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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

I'm a noob and hoping to get some advice on what mountain bike is right for me.

I will be riding in a 50/50 split of paved roads and off road trails.

The off road trails will not be anything extreme. I will not be doing anything big jumps or anything like that. The trails will range from gravel terrain to dirt single tracks.

I'm 24, 5'9" and 175lbs and have played competitive sports my whole life and in good shape.

I have a budget of $500 for the bike. I'm hoping to get some guidance since there are so many options.

I live in the Cleveland, OH area and there seems to be many bikes on Craigslist, but I'm not sure what I should be looking at.

I would appreciate if anyone would like to search Clevealnd's Craigslist for a deal I should check out?

Thanks for your time and help!
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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50/50 by time or by miles? I ask because my lunch ride is majority-pavement by miles, maybe 50/50 by time, and pretty much feels like MTB. The trails are relatively technical, and I find I'm quite happy to be on a mountain bike. I don't make any special allowance for the road portion either.

Really any mountain bike that has a good riding position and doesn't pedal like ass ought to do.

Look for a mid-2000s hardtail with a suspension fork and disc brakes. Check against bikepedia.com if you want to know about price or original equipment.
 

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if you're looking for a used bike, make sure to compared it to
costco has a $300 XCT equipped bike new. Northrock Bike - Mountain Bike - xc6
If something goes wrong with the bike, you can always return it. If you do get the costco bike, make sure you go over it and learn how to adjust your brakes, shifting, on youtube. with costco's return policty, it's really hard to beat that bike.

With the costco bike in mind, I wouldn't pay any more than $220 for a 2-3 year old used XCT equipped mountain bike. (unless nicer components).

Or, consider a used cyclocross or hybrid bike. the problem with cyclocross is there are not entry level used market. You can try to throw cross tires on a hybrid bike (but you have to check for tire clearance)
 

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thats a vage description of what u want.. either a mtb or a cyclocross (road bike with mtb tires) get something u like to look at every time in the morning
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
50/50 by time or by miles? I ask because my lunch ride is majority-pavement by miles, maybe 50/50 by time, and pretty much feels like MTB. The trails are relatively technical, and I find I'm quite happy to be on a mountain bike. I don't make any special allowance for the road portion either.

Really any mountain bike that has a good riding position and doesn't pedal like ass ought to do.

Look for a mid-2000s hardtail with a suspension fork and disc brakes. Check against bikepedia.com if you want to know about price or original equipment.
What is mean by 50/50 is that most of the areas I will be riding transition from paved roads, to gravel/dirt roads, back to paved roads, etc. There will be some rides that are more on road and then some rides that are more off road. I apologize this wasn't clear in my original post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
if you're looking for a used bike, make sure to compared it to
costco has a $300 XCT equipped bike new. Northrock Bike - Mountain Bike - xc6
If something goes wrong with the bike, you can always return it. If you do get the costco bike, make sure you go over it and learn how to adjust your brakes, shifting, on youtube. with costco's return policty, it's really hard to beat that bike.

With the costco bike in mind, I wouldn't pay any more than $220 for a 2-3 year old used XCT equipped mountain bike. (unless nicer components).

Or, consider a used cyclocross or hybrid bike. the problem with cyclocross is there are not entry level used market. You can try to throw cross tires on a hybrid bike (but you have to check for tire clearance)
I just called my local Costco and they do not carry the Northrock bike.

I like the price of that one though!
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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What is mean by 50/50 is that most of the areas I will be riding transition from paved roads, to gravel/dirt roads, back to paved roads, etc. There will be some rides that are more on road and then some rides that are more off road. I apologize this wasn't clear in my original post.
Tough one.

I've done some mixed-surface riding. I actually don't like it that much. I found my mountain bike to be a bit of a bummer on longer - like 30+ minute - road portions. So it's one thing for me to ride it to the trailhead, I do that a lot, but I wouldn't go for a road ride on it, since I have a choice. With the 'cross bike, I couldn't really hit my favorite riding spots like I meant it, and the better mixed-surface routes were a bit of a schlep from where I lived. So I felt like I might as well drive, and at that point, I might as well drive to a riding spot I really liked and take my mountain bike.

