Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner

What is the most a noob should spend on 1st bike?

2484 Views 34 Replies 29 Participants Last post by  TFitz
Many friends tell me to buy used, or don't spend more than $1000. I want the best I can afford ($2000 - 2500 budget).
My goal is to start riding this year and get to the point where I can enter a race or two in 2012. Initially ride to be fit, then get competitive. 6'0, 250lbs

Any suggestions? thanks in advance.
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
If you have the money to spend why not spend it? On the flip side, have you ever ridden a mountain bike before? It may not be your thing.
For that amount of money you can get a great hardtail or a decent full suspension. Your local trails should help you decide what type of bike. Age might also be a factor. At 34 I can't do long rides on a hardtail. An easy way to see if you will like it, is borrow a friends bike or demo a bike from a LBS. Be sure to leave some money in the budget for helmet, shoes, hydration, gloves, etc.
Advice from a noob: spend what you can afford, but don't buy unless you are sure you want a bike, and do some homework. Noob or not, if you really ride, you're going to want as good a bike as you are able to buy, and if you buy something that's going to fall apart simply because you're a noob, you will regret it. On the flip side, if you buy something and don't ride it, even an inexpensive bike, it's a waste of money.

I was in your shoes exactly and I spent two months shopping/learing online and at local shops. (It was fun just doing that!) I ended up spending a little more than I wanted to, but I have a bike I can grow into rather than outgrow.

Hope that helps. Good luck!
Buy what you feel is a reasonable amount of money for the bike. Get something decent that you can ride for a couple of years without having to upgrade.

Something with SRAM X7/X9, or Shimano SLX/XT level components. X9/XT level stuff will push the bike upwards in your budget range.

The 2 main things to remember is that the bike has to fit you properly, regardless of how much you spend.

The other thing to remember, is that to take approx $3-400 of your budget and allocate it to pedals, shoes, helmets, jerseys, shorts, repair items - tubes, patch kit, tire levers, pump - if you don't have any of these items.
I agree with your friends, you should spend as little money as possible now. It will cost you a lot more next year to upgrade your mid range bike and turn it into a racer. Don't waste any more money than you have to on your "getting back into shape" bike and save for a true race bike when you'll have the engine for it. And with a used bike you will take a lot less of a hit on depreciation.

Also, in a year you will have a lot more knowleddge to be able to decide yourself f you shoud get top of the range wheels, or drivetran, or a carbon frame... odds are you won't be able to afford them all at once anyway.
I disagree with the above - you should spend what it takes to find a decent bike that fits you well, has reliable components and is fun to ride. Buying a cheap bike to ease your way into riding is a pretty good way to get a piece of crap that you don't like and won't ride. There goes your plan. You don't have to break the bank, but a solid mid-range bike with a good frame that has parts you can upgrade as needed will do you much better than a low end clunker you will hate riding and probably store in the basement. Do yourself a favor and spend a little more to get a reliable bike you will want to keep for awhile. Upgrade later as you wear stuff out or get better.
Set yourself up for success, buy the best bike you can afford to , buying and then upgrading a cheap bike is false economy.
Depends on how much the said noob can spend, and still pay all the other bills.

... on the other hand ... a noob might not yet have figured out what exactly he/she wants out of a bike. If you spend $2,500 and soon find that a different bike would serve you better after all, you "lose" more money than if you buy the $1,000 bike and then find you'd like something different instead.
Solid help

You can save a lot of money when you buy a aluminum frame !
With good components... stay away from carbon !:eekster:
If you HAVE mountain biked before and know you like it...

Get the best bike you can that suits your riding. You might like a race bike, you might like a trail bike. Buy the bike that fits you the best AND suits what you like to ride. This is really why there are a million bike brands.

If you HAVEN'T ever ridden a real mountain bike trail before...

Rent, borrow, demo a mountain bike on a real trail before you drop 2K+ on a bike and make sure you like it.

When you are looking for a bike make sure to not let everyone else's opinion influence your decision otherwise you might not like what you end up with. Everyone likes something different and sales people try to push the latest greatest. I tell my friends I want a new bike and I get suggestions of buying pretty much every kind of bike out there. 26 inch FS from 3" travel to 6"+, 29er hardtail and FS..

Don't buy a race bike until you have actually raced and know you like racing. Racing is not the same as trail riding with your friends and some race bikes can be very unforgiving for the uninitiated.

