Buying my first real MTB

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Buying my first real MTB

Postby cbalfe » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:03 am

Hi everyone,

Firstly I apologise if this is in the wrong section.

Current u own a TREK 3500 that i bought about 8 months ago for ~$400. I bought his bike to use to get fitter and when i started with this bike I weighed ~160kg now I am down to 125kg.

This bike ha been fantastic however I have put it through he'll and am wanting to get a bike with some breaks that work for some more serious XC downhill (I am hoping for hydrolics)

So i was wondering if you guys could help recommend me a bike to move to, I know bugger all about bike sizing but i am 182cm and still large at 125kg.

Budget is not really an issue but it is more about being able to justify the purchase, i dont want to spend extra for the sake of it, ideally $1000-2000 is where I was thinking.

As just a new buyer I don't think it would be wise buying online but if I can just get an idea of what I should be looking for at my LBS (hard tail, dual suspension etc).

Thanks in advance for any help,
Chris.

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by BNA » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:10 am

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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby mitzikatzi » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:10 am

cbalfe wrote:..snip..

serious XC downhill (I am hoping for hydrolics)

..snip...


Hydraulic brakes :wink:

There is a big difference between an XC bike and a Downhill bike.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby trailgumby » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:24 am

Brilliant work on the weight loss. :D

If you're thinking dual suspension and hydraulic brakes in 26" wheels, minimum spend to get something decent quality and durable is $2.5k, but if you can lift budget to $3k plus you can get something really nice.

Thinking aloud...
The Giant Anthem X29er is worth a serious look and is a bike you would keep for some time.
The 26er wheels will, however, be more robust at your weight until you can get down to 100kg or less.
Assuming you will hit that goal within 12 months though, 29er appears to be where the market is heading longer term ...
So if you can fit 2.3-2.4" rubber on the Anthem using tubeless conversion it enables you to run lower pressures ... which will cushion and look after the wheels better.

And yes, DH and XC bikes are *very* different.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby trailgumby » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:33 am

If that budget for new is unpalatable, then something recent secondhand off ebay could easily be found to fit your price range. The trick is knowing whether the sizing is right, and leaving enough in the budget to play with stems and bars to customise fit.

I'm 185cm and ride a large in a Cannondale. I can get away with a medium on many brands such as Giant and Ellsworth depending on top tube and stem length. I find the slightly shorter bike is more nimble and flickable in techy terrain, descents especially, but it begins to feel cramped on steep climbs and longer rides (3hrs +).

Being just slightly shorter, a medium size in a Giant might suit you well.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby Magnum9 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:43 am

In the next few months shops will be discounting current stock to make way for 2013 models so you should be able to pick up a bargain. I bought a Giant Reign 2 a couple of years ago for $1750 which was around $500 off RRP. It is my first MTB and I love it, with 6" travel it is good at everything, not as light as a 4" travel bike, but I recently upgraded the wheels which made a big difference. Just ask about weight limits, many air shocks on dual suspension bikes may not be happy at your current weight.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby cbalfe » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:29 pm

mitzikatzi wrote:Hydraulic brakes :wink:

Yea that one lol..

mitzikatzi wrote:There is a big difference between an XC bike and a Downhill bike.

I think I would be more interested in a XC type set up, basically something that is sort of all rounder territory, when I said 'more serious XC/Downhill' let this not me misconstrued that I am actually good at either of these activities, just unfortunately after every ride my current bike develops problems with the brakes and gears..

trailgumby wrote:If you're thinking dual suspension and hydraulic brakes in 26" wheels, minimum spend to get something decent quality and durable is $2.5k, but if you can lift budget to $3k plus you can get something really nice.

I am open to the idea of spending more, I would just need to be sure that it would be worth it in the long run, as I am still really just getting into it would it be more advisable to buy a $1-1.5k hardtail until I get down to a more suitable weight then look to buy something decent, or would this just be a bandaid solution?

Magnum9 wrote:In the next few months shops will be discounting current stock to make way for 2013 models so you should be able to pick up a bargain


I would really love to wait for a bargain but realistically I do need to try and buy something in the next few weeks, because currently I would need to replace the chain + de-railer on my current bike to get it to a decent level to continue riding for any length of time and I would prefer not to waste money on something I would be replacing.

trailgumby wrote: The trick is knowing whether the sizing is right,


In regards to Sizing, would this be something my LBS would be able to step me through? The guy there has been awesome so far for help in maintaining my current bike and I would most likely end up buying something new from him I just want to know sort of what to look for ^_^

Thanks again for all the help,
Chris.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby trailgumby » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:47 pm

Sizing and fit are exactly the reasons you would buy from your local bike shop instead of the interwebz.