Cyclocross bikes are a popular recommendation when people ask what you're asking. I don't necessarily agree. I have one and I like it a lot. But it's a road bike with fat tires. If you have the finesse to ride a road bike on singletrack and you want a little extra challenge or don't mind not riding routes with more vertical, they can be fun and it's certainly novel to ride singletrack on them. But I'm glad I'd already learned to ride mountain bikes off-road before I tried to learn to ride road bikes on trails.

Bottom line for me is that I'm really glad to be in a place in my life where I can afford to maintain two (five, actually :p ) bikes. So I can ride road on my 'cross bike most of the time, trails on my mountain bike, and I only set up my 'cross bike with knobbies for 'cross season lately.

If you're considering buying a bike retail, you're working with enough money to get a pretty nice mountain bike secondhand. Road bikes only need to cost about $300 that way. So maybe choose a riding discipline you're more interested in now and commit. Especially if it's mountain. :D In a few months, if you're still interested in the other or find you're doing it a lot despite the bike you get, get a second bike.

Consider your access to roads and trails. When I lived in Seattle, I only actually went mountain biking about once a week. It cost me an extra hour and a half or so to do MTB, while I could go out my front door and ride road.

Now, I ride for fifteen minutes on the road to get to a trailhead. So lately, I only ride a road bike about once a week.
 

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Hey everyone,

I'm a noob and hoping to get some advice on what mountain bike is right for me.

I will be riding in a 50/50 split of paved roads and off road trails.

The off road trails will not be anything extreme. I will not be doing anything big jumps or anything like that. The trails will range from gravel terrain to dirt single tracks.

I'm 24, 5'9" and 175lbs and have played competitive sports my whole life and in good shape.

I have a budget of $500 for the bike. I'm hoping to get some guidance since there are so many options.

I live in the Cleveland, OH area and there seems to be many bikes on Craigslist, but I'm not sure what I should be looking at.

I would appreciate if anyone would like to search Clevealnd's Craigslist for a deal I should check out?

Thanks for your time and help!
in the same boat as you. From what I can tell Giant has a good sale on their bikes now, Gateway to Adventure. Their Revel 2 was 480 and now it's 400. I think it is the way I am going. Also look at the Giant Revel 29er, it's 550 but might be a bit better on road due to the bigger tires. Also look at the Giant Roam 3 was 510 now 430. As long as you are only doing trail riding to light mountain biking it would be great on the road with its 700cc wheels. Good luck, I am getting one of those three myself tomorrow.
 

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In my opinion I would stay away from the Costco/Walmart bikes. I found a Specialized Rockcombo for $40 on CL. Makes the perfect multi-surface bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The more I research, the more it seems like a hybrid is the way to go.

Perhaps something like a Trek FX, Giant Escape, or Fuji Absolute.

I understand hyrids are not the best for on road and not the best for off road, but I will spend more time on pavement than anything else. Also, the bike will be for recreational purposes...I do not need the latest technologies as if I were racing competitively.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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Try a couple. Try some real road and mountain bikes too. Try to get some dirt time, or at least get rad, on each.
 

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Similar position didn't want 2 bikes got the Trek Stache closest to an all round bike including cobbled and paved roads, light and heavier duty trails.
 

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I was in the same position as you and had everything narrowed down to two bikes...I ended I getting a mountain bike and I don't regret it one bit.

What did it for me was the test drive. I think it was a trek ds6 that I test rode and it felt like even the bumps on the road were going to break the bike.

On the trail here that I ride a lot, I think some people have full on street bikes, but I don't care, at least I have the option to hit some hard stuff when my riding level gets to that point. I've already taken some side paths, gone through mud, jumped a tree, and gone through stuff that I'd be worried to take a non mountain bike through.

I fully understand the whole appeal to leaving out your front door and being able to cruise the road, but nothing is stopping me from doing that on a mountain bike either. I can even lock my front suspension if I want.

So anyway, I'd go with a mountain bike. If you are really enjoying the road portion, then get a road bike used in the future.

Basically, nothing is stopping me from riding my mountain bike on the road...but there could be limitations to your bike not allowing you to ride on the trail.


