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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone!

I am 21, in college and since I went trail riding I have been hooked. However, I guess I have been suffering a little bit of information overload.

I am not sure what bike to get. I am 140..about 5'10''. Looking at around 250-350 price range. I am in the Atlanta area, currently going to school in Statesboro. I will be back home for Spring Break in a week and would like to purchase a bike from the Atlanta area. There are several bikes on craigslist within my price range such as Giant and Ironhorse.

Should I go to my local REI and be fitted to see what kind of bikes I like best? What are the most important parts that I should look at on a bike like the derailleurs or brakes ( disc vs. V ). Any help would be greatly appreciated!:)
 

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Trying not to kill myself
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The best thing you can do is check out a local bike shop to get fitted and do some test rides. Get a feel for how some of the different brands and geometries fit with your body. In your price range, you'll be looking at a hardtail, and if you go 26" you'll save some money (though I'm a 29er Koolaid drinker). I personally think that getting the best fork possible in your price range is the way to go. Brakes and drivetrain can be tweaked and replaced bit by bit, but a crap fork is worthless. Try posting up some of the specs and prices of the different bikes you are interested in, and you should get some good feedback here. Happy hunting!
 

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I would start with a decent used hardtail from a reputable brand, you will probably be right in the medium / large frame size area, see what feels comfortable. I second the part about the fork being one of the most important and also costly parts, components like derailleurs, handlebars, etc, are easy and cheap to upgrade.

I paid $160 for a Specialized Hardrock off of Craigslist, the fork was frozen up but I knew the stock fork was junk anyways and planned on replacing it. I found a Fox Vanilla 32 fork on Craigslist for $60, and now have a pretty decent starter bike for $220.

When checking out a used bike, make sure the rims are true, the bearings all move smoothly, and if it looks like it was ridden hard, look for cracks in the frame paint around the chain and seat stays. Its not likely to happen, but could be a dishonest person unloading a trashed bike.
 

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I agree that getting a name brand off craigslist is the way to go. One thing you should probably do before paying for any bike on craigslist is call the police and check if the bike is registered stolen. One of my friends got a sweet Jamis for $400.. only to have campus police confiscate it a month later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all for the help.

I am going to my local shop to get fitted and test out some bikes tomorrow. I'll let you guys know how I feel when I get back.

What do you guys think about these?

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/bik/2248908022.html ( is 19" to small? )

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/bik/2244494246.html

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/spo/2243986159.html

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/bik/2242688042.html

I don't understand the size differentiation of different bikes. How come some are " size 19 " and some are 26"?
 

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Don't forget cash for:
Helmet (A absolute must)
Spare Tubes (I carry 2)
Mini pump or CO2
Water bottles or camelback
Lights if riding at night
I also carry
basic 1st aid kit
patch kit
multi tool
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Lumber, I just checked out the Sticky that has all the things you need to bring and I will definitely stock up on necessities.

On average, how much does a good helmet and spare tubes cost?
 

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At 5'10", a 19" frame is about as big as you'd want to go. Maybe 17", but that depends on your build and the specs of the bike. I'm 6' and both my bikes are 19" 29ers. Generally speaking, 19" is a large frame and 17" is medium, but there's some variation with brands and models.

The 26" listings you're seeing are referring to the wheel size. Those who don't know much about bikes often only include this measurement since it's how kids bikes are sold (12", 16", 20", 24"). That's really not very helpful to you since all MTBs are 26" or 29". Unfortunately lots of CL ads don't list frame size.

I don't have much time to dig into the specs, but you're on the right track with the bikes you listed. The Trek 4300 with disc brakes for $350 looks promising, especially if you can shave that price down some more.

Pretty_Lights said:
Thank you all for the help.

I am going to my local shop to get fitted and test out some bikes tomorrow. I'll let you guys know how I feel when I get back.

What do you guys think about these?

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/bik/2248908022.html ( is 19" to small? )

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/bik/2244494246.html

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/spo/2243986159.html

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/bik/2242688042.html

I don't understand the size differentiation of different bikes. How come some are " size 19 " and some are 26"?
 

