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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
I'll be looking at MTBs this weekend, thought I'd post and get some ideas from everyone here before I make a purchase.

How often and how far will I ride?
2-3 times a week I'll be hauling my bike to South Mountain here in Phoenix, AZ. 8-15 miles riding distance.

What kind of trails will I be riding?
Nothing too daring. My first priority for mountain biking is cardio. Don't get me wrong, I look forward to going on some loose gravel trails and a few areas where I can get some air....

Questions: What are some recommendations for mountain bikes in the $750 range? Front Suspension is a must from what I read. What kind of accessories will I need? I assume a helmet? Are gloves a must?

On a side note:
I own a SUV with a hitch. What's the best hitch setup I can buy that'll keep the bike safe from thieves, and yet not scratch my vehicle when I'm loading/unloading it?
 

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Granny Gear Guru
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helmet, gloves, hydration pack... keep those in your budget. Lots of bikes available in that price range, Specialized Rockhopper comes to mind as well as a Gary Fisher Marlin/Mamba(can't remember), Jamis has the Q620? Rocky Mountain has a few near that price.
 

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T.W.O.
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Giant Yukon FS is not too far off your budget. I know some shops have the 09 on sale under 700.

Helmet is a must have
Full finger gloves, hydration pack, sunglass are recommended.
Spare tube, patch kits, pumps, and mini tools are good things to have.


Accessories are better price online. I found a good Hydration pack at Costco for $20. Check out Pricepoint, or Jensen USA. PP would get it there faster though, if you must ride this weekend. Performance bike would match the price if you bring the print out.

Good luck.
 

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I just sold my 10 Hardrock Disc and got a brand new GT Avalanche 1.0. It was Performance Bike's grand opening in Woodland Hills that's why I got it for $714 out the door with the following for FREE: Cat Eye Vectra computer ($40), Team Performance membership ($30) and Spin Doctor Maintenance Plan ($80).

I was happy with my purchase, since (for me) it was a huge step-up from my previous bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
jdreher55 said:
helmet, gloves, hydration pack... keep those in your budget. Lots of bikes available in that price range, Specialized Rockhopper comes to mind as well as a Gary Fisher Marlin/Mamba(can't remember), Jamis has the Q620? Rocky Mountain has a few near that price.
Noted.

Looks like a Specialized Rockhopper is available to me locally for around $520 without tax.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
mimi1885 said:
Giant Yukon FS is not too far off your budget. I know some shops have the 09 on sale under 700.

Helmet is a must have
Full finger gloves, hydration pack, sunglass are recommended.
Spare tube, patch kits, pumps, and mini tools are good things to have.


Accessories are better price online. I found a good Hydration pack at Costco for $20. Check out Pricepoint, or Jensen USA. PP would get it there faster though, if you must ride this weekend. Performance bike would match the price if you bring the print out.

Good luck.
Haven't been able to find a lot of information about the Giant Yukon FS yet. If it's going to cost me $50 more to get a huge upgrade over another bike, I'm willing to move on my budget a little.

Noted on the accessories.
 

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Bicyclochondriac.
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As others have said, don't forget to budget in the accessories. Things I think are essential:

Hydration pack (beats water bottles, IMO, and it eliminated the need for a saddle bag).
Helmet
Gloves
extra tube
patch kit
multi-tool
mini-pump

Down the road, I would consider clipless pedals and shoes, but I would not worry about that at this point.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
wave180 said:
I just sold my 10 Hardrock Disc and got a brand new GT Avalanche 1.0. It was Performance Bike's grand opening in Woodland Hills that's why I got it for $714 out the door with the following for FREE: Cat Eye Vectra computer ($40), Team Performance membership ($30) and Spin Doctor Maintenance Plan ($80).

I was happy with my purchase, since (for me) it was a huge step-up from my previous bike.
Looks like a nice bike....Reading this forum a little more, it looks like disc brakes are the preferred braking system. Anyway, I'll check that one out too.
 

