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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone this is my first post. I'm a complete newb and know absolutely nothing about bikes. I have a friend helping me out who street bikes (really skinny tires). Today I looked at a 2014 Trek X-Caliber 4 and really liked it. It costs about $550. I want to do some trail riding this summer when I transfer to VA. I didn't really want to spend that kind of money since I'm a new guy. So here's my question I found a 2014 Motobecane 429HT 29er on bikesdirect.com for $399.95. Is this a decent bike, or would I just be throwing my money away? The website said it has free shipping, no tax, and the bike with be 90% assembled. Let me know what y'all think. Thanks for the help.
 

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By transferred, I assume you mean military? If so, the benefit of a local bike shop (lbs) might not benefit you, since you may not be in the same place for long. But ask....most give some sort of military discount. Basic rule is to buy all the bike you can afford. I've found that the motto " you get what you pay for" holds truer in bikes than almost anything else I've ever bought. Most consider an entry level bike at least $800-$1000. But, not everyone can, or is willing to, pay that to start something new, which is understandable.

My opinion is if you are transferring soon, wait. Find a bike shop, buy a bike and allow them to set it up for you. Most lbs's give some sort of maintenance for free for 1,2,3 years. Having a bke serviced costs $60 and probably needs to be done 1-2 times a year if you are riding the bike 2-3 times a week. They also set the bike up for you: handlebar adjustments, seat adjustments, clipless pedal and cleat setup, etc. If you buy from bikes direct, I'd say go to the lbs and allow them to do the same, in addition to putting the bike together for you. 90% complete still leaves all the moving parts needing to be adjusted. They'll charge around $100 for a bike they didn't sell you. Your enjoyment and passion for mountain biking is directly related to what you experience when you first start. Having a properly sized and configured bike is the primary tool to make your rides more enjoyable. I say buy whatever bike you can afford and ride the hell out of it. If you love it, you'll want a better bike relatively quickly. If you are looking for big bike companies that tend to give you the most bang for your buck, I've found Giant, Jamis, Trek and Felt to give decent compenents on their lower end bikes. Good luck and happy riding.
 

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I don't go the same direction with bike servicing. Learning your own maintenance is valuable on many levels and everything is out there on the web. The more you know the better off you are where things happen out on the trail.
Finishing assembly on a BD bike is nothing much, Youtube vids can show some examples.
The problem is the fork on the 'entry' bikes, a Suntour, was developed for bike paths only not the fun/difficult singletrack you will be happier on. Only you don't know that til you ride some. The fork pogos, is flexy and weighs 6.2lbs at the front where it matters most.
The Airborne Guardian is 675 delivered with a usable fork and drive components.
Suntour does offer an upgrade to a good quality Raidon air fork(4.5lbs.) for $200 to riders who bought bikes with that bike path fork. The Raidon on the X-Cal 4 would be a good option.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
What dates will Trek Fest take place in April? So far on Treks website and my lbs website they aren't advertising any sales. I'd like to buy the bikes sometime this month. Just want to see what kind of deals they're going to have.
 

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I was very happy with my X-Cal when I had it, but that was when there was only 1... jeesh didn't realize they have 7 of them now! I believe mine was $1200 - it came with the 100mm travel Rockshox Reba fork. Looks like the 4 is a cheaper coil spring, but nothing wrong with that if you're just getting into it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just picked up two 2014 X Caliber 4's. Mine is a 17.5 in red and my wife's is a 14.5 in black/blue/white. We are very happy with our purchase. These things are really smooth and easy to ride. I'm used to Wal-Mart bikes and these obviously blow them out of the water.
 

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Congrats to you two.
Now time to go have fun.
 

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Awesome bikes, man! I'm also int he market for my first bike and am leaning toward a 2014 Trek X-Caliber 4 in a 15.5 (I'm short). Would try my hand on Craigslist, but apparently the only ones selling are owned by basketball players.
 
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