Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, as evidenced by the fact that this is my first post, I'm a bit of a noob in terms of serious biking. So here's my situation: basically I got laid off a few months back and shortly thereafter my car decided to blow up on me, so that left me with my old (and I mean 10+ years) mountain bike (admittedly a Wal-Mart special, it's called a Rhino) as my primary mode of transportation.

This bike has been ridden sporadically aside from when I've been enrolled in school (then it becomes a daily rider) and recently due to the lack of a car. It's been laid down and wrecked several times, it really only has one operable gear setting (so I've never really known the benefit of proper shifting), the front rim is missing two spokes and is bent so it wobbles when ridden, but not so much as to make it unable to be ridden. I've also replaced the pedals (one was broken and all the reflectors were missing) and the saddle with a gel/pseudo-suede one.

I've ridden this bike almost daily for the past few months at least 8 miles a day, sometimes as much as 30+ miles but it has finally given up on me and I can't justify putting more money into a bike that's this old. So I've done some homework and come to the conclusion that I need a fairly decent all-terrain bike (just to give you an idea of the terrain I'm traversing: Phoenix is not a "clean" or "rider-friendly" city and the typical landscaping consists of rocks, dirt, cacti, tumbleweeds and other plant matter that can and often does have burrs/thorns so if they make kevlar tires that'd be awesome...as it is I've taken to using the "slime" filled tubes almost exclusively).

Also please note that weight is not an issue for me, I'm 170lbs myself, usually carry a 15+ lb backpack and my current bike prob weighs 35+ lbs. itself. I do however have an affinity for the "grip" shifters as opposed to the "trigger" shifters found on most bikes. Aside from those predilections my only stipulation is that it has to be relatively cheap, I could go as high as $400 but I'd prefer to stay in the $250 to $300 range. Now, I've already read the sticky about beginners and mega-store bikes such as Mongoose, etcetera, however it seems to me that the universal gripe about these bikes is that they require a fair amount of fine-tuning which should be expected of any mechanical product anyway.

My current top-pick is the Mongoose Blackcomb (priced at $270 from Wal-Mart) but I'm open to any and all suggestions, but please keep in mind that I simply cannot afford anything over $500 and am looking for something rugged that will withstand Arizona's less-than-forgiving terrain and still serve me well 5 years down the line (with proper maintenance of course).

Thanks for taking the time to read this and I look forward to reading your responses. =)
 

·
Dirt Abuser
Joined
·
829 Posts
If $500 is your max, get a used mtb for a better deal. It's hard to find anything decent for that price. (I'd stay away from walmart bikes myself) Try to get a used name brand mtb from craigslist. Just make sure that it's not stolen, serial number on the bottom bracket.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I don't want to sound like I'm dismissing your suggestions, however I've looked extensively at Craigslist bike ads for several weeks and the vast majority of my findings are either individual bike parts (forks, cranks, etcetera), an array of BMX bikes or professional touring cycles. The few mountain bikes I've found there are more often than not the same caliber I've been finding at Wal-Mart (the Mongoose XR-200 seems to be rather abundant).

Because I'm not very well-versed in the world of cycling perhaps someone could educate me about the brand names I should be on the lookout for. I understand that Giant, Dawes and Cannondale are all good makes and Shimano appears to be the name to look for in regards to gearing, but there are others I've come across and am not too sure about, for example:

Windsor Ghost 6500, while it's not exactly what I'm looking for it does have front and rear disc brakes and a good saddle (I think...). Thoughts?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
392 Posts
cxerophim said:
Windsor Ghost 6500, while it's not exactly what I'm looking for it does have front and rear disc brakes and a good saddle (I think...). Thoughts?
You really dont want to go full suspension on a budget like yours, you will get a much better bike and components if you stay hardtail for that money.

Honestly, the Specialized Hardrock base model is under $400 and sounds like a good fit for what you are doing. Or any other model comparable to that one from the big brands. You could probably find a nice Trek around $400 as well.
 

·
...a wiggle theres a way
Joined
·
214 Posts
you may also consider going to bikesdirect.com they have a wide range of bikes available at just about every price range.
There are two big players in the mountain scene when it comes to drivetrain and that as you mentioned is shimano and sram. each has its plus's and minuses and will perform well once setup and properly maintained.

As far as brands go i would suggest looking at a wide range locally and seeing how they fit, you could get another walmart / target bike and be fine riding it for a while, but seeing as you have a little extra cash it would probably be better for you to spend it on a bike that will fit you better, and give you the possibility to put on a bike rack/fenders etc... with that said i'd look at all the brands at your disposal give them all a ride and see what best fits you and meets your needs.

