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Mountain Biking
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April 8, 2011 - 7:36 am
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If DF and I wanted to start mountain biking, where would be start?  What are the price ranges and types of mountain bikes?  How much other gear is needed?

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April 8, 2011 - 10:07 am
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Glen, there are a few of us here who are avid mountain bikers and I’m sure others will chime in but here’s my recommendation. But before I do I need to know a little bit about you the DF. These questions applies to the both of you.
1. Do you currently road bike? If so how often and how long are your usual rides? This will determine your general fitness level.

2. Have you ever tried mountain biking before? If so how many times and what were the trails like? This will determine your skill level and your familiarity with mountain biking.

3. Do you currently have bikes? If so what kind? This will determain your general knowledge of bikes.

4. What is the terrain like in your area? (steep hills, mostly flat, lot of rocks, lots of roots, water crossings?, etc.). This will determine what kind of mountain bike you should get.

My response to your question will depend on how you answer those questions. By the way, when you do decide to buy mountain bikes, go to a real bike shop and tell them what you want. A good bike shop should ask you a bunch of questions also to determine what bike is best suited for you. If they don’t ask you any questions then leave and look for another bike shop. That’s how you can tell a difference between a good bike shop or a shop that just want to you sell you a bike and not care about how you will like it.

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April 8, 2011 - 1:44 pm
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We both have Trek bikes and up to now been leisure riders around the campground for 3 or 4 hours at a time.  We know very little about different bikes and have never mountain biked.  The bike trails that we’ve hiked on are pretty hilly but not crazy, there are rocks and roots throughout.  We normally camp in the Virgina and Pennsylvania area.

We don’t want to buy junk and wish to upgrade in a year, we also don’t want to buy the top of the line because we are new at it.  We would like to know what the beginner and top of the line bikes are though.

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April 8, 2011 - 2:56 pm
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Assuming you’re serious about mountain biking, but want to keep your startup costs low, I’d probably expect to spend $700-$1000 per bike at a real bike store to get a bike that’s going to last, and perform reasonably well.  Above that price point, things just get lighter for the most part.  Most mountain bike parts are interchangeable to some degree, so as long as you get a good frame with good starter components, you can always upgrade to better components later if you feel the need.  One of the benefits of buying at a bike store is that you can get a bike that’s properly sized for you, instead of one that’s one-size-fits-all, mass-produced, heavy and uses cheap components.  I’ve never really looked at the bikes at places like REI and Dicks, so I don’t know which camp they fall into.

If you’re just looking to keep doing some road riding, and just add in some light off-roading, (fire roads, easy single track, etc), a hard-tail might be better for you.  A hard-tail is a bike that has a front shock, but a solid back end.  If you think you’re going to be doing skills courses, jumping and whatnot, you’ll want to get a full suspension bike.  Both have their benefits and drawbacks, and you can find good and bad designs of both.  In particular, a buddy of mine said to watch out for the design of the rear suspension on full-suspension bikes.  He says that you want to have a cantilevered design like on my bike below. 

I went with a 2008 Mongoose Otero Super when I was looking a couple of years ago:
[img width=640 height=382]http://www.jensonusa.com/product/BI/BI301B37.jpg[/img]
http://www.mtbr.com/cat/bikes/xc-suspensio/mongoose/otero-super/PRD_415313_1526crx.aspx

I like it because it gives me the ability to get out and abuse it a little on a trail and it still performs reasonably well on the road.  It is a little heavy compared to other bikes in its class, but comes with good quality components.

I originally thought Mongoose was a low-end, mass-produced brand but apparently that have two lines, the one they sell to Target/Wal-mart type stores and the one they sell to Bike stores.  Other than the name, it’s almost like they’re two entirely different bike manufacturers.  Some of the other bike manufacturers might do things similarly.

As far as other gear, I got a shock pump, tire pump, headlight, rear blinky light, a few emergency tools, some patches, extra innertubes, an under-seat bag for my tools, and a computer.  I already had a hydration pack.

