Welcome to NESR! Most features of this site require registration, including replying to threads, sending private messages, starting new threads, and uploading files. Click here to register.

Results 1 to 21 of 21

Starter mountain bikes

  1. #1
    Super Adventurer SRTie4k's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Dublin, NH
    Age
    36
    Posts
    4,956

    Starter mountain bikes


    So I'm looking into buying my first ever new mountain bike. I know very little about them but I have been doing a bit of research and know some of the basics, just enough to get by. I'm 6'1" and am going to be using it primarily on flat-ish trails around town. I really don't have any plans on taking this out on the more aggressive downhill sections around here, but who knows, right?

    Trying to stay below $500, preferably $400 or so. Most bikes in this price range have front suspension, so doesn't look like there's much option there. I guess the big question is do I need disc brakes? The bikes I was looking at last night, the Trek Marlin 4 and Trek Marlin 5, the Marlin 4 has rim brakes while the Marlin 5 has disc brakes. Are discs worth the ~$50 extra? The paint on the Marlin 4 (matte red) is cooler than the paint on the Marlin 5 (matte black), so should I save $50 and get the better paint job?

    I've also checked on Craigslist, but 1. I don't know what I'm looking at and 2. newish bikes don't seem to be much cheaper than buying brand new.

    Any other models I should be looking at? Advice?

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    2015 KTM 1290 Super Adventure
    2017 Honda CRF250L Rally

  2. #2
    Lifer BSR6's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,060

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    I was a serious cyclist for many years (both road and mountain) but I'm a bit out of the loop so I can't really give too much advice.

    One thing I wanted to chime in about are the brakes. Disc brakes are absolutely worth it. Way more than $50 worth.

    Also, I know your on a budget but honestly spending a bit more is more worth your while in the long term. If you're unsure of where the hobby will go for you then I can see spending under $500 to see how it turns out. On the other hand, if you're pretty sure it's something you will get into then I would go with the "buy once, cry once" approach. I can tell you right now, if you do end up getting into it, spending a $1000 now will be cheaper in the long run.

    1 Not allowed! Not allowed!

  3. #3
    Super Adventurer SRTie4k's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Dublin, NH
    Age
    36
    Posts
    4,956

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    I honestly don't think it will develop into anything more than occasional riding around on flat trails, and maybe once in a blue moon hitting the bike trails on Drummer Hill.

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    2015 KTM 1290 Super Adventure
    2017 Honda CRF250L Rally

  4. #4
    Lifer Falko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    MoonTown
    Posts
    5,104

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    I have a Trek hybrid (I guess it is called a dual sport??) that I love. Great for flat trails, road, and I've beaten it on some rougher terrain but I don't like to. It has a front fork and solid tail except for a small rubber cushion on the upright stays. IT also uses 700 tires. I'd definitely recommend something like that for what you are describing.

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Dad's Dream: Earn enough money to live the life that his wife and kids do.

  5. #5
    Member Mgiossi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Coventry, RI
    Posts
    286

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    I was in the same boat as you alittle over a year and a half ago. Wanted an entry level bike to just have fun with. After talking to alot of people and different shops i ended up going with a $1000+ bike. It was totally worth it for many many reasons. And now a year and a half later i have been getting into the much more aggressive side of mointain biking and im very happy i spent the extra money back then.

    1 Not allowed! Not allowed!

  6. #6
    Kosher Assassin Stoneman's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Center Barnstead, NH
    Posts
    1,125,238

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    I was in the same boat a few years ago when I quit smoking. Still kind of am actually. My usage is mostly dirt roads & easy trails with one of the midgets. Occasionally fuck-myself-up type shit...

    Also like you, I was figuring in the sub $500 mark. I shopped a few local shops within a certain radius of our house (not easy to do given where we live) and a couple shops where I work. I ended up going with a KHS from one of the shops hear the house. Front bouncers a bit better than average, other components a notch or two better as well. Ended up just under $500 (disc brakes front & rear) after I upgraded the pedals and derailleurs, some bottle cages and a cheapo wired computer...

    I liked what KHS had to offer for me as a slightly better than entry level unit when compared with the typical offerings from most of the local places. It helped my decision that a locally owned small bike shop in my area sells & services them. Looking quickly at their site, it looks like there's a dealer smack dab on Winchester St. May be worth a look at this little known marquee...

    That's all I got...

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Did you grit your teeth and try to look like Clint Fuckin' Eastwood?
    Or did you lisp it all hangfisted like a fuckin' flower?

