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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

My wife and I want to start on moutain bikes. Since we are beginners we want to spend around $300 - $400.

I went around few LBS and test rode the following

Specialized hardrock - $390
Trek - $390
Giant - $380
GT Outpost Disc - $399

They all feel about the same. The hardrock was good and I would have gone with it. However PerformanceBike is having their 20% off sale starting June 19th and so I am thinking if the GT Outpost would be a good idea? Besider PerformanceBike also has lifetime adjustment/tuning for free.

I am also open to other bike suggestions. I looked at the 2008 GT Avalanche 1.0 or 2.0 but I think the hydraulic brakes one are sold out.

Any inputs appreciated.
 

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If you like the Outpost, and it feels good when you ride it, go with it. The components aren't real good, but the same can be said for all the bike you tried. They're just simply entry level components. I do have to agree that Performance has some great sales. Also, if you like the Avalanche, and the 20% will knock the price down to within your budget, see if they can order one for you.

One more thing. Don't let disc brakes be a deal breaker for you unless you will be riding in rain and mud alot. Honestly, entry level disc brakes aren't a whole lot better than V brakes, but can add a heck of a lot to the cost of a bike.

Good luck. :)
 

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Swthrtsuzy said:
If you like the Outpost, and it feels good when you ride it, go with it. The components aren't real good, but the same can be said for all the bike you tried. They're just simply entry level components. I do have to agree that Performance has some great sales. Also, if you like the Avalanche, and the 20% will knock the price down to within your budget, see if they can order one for you.

One more thing. Don't let disc brakes be a deal breaker for you unless you will be riding in rain and mud alot. Honestly, entry level disc brakes aren't a whole lot better than V brakes, but can add a heck of a lot to the cost of a bike.

Good luck. :)
very good advice. I agree. Just remeber, everyone else gets free tune-ups too. So take your bike in during the winter. Or else you may be waiting for over month.
 

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mlepito said:
very good advice. I agree. Just remeber, everyone else gets free tune-ups too. So take your bike in during the winter. Or else you may be waiting for over month.
Winter in Milpitas is a bit wet, but that's all...

I agree with the others about components on bikes at the price point you're looking at, in that they're all very similar and low end discs aren't to get excited about. Get bikes that fit well and ride them, if you get really hooked you'll probably move yourself up the ladder bike-wise in any case. I believe Mike's Bikes is having a pretty good sale right now...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
mlepito said:
very good advice. I agree. Just remeber, everyone else gets free tune-ups too. So take your bike in during the winter. Or else you may be waiting for over month.
Winters are not read bad as we are in Northern CA. I checked with local stores and asked them if they had free tune ups like performance bikes and everyone refused.. not sure why....
 

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csriram45 said:
Winters are not read bad as we are in Northern CA. I checked with local stores and asked them if they had free tune ups like performance bikes and everyone refused.. not sure why....
OTOH that is a Performance shop you'll be relying on (they're better at selling than repairing all too often).
 

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Bikinfoolferlife said:
OTOH that is a Performance shop you'll be relying on (they're better at selling than repairing all too often).
Ha! He's totally right. Plus it jams up the shop with free repairs all the time. You can't get your bike in for a paid repair. Most of the smaller shops would be paying their mechanics with no return. But a lot of shops do the first year, and all shops should do the first tune-up free.

What ever happened to getting the free water bottle and cage with a new bike? I haven't seen that for a while. (not that I'd use it)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
agreed. So I looked at Mikes bike shop on recommendation from few members... and they do have a sale on the specialized bikes and i really did like them.... I also went to livermore cycles and they too had the specialized bikes.... Here is a question.

Between Specialized Hardrock and Avalanche which one would you pick. The 2008 Avalanche 1.0 goes for $599 while the 2.0 for $499 and 3.0 for $399. Can you guys rank it for me?

Thanks
 

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csriram45 said:
agreed. So I looked at Mikes bike shop on recommendation from few members... and they do have a sale on the specialized bikes and i really did like them.... I also went to livermore cycles and they too had the specialized bikes.... Here is a question.

Between Specialized Hardrock and Avalanche which one would you pick. The 2008 Avalanche 1.0 goes for $599 while the 2.0 for $499 and 3.0 for $399. Can you guys rank it for me?

Thanks
Maybe if you'd post the specs (i.e. the components) for each actual model...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
ok so I went today and ordered a Specalized Sport Disc. Got a great deal at a lbs near home with pricematch to mikes. The bike should be here later this week.

Now what should I look next at and how to begin? Any tips on how to get into it..
 

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Once you get the bike, have them fit it to you. After that, do nothing to it and ride it stock a couple times. Do no upgrades to it except for maybe the seat, handle bars/stem and tires for what you'll be riding.

Replace consumables and things that break over time. (Which should be few or nothing if things are adjusted correctly.)

If/when you outgrow the bike, good! If you feel like you want to upgrade you'll have a hard decision on your hands. Do you upgrade your current bike or do you purchase a new bike.

For me, if upgrades total to 1/2 or more of the cost of a new bike, then the bike needs replaced.

