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MTB skillz = NADA
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I realize many will see this is a question better placed in the Beginners Forum, but I figured I would ask the people on here that live close by what class/style (AM, XC, Free) of bike I should be looking for.

I live near Salinas, and will do the majority of my riding in Ft. Ord near the creekside entrance. What is the best class of bike for Ft. Ord and the other local trails?

Thanks!
 

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There are a lot of factors to consider: budget, enjoy climbing or descending, comfort? A hardtail XC with front suspension and some disc brakes will work or a 4 inch travel full suspension would work as well. People like riding for different reasons, so some people like to ride rigid, 29ers, SS, big hit bikes, you name it. Try to test ride as many bikes as you can or stop by your local bike shops for help.

Good luck
 

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MTB skillz = NADA
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm going full suspension, and I would rather not spend more than $1,500 to start (still trying to expand my budget by begging my wife).

As far as what I enjoy, I haven't been at it long enough to really know. Right now I get excited about rolling, slightly downhill singletrack, but that is because I have never seen it before and it is easy after a nasty climb.
 

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ballbuster
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I'm biased....

GrayBeard Pirate said:
I'm going full suspension, and I would rather not spend more than $1,500 to start (still trying to expand my budget by begging my wife).

As far as what I enjoy, I haven't been at it long enough to really know. Right now I get excited about rolling, slightly downhill singletrack, but that is because I have never seen it before and it is easy after a nasty climb.
... but given the choice, I would go 29er before I went with full suspension. Bigger wheels roll better and are less jarring, not to mention better traction.

Suspension is nice, but if you go that route, get something well designed. Its better to not have suspension than bad suspension.

I got both and love it! :D

 

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since you asked...

GrayBeard Pirate said:
I'm going full suspension, and I would rather not spend more than $1,500 to start (still trying to expand my budget by begging my wife).

As far as what I enjoy, I haven't been at it long enough to really know. Right now I get excited about rolling, slightly downhill singletrack, but that is because I have never seen it before and it is easy after a nasty climb.
If you are getting a "starter bike" and looking for something about $1,500 now and are planning on upgrading your bike later, I would say to you, just get the more expensive bike now. You will be saving yourself money in the long run by buying one bike, not two. You can get a nicely equipt (sp?) full suspension bike for $2,500-3,000. If you can not go over the $1,500 limit, then get the best hardtail you can find for that price, A hardtail at that price will have a better fork/components than a full suspension. It will climb and handle better better on the trail. The full suspension will be more forgiving, but to get the performance you want, you will have to up your budget. Good luck.
 

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My gloves stink
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You won't get it right the first time.

I assume you're new to the sport. Everybody rides differently and what's best for one guy is not the best for another. It's totally personal and subjective. There are as many opinions about this stuff as there are riders, and some guys hold their opinions with religious zeal, and anyone who disagrees with them is an idiot. Listen to what they've got to say, because you can learn from them, but ultimately, you've gotta figure out what works for you.

So...don't spend a lot of money on your first bike. Don't lose sleep over it. Don't expect to keep it forever.

As you get more time in the saddle, you'll learn what kind of riding you like to do, what you want your bike to be good at, what compromises you're willing to make. As a result, you'll be able to make a more informed, personalized decision when it comes time to buy your second bike. Which is why it doesn't make sense to spend a ton on the first bike- no matter how good it is, it might not be the best for you.

For example, I disagree with Pimpbot. I've got a 29er hardtail and a 26er FS- I've had two of each. For a new guy, I'd recommend the 26 FS over the 29 HT. I find the 26 FS to be a more comfortable, less punishing, safer ride (the wheels follow the ground more closely- better traction, better control). I use the 29er for racing. It's light, efficient, no-nonsense. You might well disagree with us both and decide you prefer a Marx Big Wheel. Whatever works for you.

Where to start? A 4 or 5 inch travel FS bike can do just about everything decently. Despite the mulitiplicity of suspension designs, they've all been refined to the point where they work pretty well. None of the major brands have a "bad suspension". So don't freak about all the technical stuff. Find something in your price range that feels right.

Take time to learn how to set up the bike. I've known several guys who bought $4k bikes but never bothered to read the manual and set up the suspension correctly. What a waste. Learn how to maintain it so you don't have to rely on a shop. No matter how good the bike is, if it's balky and unreliable, you won't have fun.

Sheesh- long-winded answer to a simple question!
 

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Since you specifically asked for "class" - my vote goes for an XC Trail bike. With 100-120mm of travel and a platform equipped shock, they can provide an excellent balance between climbing ability and descending fun. If you buy used, you have a lot of good options for $1500.

Some examples:

- Specialized Stumpjumper FSR
- Cannondale Rush
- Trek Fuel
- Santa Cruz Blur
 

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I was in the same boat as you were 2 years ago. I suggest that you think not about buying a bike that just fits Fort Ord (which is pretty mellow riding) but rather a bike that you can take on most XC trails. My favorite thing about mtn biking is travelling to new places and riding completely different trails. There are some amazing places in the West to ride...and you will want to have a bike that makes it fun to ride them.

With that said I suggest a FS trail bike. What a separates a trail bike from a XC bike is more travel front and rear, and a more upright position making you less likely to fly over the handle bars. There are lots of great choices out there but not to many for $1500.00 (new at least).

Go down to your local bike shops...and look at what bikes they carry. Then go to the websites for these companies and take a look at their bikes. Look for the ones they call Trail Bikes. Then narrow it down and do some test rides. Then beg your wife for another 1000 bucks and buy a bike :)
 

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orthonormal
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GrayBeard Pirate said:
I realize many will see this is a question better placed in the Beginners Forum, but I figured I would ask the people on here that live close by what class/style (AM, XC, Free) of bike I should be looking for.