  7. #7
    Lifer
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Bristol County
    Age
    33
    Posts
    3,423

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    If you hope for flatpack trails and paved bike paths, hybrid's the way to go. Pedal efficiency will be so much greater. The narrower smooth tires and rigid fork make it pedal closer to a road bike. However, if you want to do trails at all (and you should!) you definitely want a front fork and probably disc brake. At this level, disc means you don't have to keep your wheel perfectly true, much better if they get wet, I think they're easier to remove and remount the wheel, and if they're hydro brakes the lever feel is amazing. However for an occasional use bike, mechanical disc means no bleeding.

    Between the 500-1k (maybe 1500?) range your dollar arguably goes pretty far with each step up on a hardtail, but diminishing returns after that.

    Used bike market is weird. Kinda reminds me of the used ski market. Pricing and condition all over the place. I suspect what you're seeing is $1k bikes going for 600 and you're wondering why not new.

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    nedirtriders.com

  8. #8
    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Falmouth, ME
    Age
    41
    Posts
    1,336

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    I've ridden the life out of several ~$200-300 hardtails on harsh trails, wet, mud, dry, road, basically everywhere. Honestly for the riding you're describing almost any bike is going to be fine if well cared for. Bikes in that price range are going to have slightly cheaper components and weigh more, but when you get to $500-600 after that the benefits aren't going to be very obvious to a casual rider.

    IMO the biggest advantage as you get up in $$$ is the quality of the derailleur and gear sets. Nothing sucks like having the derailleur snap off or bend into your spokes at speed on a trail, miles from home. Or dealing with clunky half-shifts.

    Disk brakes perform better under more conditions but I'm actually happy with V-brakes as they are easy to fix in a pinch and less chance of damaging a disc on a rock or something. Not to dissuade you from disc brakes, but traditional brakes are not a Bad thing if they do the job for you.

    That all being said: my biggest complaint with V-brakes is the tendency to collect mud/leaves if you're riding in really sloppy conditions. I've had trips that required a dozen stops to dig a giant ball of mud off the brake assembly. Granted, it was really, really muddy. Also the stopping power in wet conditions is generally not as strong as discs.

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    05GSXR75005SV65090DR350

  9. #9
    Lifer Chippertheripper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    the fairest of havens
    Age
    41
    Posts
    14,024

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    If you break a derailleur off, it's not the derailleur's fault.
    But yes, clunky shifting sucks.

    OP, a bike path (paved) bike? Or some casual singletrack?

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Cliff's Cycles KTM
    NETRA enduro B-vet
    Close your eyes, look deep in your soul, step outside yourself and let your mind go.

  10. #10
    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Falmouth, ME
    Age
    41
    Posts
    1,336

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Chippertheripper View Post
    If you break a derailleur off, it's not the derailleur's fault.
    If the derailleur is so cheap that it flexes going over a bump or during a hard landing, jamming it in the spokes, it's the derailleurs fault. I've had this happen with two low-end Shimanos. Derailleur is not really an easy fix in the woods either.

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    05GSXR75005SV65090DR350

  11. #11
    Lifer
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Bristol County
    Age
    33
    Posts
    3,423

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Tekime View Post
    If the derailleur is so cheap that it flexes going over a bump or during a hard landing, jamming it in the spokes, it's the derailleurs fault. I've had this happen with two low-end Shimanos. Derailleur is not really an easy fix in the woods either.
    It flexed enough to go in to the spokes? Like through normal usage? Or do you mean it got pushed in to the spokes by a rock/tree etc? Because the latter can happen on the best models available. I think derailleur is one of the items everyone is eager to see go away, but no better solution has arrived yet.

    Or do you mean the chain dropped off the top cog and when behind the spokes? That's a far more common frustration, and very different from having the derailleur go in the spokes. That's usually the result of not having the upper limit on the derailleur adjusted properly but it can sometimes be attributable to not enough tension on the chain, worn cogs, or play in the assembly.

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    nedirtriders.com

  12. #12
    Lifer Chippertheripper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    the fairest of havens
    Age
    41
    Posts
    14,024

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Tekime View Post
    If the derailleur is so cheap that it flexes going over a bump or during a hard landing, jamming it in the spokes, it's the derailleurs fault. I've had this happen with two low-end Shimanos. Derailleur is not really an easy fix in the woods either.
    that's not how they work. you could tweak a hanger for sue and that would cause it to end up there...

