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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm hoping to get some help making an informed decision on what would be a good first mountain bike for me. My budget is somewhere in the $500 to possibly $1000 range. My wife believes my budget should be around $3.27. I'm just getting a vibe that she is not that impressed. ;)

A little background on myself: I'm a 51 year old with 52 coming up way too soon (I hope!) runner that has been battling running injuries for the last two years and have decided to walk away from running while I still can. I'm 160# to 165 at the moment, but in good fitness I get down to the 140s. I'm also a part-time roadie, but it's just a little on the boring side, and I really, really hate riding in traffic. So that brings me here.

I've been looking at the Raleigh Tokul 2, while not the prettiest it seems to be my best bet, especially with the corporate discount making it $559. Also the DiamondBack Hook comes in at $629, is another option.

Others in consideration are the Marin Bobcat Trail which I could get from my LBS. The Kona Lanai and the Kona Fire Mountain appear to be very nice bikes.

I was within seconds of buying the Fezzari Lone Peak about a week ago, but decided to look around more. I keep telling myself it's more than I need but I just don't think it is. Their 30 day no risk guarantee does not apply for this bike.

Probably my favorite bike I've seen is the Fezzari Wasatch Peak Comp 27.5, which is $999, but I also have to pay $79 for shipping.

What it seems is that just about every bike in this price range basically has the same components/shocks, give or take here and there, and it's making me hesitate on buying anything. Like the Ghost on sale at REI looks to be a great deal, but then will the Nucleus be back in stock at Chain Reaction Cycles? Will mountain bikes be on sale this fall? Wait until Black Friday? Ugh. Maybe I'm overthinking this!

I'd love to know what you guys/gals think of the above bikes, or maybe point me toward a bike that is your opinion superior to others in this price range. 'Cause at this point I'm just taking a wild ass guess.

Oh yeah, I can't imagine I'm ever going to do any crazy jumps or amazing technical stuff, probably stick to the easy trails or intermediates.
 

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As a former REI employee, I can vouch for the level of professionalism that the company demands of their mechanics. Results will vary by location, but if you're a customer with your local REI, that is a good place to start.
 

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OP, what kind of trails do you plan on riding? I just helped my BIL purchase his new bike and he decided on a Cannondale Quick CX 1. It was a little more a thousand but should be very capable and light. I talked him into paying more to get the 1X drive train (very important IMO).

As others stated buying from a LBS (i.e. REI) with good people is more important than name brand.

Have fun, heals down.
 

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Considering you are looking at hard tails, something worth consideration is the plus size tires, like the 2.8" models (If they are available in the ones you mentioned).

I think at the price point you're interested in, the shortcoming of the bike will be the fork. It will function well but it has limits. This may be something you outgrow very quickly, or never will. One of the biggest things with a low end fork is lack of adjustment in that you won't be able to lock it out. Locking it out is helpful if you want to ride pavement and go quickly, of when you stand to pedal. All of your efforts will be absorbed by the suspension.

Aside from that, basic components for any ride that is up to intermediate level should be suitable. I'd prefer a hydraulic disc brake over a mechanical disc brake given the option.
A 1x drivetrain could be less finicky if you don't like to tinker, but there isn't anything wrong with a 2x system whatsoever. Of my 2 bikes, one is a 1x, one is a 2x. Both work perfectly.

Good luck with your upcoming purchase.
 

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Remember to look at the suspension fork before the drivetrain for quality. Something that is not a consideration with road riding. You need a decent air fork, which not likely found in the $500 to perhaps $800 range.

Agree on the Rosco.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies!

Just got back from my grandsons 3rd b-day party. Yeah I got him a Raleigh MXR 12. ;)

I haven't checked out the Roscoe, will take a look at that and the Cannondale Quick. I've always liked Cannondales. My other son-in-law has a pretty nice Cannondale hardtail that he never rides...

I've come to accept the fact that in my price range I won't be getting an awesome fork. Heck they are more than what I'm wanting to spend on an entire bike. I also don't think I'll need anything too amazing anyway. I've watched some youtube videos and I can't imagine I'd ever reach that level of competence, or guts! As long as it doesn't bottom out on "normal" trails I think it'll be fine. The Lockout appears to be important to me though, as during the week I'll be mostly on greenway trails. Any real mtb trails are about 45 mins from where I live, so it'll be weekends only.
 

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The Quick and Roscoe are both very good bikes for the money. However the Quick only has 50 mm of front suspension it will not be good for anything more than very rough gravel roads. If you are interested in anything more, like single track or more technical off road trails go for the Roscoe.

I

Have fun, heals down.
 

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What about the Diamondback Sync'r. Gives you an air fork, plus tires and with corporate discount, you will be under $1000 price mark. Reliable bike with 27.5 plus tires and 1X drivetrain as well
 

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I just got back into riding a mountain bike and got a Giant Fathom 2 for $900 last week. It has a Suntour Radion fork with lockout and rides great on the road with the 1x12. It has It comes with 2.6" tires and handles the loose volcanic rock on the trails I have been able get on so far fairly well. I use it primarily as a commuter and it rides so much nicer than my road bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thread Necromancy!

I'm sure everyone has been checking this thread daily for closure. ;)

Well I finally ended up getting the Fezzari Wasatch Peak Comp 29er hardtail. I've put around 40 miles on it in the last few days and so far I like it, as it does every thing I need it to do. I've mostly ridden on greenway trails with a little bit of single track mixed in. I think I'm going to fall head over heels -- both literally and figuratively -- for single track.

I kind of feel sorry for this bike, as I have no skills and I'm sure it can do so much more. Hopefully in time I can improve. I can't wait to get to Northwest Arkansas and ride real trails.
 

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Should be a good bike for you. Just ride.

Just a note on fork performance since you mentioned it upthread. You really aren't trying to avoid bottoming your fork (you are, but it shouldn't be a common occurrence). Small bump compliance and supporting your weight without pogoing (underdamped) or other undesirable behaviors are more what you are looking for and what even a low-end air fork offers over a low-end coil fork.
 
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