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  1. #1
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    Listen! New Texas Rider!

    Hello Everybody!

    So I recently made a newbie post within the Beginner's Corner forum and I was kindly informed that we've got a Texas sub-forum so here I am.

    My name's Andrew and I work from home doing Tech Consulting for a company based out of England.

    The wife recently got a new job here in Texas so we've just moved here from Portland, OR. We're up in Northern San Antonio (Stone Oak area). Once we got here I started trying to get back into mountain biking with a couple friends we've made since moving here. Needless to say I've been introduced to rocks (and lots of them...). What I've basically discovered is this:

    My bike was built by myself and my friends back when I was in High School. In those days we pretty much only did freeride, park (cement/dirt), and trials riding. As such I got a smaller frame then the average rider would use for everyday trail and maybe free mountain riding.

    These days I'm 6' 190 lbs and every time I take her out on the trails here, it's a lot more sit and pump then what I used to do. The seat-tube on her is: 15.5". And while the smaller bike makes her AWESOME on the super tight twisties and jumps and so on, it just feels to me like I need something built a little more specifically for pure XC (and larger haha). Don't worry my Azonic isn't going to waste, I think the wife is going to start riding her :-) (pic is attached of the old gal)

    So what am I asking. I'm trying to figure out what I should get to ride around here. I've previously always rode hardtails, but with all the rocks and crazy little terrain shifts I keep seeing I'm thinking a FS might not be a bad idea.

    So what does everybody think?
    1.) What would be some good options for a new hardtail (been looking a lot at Trek's line) ~$900 or less
    2.) What would be some good options for a new FS (Trek Fuel EX 5/SC Superlight etc) ~$1800 or less

    Feel free to weigh in, I really just want to hear from some more locals and get a better idea of what I can get that will last me a good while and I can grow into as a rider.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this!
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  2. #2
    meh
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    in before rigid 29er SS is recommended
    im a big proponent of a do it all bike, 140~150mm full suspension 26er

  3. #3
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    agree with clewttu- 26 fs trail/enduro all arounder..especially if you might be able to travel with it and hit up the pac nw again or any mountain for that matter!

  4. #4
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    Any suggestions for which FS bikes to look into? I'm looking to keep it under $2000 but don't want to miss out on a great bike simply because I haven't heard of them before.

  5. #5
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    if you know the pac nw you owe (or you should know already!) it to yourself to look @ a Transition Covert then! If you're not opposed to the used mrkt it is a great bike that definitely can jump. it was born up there! Simple faux bar set up that's clearly overbuilt. Spesh Stumpys, Enduros or Titus El Guapo. El Guapo is a hard to beat deal but would push you over your budget as a build out. The used market is a good place to look!

    If you freeride up there you probably know all this already!

  6. #6
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    another vote for a 140-150 26er. im on a Santa Cruz Blur LTc which is a 140 mm travel bike. Thats gonna run you out of your price range though. A Santa Cruz Heckler (or Butcher or Nickel) could be in your price range though.

    It also depends on if you want new or if you are willing to take a used bike. Good deals can be had on used bikes. check out the MTBR classifieds site for some good deals.... Full Suspension Bike - Buy and Sell and Review Mountain Bikes and Accessories

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sooner518 View Post
    another vote for a 140-150 26er. im on a Santa Cruz Blur LTc which is a 140 mm travel bike. Thats gonna run you out of your price range though. A Santa Cruz Heckler (or Butcher or Nickel) could be in your price range though.

    It also depends on if you want new or if you are willing to take a used bike. Good deals can be had on used bikes. check out the MTBR classifieds site for some good deals.... Full Suspension Bike - Buy and Sell and Review Mountain Bikes and Accessories
    I've been poking around in there. I'm up for new/used. I'm just hoping to get out and ride a few the bikes suggested to get a feel and hopefully make a decision. I like the looks of Santa Cruz alot, heard great things about both their products as well as customer service.

    So that means the Superlight is out? Not enough travel to truly make it versatile enough across all situations? I don't know how often I am going to get back to the Pacific NW

  8. #8
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    im running an ibis mojo (140mm), another out of your price range, but there are plenty that fit the bill
    agree with looking used, as you can get more bang for your buck, i would get on the local SA forum to look for used ones, the dallas site (dorba) has a great buy/sell area so id think something similar exists down there

  9. #9
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    get a 29" bike

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    I'm a new rider with an older bike and I live just north of you in Spring Branch / Bulverde area. I ride the road during the week and various trails on the weekend. Mostly McAllister park but sometimes at the Guadalupe State Park on HWY 46.

    I'm an older and heavier guy (62 almost and 220 lbs) and I ride a full-suspension bike. I don't know how folks do all these rocks without it... but they do.

