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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I are avid mud-racers People Font Chest Trunk Mythology
and just getting started in mountain biking. I have read many posts stating, "Don't buy a bike THEN ask for advice." So we are asking for advice first! We have been riding two really cheap RoadMaster mountain bikes (they were given to us). Even tho the front shifter on mine, only works 2/3 of the time, and the rear derailer throws the chain off once in a while... GL, folks, I have realized I absolutely love riding...
So my wife and I are looking for decent entry-level bikes. One that we can ride 5-8 miles on the highway, from our house to the off-road course (beginner to intermediate courses, mind ya). I would like to be able to ride several miles on pavement regularly, but also have a bike I can use to take camping when on the Cranberry River in WV, when I go trout fishing (16-mile dirt road--no motor vehicles allowed). I have read enough on here to know I don't need FS, but I would like dual disc brakes and quick release rims (or whatever they're called). I'd like to keep them each under $400 until we learn more and know what we really want/need. Been searching craigslist, eBay and BikesDirect. To be honest, it's all Greek to me... Can anyone give an old feller a recommendation???
 

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second hand, trek, giant and specialized should have some good hard tails around that price from maybe a couple of years ago. depending on where you are (give general location) some of the regulars could probably steer you in the right direction for some good buys. or for new you can try some of the direct bike dealers. the review section here is a gold mine for checking out the various bits n pieces that come with the bikes to compare quality and give you an idea on what your getting. (thats how i researched what i was getting)
 

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In the case that you dont want or aren't comfortable buying a used bike you can find a decent bike in that price range if you are really just riding pavement and dirt trails to go fishing and stuff. For the most part people around here will tell you that 400 bucks for a mountain bike isn't worth it and if you are riding rough trails regularly for sport then they are right. If you are using it recreationally, which is really what it sounds like you are looking for to me, Then you could find a brand name low end bike. First step is go to a bike shop (not target or walmart) and ride a few bikes to get an idea of what you like. You might find you like a 29er for that kind of riding in which case you need to bump up to 500-600 bucks probably or go used. Look for last years models of bikes left over in shops. You might find a trek 3500 or Fuji Neveda for around 400.
 

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Definitely check the used market if there is one near you.
I hear WV has some killer trails though, so there might be some descent bikes down there for a deal.

Otherwise if looking new, I'd check out airborne or bikesdirect online, I would definitely get a fitting at a local shop if you can though, buying the wrong size bike is the worst.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the recommendations, Hooch. I've been seeing those brands on the used lists, but had no idea which ones were considered "decent enough." I have had a little experience with a crappy shifting system--which REALLY makes for a difficult ride. Yet, I don't know at what level or brand a decent shifter is or on... Mind you, I ain't looking for a pro series--but I'd like for it to actually ENGAGE the smaller gear up front and not fall off the sprocket in the rear! Haha!
Oh yeah, I'm in Harrisburg, NC. About 1 mile outside of Charlotte. So I have quite few bike shops around. I don't mind buying a used bike at all! Actually, that would be preferred--just because I think I would get a better bike for less. I'm on the lookout for a deal like a buddy of mine got. He found a $2000 bike in great shape at a yard sale for $175. Of course, he knows what he's looking at. And I can't wait around for a deal like that cause I'll be losing a lot of riding time in between!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hankscorpio and Steveohio, thanks for taking the time to post. And yes, at this point I just need a reliable, recreational ride. I need one for the fun of it--but also as a utility. The only trails I have done so far here in Harrisburg, NC are light, no drops or jumps. I'm working on increasing my speed and stamina--riding the same path over and over. So I think y'all are right, I just need a dependable hard tail. At the same time, I don't want to do like my nephew did and get 12 miles out the dirt road I mentioned earlier and have a breakdown. That would suck--especially with a 40lb backpack (he broke a pedal on a Walmart bike).
So I'll take the advice, and hit up a bike shop today after work. Shoot, may leave early--since I'm pretty much ate up with mountain bikes right now! LOL
Oh yeah, one more big question... The seat on this junker I have is killing my can... It looks like a racing type seat--but from Walmart. On the other hand, the seat on my wife's POS looks like it came off of a beachcomber but it's easy on the rump. So what I don't know is whether my seat is killing me because I'm just not used to it, or is it just because it's cheap? I'm a fairly lean 195lbs, but don't forget I also gotta carry a backpack! Do I need to have more than one seat on hand???
 

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I'm happy for you, your wife like dirt as much as you...rare find indeed...I got stuck with a pavement pounder...Booooooooo

Go 29er all day..you and your wife deserve new bikes...get your budjet up to 600 each...go buy new at your fav LBS and RIDE RIDE RIDE!!
New bikes work, they work well and more $$ you spend the lighter/faster/easier to ride they are! Most LBS will be eager to take care of you and your new bikes(if you need that extra help getting started with this AWESOME sport!!)
With good working bikes and the support of your LBS you are sure to have a smile from ear to ear..infact you may think eat sleep live MTBs from then on out = good thing..you will live longer hahaha
Burt
 

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Couple things. First anything can break on any bike so buff up on trailside repair and carry the appropriate tools and extras (tons of threads on that in this forum, minimally enough for a flat tire)

Saddles are very personal and 10 people could tell you they like 10 different saddles. Unfortunately there isn't an easy way to find this out. Some lbs's will let you try some. Personally I like the WTB pure v and have found most other people who have it like it alot. its not the lightest or smallest saddle though. if you are putting a lot of miles in look into some riding shorts too. You dont need more then one saddle on hand but you might go through a few until you find the one that fits you best. Fit is very important. Another reason to go to the LBS. Ride as many bikes as you can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hankscorpio, thanks again... Looks like I need to get out to the LBS and try a few out. My buddy who's an avid MTB'r told me about getting riding shorts also. But I'm hoping to find a saddle that I can comfortably use without them as well... When I go to the rugged parts of Southern WV to trout fish--riding shorts on the stream may raise a few eyebrows! Haha!! At any rate, I'm really looking forward to hitting the LBS later...

Burt4x4: Thanks bro! I have been blessed with an awesome wife! It's funny, I had to twist her arm to get her to go to the first mud race with me--now she goes to more of them than I do (mud races for just women)! I just may have to take her to the LBS and get her to relax her budget a bit!

Which brings up another question: What's the deal with women's bikes?? I mean, I know the top frame bar is lower, but are there any other differences? Do most avid MTB'r women ride women's bikes? When I am looking online and click the box to narrow the search to women's bikes--that eliminates about 85% of the choices! Of course, she's only 5'2" and weighs 100lbs. Do they even make Men's bikes that small?
 

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You can get baggie shorts with the liners under them to avoid the funny looks but I also wouldn't want to stand around fishing in my liners. If its a long enough ride where your butt hurts and you want the padding just buy a good set of baggies with liners (personally I like zoics) and when you get to the river duck behind a tree and ditch the liners and hang out in the baggies till its time to leave.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Awesome! I didn't know there were baggie shorts. I just assumed all of the riding shorts were nut-huggers... I'll catch on soon enough! I'll take a peek at the Zoics today...
 

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Fox makes them too. I usually wait to catch a good sale at REI. From my own personal experience.....avoid the ones with sewn in liners (which would defeat the point for removing them for fishing anyway) but they chafed me a lot because they didn't adjust independent of where the baggies are.

Love my zoics, I wear them as everyday shorts all the time
 

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The high slope of the top tube on women's bikes is a holdover from when women used to wear dresses and it wasn't considered lady-like to sling a leg over a bike. Those are sometimes called step-through frames. The design is indicative of a bike that really wasn't designed with performance in mind, since the geometry is inherently weaker [than a triangle]. Sometimes this is compensated for by making the top tube thicker, adding more weight. If you look at women specific bikes from brands like Trek for instance, you'll notice that they look a lot more like men's bikes, but the geometry is more dialed in for a smaller frame and women's proportions. I would steer away from step-through frames for your wife. I think this type of frame is only common in some cruiser/commuters and department store/big box MTBs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Falconpunch7: Thanks for the insight! The history of the woman's top tube being lowered makes perfectly good sense. I'm prolly a few years older than you (haha), cause I actually remember when ALL bikes could be discerned between male and female just because of that top tube... at any rate, you have certainly answered my question. I am glad to know I don't need to search for "women's bikes" (necessarily) as I search for one for my wife. That certainly increases the selection many fold!
 

