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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking to get in shape and do some cardio. Due to the wonderus effects of a car wreck, I have no right ankle anymore. So, running is out of the question. I used to ride race a little bmx when I was a kid, but I'm closer to 40 than 35 these days.

Anyway, I'm way out of the loop (not sure I was ever in) but I'm looking to purchase a mountain bike. Some friends and I are looking to start riding and we have some great trails around home.

So, I'm in the market for a bike. Mostly trail riding, maybe some road riding. However, I don't even know what features to look for. I want to push myself and ride some hills and trails to build my cardio. I want to take my time and do some research and buy a decent bike, no Wal-Mart stuff but a decent bike.

I don't have a problem spending $1,000 if this will get a decent bike, then if after a while I want to upgrade I can.

Please help me in telling me what features to look for, I'm not as concerned with a brand at this time, but what features make a good bike.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
 

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Look at hardtails

First off, welcome to the forums. Given what you've described, I would start by looking at hardtail bikes. The $1000 you are willing to spend will get you a nicely spec'd hardtail, which should suit your needs to get some cardio on the trails as well as the road. Read the forums here and check out the reviews sections to get yourself familiar with bike brands, models, and the components that make up the bikes. It will be very hard to try to educate you as to what to look for in one thread, let alone one post.

In general, I can say that for your $1000, you should be able to get a bgood hardtail from one of the major manufacturers with better than average drivetrain components and fork. Look at the websites of the major manufacturers like Giant, Cannondale, Specialized, Trek, Kona to mention a few. they typically have their bikes categorized, so look for hardtail mountain bikes. Again, read, read, read, read and get familair with the terminologies and components listed on each bike. It will take time, and it will get frustrating, but the more you know before you buy, the better off you'll be.

Lastly, don't get caught up in people's personal recommendations for bikes. If you go to the "Beginners Corner" forum, read the article above the threads called "How to Choose a Hardtail Bike". This will give you a lot of good information. Bottom line is, the bike you should buy should be the one that fits best and has the best component selection for the money you can spend.

In know this post doesn't give a ton of specific information, but I hope it points you in the right direction of finding the right bike.

Bob
 

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"Hardtail" means no rear suspension. It will have a front suspension fork. FS or Full Suspension will have a rear shock as well as the front suspension fork. I agree you may want to stay with a hardtail for $1000. You can get a pretty nicely spec'd bike for that. Definately buy from a reputable shop. The bikes mentioned before are all good choices as far as brands go. Getting the right fit is important. Definately test ride before you buy. Any good shop will allow you to do that. Keep reading these forums, you'll learn a lot.
 

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you dont have to spend near 1k for a decient bike. since your a biginner and from the riding you would be doing, just get a Specialized Hardrock and save yourself some money. because what if you find out riding just hurts too much, or that you dont find it all that interisting ? then your have this bike you paid a lot for just sitting around. The hardrock Sport is perfict. prettymuch everything you'll ever need to get started. The hardrock frames upgrade nicely too. the hardrocks will set you back 360 bucks. I rode one for about 2 weeks, I loved it. if I had the space I would buy one.
 

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Todd has some good points

todd_freeride said:
you dont have to spend near 1k for a decient bike. since your a biginner and from the riding you would be doing, just get a Specialized Hardrock and save yourself some money. because what if you find out riding just hurts too much, or that you dont find it all that interisting ? then your have this bike you paid a lot for just sitting around. The hardrock Sport is perfict. prettymuch everything you'll ever need to get started. The hardrock frames upgrade nicely too. the hardrocks will set you back 360 bucks. I rode one for about 2 weeks, I loved it. if I had the space I would buy one.

Especially with regard to the risk associated with spending too much money on a bike if you don't know you'll take to the sport. There is two sides of this coin in that if you "under-buy" and find you like the sport, then you have the situation where you want something better and spend more in upgrading a low end bike than what you would have spent if you had bought a well spec'd bike to begin with. Again, you have to assess that risk for yourself and buy accordingly. As for the Hardrock being perfect, I say that's a subjective recommendation. The Hardrock is a good, entry level bike and should be considered if you decide to go entry level. Much like the advice on the first page of the Beginner's Forum, I would caution that what's right for one person may not be right for you. Take all the suggestions into account, test ride some bikes and decide what's right for you. That's why there's chocolate and vanilla. One man's floor is another man's ceiling, etc., etc.

Keep reading, learning and comparing. let us know if you have more questions.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Narrowing it down

I have pretty much decided that I want a hardtail. I will be doing some hills and trails so I would like a light bike and plenty of gears to help with climbing. I will be doing some road riding as well.

I also think I want disc brakes. :confused:

From what I've seen so far with my limited amount of experience, I like what Specialized has to offer. I live in rural Ky and there are only two bike shops within an hours drive from me. I have not went there to check them out to see what they have to offer but am going soon. But I like what Specialized has so far but I would like to go somewhere and ride one.

Also, I'm 6' and 180 lbs, what size bike would fit me?
 

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Couple of answers

lungbuster said:
I have pretty much decided that I want a hardtail. I will be doing some hills and trails so I would like a light bike and plenty of gears to help with climbing. I will be doing some road riding as well.