Oh yeah, I suggest going to your local book store and picking up "Bicycle Maintenance and Repair for Road and Mountain Bikes" by Todd Downs. It'll be the best $20.00 you'll spend. I haven't taken my bike to the LBS in years and that was only to get the wheels trued.

I hope this helps.

Hardwarz

Hardwarz
 

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csriram45 said:
ok so I went today and ordered a Specalized Sport Disc. Got a great deal at a lbs near home with pricematch to mikes. The bike should be here later this week.

Now what should I look next at and how to begin? Any tips on how to get into it..
You mean another bike for your wife? Or gear to go along with the bikes? I'm guessing gear, so consider:

Helmets
Gloves
Chain lube
Pump/tool kit (pump at least, but a good idea to have a multi tool as well)
Patch kit, tire irons, spare tubes (and learn how to use them)
Hydration (water bottles or a hydration pack)
Comfortable riding clothing (shorts with chamois, wicking fabric jersey)
Cycling shoes (if you went with clipless pedals, otherwise not so important yet)
 

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Bikinfoolferlife said:
You mean another bike for your wife? Or gear to go along with the bikes? I'm guessing gear, so consider:

Helmets
Gloves
Chain lube
Pump/tool kit (pump at least, but a good idea to have a multi tool as well)
Patch kit, tire irons, spare tubes (and learn how to use them)
Hydration (water bottles or a hydration pack)
Comfortable riding clothing (shorts with chamois, wicking fabric jersey)
Cycling shoes (if you went with clipless pedals, otherwise not so important yet)
I have recently started MTB and I can tell you its not a cheap activity. =) I agree with Bikinfoollerlife that you will need to pick up these essentials.

Helmet - Must have! ~$50 or so
Gloves - May pass on em if you and wifey only ride paved trails. A must for any dirt trails because you will fall. Everyone falls. ~ $20 or so
Pump and tire patch kit - A must have for any style of riding. ~ $20 or so
Multi-tool (ie Topeak Alien II) - Very handy to have when things need adjusting during your ride. ~ $30 or so
Hydration Pack - May pass if you and wifey only ride paved trails. A must for dirt trails. Sometimes you wont see a watering hole for 10 miles and that little 12 oz bottle just wont cut it. ~ $50 or so
Riding clothes - Proper riding clothes make all the difference compared with cotton shorts and T's. You will sweat and the wicking fabric jersey and T's will keep you dry and cool. I rode with cotton T's before and I heated up like a volcano. Pick up some undershorts with chamois pad or gel pads. I wear them under my outer shorts for added protection. ~ $100 or so.

Plan on spending around $200 - $300 for all this gear. I did. =) The proper gear will make life easier during you rides. Have fun.

I see you are in the bay area. I am too. I bought my bike at Danville Bikes. Great service and awesome selection of quality bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you for the detailed list. I already have camel pack from my hiking trips I presume they will be ok to use with a back pack? Helmets I was going to buy. Like bikes I know there are multiple choices, should I just go with basic one. I see they are on sale for as low as $25. I do need to get pump kit and patch kit. I assume hand pump to be able to carry? Also does this multi tool help you in removing the tire and patching in case you have a flat in middle of a trail? I head certain ppl recommend slime that would plug any punctures. Is that a good option?
 

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csriram45 said:
Thank you for the detailed list. I already have camel pack from my hiking trips I presume they will be ok to use with a back pack? Helmets I was going to buy. Like bikes I know there are multiple choices, should I just go with basic one. I see they are on sale for as low as $25. I do need to get pump kit and patch kit. I assume hand pump to be able to carry? Also does this multi tool help you in removing the tire and patching in case you have a flat in middle of a trail? I head certain ppl recommend slime that would plug any punctures. Is that a good option?
As long as the helmet has the safety certification from ANSI or Snell, and fits your head well you're good to go. The higher priced helmets are due to a combination of latest styling/colors/ventilation/weight for the most part. A basic helmet works quite well if you happen to crash.

A pump you can carry is essential, some also use a home floor pump for ease of setup. There are CO2 type inflators, but I'd start with a basic reliable pump. Topeak Mountain Morph is an excellent and well priced pump. The tire irons or levers are what assist you in removing and replacing the tire. The better tool kits will have a chain tool, a variety of hex wrenches, screwdriver, that sort of thing (some might have a sort of tire lever, but I'd just get some basic ones like the Park TL-1 set http://www.parktool.com/products/detail.asp?cat=17&item=TL-1 (don't get the super cheap ones, they'll break at the most inopportune time).

You can use slimed tubes, and other setups as well such as a tubeless tire with a sealant, but you may still get a flat and need to carry a patch tube and/or spare tube to avoid a long walk (again, tends to happen at the most inopportune time). A slimed tube is adding rotational weight, which can make more work for you, but may give you the security you need, especially if you ride in an area with thorns on the trails (which I have run into in the east bay, not so much a problem here on the peninsula for the most part).
A slimed tube won't prevent a pinch flat (caused primarily by low air pressure, or square edged objects you run into like curbs and rocks), and a patch kit is of limited use for a pinch flat too. Keeping an eye on your air pressure is a good thing.

Most importantly, have fun!
 

