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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I almost bought a full suspension piece of crap from a sporting good super store, but decided to do some homework and am now convinced that it's worth a little extra $$$ for a better fit, lifetime service, professional assembly, etc. All the pros for buying from a LBS.

That being said, I'm pricing entry recreational hardtails $200-300. So far I've looked at the Trek 3700 and Giant Boulder SE. I also looked at the Specialized Hardrock, but it's a little more than I'm willing to pay. Are there any other companies/models in this price range I should consider? Anyone have any experience or preference with bikes in this class?
 

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p_james35 said:
I almost bought a full suspension piece of crap from a sporting good super store, but decided to do some homework and am now convinced that it's worth a little extra $$$ for a better fit, lifetime service, professional assembly, etc. All the pros for buying from a LBS.

That being said, I'm pricing entry recreational hardtails $200-300. So far I've looked at the Trek 3700 and Giant Boulder SE. I also looked at the Specialized Hardrock, but it's a little more than I'm willing to pay. Are there any other companies/models in this price range I should consider? Anyone have any experience or preference with bikes in this class?
There is not a lot there to choose from until you look at the $300 to $500 range but here are a few suggestions. Look at Marin bikes, check out their website for a dealer near you. Their frames are quite light and strong for the buck. The Pioneer Trail and Bolinas Ridge are worth checking out. They are solid bikes and a company that cares about its customers. Diamondbacks run a little heavy but are strong. The Diamondback Response Sport is $399 and has Hayes mechanical disc brakes. Check out Jamis, Ironhorse, Haro for bikes in your budget.
 

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been there

I was in your position about 5 years ago, just getting into the sport and needing a bike. I hadn't ridden a bike in about 20 years and I soon found out how far they have come in technology, depending on how mechanically inclined you are your learning curve will be steep and fast.

I also anticipated just starting out and buying a bike in the $200-$300 range. What I soon found out was that buying the right bike depends on your riding style and habits. A couple questions to ask yourself are:

Do you like speed? If on the trail and you come across obstacles are you going to try going over them or take the easy way around them? Do you see yourself pushing your bike and yourself to the fullest? If you have a relatively steep ravine in front of you are you going to try to ride it or are you going walk it?

If you answered yes to all these questions then you need to spend at least $500 to get something that will last you otherwise in about 2 weeks you're going to wish you did and be kicking yourself. For bikes to consider in the 500 range the main thing you should be concerned about is components, e.g., better shifters, brakes, derailleurs, shock. Here's the mtb hardtails sorted by price: mtb xc hardtails sorted by price Just scroll down to your price range and take a look at what's available.

The bike I ended up buying was a 2000 Raleigh M80 for about $550 and I'm very happy I spent the extra cash. I rode that bike for 5 years and if I would have gotten anything cheaper it would not have lasted. When I first bought this bike I could never have imagined spending more money on a bike, but I just bought a brand new Giant for $1k. Would you be interested in a used, well maintained Raleigh M80 with an XT rear derailleur from the Chicago area? $350 OBO.
 

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I bought a trek 4300 last winter to get into the sport. I'm in college, and can't afford much more than that. I think i paid around $350. I liked the bike, then it was stolen. So i had to buy another bike with the money i was saving for a better bike. I ended up with a Gary Fisher Wahoo, and i'm very happy for now. It's a great entry level bike for my experience level. I just put the Crank Brothers Mallet C pedals on the bike and it totally changed my bike. I also bought my g/f a 3700 last week that we are going to go pick up today actually. For $270 the bike is a great value. Strong frame for a cheaper price. She isn't going to be to serious, so that bike is for her. The only thing i would watch out for on entry-level bikes, is the front fork. The entry level RST's seem to be a bit mushy, along with the SR Suntour. My Wahoo came with a Judy TT and i'm thrilled about that fork. Not too mushy, but enough to soften branches, logs, and roots.

Whatever you get, have fun. And ride for a while without clipless, then upgrade, because it's a world of difference!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
baraant said:
I was in your position about 5 years ago, just getting into the sport and needing a bike. I hadn't ridden a bike in about 20 years and I soon found out how far they have come in technology, depending on how mechanically inclined you are your learning curve will be steep and fast.

I also anticipated just starting out and buying a bike in the $200-$300 range. What I soon found out was that buying the right bike depends on your riding style and habits. A couple questions to ask yourself are:

Do you like speed? If on the trail and you come across obstacles are you going to try going over them or take the easy way around them? Do you see yourself pushing your bike and yourself to the fullest? If you have a relatively steep ravine in front of you are you going to try to ride it or are you going walk it?

If you answered yes to all these questions then you need to spend at least $500 to get something that will last you otherwise in about 2 weeks you're going to wish you did and be kicking yourself. For bikes to consider in the 500 range the main thing you should be concerned about is components, e.g., better shifters, brakes, derailleurs, shock. Here's the mtb hardtails sorted by price: mtb xc hardtails sorted by price Just scroll down to your price range and take a look at what's available.

