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Best used MTBs?

  1. #1
    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
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    Best used MTBs?


    I'm reluctantly looking to replace my Nishiki so I can some trail riding in this year. For a $200 box store bike I loved the Nishiki but the forks are blown, wheels bent, on my 4th derailleur, and it weighs a thousand pounds.

    Don't really have a set budget but I would be 100% happy with a halfway decent used bike for a couple hundred. My only real requirements are that it isn't extremely heavy and has decent hardware so I'm not breaking derailleurs left and right. I ride mostly technical hard trails and mud, not a lot of high speed or downhill stuff, but I tend to beat on my bikes and do the occasional long trip with gear. Have always ridden hardtail and fine with that.

    Any advice on decent MTBs for a 5' 10" 130lb guy in the used market to look out for?

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    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    there's a lot out there but it's going to depend on fit and what you want out of it...i'm assuming you probably want disc brakes and front suspension at least...26" or 28" wheels?...tubed or tubeless tires?...and what do you mean by light?...you're going to have a hard time finding something light for under $1k i have a feeling...i have an old 26" gt ricochet with v brakes, cheap elastomer rock shox fork, clipless pedals and a suspension seatpost...it's by no means light but it got me through the rock gardens in my area and the frame is solid...before that i rode a gt outpost with no suspension and it could do the same trails it just took more effort...you're probably going to have to spend some time on CL searching and trying some used bikes for fit but you need a better idea of the type of options you need vs want...whatever you get make sure it has replaceable derailleur hangers and make sure you can still get a hold of them...maybe you will just have to replace the hanger instead of the whole derailleur next time

    brands i can think of off the top of my head...trek, gary fisher, specialized, kona, jamis, cannondale, giant, gt, santa cruz, scott, yeti, rocky mountain, marin,

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  3. #3
    Your Father csmutty's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    You're going to get your best bang for your buck with a hardtail. Used you can get a really nice hardtail for a g note. Look at northeast bicycle classifieds group on Facebook and pinkbike.com. I just used pinkbike to buy a bike yesterday and so far the transaction has gone very smooth.

    Look to see if Clinton (typeone) on here is still selling his specialized. That bike would be great and is pretty close to your price range.

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  4. #4
    Where is my fast? GixerJockey's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    5"10" 130lb???


    What are you? The new Smutty?

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  5. #5
    Lifer
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    Naming models is probably going to be tough because there's just so many. Instead, have a list of requirements, and probably a ballpark manufacture date minimum. If you were spending 500-800, you can surely find a decent hardtail from 2009+. Age is kind of an indirect, rough factor because of geometry changes over time to be less like a road bike, and standards for parts like hub width, axles etc. I'd say you definitely want disc on both ends. Probably 100mm-150mm ballpark on the fork depending on how aggressive you want the bike to be. Ideally 2x9spd, but on the lower price range for a trail bike might still be 3x8. Replaceable hanger - although higher grade parts are going to be harder to fuck up than what you've been riding now.

    26in wheels is going to help you keep the price down, but they're pretty much out of production as of the past year-ish. There's still tons of them around being ridden. Just something to keep in mind in terms of parts availability long-term. On one hand, you might be able to find more used 26in parts, but it's going to get harder to find 26inch new stuff.

    I think I'm kind of an outlier for MTB'ers but the gear-snobbery and trend-chasing has been out of hand for a while now. Most casual riders can still have plenty of fun on something old.
    Quote Originally Posted by Point37 View Post
    and what do you mean by light?...you're going to have a hard time finding something light for under $1k i have a feeling
    Compared to a box-store bike off the shelf, any major MTB brand's trail bike made in the past decade is going to be light. I think most are still steel frame.

    I suspect his expectations are going to be easy to surpass given the current equipment.

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  6. #6
    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    Good stuff guys, I'll be checking out pinbike too. Just kind of looking for any guidance as I barely touched my mtb last year and haven't been keeping up on the gear game for a few years.

    Might spend more if I fall in love with something, $500+ isn't totally out of the question but I do have pretty simple expectations. I love mountain biking though and put a TON of miles on that Nishiki. I probably have enough parts to build five more bikes and/or keep the Nishiki running another five years but want to spend my time riding as much as possible. Also have a rando Ross Mt Hood set up for trails but it just never felt right to me.

    Was thinking chromoly might save a bit of weight, disc brakes would be awesome but I've always used V brakes and I can live with it. Just about any front shock is better than the blown/seized shock I have now.

    So is everything going 29 or is 27.5 getting some traction (haha)?

    Quote Originally Posted by GixerJockey View Post
    5"10" 130lb???