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Very good recommendations here. One thing I recommend like Hardwarz said is get the bike and go ride. Other than 1) Helmet 2) Hydration and 3) Gloves, you will not really know what you need/want to have on the trail with you until you get out on the trail. Look at what gear other bikers in your area are using. At trailheads, when you see people stopped resting, talk to them about some of the gear they are using. People on the trail are really friendly and will tell you how they like the product and why it is good for that area.

I personally do not carry spare tubes, a pump or a multi-tool anymore (multi-tool fell out of my under-seat storage on my last ride). What I have found that I miss the most on longer rides is more water and snacks such as trail-mix or granola/protein bars. Also, I have been riding for about 2 years and always thought the Gu and Cliff Energy shots/gels were for 100 mile riders or fanatics. However, Performance Cycles put them on sale for $1 each and I bought a case. I have to say it's almost a must have now. Not only are they good to start a ride with to keep your energy up, but you can also use them if you run out of steam and still have a ways to go to get back to your car. You can pop 1 or 2 of those and be back in the saddle in 15 or 20 minutes. Cliff makes a Double Espresso one with 100mg caffeine, great for early morning rides, no need to even have a coffee. They also come with 40-50mg caffeine or none and all different flavors.

Another reason I don't carry tools (depends on your area and trail conditions though) is that one time my chain broke and this guy stopped and had a backpack full of tools. Lots of people carry pumps too. I know this sounds lazy, but I would rather pack more water and food stuff and then if I do get a flat, I will just hike out or borrow some tools. But the trails I ride never stray far from parking lots either.

The last advice I would give for a beginner is bike stores would love to sell you your bike's worth in extra accessories, but you will be able to do 1 to 2 hour rides with just the basic supplies listed above. Then as you ride more, you will know what you need to get. Good luck and have fun on the trails.

I almost forgot, the free tuneups are a pain due to 1+ week waits while you are wanting to ride. Get a book on bike maintenance and a basic set of Allen wrenches and screwdrivers will handle most tuning basics. I watch bike-wrenching videos on Youtube. The parts and bikes will be a little different than yours, but the idea is the same for most bike components.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Thanks to all the inputs. I did get my helmet, gloves, pump, lock and the book mentioned here. Mikes Bike was having sale and so was performance bikes with 20% off. Also got the bottle and bottle stand etc. would have got spare tube but did not know the tube size so could not get it. :)

I am thinking of riding the bike on regular roads for coupple of weeks before going off road.
My wife and I think we should join some local clubs that way instead of venturing out alone without any clue I would have some experienced riders who could guide us? is this a good idea.... Where can i find various local clubs and what activities they do so we can participate?

Meanwhile going to read the book as well to understand bikes better... very excited although a bit skeptical on how to get it all going....

Oh and one main question. We have a Mazda 3 so needed to find out suggestion on a good Trunk Rack so we can drive our bikes. read reviews on various ones but could not decide... Thinking of getting the Yakima King Joe 3 (3 bikes) or the Thule Speedway 962XT 3 bikes or the Saris Bones 3 bike rack Are they good choice? Any preference of one over other? Any other suggestion? It feels a bit scary to be dependent on the rack to have expensive bikes on a car. If either the car or the bike gets damaged that a serious loss. Is it safe to have the bikes on these racks and go for few hours drive? My wife and I were thinking of going north on highway 1 towards mendocino county and were thinking of taking our bike along so we can bike there as well. Will it be safe to take it on a rack? I assume you should go slower? :)

I know thats too many questions.... just trying to make that one last purchase and decision..
 

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I have a King Joe and it's great. I normally use it with 1 or 2 bikes but it does fine fully loaded as well. I've driven 5-6 hours away with bikes on the back going 70 mph (ok so maybe 75). But hey that's just me. I don't drive any different with the bikes on the back and have never had a problem. I also don't notice a difference in gas milage with the trunk rack which is a major complaint I get from my friends with roof racks.
 

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I have the Saris Bones (2 rack) and it works okay. You will get scratches and marks on the back of your car and on the bikes. There is just no way to avoid it with the trunk racks. I bought some carpet padding at Lowe's and cut it to wrap around the top tubes and the fork where it rubs. Also, the inside bike's (closest to the car) pedal will give your car serious gashes if you do not wrap it in a towel or foam.

I then use rope or some kind of strap to tie up the outside bike's front wheel to the downtube of the inside bike to keep it from flopping all over the place. At first, I thought all of this was a lot of work because we ride every day, but I have gotten used to it and the bikes stay put and don't swing and sway around corners and bumps. Anyway, if the bank account were limitless I would get a top rack, but for 100 bones it was a good deal.

There will be clubs in your area that host meetups and beginner rides. Look on Meetup.com for MTB groups in your area. You can also check IMBA for clubs in your area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you. I am thinking of going with Yakima King Joe 3 based on the reviews etc. Hopefully it is good. Will try to listen to advice and get some padding to prevent scratches...

BTW, Are regular shoes ok? Regular pedals? I see a lot of talk about pedals shoes, going clipless etc. It is all confusing. if someone can just give me a quick summary of what does it all mean that would be helpful. I shall read other threads to get educated on them as well. :)
 
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