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After reading posts I'm ready for advice on a bike.

1233 Views 22 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  laxman2001

I am new to this forum and mountain biking. I have been looking to get into it for a number of reasons; fun factor and exercise.

I know that $500 for a full suspension bike is not realistic if I want a good quality bike. I have had my heart set on a full suspension only because of the upgrade possibility later on if I decide I like the sport. I found a few bikes that other members recommend however they are well above my limit. It's not that I don't have the money, I am just not ready to spend more than $500.

Anyways, I am 24 years old, around 165 pounds, 5'9, and have a 33-34" circumference.

I have looked at a bike that Costco has, it's a Schwinn and I was told that it's crap.

I have also looked at forge bikes and I am planning to visit some local shops. Before I do that I was hoping to get any help at all. Again I know $500 is not a lot, but I would appreciate the help. If I am leaving out any details let me know.

By the way I am going to be riding on some local dirt trails and hills. I am not looking to jump it.
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well, my idea would be to get a nice $500 hardtail to start - It'll have ok componentry - then later on if you want to, get a dualie frame (check out the Flite @ Pricepoint for ~$450 IIRC) and swap your components over and sell the HT frame.
thoughts for you...

1) read the sticky post up top about Dept Store bikes.

2) you can get an entry level FS bike, that can be upgraded as you break or wear out parts for about this much. Yes I know it's 2x your budget, but if you can't get savings up to that level, get a hard tail in the $500 range.

And please, stay the h%^$# out of Costco? thanks,

only if

the OP knows Craigslist protocol, risks, and knows his exact size to get the right fit. Otherwise, IMO, the LBS is best for a 1st bike. He'll get a fit that's proper, lots of help and advice if he asks, and maybe some shop rides too, and lastly...probably a year's free service for minor tweaks.

Just my .02, Jim
I would agree, with the above posts, I ride mostly dirt trails and some decent singletrack with little rock beds and root groupings. I am new to the sport as well and like you I didn't want to sink a bunch of money into a bike that may just sit in the garage if I didn't enjoy it. I ended up going with a Cannondale F5 and I love it. The F5 is a little above your price range but Cannondale as well as Fuji have Bikes in your range. I know those two because that is what my LBS carries. Check into the Gary Fishers too, I think they are the ones with the Marlin Disc, they are decent for a good price...
I like highdell's idea, but take it one step further. Hardtail now. Fully later. Then keep the hardtail around as a spare/loaner bike. A spare means you can have one bike in the shop and still be able to ride.

FWIW, I would stay away from that Schwinn, There are some Schwinns that strike me as decent value for the money, but a $300 fully is not one of them.
wow! I didn't expect to get this much feedback so fast. Thanks to everyone. I am going to take a trip to a few local shops today and i'll take a look at what they offer. Thanks for all the feedback and i'll post my findings.
JimC. said:
...probably a year's free service for minor tweaks...
why should underage meth-heads get special treatment? :confused:
mustang6767c said:
wow! I didn't expect to get this much feedback so fast. Thanks to everyone. I am going to take a trip to a few local shops today and i'll take a look at what they offer. Thanks for all the feedback and i'll post my findings.
I know this may be a tad controversial, but yes, go to the bike shops - get fitted - find what you like and dislike about different bikes.
THEN, armed with all that knowledge, you may be able to shop on craigslist fairly intelligently.

I know it sounds like I'm sayin "use the bike shop for your own gains" - well, I kinda am - but the truth is you may find a deal on CL, but you may not know if it's good for you w/ out that LBS helpin you.

So...what do you do to keep your karma meter in the green? (if you just 'use' the LBS)
Get your other stuff from the one that helps you the most and is the most friendly.
Buy your helmet there, get your gloves, shorts and jersey there. Stock up on some tubes, patches and a pump there.
Even -GASP!! :eek: take your used CL bike there for a tune-up if ya don't know how to do it (you're still payin for their labor and expertise)

-that is, if you go that route...

~flame-suit donned~
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$500 will land you a respectable hardtail. Get past the thought of dept store bikes, or FS in that price range, because you'll wind up with garbage.

Look around your LBS's & craigslist.