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April 8, 2011 - 3:23 pm
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you’ve got some great advice, so far.
with mtn. bikes, price is dictated by features, weight and bells/whistles.
i agree about buying from a good bike shop. forget big box stores. you’ll get a better fitting at a real bike shop.
the cheaper the bike, the heavier it is and less durable are the parts.
a lot depends on style of riding you want to do.

good mtn. bikes, come in 3 major categories: cross-country(XC), trail/all-mountain and downhill. there are also 3 types of mtn. bikes: full-suspension, hardtail(has a front suspension fork) and fully-rigid(meaning no suspension at all).

the XC bikes are lighter and will have the least amount of "travel" in its suspension.
downhill bikes will be like motocross motorcycles without a motor. built for big drops or downhill ski slopes.
trail bikes are inbetween and the most versatile.

so, the style of riding has a lot to do with your choices and where you plan to ride. i’m a big fan of trail bikes, since they are a do-it-all type of bike.

most major brands make a great bike. buy some mtn. bike magazines and read some of the test reviews. i like Mtn. Bike Action because of their excellent test reviews.

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April 8, 2011 - 6:27 pm
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as far as stuff, a helmet, gloves, clip-in pedals/shoes, Camelback bag(to put in water, pump, spare tube/patch kit, multi-tool) and good mtn. bike shorts.

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April 8, 2011 - 8:43 pm
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[quote author=Glen Burnie link=topic=739.msg5424#msg5424 date=1302284653]
We both have Trek bikes and up to now been leisure riders around the campground for 3 or 4 hours at a time.  We know very little about different bikes and have never mountain biked.  The bike trails that we’ve hiked on are pretty hilly but not crazy, there are rocks and roots throughout.  We normally camp in the Virgina and Pennsylvania area.

We don’t want to buy junk and wish to upgrade in a year, we also don’t want to buy the top of the line because we are new at it.  We would like to know what the beginner and top of the line bikes are though.
Glen, it sounds like you need an entry level bike. One with enough gears to get you up the hills, knobby tires to help go over the rocks and roots and a suspension fork to make the ride more comfortable. Bicycle technology overall has come a long way in the past 10-15 years and mountain bikes are no exception. You can get a very good bike that suits your purpose for around $500 with a suspension fork and with a 24-speed drive train. Bike shops typically carry bikes that are not crap and reputable brands. I personally have Giant brand bikes but there are lots of brands to chose from (Trek, Specialized, Gary Fischer, Cannondale, etc.). Just go to a bike shop and ask to see entry level mountain bikes. If they show you anything more than around $500 then go to a different shop.

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April 8, 2011 - 9:07 pm
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You’ve gotten lots of good advice so far and about all I can add is that you might want to consider doing a little reseach and studying some bike reviews.  http://www.mtbr.com has lots of information and reviews of various types and models of most mountain bikes. Since you are just starting out with trail riding, I would suggest starting with hardtail type mountain bikes. They are generally cheaper than full suspension bikes and you can always up grade later on if you decide to keep riding trails. If you get the bug like a lot of us, You will soon have a stable of bikes of various types and styles. I use a hardtail for most easy trails and a full suspension one for harder and longer trails.

Bikendan, are you the same guy that used to frequent the K2 bike forum a few years ago? (sorry for the brief highjack)

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April 8, 2011 - 10:30 pm
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[quote author=RhinoDave link=topic=739.msg5436#msg5436 date=1302311252]
Bikendan, are you the same guy that used to frequent the K2 bike forum a few years ago? (sorry for the brief highjack)

why, yes i am!!! 😀
still have my 4000,which a buddy bike and my Razorback, which used to be my xc race bike. i mainly ride a Giant VT-2 now. built a road bike for fitness training and ride the Napa Valley quite a bit.
but, i’m 57 this year and mtn. bike racing isn’t fun anymore, since they went to the CAT system.
no more 45+ Clydesdale classes! took all the fun out, dang roadies!

i don’t recognize RhinoDave from the K2 forum. what was your user name there?
and are you still riding a K2 or Proflex?

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April 8, 2011 - 10:58 pm
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RhinoDave was my forum name on the K2 site. I posted there from 2003 through 2009. I no longer ride any K2s or Proflex’s but my wife still has her 1000 and I rebuilt my old EVO 3 for my son’s girlfriend. My HT is a Ti Serotta and the FS is a Haro XCS. I’m 63 and racing was never an option for me. I just ride strictly for pleasure.
Here’s a link to my old K2 gallery. (Note: these were my primary camping toys for years.)

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April 8, 2011 - 11:49 pm
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now i remember you! what a small world. i only raced beginner xc races and only if they had a Clydesdale class. so i don’t race anymore.
i hooked up with one of the K2 forum members in New Zealand, when we visited there. went out to dinner in Wellington with he and his family.
i still check in on the forum once in a while.
don’t ride as much as i should but i’m still hanging in there. just not as obsessed as i was when i was on the K2 forum.

good to hear from you. :rock:

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