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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I have recently been looking through the forums and have been interested in buying my first mountain bike. I’m from MN, don’t have any experience when it comes to mountain biking but have been doing a little bit of research on which bike to get as a starter.

Ive narrowed down my bike option to the Salsa Timberjack. As a beginning mountain biker, I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to tell the differences in components but would like your inputs on which model bike I should settle for. I really don’t have a set budget but would ideally like to keep it As close to $1000 as possible, give or take if the components would make a notable difference as I continue to learn more about this sport.

I have been considering getting either the 2019 timberjack SLX ($1400) or 2019 Deora ($1100) but recently just came across a used (ridden 3 times) 2018 Timberlake nx1 for $800 locally. I’m asking for input if I should just go with the $800 nx1, being this will be my first mountain bike. Are the components in the 2019 models that big of a difference to justify the price difference?

Thank you!
 

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I would research the difference among those forks. All of them are lower-end forks that you might want to replace eventually. The Judy seems like a pretty flimsy fork, but it will be fine to start out. However, with the money you saved by purchasing a used bike with a Judy, you can buy a nicer fork earlier.

The other consideration is the drivetrain and the wheels. Compare the quality of those and the cost of upgrading.

Conventional wisdom about drivetrains: if you don't love your shifting performance, it's better to replace the shifter than the derailer if you're only going to replace one part at a time.
 

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I have a slight preference for Shimano drivetrains.

But with that said, none of these 3 bikes are going to be THAT much better than the others in that regard.

One thing worth asking is whether the bike with SLX is 11spd SLX or the new 12spd SLX.

For the forks as is, the Recon is again marginally better, but not drastically so. The Suntour fork on the Deore bike gives you access to the Suntour customer loyalty upgrade discount which can set you up with a better Suntour fork later at a really nice price if you want to go that route.

I don't think the price difference with the used one will be able to make up for that in all honesty.

Now, if you plan to just ride it for what it is and use the money you save on the bike for all the extras you'll need, then that cost difference for the used one might make up for a lot of ground.

Since you're new to riding, you'll need a few things. Helmet, gloves, some riding shorts, at minimum some wicking t-shirts (not cotton ones). I'd recommend looking at a pedal upgrade for any bike that doesn't give you quality pedals. Probably the two new bikes at minimum (they'll have like $10 plastic showroom pedals at best, and may not come with any at all), and possibly the used one, too. You'll need a multitool you can carry with you while you ride, water, spare tube, tire levers, etc and a way to carry those things (either on the bike or on your body - your choice). Maybe even a rack to carry your bike, depending on the vehicle you drive.

At this point, no decision you make will be the "wrong" one. It just comes down to how closely you want to stay to your $1,000 budget. Considering everything, the used one will keep you closest to your target price.
 

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I've got the 2018 timberjack GX1, bought last year.

19 slx: 11speed
19 deore: 10 speed
18 nx: 11 speed heres the archived link for reference: https://salsacycles.com/bikes/archive/2018_timberjack_nx1_27.5

One thing to note regarding the used 18 nx: it doesn't come with a dropper post (unless it was added) Where as the new 19's come with dropper included. So factor that in when you are comparing.

note about the 18 nx and 19 deore: they have QR rear, non boost. While you can get dropouts to upgrade them 12x148 through axle, the 19 slx already comes in the 12x148 through axle format. I'm not well versed enough to tell you why you might or might not care about that. but I'm sure someone else will be better equipped to inform you on the pros of boost rear with thru-axle and why it may or may not be worth it to you.

other than that, everything else is replaceable, and frankly, I think it's the other half of the sport: browsing this forum, shopping for new parts, and installing said new parts.

when I got by timberjack last year, I wanted to start with a decent bike as I did not foresee my self wrenching; on the day of purchase, I had the LBS put in a dropper and a flat pedals and convert the stock ranger to tubeless (even though they weren't rated for tubeless). Now after a year, I've already put on new tires, new fork, new stem, new handlebar, new grips, and I'm considering a new headset.

Also, if you haven't already, check out the salsa timberjack thread
 

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I've got the 2018 timberjack GX1, bought last year.

