Looking for some insight- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    Looking for some insight


    I'm from Calgary and Iím looking to get back into the mountain biking scene. Not that I was really ever in the scene, but I did used to bike a bit during summers past.

    I have a couple questions that I am looking to answer.

    The bike I had a few years back was a generic piece of crap from Canadian Tire. It was heavy. I think it cost around $200 when I bought it. For my new bike, Iíd rather go to an actual bike shop instead of a department store. I know their a lot more knowledgeable, but of course, they'll have better bikes, and Iíll have to pay for that in price.

    What Iíll be using the bike for is mostly trail riding in Fish Creek Park in Calgary, road riding to get me there, and the occasional trip out to Bragg Creek or Kananaskis for a little bit harder stuff.

    Right now, Iíve set my limit at $500 for the complete bike itself. Can I get a bike for this price? Do bike shops even sell them this low? I've looked on quite a few sites, and most of the bikes on the web are anywhere from $1000 and up. Am I going to find any bikes for $500, or is that too low? The reason Iíve set myself this limit is because I don't know if Iím going to get out enough to justify paying $1000 or $1500 for a bike.

    Secondly, to the Calgarians here, is there any specific shop that you've had good experiences with? There are quite a few in the city, but if I could get some knowledge on where some of the better places are, that would be great.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    roots, rocks, rhythm
    Reputation: Dawgprimo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Couple of things.....
    When you start shopping for a bike you are better off to set your minimum and your maximum limit.(Gives you a bit of wiggle room ......) Shopping does not cost you anything other then the gas to the bike store. Looking on the internet is great but if you have nothing to compare price/components.......to so first you first have to find a bike(s) you like to be able to make comparisons.
    Try out alot of different bikes, designs and sizes and find out what YOU like.
    Every lbs has their brands so not all lbs works for everyone. Besides you have to like the store, trust their opinion and feel comfortable with their pricing.
    Personally $500.00 is low for a new entry level bike. I would thinkmaybe a range of $500.00 - $750.00 would be a better. ( depends if you can find something on sale like 04' model.)
    Have you thought about renting a bike if it is possible or if you find a used one????

    I don't like to give store names because what works for me might not work for you but when I was living in Calgary I liked Bow Cycle.
    I hope that helps.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Thanks very much for the response.

    In the past couple days i've been reading the reviews of bikes and looking at manufacturer websites, as well as the websites of lbs and I agree that $500 is probably a little too low.

    I'm going to go to a couple bike shops on monday to try some out. Some of the bikes i've got written down to look at are the:

    Cannondale F300
    Kona Fire Mountain
    Trek 4300/4500
    Specialized Hardrock/Rockhopper
    Giant Yukon/Rainier/Iguana
    Gary Fisher Tassajara

    I'll get the people at the lbs to help me out and i'll try to ride as many bikes as possible to get a good feel.


  4. #4
    Reputation: Hockeygod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    How about buying a second-hand bike?

    My 2 cents...

    First, read some mountain biking magazines (Bike, Mountain Biking, Bicycling, Mountain Bike Action, etc.) at the local Library. You will become familiar with the terms, brands, etc. Check out the ads too - it will help your familiarity with the various products out there and help you formulate questions!

    Second, I would "get a free education" by window shopping at a few bike stores. Come prepared to ask lots of questions!

    Roy at Eurotech (just off 14th St and Northmount drive NW) has always treated me exceptionally well. While Bow Cycle's new store is great, I find it is a little steep for price (moreso on accessories); as is the Bike Shop on 11th Ave SW, but these places will provide you a free education, and most importantly, show you how to determine your proper sizing! If your budget is $500-750, ask if there are any 2003 / 2004 leftover models at any of these stores, plus ask if there are any used bikes available (Bow Cycle usually has some.) Remember, everything is negotiable!

    Third, once you are familiar with the lingo and sizing, I would look in the local Bargain Finder which comes out every Thursday. Check Bow Cycle's website as they have a free classified ad service, as does the Mountain Equipment Co-op website (the cheapest place to buy good quality gear!), the Pinkbike website and the Alberta Bicycling Association website. Come spring (now), there are a lot of good used bikes out there. I think you will get more bike for your money by purchasing a used bike!

    When buying second-hand, you will often get a terrific deal on a bike... just make sure the frame is not cracked and check the high-wear areas closely (chain, sprockets, shifters, brakes) as you might have to budget some replacements into your purchase price. If you can take a knowledgable friend with you, you are in business - sharpen up your negotiating skills!

    Fourth, read this site (MTBR.com) to check out rider reviews of specific models and to get a "feel" for the respective brands in the brand specific forums.

    Good luck and happy trails,

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004


    If you are unsure about how much you want to get into it, RENT! Don't be afraid to head up to the Uof C and rent a couple times.

    Head out to Allen Bill Pond and ride Fullerton loop. Its only about 4km but you get a nice little climb, a view and a pretty desent downhill. If you still want more head, the next parking lot is Sulphur Springs / Tom Snow. Tom Snow is the easier of the two, and a fun bit o single track.

    Other trails to try are Telephone Pole (West Bragg Creek), and Lake Miniwanka, but you HAVE to go past the scree slope!!! Thats where its awesome!

    From there get the backcountry biking in the rockies book, its the biking bible around here.

    Start off renting and try some trails, also test ride bikes!!! Different brands fit different people! You can over analysis things on the web. Ride what fits you!!! Once you've got a short list of bikes you like, check the used boards, bow, pinkbike, mec...

    Good Luck!

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Spent the morning at different shops. Went to Bow Cycle. Nice guys down there. Rode

    Kona Blast - 849
    Norco Storm - 849
    Specialized Hardrock Comp 789
    They didn't have any F300's

    Out of those three I liked the Norco the best. Prior to going my bias laid with the Specialized bikes because of the way they looked, but I didn't like the ride at all for some reason.

    Then went to The Bike Shop and didn't really get any help there. All they reall had there anyway were the Specialized and I had already knocked those off my list. They were selling the Hardrock Comp for 749, 40 cheaper than Bow.

    Finally I was just at Cyclepath where they were very helpful. I tried out Trek 4500 for 779, Giant Iguana for 849 or somewhere around there, and they also had a 2003 Giant Warp DS2 Full Suspension for 799. Out of those three I really liked the 4500, and the Warp. I'm going to do a little research on both and then perhaps go back today or tomorrow. I really liked both bikes.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Thanks a lot for the replies guys. Ended up with the Trek 4500. I think that was the best bike for the money, and what I was going to use it for.

    Here are some pics from Fish Creek in SW Calgary.

    See you guys on the trails!

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