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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys, I bought a bike recently and have been loving it. Convinced a buddy to get into riding as well, so I'm trying to narrow down his search.

Needs to be: new, full-sus (xc type riding), disc brakes. The kicker is--$1200 max budget.

I know needing to buy new throws a wrench into things, but he doesn't want used.

Any suggestions for brand and model? Does this bike even exist for $1200?
 

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get a used bike and have it thoroughly checked by a good bike mechanic before buying. have the seller meet you at the bike shop and ask a mechanic to look it over. call the bike shop ahead of time to let them know you're coming so they will have time. most bike shops do not charge for diagnostics like that.

or buy a playful hardtail. $1200 is not going to get anything new that is going to hold up.

why does he think he "needs" a FS bike?
 

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Though I'm a huge fan of FS in general, at that price point for a brand new bike, I'd have to say go hardtail. Cheap FS isn't worth it. IMO, neither are hardtails in that price range, but if he's insisting on new, there's not much you can do. Somebody's gotta feed the retail machine I suppose.

Does that $1200 have to cover helmet, tools, pack, etc too? Something else to consider...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Does that $1200 have to cover helmet, tools, pack, etc too? Something else to consider...
That doesn't include the extras. I told him to plan on a couple hundred in extras like a helmet, gloves, and riding shorts. $1200 goes towards bike only.

Thanks for the advice so for, even more is welcome.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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Your friend needs to get over himself.

I'd like a new car with room inside for two full-sized bikes and 4WD, for $10,000. That's not happening either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Doesn't need to get over himself. Sounds like what he NEEDS is to save up a bit longer. He's just beginning in this and trying to see what's out there. $1200 is a lot of money. But maybe it's not enough to buy a new FS bike. That's what we're trying to find out here.
 

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That doesn't include the extras. I told him to plan on a couple hundred in extras like a helmet, gloves, and riding shorts. $1200 goes towards bike only.

Thanks for the advice so for, even more is welcome.
Hmmm...loan him $450 and take him down to Infinite Cycles and grab one of these on clearance?

2013 RZ 120 | Infinite Cycles Bike Shop

Or see if there are any shops around that might deal in pre-owned bikes. Can be kind of a 'best of both worlds' scenario.
 

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still curious about why he "needs" a FS bike. what kind of terrain does he plan to ride right out of the gate? does he have physical limitations that necessitate FS? I am not saying that FS is not a good way to go, but many people who freak out about having rear suspension really don't know how to use it and could be having just as much fun spending less money on a nicer hardtail instead of a mediocre FS bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I appreciate the question mack turtle. He has lots of back problems. Mainly lower back, and it's a chronic pain/stiffness. He'll be doing mixed riding, but plenty of downhill and rough trail. I think his mind is made up about fs, it'll be probably more worth my time to convince him to look into the used market than to have him look into hardtails.
 

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I would suggest convincing him to look at the grand scheme of things. Spending $1,200 on a new full suspension is most likely going to get him a sub-par suspension design, entry-level shock and fork (most likely low-end coil for both, but possibly air rear), heavier wheels, and lower-end drive train components. Just because it has a rear shock doesn't necessarily make it a better option.

On the opposite end of things, spending that budget on a hardtail can get you a most likely lighter bike, nicer drive train components, and in some cases a decent air sprung fork. At the very least, suggest that he test rides both a hardtail and a full suspension in his budget...he might be surprised by how a nicer hardtail feels.

I agree with these guys, though. If he's absolutely set on getting a full suspension...convince him to go used if you can. He'd end up with a better bike, most likely, but definitely be selective on used full suspensions. Have a mechanic check it out and I wouldn't suggest buying one more than 4-5 years old.
 

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I rarely see FS bikes, brand new, for $1200. If you factor in the money he'll be using to get a helmet and other equipment, then its more like $1000. Most company's entry level full suspension bikes are around the $1700-$2000 range. There is also the bikesdirect.com route and the Motobecane Fantom for around that price.
 

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Honestly I don't think a beginner is gonna feel or know the difference between a good suspension design and a not so good one. Obviously spending more money will get you a better bike but I'd just worry about getting him out there first.