    When I first got into riding a road bike I bought my bike on Craigslist. It took about 4 weeks of looking carefully before finding a great bike for little money. It was a great starter bike.

    Luckily, in 2004 I lived in a big MTB area (Jackson Hole) and bought a very nice Gary Fisher Sugar+ 4 full-suspension bike. It's old but it's a great bike for this area. And that's my point. Check CL for San Antonio every day for a month and you're bound to find a decent full-suspension bike that will fit you and suit you. If I sold my Sugar on CL it would be for around $400 or less and there are others like that out there. You could be lucky and find a gem for cheap.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
    I'm a new rider with an older bike and I live just north of you in Spring Branch / Bulverde area. I ride the road during the week and various trails on the weekend. Mostly McAllister park but sometimes at the Guadalupe State Park on HWY 46.

    I'm an older and heavier guy (62 almost and 220 lbs) and I ride a full-suspension bike. I don't know how folks do all these rocks without it... but they do.

    When I first got into riding a road bike I bought my bike on Craigslist. It took about 4 weeks of looking carefully before finding a great bike for little money. It was a great starter bike.

    Luckily, in 2004 I lived in a big MTB area (Jackson Hole) and bought a very nice Gary Fisher Sugar+ 4 full-suspension bike. It's old but it's a great bike for this area. And that's my point. Check CL for San Antonio every day for a month and you're bound to find a decent full-suspension bike that will fit you and suit you. If I sold my Sugar on CL it would be for around $400 or less and there are others like that out there. You could be lucky and find a gem for cheap.
    Thanks for the great advice everybody. I am definitely not against buying a used bike. I've been checking craigslist just in case as well


    My only question is, can an All Mountain bike still be a good ride on paved trails and non-technical rides? The wife is still getting into the swing of things and while she tries the trails she still likes to end on a paved section.

    Also, any good Santa Cruz dealers in the San Antonio/Austin/New Braunfels area? I'm having a devil of a time finding a Heckler to go out and test ride!

  12. #12
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    Ride Away Bicycles in San Antonio is a SC dealer. I haven't been there to see what they have in stock though.

    Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop and Bicycle Sport Shop in Austin. I'd guess they have more than anyone in SA. Mellow Johnny's is a cool shop, owned by Lance Armstrong. Fun to visit on it's own with a museum in the basement.

    In my experience a FS MTB is loud, slow and boring on pavement and just comes alive on the dirt. But lots of folks buy a MTB and never hit the trails. So, it's all relative.

  13. #13
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    checkout Endover bikes in Austin. Transition dealers and i think Norco as well.

  14. #14
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    SS 29er.

    Full suspension is for lazy people.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puffy Tacos View Post
    SS 29er.

    Full suspension is for lazy people.

    ..so are 29ers

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by 53119 View Post
    ..so are 29ers
    Ha!

  17. #17
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    Oooooooooo burrrrrrn!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeRideJunkie View Post
    I've been poking around in there. I'm up for new/used. I'm just hoping to get out and ride a few the bikes suggested to get a feel and hopefully make a decision. I like the looks of Santa Cruz alot, heard great things about both their products as well as customer service.

    So that means the Superlight is out? Not enough travel to truly make it versatile enough across all situations? I don't know how often I am going to get back to the Pacific NW
    The Superlight is a good bike, and I rode one for 4 and a half years in front range Denver, DFW, and Austin. That said, its a shorter travel bike and I probably rode it more aggressively than it was designed to be ridden.

    That said, for your budget, you can get a new Heckler for $1,899 (D AM kit with a RockShox Sektor). or check Craigslist for a while til you find a good deal, but youll probably have to settle for a brand/model you might not have considered before. not to say that you wont get a good deal, but if you have your heart set on a certain bike, its unlikely youll find that on Craigslist.

    and you can ride any of these bikes anymore. obviously they arent gonna ride like a road bike, but so long as youre not going on a 50 mile road ride, you should be fine. I ride my BLTc on pavement with my wife all the time.

  19. #19
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    Rideaway does indeed carry Santa Cruz and I was in the Huebner Oaks location and was surprised at how many Santa Cruz they had in stock including 3 or 4 nickels and maybe a heckler. prices were pretty amazing for what you get, imo. But that is just how SC is packaging them, high value.

    If I had $2k for a bike, I'd try to get a new bike to have a warranty. Specialized stumpjumper FSR 29er or 26er can be had for near the $2k mark. Ride Away is a Specialized dealer but I got quoted a really good price for a FSR 29er Comp at Planet Bike on Bandera and loop 410. right at $2k.

    people ride all sorts of bikes around here. carbon hardtails. steel singlespeeds. 26. 29. 6 inch travel AM bikes. 5 inch travel 29ers. I have a rigid singlespeed 26er and had a superlight (that just cracked after a loooong productive life) and I'll say that nearly everything you can do on a geared suspension bike can be done on a rigid SS but suspension is a ton more fun on the technical trails and rocks.

