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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Haven't been on a bike much in 15 years (I'm almost 32 now). Decided I want to get a MTB, will be doing a mix of street, greenway trail and off-road trails (once I get comfortable with my bike).

I'm 6' and 265 lb right now.

I want to buy something from a LBS so that I can get some assistance as I'll need it and I only have 1 friend with a MTB who use to ride trails several years ago but hasn't been too active with his bike the last couple of years.

I've been reading several forums online and trying to learn as much as possible before a purchase. So I've been checking out the Specialized line, the HR and RH series. I went to a LBS today and looked at a couple Treks (I do not recall the model #s). I'm going to hit another LBS tomorrow.

For the Specialized bikes, the RH seems to have better components than the HR.

I've figured out that FIT is the most important, beyond that, I'm concerned with a sturdy solid frame as well as a solid fork.

Any advice/comments/thoughts would be appreciated.
 

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My advice

First off, welcome to the forums and back to bicycling. You seem to have educated yourself pretty well so far on what you should be doing. Now comes the hard part. Save up more money before you buy. Take it from another larger rider (I'm 250) your $500 is not going to go a long way if you want a bike that will handle the abuse that weight will put on a bicycle, especially if you plan to take it off road at some point. You'll need almost $900 to buy a bike that will hold up to this type of abuse, IMO. Of course, you can buy a bike in the $500 range, and it will probably be fine on the paved paths in the short run, but you'll find that as you continue to ride two things will happen. First, the inexpensive components will begin to wear out and/or break, thus needing replacement. Second, as you progress in your abilities, you will begin to see the limitations of the cheaper components, in particular, the fork.

Two bikes I can recommend for you would be the Kona Hoss line, or the Specialized Rockhopper Comp disc (nothing lower than the comp disc on the Rockhopper series). Take a look at these two bikes and go from there.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am concerned about my weight on the bike, I know that is an issue. Initially I plan to do alot of road and greenway riding to get some weight off of me and build up my endurance and leg strength.

Out of curiousity, why did you choose the Rockhopper Comp disc as minimum I should look at in that series? I don't have a problem with that, I simply want to know specifically why.
 

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He is recomending that bike mainly because of the Fork. The series is known to be able to handle us big guys, but forks are not. The fork is a RS Tora, 32mm stancion(sp?). the other part to worry about is cranks, they can flex, but you probably wont notice it much with those that are on there.

Other things like shifters, deraileurs, chains, they all take more abuse with more weight, but not nearly as much as frame and fork.

Good luck

Matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok, well I'm totally cool with going with the Specialized Rockhopper Comp disc or a bike of similar quality and price.

With the Spec RH Comp disc, I feel like I'm paying for the name somewhat.

I also looked at a Trek 6700.

and another LBS had some Jamis bikes that seemed like they pretty decent for the price, from $500 to $700.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
hmm, I probably have the model wrong on the Trek, it was $700 and change.

the Specialized Rockhopper Comp disc is nearly $900.

I've tossed the $500 range out the window and decided to get something better/stronger and of course more $$.
 

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I'm sure my advice is going to be very controversial, but what if you started off with a significantly cheaper bike and worked your way up to something better and more expensive? I only suggest this since you've been out of the saddle (literally) for 15 years. Everything sounds great on paper but sometimes we don't have the discipline to follow through. Maybe look for something in a $200 range to just get you started. That way if you out grow it - awesome - you're going to need something bigger and better. However if your original intentions turned out to be false, you still have $700 in your pocket.

By all means I don't want to offend you in any way, its just the 15 year thing threw up a red flag and me being a finance guy my first instinct is to save (or make) money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
kevin6s said:
I'm sure my advice is going to be very controversial, but what if you started off with a significantly cheaper bike and worked your way up to something better and more expensive? I only suggest this since you've been out of the saddle (literally) for 15 years. Everything sounds great on paper but sometimes we don't have the discipline to follow through. Maybe look for something in a $200 range to just get you started. That way if you out grow it - awesome - you're going to need something bigger and better. However if your original intentions turned out to be false, you still have $700 in your pocket.

By all means I don't want to offend you in any way, its just the 15 year thing threw up a red flag and me being a finance guy my first instinct is to save (or make) money.
This is probably going to be long, be patient...

You have an extremely valid point, I've considered this myself somewhat and I will mull it over more tonight and tomorrow.