    What are you? The new Smutty?
    I'm efficient for sure

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  7. #7
    Posting Freak OneCheekRider's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    FWIW I bought a ~2005 Specialized Epic S-works from a guy in Utah on PinkBike (back when I was living in Boston), rebuilt the fork and shock, and then bought a $300-$400 SLX groupset online that included front and rear derailers, all chainrings, front/rear brakes including rotors, and crank arms. Despite riding the occasional $10k MTBs I still the use the Epic today as I enjoy it that much.

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  8. #8
    Your Father csmutty's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    Quote Originally Posted by OneCheekRider View Post
    FWIW I bought a ~2005 Specialized Epic S-works from a guy in Utah on PinkBike (back when I was living in Boston), rebuilt the fork and shock, and then bought a $300-$400 SLX groupset online that included front and rear derailers, all chainrings, front/rear brakes including rotors, and crank arms. Despite riding the occasional $10k MTBs I still the use the Epic today as I enjoy it that much.
    My coworker rocks an epic that he got on ebay and went through. Has had it for years. He loves that thing.

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  9. #9
    Your Father csmutty's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    Btw you're prolly a medium frame.

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  10. #10
    Member Mgiossi's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    When it comes to mtb's you really get what you pay for. I personally would stay away from anything used that far under a G. Hard tail is great for an all around bike. It may seem like alot of money but you will be happy you did it a year after a hard riding summer (cue a smutty funny remark)

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    Quote Originally Posted by csmutty View Post
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  11. #11
    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    That S works looks sexy

    Spotted a clean 2004 S Works with XTR hardware for $800 on FB.

    The price jump from shitty bike to good bike seems extreme with MTBs.

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  12. #12
    Your Father csmutty's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    Keep in mind a hard tail is going to be easier to pedal than a full suspension too.

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  13. #13
    Lifer
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tekime View Post
    Good stuff guys, I'll be checking out pinbike too. Just kind of looking for any guidance as I barely touched my mtb last year and haven't been keeping up on the gear game for a few years.

    Might spend more if I fall in love with something, $500+ isn't totally out of the question but I do have pretty simple expectations. I love mountain biking though and put a TON of miles on that Nishiki. I probably have enough parts to build five more bikes and/or keep the Nishiki running another five years but want to spend my time riding as much as possible. Also have a rando Ross Mt Hood set up for trails but it just never felt right to me.

    Was thinking chromoly might save a bit of weight, disc brakes would be awesome but I've always used V brakes and I can live with it. Just about any front shock is better than the blown/seized shock I have now.

    So is everything going 29 or is 27.5 getting some traction (haha)?
    For now it's 27.5 on most trail bikes. Some peddle-heavy XC stuff is still 29, some bigger enduro bikes are 29, and a couple hardcore downhill bikes are testing the 29 waters.

    Disc brake means you can stop worrying about wheel truing. And they work in the wet.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tekime View Post
    The price jump from shitty bike to good bike seems extreme with MTBs.
    The used market, especially on the not-so-new stuff is really bizarre IMO. There's been such a rapid change in geometry, look, etc. And there's a mixture of people who think their barely used 1996 Rockhopper is worth 80% of MSRP among people think a 2014 is an 'old bike'.

    I was watching Pinkbike's listings for a little while but it used to lean pretty strongly in the downhill/freeride direction. It had some trail bikes, but selection wasn't great. CL is hit or miss. That's where you'll see some midlife crisis garage cleanouts. Best selection seems to be the Facebook group, but most of the listings are much newer/more expensive. I've seen decent responses to people who post 'bike wanted' for less expensive bikes. Not sure if they admins are still receptive to that. Seems like a bunch of unlisted bikes pop out of the wood works. I like to keep an eye out, but I'm no wheeler-dealer so don't value what I'm saying too strongly over someone else.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tekime View Post
    Spotted a clean 2004 S Works with XTR hardware for $800 on FB.
    I'd be a little more hesitant to go FS with the older stuff. Still working out the kinks. Though if that's an Epic, I thought those were reasonably well respected for peddling. The thing to look in to is the proprietary 'brain' shock.

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  14. #14
    Lifer Chippertheripper's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    If you haven’t already, make the leap to 29” wheels. That’s really my only recommendation, if you’re seeking a really inexpensive used bike.

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  15. #15
    suburban ghetto living... black's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    if interested I have a gary fisher tassajara hard tail.. good condition. changed the brakes to mechanical front and rear rotors as the stock hydraulic were horrible.
    150 I'm 5/10" 200 and it was fine.