I live near Salinas, and will do the majority of my riding in Ft. Ord near the creekside entrance. What is the best class of bike for Ft. Ord and the other local trails?

Thanks!
If you'd like to give an AM bike a try out there, I have a Turner Six Pack you can borrow if it fits you (size medium). I like my 29er SS much better for Ft. Ord so the Turner's just sitting around. I have an ad for it in the mtbr classifieds if you'd like to take a look at the specs.
 

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Birthday Collector
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Lots of opinions... And they are all basically right. What I would suggest is a combination of what is already mentioned, and I'll add a twist: I'd agree that for most people an all-round, FS 4-5" trail bike will be the best option for a one-bike situation. At a $1500 budget, unless you are looking at pre-owned, I would change my recommendation to a good-quality hardtail with a good fork. And, going that route, would then recommend a 29'er (unless you are short in height) as the larger wheel really does roll over ruts and rocks and many other things that Mother Nature (or man) will put in front of you. Run tires with a lot of air volume for trail riding, go smaller and lighter on that same bike if you want to start to get into racing. The hardtail will be better to climb with, and non-suspended riding will teach you to pick your lines and read the trail better, as an FS bike will let you plow over things and can mask your mistakes (that may be a good thing though...). Those of us "old-timers" who rode before there was suspension had to read the trail surface, and find the smooth(er) lines and avoid the dangers that were out there. As suspension and other advancements came out, we got to go incrementally faster due to technology. Funny thing is, I have gone back to fully-rigid about 3 years ago, and only in a few places do I wish that I had some "cush" up front. In gnarlier spots, it makes me use my head. In other spots, I find it is faster. Still, for most riders I think you will want an 80-100mm travel fork. The best value in the $1500 range will be a hard tail with a lighter frame, good fork and decent components. At that price in FS you will have heavier and lower-end components, and possibly a "questionable" suspension as well. There are some good prices on 2009 models right now though too. (That applies to 2009 hardtails as well!)

Above all, whatever you get, don't try to get over your head too quickly and flow with the fast guys until you feel more comfortable doing it. FS will let you go faster, and when you crash, you'll be going a lot faster. But you'll have to work harder to go fast on a hardtail in rough conditions. If you can get that extra Grand from your wife - start riding everything you can. Take your time and ride lots of bikes - and you will find the right one (which will let you ride a lot of other places other than Ord...) Have a blast.
 

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My spoon is too big!
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Keep your eye out for '09 leftovers in bike shops. They will be trying to make more room for the 2010 models, so you can find some great deals.

As far as bike choice, since you'll be riding mostly XC, I'd say hardtail would be most appropriate. You can get more for your money that way. Though if you are willing to go used, you could get a pretty good short travel FS bike on the same budget.
 

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Ariolimax columbianus
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2 cents......

another thing to consider is bike maintenance and eventually upgraditis....maybe even installing your own parts or putting your own bike together. if you ride alone a lot you'll need some basic mechanic skills if you encounter any trail problems, you have to be self sufficient. you might wanna think about who the person is gonna be to fix your bike if you need repairs. i would gather that from most of the responses so far that these folks either work on their own bikes and/or know/use a reputable mechanic they can trust. i think bobcat bikes holds a class once in awhile, dmft?

your $1500 keeps shrinking the more you get into it, try finding something under your budget and buy extra stuff like tubes, brake pads, chains etc... stuff that becomes consumable faster. keep it simple, ride as much as you can. i'm w/atbscott, i feel it's good to start out at the beginning, i guess the older i get the more nostagic i get about bike riding, the history of the bicycle, and the simplicity of the bicycle in general. rigid, hardtail, 29er......learn the lines, kill the climbs, build up your fitness so you can enjoy riding. fort ord is a fun place to build up your skills.

what do you ride right now? long rides or short rides? can you bunny hop or trackstand? can you make it down red rock yet or do you like climbing the grind or both? what's a normal loop at ft ord for you in terms of miles, elevation gain, and time. so many variables....time to go the lab, experiment, and share some data.
 

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singletrack bound
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Ok

all good info so far.....

I think I would lean towards a HT, either 26 or 29 with a 80 or 100mm fork. Good quality frame and fork. This will allow you to learn the trail (lines..) right from the start.
I do remember going full suspension and the joke amongst my bud's was....riding full suspension you go much faster and at first you find yourself going too fast and falling out side the lines and guaranteed crashing in the first two or three rides from going to damn fast!

Again, I think a hard tail well equipped for 1500 will get you started.

ride it for a season and learn to work and do repairs on your rig and just keep an open mind for your style of riding! It will all unfold before your eyes. fun times ahead.
Tone:D
 

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Y no grease?ლ(ಠ益ಠლ
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Depends on if you see yourself sticking to this neighborhood or going on road trips, I'd say. Just around Ft Ord, probably a sweet HT & good fork, specially with all this climbing. But if you want the flexibility of taking it on road trips to various terrain, Utah, Tucson etc, & growing into more technical stuff, try for a good full squishie. I just don't know how much bike you'll get for 1500 on a FS. Maybe you can catch some of these 09s still as the 2010s are coming in as we speak. Especially if they are shop demos!

I have a 5.5" rear/6" front dualie but I still kinda want a nice HT, a 29er, for the smooth climby stuff.
 

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Who's riding today?
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Get a Giant Trance X3.

As of late seems to be the best $1500 FS bike with decent components (Shimano VS SRAM) that should last!

... should be able to find one on sale or close out last years model (just fine).
 
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