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00Jay said:
Haven't been able to find a lot of information about the Giant Yukon FS yet. If it's going to cost me $50 more to get a huge upgrade over another bike, I'm willing to move on my budget a little.

Noted on the accessories.
The model is actually the Yukon FX, but it is a full suspension (FS) bike.
You should be able to get that one for $700 (last year's model) to $750.

If you're interested in a 29er hardtail, Giant recently started offering some entry level 29ers under $1000. I think one of them can be had for about $750.
 

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Plenty to choose from with your budget. With 2011 models arriving, dealers may have incentive to start clearing their '10 inventory.

I ride a hardtail, but was looking at full suspension bikes last winter. Some people suggest the Yukon FX, but I thought it was too heavy for my type of riding (mostly xc).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
What size bike do you guys recommend for me? I'm 5'11", 190 pounds. All of the bike shops I went to yesterday were pretty busy and I didn't have much time. Thanks for all of the help and recommendations so far!
 

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Short-Change-Hero
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00Jay, I would probably say a Medium/18" at largest.. I am 6'0" and that is a perfect fit for me but I also have a 31" inseam (yes I am TorsoMan!!) so that makes a difference. Also, Felt just released their 2011 lineup (see felt forum) and they are saying they will have a 29'er for $599!!! That is a freakin steal, probably not the best components but something you can definitely upgrade on. I have ridden the new '11 Giant Revel 1 and it is a very nice HT, was very responsive and like just about everything about it. I am in the same basic price range so I am doing a lot of looking around. If you get a chance go back to those shops and try the bikes out, at this price range you should be getting better components (BB5 brakes, Deore derailers, etc.) so it will be a toss up. Seeing as my torso is a bit longer then most I will have to have my bike adjusted for fit, but the shops I have been to will do that as part of the purchase.

And in regards to brakes, definitely go disc. My brother who has been riding for close to 12yrs had a recent experience with his wife's '07 Giant HT that had rim brakes. She blew the fork and he ended up having to buy something from the UK to get one that would fit her Giant. Talking with a couple of the LBS they say the same thing, the upgrade is worth the time because if you do ever want to upgrade your brakes/fork it is much easier to find disc stuff than rim brakes for older models. And with things today in most of the catalogues you are looking at the very very entry level bikes with rim brakes, just about everything above $500 has disc now days.
 

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Your budget is good - nobody has mentioned yet disc brakes. A Rockhopper comp disc is a great bike at right around $700.

For size, that's a hard one. We're the same size and it's right between Medium and Large. I think 18.5" is probably about right but it depends on how you're built.

The advantage of the LBS is the experts in the store, so go in there on a week day and get their attention. They should be willing to spend as much time as you need getting you fitted and letting you try bikes. If they still don't seem to have time for you, find another shop!

rlouder is right about prices, the new 2011 bikes are being put on ships as we speak. The 2010's in the stores right now are about to be "last years model."
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Awesome posts here guys. Thanks again!

@GregNash: I'm all torso too, 30" inseam....will definitely look at a medium/18" bike. Disc it is. I went to the local Landis bike store yesteday and all they had in my price range was an entry level Gary Fisher with rim brakes. When I asked about the brakes, they told me, "You don't need disc breaks here in Arizona". Seemed like a rediculous statement to me. They didn't seem interested in selling me a bike actually. Guess I'm not spending enough to them, but I will be buying a Thule or equivalent hitch rack and accessories too....

@InlawBiker: Is there a difference between a "disc" bike and a comp disc? Sorry if this is a stupid question, but what is LBS?
 

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LBS - local bike store

"disc" and "comp disc" are names of different packages on a Specialized model. Their comp disc will have better components (along with disc brakes). Other manufacturers may use different terms - sport, comp, elite, etc.
 

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Just spent $700 on a hardtail and will pass along what my Local Bike Shop told me after I had ridden several models in range and had been checked for fit.