Also SLX is mostly the same as XT so don't buy an XT bike just for the sake of having an XT bike.
See less See more
mnardo72 said:
Many friends tell me to buy used, or don't spend more than $1000. I want the best I can afford ($2000 - 2500 budget).
My goal is to start riding this year and get to the point where I can enter a race or two in 2012. Initially ride to be fit, then get competitive. 6'0, 250lbs

Any suggestions? thanks in advance.
I spent a $1000 on a hardtail.

If I wanted a Full Suspension... easily double that.

Don't forget... accessories add up:
850-1000 on a hardtail gets you a totally awesome bike. That is absolutely what i'd suggest.
It sounds liek since you have plans beyond the next 30 days that you have thought about this allot and will likely stick with it. I did this last summer an was about your size when I started, I'm now about 30 pounds lighter but here was my experience.

I bought cheap, I was 6' and 250-ish before I started, and I broke lots of stuff because they were cheaper components and I was heavy. I did NOT huck off big drops or anything crazy, was riding normal trails/singletrack and moderate climbs/descents, BUT my lack of experience meant my bike went through more abuse.
The first month the cheap suntour fork crapped out, the next month the front hub got noisy and a month after that both wheels were bent after I wrecked and went over the bars.
Since that I have replaced most everything with nicer stuff, will have spent over $1k on the $660 initial purchase since last August, and will have a great bike but will need a better frame.

My regret is that I DIDN'T spend more money on my initial purchase, if I could do it over again knowing that I know now I would have spent a minimum of $1,500.

If you are going to get a hardtail, highly recommended by me for your first bike, you can get stuff around $1000-1200.
See less See more
My first purchase, with a recommendation from a friend, was a Raleigh M400, which was $700. Had STX components on there. Wasn't too happy, so a year later, bought a $1,200 Gary Fisher with XT components. Was much happier. I regret I didn't just sack up and get what I wanted from the get-go.

So go get what you want. Don't listen to anybody else. A year from now, you'll be glad you spent the last season on a bike you liked than a POS you hated, and now will have to sell it and get something you would've bought from the beginning anyway. Don't worry about not liking this sport---mountain biking is fun. You WILL like it.
i would say 1k is pretty high for somebody who has never ridden before, but it's your money and i don't really care what you do with it as long as you buy something from yr lbs.
Oh, and your friends advice on buying used is a good one, if you are near a large city with a bike club get on their site, check craigslist, etc.
I could have bought a nicely maintained 1 year old $1,500 bike for what I paid for my entry level and likely wouldn't have had to change many parts on it.

If you are going to flip a coin I say go with better components because those are what go first for us big guys. Wheels/forks/etc.
Agreed, buy a quality bike at the get go. But do a bunch of research to determine what "quality" is for you. For example, you probably don't need anything above XT or X9. FS or HT you'll have to decide. Don't let anyone influence your decision and talk you into buying a bike you don't love. I wanted a steel 29er HT last year, but the sales people talked me into buying aluminum. Never was happy, so sold it and bought a steel bike anyway.
Luckily for 2011... entry level 29ers have gotten considerably cheaper, compared to when I got Rockhopper in 2009.

iirc, a Gary Fisher Marlin with X4 stuff costs $640 MSRP these days....
I'd consider bikesdirect if your friends are willing to help you fine tune the bike when you get it. You can get a really nice spec'd out bike for cheap. And the specs are so good that if you want later on, you can upgrade the frame and won't have to worry about spending too much on parts alone. Anyways the frame is going to get beat on the trails so maybe consider it a good starting frame. I've found that building a bike from the frame up is more costly than buying a nice spec'd bike right off the bat. I'd suggest waiting for the Fantom 29 Pro to get back in stock.

Only $1200 for XT/XTR stuff. A real bargain IMO.

That way you save the $800 and you can put that towards another frame if you want down the road. Or who knows you might like the existing frame so much you won't need to.

I also like the Orbea Alma. Even though the specs are not as good the bike looks awesome and it's not priced too high.
If you have the money and the desire then spend your whole budget. You know yourself well enough to know if you will have buyers remorse, we cant tell you that. You are better off buying a good bike that does not scream upgrade me then buying cheap and spending hours of your life deciding what is the best part for an upgrade. Plus it is just like when you were a kid, that nice new toy that you had to work hard to get you took care of and wanted to use.
1 - 20 of 35 Posts