The only downside of bikesdirect.com is that you have to do some assembly of the bike or take it to the shop which can cost a little extra cash, but the good news is you can begin a relationship with your local bike store(lbs) and they can assist you with all things bike/commuting etc...

good luck and let us know what you find and decide to do!

joe
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
202 Posts
For what you want to ride in and your budget and being weight is not an issue I reccomend a Diamondback Response Sport. Under 400 bucks it has "mid-grade" Shimano and Sram, awesome aluminum frame(one that even pros like) it's a very tough bike and fun to ride. Really nice lookin too. Some may consider it a "department store" bike, but it is A LOT better quality than any type of Mongoose blackcomb. I ridden a blackcomb, but went to the Response instead. It's a tough, all purpose, good bike..Also it can be ther 5 years from now and best of all you can strip the frame and build a mega awesome bike from it choosing the parts you want when you get money again.
I ride a 2006 version and I have lots of fun with it.

Hope you find work soon....that sucks to lose a job...I know how it is..got layed off from a 45,000 dollar a year job working at a plant. Nothing breaks your heart more than losing your income leaving you with a bunch of what ifs.....Been there and it's hard to swallow when your name is chopped.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
190 Posts
If you are going to continue to use a bicycle as your sole form of transportation, that is all the more reason to spend as much as you can afford on a good quality bike. Go around to your local bike shops and test ride as many as you can that are within your budget so that you make sure that you find one that fits you well. You might even want to try a few that are outside of your price range just to see the differences.

Unless you know how to properly size up a bike and also assemble one, I would stay away from online retailers because if you wind up with the wrong size, you will have to eat the shipping costs to exchange it. Also, if you can't do the assembly yourself, you will need to figure in to your budget what it will cost for your LBS to do it for you.

Most of the major manufacturers make bikes that are in your price range, but I would try to pick one on the high side of it just so you get the most bang for your buck.

Off the top of my head, here are a few quality name brand bikes that are in or close to your price range:

-Specialized Hard Rock
-Trek 3500, 3700, and maybe the 3900
-Gary Fisher Tarpon, Advance, Mako
-Cannondale F9
-Kona Lanai
-Marin Pioneer Trail
-Haro Flightline One, Two, Three, 3DX
Jamis Trail X1, X2, X3
-Raleigh Talus 2.0, 3.0, 4.0

I might be mistaken on a couple of those, and that is hardly a complete list.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
basso4735 said:
You really dont want to go full suspension on a budget like yours, you will get a much better bike and components if you stay hardtail for that money.
Just from the preliminary research I've done thus far, it's plain to see that this is undoubtedly true, however I still fail to understand the enormous disparity in price point for full suspension ($1500+) versus hardtail ($350+). I suspect it all stems from the fact that the rear suspension is built into the frame, true?

wiggy said:
There are two big players in the mountain scene when it comes to drivetrain and that as you mentioned is shimano and sram. each has its plus's and minuses and will perform well once setup and properly maintained...

The only downside of bikesdirect.com is that you have to do some assembly of the bike or take it to the shop which can cost a little extra cash, but the good news is you can begin a relationship with your local bike store(lbs) and they can assist you with all things bike/commuting etc...

good luck and let us know what you find and decide to do!
Thanks for the response Joe. Bikes Direct was actually one of the first sites I perused before I posted this thread, however I've since noticed that their selection is quite limited compared to some of the other sites I've looked at.

Mechanically speaking I might not be the most informed person, so I would probably take it to a LBS for the initial setup and adjustments but I would also like to learn to do those things for myself so I'll be sure to take notes!

I'm still a little unsure of the differences between Shimano and SRAM though. As far as I can tell, the main difference is in the actual shifting mechanism. It seems to me that Shimano uses the "trigger" shifters whereas SRAM uses the "grip" shifters, is that an accurate assumption?

Eric2.0 said:
Hope you find work soon....that sucks to lose a job...I know how it is..got layed off from a 45,000 dollar a year job working at a plant. Nothing breaks your heart more than losing your income leaving you with a bunch of what ifs.....Been there and it's hard to swallow when your name is chopped.
Thanks for the support, I had a job with the US Postal Service redirecting mail that the camera system couldn't read properly. It was quite a posh job and I was sad to lose it, but I've come to terms with it and view this as a new chapter in my life as it affords me the opportunity to go back to college which is a goal I've had for some time =)

bbrins said:
If you are going to continue to use a bicycle as your sole form of transportation, that is all the more reason to spend as much as you can afford on a good quality bike. Go around to your local bike shops and test ride as many as you can that are within your budget so that you make sure that you find one that fits you well. You might even want to try a few that are outside of your price range just to see the differences.

Unless you know how to properly size up a bike and also assemble one, I would stay away from online retailers because if you wind up with the wrong size, you will have to eat the shipping costs to exchange it. Also, if you can't do the assembly yourself, you will need to figure in to your budget what it will cost for your LBS to do it for you.

