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#4488767 - 08/14/17 09:20 PM Mountain Bike Suggestions
KD0AXS Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 2440
Loc: Nowthen, MN
I just started riding my bike a little more seriously this summer after not riding much for quite a few years. So far, most of my riding has been on the roads around my house, about half on gravel and half on pavement. A couple weeks ago, someone informed me of some singletrack trails nearby that I never knew about before so I went to check it out. That lead me to check out some other trails in the area too. Now I've put on over 100 miles on singletrack in the last couple weeks and I'm addicted.

This new addiction means I'm going to need a new bike. Not looking to race or get real crazy, just something to have fun with on the trails. Budget is around $1,000 but could be somewhat flexible. Planning on sticking with a hardtail as I'd have to double my budget (or more) to even think about getting a decent full suspension bike.

I've done a little looking at a couple bike shops. I've looked at Trek Marlin 7 and XCaliber 7/8, Cannondale Trail 4 and Cujo, and a couple others. Cujo has "plus" tires, not sure if I want to go that route or not. A test ride around the parking lot doesn't really cut it. One place has a Giant Fathom 2 on order, she's going to call me when it comes in so I can try it out. All of these seem to be decent options but I know there's a lot more out there. Haven't made it to a place that sells Specialized yet, maybe I'll have some time in the next few days.

So what would you guys recommend?


My current ride is a Specialized Hardrock that I bought used in 2004 from a pawn shop for $200. I really love this bike, but it's going to be time for an upgrade if I'm going to keep riding trails like this.



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#4488784 - 08/14/17 09:52 PM Re: Mountain Bike Suggestions [Re: KD0AXS]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 41759
Loc: New Jersey
Definitely look at 29ers. I was pretty sure on what bikes I liked and wanted, but ended up with a Scott, because when riding the various bikes, it was obviously much more responsive and faster handling to me, and Ive been happy.

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#4488794 - 08/14/17 10:11 PM Re: Mountain Bike Suggestions [Re: KD0AXS]
fsdork Offline


Registered: 02/08/11
Posts: 188
Loc: Canadia
What do you want your new bike to do that your current one doesn't?
_________________________
2011 Ford F-150 Lariat S/C 6.2L 4x4 - 76K km
2003 Ford Explorer Limited 4.6L 4x4 - 202K km

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#4488856 - 08/14/17 11:46 PM Re: Mountain Bike Suggestions [Re: KD0AXS]
AZjeff Offline


Registered: 01/14/11
Posts: 2629
Loc: PV Az
If the photo is how you ride the bike you really need to get some help setting it up, unless you're 5foot3 or so. Don't make decisions on a parking lot test ride. Particularly plus bikes, they feel way different on dirt. Your tire choices are 27.5 and 29 and both have plus size tire models. I'm not up on $1000 hardtails but you can surely find something you like. I went 27.5+ a year ago and still really like it but not going to try to talk you into it. Do some research and try the right size bikes adjusted for you. Welcome to trail riding.
_________________________
86 Samurai 1.3 leftovers
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Why know when you can guess?!


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#4489060 - 08/15/17 08:50 AM Re: Mountain Bike Suggestions [Re: KD0AXS]
planeman223 Offline


Registered: 07/20/17
Posts: 72
Loc: Charlotte
A proper tune up will have your current bike feeling new. (cables, gear adjustment) Also, look into clip in pedals. They'll give you TONS of low end torque and control of the bike at all speeds.

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#4489088 - 08/15/17 09:20 AM Re: Mountain Bike Suggestions [Re: KD0AXS]
IndyIan Offline


Registered: 09/23/08
Posts: 9091
Loc: Ontario, Canada
I think the only thing better in a $1K bike today than yours is perhaps the front fork? Unless your derailleurs/shifters/drivetrain are worn out, but even then the old stuff is dozens of dollars to replace.
You could lose the water bottle and bag and rear rack, bull bars, and get some clipless pedals and you will feel like a rocket on the trails compared to now. I use a camelback and its better to put the weight on you, than on the bike.
I'm a fan of the bigger tires too, 2.35 will probably fit and makes climbing traction much better. Spending money for a decent front is well worth it IMO.
I like shorter stem like the new bikes have, I put a $25 Norco DH stem on my XC bike years ago, but you have to make sure you have room for your knees.
_________________________
07 Focus ZXW, 5spd manual, 206km M1 5W30
18 Outback 2.5 CVT 5km FF

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#4489153 - 08/15/17 10:53 AM Re: Mountain Bike Suggestions [Re: KD0AXS]
69GTX Offline


Registered: 09/23/15
Posts: 3815
Loc: Connecticut
I'd keep an eye out for nearly new, used bikes at half (or less) the cost of new. Craig's list not a bad place to look. I got my current road bike off CL. You never know how long your interest in the mountain bike will last. Like a new car, I'd rather not take the initial hit driving it off the lot. And for bikes, that first day hit is probably 20-30%...and in under a year at least 50%.

