Entry Level Bikes for the new rider

Entry Level Bikes for the new rider

Postby NoyzSource » Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:26 am

I'm not an expert rider so I don't claim to know all the ins/outs. I fear that we (MTB riders) intimidate newer riders that don't have AWESOME mountain bikes. Newer riders, especially men in the teens, 20s and 30s, don't ride sometimes because they are embarrassed of their equipment (on many levels).

My new bike is hardly an entry level bike but sure looks low end compared to some of the bikes I see at Beverly. I love my new bike but I also loved my 26" Gary Fisher that I bought for $400.

Would some of the more experienced riders please post some good entry level bikes for new riders (men and women) that won't break the bank? Maybe even touch on the "big box store" vs "local bike shop (LBS)" quality of bikes.
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Re: Entry Level Bikes for the new rider

Postby iLuvTechnical » Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:38 am

If you meet or hear of someone that is embarrassed or intimidated, just show them a picture of me and my equipment :shifty:
That should make them feel better.
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Re: Entry Level Bikes for the new rider

Postby Farmboy » Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:55 am

Almost every mountain biker I know started riding on a $300-$400 bike. Obviously it's silly to start riding on a $1000 bike when you don't even know if you're going to like the sport.

Some good entry level bikes that I know of are:

Specialized Hardrock: http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBC ... temId=9253
Trek: http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/mo ... ries/3700/

These are just a couple. These bikes would be at home on singletrack or pulling a Burley.

It's not the bike that makes the rider. That's the bottom line. But as you progress as a rider, your bike can (if only in your own mind) limit your abilities. Always makes me laugh when I see some big fat man riding a carbon road bike with a yellow Team Discovery jersey on.
If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough.
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Re: Entry Level Bikes for the new rider

Postby greenfast » Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:01 am

I have ridden both extremes of the "big box store" bikes, and some high-end race bikes, and I will agree with Farmboy, it's not about the bike, only the rider. I will say though components are really where it's at, yes you can get by for a while on lesser stuff, but once you get into the sport you will want to move into more high end parts, for both weight savings, and durability. Once you start dropping weight off the bike it will get slightly faster, mainly on climbs where you want it to be as light as possible, and rotational weight is usually the first place to start.
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Re: Entry Level Bikes for the new rider

Postby Farmboy » Mon Oct 12, 2009 12:17 pm

And I agree with greenfast to a point. If you're a beginner, an entry level component group will work great for you. When you move up from there, either because you have to (something breaks or your abilities have outgrown your components both scenarios will be clear when they happen) or you want to (upgrade-itis) things can get not-so-necessarily expensive. A newer to intermediate rider who doesn't race or ride like a racer does not need an XTR group. LX or XT will work great for them, actually, probably better.

As far as rotational weight, gfast is certainly right about that, but you have to make sure your riding is in tune with your wheels. A big not-so-graceful plow into and run over $hit rider needs stronger wheels than someone who picks clean lines and can float over roots and rocks. I personally am somewhere in the middle there.

My Moutain Bike progression has gone like this starting in 1994:

Gary Fisher Tassajara 1994
Gary Fisher Hoo Koo Eee Koo 1998
Specialized Stumpjumper M2Comp 2001
Surly 1x1 2004
Surly Karate Monkey 2008
If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough.
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Re: Entry Level Bikes for the new rider

Postby Angy » Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:57 pm

And sometimes it's all about the look!
HBA racing team pics seen here...
http://www.angysnoop.com/ (8/1/09-current)
http://picasaweb.google.com/KASKSnoop (2/18/08-7/19/09)
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Re: Entry Level Bikes for the new rider

Postby greenfast » Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:00 pm

Angy wrote:And sometimes it's all about the look!


If that was the case you would be riding a Pink Cannondale right now and not a Specialized :wink:
Sorry I love my C'dales
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Re: Entry Level Bikes for the new rider

Postby Angy » Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:42 pm

greenfast wrote:If that was the case you would be riding a Pink Cannondale right now and not a Specialized :wink:
Sorry I love my C'dales


Yes but I can accessorize it!
HBA racing team pics seen here...
http://www.angysnoop.com/ (8/1/09-current)
http://picasaweb.google.com/KASKSnoop (2/18/08-7/19/09)
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Re: Entry Level Bikes for the new rider

Postby crrimson » Mon Oct 12, 2009 7:41 pm

My Specialized Rockhopper was a great first bike, the 2007 model I should have bought was only $450, I ended up paying too much for mine but I was set on it.

My brother just got a Fisher Tassajara for $350 with discs, etc. used from Craigslist and the bike was only ridden once!

I think as long as you buy a bike that is in good condition, or get a good deal on it, and the right size it's a good beginner bike, hell just borrow a bike and see if it's worth shelling out the $500. I rode out at Bev. probably 3 or 4 times on a 21" Diamondback obviously way too big for me but had terrible shifting problems, bent rims and overall it sucked but it was so much fun riding that I just knew I had to get a different bike.

