Hello. I want to start mtn biking, but I need advice.

Discussion in 'Say Hello!' started by PDUB, Nov 2, 2019.



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  1. PDUB

    PDUB Newbie with Hope!

    Location:
    Calimesa
    Name:
    Nick
    Hello. I found this forum by accident while I was surfing the web on mtn biking. I'm glad I stumbled across this site because I definitely need help(advice). I want to get into mtn biking but I have a few questions and issues to overcome first.

    My first BIG issue is that I currently do not own a mtn bike. After looking online and at the local bike shop I've quickly realized that buying a mtn bike (or any bike for that matter) is quite expensive. I'm interested in a NEW bike only because I don't want to buy a used bike then find out later that things are: bent, cracked, warped, etc..

    so my questions are:

    1. would you buy your bike online or go to the local bike shop for your first real mtn bike? I've noticed that bikes online are cheaper than the LBS, but the LBS does offer lifetime tuneups and I guess I can sit on the bike before I buy it.

    2. how nice (expensive) of a mtn bike do I really need seeing that my skill level will be below the capabilities of almost every bike out there. BUT I don't have the money to upgrade to a new bike every few years. so I have no idea what bikes (brand/model) I should even be looking at.

    I think I'm interested in getting a hardtail bike with 29in wheels. (which brands/models should I look into)

    Finally, the only mtn biking experience I have is from two separate rides back in 2016 when I rode on a fire road in our local mtns then I rode in Moab during a 12 hour adventure race. I had bought a bike from Walmart (genesis max air) and that was the bike I used for both rides. Eventhough I had the cheapest bike at the adventure race and had the only bike with a kickstand I think I still had the most fun.

    At the end of the day I just want to go out and have fun so any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. Runs with Scissors

    Runs with Scissors iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    West Anaheim
    Name:
    Mark Whitaker
    Current Bike:
    2015 Giant XTC Advanced 1 29er
    For sizing you must go to the LBS and sit on the bike. You can get more bike for your buck used, but you need to know what you're looking at.

    Any bike is more fun than no bike.
     
    Faust29, mike, Danmtchl and 2 others like this.
  3. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    First off welcome.....

    Second off....you are gonna get a lot of different answers here.

    But.......

    A lot of here have a lot of experience, have been doing this a long time, and have been where you have been.

    So let's start off from the top:

    1. Generally recommend a LBS for your first bike. At this point you really have no point of reference. You aren't familiar with what makes one bike different from another. Talking to someone at one of the LBS's should be able to steer you in the right direction. Yes, prices can be cheaper online, but a lot of the shops are trying to clear out last year's bikes and are offering deep discounts.

    2. I don't recommend entry level bikes(under $1000)....especially full suspension bikes(under $2000). Too many compromises to be made, so you generally end up with a heavy bike with crappy components. The initial investment is expensive, but from there on, it's free.


    As for HT vs FS.....I think anything can be ridden on a hardtail. I also think that learning to ride on a hardtail makes one a better rider. You learn to look for the smoothest lines. You learn the skills to handle the bike. With full suspension, the bike will hide riding errors and you won't learn. Modern hardtail bikes have geometry that makes them ride similar to full suspension bikes. You also will get more bike for a lower budget than you will from full suspension. This is coming from someone who has spent most of the last 8 years riding a singlespeed.

    Walmart bikes are not bikes....they are toys. Don't waste your time.

    With all that said, getting out on any bike is better than not getting out at all.

    Feel free to ask additional questions.
     
    Cyclotourist, Faust29, mike and 6 others like this.
  4. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    2020 SC Megaplower
    J speaks wisdom. Follow this advice.

    I second his comments on hardtails. Start with a hardtail, you will be a better rider for it, and it will still be fun. Do not buy department store bikes. They will break the first time you try to shift gears going up a hill, or worse, when you are descending, trying to brake.

    Absolutely buy from a local bike shop until you know exactly what you are doing (and even then, I recommend developing a relationship with a shop for the hundreds of adjustments and upgrades you will be doing).

    I am sure a few others on this forum who have recently shopped for entry level bikes will chime in with some specific recommendations. I bought a nice new Marin hardtail last year that I was going to use as a beach cruiser. It was around $650. I took it back because the surfboard rack didn't play well with it.