19 slx: 11speed
19 deore: 10 speed
18 nx: 11 speed heres the archived link for reference: https://salsacycles.com/bikes/archive/2018_timberjack_nx1_27.5

One thing to note regarding the used 18 nx: it doesn't come with a dropper post (unless it was added) Where as the new 19's come with dropper included. So factor that in when you are comparing.

note about the 18 nx and 19 deore: they have QR rear, non boost. While you can get dropouts to upgrade them 12x148 through axle, the 19 slx already comes in the 12x148 through axle format. I'm not well versed enough to tell you why you might or might not care about that. but I'm sure someone else will be better equipped to inform you on the pros of boost rear with thru-axle and why it may or may not be worth it to you.
I don't think thru axles are all that big of a deal for a hardtail, since the rear end is already pretty stiff. reading the specs on the 2018 Timberjack, it has qr 141 spacing stock. That IS boost (the quick release variant of it). If I bought a Timberjack with qr141 wheels, I'd probably buy the 12x148 dropouts anyway, for a few reasons:
1. upgrade options. if you want to upgrade wheels later, qr141 wheels are still hard to find on the aftermarket. I dunno if that will ever change or not. having the 12x148 dropouts for the bike sitting at home already will just make shopping easier.
2. along similar lines, if you ever decide to sell the bike, a potential buyer might not be happy about the limited choice of qr141 wheels. But if you include the dropouts, that'll address many concerns.
3. just in case Salsa changes their alternator dropouts in the future and it becomes hard to impossible to source 12x148 dropouts for this bike, you've got them just in case.

IMO, a dropper post is definitely worth it. I'd buy one of the new ones just for that.
 

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I own a 2018 Salsa Timberjack NX1, and it's a great bike. The only thing that the newer bikes have over it is that they have better brakes and a dropper post. The SLX build does have the 12 x 148 dropouts, which makes it easier to upgrade your wheelset, but as a beginner at this price point, I don't think it's a huge deal.

The brakes on the 2018 Timberjack are not as good, but they still do the job just fine, and they're hydraulic of course.

Another thing to consider is that the 2019 Deore build only has a 10 speed drivetrain compared to the 11 speed drivetrains of the SLX and NX builds.

So if I were you, I would purchase the 2018 Timberjack, and buy a OneUp dropper post for it. You'll need to buy the dropper, the lever for the dropper and the shim to adjust the travel. Depending on if you buy the V1 dropper or the V2, that'll put you back 230-270 dollars there. BTW, the Timberjack has very limited room for a dropper, especially for the smaller sizes so the OneUp dropper is one of the only ones that will actually work for it.

That puts you right around $1000.
 

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Hello all,

I have recently been looking through the forums and have been interested in buying my first mountain bike. I'm from MN, don't have any experience when it comes to mountain biking but have been doing a little bit of research on which bike to get as a starter.

Ive narrowed down my bike option to the Salsa Timberjack. As a beginning mountain biker, I'm sure I wouldn't be able to tell the differences in components but would like your inputs on which model bike I should settle for. I really don't have a set budget but would ideally like to keep it As close to $1000 as possible, give or take if the components would make a notable difference as I continue to learn more about this sport.

I have been considering getting either the 2019 timberjack SLX ($1400) or 2019 Deora ($1100) but recently just came across a used (ridden 3 times) 2018 Timberlake nx1 for $800 locally. I'm asking for input if I should just go with the $800 nx1, being this will be my first mountain bike. Are the components in the 2019 models that big of a difference to justify the price difference?

Thank you!
A Timberjack is a very solid choice for a first bike.

The NX1 has an NX11 1x11 derailleur, which is perfectly good kit for a new rider. The one kind of bummer on it is that its wheels are 9mm Quick Release. Those aren't used too much anymore. The good news is that Salsa frames have dropouts that you can change to thru axles if you decide to upgrade the wheels. You will also have to change the fork or use mismatched wheels.The Judy is an air fork with RockShox' two generations ago damper (turnkey). Don't know how good/bad it is, probably adequate.

The Deore drivetrain is only a 10 speed, but the same range 11-42 as the NX11 (you lose a midrange gear somewhere in there, BFD). It's fine but not worth much if any more. The forks are maybe a small upgrade, but the Deore model has a dropper post and thru axles so you won't have to hassle with that. The dropper post is worth a solid $100+, and the thru axles and probably better hubs maybe worth the rest of the difference.

The SLX level really probably isn't worth the extra cash. The SLX derailleur is nicer. The Recon fork is probably a wash, uses RockShox last generation damper (Motion Control). Everything else is pretty much the same as DeOre.

The brakes do get a little better as they go up in price, but all are adequate and none are "special."
 

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I do like mine. I’ve been promising myself a dropper post for 16mo, the tires are not true tubeless and weep sealant but are due a change that will solve that, the brakes took a little while to settle down. I wouldn’t hesitate to upgrade any of it when due. Get any of them, it’s a great platform.
 

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So if I were you, I would purchase the 2018 Timberjack, and buy a OneUp dropper post for it. You'll need to buy the dropper, the lever for the dropper and the shim to adjust the travel. Depending on if you buy the V1 dropper or the V2, that'll put you back 230-270 dollars there. BTW, the Timberjack has very limited room for a dropper, especially for the smaller sizes so the OneUp dropper is one of the only ones that will actually work for it.
Just in case the OP decides to go this way...the V2 droppers come with the shim kit. I just bought the post last week on Competitive Cyclist. I signed up for their mailing list (again) to get 20% off. The remote is on sale for 27% off. I got the 180mm version with the remote for right around $200. The V2 dropper stack height is super short, so it'd be a good choice even if he never needed to use the shims. My 180mm OneUp post has essentially the same stack height as the 150mm KS post it replaced.
 