  20. #20
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    I don't know if you've checked out performance bike, I think they have a store in SA. They seem to have reasonable prices on GT/Fuji and their sort of 'in-house' brand, Access. They just didn't have anything small/med when I was looking for a bike. If you're looking for a yeti, go-ride.com has a few demo bikes which might be right at your range +/- a few hundred. Their demos actually come with the full yeti factory warranty too, like a new bike, so you get the price of a used with the warranty of a new one. I looked around for almost a month at all different places before finding one that I liked and fit my budget. Goodluck
    2011 Yeti 575 Enduro - full XT group, Thomson cockpit, and Chris King upgrade

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by FreeRideJunkie View Post

    These days I'm 6' 190 lbs The seat-tube on her is: 15.5".!
    What possessed you to buy a bike two sizes too small in the first place?

  22. #22
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    Well I checked out Ride Away Bikes, they don't have any Heckler's in stock at any of their stores in San Antonio and I haven't been able to find another vendor for Santa Cruz in the SA Area, so I guess I'll try branching out into Austin and such.

    The reason I built a 15.5bike at 6 foot is because that bike was built for jumping/urban/trials. So I got a shorter seat tube so I wouldn't end up with a seat up my rear. At that point in time (atleast 6 years ago) I never thought I'd be riding XC hence the new mission!

  23. #23
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    in Austin, I think there are 2 SC dealers: Mellow Johnnys and Bicycle Sport Shop. The only SC's Ive ever seen actually in either of those stores was a Nickel, a Butcher, a Tallboy and a Highball.

  24. #24
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    I know they had some nickels, possibly sold them. Did you ask about the nickel? it's a 5 inch single pivot with a link to modify the shock rate so it should pedal and absorb bumps better than a heckler. It is an inch shorter in travel though. but I'm pretty sure they had some. maybe $2200 nicely equiped. I think a 5 inch bike is perfect for anything around here.

  25. #25
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    Check out The Bicycle Shack in Boerne off of IH 10 West.......
    Talk to Bryan, he may be able to find you something close to what you're looking for
    Great shop with great service and input....................

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anita Handle View Post
    I know they had some nickels, possibly sold them. Did you ask about the nickel? it's a 5 inch single pivot with a link to modify the shock rate so it should pedal and absorb bumps better than a heckler. It is an inch shorter in travel though. but I'm pretty sure they had some. maybe $2200 nicely equiped. I think a 5 inch bike is perfect for anything around here.
    I have been looking into the Nickel as well. The 5in vs 6in doesn't really bother me to much. It's mainly the performance per dollar. The price atm seems to be about the same as what a Heckler would cost. And I watched some videos from Santa Cruz about the new suspension on the Butcher/Nickel. Looks pretty freaking cool IMO. I might have to go back to them and ask about the Nickel.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cactus Jack View Post
    Check out The Bicycle Shack in Boerne off of IH 10 West.......
    Talk to Bryan, he may be able to find you something close to what you're looking for
    Great shop with great service and input....................
    Will do! Thanks for the input, I'm always up for checking out shops and such in the area

  27. #27
    Bandit 29 FTW!!!
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    My vote goes to the Santa Cruz Nickel. IMHO I'd steer clear of the 29er hardtails. Most of the guys I ride with like the 29er's for the dirt trails but not for the more aggressive stuff or the rocky areas.

    My Spec Stumpy has 5-1/2" of travel and it's been more than enough for everything from McCallister to Gov't Canyon. I like Santa Cruz because they hold their value better than many of the other bikes.

    My next bike will be a build up from the frame but I'll start with the SC Nickel or Blur.

  28. #28
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    If you make it out to the Bicycle Shack, check out the Cannondale RZ120. Also, Bryan can get Transition bikes (non in stock), the Transition Bandit would be a good bike to check out.

  29. #29
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    Hey guys...can someone help me out? This forum will not allow me to make a new thread but I have a question...post as follows:

    Newb here needing to purchase a new mtb soon. I live about 2 hours north of Houston. Googled bike shops in Houston and came up with 3 but is there any specifically that carry a wide selection of mountain bikes in stock? Everyone keeps telling me to try on bikes before I decide on one but I'm not sure where to go as I honestly don't get to the city much.

    Thanks in advance

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meowhead View Post

    Newb here needing to purchase a new mtb soon. I live about 2 hours north of Houston.
    give BIKE LANE, Shenandoah/The Woodlands, Texas a look

  31. #31
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    I'm in the same boat as Meowhead. I signed up for this one post but need 5 posts to start a thread. So, sorry for the hijack.