If you have an established relationship that is excellent. You should still do your homework on pricing though, so they don't abuse the trust.

The question is not whether you will get into it, but whether it will ever let go of you :lol: beware, it's very addictive. ;)

Most folks ride duallies, although I reckon everybody should have a good hardtail in their quiver. If you go hardtail, it should definitley be a 29er.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby JustJames » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:53 pm

For the last year or so I've been riding a borrowed hardtail. I liked it...so much so that I began to wonder whether my duallie (a Scott Spark) was overkill.

A month ago I got my Scott back. What a difference! A good hardtail is a better bike than a bad duallie, so I wouldn't say duallie uber alles, but if the budget extends to a good duallie, and that is what has been discussed here, then a good duallie is the go. Better traction on tricksy climbs, better control on bumpy descents and much more comfortable everywhere else. And for longer rides, being comfortable trumps low weight because you can't ride well when you're tired.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby Hell Knight » Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:03 am

I had to ride a hardtail for a few weeks whilst my duallie was being replaced due to a cracked frame - I really appreciate the extra comfort it affords now, so do my family jewels. :D
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby Gordo » Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:02 am

1 to 2 gees. for me i'd look at giant xtc 29er. giant seems very hard to beat on price. u could get the xtc 0 model for 2grand and maybe under at the moment (depend where u are). or there is the lesser model (xtc 1).

i rode around for years on a rockhopper hardtail. basic components. i did upgrade the wheels. i had great fun and the bike took it...apart from the wheels which i upgraded real cheap via the net. i've been riding an older dually for the last year or so and dont really want to go back to hardtails. but dont tell me i didnt have great fun on the thing for a good 4 years
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby cbalfe » Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:52 pm

Thanks for all the advice guys.

What i did was go around all the local bike shops (hobart tas, so not too many options lol..)looking for bikes in my price range.

From looking before I left i was looking at these models:

2012 Giant X1 Trance - $2399
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bik ... 034/48899/

Merida ONE FORTY 800D - $2600
http://www.merida-bikes.com/en_int/bike ... ORTY+800-D

Merida ONE FORTY 1500D - $3800
http://www.merida-bikes.com/en_int/bike ... RTY+1500-D

When out after looking at these bike I did see a Norco Aurum 2 which really did catch my eye, this was retailing for $3499, but it was on clearance down to $3000.
http://www.norco.com/bikes/compare/#aurum-2

Now I realise that the Aurum 2 and the other bikes are more downhill oriented but if I was going to get something I wanted to make sure it was going to last. Comparing the bikes it was clear that the Aurum definitely came out on top in regards to specifications, even with only a single sprocket on the front It seemed like such a better bike with the Rockshock forks and a really decent back shock that I would help given my weight currently.

So I decided I would try my luck trying to haggle a little bit maybe and see what I could do.

I ended up walking out of the bike shop with a new Aurum 2 for $2.8k with a bike lock thrown in for good measure :P

And here it is *drool*

Image

Image

I cant wait to test it out tomorrow, but just from riding it a little bit it feels a lot different to my current hardtail that's for sure.

So how do you think I ended up going? I hope that this was a decent purchase ^_^

Chris.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby JustJames » Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:42 pm

Love that beefy-a$$ front fork. You've clearly veered firmly into the DH field with that choice.

You'll certainly get your share of exercise riding that up hills. :D

Not saying your choice of bikes is wrong - you're clearly embracing the n+1 ethos with gusto - just that this time next year, we'll once again be steering you towards a Giant Trance or something similar. :lol:

Enjoy your new bike...nothing like that new bike smell and everything just working perfectly.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby antipodean » Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:42 pm

That Norco is designed for one purpose, going downhill, what is your intended use for this bike? Whoever sold you that bike needs to be named and shamed if they sold it to you as a general trail/xc do-it-all mtb.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby mitzikatzi » Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:50 pm

Nice Downhill rig.

