What bike for Squamish and Vancouver?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    What bike for Squamish and Vancouver?

    I am moving to Squamish (North Vancouver initially) and would like to get into trail riding. I am total newbie and no idea what type of bike to get. Iíve been reading other threads suggesting all mountain or enduro type bikes but these look super expensive. Is there anything decent that is more cost effective or is it necessary to spend quite a bit (couple of ks) on a decent set up? My experience biking on trails is limited, but spend a lot of time in the mountains generally and did a day downhill mountain biking in the alps, in a place called Le Tour. Also would these bikes work as a daily commuter? I used to commute in Edinburgh on a hard tail and was hard work on the roads. The reason being is that Iím thinking to bike into downtown whilst living in North Van. Whatís the safety like? Iím currently in London and unless you take off prett much every part of the bike, it will get stolen. Any help from experienced riders knowledgeable of the area would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
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    The trails in N.Van and Squamish, in general, are advanced and the majority of people are riding long travel trail bikes, all mountain or enduro bikes (130mm to 170mm full suspension bikes with a dropper post and good tires).

    You could ride a commuter on the trails or ride your trail bike around town, but neither is going to perform very well out of its element.

    Or you could buy a bike in between, like a 29er hardtail, and it's not going to do either all that well.

    If you are serious about getting into mountain biking, you'll want a proper bike for the trails. If you are buying new, yes that means probably spending $2500-3000. Something like a Giant Trance 3 (https://www.giant-bicycles.com/ca/trance-3) is good entry point.

    Consequently, and probably the best idea, is to buy a used bike to get a feel for it. A 5-6 year old 26er's that have been kept in good shape can be had for $1000-$1300 or even less. (Example https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2520115/) They will function just fine for your needs as you learn. Ride the crap out of it for a few seasons, build your skill and save up for the latest/greatest if you want.

    Then of course buy a bike specifically for commuting. I can't comment too much on the security of bikes in Vancouver, but from my limited experience, lots of people commute by bike and overall its a bike friendly city. Just don't ride anything too flashy, keep it locked up and you should be just fine. Personally I'm a fan of buying an old hardtail mountain bike or CX bike, putting some slicks tires and fenders on it. You can typically do that for sub $500, if you really search around, easily less than that. All the commuters I had I generally invested less than $200 in them.
    Straight outta Rossland

  3. #3
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    Vancouver has one of the highest bike theft rates in Canada, so yeah, a cheap and disposable commuter that you don't have a lot of attachment to is a good idea.

    They have improved the Lion's Gate and Iron Workers Memorial Bridge bike routes considerably over the past few years so crossing the bridges isn't bad, but getting on and off the bridges is still not as easy as anyone would like, and there's still places where the bike routes end up on the streets and Vancouver has a high percentage of crap drivers. At least commuting on and off the North Shore will build leg muscles as there's a lot of elevation gain on the Shore. You can take a bike on the Sea Bus (passenger ferry) to get across to downtown Vancouver from the North Shore if that's where you're working.

    Squamish has some of the best XC and All Mountain trails in the province, by comparison the trails on Mt.Fromme and Mt.Seymour tend to be more advanced/challenging. A blue trail on the North Shore will be like a black diamond trail in most other locations, especially bike parks. There's a few green and easier blue trails on each mountain (Cypress Mt. - not so much on the green or blue side). They're strollerfying a lot of beginner and intermediate dirt surface trails in North Vancouver Parks so that people could push a kid in a stroller on them, lots of all-weather gravel surfaces, much to the disappointment of riders who enjoy a blue trail and didn't need them turned to a sidewalk.

    A 120mm+ travel full suspension bike (and even hardtails) could work nicely on the Squamish Green/Blue trails, but a 150mm travel FS bike would be a starting point for most of Blue North Vancouver trails.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the advice, really useful

  5. #5
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    Thanks, really appreciated

  6. #6
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    Don't live there, but here's what I'd do if I was so lucky to be moving there. First, search Craigs List and other used stuff sites and pick yourself up a nice, cheap hybrid commuter to make commuting not a chore and something you won't be gutted to have stolen. Next, demo as many bikes as you can and find yourself a really nice FS bike within your budget (wouldn't think anything under $3k Cdn), something with the potential to be be upgraded as stuff wears out or breaks - as said, depending on your riding preference, something in the 130-160mm travel range. Enjoy living in a mountain bike meca.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    Enjoy living in a mountain bike meca.
    Yup. I live nearby and Squamish is one of the few mainland spots to live that would tempt me off Vancouver Island.

    When you get to BC join the local MTB groups:

    https://sorca.ca/
    https://nsmba.ca/

    Post on their social media that you are new and want to get into the sport. I would be shocked if you don't get multiple offers to be shown around and possibly even a loaner bike.

    You can rent a bike for a day or two to get out and see what the trails are like before you decide what bike to buy.

    https://dunbarcycles.com/pages/corsa-cycles-squamish-bc

    I am 100% certain that if you post on the social media for the local ride groups that you need a used bike and set your budget you'll get pointed towards something decent.

    Local riders who know the trails well are your best resource and they are always happy to help get someone new started. We've all been there so we can fully understand how daunting it is to get rolling on the dirt in coastal BC.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  8. #8
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    Thanks vikb. This is really useful. What sort of budget do you think I should be looking at for something used? Anything I should be wary about when buying bikes that have been used extensively on the local trails? I was watching some videos on YouTube and canít believe the speed people are going on those trails. Looks like a really tough sport and quite dangerous, although maybe there is other ways to get down without being too radical and fast.

  9. #9
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    Thanks LyNx, this is awesome info. Craigslist is not big in the UK but will check it out. Hard to know what would be a good deal without much knowledge of all the equipment.

  10. #10
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    Sorry, my bad, bassically any buy/sell type forum or site, Craig's list is just probably one of the most popular in the US, but there's FB groups etc mostr likely in the UK as well if you want to start looking over there and there other different ones in Canada.

    Vik was on point about checking out the local shops and meeting locals and asking them about possible bikes for sale in the area/
    Quote Originally Posted by bikerCanada View Post
    Thanks LyNx, this is awesome info. Craigslist is not big in the UK but will check it out. Hard to know what would be a good deal without much knowledge of all the equipment.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerCanada View Post
    What sort of budget do you think I should be looking at for something used?
    I'd spend ~$2K CAD on a used FS bike. You can spend more and you can spend less. It'll come down to setting some criteria and the poking around the used options on Craig's List and the Pink Bike classifieds. You are lucky because you'll be shopping in a pretty big mountain bike market with lots of big spenders who need the latest greatest bling so there are good used bikes available at very reasonable prices.

    As for what to buy and what to look out for there is too much information for us to really get you fully sorted in a thread on MTBR. Join the local riding associations and start posting on their social media sites. You'll get help for sure and let someone local suggest bikes to look at and screen used bikes for you.
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  12. #12
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    Popular website for locals selling bikes in BC. https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/

    If a bike is more than 3 years old, assume you'll need to pay for a fork/shock rebuild as well as new bearings in the suspension linkage, as those are often the things that make people decide to buy a new bike. So that's maybe $400-$500.
    I'm a member of NSMBA and IMBA Canada

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