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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I did some riding 15 or so years back for a few years, then came some health issues, financial issues, etc. and no riding and all equipment sold. I was never a really good rider, more of a recreational rider. At the time, I started with the cheapest Cannondale HT I could get, then decided I needed FS and bought an IBEX Asta (internet company). I rode it for a couple years until the problems started.

Fast forward to 2019, I am 66 yo, slimmer now than my top weight of 270, but at 225, still carrying around this damn belly (but still losing.....). I am wanting to get back to riding to both fill my days (retired now) and to help with continuing to get rid of the fat (goal is 180).

I live 60 miles N of Phoenix, AZ and most of the close to me riding would be on dirt roads and atv trails (mostly hardpack with rocks and loose over hardpack)in the BLM land and National monument close to me. I would be riding a few miles of pavement to get there. I also live close enough to the Prescott area to transport the bike and take on some local trails.

I am not a skilled rider, probably an advanced beginner, and I like to keep my butt planted most of the time. I have been researching hardtails and had pretty much figured my best choices would be a Salsa SLX 27.5 or a Trek Roscoe 8. Both would put me in my target budget of $1500.

I started thinking about FS, however, because I do have some minor back issues (intermittent), and DO like to keep my butt planted. If I go FS, I will have to increase my target budget and would like to stay around $2500......I will not spend over $3000....just NO, I'm not gonna do it. Started looking at Trek Fuel EX 5 plus (I tend to like the idea of plus tires from a comfort and traction standpoint)

Sorry for being long winded, but with my style and type of riding and budget, what would be the suggestions of the collective mind about the bikes I am looking at and suggestions either for/against HT or FS, and any others that might work well for me in the same budget.

TIA for all the help......

Lon
 

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Are you very familiar with all the confusing 11-12 speed gear standards? Do you know what "boost" relates to as far as mountain biking components. If you answer "NO" to any or both questions, I seriously recommend you ignore all advice for you to build your own from the frame up. You don't save money unless you have much more knowledge than you do currently, not an insult, just a fact.

If I was in your exact situation, I would buy a cheap ass bike and see how committed I was to get my ass out the door and go pedal a bike, an experience, as you state, that you were really never committed to. If you find yourself actually using a bike, and the cheap ass bike is holding up, keep pedaling and conduct research on potential bikes. You will be gaining knowledge as you ride, like what is working, what seems to be lacking, etc. Then, and only then, grasshoppa, will you truly be able to see past the well meaning advice and zero in on what you really need.
 
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Hello Devil Dog…

I actually think the Salsa Timberjack (SLX) and Trek Roscoe are good options for what you are looking for. Test ride and see what feels good within budget. Buy that one.

You rode enough in the past that you know it's worthwhile to buy a good bike.

Building from a framset almost always costs more, and the technology advances so quickly it's hard to keep track of what is what, which leads to poor purchases.
 
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Hi T,

Regarding the need for FS at this stage vs a "plus" tyred HT (2.6 or 2.8), and about your back, I suggest you read this thread, it might not have the answer for you, but it may give you some insights or prompt some more questions that you can follow up on.

https://forums.mtbr.com/beginners-corner/fs-ht-1105963.html

The OP, RollingBuffalo, is pretty much asking the same question you are. He has the same budget, and also has back issues!

https://forums.mtbr.com/beginners-corner/fs-ht-1105963.html

I'd put on you on a plus HT, and spend any extra cash on bike fit (very important re: muscle usage and not inflaming any back issues due to over using muscles e.g. hip flexor), and...
...to the extent that you're not already doing them, on a program of exercises from a phyiotherapist / physical therapist to assist with your back issues.

I'd also post on the Arizona forum, asking for the names of great local bike stores.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi T,

Regarding the need for FS at this stage vs a "plus" tyred HT (2.6 or 2.8), and about your back, I suggest you read this thread, it might not have the answer for you, but it may give you some insights or prompt some more questions that you can follow up on.

https://forums.mtbr.com/beginners-corner/fs-ht-1105963.html

The OP, RollingBuffalo, is pretty much asking the same question you are. He has the same budget, and also has back issues!

https://forums.mtbr.com/beginners-corner/fs-ht-1105963.html

I'd put on you on a plus HT, and spend any extra cash on bike fit (very important re: muscle usage and not inflaming any back issues due to over using muscles e.g. hip flexor), and...
...to the extent that you're not already doing them, on a program of exercises from a phyiotherapist / physical therapist to assist with your back issues.