..snip..the bike weigh in just short of 40lbs (without pedals )
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby trailgumby » Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:11 pm

Indeed, a nice DH rig. Should be robust enough to survive early mistakes, and pedalling it as an XC machine will certainly toughen you up ;)

Good luck with the weight loss :D

If you can fit a granny ring and ISCG mount front derailleur along with a wide-range 11-36T (assuming 10-speed rear, go 11-34T if 9-speed) rear cassette it will extend the usable range of the bike.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby trailgumby » Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:25 pm

Oh, one more thing: you might want to allow for a Camelbak in your budget ... no bottle cage mounts on the frame that I could see.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby cbalfe » Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:49 pm

trailgumby wrote:Indeed, a nice DH rig. Should be robust enough to survive early mistakes, and pedalling it as an XC machine will certainly toughen you up ;)

Good luck with the weight loss :D

If you can fit a granny ring and ISCG mount front derailleur along with a wide-range 11-36T (assuming 10-speed rear, go 11-34T if 9-speed) rear cassette it will extend the usable range of the bike.


Cheers man, weightloss is definitely the idea and one of the motivators behind getting this as a proper DH bike was so that it could support my weight on the rear suspension currently.

You mentioned fitting a different front gearing to this bike would be possible, if this is that would actually be amazing, the chain guarded single gear on it at the moment is great for pure downhill but if I can attach a different front cogs and a new derailleur for now I think that would be fantastic.

The back cassette is 9 speed, so I would be looking for an 11-34T then? Where would be the best place to look at getting one, somewhere like torpedo7? Also any recommendations for a front derailleur at all would be appreciated, I do want to get a bit more hands on with this bike so I would love to have a go at installation, any places with some good info on replacing the front cassette, I have located the section regarding it in the bike manual but any other info would be grand.

I definitely need to invest in a camelback or similar, would there be much harm in going for something like this - http://www.torpedo7.com.au/products/BYH ... ation-pack - Over say something like this - http://www.torpedo7.com.au/products/CMH ... ation-pack ?

And don't worry antipodean noone pulled a quick one over me, if anything it was my brother that talked me into getting this one, he is a bit more into bikes than me atm but he currently is out of action with a broken leg.. yeah from what you think :shock: I wonder if that bodes well for me or not lol :P

I am looking forward to having a proper ride on it tomorrow, but taking it easy on my first go ofc, but that will be weather dependant stupid Tasmania...

Chris.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby Magnum9 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:40 am

Note the angle of the seat, these bikes are not designed to actually sit on and ride, they are designed to stand up on the pedals and go down hill fast. They don't pedal up hill and they don't go round tight corners. Sorry, but unless you are riding DH specific trails and getting shuttled by car back to the top, you have the wrong bike.

Oh, and even if you find a way to mount a front derailleur, you will most likely need a new rear one with a long cage to accommodate the extra chain length.

Any bike shop where you spend $2.8k should at the very least have done a basic bike fit for you, where you would have discovered you can't get that seat at an angle which is comfortable to ride on because the geometry is not designed that way. Also, XC type bikes have mechanisms built in to prevent pedal bob, where the bike bounces up and down on the suspension as you pedal, DH bikes do not have this.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby trailgumby » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:01 pm

That's a nuisance. The forum's vigilink thingo is taking me to the front page of the site in each intance, not the location specified by the URL. :(

Anyways... Camelbak is much better, but a 3L pack for under $20 gets my vote! Not sure how hot Tassie gets, but in summer up here (Sydney) I've gone through 2 bottles and a full 3L in 2.5-3 hours on a hot day.

First thing is to check that you've got cable braze-ons and the required cable stops to work with a front derailleur. See the shop you bought from for advice.

Assuming you do, I *think* you should be able to get away with:
* 22T or 24T granny ring
* 1 set chainring bolts
* SRAM left shifter
* shifter cable and outer set
* ISCG or E-type front derailleur
* 11-34T rear cassette
* new chains (current unit is likely too short)
* SRAM 9-speed quick-links
* long-cage rear derailleur

Recommendations:
I have some SRAM X7 3x9 shifters that are in good nick that I can let you have for $25 post paid for the pair if you're looking to save a few bucks.
Cables: Gore RideOn sealed system from CRC. Stops crap from getting in your shifter cables, which causes your shifting to develop sentience and start making its own decisions. So much more reliable than regular cables it's not funny.
Chains: Get XTR 9-speed, again from CRC. Actually, get three and run them in rotation*. Buy two packets of three SRAM quicklinks and put one in your hydration pack for emergencies, and use the other three with your XTR chains.
Cassette: XT 9-speed from CRC is pretty good value
Front ISCG or E-type derailleur: something like this: http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Mode ... elID=83608
Rear derailleur: I'd go X9 9-speed or (better) X0.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby mitzikatzi » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:42 pm

Some people say run a "cheaper" rear derailleur ie X5 or X7. It is just a matter of time till you break one going "downhill'. The shifter makes more of a difference in shift quality so spend the extra $ there YMMV.

