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Need help!

First time rider looking for a good mountain bike for about $350 or less. Is this possible? Probably will not do anything too crazy but want something that will take me from the beginner level into a strong intermediate range without having to upgrade to a new bike. Any recommendation and help is much appreciated. Thanks! Kevin
 

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Then you're looking to spend to little. At that price you'll get a suspension fork that just won't be worth it and components too. Sorry. Decent beginner bikes run around $450+ and I'm not sure I'd bother using it to upgrade. Strong intermediate hardtails are going to run $1000 and up(you did say strong intermediate). At that price you'll be getting a quality strong/lightish frame. You'll get components that'll last you and work the way you need them too. When you go cheap you get a fork that's little more than a cheap spring(or elastomers) inside a heavy stanchion. They're non adjustable for your weight or anything else. The cheap v-brakes will work, but likely not stand up too well to the rigors of off road riding. They'll be a cheap, very hard saddle and all around heavy components. You get what you pay for.
 

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I'm going to go the opposite direction of Fred3. If you are not POSITIVE you really want to ride, spending $350-400 may be worth it to find out. If you do this, buy the bike, ride the crap out of it and don't waste your time upgrading it. If you like riding, then buy a better bike later on. A few suggestions for competent off road bikes at the price you are looking:

1) Ibex Alpine 450- $370. Comes with a real fork, okay components and is a good value.
2) 2003 Jamis Durango SX, on sale at Performance for $399
3) Find deals on 2003 bikes at your local dealers they are desperate to get rid of.
 

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Check out the 2005' Trek3700. I just bought one for my GF for her birthday... she's just getting into MTB and its great for her. Get something inexpensive first to make sure you actually want to get into the sport. You'll know when you're ready for something bigger & better.

Plus the new 3700's paint job is awesome.

You can get yourself a 3700 and a nice helmet for right around $350 MRSP. Also trying talking the bike shop into discounting you on the helmet, clothes or other gear...

You dont need anything super-fancy yet... especially if you buy this bike at an LBS and they garuntee the service/parts for a year.

Good luck!
-c


kevinp said:
Need help!

First time rider looking for a good mountain bike for about $350 or less. Is this possible? Probably will not do anything too crazy but want something that will take me from the beginner level into a strong intermediate range without having to upgrade to a new bike. Any recommendation and help is much appreciated. Thanks! Kevin
 

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oh and also

Dont let the bike shop goons talk you into something you dont need. The 3700 is GREAT for a beginner and its a great price too. Dont let them make you feel like you have to get the next best model. If you do that, they'll talk you all the way up past your price range.

If you're a beginner, you dont need top-end components, suspension, disc brakes, etc.

A 3700 is a solid machine for a beginner and will perform at a beginner/intermediate skill level.

ALSO! Unless you are mechanically minded, watch out for buying stuff online. If its your first bike and you know nothing about bike repair, you're gonna want to have an LBS who will work on your bike if it needs tuning.
 
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