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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. Only been lurking for a few days so I really don't know too much, but I am anxious to start riding. I grew up riding dirt bikes from the age of 6 to 13. I am now 38. I am eager to regain my health and fitness... and enjoy some of the thrills of the hills that I enjoyed in my youth.

So I rented a hardtail from Jim's and went across the street to Quiet Water's Park. Wow, I'm an idiot!

Remembering my dirtbike days... I courageously meandered towards the "intermediate" trails, approached my first "rocky" turn... stuck my foot out into the turn... leaned confidently into the turn... and abruptly came to a stop... WTF?! My right hand throttle was no longer available to me. At this first turn I realized that bike riding was technically more difficult than my years of experience on suzuki, and I realized that this was a challenge that I want to engage.

I have have found several local craigslist adds for Speciaized FSR XC, 3-4 yrs old for $500-650. This seems like a respectable full-suspension entry level bike, but they lack disc brakes, which I deem necessary.

I would appreciate opinions on this bike in general... and any suggesstions on how easily and costly it would be to add disc brakes. I am about to try to add the links...

http://miami.craigslist.org/mdc/bik/1868094225.html... for the misses

http://miami.craigslist.org/mdc/bik/1829142844.html,,, for me?
http://miami.craigslist.org/brw/bik/1855065784.html... or this?
http://miami.craigslist.org/mdc/bik/1809012781.html... this was my first choice...?
 

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Hey,

I learned to ride at the age of 2. My first 26" bike was a rigid Specialized Stumpjumper. I am now 16 and I'm confident on all styles of trails with most bikes. The best advice I can offer here is to start with a bike that has no rear suspension. Having no rear suspension makes errors in fundamental bike handling profound and thus easier to correct. It also gives you an appreciation for bike handling skills and finesse rather than letting suspension do the work for you.

I wouldn't recommend a second hand bike. The models you listed are outdated and will give you a much less enjoyable experience on the bike than a newer generation hardtail. Sticking with specialized, the Rockhopper is a great entry bike for under $1000. They also come with disc brakes.

If you want specific advice on what bikes you should be looking at, just reply asking for it and I'll list some good choices.

At the moment though, the best advice I can give would be to steer clear of dual suspension at least until you have a season or so of basic riding under your belt. Disc brakes are also, in my opinion, an essential part of riding, if not only because of the significant increase in safety they add to riding. Bike suspension and handling has improved significantly over the last 5 years and that is why I would counsel you to avoid purchasing a now outdated bike.

If you're buying a new bike, I would recommend buying a 2009 model. Buying a demo bike also reduces the cost by 30% or more and they have usually only been ridden minimally.

Good luck!
 

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I have to agree with Kabrex, he's spot on... I don't think I was that smart at 16.

I'm an experienced KTM enduro rider coming into MTB last year and riding all this year. You'll find that your moto experience translates directly into mountain bike after you get up to speed. The concept of momentum, standing and center-of-gravity applies to a mountain bike, once you can build speed and keep it. The cool thing about a dirt bike is that momentum is always available at your wrist, for free. But now you have to work for it.

The two main missing ingredients when starting out are fitness and basic skill. As much as people would like them to, fancy new bikes gives you neither of those things.

So again I would agree, get a basic nice HT bike and ride it hard. There is a finesse element to MTB that doesn't exist in enduro, because a dirt bike weighs 250lbs vs 30. I've been riding my Rockhopper on the local trails and having fun, and it's paid off. Now that I can keep up, I can actually out-ride some of my more experienced friends in the technical sections because of my enduro experience.

Another cool thing, now that I'm ready for a full-suspension bike I fully intend to keep my hardtail too. I can appreciate the simple feel, and besides it's nice to have a 2nd bike that's not a thief magnet. If I had a 6+ year-old FSR I'd be looking for a way to unload it.
 

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R.I.P. DogFriend
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The 2005 and 2006 FSR-XC models have disc ready wheels, so you could convert over to disc brakes with only a set of Avid BB7 mechanical discs (1 @ front and 1 @ rear) and a new cable/housing set.