I narrowed it down to 2 bikes that felt right:

The Scott Aspect 45s hydraulic brakes, I was told, come at the cost of a fork, Suntour SR, that is inferior to the Rock Shox Dart 2 on the Haro Flightline Comp. The Scott frame, however, is lighter and more sophisticated than the Haro. The Haro Hayes mechanical discs are reputed to be nearly as solid as pneumatics. The Haro has a 9 speed cassette, the Scott, 8. Advantage: Haro. For a newcomer like myself, however, who will stay mostly on Forest Service roads and moderate trails, the differences are minor.

None of these mechanical differences, it was stressed to me, mattered as much as the comfort I felt 'wearing' the bike around the parking lot and up and down a hill they are fortunate to have adjacent to the store. I took that advice, liked the feel and fit of the Haro, and bought it.

All these discussions here and elsewhere about this fork or that grip remind me of my lifelong hobby of audio electronics where the sound of a particular type or brand of capacitor may be endlessly debated, even tho' the design of the circuit itself or one's ear for listening are far more important than the construction of any particular component.

Seems to me, all the top brands of bike components stop, go and last pretty well with a little care taken as to where and how they're going to be used.
 

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450VoltsDC said:
All these discussions here and elsewhere about this fork or that grip remind me of my lifelong hobby of audio electronics where the sound of a particular type or brand of capacitor may be endlessly debated, even tho' the design of the circuit itself or one's ear for listening are far more important than the construction of any particular component.
Very well said 450VoltsDC (do you happen to be a member at HTGuide,com?). What he said above is very true, we can debate all day long on which this or that is better but what it comes down to is:
1.) Your budget (including things like a helmet, hydration, spare parts, tools)
2.) The feel/fit of the bike
3.) See #'s 1 & 2
4.) Rinse and Repeat

We are in the unique position that we have multiple brands, with multiple shops that sell them around everyone and thus can buy whatever we feel like. I know that more than likely I will not have the funds for a bike for the next month or so. So I am going to every shop I can find, trying different brands, models, talking to the shop guys about my budget and what I want to do to get as much information as possible. Then when the time and money permit I will have enough knowledge to make an educated decision. Impulse buys can be good every once in a while but rarely do they turn out properly without some information to back up the purchase.
 

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00Jay said:
Awesome posts here guys. Thanks again!

@GregNash: I'm all torso too, 30" inseam....will definitely look at a medium/18" bike.

While this information is probably true and good advice. Make sure that you test ride the bike first. I was dead set on a 19" Rumblefish but after test riding at the LBS the owner suggested that I try the 21 and it fit me much better. I am 6' with 32" inseem.

Just besure to test ride. enjot mtbing it lot's of fun and sure beats going to the Gym!
 

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MTB skillz = NADA
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00Jay said:
What size bike do you guys recommend for me? I'm 5'11", 190 pounds. All of the bike shops I went to yesterday were pretty busy and I didn't have much time. Thanks for all of the help and recommendations so far!
I am 6' and my son is 5'10"...we both ride large frames in Specialized bikes, but it is whatever feels/fits you the best.

Personally, my starter bike, bought earlier this year, is a Rockhopper 29er Expert. Picked it for 899+tax. Some of the other Rockhopper models can be found cheaper. I love the bike and don't regret the purchase in the least.
 

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I got a Specliazed Rockhopper Comp Disc a couple months ago for ~$750 and have been loving it as a first bike. I do have much more than $750 into the hobby though after buying accessories, roof rack, etc. I'm a tiny bit taller than you and got a 17". I had thought a 17" would be too small, but it's what my LBS sized me at for the bike and seems to fit me right (I also have a relatively short inseam for my height).

The only thing that annoys me on the bike is the Suntour crank. But that annoyance is not based on anything functional or rational at all, I just know that they de-tuned the Rockhopper a bit from the 2009 model (I have a 2010) by dropping the crank from a Shimano to a Suntour, and that annoys me/hurts my gear pride every time I look at the Suntour logo. But I'm sure I couldn't even tell the difference at this point.
 
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