Mountain Bikes 101

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Mountain Bikes 101

Postby PaHulkster » Wed May 25, 2005 7:29 am

Hi, I was wondering if you could give me some basic info on mountain bikes. Brands, cost and quality, sizes, and things like that. I'm not looking to do anything crazy, and just want to ride some trails for general fitness. I'm 6'2" and 190lbs (86kg) if that helps. I'm not looking to spend a ton of money on this right now, but don't want to waste my money on something that will break in a month. Is something in the $250-300 range even worth it? Thank you.
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Postby Jonathan » Wed May 25, 2005 11:48 am

if you are planning to use it reasonably frequently off road it would be a waste of money to buy anything less than about $500. anything cheaper just drops to bits (twisted forks, bottom brackets break, cranks can snap, and the wheels will buckle quicker than you can say nooooo!!!). specialised are pretty good i believe as are trek, though they are quite expensive. i wouldnt recommend a second hand bike due to you not knowing what it has been through-crashes etc.

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Postby Matt Norwood » Wed May 25, 2005 2:15 pm

I just bought a new Trek 3900 for $299 and it's been great. It's not as light as some of the racing bikes out there, but for general fitness it's great. I took it off road last night and it did real well and I love it for commuting and pulling my young son in the trailer as well. A solid mountain bike.

If you are 6' 2", you likely need a 21" frame (I'm 6' 1" and riding a 21" Trek 3900 frame). I would go to a bike shop that carries Trek and get fitted, but mountain bike frames have more leeway in the sizes than road frames do.

I think $300 (or even $500) is reasonable to spend on a bike nowadays. Much less than that and you get a frame and components that are subpar. Considering that the high-end bikes can run $2-3,000, the Trek has been a deal. Also, I think the lower-end bikes have benefitted from the surge in popularity of the sport, especially Trek, which has sponsored Lance Armstrong's team and reaped the benefits as a result. Components have also improved yearly, and that's filtered down to the lower-end bikes.
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Postby Dave Noisy » Thu May 26, 2005 6:14 am

Aye, i'd aim for closer to $500, or more.

Definitely look around and see what used bikes are out there, you can get something a lot nicer that way.
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Postby stateofflux » Thu May 26, 2005 11:13 am

It's good to hear that you recommend the Trek 3900, I've been looking to get a Trek bike but have no idea about the quality of the entry level bikes. So you think that the 3900 is actually OK for taking out on a trail?
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Postby fredrikw » Thu May 26, 2005 11:59 am

I think there might be a big discrepancy between what people mean by "trail" or "off road"
are we talking
http://www.happymtb.org/bilder/framsida2/pic74.jpg
http://www.happymtb.org/bilder/framsida2/pic11.jpg
or are we talking
http://www.happymtb.org/bilder/framsida2/pic60.jpg
The demands of the frame and components are extremely different.

In this price range, I'd definitely look into used bikes. Try to find a bike shops that sells used bikes, they might even have some sort of guarantee program or good service deal, for their used bikes.
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Postby stateofflux » Thu May 26, 2005 12:01 pm

option 2 for me Fredrik, I'm more into nice foresty type trails- not so much into rocky terrain.
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Postby Matt Norwood » Thu May 26, 2005 12:26 pm

[quote="Rochelle"]It's good to hear that you recommend the Trek 3900, I've been looking to get a Trek bike but have no idea about the quality of the entry level bikes. So you think that the 3900 is actually OK for taking out on a trail?
I think so. It's worked great for me, though I haven't done any heavy-duty trail riding. Based on PaHulkster's original question, I think it would fit the bill nicely.

As I alluded to before, Trek's bikes are great, even at the entry level. I disagree that one needs one more expensive; I used to think the same thing, but I'm convinced otherwise now. I would say if you are buying new for less than $300 and want a decent bike and components, you need to buy a name brand such as Trek, Bianchi, or another establshed brand. The low-end bikes are benefitting from technology improvements and the low-end Trek is arguably as good as a high-end bike from 15 years ago, except for the weight (still rather heavy since they are steel-aluminum composites).

I'd avoid brands that show up in large chain stores like Costco or Toys R Us. Buy a $300 bike at a bike shop that has an interest in knowing it works well.
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Postby FormicaLinoleum » Thu May 26, 2005 12:33 pm

I have a Giant, which I like a lot. My current bike is more in the $700-$800 range, but before this one I had an Iguana, which was about $400 at the time. I took that over pretty hard terrain as well (including downhill at a ski resort) and I never broke anything on it.
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Postby Dave Noisy » Fri May 27, 2005 6:01 am

I agree you don't *need* anything more.. Heck, you can get along fine on the cheapest bike you can find i'm sure....but without fail, people i know who upgrade from a $2-300 bike to a $500+ ride talk about 'day and night'.

Same experience with me, going from a cheap bike as a kid to a decent $500 one....it made all the difference i enjoyed riding so much more. Actually, that's what got me into riding seriously..i don't think i'd be very active at all if i hadn't done that.

But that's just my story. =)
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Postby JP » Sat May 28, 2005 6:27 pm

I JUST BOUGHT A BIKE!!!

This one:

Image

exept with street wheels and no front suspension (too much hassle to maintain for me).

I'm very exited :D

This is the most i have ever spent on a bike - by three fold! I was thinking that i use my bike every day, even if i would buy the shittiest car this is still way cheaper.

And to continue daves comment about day and night: this is not even on the same solar system man! My old second hand bike was like a tractor, this is feather light in comparison, i haven't yet really took off with it but i can only imagine how fast it is.

Also, feels weird to cycle with a bike with breaks ;) My old ones breaks weren't that good. Now the bike is with prenna, but he did promise he will look into the breaks :D
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Postby Matt Norwood » Sat May 28, 2005 6:56 pm

Cool bike, JP. The 4300 uses the same frame as the 3900 (as I mention above). The components are a bit better on the 4300 and the fork has two adjustments rather than just one on the 3900. Here in the USA I think the 4300 is $50 more than the 3900. Both are pretty good deals. Sweet bike, man. :wink:

Here's the one I got, if you are interested.

Image
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Postby Dave Noisy » Sun May 29, 2005 7:53 am

Very nice, congrats!! When you really wanna fly, get a road bike. =)
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Postby fredrikw » Sun May 29, 2005 1:58 pm

JP, nice bike! But take it easy on the brakes, going from bad brakes to disc brakes is a huge jump, the braking power is unparalleled and will very easily get you into trouble if you brake too hard with your front brake... just a word of warning.

congratulations on your new bike! if you need any help fine tuning it I'll gladly help you when I come over for the activity week.
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Postby JP » Sun May 29, 2005 2:27 pm

matt, Trek Appreciation Vegan Society starting up here :D

thanks guys, i'm pretty exited about it.

Good point fredrik about the brakes. I also have to be careful with the speed - when you can squat as much as i can the acceleration speed is great! No wonder those sprinter cyclists have HUGE leg muscles.

Now a new worry (this is manchester after all): how will i protect my bike from thieves? I already bought this super kickass lock, but i was thinking of using masking tape or something to make the bike look weird, like red black and green colours :D

Sorry PA to hijack your thread mate, but this is related to your original query in a sense that you can witness here first hand the reaction of someone used to cycle with used $60 bikes moving on to proper $500 bike!
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