I don't like cheap hydration bladders. The bite valves often leak.

If you buy from CRC also look at
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Mode ... elID=57087
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Mode ... elID=57089
http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Mode ... elID=64120

I think it is a waste of money trying to turn a down hill bike into something more "ride able" YMMV
Last edited by mitzikatzi on Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby Magnum9 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:50 pm

mitzikatzi wrote:I think it is a waste of money trying to turn a down hill bike into something more "ride able" YMMV


I agree, you spend that sort of money on a bike you don't want to be spending another $300+ just to get it rideable.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby antipodean » Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:59 pm

I take it this is where you bought the Norco http://www.kenselfcycles.com.au/
Selling you that bike is like someone looking to buy a commuter and being sold a TT bike which like yours is totally unsuitable for the application.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby trailgumby » Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:18 pm

I agree and think that a mistake was perhaps made buying the DH bike when a 140mm to 160mm travel AM bike would have done the job much better.

However, you all need to bear in mind the OP is much heavier - by 25-50kg - than most of us, so a bike that will survive the abuse he will be unintentionally dishing out until he can get more weight off his frame was an important consideration

Did you not see this (my emphasis)?
cbalfe wrote:Now I realise that the Aurum 2 and the other bikes are more downhill oriented but if I was going to get something I wanted to make sure it was going to last... even with only a single sprocket on the front It seemed like such a better bike with the Rockshock forks and a really decent back shock that I would help given my weight currently.


So, having bought the bike and by now (I'm assuming) having ridden it, taking it back and swapping it for something more "suitable" is a bit late. He needs to work with what he has.

Further, his riding buddy is a downhiller, so getting something compatible that will not be out of its depth when they all go out together is equally important. You want him attempting to follow the same lines as his mates down gnarly steeps on a forward-weighted XC racing rocket?

Lighten up. :? Try to be helpful.
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby mitzikatzi » Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:43 pm

trailgumby wrote:..snip..

Lighten up. :? Try to be helpful.
:shock:

AURUM 2
A purpose-built World Cup level downhill bike, the AURUM is designed for riders that want to go downhill fast. It’s built for the lift and shuttle access-obsessed, featuring eight inches (200mm) of A.R.T. suspension and Gravity TUNE geometry for the perfect fit in any size. From World Cup races to downhill parks and shuttle runs, the AURUM is mind-blowingly quick, stunningly nimble and astonishingly precise. Designed to capture the gold it was named after, this is the bike you want if you describe your riding style as ‘fast.’
from here

To put "lipstick on a pig" is a rhetorical expression, used to convey the message that making superficial or cosmetic changes is a futile attempt to disguise the true nature of a product.
here

maybe
Image

As far as Downhill bikes go the AURUM looks like a great choice. Lipstick is not going to change that IMHO. YMMV
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Re: Buying my first real MTB

Postby cbalfe » Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:44 pm

Well guys Thanks for all the advice, and as I have ridden it there would be no opportunity for returning it but I am ok with this.

I just wanted to clarify something, I was not pushed I to this bike by and bike shop salesman I was however encouraged to buy it by my brother, well the was my first mistake lol.

Have a proper ride on it today I can say that this thing is amazingly forgiving when going downhill but it definitely is a challange on uphill.

What I ended up doing was sitting down and having a chat with my brother about it and I ended up passing it along to him and he gave me the money for it as it is more a bike that he was looking for.

Soo I am kind of back to square one now lol.. I have to go and look for a new ride that will actually suit my needs and not just something that has the best specifications, needless to say lesson learned.

Now my question is do you think it would be worth looking at just getting a hard tail 29er to start with now, still ages ahead of what I was riding, and then look at something more substantial whe, i get down to a more realistic weight to ensure I do not wreck something worth 2.5k

Chris.

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