The BB7 brakes (2009 model which are just fine) can be had here for $45 for 160mm and $50 for 185mm. I would probably go with a 185mm in front and 160mm for the rear, so that's $95 for the brakes. Throw in one of their cable sets for $17 and you're set for $112 plus shipping.
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If you buy any non-disc brake equipped bike, and you definitely want to upgrade, you need to make sure that 1) the frame and fork have disc mounting 'tabs' 2) the wheels have hubs with a disc (rotor) flange. Without #1, you're S.O.L. for discs. Without #2, it will merely cost you for either a new wheelset or at a minimum, replacing your non-disc hub with a disc hub.
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If those FSR-XC bikes have little use, they might be OK. If they're well used (clapped out), best to move on. If they are mostly stock and still have nubs on the original tires, they may be a decent buy.
 

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that green FSR XC looks like the same bike that was on the bay a week ago for $300.looks like someone is trying to flip it for $550.that '98 FSR Elite I think was sold,I called him the first time he posted it.but he wanted a price that was a little bit high.that Red one,when it was first posted,add said it needed rebuild for the rear shock.now the add says shock are good.there's a Blue Ibex Asta there now,don't know if its sold.I think its a 2008,but Ibex is no more,they are back but won't warranty that frame.well,those FSR's don't have warranty either.see if you can get em for a lower price.good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for all the replies guys! Kabrex, I appreciate the detailed explanation and I agree that I was not that smart when I was 16. I think your advice makes great sense. I was trying to avoid buying a hardtail knowing that I will want to upgrade in the near future, but then it also makes sense to learn on a hardtail first. Then I can keep the hardtail and have an extra bike available when friends come to visit.

A lot of people seem to choose the Rockhopper as their first hardtail. Do you guys agree with this choice? Are there any other recommendations in this price range?
 

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Rockhoppers are solid bikes but if you have any bike shops in your area, go and try some different bikes.

I like hardtails and now even rigid bikes, but there's nothing basically wrong with starting on a FS bike either, as long as you can find a suitable one that you can afford.

I don't have dirt bike experience but I suspect the availability of power and the rider vs. bike weight ratio would be the major differences. Otherwise many things should translate pretty well.

edit:
one more difference: I guess dirt bikes are pretty much one size fits all. With bicycles, the correct frame size is crucial.
 

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endurance

i ride both here in the heat and humidity of alabama, the best thing for mx is the stamina that a mtb gives you, totally different but exactly the same!
 

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Although they're not overwhelmingly popular, Jamis makes some good bikes for good prices. The Trail X2 is in a $500-$750 bracket and comes with some good starter parts. Check it out here.

The great thing about hardtails is that not only do they teach you the skills properly, they are also a third of the cost. The second you add rear suspension, you get the same quality suspension/build but at double/triple the cost.

I'd personally suggest JensonUSA as well if you're shopping for a well priced bike. When I first started cross country racing, I bought a Leader frame for $99 that turned out to being one of the lighest and most reliable bikes I have ever ridden. For instance, there is a complete Jamis Durango '08 (new and fully complete) for only $460 under the complete bikes section. I don't usually shop online but in the past I have always found Jenson to be reliable and extremely well priced!

Happy trails!
 

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browardboy said:
A lot of people seem to choose the Rockhopper as their first hardtail. Do you guys agree with this choice? Are there any other recommendations in this price range?
Rockhopper is a popular choice because it's a safe one, but I would consider all of the bikes in this price range pretty equivalent. More important is to pick the one that feels best.
 

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I also rode dirtbikes, age 5 to 18 (now 22), and will say that besides the go-motion, I find the two to be similiar. Body position physics still applies, as does corner speed, traction, everything. It is a mite more difficult to get going uphill, though. After saying that, I've very new to MTB and my instincts are still trained like I was on the KTM. Kyle
 
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