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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this question gets asked a lot, but I need some help. I've been borrowing my father-in-laws old mountain bike for about a year. It's time to buy my own. I ride About 4 times a week. Mostly on some very well kept, decently hilly trails. Once a week, I try to make it out to a mountain bike park nearby that has some pretty solid single track rides.

I'm looking at new and used. Price range around $500-600. If you think I should go used, what should I be looking for?

I know if I go new, it will be entry level and fork/brakes will be pretty low quality. Ive been looking at Airborne Guardian 2.0- Airborne Bicycles. Guardian 2.0

and

Diamondback Overdrive Expert- http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J7YZHK8...olid=9Y9S0X2PQBMX&coliid=I1NJVGU9LTG2IG&psc=1

Are either good options? Appreciate all suggestions.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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I think you should get a used bike.

Look for the same thing you would in a new bike: good fit for your body and riding style, components that will get the job done. The only extra thing is condition. Measure the chain for stretch and rock the fork. If the bike rides well and doesn't make any weird sounds or have a worn out chain, it can't be too bad.

Since people on the Internet seem to have forgotten they exist, I like to mention that there are a lot of used bike and sporting goods stores. Make a few phone calls. Call your regular shop too. $600 could be the going rate on a bike being sold on consignment for a customer.

Good luck!
 

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I think you can buy this Airborne bike. It is enough for ambitious amatour - quite good for, good drive train and basic brakes. It is enough for learning technic and working on condition. Used bike may has hidden defects, especially fork and breaks.
 

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I agree that a used bike you will get better value in terms of frame level and quality components. Bikes lose their value fairly quickly so if you are patient you can find a one or two year old bike that was hardly ridden for significantly less than the same bike new (you could pick up a bike that was $1,000 new within your budget if you get it used).

An added benefit to a used bike is that you could use it for a period of time and if you love it, you can upgrade, or if you realize it isn't for you, you could sell it and get a good chunk of what you paid for it back.

The thing I'd worry about with a used bike as a beginner is along the lines of what sagitt77 said - there could be some hidden defects. One way to avoid buying a bad bike is to take it into an LBS for a quick inspection (after you've checked it out as AndrwSwitch suggested) or have a buddy who is into mountain biking check it out for a second opinion.

Not to sound like I'm waffling...but as a beginner, an added benefit to buying a bike from an LBS is that often times you'll get free maintenance for life or for a limited time. This is particularly helpful if you are not mechanically inclined (like me). This isn't a huge detractor IMO, but you should factor that in when making a decision on new vs. used.

In the end, pick the bike that fits and puts the biggest smile on your face!

Good luck with your search and let us know what you end up with.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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There are a ton of reputable brands making mountain bikes. Rather than try to list them, which would be boring and I'd miss a few, I suggest you look up a bike you're curious about on bikepedia.com. They miss very few serious brands and include few to no mass market bikes. You can always post a short list of candidates here. CL bikes sometimes go pretty quickly, depending on your market. Used bike shops seem not to move their bikes quite so fast, so you probably get a little time to think.

I have to say that the idea of rejecting, say, a Walgoose because it's from Walmart bothers the part of me that wants not to be a brand snob. I even accepted a department store bike from a friend back in 2008. I figured they can't really be that bad, and I was just going to commute on it. There were some problems with one of the hubs and I was never even able to ride the thing! So so far, my desire to see myself as accepting of any bike that goes, stops, shifts and fits, and my distaste for mass market bikes haven't come into conflict.

There are actually a few brands that are trying to get something a little higher end out through mass market channels. The Dick's Sporting Goods Diamondbacks, for example, have lower-end components than the bike shop ones, but I think they could present a reasonable value for someone wanting to commute or ride bike paths or something. Single track is more demanding, and if you have time to do some more leg work, I do think it's worth going to some trouble to start with something nicer.

The catalogs are certainly an option too. I don't like that I wouldn't be able to test ride. I like to think I can size via geometry chart pretty well, although I ended up choosing a different size than I thought I would after test riding a bike I bought last summer. So - what's the bike you're borrowing? What size is it?
 
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