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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello!

I'm in the market for a good beginners mountain bike. While looking, I came across this old 2001 Cannondale

I know this is a pretty old bike, but it seems to have been gently used, and from what I read in the original reviews, this bike was made with some pretty high quality parts (at least for when it first came out.) So my question is, should I go with this bike, and maybe make a couple upgrades to it? (Which is possible thanks to the low price.) Or should I try to find a newer bike?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Looks like I'll be getting a newer bike then, I need it be XL size, and probably a hardtail (due to budget limitations and the fact that I would be planning on some flat gravel riding)
2,000 dollars is max for the budget, but I would prefer something around or below 1,000. I thought something like a Cannondale trail 5 might be a good choice? I'm not going to be doing any big jumps or anything, but something that can go up and down hills, and eat up some rocks and roots along the way would be nice. (I live in the pacific northwest)
 

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Stop. Don’t buy a $1500+ bike if you are a beginner. Do you wanna do trail riding, cross country, downhill, enduro, gravel? Probably don’t know right? What are your local trails like? Again, probably don’t know right? I bought a beginners bike 2 years ago, a Specialized Rockhopper Comp 1x. Great bike to learn on, pretty modern geometry and decent components to. Cost me $700 brand new. When you KNOW what you want, then you will know the bike to get, hard tail vs softail, more trail oriented, or more XC oriented, or Enduro or downhill. Once you get above $800 the bikes start to get focused in specific areas of mountain biking. Not all bikes do it all well. So you gotta know what you wanna do. My perfect bike will do what I like best, while others may want more in other areas. I would say buy a big name bike from a local bike shop so you get support. what u want is,

1x drivetrain
hydraulic brakes
air shock
tubeless ready rims is a bonus
under 30 pounds

that should be under $1000 for a hard tail all day long.

Once you ride that bike for a while, you will know what things you like and dislike and you can decide what kind of bike works for you in the long term, and in some cases that bike may do everything you need.
I was able to decide I’m more in the XC realm, so I bought a new 2021 Specialized Chisel and sold my Rockhopper for $750.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, I'm not really sure what kind of riding I want to do exactly, or what the local trails are like.

I'll try to find a good hardtail with the specs you suggested, fair amount of highly reviewed bike shops near me. I'll probably end up getting a Cannondale trail, or a rockhopper.
 

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When I was looking for my beginners bike I rode the rockhopper and I rode the Trek and I like the way the rockhopper felt the best. Unfortunately with the bike shortage is now it’s hard to find a bike shop that has a lot of the bikes in stock. What you may have to do is put a deposit that’s refundable on a few bikes and when they get them in you can ride them and see if you like them. That’s how I bought my Chisel a few months ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Do you know of any hardtails that are around 800$ with the specs you mentioned?

1x drivetrain
hydraulic brakes
air shock
tubeless ready rims is a bonus
under 30 pounds

So far the only one I've found that had all of those was the Rockhopper Elite 29 at 1,100$
 

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Yes. Prices prices have gone up about $200. All the ones i saw were about 1000 now. At the $800 price you will probably have a coil shock. 1100 is probably the cheapest with a air shock .
 

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I’ll be the lone dissenter here about old bikes. If you just need a bike to figure out what you want to do on a bike, any trail ready bike of basically any age will do.
Example - I’ve bought several 1998 to 2000 full suspension bikes for me and my kids this summer.
wasted money this forum would say. Of course my kids and I are having a ball on these bikes. Maybe someday they’ll limit our progression and modern geo will come to save our souls. But until then they were available, pretty cheap to get on the road ($650 to $1200), and completely serviceable.
Since I had to do four bikes, I couldn’t afford to drop $3k each for a nice ‘entry’ level full suspension.I’m gonna have all four for less than $3k, and that includes me going a bit over the top on my restomod fsr.
The one big caveat here is that it isn’t out of the box. I had to buy about $100 in tools and stuff like grease and tire sealant to do all the retrofit stuff.
I will recommend that you don’t try for a dept store bike. I tried that to, and while the frame would have been fine, it would need literally everything. That is a lot of money, everything. Used market is much more competitive than new, but it does require some elbow grease.
You might want to look at Pinkbike and the pros closet for used bikes.
 

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Hello!

I'm in the market for a good beginners mountain bike. While looking, I came across this old 2001 Cannondale

I know this is a pretty old bike, but it seems to have been gently used, and from what I read in the original reviews, this bike was made with some pretty high quality parts (at least for when it first came out.) So my question is, should I go with this bike, and maybe make a couple upgrades to it? (Which is possible thanks to the low price.) Or should I try to find a newer bike?

Thanks in advance!
I wouldn't recommend this used bike as the head shock is very proprietary and parts are hard to come by.
Look forward this: disc brake mounts. No proprietary suspension parts (specific rear shocks or front shocks)
I suggest you target five inches (120mm) or more of front and/or rear travel. That's a mid range number and will be fine while you figure out if you like trails, deep woods, mixed, or chair lifts.
 

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So first off. Avoid any bike older than 5-6 years old. If you are really into the vintage stuff as a hobby go for it, but 2001 is ancient.

Bike shop bikes are great, but you are paying a bit of a premium for brick and mortar. Cannondale, Specialized and Trek make great bikes (i own a Cannondale Scalpel). But if you are just learning, look into the classified for a used hardtail Try Pinkbike buy/sell): https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/

Or go for a DTC brand bike:
Ragley Marley 2.0 (mentioned above)
Marin San Quentin 1
Vitus Rapide 29
Rocky Mountain Growler 20

Generally the hardtails you will come across are all going to be XC focused (basic trail bike focused on limited jumps, limited technical descents and maximizing pedal efficiency). This is a good place to start for a beginner, and if you find something decent new or used in the 800-1000 price point, you can keep it for a while and generally sell it fro 600-700 in the next year or 2 if you want to upgrade.
 

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Alright, I'll start looking for the rockhopper to get back in stock. Any other bikes I should keep an eye out for? Oh, and how big is the difference between a coil and an air shock?
To be honest at first you probably wont even notice the difference between a coil shock and an air shock. The air shock made tye biggest difference on technical climbs and fast downhills. Both of those were beyond my abilities at first. After riding a few years and getting into shape and raising my skill level a bit then I started to exceed the limits of the coil shock. The difference between the two are weight, coil will be heavier. Adjustability. Coils work for a specific weight. If the coil is designedfor your weight, itll work ok. If not its undersprung or oversprung and neither are good. Changing coil springs is sometimes not an option. Air shocks can be adjusted based on the riders weight so you always have the optimal dampening.
 

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I recently bought this bike and love it. It was $1099 and Wiggle had it in stock, although it is another $150 to ship it from England, but was on my doorstep 10 days after ordering. It has a 66.5° HTA, boost, and thru axles so pretty modern. Most reviews talk about the nice bang/buck ratio with this bike. I upgraded the fork and brakes immediately, but really only b/c I'm heavy and wanted a more upright position. You can also get the $1449 VR version which comes with a Marzocchi Z2, dropper, and Idk what else.

FYI, it looks like only large is in stock but they have 3. I'm 6'1" and find the large is a great fit, but I suppose it depends what kind if riding you'll do. If you want low stack and long reach, this isn't the bike, although it's still in the ball park of the Fuse, Chameleon, Hondo, etc. but only slightly more upright, which I wanted and like.

Vitus Sentier 29
 

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I say jump all the way in, mountain biking is freaking sweet. There is only one value bike that kills the others (in a FS option) and that's the Polygon Siksui T8. Its ridiculously nice for the price. Full Fox suspension, SLX drive train, looks dope and has killer geometry for 2499$ USD. It dominated Pinkbike's bike test (if that's worth anything) and even climbed as well as the short travel Ibis Ripley despite being the best downhiller of the bunch too. The problem with buying an el cheapo bike is that you'll quickly want a FS with better components if you are riding it on decent trails. Cheap bikes don't hold value well either because the stuff on them sucks and often falls apart quickly.


If it doesn't work out for you, you can sell the Polygon in a heartbeat because its such a nice bike at a nice price and really well known. People want one of these used Polygons WAY more than they want something cheaper. Supply and demand favors you if you get a decent bike. Looks like a few sizes will be shipping out in Oct too which is amazing because most everything else is pretty sold out unless you are spending 5-6k$ or looking for something lame that no one else wants.

If you are going for something super cheap, the Giant Stance or Fathom is a decent option simply because their in-house Crest 34 fork is really nice compared to the cheap junk that everyone else puts on their value bikes (the fork matters). Only downside is that Giant had some issues with the fork and there were warranties. I'm not sure how wide spread it was but its something to ask about if buying one. My thought is that all of the cheap forks don't hold up well and kind of suck so I'd take the chance with that Crest fork any day. YMMV.
 
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