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A co-worker of mine wants to buy his son a mountain bike so he asked me what I recommended. I told him I would feel unsafe on a bargain mountain bike. Further, I said it would be difficult to find something that was a real bike, built by real mechanics, that could handle actual trails for less than $500 new. It has to be new as it's an Xmas present.

Anyway, I thought I'd seek the advice of this board. Any thoughts?
 

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Tell him to look at the Specialized Hardrock. It's a good solid ride and can be had for under $500 and comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame. Tough to beat. I looked at this model last year for my son but ended up with a little better bike in a Kona Fire Mountain on a closeout deal. The Kona Fire Mountain for 06 goes for $459, has a 7005 series aluminum frame and comes with disk brakes. Not a bad package. There is also offerings from Giant and Trek he may want to check into. Any of these brands would stand up to average trail riding with proper maintainance. If the kid abuses it anything is going to break. I think for a growing boy I wouldn't spend more than $500 for a bike. I picked up the Kona for $268 before taxes. Maybe he can score a closeout like I did. I think there is plenty to choose from in that range and end up with a good reliable ride.
 

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Buy a closeout

I'm assuming that when you say "Bargain" bike, you're referring to a bike from a place like Wal-Mart or a sporting goods store as compared to buying from your LBS. Like Leopard Dog indicated, there are deals to be had if you shop around. If he's willing to buy sight unseen, Ibex (www.ibexbikes.com) has some incredible closeouts to include hardtails as low as $269.00.

Bob
 

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IMO, its not hard to find a bike under 400 bucks. I started on a Jamis that was like 319 new. The specialized hardrock starts arround 329, trek 4300 is arround 359, IIRC, and the steel trek 820 is under 300. Giant also has one under 400, and I bought 2 North face (made by Iron Horse) for arround 125 on clearance. Just look arround. Good luck too


Matt
 

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Agree with all, you can go to your LBS & buy a xcelent bike 1-2 years old on blow out. Another good thing about a quality bike is it can be up graded if his son stays in MTB'ing. Plus the fact that if he uses it daily that cheapo is going to break down mighty fast & spend more money trying to keep it together.
 
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