Save Up To 60% Off Mountain Bikes with Shimano DynaSys 30 speed - MTB - Motobecane 2011 Fantom Comp DS
Save Up to 60% Off Shimano DynaSys 3x10 Speed Mountain Bikes - MTB - Motobecane 2011 Fantom Elite DS

Parts wise nothing on those looks bad. Those those cranks don't shift great and BD tends to use anything they can get away with where the average Joe won't be able to tell (spokes, cables, hubs, headset) but it's new and full squish (even if it's an outdated design that never worked great), and built right will last and work long enough to get his money's worth. And hopefully will stoke him enough to want to spend more in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Exactly the kinda response and help I'm looking for. Thanks for those links!

And I totally agree. If he catches the bug, then sooner than later he can upgrade. Hard to justify spending big money on your first rig. And I like that attitude. Just gotta get out riding!
 

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Upgrading is a never ending state of mind in mountain biking. I'm sure there are people who threw down $3000 on a bike but still felt the need to upgrade the wheels, handlebars, seat, seat post or something else. Someone upgrades to XT and after its all said and done, they'll want XTRs. They throw down $600 for a nice set of wheels and they'll want a set of carbon Enve wheels.

So absolutely find a bike within his budget and just enjoy riding.
 

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Upgrading is a never ending state of mind in mountain biking. I'm sure there are people who threw down $3000 on a bike but still felt the need to upgrade the wheels, handlebars, seat, seat post or something else. Someone upgrades to XT and after its all said and done, they'll want XTRs. They throw down $600 for a nice set of wheels and they'll want a set of carbon Enve wheels.
Sad but true. There is a cure though - waste enough money on expensive but functionally minor 'upgrades' and you start to realize that 'newest and bestest' really doesn't add up to all that much on the trail in most cases.
 

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Upgrading is a never ending state of mind in mountain biking. I'm sure there are people who threw down $3000 on a bike but still felt the need to upgrade the wheels, handlebars, seat, seat post or something else. Someone upgrades to XT and after its all said and done, they'll want XTRs. They throw down $600 for a nice set of wheels and they'll want a set of carbon Enve wheels.

So absolutely find a bike within his budget and just enjoy riding.
Bought the New Hotness last July with an MSRP in that territory.

It's got a different stem, different saddle, different pedals and different tires now. I thought about a seat post but demoed some bikes with droppers and decided not to spend the money.

I'm pretty happy about the parts swaps I've made so far. Only the tires were expensive (not very, hooray for team form) and the bike fits me better.

May do the bars, I haven't really decided. The stem is a -17, sitting on the headset's dust cover. So it's either flip 'em or go to flats if I want my grips any lower.

Most of my hope with this bike was that I'd be able to stay away from the expensive stuff, like the fork, drivetrain and wheels. I'm a little worried about my front wheel, it's got a hop that didn't quite true out and only 24 spokes. But if I can drag my feet until August, that would be good. Poor road bike's braking tracks are way worn and I want to put new wheels on that bike, and maybe "my" handlebars and STI shifters on my disc road bike first.

Much as I like thinking I'm about the riding and not the toy, it's amazing how these things can keep pulling one in. If it's not that something's broken, it's that it's worn out. If there's not a mechanical problem, it's that it doesn't fit my body. And I do have a soft spot for fancy tires.

At least I'll never be that girl (for a number of reasons) stopped at the aid station on a Century with badly damaged housings and no idea why her bike won't shift or stop that well.
 

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Here is an idea that will add another $100 to his budget: You said he has a couple hundred to spend on extras. He can get by with $100.

Get the gloves and shorts from eBay.

Helmets can be had for a couple bucks at a thrift store. Check them carefully to make sure the foam hasn't been compressed in an accident. Typically they are low-end, but look like they have seen very little use. They aren't the lightest or best-ventilated, but they protect your head as well as the pricier ones. But even if he wants a new one, he is still under $100 for clothes and helmet.

For tools he can get a set of short Allen wrenches for a few bucks. Carry the 4 & 5mm with him -- it will cover most everything on the bike. Depending on the terrain, flora, and how far he rides from his car, he may not need to carry a tire pump.

BTW, if he insists on full suspension, make sure he knows the difference between XC fs & AM fs. I am a HT guy myself, but have ridden both XC and AM fs. I didn't notice that the XC ride was much if any plusher. The AM, yeah, that was comfy.
 
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