Either way, test ride them and maybe you get your answer.
 

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Just to give a different point of view from deapea and something I might've already mentioned already in other posts:

I ended up with a mountain bike because I liked the versatility it offered and I think they might've been cheaper then comparable hybrids. Plus growing up my bike was a mountain bike.

I like my bike a lot. And I think I'm fairly in shape but some rides really kick my butt, mainly climbing hills. Some of it probably has to do with being in "bicycle shape" but sometimes I wonder if it's because it's a mountain bike and is heavier then other bikes. So sometimes think how I'd like a second bike that was my street/speed oriented.

So part of it is being realistic on where the bike would go and it's possible that a hybrid might suit your purposes best. ie a light weight bike might suit you better if you're going to ride/depend on it everyday and have to go up a bunch of hills.

Another option might be 29er bikes, which I think someone at Dick's pointed me towards when I was originally looking at hybrids. They have the bigger wheels that can potentially give you the speed of hybrids and can go off the beaten path as well. The one issue he mentioned is that it might take a bit more effort to get it started.

So I started to keep an eye out for the Diamondback Overdrive 29er, because could get it new for under $500, which I think is in your price range. There are some complaints and negative reviews about it though. ie I think a main one was that it has a cheap derailleur in addition to some other cheap components in general. Back when I was looking there were a lot of discounts on them, which could be good and bad. Good in that you could probably get it at a decent price but bad in that it makes you wonder how much is the bike really worth if they discount it that much at times.

If you're still considering the new mountain bikes in your list above, I would maybe stay away from the Hardrock SE. If I'm remembering correctly, it's the base version of the Hardrock and basically the same bike that I have. When I looked into it, I found out that these bikes come with the older version of rear hubs or cassettes (or something like that) and it would be really hard to upgrade them. Real world, it doesn't matter to me but I might have put that into consideration when shopping for bikes. Even if it's not that big of a deal to you, if you're going to buy a bike with older technology, you might as well get a used bike.
 

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I do the 50/50 thing a lot and I ride an old Gary Fisher 7speed rigid bike. It is cheap but strong. I put lower gearing on it for the woods and I can put Big Apples on it if I am mostly riding on the road for that day. Good way to get started cheap. But then I am almost 59 so you might be doing crazier things on your bike than me. Whatever you get, have fun.
 

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Being new to riding and buying my first bike I went to the shop my buddy told me about. They didn't really try to push me in any direction, and since I didn't really know what kind of riding I would be doing they showed me the Trek DS bikes. So far I'm loving it. I'm quitting smoking so I'm not tearing up anything at this point, but I've been happy with the hybrid bike setup so far. I obviously don't have much in the skill department yet, but the one thing I have noticed when riding single tracks is that mud is a killer with the narrower tire.
Anyway, all that to say that I'm favorable on the hybrids, so far.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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Funny to see this thread pop up again.

I did a multisport relay race with a "cross country bike" leg that was 40% paved and had no elevation gain to speak of on Sunday. I bought a pair of 'cross tires to put on that bike and got a bit of practice in over the last couple weeks in preparation.

It's definitely limiting, but I ended up having more fun with it than I expected or remembered.

I think part of it is that I live pretty close to my trails now, so instead of riding a road or a paved MUP for forty minutes, then riding trails for an hour and a half and turning around, I can ride routes that switch back and forth more.

I think part of it - something I noticed a few years ago when I got it actually - is that the 'cross bike is fun to ride on the road and fun and novel on trails. I didn't feel that way on either surface about hybrids I've had.

Anyway, I've enjoyed prepping for this event enough that I'm planning one more ride in 'cross trim along the gravel service road behind a ridge near me, up a hiking trail, and back via more soft-surfaced roads and MUPs.

I think probably I needed a bit of a reframe - rather than not being up to riding my favorite MTB trails (which it isn't) I'm seeing this setup as being capable of riding some cool routes that are just a little much for the road bike but not really technical enough to need the MTB.
 

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I think tire tread and pressure are as important as anything else. A cross bike might limit him on trails. Even though 85% (milage based) of my riding is on pavement its the 15% that I actually truly enjoy and I wouldn't with a cross bike.
 
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