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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Greetings ladies and gents,
First post here, I'll try to play nice, looks like some cool people here. Did a search and couldn't find anything close to the answeres I'm looking for.. Total mtb newb, completely clueless. Just realized I'm missing out big time on a cross-training opportunity, living just a few blocks from the I-5 Colonnade. What type of bike should I be looking for to practice there? My goal is to help with basic fitness and have fun. Do I need something with suspension? With multiple gears? I'd like to keep it as simple as possible.. Budget isn't very restricted, I can spend up to $500 or so if that's what it takes. I'm 5'11" and ~140lbs on a wet day (don't laugh), been doing some type of extreme sport for quite some time now and have experience riding dirt bikes so I should be able to get a hang of it pretty fast, so looking for something I can grow into.

Thanks!

--
Dmitry
 

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500 bucks is not very much, and will be difficult to get all the gear you will need for Colonnade as a new rider. You can get a bike on that kind of budget but it's much easier when you know what you are looking for and get dialed into some used deals. And that's what i would imagine you should shoot for.

Try to buy a nice burly used hardtail, with a nice stiff front coil shock. You want a frame that has a forgiving slack head angle, not a skinny light steep head angled frame. You can go singlespeed but if you decide you want to ride in the woods somewhere, and don't want to have to mash all the time, your vibe might involve gears.

Since you are a Seattlelite on a budget, my suggestion to you would be to go down to Recycled Cycles and ask for Andy. He's helped out quite a bit on Colonnade and even if they don't have a bike for you there, he would be a great resource for information on what you could be looking for.

With the economy people who are dumping their older bikes are i'm certain having to unload them for cheap, so it could be a good time to buy. Just make sure you get a bike that is your fit, as there's nothing worse than learning on a bike that doesn't fit you.

Good luck.:)
 

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2nd on getting a used hardtail for starters. Go with flat pedals, not clipless. Also, if you're interested in learning to ride skinnies and stuff like that, I'd advise you go for rim brakes as well, since they'll be cheaper to maintain then a bunch of warped rotors....

Since you're new to MTB and will be playing at the 'nade, I'd recommend shifting your budget more towards the safety gear (helmet, shin guards, gloves, well-fitting shoes, etc) than the bike itself. After you've had a season or two under your belt, you might decide on a specific riding influence and then want a more specialized type of bike anyway.

Good luck, and welcome!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Andy wasn't in today so I'll pester you guys a little more :) Is front suspension a good idea? What size wheels and type of tires? Don't see myself going anywhere but Colonnade any time soon so I just want something that works there and only there... Some gear I already have or can probably use for now (MX helmet, elbow/knee guards, gloves, etc.).
 

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dakh said:
Andy wasn't in today so I'll pester you guys a little more :) Is front suspension a good idea? What size wheels and type of tires? Don't see myself going anywhere but Colonnade any time soon so I just want something that works there and only there... Some gear I already have or can probably use for now (MX helmet, elbow/knee guards, gloves, etc.).
Yah solid front suspension is a staple of almost every rider. Only the die-hard cardio guys wanting a sentimental retro challenge run fully rigid bikes anymore.

Reason i say coil shock is that good solid air shocks are pretty spendy. Many coil shocks are heavier and by default a bit more forgiving. Many shocks nowadays don't suffer from lateral flex (or wet noodle syndrome). But since Colonnade is a skills building park, you want something sturdy, as well as an active suspension.(in your case fork suspension)

29er is more of a botique specialty purchase for a wheel, stick with standard 26" wheel.

When purchasing a new frame, you'll want to make sure that it can fit a larger wheel. i would recommend a 2.35. As far as tires specifically for the Nade, i would say anything with a relatively aggressive tread will work well, specifically for you, see if they have some nice stiff protuding knobs near the side walls, as you will want to get good traction on sections where you my lean the bike. Another thing to look for is separation of tread in such a way that mud doesn't pack up into the tire, in wet conditions.

Good to hear you have the gear, Colonnade was built on a silty dust pile so unfortunately a lot of rock and logs had to be put down just so the trail wouldn't blow away after a month of heavy use.:)
 

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dakh said:
Thanks a ton for your time and wisdom, see you out there some day!
Sounds good.
Oh and don't forget a dust mask haha!

And when you get your bike and get to feeling pretty secure, give a look see at Rich G's training sesh's.

http://evergreenmtb.org/recreation/calendar.php?event_id=7779

Since you have MX background you're likely going to be a bit ahead of the learning curve.

Also Fluidride gives lessons, they are spendy, but i've heard nothing but positive feedback on Simon Lawtons ability to teach riding fundamentals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You're reading my mind, I was about to look into what lessons are available. I sure would rather spend money on lessons than gear :)

BTW I'm noticing that used single speed mountain bikes are mostly 29'ers. Is it easy to convert any bike to single speed? I have a very strong aversion to all this mechanical stuff that can break and need maintenance on a bike, I've got enough wrenching to do on my race motorcycles already :/
 

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You can find singlespeed bikes that will be really fun for Colonnade. A used Transition Trail-or-Park is one local brand of bike, and I bet you could find a complete used one (singlespeed) for $500.

Other good, burly hardtails are Kona Scab's and Kona Stuff's (probably have gears), and pretty much any Dirt Jump hartail mountain bike. Also look for a Specialized P2 (or P1), or a Giant STP. If you find something on Craigslist, post it up here and we gearwhores can tell you if you're pointed in the right direction.

You do NOT want a 29er for Colonnade. Those are for a completely different style of riding, and are about the polar opposite of the ideal Colonnade bike.

And yes, we ride there all year round. I ride there a lot more in the winter than I do in the summer. In the summer a lot of us try to hit the high county (Palisades, here I come!!!).

Check out http://evergreenmtb.org for free club rides, trail guide, and info about how mountain bikers work to keep trails open.

Enjoy the ride!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Can't thank you enough for all the info. What about this bike:

http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/bik/1224225318.html

I'd prefer disk brake since rim brake feels weird to me after getting used to motorcycle brakes but I can deal with it, and being a 2008 I hope it has mounting points on the fork if I wanted to put disk brake later. The size is about right according to what I've read and measured. Will all the gearing stuff pay for a single-speed setup if I try to sell it? The stock fork should be coil spring type just like Skookum said. I'm featherweight myself and it goes by "very light" so that's nice.
 

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dakh said:
Might want to read this:

http://www.mtbr.com/cat/bikes/xc-hardtail/specialized/hardrock-sport/PRD_363530_1527crx.aspx

dakh said:
I'd prefer disk brake since rim brake feels weird to me after getting used to motorcycle brakes but I can deal with it, and being a 2008 I hope it has mounting points on the fork if I wanted to put disk brake later.
No question, disc is the shiz. I only suggest rim brakes because certain riding techniques are more likely to result in warped rotors during the learning phase.
 

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I'd be more then happy to show you how to ride some of the stuff at 'Nade. I live 12 minutes drive away, in west seattle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
pnj said:
I'd be more then happy to show you how to ride some of the stuff at 'Nade. I live 12 minutes drive away, in west seattle.
What a community, looks like I've got hooked up with the right bike (someone sent a PM) and now you're offering to show me around! I'll take you up on it once I get my gear sorted out! :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Got Kona Stuff from a member here, well under my budget. Just need to ditch the gears and pick up shin guards and shoes and I'm in business. Just one little thing left missing - skillz :)
 
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