The bike I ended up buying was a 2000 Raleigh M80 for about $550 and I'm very happy I spent the extra cash. I rode that bike for 5 years and if I would have gotten anything cheaper it would not have lasted. When I first bought this bike I could never have imagined spending more money on a bike, but I just bought a brand new Giant for $1k. Would you be interested in a used, well maintained Raleigh M80 with an XT rear derailleur from the Chicago area? $350 OBO.
I appreciate the offer, but I want something new to start out with. I need to know more about the sport before I can properly care for a used bike. Plus I live in DC
 

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I have the Giant Boulder SE and love it. I don't really have anything to compare it to but don't regret my decision. I figure it will do for the next couple years then I'll upgrade.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I did some shopping today

I test rode several bikes today and have narrowed it down to the Trek 3900, Gary Fisher Advance, and Giant Rincon. I'm leaning toward the Giant but having trouble finding a 21" frame. Any thoughts?
 

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p_james35 said:
I test rode several bikes today and have narrowed it down to the Trek 3900, Gary Fisher Advance, and Giant Rincon. I'm leaning toward the Giant but having trouble finding a 21" frame. Any thoughts?
Assuming that all of these bikes fit you well, then a straight forward comparison of components breaks down as follows:

Gaint
Fisher
Trek

The Gaint will give a little more bang for your buck, but any of these bikes will be fine. If you can wait have the LBS order a 21" Gaint for you. If not, I would say go for the Fisher.
 

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make sure whatever you buy fits... i bought a trek 3700 ($250) alot of people on here will dis' you if you consider buying anything under $700 but my trek is fine for me...i am not too wild on the bike, but once i start breaking components i plan on upgrading them, once the majority of them are upgraded, then i will buy a better frame...but all that is way off in the future, so far i have put nearly 100 miles on the bike with nothing more than a small adjustment to the front derailler, and some clipless pedals, as far as dept. store bikes, yeah its better to stay away, but if you have a dick's store nearby, check them out, my brother bought an iron horse warrior there and it has some nice componants, and hayes disk brakes, $299, it seems like it was a good deal...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I ended up buying the Trek 3700, mainly because of fit. I needed a large frame and felt most comfortable on the 22.5". (I'm 6'3" with a 36" inseam) Plus the shop I got it from was one of the few places that didn't look down on anything less than $500. Considering my skill level and that I almost bought a "toy" bike, I'm pretty happy with the purchase. One thing that beginners have to take into consideration is the risk of the bike collecting dust in the garage. Thanks to everyone who responded.
 

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Fyi...

p_james35 said:
I test rode several bikes today and have narrowed it down to the Trek 3900, Gary Fisher Advance, and Giant Rincon. I'm leaning toward the Giant but having trouble finding a 21" frame. Any thoughts?
If you are having trouble deciding, I would check out the weight of each bike.

If you buy the Rincon be aware, that they use a 500gm steel handlebar and a 285gm stem.
Total weight in the stem and bar = 785gm or 1.7 pounds.

The Rincon seat weighs 500 grams.

Also, check the derailleur on the Giant. For 2003 they had an e-type derailleur. These are not needed on the Rincon frame and just add more unnecessary weight. They can destroy a chain if the chain comes off and gets caught between the derailleur bracket and the granny gear. The only way to get the mangled chain off, is to pull the cranks. This is not a job you will be equipped to do, miles out on a trail.

Tires on any of these cheap bikes are usually steel bead and heavy.

If you go for the Rincon, you should consider first upgrades of handle bar, stem, seat, and tires. Those are quick inexpensive hits to reduce weight and improve performance.

Check out these links for inexpensive upgrades:

http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/12...-Riser-Handlebar-w_-Sette-Edge-Stem-COMBO.htm

http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.asp?id=15738

The seat you have to figure out for yourself.

old_dude
 

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Watch out for that review section though. I was just reading up on the bike im about to buy n was like no way in hel this is the correct bike. But i figured out it was the 04 model the reviews were on. So just watch out and make sure your reading the correct year for the reviews. I would also suggest a Norco Wolverine.. Great entry level hard tail. Easy upgradeable and has come along way from last year. Double sides rims, larger fork. Some of the things people didnt like 2 much about it before.
 

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old_dude said:
If you are having trouble deciding, I would check out the weight of each bike.

If you buy the Rincon be aware, that they use a 500gm steel handlebar and a 285gm stem.
Total weight in the stem and bar = 785gm or 1.7 pounds.

The Rincon seat weighs 500 grams.

Also, check the derailleur on the Giant. For 2003 they had an e-type derailleur. These are not needed on the Rincon frame and just add more unnecessary weight. They can destroy a chain if the chain comes off and gets caught between the derailleur bracket and the granny gear. The only way to get the mangled chain off, is to pull the cranks. This is not a job you will be equipped to do, miles out on a trail.

Tires on any of these cheap bikes are usually steel bead and heavy.

If you go for the Rincon, you should consider first upgrades of handle bar, stem, seat, and tires. Those are quick inexpensive hits to reduce weight and improve performance.

Check out these links for inexpensive upgrades:

http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/12...-Riser-Handlebar-w_-Sette-Edge-Stem-COMBO.htm

http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.asp?id=15738

The seat you have to figure out for yourself.

old_dude
I just found out that if you live in the USA, the 2005 Rincons have finally lost the steel handlebar and boat anchor stem. I am not sure of the weight of the new bar and stem, but they look to be lighter than the old ones. At least the bar is alloy.

If you live in Canada, the 2005 Rincon still comes with the steel bar and boat anchor stem.

old_dude
 
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