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Don't forget about a little homeland security

Yeah, think about a quality lock(s) too since you're on a college campus! IThis isn't some beater 25-year-old rusty Schwinn - you'll soon have money and time into mountain biking and therefore its an "investment" of sorts. If you get a rig that fits you well, build it up with components over time that work for you, and you get some decent time in the saddle, you'll definitely stay hooked on it and care if anything happens to it. It doesn't have to be the most expensive, nicest bike around for some loser to swipe it and ruin your day.

Sorry if this is obvious but do yourself a favor and keep your ride inside at night, preferably in your room. Rigs left outside at night on bike racks, porches, etc. with cheesy cable or U-locks are long gone, especially in poorly-lit areas. For daytime use around campus spend the money and get the best lock possible for the frame and good locks to run through the wheels. Take the saddle/seatpost with you if where you go to school people screw with stuff like that. Good locks don't stop thieves, just slows 'em down enought that its easier for them to move on to someone else's less-secure ride. It's a pain to have to take the time but as mtbrs on here will tell you, there's almost nothing we hate more than bike thieves :incazzato:
 

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Go to a bike shop and have them tell you what size bike you are looking for. At 5'11" you are probably a L(19") but if you have long/short legs or a long/short torso it may change what size feels best for you. I always advocate buying new from a good bike shop because it gets you a warranty and the backup of a shop that can aid you when you run into trouble. Most shops will give you a period of free tune-ups and many shops will also give you a small discount (let's say 10%) off of accessories like helmets and pumps. Buying used can be great as long as you know what you're getting. I would suggest taking any bike you are looking at to a good bike shop and having them give you an estimate of how much work it will need to get it running properly. You'd be shocked at how many used bikes I've seen over the years with very expensive problems that even the owner didn't realize when they sold it.

Good luck and spend as much up front as you can. You'll get parts that last longer and work better for their lifespan.
 

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In that price range, you are not going to find a whole lot. You can probably find a Trek 820 or 3500 from last year on clearance, or do something like the Giant Boulder. I would also consider the BikeDirect route.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Gabe23, Now I understand the difference between frame size and tire size. Makes much more sense! Thankyou!

RoxnRoots, I don't use a bike on campus as it is not necessary ( classes are very close to eachother ) and I wouldn't even risk it. I'm sure some people wouldn't hesitate to take a nice bike.

I am going to the bike shop after class today to see what they have. However, I am not in Atlanta so the choices will be limited until I get back up there Friday. Thanks everyone
 

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Pretty_Lights said:
Lumber, I just checked out the Sticky that has all the things you need to bring and I will definitely stock up on necessities.

On average, how much does a good helmet and spare tubes cost?
I would say on average you can find a helmet in the $30-40 range. Tubes are in the $3-6 dollar range for the standard ones. Gloves are a good invenstment too. You can find them on sale for $10-20 or $30 for normal price.
 

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As far as I know all helmets need to meet minimum federal standards no matter the cost. The more expensive ones I hear cool better and may fit better. My $40 one from REI fits my fat head just fine and I feel there are enough vent holes to keep me as cool as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
How do you guys feel about this Target bike..

The Forge Sawback..it is a little out of my price range but I have been grazing reviews and it seems like a good one. Apparently it is a rebranded Giant with pretty good components. Have you guys encountered or ever used on on the trail?
 

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I've no first-hand experience, but many folks on the board have one. Search the forums for "Forge Sawback" and see what you find--the comments I've seen have been mostly positive from a "bang for the buck" perspective.
 

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For the price range you have, I would look for a used bike, but look VERY carefully. Check back here with what you find and you should get some good help/advice on what you find.

I was at a local bike shop a couple days ago and he had a 'new old stock' Cannondale F500 from around 1998 that he was selling for $249. It has LX derailleurs, a P-Bone Headshock and v-brakes. I think that would be an excellent brand new entry level bike for $249. Look around and you may find something similar in your area.
 

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Pretty_Lights said:
How do you guys feel about this Target bike..

The Forge Sawback..it is a little out of my price range but I have been grazing reviews and it seems like a good one. Apparently it is a rebranded Giant with pretty good components. Have you guys encountered or ever used on on the trail?
It's pretty well-spec'd for the price. My concern would be more about the assembly of the bike. You have to hope that the guy who just finished building a bookcase and gas grill didn't screw something up when he put your bike together. If you have any friends who wrench on bikes that could check it out, that might be a good idea.
 
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