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Get the 2019 SLX. You'll thank yourself for getting the one with the best components nine months down the road if you're still riding regularly.

IMO, $800 for a used 2018 NX1 is not a good deal at all, unless you are the seller. I'd imagine you could pick up a brand new leftover NX1 for less than that if you could find a shop that still had one on the floor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hello All,

Thank you for your inputs! Greatly appreciated! The information you guys have provided definitely helped in which model I will be choosing. Since I will be getting the bike at $700, I will be purchasing the older model 2018 Timberjack NX1. I figured as I continue to ride and learn more about the sport, I can slowly upgrade as I go.

Thanks again!
 

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Enjoy the bike. I love the way my 2018 Timberjack handles, and I've done a ton of upgrades on it. The only thing left stock on my bike is the brake rotors.

Do yourself a favor and start saving money for your local bike shop to do a tubeless conversion. After you get your first pinch flat and wrestle with the stock ranger tires trying to change a tube you'll never want to do it again. After that, start saving money for a dropper post and better brakes (I'd recommend a bike yoke revive dropper and shimano XT brakes).

Have fun and be safe on the trails.
 

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That's a pretty good deal on a great (starter) bike. Congrats!

Learn to deal with your own flats and do your own tubeless. Changing/patching a tube is something every rider should learn, and it's not fun on the trail. Tubeless poses a couple of its own challenges here and there, but it's not hard.

Before you buy a dropper post, it probably makes sense to know why you might want one.

First, understand that in a lot of rough terrain you will want to stand out of the saddle to let your arms and legs be your suspension, and also so you can move around on the bike. Second, most people that stand in the saddle move their weight forward, that is, your butt stays right over the saddle and all your upper body is tilted forward. This can be a recipe for going over the bars, particularly if you are pointed downhill.

So, when you are out of the saddle, practice moving your hindquarters to the rear of your saddle, yes even where you might hit your butt on the rear wheel. In the early going, having your saddle as a "locator" or reference point can be helpful, but it's also in the way. You can rapidly then see the utility of a dropper post.

This is a low cost, but quite decent dropper post. https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/us/en/brand-x-ascend-120mm-150mm-dropper-seatpost/rp-prod149024
 

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Do yourself a favor and start saving money for your local bike shop to do a tubeless conversion. After you get your first pinch flat and wrestle with the stock ranger tires trying to change a tube you'll never want to do it again. After that, start saving money for a dropper post and better brakes (I'd recommend a bike yoke revive dropper and shimano XT brakes).
I'm sure the Revive is a nice dropper, but it costs like half the price of his bike. There are other good droppers out there for less money (OneUp, Brand-X, PNW, etc.). If there's not a ton of room for a dropper, the OneUp V2 is going to be a good choice, as mentioned above.

If the OP had to choose one upgrade, I'd advise getting a dropper first, since that will make learning new skills a lot easier. With any luck, the original owner of the Salsa already was running tubeless. If not, this is definitely something to put on the radar. Focusing on developing skills and getting rides in is going to be more important than upgrades.
 

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I'm sure the Revive is a nice dropper, but it costs like half the price of his bike. There are other good droppers out there for less money (OneUp, Brand-X, PNW, etc.). If there's not a ton of room for a dropper, the OneUp V2 is going to be a good choice, as mentioned above.

If the OP had to choose one upgrade, I'd advise getting a dropper first, since that will make learning new skills a lot easier. With any luck, the original owner of the Salsa already was running tubeless. If not, this is definitely something to put on the radar. Focusing on developing skills and getting rides in is going to be more important than upgrades.
I'm a firm believer in buying once and crying once. I agree the OP doesn't need any upgrades right away. First thing he needs to do is get the bike in the dirt and have some fun.
 

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Enjoy the bike. I love the way my 2018 Timberjack handles, and I've done a ton of upgrades on it. The only thing left stock on my bike is the brake rotors.

Do yourself a favor and start saving money for your local bike shop to do a tubeless conversion. After you get your first pinch flat and wrestle with the stock ranger tires trying to change a tube you'll never want to do it again. After that, start saving money for a dropper post and better brakes (I'd recommend a bike yoke revive dropper and shimano XT brakes).

Have fun and be safe on the trails.
Excellent point on the tires. Those stock WTB Rangers are a serious pain in the ass to get off of those rims. Once I bought my Timberjack, I quickly got a pair of Maxxis Rekons on there, and converted them to tubeless.
 
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