    Welcome to the forum. Hope we see you on the trail soon. :thumbsup:
     
    Cyclotourist, Faust29, mike and 7 others like this.
  5. jimbowho

    jimbowho Member

    Location:
    acton
    Name:
    james jim jimmy
    Current Bike:
    GT sensor 29r
    Welcome. Check out a 2020 Giant Stance 1. Never had a Giant, but seems sexy, upgradeable, priced to get into riding. Good luck.
     
    Cyclotourist, Faust29, mike and 5 others like this.
  6. SnakeCharmer

    SnakeCharmer iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Crescenta Valley
    Name:
    Mike, aka "Ssnake"
    Current Bike:
    2018 Trek FEX
    A hardtail will be great and today's frame geometry will make the bike feel stable going up or downhill. I enjoy the pedaling efficiency of hardtail. A reputable bike shop is the place to go for sizing and purchasing. Research shops before you go. Be ready to spend at least $1500 for a quality hardtail that will last and ride well.
     
    Cyclotourist, Faust29, mike and 3 others like this.
  7. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    2020 SC Megaplower
    I have found reasonably spec'd brand new bikes on Giant and Trek's websites for around $600 to $700. They would be just fine for entry-level real mt. biking.

    Trek Marlin
     
    Faust29, UPSed, mike and 3 others like this.
  8. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
    Hey welcome to the site @PDUB !
    You picked a great MTB site if you are looking for solid advice. The theme of that advice has been surprisingly on track from member to member.

    Hardtail is definitely the way to start. You will spend less and get more of what you need. My two last bike purchases, after riding them, I just knew they were the one for me.

    What has not been mentioned here yet is Demo days. I HIGHLY recommend hitting up some LBS Demo days. Get out and ride some bikes that some one else owns and see what you like.

    Almost all the manufacturers make outstanding bikes so a frame is a frame is a frame is a frame, meaning it really comes down to the components on that frame that makes the big difference.

    1. Ride a bunch of Demo bikes in your price range.
    2. Read up on components and ask imtbtrails about what good and bad components are.
    3. Be prepared to spend around $1500 bucks for a descent bike that is not over spending yet will get you bang for your buck.
    4. Buy a REALLY good helmet! A pair of gloves, and descent shoes.
    5. Hit the trails with some dudes from imtbtrails. These guy really know how to ride bikes, they have tremendous patience and mad skill sets!
    6. Pay back to imtbtrails by writing up about the stoke, the growth, the increase in fitness, the crashes... ride a lot, write a lot.

    Hope to see you on the trails!
     
    Cyclotourist, Faust29, UPSed and 8 others like this.
  9. DangerDirtyD

    DangerDirtyD iMTB Addict

    Location:
    CA
    Name:
    Chicken Nugget
    Current Bike:
    2018 Guerrilla Gravity SMASH
    No one suggested a used bike even though @PDUB indicted he wants a new bike.

    New is indeed less liability and more confidence with bike shop support.

    I second the Giant Stance recommendation from @jimbowho. Also consider the Marin Rift Zone, which has received quite high reviews on entry level full-suspension bikes by pundits.

    I recommend you make a hardtail your second bike and stick with a full suspension rig as your daily, do-it-all ride. I think you’ll enjoy the bumpy trails a bit more.

    Demo both types of bikes, and find a few rocks to session because they will find you if you venture away from fire roads.

    Go see Joseph at Ridgeline (https://ridgeline.services/) and ask if he has any rigs you can demo, advice, leads, etc. he would be a great mechanic to have if you decide to buy used or via online-order. Be advised, Joseph rides a hardtail for most anything, but he’s an advanced rider and has been around the block on several bikes. My concern for a newbie on a hardtail is you might get discouraged with the jarring sensations. With more and more riders out there every day, trails are not getting any smoother.
     
    Mikie, Cyclotourist, Faust29 and 4 others like this.
  10. Voodoo Tom

    Voodoo Tom MTB Addict

    Location:
    Castaic
    Name:
    Tom Kokkinakis
    Current Bike:
    Mango one, blue one, black one
    Welcome @PDUB... As you can tell we are a friendly bunch who share a common passion. These guys have hit all and I don't have much to add other than one thing. Often times shops have new bikes that are the prior year model that they will discount substantially.Sometimes these are very well specked bikes that you can grab for the cost of an entry level rig. This is what I did and rode that first bike for quite a while before upgrading to a full suspension rig. That original bike was well taken care of and I eventually sold it on this site for a real fair price.
     