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Cliff's Cycles KTM
    NETRA enduro B-vet
    Close your eyes, look deep in your soul, step outside yourself and let your mind go.

  13. #13
    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Falmouth, ME
    Age
    41
    Posts
    1,336

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by aldend123 View Post
    It flexed enough to go in to the spokes? Like through normal usage?
    I wasn't staring at it when it happened of course, but no it wasn't pushed by anything. "Normal" as far as hard trail riding goes. Yes, the derailleur jammed in the spokes not the chain, nearly ripped it off in doing so.

    Cheap Shimano Tourney TX35, same thing happened with two of them in one summer, eventually upgraded never had the problem since.

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    05GSXR75005SV65090DR350

  14. #14
    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Falmouth, ME
    Age
    41
    Posts
    1,336

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Chippertheripper View Post
    that's not how they work. you could tweak a hanger for sue and that would cause it to end up there...
    Well, not how they're supposed to work

    All I know is it was tuned and aligned correctly, plenty of clearance. No branches/rocks involved, just hard bumps/small jumps at speed and then immediately locked up when it jammed in the spokes. Bought a brand new derailleur, identical, set up the same, within a month the exact same thing happened. Replaced it with a better Shimano and it hasn't happened again. No other adjustments aside from swapping the derailleur.

    The Tourneys are basically cheap box store derailleurs, half plastic. My assumption (after looking at the damaged vs. new vs. upgraded assemblies) is that due to the shitty tolerances/flex in the plastics it must have had enough play to be slapped around during hard landings.

    I'm no expert but I've taken apart fixed and ridden a lot of bikes and it seems like the most likely explanation to me.

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    05GSXR75005SV65090DR350

  15. #15
    Lifer
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Bristol County
    Age
    33
    Posts
    3,423

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    Weird. I would have bet money you wouldn't be able to do it a second time. Is it possible the wheel is flexing or bowing enough to get the spokes that close? Maybe that combined with a slight bend in the hanger and a little flex? Ever check your spoke tension?

    On the bright side, great to hear you're using 101% of the equipment

    1 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    nedirtriders.com

  16. #16
    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Falmouth, ME
    Age
    41
    Posts
    1,336

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    That's the weird thing, it did happen a second time - exact same issue, exact same derailleur. Wheel's in good shape, spokes checked before and after.

    Think I've used 110% of this particular bike lol. Front forks now blown, front wheels now bent, looking for a new bike this year

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    05GSXR75005SV65090DR350

  17. #17
    Junior Member Stevie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Londonderry, NH
    Age
    69
    Posts
    36

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by SRTie4k View Post
    I honestly don't think it will develop into anything more than occasional riding around on flat trails, and maybe once in a blue moon hitting the bike trails on Drummer Hill.
    One thing is certain, though. Buying a low end bike will guarantee that it won't develop into anything more than an occasional unpleasant ride. With your budget, you may well do better looking for a higher quality used bike than anything new in that price range.

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!

    Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.
    - Oscar Wilde

  18. #18
    Super Adventurer SRTie4k's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Dublin, NH
    Age
    36
    Posts
    4,956

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    Ended up buying a 2017 Trek Marlin 5, partially due to the recommendation of several riders I work with who recommended disc brakes over v-brakes. Was strongly considering a leftover Marlin 5, but the 2017's have front lockout while the 2016's don't, and it was only marginally more. Yeah the fork may be entry level, but at least the geometry of this bike is the same as the high end hard tails, so I can always upgrade it later if need be. I doubt I will, though.

    Marlin 5 | Trek Bikes

    2 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    2015 KTM 1290 Super Adventure
    2017 Honda CRF250L Rally

  19. #19
    Lifer Chippertheripper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    the fairest of havens
    Age
    41
    Posts
    14,024

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    That's a solid starting point.
    That's what a functional entry level bike costs these days.

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Cliff's Cycles KTM
    NETRA enduro B-vet
    Close your eyes, look deep in your soul, step outside yourself and let your mind go.

  20. #20
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Rehoboth MA
    Age
    37
    Posts
    4,437

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    Add me to the list of dudes ready to see derailleurs go the way of the dodo. Things are too damn French.

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    I went to MMI I know what Im doing here chief

  21. #21
    Lifer Chippertheripper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    the fairest of havens
    Age
    41
    Posts
    14,024

    Re: Starter mountain bikes

    There's always a rohloff.

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Cliff's Cycles KTM
    NETRA enduro B-vet
    Close your eyes, look deep in your soul, step outside yourself and let your mind go.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •