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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hello to all, im just trying to jump into mountain biking and would like some help choosing the right first bike, the bikes i have chosen as the three finialists are:

o Trek 6700
o Gary Fisher x-caliber 29er
o Gary fisher big sur

im 5ft4 thinking of going for a 15.5" frame but which out of the three would you experts recommend? my favourite by a gnats nacker at the mo is the x-caliber but just because i like the look of it!

any advice please?
 

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It really depends on a couple of things. First of all, which one feels the best? Fit and comfort are some of the most important things to consider. Also, what kind of trails do you plan on riding? The Trek is more of a XC bike, while the GFs are meant for more aggressive trails. The Trek can handle most trails, but if you plan on anything much more than 2 ft. flat drops, you might want to consider the others.
 
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Caution: Long winded reply...

Get a low-slung hardtail like a Marin B17.

Althought it wasn't my first bike (it's actually my 3rd), I wish I would've had some advice to buy one instead of walking into my LBS blind and just buying one (the wrong size too) on impulse.

The B17 I bought had a 13" seat tube (size small for theB17s) and fits my 5'6" 125 lbs 31" inseamed frame perfectly. I have ridden it on long XC/AM epics on clipless, taking it out to thrash around the woods on flats, and have taken it to the BMX courses and DJ spots. The advantage of the B17 is that you can run a long seat post, yet the standover is short enough that you can slam the post down and still be able to ride fairly tame DH runs with it (given the right tires). The frame is built pretty burly, completely weight comes in around 34 lbs. The headangle is a bit slacker than most HT but I still find climbing steep hills manageable on it if you have a stem longer than 65mm. It comes with an older 120mm Marzocchi bomber fork (compression 1-2-3-lockout), 8 gears out back on SRAM X.7 components and a decently wide bar and fairly short stem. I got it from my local Marin dealer at closeout ($600). Word of advice though, the brakes that come stock on it (Hayes Soles) are absolute trash, replace those first with a set of Juicy 5s and you'll be set (stock on the B17 are 185mm front discs and 160mm rear).

It's an awesome platform to start mtbing in as you can ride the parts until they die and replace/upgrade as necessary. Even though it came with a 3-ring crank stock, the shop I ordered it from swapped out to a crankset with a bash for me as I told them what type of riding I would be doing.

Presently, I ride mostly XC/AM trails with it during the winter, and ride lift and shuttle-access DH on my big bike during the season. The B17 is a great hardtail for the rider who's looking for more aggressive riding than just pure XC.

Hope this helps. Goodluck! :thumbsup:

edit: here are also a few of my personal opinions in regards to starting out mtbing (as I was in this situation sometime last spring)

-ride flat pedal, learn to bunny-hop, manual, and drift using flats. It will help you learn how to better control the bike using your whole body as opposed to just taking advantage of having the bike physically attached to you.
-learn to run gnarlier stuff on a hardtail before jumping straight into a full suspension bike. It'll teach you to use your body to absorb the trail and not rely on the bike to cushion the bumps. You'll also be more keen on which lines are smoother, faster, and more efficient to take when riding.
-look way, way ahead. I mean, past the corner you're approaching. 2-3 corners ahead on the tighter, windier trails. This will allow you to maintain more speed. If you just focus mainly on what's infront of your front wheel, you'll either be extremely slow, or will crash due to not seeing any obstacles further down along the trail. As for what's directly infront of you, don't worry: your peripheral vision will take care of that.
-finally, look at where you want to go, NOT at what you don't want to hit. Your body will automatically be inclined to head in the direction that your eyes focus in on. If there's a particularly large rock on the trail, and you clock in on it, you'll find yourself steering directly for it before you realize what you have just done. This concept applies to driving cars, motorcycles, pretty much anything that requires driver imput to change direction.

Sorry if you've heard all this already, or if it's just too much information. I'm bored at work.:madman:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks for the info, the problem i have when picking a bike is, i am going through a cycle to work scheme so they dont have every bike available, i have £1000 to spend, and im kinda getting drawn to 29ers? just because of various things i have read, what do u think to them?
 

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Hoosier
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I would suggest a 29er because you will be commuting to work. Big wheels are faster and you will feel the difference. As far as which bike to pick, go on feel. How the bike feels to you is the most important thing, more than name brands or components.
 

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Noob!
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Dr Phil mmkay said:
edit: here are also a few of my personal opinions in regards to starting out mtbing (as I was in this situation sometime last spring)

-ride flat pedal, learn to bunny-hop, manual, and drift using flats. It will help you learn how to better control the bike using your whole body as opposed to just taking advantage of having the bike physically attached to you.
-learn to run gnarlier stuff on a hardtail before jumping straight into a full suspension bike. It'll teach you to use your body to absorb the trail and not rely on the bike to cushion the bumps. You'll also be more keen on which lines are smoother, faster, and more efficient to take when riding.
-look way, way ahead. I mean, past the corner you're approaching. 2-3 corners ahead on the tighter, windier trails. This will allow you to maintain more speed. If you just focus mainly on what's infront of your front wheel, you'll either be extremely slow, or will crash due to not seeing any obstacles further down along the trail. As for what's directly infront of you, don't worry: your peripheral vision will take care of that.
-finally, look at where you want to go, NOT at what you don't want to hit. Your body will automatically be inclined to head in the direction that your eyes focus in on. If there's a particularly large rock on the trail, and you clock in on it, you'll find yourself steering directly for it before you realize what you have just done. This concept applies to driving cars, motorcycles, pretty much anything that requires driver imput to change direction.

Sorry if you've heard all this already, or if it's just too much information. I'm bored at work.:madman:
That sounds like the kind of advice a newb like me needs. Thanks for your input.
 
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