    Mikie, Cyclotourist, Faust29 and 6 others like this.
  11. Danmtchl

    Danmtchl Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bakersfield
    Name:
    Dan
    Current Bike:
    2015 Devinci Troy Carbon 27.5
    Welcome PDub,

    As some has mentioned a hard tail is the place to start to get your riding skills down. I know you mentioned you didn’t want to buy used but, if you look around in a shop, a lot of shop employees have bikes laying around in great shape, usually upgraded and a lot of times for cheap. I have bought bikes like this a few times.

    But if you are dead set on a new bike, look for something that is upgradeable in the future, like a tapered headtube. It doesn’t sound like much but most higher end modern forks are tapered and if you have a 1 1/8 fork, it is getting harder to upgrade to a higher end fork. Also a must (for me) would be thru axles. A good bike would be something like a Kona Honzo, a modern bike with all the goodies you need including a dropper post.

    http://konaworld.com/honzo.cfm
     
    Mikie, Cyclotourist, Faust29 and 6 others like this.
  12. mike

    mike iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    GG Smash
    I also suggest a used bike. Caveat being you need a personal shopper to be sure you don’t make any big mistakes. Start by stating your height, inseam and ape index; include what kind of riding looks fun to you. Let the fleet of personal shoppers here approve/reject the possibilties you dig up. Maybe someone has something collecting dust that needs a home.
     
    Mikie, Cyclotourist, Faust29 and 6 others like this.
  13. Sidewalk

    Sidewalk Well-Known Member

    Location:
    The road is where I call home
    Name:
    Josh
    Current Bike:
    N+1
    I consider myself to be a pretty advanced rider. I think in general, most would agree.

    I still race a hardtail. I don't think I'll ever not have a hardtail, it's just better in every way EXCEPT riding at the extreme fringes. Even then, skill is more important than having a squishy rear end.
     
    Mikie, mtnbikej, Cyclotourist and 5 others like this.
  14. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    2020 SC Megaplower
    Crickets...
     
    Jmsracer, Mikie, DangerDirtyD and 3 others like this.
  15. Cyclotourist

    Cyclotourist iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Redlands
    Name:
    David
    Current Bike:
    Chameleon 60%
    He must be out riding still!!!
     
  16. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    He doesn't have a bike.
     
  17. PDUB

    PDUB Newbie with Hope!

    Location:
    Calimesa
    Name:
    Nick
    Thanks everyone for all the information. and no I wasn't out riding instead I was hiking in the mtns today. I have to use my two feet at the moment instead of two wheels.

    I will go to my LBS and see what they have to offer in regards to older model bikes, bike fitting, demo..etc . I will also stop by Ridgeline and speak with Joseph (I live nearby and didn't know the place was there). I looked into Trek (marlin) and Giant online after the suggestions. plus I know some bike shops around me do sell those bikes. BUT I have a question: would it benefit me more at this stage to get a bike with more gears (ie- 3 chainring crankset) than a 1x system? (it seems like the higher priced bikes almost all have a 1x crankset. I imagine everyone here has a 1x) I'm not racing so I don't care about the extra weight and if the LBS offers lifetime tuneups on bikes purchased there then they can adjust derailers when needed.

    Again thanks everyone for all your responses. I appreciate it.
     
    Danmtchl, Cyclotourist, Mikie and 3 others like this.
  18. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    2020 SC Megaplower
    No problem with a 3x system. Gives you a lot of range, but makes it a little more complicated to learn. Most of us on this site learned on 3x8 or 3x9 hardtails.

    Good 1x systems are damned expensive (due to the 11 or 12 spd cassettes).
     
    Danmtchl, Cyclotourist, Mikie and 4 others like this.
  19. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
    Actually the SRAM SX and NX 11/12 Speed drivetrains work pretty well for the money....just heavy. They are cheaper since they use Shimano freehubs.

    Shimano SLX at 11 speed should be pretty inexpensive since they now have a 12 spd option.

    In this day and age, really no need to go with a front derailleur any more.

    Biggest issue with bikes that have 3x cranksets are generally low end. The rings re usually riveted on to the arms, so you replace the crankset when the rings go out.
     