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    hmmmm......

  16. #16
    Lifer typeone's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    Quote Originally Posted by csmutty View Post
    Look to see if Clinton (typeone) on here is still selling his specialized. That bike would be great and is pretty close to your price range.
    thanks, bud

    i am still selling the Specialized Camber Elite if you're interested, Tekime. you prob saw the pic i posted in the other thread. PM me for details if you like. bike is essentially brand new, full suspension w/ full lock-out when you need to gets ridgid. i'm also 5'10".

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  17. #17
    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    I think I went through this same process for several years now, wanting a slight upgrade from my crap bike and realizing it's pretty much throwing money away until I spend closer to $1k. Tough time of year to find smoking deals and I probably should have started this last winter!

    For now I'll probably lurk on CL, FB & pinkbike in case a really great deal comes up, maybe pick up a cheap hardtail for this season, or just squeeze some more rides out of my poor shagged Nishiki. Once I get through fixing my wife's car, buying her a motorcycle, and possibly rebuilding my DR again, will decide if it's time to drop $1k+ on a real MTB at long last!

    Quote Originally Posted by black View Post
    if interested I have a gary fisher tassajara hard tail.. good condition. changed the brakes to mechanical front and rear rotors as the stock hydraulic were horrible.
    150 I'm 5/10" 200 and it was fine.
    Can shoot me a price & pic and I'll definitely consider it

    Quote Originally Posted by typeone View Post
    thanks, bud

    i am still selling the Specialized Camber Elite if you're interested, Tekime. you prob saw the pic i posted in the other thread. PM me for details if you like. bike is essentially brand new, full suspension w/ full lock-out when you need to gets ridgid. i'm also 5'10".
    I did see it - looks damn nice. I probably shouldn't spend what it's worth right now though!

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  18. #18
    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?


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    Last edited by Point37; 06-06-18 at 04:08 PM.
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  19. #19
    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    Quote Originally Posted by aldend123 View Post

    Compared to a box-store bike off the shelf, any major MTB brand's trail bike made in the past decade is going to be light. I think most are still steel frame.

    I suspect his expectations are going to be easy to surpass given the current equipment.
    true...my gt has an aluminum frame but it's built like a tank so still not very light

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    Last edited by Point37; 06-06-18 at 04:12 PM.
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  20. #20
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    Anne bought a mountain bike a couple days ago, 26" schwinn @ walmart, I'm looking also, not going to spend a ton of $$. I've been looking on the Walmart rack as well,

    narrowed it down to a choice between a 27.5" schwinn w front suspension ($179), or a 29" schwinn with front and rear suspension (also $179 new, but this one is a return ? has a $143 tag on it)

    both are aluminum frame

    pros & cons of each ?

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  21. #21
    Lifer bryco13's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    Not trying to get you to spend more money, but as someone who was responsible for department store bicycle assembly, and also their repair and returns, I can tell you those bikes are designed to last a year. Say you ride for another 6 years and not a lot, so they last two whole years each. You’re now in the range of buying a better spec’d, lighter (by a surprising amount), with parts that can be replaced if need be. You’d be much better off finding a used bike that someone else has upgraded from. Bike shops and pawn shops are usually a good bet. If you’re set on buying from there I’d get the first one, as there’s less moving parts to break and it will be lighter.

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  22. #22
    Angry Gumball RandyO's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    Quote Originally Posted by bryco13 View Post
    Not trying to get you to spend more money
    you're not going to get me to spend more money, nor are you getting me to waste time shopping, I won't be doing trail riding, just local paved & gravel roads

    anyway, decision was made, the 29" bike was fubar, glad I said I wanted them to adjust the derailleur

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  23. #23
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    Randy I'm sure whatever bike you decide on will be great. Go for it.

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  24. #24
    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    For lowkey pedaling I don't see the need to spend big bucks. I've been punishing cheap bikes my entire life and making do. If you fall in love with it you're only out a few hundred bucks when something does goes south!

    typeone, just let me know when you're ready to sell me that Specialized for $250 and I'll take it off your hands

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  25. #25
    is not wearing pants Point37's Avatar
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    Re: Best used MTBs?

    if you're looking for a cheap mountain bike and have amazon prime take a look on amazon...they have diamondback, ironhorse, mongoose, fuji, raleigh, schwinn and a bunch of no name brands...stay away from rear suspension and keep an eye on the front suspension brands (probably be something cheap like suntour)...check component groups, brakes, as well to make sure they are decent...and if there is any offroad riding i would make sure there is a replaceable rear derailleur hanger and you can buy some extras

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