Off the top of my head, here are a few quality name brand bikes that are in or close to your price range:

-Trek 3700, and maybe the 3900
-Gary Fisher Tarpon, Advance, Mako
-Kona Lanai
-Haro Flightline Sport
Thanks so much for the suggestions, I've narrowed the list above to more accurately reflect the bikes I think would best suit my needs. I still have some more questions though, for example: I've noticed that there is great disparity among the length of fork travel (from 63mm to 100mm) and some offer "lockout" mechanisms, could someone explain to me what these actually mean?

thats2odd said:
I live in Phoenix and can tell you Performance Bikes has a shop in Chandler and you should be able to find something really nice in you price range. The plus side is you get a free year of tune ups!! :thumbsup: Here is the link to the site. Good luck..

Performance Bikes
Awesome, another Phoenix rider! Thanks for the link, their site is very informative. I'll try to check them out in person sometime this week.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
269 Posts
SRAM also makes trigger shifters along with grip shifters. The pull ratio is different from SRAM to Shimano. Some people argue one is smoother than another, or that the ergonomics on the shifters is better. I've heard others say the SRAM components last longer. Honestly, it boils down to personal preference since they do the same job. I can't tell the difference.

Lockout on a fork stops it from moving. You cannot compress the fork, and it doesn't responds to bumps which may give you better control when climbing technical terrain. Lockout tends to break on cheap entry level forks.

Industry standards for forks tend to be right around 100mm. There is a wide range of replacement forks made in the 100mm range. So if your fork breaks, it will be easier to find a replacement fork for a fair price. Plus, 100mm has better adjustability and will provide a smoother ride over the 63mm. Many of my older bikes had 63mm travel forks, which were great back in the day, but they do not ride as smoothly as my newer bike with 100mm of travel. Part of the reason I'm anti-Trek is due to the 63mm fork, especially when others offer 80-120mm of travel. Replacing the fork with a longer travel fork changes the head angle of the bike and will change the way it handles. Sometimes that is good, other times it makes the bike feel unstable.

Here is their website - http://www.globalbikesbikeshop.com/Index.html
Anyways, I have a friend who picked up a bike from Global Bikes. They have a shop in Chandler and another in Gilbert. She had a really good experience with them. Plus, they offer free lifetime tune-ups for as long as you own the bike. They will adjust brakes, derailluers, lube the chain, and true wheels. My friend gets her bike back the next day when she has them perform the service.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
CrimsonFox said:
SRAM also makes trigger shifters along with grip shifters. The pull ratio is different from SRAM to Shimano. Some people argue one is smoother than another, or that the ergonomics on the shifters is better. I've heard others say the SRAM components last longer. Honestly, it boils down to personal preference since they do the same job. I can't tell the difference.

Lockout on a fork stops it from moving. You cannot compress the fork, and it doesn't responds to bumps which may give you better control when climbing technical terrain. Lockout tends to break on cheap entry level forks.

Industry standards for forks tend to be right around 100mm. There is a wide range of replacement forks made in the 100mm range. So if your fork breaks, it will be easier to find a replacement fork for a fair price. Plus, 100mm has better adjustability and will provide a smoother ride over the 63mm. Many of my older bikes had 63mm travel forks, which were great back in the day, but they do not ride as smoothly as my newer bike with 100mm of travel. Part of the reason I'm anti-Trek is due to the 63mm fork, especially when others offer 80-120mm of travel. Replacing the fork with a longer travel fork changes the head angle of the bike and will change the way it handles. Sometimes that is good, other times it makes the bike feel unstable.

Anyways, I have a friend who picked up a bike from Global Bikes. They have a shop in Chandler and another in Gilbert. She had a really good experience with them. Plus, they offer free lifetime tune-ups for as long as you own the bike. They will adjust brakes, derailluers, lube the chain, and true wheels. My friend gets her bike back the next day when she has them perform the service.
Thanks for the explanation of all that, and I looked through Global Bikes online catalog but almost all of their bikes were over my budget, thanks for the link though. I also found another bike to add to the potentials list:

2009 GT Outpost with disc brakes, what do you guys think?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
269 Posts
Global Bikes has more than what they offer online in the store. Their online pricing is reflective of the current going rate for bikes around town. However, they always have older models priced for less. If they are close, I would recommend checking them out in person as opposed to relying on the internet. My friend purchased a bike listed for $500 on their website for $325 out the door.

The GT Outpost would be a fine starter bike. However, I have found that Performance has way more bikes on their website that you will ever find in their shop. Often, you can't test ride the bike in advance because the don't stock that model. The upside is that you can order it online, ship it to the store, they will put it together for you and performance takes back just about anything. Also, their pricing is BETTER online. So if you go to the store to buy the same thing and they happen to stock it, you are going to find it is priced $50-100 more. They do not match their online price. Instead, they encourage you to order online and select to have the product shipped to their store, or at least that has been my experience with them.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top