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Trek 4300

I also recently got into mtn biking but came from the world of road cycling. The one lesson I always followed was to buy what I thought would be necessary and not go overboard. I bought my first mtn bike about two weeks ago and love it. It's a hardtail and was on sale at my LBS so I went for it. I HIgHly recommend this bike. It's a 2014 Trek 4300 . I got it for $530 :) It's a solid bike and takes quite a bit of abuse. I've taken it to rock parks, some technical trails and it performs great and I've had no issues. If you guys are using it for short trips it will be great. It even has built in studs for mud guards if you like :) That being said, I did recently get a new Trek Fuel EX 7 today (FS bike) - BUT my hard tail 4300 is so awesome I'm keeping it. The shifting on the 4300 is smooth and you won't have any issues with it. If you guys like the outdoors the way it seems you do - I have no doubt in my mind that you will fall in love with this sport. It's amazing. I'm hooked. When you see nature from the seat of a mountain bike its different - then of course you get that awesome rush of the downhill descent......ahh what bliss :) Enjoy the ride and everything the previous posters have said. You're also welcome to message me for any questions!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Congrats, Sroc3! I checked out that Trek Fuel EX 7, that's what I look forward to some day!! I gotta get some seat time in first... You know, I have been fortunate to do a lot of things in my life and have been comfortable financially (certainly not wealthy--Haha!). I have bungee jumped, rock climbed, driven a NASCAR, canoed, hunted and fished-extensively, run all the mud races in the area, water skied, snow skied, (getting ready to scuba and parachute with my sister who keeps hitting me up) but all of those are just occasional endeavors. I have found that I love to ride DAILY! Not to mention, I don't like running (even to I do it occasionally). I want to get out and hit the roads and trails on two-wheels and replace the dreaded cardio at the gym! I'll look for a Trek 4300 in the area... In the meantime check out my post here: http://forums.mtbr.com/general-discussion/pre-purchase-advice-903094.html and tell me what you think!
 

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Just read your new thread - I still think you should check out and test ride a 4300 at a local bike shop. Well worth it. It's also not a carbon bike so they will def let you take it out for a while to get a feel for it. Oh and this too is important - all in all, regardless of components and what you may read on this forum (including my advice!), your first bike should fell like it "fits like a glove". Who gives a hoot if its heavy or blah, blah....if you have a bad first experience and it's not a bike that suits your physique, you won't enjoy it as much. The cockpit feel - where you sit: bar reach, seat position and pedal position are SO important.

As for my next bike in about a year maybe ;) - Google "Ibis Ripley". Ohhhh boy!!!
 

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You should ask your friend as many questions as he can stand. if he will let you (if your the same size) borrow his bike . Go to shops and test ride as many bikes as you can,see if there are any demo days upcoming. Your friend might be able to help you with finding a used bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Gotcha. I'm gonna visit more shops before I pull the trigger. I guess, at times, I am an impulse buyer. But I don't want to make a purchase and then find out a month later I made a mistake. I visited Bike Line the other day, and to be honest, it was sort of a dream-crusher. The salesman pretty much pointed me towards $1200 bikes and said this IS entry level. They don't deal in used equipment, and only carry a few bikes under $800. I have another really small shop close to my house. I'll stop in there today and see what's the score.
As far as talking to may friend--he said call him with any questions, anytime! He's an avid cyclist. Does the century runs as well as off-road. But he's not my body type or height. AND he is actually preparing to head to Alaska where he will be for the next 7 months. So he'll be out of touch...
 
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