(Someone mentioned GF Marlin w/ disks, they're about $730-$750 sans tax. Great bike if you can swing it)
I'll whip this dead horse, just to drill it into your head... avoid department store bikes like they're a toothless crack whore.

Any inexpensive name brand at a LBS (i.e. Giant, Specialized, Trek, Fisher) will surely reward you.
I'll probably get yelled at for saying this, but buy what you can with the $$ you have.

Ideally, you would drop $300-$500 on a new bike at a LBS.

If you can't, then try to find something on Craigslist. But go over the bike inch by inch. Look for dents in the frame. If there are ANY dents in an aluminum frame, walk away.

Still can't find a deal? (I've been looking for deals on Craigslist too.) Then buy what you can with the $$$ you have. If it's a department store bike, so be it.

Any bike is better than no bike. If it gets you out riding, then great. Remember, less things go wrong with hard tails.

If you buy a department store bike, realize that it was built buy a guy that probably know as much as you do about bike components. Truthfully, they probably air up the tires, mount the stem so that the handle bars are pointing in the correct position, put the tires on and put the seat in place. No more no less.

I know people will complain that you can't get any adjustments done. Um, I have never went anywhere for adjustments. Go to the bookstore and spend $20.00 on "Bicycle Maintenance & Repair for Road and Mountain Bikes" by Todd Downs. This book will help you with any bike repair you need to do.

I don't suggest ever upgrading your department store bike beyond replacing consumables (Tires & tubes), seat and maybe the handle bars/stem. Save the $$ for upgrade for a new bike.

What happens if you outgrow your department store bike and you NEED a better bike? GOOD!!!! Sell your bike on craigslist for 1/2 of what you paid for it and use that $$ toward your new bike.

I hate to say it, but most department store mountain bikes never see true mountain biking, they are more path and pavement bikes. If you're actually looking to get into the dirt and do some real hard trail riding, then you'll need to upgrade to something better soon. Until then, get something and get out there.

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i dunno if its a standard thing, but where i live at the end of a season lbs's have like a fire sale of all the last season bikes and stuff...bikes are usually like 30-50% off their normal price...i got a 1400$ bike for like 800 last year, and it was an awesome way to do it... this was however after i had been riding for 2 years..

if you can save up in the summer for a bike, and get one at like a fall bike show i recommend doing it.
if you plan on keeping the bike for a long time i would recommend the Trek of Gary Fisher, i have a Mako that i got a few weeks ago for 350 and i love it also these brands have a lifetime warranty on the frame which was a plus for me. not sure about the other bikes as far as the warranty but i'm sure their all great bikes to i've heard a lot about specialized bit just go ride all the bikes you can an see which fits you best :)
again thanks to everyone for the input. Also, thanks chopsuey for the recommendations. They are all great bikes, just gotta find one locally. Also, what is everyones opinion on randall scott and performance bicycle? One last thing. I mentioned that I am 5' 9 160-165 lbs. What size bike am I looking at? I went to my lbs and I was looking at the Giant Yukon and was told that I need a medium. Unfortunately they did not have one in stock so I couldn't try it. Thanks again.
By the way I can get the '09 Giant Yukon for $587 out the door or wait for the '10 for $652 out the door. Not sure if I'll notice the difference from the '09 to the '10. Any input? Is this a good bike or can I get something comparable (as close as possible) for less? Thanks
mustang6767c said:
... I mentioned that I am 5' 9 160-165 lbs. What size bike am I looking at?...
well, are you built in your legs, torso or medium?
the 'standover height' is kinda BS in my book - you want a bike that'll fit ya between the saddle and the bar IMO
A med (17.5-18") is a ballpark figure that I would suggest...then again, it's kinda subjective,

Dr. Phil (aka highdellll) says: "OK, you know what your problem is?
Your body is not ready for that bike.
you need to either grow a foot or two or three so you can play for the NBA then be able to afford a bike. OK son?
OR, you need to shrink down to.....
I dunnno...
3 feet.
Then you'll be able to afford a bike because of your freakish differences"
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i cant find any specs on the yukon 2010, so i gots no idea... the 09 seems like a pretty nice bike. ive never been on a giant though...
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