I'd also post on the Arizona forum, asking for the names of great local bike stores.
Yeah, it was that thread that got me to thinking about FS. I was ready to go to the LBS and look at those two Hardtails......
 

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Yeah, it was that thread that got me to thinking about FS. I was ready to go to the LBS and look at those two Hardtails......
What does your intuition tell you?

Have you done the coin flip thing, wherby if you associate heads with HT and tails with FS, and flip a tail (FS), and don't feel comfortable, then that tells you that a HT is the way to go.
 

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Having ridden before doesn't mean you know what bike is the best fit for you. I know that from experience, being sort of in the same boat. Had a mountain bike in the late 90's-early 2000's that I rode everywhere including a few trails in winter park Colorado (though nothing insane)....
Fast forward a few months ago and it was time to get back in shape. Obviously I knew u wanted a HT, no question, as they are superior to FS in every way... That was my youthful strength and endurance talking. It also said there is also no point in getting a high end bike because all it gives you is a few less pounds...

Now, obviously those last two sentences are false, I know that now... But, I am glad I went with a bottom rung bike.
I ended up getting a Specialized pitch sport. I had it all planned out. Buy the bike, upgrade it $200 at a time, and end up with a bike just as good as a high end bike.... Yea, I didn't know what I didn't know.....

So anyway, that plans out the window. New plan is to upgrade the fork to an air fork and that's it, then in a year or two upgrade to a FS, right now it's looking like the Fezzari Abajo Peak is what I want $2000 and worth a look imo.

Now, as to why I'm glad I got a bottom rung HT instead of jumping in on a FS.

#1, I didn't, and maybe still don't, know enough to pick the right bike. Until recently, I would have picked the Fezzari wiki peak FS for $1500. But now I know more, and can see the abajo peak is more than worth the extra $500... If I had jumped in with both feet I would be $1500 into a bike, wishing I had bought more.

#2. I don't have the skills or endurance to take advantage of a nice FS bike right now. A FS bike will let you go way faster than you have the skills for, which can get you hurt. A HT keeps you in your skill level, because you feel like you are going to die if you try to ride faster than you have skills for...

If you do go with a HT, give it at least 5 good ride's before you make a decision on it. On mine, rides 1-5 or so I was cursing myself, wishing I had bought a FS, who would ever want a HT (stupid younger self talking me into it) but after gaining the tiniest bit of skills, I was suddenly glad I started how I did, and riding a HT isn't to bad.
 

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Teufelhunde, have you considered consumer direct bikes? I only bring it up because of you mentioned a specific budget target. Some pretty great bikes available that route, and the cost savings usually gets you a level or two higher in component level. It wouldn't be unheard of being able to get a consumer direct FS bike with the same or better component level as a LBS HT. Just something to consider. Whyte, Canyon, YT, Commencal, Fezzari... just to name a few.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Having ridden before doesn't mean you know what bike is the best fit for you. I know that from experience, being sort of in the same boat. Had a mountain bike in the late 90's-early 2000's that I rode everywhere including a few trails in winter park Colorado (though nothing insane)....
Fast forward a few months ago and it was time to get back in shape. Obviously I knew u wanted a HT, no question, as they are superior to FS in every way... That was my youthful strength and endurance talking. It also said there is also no point in getting a high end bike because all it gives you is a few less pounds...

Now, obviously those last two sentences are false, I know that now... But, I am glad I went with a bottom rung bike.
I ended up getting a Specialized pitch sport. I had it all planned out. Buy the bike, upgrade it $200 at a time, and end up with a bike just as good as a high end bike.... Yea, I didn't know what I didn't know.....

So anyway, that plans out the window. New plan is to upgrade the fork to an air fork and that's it, then in a year or two upgrade to a FS, right now it's looking like the Fezzari Abajo Peak is what I want $2000 and worth a look imo.

Now, as to why I'm glad I got a bottom rung HT instead of jumping in on a FS.

#1, I didn't, and maybe still don't, know enough to pick the right bike. Until recently, I would have picked the Fezzari wiki peak FS for $1500. But now I know more, and can see the abajo peak is more than worth the extra $500... If I had jumped in with both feet I would be $1500 into a bike, wishing I had bought more.