I am anxiously looking for an outdoor activity/sport to get active again and stop making a dent in my couch every night. 8-10 years ago I was rollerblading 4 to 8 hours per day, everyday. I also jogged 5 miles daily and lifted weights for 1 hour a day. I got into very good shape in a short time span (I also slept incredibly well), I realize this isn't going to happen again, but the reality is that I've got to get off my butt and get active.

I've spent more time outside this summer than I have in a long time, 6 or 7 years probably. I've been hiking several Saturdays this year, mostly looking for snakes and inverts. I love being outdoors and I haven't had this much interest and enthusiasm about any outdoor activity/sport for a LONG time.

I guess I feel like I have to take advantage of it while the I have the initiative and motivation to do so.

If this hobby/activity follows similar steps that my other hobbies have, then it won't be long til I want a much better bike than I can get for $200.

I also have a good friend who bought a MTB 5 or 6 years ago and was very active on his til last summer, when he got pretty busy with his new wife, hah. We will most likely start riding together and once we've both built up some stamina/endurance I know we'll start hitting some local trails/parks.

Am I taking a gamble? yeah, somewhat, i don't mind too much because this bike is mostly being paid for with money I made playing poker online though, a purely recreactional activity for me and not a real source of income.

Besides, if I've got a $900 bike in the garage, I'm going to want to show it off aren't I? haha

My wife has concerns about me dropping that kind of money on a bike, for fear it will collect dust in the garage in a month, but at the same time, she wouldn't say a word if I dropped $2,000 on a bike if I used it, lost weight, got healthy and lived to a ripe old age with her.

I love my wife and her son and I'm doing this as much for them as I am myself.

Thank you for offering up another option for me though, and I will look into it and give it consideration, I appreciate the reply.

Monte
 

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If you can find a shop that carries Haro, the V-4 is a good bike in your price range that can handle your weight. When I bought the lower level V-1 5 years ago, I was 250. I'm now down quite a bit from that, and that bike had a large part in it. The repairs I made over the years were minimal and I added some components over time, but it is a great bike. I'm suggesting the V-4 instead of the V-1 cause you will get a better fork and disc brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well we really only have about 4 LBS here and 2 of those pretty small. I'm doubtful to find a Haro, although I have yet to visit 1 of the larger LBSs, that will be Wednesday, I'm still doubtful.

I am going to be in Kansas City this coming weekend, San Antonio the weekend after taht and Las Vegas the week after that, maybe I can find time to stop at a couple of shops in those cities and check out what they've got.
 

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Very valid points, you seem to have things thought out very carefully. My next concern is do you think all you are going to need is the bike or will you need "accessories"? I was in your shoes about a month ago so I have some kind of idea how things can quickly add up. For me, I had a $600 budget for the "concept" meaning I can only spend $600 total. Unfortunately for me unless I want to get run over, there is no where to ride near my home so bike transportation was agoing to be very real (and expensive to an extent) part of my budget. I drive a sedan with a spoiler (no trunk mount) and moonroof (no roof rack - plus they freak me out but thats an entirely different thread) so I was left with a hitch ($100) and the actual rack ($150). Right there $250 of my budget was eaten up and can definately cause problems if not accounted.

I'm sure the LBS scared many of them away but in my few weeks posting/reading here, Ibex (http://www.ibexbikes.com/) has been highly recommened by many. Depending on your comfort level you might be able to assemble it yourself then take it to a LBS for a tune/check-up or just bring it in and have them assemble it completely. I'm sure the difference of the latter will be cost. An Alpine 650 is around $635 and a Trophy Comp is $835.
 

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Hmac58 said:
Well we really only have about 4 LBS here and 2 of those pretty small. I'm doubtful to find a Haro, although I have yet to visit 1 of the larger LBSs, that will be Wednesday, I'm still doubtful.

I am going to be in Kansas City this coming weekend, San Antonio the weekend after taht and Las Vegas the week after that, maybe I can find time to stop at a couple of shops in those cities and check out what they've got.
Sunshine Bike Shop
(417)-883-1113
1926 E. Sunshine
Springfield, MO 65804
http://www.sunshinebike.com/brands.htm

I'm not really a stalker... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've been considering an ibex. I don't have a problem ordering things online, but being a newb with bikes and given that fit is so important, I'm pretty torn as far as ordering a bike online.

Yes I realize I'm going to spend money on "accessories". I will probably end up adding a hitch to my car for a rack, that will be later on though. We live in a town of 12,000 people, a great community with lots of park type areas and we're close to some greenway trails as well. I'm about 15 minutes and 40 minutes away from some real off-road action. Most likely when I go to those places, I'll be going with my friend and he's got a rack on his Jeep, so I can be a mooch and get him to drive, I'll buy lunch and he won't complain, haha.