My mountain bike is a Univega Alpina 500 that I got from my brother, nearly brand new. I don't like the long reach and wide handle bars one bit. It doesn't get ridden much.
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2001 Lincoln Cont 4.6L DOHC/ 39K mi / QS HM 5w30 / FUG XG2
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#4489333 - 08/15/17 02:11 PM Re: Mountain Bike Suggestions [Re: AZjeff]
KD0AXS Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 2440
Loc: Nowthen, MN
Thanks for all the input guys. Definitely keeping an eye on the used market on Craigslist and Facebook. I'm certainly not opposed to buying a good used bike. I bought my current bike used.

I've definitely considered doing some upgrades to my current bike rather than buying a new one. It would definitely need a new suspension fork. My current fork is a RockShox Jett, which I assume came with the bike when it was new. It's better than a rigid fork, but not by much. I'd also need new wheels and tires and possibly an upgrade to disc brakes. Disc brakes aren't an absolute must, but would be nice to have. Front would be easy with a new fork, rear would need an adapter bracket that costs about $50.

I've already been looking at clipless pedals and shoes. I had them on a bike I had many years ago and loved them, so I'll probably end up getting them whether I get a new bike or not.

I've already removed the rear rack, but I did add a small bag under the seat. I know the bags add a bit of weight, but I always carry a spare tube, chain, a few tools, and a first aid kit. Better to have and not need than need and not have.


Originally Posted By: AZjeff
If the photo is how you ride the bike you really need to get some help setting it up, unless you're 5foot3 or so.
Close...yes I'm short. I'm 5' 5".

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#4489482 - 08/15/17 04:45 PM Re: Mountain Bike Suggestions [Re: KD0AXS]
wkcars Offline


Registered: 07/06/11
Posts: 754
Loc: MO
I've got one of these for riding around the neighborhood, mostly sidewalks, some dirt/gravel roads, grass fields. I think it's a decent bike with decent components for the price. For a little more the 7 has a step up in the components. It's last year's model and I'm guessing the small frame fits your height.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01BNGIT7U/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01BNGIT48/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1


Edited by wkcars (08/15/17 04:47 PM)

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#4489747 - 08/15/17 09:54 PM Re: Mountain Bike Suggestions [Re: KD0AXS]
NYEngineer Offline


Registered: 12/12/06
Posts: 1562
Loc: NY, NY
Check out a Surly Krampus. It has 29+ wheels and tires. That's 29x3" wide. A few of the guys I ride with regularly ride them and a couple of us run 29+ wheels on our fat bikes when the conditions don't warrant fat wheels.
I thought I would never ride a rigid bike again after having full suspension a while back. Now I love it.

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#4489816 - 08/16/17 12:09 AM Re: Mountain Bike Suggestions [Re: KD0AXS]
AZjeff Offline


Registered: 01/14/11
Posts: 2629
Loc: PV Az
Originally Posted By: KD0AXS

Originally Posted By: AZjeff
If the photo is how you ride the bike you really need to get some help setting it up, unless you're 5foot3 or so.
Close...yes I'm short. I'm 5' 5".



You'll never reach your potential with your bike configured how is it now. The high bars/low seat aren't good for climbing and put you in a generally awkward position for spirited trail riding. Find someone who's into mtbs to help you get your fit sorted out or have your LBS size you up on the correct frame size and position on one of the bikes you're looking at and transfer the fit to your bike. Or take your bike to the shop and ask for help fitting it. Everything is better with the right size bike and good fit. For a trail bike, generally speaking, you don't want your handlebars above your saddle, and when you're sitting on the saddle with the crank aligned with the seattube, when your heal is on the down pedal you want the slightest bit of bend in your knee. This gets you in the ballpark. If you want to refine you saddle height further, keep raising it until you feel youself reaching for the pedals across the bottom and you feel your pelvis rocking on the saddle. Lower it slightly until the rocking stops. You don't want to rock on the saddle and you don't want the nose above horizontal, bad things happen to sensitive parts.

If you replace the fork, wheels, tires, (discs?) pedals & shoes and a complete overhaul/tune up you're well north of $500, IMHO better spent on a newer/new bike. Work on your bike fit some and keep riding the snot out of your bike and keep figuring out what you want to do and what's out there. Sounds like you're hooked.
_________________________
86 Samurai 1.3 leftovers
14 RAV4 2.5 5W-20 PP *gasp*
16 Silverado 1500 4.3 Ecotec3, DI, AFM 5W-30 PP

Why know when you can guess?!


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#4489850 - 08/16/17 02:20 AM Re: Mountain Bike Suggestions [Re: KD0AXS]
DdDd Offline


Registered: 06/08/17
Posts: 189
Loc: NY
Long time MTBer. My .02

You have a bike. Ride it until the seasonal clearance sales. I've been quite lucky (especially if you take the larger frames) finding $2+k dual suspension bikes at close to your $1k price point. Cough up the extra $200 if you have to. smile

At $2k you're getting a good full suspension. Maybe you upgrade the fork if you get picky. Having ridden ultra light rigids, yes they're fun. But for week in/out you're going to be faster and more less beat up after a ride on the FS. They slither over rough patches where the rigid frame gets all out of shape.

My current ride I built up from parts. Scan eBay and buy hi end components for a good price. You can have a full custom build to your specs, if you are so inclined. Mine cost me about $1500 and it'd be more than double if I walked into a shop.

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#4490111 - 08/16/17 11:58 AM Re: Mountain Bike Suggestions [Re: DdDd]
AZjeff Offline


Registered: 01/14/11
Posts: 2629
Loc: PV Az
Originally Posted By: DdDd
Long time MTBer. My .02

You have a bike. Ride it until the seasonal clearance sales. I've been quite lucky (especially if you take the larger frames) finding $2+k dual suspension bikes at close to your $1k price point. Cough up the extra $200 if you have to. smile

At $2k you're getting a good full suspension. Maybe you upgrade the fork if you get picky. Having ridden ultra light rigids, yes they're fun. But for week in/out you're going to be faster and more less beat up after a ride on the FS. They slither over rough patches where the rigid frame gets all out of shape.

My current ride I built up from parts. Scan eBay and buy hi end components for a good price. You can have a full custom build to your specs, if you are so inclined. Mine cost me about $1500 and it'd be more than double if I walked into a shop.


Good advice about year end bikes, full suspension, and building your own bike. Keep in mind the OP is new to more serious trail riding. His trails might not require FS and he probably doesn't have the knowledge to piece a bike together right now, it's too easy to get things that don't play well together and with all the different widths you'd better know what you're buying.

It looks like he's riding a 17" aluminum frame with a suspension post slammed down and a long riser stem. He needs some help sorting out the basics.

If he likes Specialized he could look at a Rockhopper Expert or a Fuse Sport 6Fattie in the $1Kish range.
_________________________
86 Samurai 1.3 leftovers
14 RAV4 2.5 5W-20 PP *gasp*
16 Silverado 1500 4.3 Ecotec3, DI, AFM 5W-30 PP

Why know when you can guess?!


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#4490228 - 08/16/17 02:13 PM Re: Mountain Bike Suggestions [Re: KD0AXS]
IndyIan Offline


Registered: 09/23/08
Posts: 9091
Loc: Ontario, Canada
If you go with a new bike and disc brakes, do some research on how much you have to spend to get ones that last. My Dad has a $500 bike and the disc brakes have started to act up in only a few years and miles... Probably on a 1k bike they should be good, but its one area the company can skimp without most people noticing. Good usable braking is key for pushing your limits on tricky trails.
_________________________
07 Focus ZXW, 5spd manual, 206km M1 5W30
18 Outback 2.5 CVT 5km FF

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#4490652 - 08/16/17 11:26 PM Re: Mountain Bike Suggestions [Re: IndyIan]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 41759
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By: IndyIan
If you go with a new bike and disc brakes, do some research on how much you have to spend to get ones that last. My Dad has a $500 bike and the disc brakes have started to act up in only a few years and miles... Probably on a 1k bike they should be good, but its one area the company can skimp without most people noticing. Good usable braking is key for pushing your limits on tricky trails.


+1. Ive been really pleased with my shimano disks, but have had some bad ones in the past from other manufacturers.

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