  20. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    2020 SC Megaplower
    Like I said in my first post in this thread, listen to J! :thumbsup: @mtnbikej that is.
     
    Danmtchl, Cyclotourist, Mikie and 3 others like this.
  21. BonsaiNut

    BonsaiNut iMTB Rockstah

    Location:
    Laguna Hills
    Name:
    Greg P
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower CC XX1
    Stop talking about my ass!! Stay on topic! :)

    I have been biking long enough that I have gone full circle with my bikes. I started simple... got more complicated... and am back to (relatively) simple again - at least when it comes to a 1 x 12 drive train. For your FIRST bike, I would recommend going to a Local Bike Store. You will pay more, but what you are paying for is expertise, warranty and service - all of which you will be needing as a beginner. Note when I say "Local Bike Store" I mean a store that sells bikes and ONLY bikes. Don't make the mistake of trying to buy a mountain bike from a sporting goods store or (worse) a Walmart.

    You won't even know what features you will want until you have been biking six months (minimum). You will first need to go out and hit some trails - and determine what kind of biking you enjoy doing most. Someone who enjoys bombing the downhill trails is going to prefer a very different bike than someone who enjoys grinding away on long back-country rides.
     
    Mikie, mtnbikej, Cyclotourist and 2 others like this.
  22. mike

    mike iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Western US
    Name:
    Mike O
    Current Bike:
    GG Smash
    Still waiting for those dimensions.

    By your avatar you look to be 5' 11" with a 18" inseam, one arm +6" ape index and the other arm zero.
     
    Old&InTheWay, Mikie, mtnbikej and 2 others like this.
  23. DangerDirtyD

    DangerDirtyD iMTB Addict

    Location:
    CA
    Name:
    Chicken Nugget
    Current Bike:
    2018 Guerrilla Gravity SMASH
    My last mountain bike ride was on a bike with 30 gears, and everything was fine. It just so happens a 3x chainring was spec’ed on that model because it was not a high end build. By the time you locate a few bikes to consider for purchase, I’d be surprised if your choice comes down to the number of chainrings with all else being relatively equal.

    BTW, I have a sweet vintage quality bike for sale with a 3x chainring and 9-speed cassette. Exhibit A:5A816FC2-F6F1-4D4E-B560-E3F4BFD77AFA.jpeg
    It is capable of all the local epics, including SART+, Palm Canyon, Cannell Plunge, and Laguna to Noble Cyn. It can climb Harding and drop Joplin; it can rip down Stairsteps and T&A; it can shred Yeager Mesa; and it can be yours for $4,995.98. Send me a private message if you’d like to take it for a test ride to compare against all the modern bikes on sale these days that you might have a chance to demo, and you’ll get a better understanding of how modern geometry and technology compares to the stuff of legends and lore.

    Finally, reach out here again when you compile a list of bikes available to buy.
     
    Danmtchl, CBone, Faust29 and 5 others like this.
  24. herzalot

    herzalot iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Laguna Beach
    Name:
    Chris
    Current Bike:
    2020 SC Megaplower
    Offer him $500. He'll take it.
     
    Luis, Danmtchl, CBone and 6 others like this.
  25. Derkderkall

    Derkderkall Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Monrovia
    Name:
    Derek Allison
    Current Bike:
    2012 Rockhopper 29
    It's true, @DangerDirtyD is talking pesos, not dollars.
     
    Luis, Danmtchl, Mikie and 6 others like this.
  26. PDUB

    PDUB Newbie with Hope!

    Location:
    Calimesa
    Name:
    Nick
  27. mtnbikej

    mtnbikej J-Zilla

    Location:
    Orange
    Name:
    J M
    Current Bike:
    SC Chameleon SS, SC Hightower
  28. Faust29

    Faust29 iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    irgendwo
    Name:
    Stef
    Current Bike:
    3 SC is now 2 SC.
    Nice choice... That looks like a really fun bike to get started on. :thumbsup:
     
  29. PDUB

    PDUB Newbie with Hope!

    Location:
    Calimesa
    Name:
    Nick
    He is also going to offer a 20% discount on my 1st upgrade (Whenever I'm ready) but he suggested getting a dropper post.
     
  30. Mikie

    Mikie Admin/iMTB Hooligan

    Location:
    Lebec, California
    Name:
    Mikie Watson
    Current Bike:
    Santa Cruz Hightower/Yeti 5C
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