Definitely agree that it's all about the rider.

iLuvTechnical wrote:If you meet or hear of someone that is embarrassed or intimidated, just show them a picture of me and my equipment :shifty:
That should make them feel better.

You know Chris, my brothers friend that met you out at the trails one day had a nearly brand new Gary Fisher Marlin or something like that, saw your bike and said "I want a bike like that guy, it looked nice". Shoulda offered to trade him :)
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Re: Entry Level Bikes for the new rider

Postby Charleswv » Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:20 pm

NoyzSource wrote:Would some of the more experienced riders please post some good entry level bikes for new riders (men and women) that won't break the bank? Maybe even touch on the "big box store" vs "local bike shop (LBS)" quality of bikes.


NoyzSource - Here's an answer from personal experience, somewhat. I have owned a couple bikes in my time, and bought a Gary Fisher from Hall's back in April. I love the bike, best bike I've ever owned, previously had a '94 GF Tassajara, and some early 90's Schwinn. Anyway, right away I noticed there was a problem with either the brakes or the rear derailleur. I stopped in one day, Steve put it up on the stand and messed with the adjustments of the derailleur. Rode it a few more days, and still had the same rubbing sound. So, I put it on my own stand, and figured out it was the brakes. The pads were rubbing on the rotors. Since my bike came with Avid Juicy 3's, there's not much you can do to adjust them. So, the next time I was at Halls, Steve put it back up on the stand, and messed with the rotors and pads a little bit. Probably spent about 20 or 30 minutes on them. Still no luck. So, the next day, he called Trek(they own Gary Fisher), and got some new brakes(the complete set) sent to the shop. I brought my bike in on a Monday evening, and had it back the next day, with a complete set of Avid Juicy 3.5's installed and working great. Trek was out of the 3's, and the 3.5 are a step up. How much did all this cost me? Nothing.

This is just one example of the service you get from a local bike shop versus a big box store. I've had them straighten derailleur hangers, paint over scratches, and help install stuff all the time for me. I've known the guys at Hall's for years, and know that they love bikes, and love biking even more. They take great care of their customers, for over 100 years. I know that this level of service is the same at almost any locally owned bike shop. Also, one of the things you'll notice at shops is that they will do the repairs of their customers' bikes first, and put the big box bikes at the back of the line. Now, they will provide the same level of service, just will take longer.

Also, when my wife and I bought our bikes, they gave us discounts for the two purchases, as well as a discount on any other items we bought over the next 90 days. I know that places like Scheel's will do that, but only at the time of the bike purchase. You always realize later you need tools, tubes, tires, bottles, lights, etc.

Really, the short of it is that you don't get a high level of service from big box stores that you will get at the local bike shop.

Now, the quality of bikes. There's so many levels when it comes to quality. A big box bike will never last very long if you try to ride it as a trails bike. You will also grow tired of the items breaking, coming out of adjustment, etc, very quickly. The quality just isn't there. After a quick check on walmart.com, the bikes there range from $100-$500. Made from companies that also happen to make motorcycles and guns. Interesting.

I know for a fact that a person can buy a great bike from a local bike shop for less than $500, and have a great time riding it! No, it won't be carbon fiber, and no it probably won't be full suspension. But, it will be lighter and last longer than a big box bike. So, that means you'll be able to be on the trails longer in the day, because in the end, that's what it is all about.

The people on this forum and at the trails who have full suspension and carbon fiber, and whatever else, almost always started on something that was around $500. Whether they bought it new at a local shop, or bought a great used bike at a garage sale or Craigslist, they started small, fell in love with riding, and then started to upgrade to something more that they discovered they liked more. How did they do it? Most of us read sites like this, dirtrag.com, bikemag.com, or read magazines on an almost daily basis(I know I do!) to learn about what's out there that can make our participation in this crazy sport that much more fun. I also know that most of us are more than willing to take some time, talk about what we are liking in products out, what to watch out for, and to help anyone get the most out of their ride, and their bike. Just ask!

And to the guys and gals on this forum who have the carbon fiber and the full-suspension, listen up - The more people we stop and help along the way and get involved in this sport, the better it becomes.

Soapbox off.
- Chucky V
aka c wagon

Bike - Gary Fisher X-Caliber '09
Crank Bros Eggbeater SL pedals
Salsa Pro-Moto Carbon Flat bar
Bontrager Race XXX Lite stem
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Re: Entry Level Bikes for the new rider

Postby dmsndogr » Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:16 am

Charleswv wrote:I know for a fact that a person can buy a great bike from a local bike shop for less than $500, and have a great time riding it! No, it won't be carbon fiber, and no it probably won't be full suspension.



I'm riding a 2006 Trek 3700, purchased late in 2007. it was on clearance for $250 (or maybe that was the cost of the bike +cleaner,lube, and a helmet...can't remember). although It hasn't seen any serious trail riding, I'm almost done with my second youer of riding it as my only transportation and i can't complain about it at all. although, once I get more into trail riding, I'll probably look to replace this bike... it has seen many rainy/sleety/snow/days.

needless to say, i (as an inexperienced MTB rider) suggest purchasing last years model on clearance.
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