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Discussion Starter #1
So in my brief reading here I've gotten the impression that it will be nearly impossible to find a good mountain bike in my budget, but let's see if we can solve this complex "problem."

I am going to start mountain biking and need to get a bike first. I know $200 isn't a lot, but let's operate under the assumption that I don't have a choice.

What bike would you recommend I get? I'm planning on looking on craigslist because I expect I'll find the best deals there. I don't have experience mountain biking, though I think I'll definitely be capable of it.

What should I be looking for? How do I know if I'm getting a good deal? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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Bikesexual
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This what I got when I started not too long ago btw so I'm very much learning. You will have to up it u p a bit for this bike but they have others. Otherwise used will be the way to go Craigslist as you said.

Save up to 60% off Mountain Bikes - MTB - Motobecane 450HT

Don't forget $ for the helmet. Gloves and Biking Shorts! all pretty much a must
 

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Discussion Starter #3
What should I be looking for in a bike? Other than wheel and frame size I really don't know what to look for.
 

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First of all, this:

Mountain Bike Size Calculator

FWIW:

My 1994 GT Zaskar cost me $160, it needed a derailleur hanger, and a rim - total investment $240 for a perfectly functional bike that cost $1869 when new

1994 GT Zaskar w/Rock Shox - BikePedia

Mine isn't quite this clean, but fully functional:
http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/download/file.php?id=88045


My 1998 Cannondale needed new pedals and a bottle cage. Total investment $246, for a bike that cost $1300 when new.

1998 Cannondale Super V 500 - BikePedia
 

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One thing I will say is that if you buy a used bike or the new Motobecane listed above (seems like a pretty good ride for the $$) you will need to learn some basic bike maintenance and repairs.

I hope you like to turn wrenches because nothing for $$200 - $$300 is "turn - key" However, with a bit of work, you can be riding something that you can enjoy and be proud of. Best of luck to you, let us know what you find.
 

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Bikesexual
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What should I be looking for in a bike? Other than wheel and frame size I really don't know what to look for.
I found out that's a loaded question for a new rider. First you have to find out if you are in it for the long run. Buying used is tough if you are both new and non-mechanically inclined. Then what are your needs based on where you ride. My approach was buy cheap, see if I like it then went from there. I also learned a LOT from this forum. My next step is to get MUCH better with a wrench as a plumber told me once "You my friend are a "desk" guy" LOL

Do keep us posted :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I come from a mechanically-inclined family, but I'm not too superb in that area. I posted a few links of bikes I was looking at in my area but the post is waiting for moderators to approve because of my new account.
 

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Bikesexual
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Ok, care to define "... real MTBrs"... ??|c: ??
Meaning more experienced and knowledgeable Mountain Bikers will help you with your listings - I'm not one of them :(- but I had a low budget like you do, so I figured I chimed in w/my personal experience.
 

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Of those four which would you recommend?
The Blue Rockhopper since it has a picture and it looks like it is set up for trail riding. The first link would also be worth checking out if close by, but email first for pics and details.
 

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The two Giants look nice, too. The Rincon isn't that old either, but not sure what the Rincon is designed for these days. It looks like a real trail bike from the pics.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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Gawd. This is not a complex problem. It's pretty simple. For $200, you get new garbage or something about 20 years old.

I saw a woman riding by on a nice, old Cannondale with no suspension at all when I was going for my run this morning. You want that bike. V-brakes, 8 or more cogs on the cassette, and no brake dive or kick.

There are other brands that were active in that period too. Gary Fisher and Specialized spring to mind. You can also check bikepedia.com for an entry for a particular bike. If they don't carry the brand, skip it.

Don't worry about wheel size. You get 26". You can have attitude about it or not, that's up to you. ;)

Some other expenses to think about are a helmet and flat kit (probably about $100 if you're smart about it) and possibly travel. Before I moved, I didn't go mountain biking that much because I had to drive 45 minutes each way, and I was in a place in my life where buying a tank of gas for something other than making money bothered me. So I ended up doing a lot of road riding. Now I have a steady job and live a seven minute ride from trails, so I hardly ever ride the road. Point being, take a look at the rest of your context - is mountain biking feasible right now? While it doesn't necessarily have to be that expensive, I've found my circumstances are a huge driver.

Where are you coming from in terms of riding?
 

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if you are in Atlanta, there are several bicycle co-ops you should check out. I am sure one of them will be able to help you build something cool.
 
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