#2. I don't have the skills or endurance to take advantage of a nice FS bike right now. A FS bike will let you go way faster than you have the skills for, which can get you hurt. A HT keeps you in your skill level, because you feel like you are going to die if you try to ride faster than you have skills for...

If you do go with a HT, give it at least 5 good ride's before you make a decision on it. On mine, rides 1-5 or so I was cursing myself, wishing I had bought a FS, who would ever want a HT (stupid younger self talking me into it) but after gaining the tiniest bit of skills, I was suddenly glad I started how I did, and riding a HT isn't to bad.
Thanks for the input, and you are likely right about a HT keeping you in check.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Teufelhunde, have you considered consumer direct bikes? I only bring it up because of you mentioned a specific budget target. Some pretty great bikes available that route, and the cost savings usually gets you a level or two higher in component level. It wouldn't be unheard of being able to get a consumer direct FS bike with the same or better component level as a LBS HT. Just something to consider. Whyte, Canyon, YT, Commencal, Fezzari... just to name a few.
Yes, I have, I did last time with the IBEX. I kinda want to go with a LBS this time for the support, help with questions, fitting, etc. At this point in my life I am willing to pay extra for service (as long as it is not excessive).

Thanks for the input (and I WILL look at the direct bikes....)
 

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Hardtails are awesome. I'm 43 and have a terrible back and riding a hardtail doesn't bother me at all. But of course everyone is different. Don't let a bad back automatically dismiss riding a HT. I also have a FS bike. I don't feel any difference after a ride between the two bikes.

Normally I'd recommend DiamondBack. Until recently...they were best bang for the buck. That's changed recently though. Same price and lesser components. They aren't terrible...but there's other options that are as good or better now. If I was in the market for a NEW complete bike...I'd probably be looking hard at YT, Whyte, Commencal like already stated. Norco makes a great bike too but not consumer direct.
 

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Yes, I have, I did last time with the IBEX. I kinda want to go with a LBS this time for the support, help with questions, fitting, etc. At this point in my life I am willing to pay extra for service (as long as it is not excessive).

Thanks for the input (and I WILL look at the direct bikes....)
Good point but between here, youtube, and chats with the folks at your chosen bike brand...you shouldn't have any issues with getting any and all questions answered and even for when it comes to working on your bike. Generally the biggest benefit buying from a LBS is...well...supporting the shop and helping keep it open...but also warranty issues. A good shop will go to bat for you with warranty problems. Consumer direct you are generally on your own. Some shops will still help. But don't expect them to. But when I had warranty issues with my DiamondBack...it was quick and easy to get things straightened out. Keep in mind too...most shop brand bikes will give you less bike for more money than consumer direct. So it's comes down to what's more important to you. For me...it's getting the most for my money so that means consumer direct or building my own bike from bare frame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
A quick update: I picked up the Timberline today. Shop had it ready on Tuesday, but I couldn't get there to get it until today. After the sun got a little lower(still 95 degrees), I took it out for the maiden voyage. I went less than 4 miles part pavement, part gravel and a little bit some loose, rocky doubletrack. I found out that I am WAAAAAAAYYYY out of shape, the climbing kicked my rosy red......

Anyway, the bike felt and handled great, shifting was crisp and the brakes more than sufficient....running 18 pounds in the tires(tubes), does that sound about right for my weight? I am around 225 dressed and out the door.

The plan for now is to ride most mornings before the heat takes over, paying attention to the miles, not the speed (the climbing kicked my butt), and get the seat, controls and bars dialed in for me.....let the speed come in its own time......

Lon
 

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A quick update: I picked up the Timberline today. Shop had it ready on Tuesday, but I couldn't get there to get it until today. After the sun got a little lower(still 95 degrees), I took it out for the maiden voyage. I went less than 4 miles part pavement, part gravel and a little bit some loose, rocky doubletrack. I found out that I am WAAAAAAAYYYY out of shape, the climbing kicked my rosy red......

Anyway, the bike felt and handled great, shifting was crisp and the brakes more than sufficient....running 18 pounds in the tires(tubes), does that sound about right for my weight? I am around 225 dressed and out the door.

The plan for now is to ride most mornings before the heat takes over, paying attention to the miles, not the speed (the climbing kicked my butt), and get the seat, controls and bars dialed in for me.....let the speed come in its own time......

Lon
Awesome news, great to hear :thumbsup: :)

You might have better luck with getting advice on pressures in the Wheels & Tires or the 26+/27.5+/29+ forums
 
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