I also think I want disc brakes. :confused:

From what I've seen so far with my limited amount of experience, I like what Specialized has to offer. I live in rural Ky and there are only two bike shops within an hours drive from me. I have not went there to check them out to see what they have to offer but am going soon. But I like what Specialized has so far but I would like to go somewhere and ride one.

Also, I'm 6' and 180 lbs, what size bike would fit me?
Again, I'll refer to another article to help with the disc brake issue. Check the "Brake Time" forum and read the "Disc Brake FAQ". This will help clear up your decision regarding disc brakes (or perhaps confuse you more). I happen to believe that discs are the way to go, but again, that's my opinion. Others may disagree. As for the Specialized products, I think you're looking at good bikes. As for frame size, I would just go to the bike shop and start with some of the larger frame offerings and test ride them. Have someone at the bike shop help you in sizing the bike correctly. You should know the right size when comparing, as it will feel right when you ride it.

You're getting close, keep up with your research.

Bob
 

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Hi,

There is some interesting stuff in here about 'under-buy' and 'over-buy' and you need to be careful as both sides are right. I think that the Hardtail choice is definitely the correct one.

Is there anyway you could rent a better bike for a weekend? This would give you a good idea whether something like the HardRock would be sufficient, or whether or not you get something better like a Rockhopper or even a Stumpjumper. I mention Specialized because it is throughout the thread and because I my last two bikes are Specialized, and I have always been very happy with them.

As for the disc brakes, be careful. Unless the bike you choose has good brakes on it, you might want to stick with the standard V-brakes, though it depends on what you prefer.

If you are 6 ft tall, you will want a large Specialized Frame--at least 19inch. I am 5'10" and had a 19 inch Rockhopper that was my primary bike for many years.

Good luck with your shopping!
 

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Best suggestion is to not rush into this. Definately go to a couple shops and try everything you can. Let them know you're new at the game but that this doesn't mean beginner bike necessarily. Beginner components tend to wear out quicker and give you more problems along with a distasteful experience. Not always the case but there is no substitute for good quality IMO. The Hardrock is a nice beginner bike. Probably one of the better ones. I looked at it closely when looking for a bike for my 12 yr old son. I ended up with a 04 leftover Kona Fire Mountain. A bit nicer spec'd and I got a sweet deal on it. This time of year is great for closeouts if you could find one that fits. Don't rule out the other brands that were mentioned earlier as well if there is a dealer in your area. Good luck with the process.
 

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Breznak said:
Hi,

There is some interesting stuff in here about 'under-buy' and 'over-buy' and you need to be careful as both sides are right. I think that the Hardtail choice is definitely the correct one.

Is there anyway you could rent a better bike for a weekend? This would give you a good idea whether something like the HardRock would be sufficient, or whether or not you get something better like a Rockhopper or even a Stumpjumper. I mention Specialized because it is throughout the thread and because I my last two bikes are Specialized, and I have always been very happy with them.

As for the disc brakes, be careful. Unless the bike you choose has good brakes on it, you might want to stick with the standard V-brakes, though it depends on what you prefer.

If you are 6 ft tall, you will want a large Specialized Frame--at least 19inch. I am 5'10" and had a 19 inch Rockhopper that was my primary bike for many years.

Good luck with your shopping!
true and not true, it depends on your preference. I ride a 14" bike a 15.5 and a 19 inch bike. i'm 6'2" and I think the 19 inch is too big, I prefer a 17 inch frame all the way down to a 14 ( my 14" is a Specialized P.1 Cr-Mo so its long, but not tall )

if your going to ride road and light trail then get a bigger frame, but for more agressive riding ? smaller frame works better.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks a bunch

Wow!! Great info guys, this is giving more information to help me make a better decision. I'm still a month or so from making my purchase. I want to start riding in Mid January.

Thanks everyone for offering your suggestions and pointing me in the right direction.

Brad
 

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One last suggestion. Be careful to some extent what the bike shop tells you. Like any sales organization they are there to sell product without spending too much time. I'm not knocking them it's just a harsh reality. I've walked into shops that had sales people that didn't have a clue and others where they were all well trained enthusiasts. Get some info then bounce it back on this thread to get some unbiased (for the most part) opinions. We have nothing to gain! :D
I was lucky when I bought my latest rig. I was relatively new to "real" mountain bike buying last year and the shop near me was extremely knowledgable. I went to other shops locally to look at the competing brands and it became obvious they were designed to market to a more Mom, Dad and the Kids kind of clientele. I like to get deep and technical and when they scratch their heads I tend to walk away. It's a fault of being an Engineer, you ask why too much! Good luck.
 

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I am gonna agree with getting a midlevel hardtail and save some cash. If you decide to upgrade, you can spend the money you save on the components you want. Maybe get v brakes and upgrade to disc. upgrade the fork if you need it. Or rear derailur. But you may be able to get a good bike (like the specialized) for 400, then get a different fork, derailure and brakes as you go along and need better parts. Or, you may decide to spend the cash on a FS bike later, rather than trying to upgrade.

Matt
 
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