I couldn't get more than $1000 for it when I sold it.

    My point is that you can get a VERY good bike with great components on it for a fraction of the price if you look around a bit. Used bikes are often he best way to start.

    Lastly, there are a few things you ought to consider before pulling the trigger. You mention considering bikes ranging from a Rockhopper to a Status. Forgive me for saying, but those two bikes represent a MASSIVE gap in every way. Completely different designs. That leads me to wonder if you've had much thought about what your goals are in buying a bike.

    1) What are the trails like in your area? If you live in Kansas, for example, you will grow to hate that bike, since it is not good at pedaling. There are a LOT of downhill bikes that are little more than garage decorations, because DH bikes serve a very small niche in the biking world. People often buy them to show others how manly and awesome they are (big black lifted bro-dozer truck mentality). They later realize it actually requires a lot more work than they had anticipated. Finding people to shuttle with cars if the pedaling is too grueling. Replacing bent/broken derailleurs and rims. That kind of thing. If you want to get into general trail riding, which is a great place to start, look for something with a little steeper head angle, lighter, and a better pedaling suspension design than a Status.

    2) Are you looking to get way into riding, or just the 'every once in a while' thing? Neither is a bad option, but if you don't see yourself riding every chance you get, it might not be necessary to go all-out. Again, completely up to you and you should do whatever makes you happy, not what impresses others.

    3) Homework. Do lots of it. If you're going to drop a lot of money on something, you owe it to yourself to get something you will love. Go to shops and ask them about suspension designs, components, etc. Floating pivot linkages vs single pivots. Shimano vs Sram. Test ride as many bikes as possible. There are a lot of things to consider, and they can make a large difference in terms of performance. A crappy suspension design can easily take all the fun out of riding.
    tangaroo: What electrolytes do chicken and turkey have again?
    rck18: All of them, because they're meat.

  8. #8
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    Well I wasn't sure if it would maybe be wise to at least start out on a Rockhopper and then move up, but you answered that with a very good point. If you can afford it, shoot for the bike you want to end up on.

    Living in Colorado though, and yeah I do plan/expect to get way into it, have done a bit of looking around, absolutely love it (as far as I can see), the danger/adrenaline rush, freedom of being on the mountain and what not.

    Good last point though about doing a little more homework, before settling down on one specific bike, I am going to do a lot more reading about suspension types, tires/wheels, frame design. No point in dropping heavy on something that isn't even what your going to like or wont meet up to the demands.

    Really appreciate the time you have taken to explain those things and help me out, makes a huge difference.

  9. #9
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    Rhinos explained it very well! Do your research and try to ride as many bikes and frame designs as possible.

    Being in CO you have lots of options, as many of the resorts rent and demo high end bikes. Trestle has quite a few and I've ridden most of them. Essentially for about $100 you can rent a bike for a day and see how it rides. I think they might even let you put XXX amount of your rental fees towards buying one of them used at the end of the season, which can be a great deal.

    If you want to get right into though, I suggest getting a used bike, something that was high production, popular and fairly cheap to begin with. Then just keep upgrading until you know more about what you like and what you want. Suggestions here would be something like a Spec Big Hit or Status, Giant Glory, SC V10 or Driver 8 or Bullit, Trek Session 7 or 8. Most of these used bikes have seen a lot of riding, sometimes you can find them pristine that were wall hangers for most of their life, but either way, you ride, you break parts, you buy new ones. Long as you have a solid frame and keep the maintenance up it should last you at least long enough for you to decide what you like and want in a frame.

  10. #10
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    Definitely going to take the advice and run with it, totally appreciate the knowledge. Much better understanding of what I'm looking for and how to acquire it without blowing a chunk of change on something incorrect.

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