We also have a wildlife refuge area within Mark Twain National Forest that I'm hoping to go camping at again later this year and this time take my bike!! That's about an hour away and we'll make a couple days out of it.
 

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El Chupo got it!

Hmac58 said:
I am concerned about my weight on the bike, I know that is an issue. Initially I plan to do alot of road and greenway riding to get some weight off of me and build up my endurance and leg strength.

Out of curiousity, why did you choose the Rockhopper Comp disc as minimum I should look at in that series? I don't have a problem with that, I simply want to know specifically why.
That bike has a nice combination of components for us larger riders. Apparently, the frame is pretty sturdy to start. Secondly, the fork is very beefy. It has 32mm stanchions (tubes) and uses a dual coil spring system. (Be very careful when evaluation a bike's suspension components. Us larger riders need competent forks, and forks are in most instances the most expensive single component on a bike. This is where bike manufacturers typically cut corners, and one of the main reasons you shouldn't buy a bike in that $500 range). Forks with smaller diameter stanchions and forks that use air or elastomers (MCU) are NOT going to perform well for a larger rider. Other things I like about this bike are the fact that it has Avid discs (Avid BB5 is probably the low end of what you should be looking at) and it also has decent drive train components.

All these factors, plus a price under $1000 make it an ideal Clydesdale bike, IMO.

I would look into the component selection on the Trek you are looking at and see how it sizes up with what I'm recommending as a minimum for off road use for a guy your size. Yes, you're starting out on paved paths, but once you go off road, you need the right bike. Will you buy yet another bike when you make this transition? I think not, so buy right the first time, even though it might cost more.

Lastly, while I am a huge Ibex fan, they do not have a bike that has what you need, IMO. The forks on the Alpine series are 28.6 mm, and just won't cut it at your weight. The higher end Trophy series bikes use air forks. It could be argued that the Trophy Comp might work (less than $1000) , but that would be something you would need to personally assess for yourself. Again, coil forks are much more reliable for us larger riders.

I hope this gives you some more to think about in your search for a new bike. Just remember, this is only one person's opinion, but I've been through this myself and am trying to steer you away from mistakes I made. Very expensive and time consuming mistakes at that.

Bob
 

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Well I am "new" to the mtb scene again (been a number of years out of the game for me) and was going through the same thing as you recently. I am about your size (although I dropped a few pounds over the past weeks) so I got to try out a lot of bikes for my 6'2", 250lb frame.

I went with a Specialized Rockhopper Comp Disc. Love the package for the $$. Also, like you, I had a much smaller budget to start with... $650 CDN (so like $575 US now I think approx). However, after I seen how much more bike I could get for the extra $3xx... I decided to do it. It is much cheaper to do the upgrades at time of purchase - than to do them later on.

However - if you are still worried about spending that much - do not fear. The Hardrock Pro Disc I drove (05 model) easily supported what I threw at it. The frame is VERY solid. Sure, the fork is not the best... no where near as good as the one on the Rockhopper Comp Disc (the RS Tora)... but it will work fine for smooth-medium surfaces - at least until you save up some money for a better fork. Just don't take any big jumps :) The 05 Hardrock Pro Discs are selling here for $650 CDN - so was on target for my budget to start with.

One bonus though about spending more money now... the more you spend, the easier it is to stick with riding :) You wouldn't want to spend that much more money to have it sit and collect dust! Perhaps it's just me... but I find spending a little more is motivation to keep using something :) The Specialized bikes are so fun to ride I find anyways that it's motivation enough!

If I made a ton of spelling mistakes btw it's because I've now been up for 32hrs and am due for sleep! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
kevin6s said:
If Sunshine Bike Shop is close by (It should be, I got your town from your profile) I'd definately check them out. Their free adjustments for life are definately worth something. http://www.sunshinebike.com/free_adjusments.htm
LOL, I think you are a stalker.

I was planning to stop by there before I made a purchase, I drive by there about once a week. That shop is much smaller than a couple other LBS and I *thought* they were more of a road bike shop.

I also found another shop that carries Kona, so I'll have to make that stop too, heh.
 

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Well unless their website is completely full of sh-t, they sound like really cool guys offering competitive pricing and valuable extras. The free adjustment thing is definately worth a fair monetary value
 
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