    I rode Emma Long on Saturday afternoon (1-21-12) and drove off without my front wheel. It's a 29er with a red anodized 20mm hub. I went right back when I realized my error but t was gone. How about some great MTB love and get me my wheel back. I'll pay in beer for its safe return.

    If not then I'll just go for my 5 posts with "What the best deal on wheelsets, hubs, rims, tires, etc in the 29er forum. I'll do it!

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Greenbeans View Post
    I'm in the same boat as Meowhead. I signed up for this one post but need 5 posts to start a thread. So, sorry for the hijack.

    I rode Emma Long on Saturday afternoon (1-21-12) and drove off without my front wheel. It's a 29er with a red anodized 20mm hub. I went right back when I realized my error but t was gone. How about some great MTB love and get me my wheel back. I'll pay in beer for its safe return.

    If not then I'll just go for my 5 posts with "What the best deal on wheelsets, hubs, rims, tires, etc in the 29er forum. I'll do it!
    Sorry to hear about your wheel. Me personally, if I find something on the trail, I try to turn it in to lost&found if there's an management office, or leave it where I found it (unless it poses a danger to others, then I'll place it somewhere near but in easy view) thinking the owner may come back. Where's Emma Long at, wouldn't happen to be around the Houston area possibly? Curious in trying out new trails 1-2hrs away around the area. Hopefully you won't need it, but I think Performance was having a wheel sale recently, not sure if it's still going. Hope you get it back.
    2011 Yeti 575 Enduro - full XT group, Thomson cockpit, and Chris King upgrade

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by In-Yo-Grill View Post
    My vote goes to the Santa Cruz Nickel. IMHO I'd steer clear of the 29er hardtails. Most of the guys I ride with like the 29er's for the dirt trails but not for the more aggressive stuff or the rocky areas.

    My Spec Stumpy has 5-1/2" of travel and it's been more than enough for everything from McCallister to Gov't Canyon. I like Santa Cruz because they hold their value better than many of the other bikes.

    My next bike will be a build up from the frame but I'll start with the SC Nickel or Blur.
    Egh, the lack of suspension keeps the trails interesting and continually challenging, had my Air9 all through the green belt this weekend, no big hang ups. Too much suspension makes everyone whine about the trails.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by MD_TX View Post
    Sorry to hear about your wheel. Me personally, if I find something on the trail, I try to turn it in to lost&found if there's an management office, or leave it where I found it (unless it poses a danger to others, then I'll place it somewhere near but in easy view) thinking the owner may come back. Where's Emma Long at, wouldn't happen to be around the Houston area possibly? Curious in trying out new trails 1-2hrs away around the area. Hopefully you won't need it, but I think Performance was having a wheel sale recently, not sure if it's still going. Hope you get it back.
    Emma Long is on the western outskirts of Austin. One does not simply try Emma Long, she tries you. If you're going there either go with someone who knows the trail or a group ride or something. Some of the lines can be pretty difficult and you'll have a much better time watching others/following their leads the first few times through.

  35. #35
    Bandit 29 FTW!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobdole View Post
    Egh, the lack of suspension keeps the trails interesting and continually challenging, had my Air9 all through the green belt this weekend, no big hang ups. Too much suspension makes everyone whine about the trails.
    It really depends on the style of riding. The 29er HT's are great on the trails overall. It's when you get into some of the more aggressive drops and downhills that it may get a little tricky. The tail of the bike get's a little bouncy and loss of traction can be a problem.

    I can only report what I've been told by the friends I've ridden with. Best bet is to go out and ride a few bikes and get a feel for yourself. Nothing worse than buying a bike and feeling the need to upgrade a few months down the line.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Greenbeans View Post

    I rode Emma Long on Saturday afternoon (1-21-12) and drove off without my front wheel. It's a 29er with a red anodized 20mm hub. I went right back when I realized my error but t was gone. How about some great MTB love and get me my wheel back. I'll pay in beer for its safe return.

    You may want to join up Bike Mojo and post this in the Austin Voodoo section. Many more locals view that than this MTBR forum. Maybe you will be lucky and someone there picked up your wheel. Good luck!

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by In-Yo-Grill View Post
    It really depends on the style of riding. The 29er HT's are great on the trails overall. It's when you get into some of the more aggressive drops and downhills that it may get a little tricky. The tail of the bike get's a little bouncy and loss of traction can be a problem.

    I can only report what I've been told by the friends I've ridden with. Best bet is to go out and ride a few bikes and get a feel for yourself. Nothing worse than buying a bike and feeling the need to upgrade a few months down the line.
    I hear you there though, for the sake of your frame, if you're doing lots of drops you're going to want a FS

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