What should be my first bike?

Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts

What should be my first bike?

Postby turban-elite » Sun May 11, 2008 8:00 pm

Hi all, I am getting into mountain biking and first thing first is that I need a bike! My budget is $800. I am completely new to this, so I haven no idea what bike is best for $800. I also don't know where to go to buy bikes! I live in Canberra btw. So is there any good online store you guys prefer to shop at? any cheaper than retail places I should be looking at? What brand I should I should get?, so far I have been looking at giant, but thanks probably the only performance bike brand I know of :)

thanks
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by BNA » Sun May 11, 2008 8:24 pm

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Postby Kalgrm » Sun May 11, 2008 8:24 pm

G'day Turban,

Welcome to the forum.

I'd say you're on the right track looking at Giants. With the budget you've set, you'll get a reasonable starting "hard-tail" bike from Giant, with okay specs.

But I must warn you: within a year you'll wish you had spent double that .... it's addictive! ;)

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby Kalgrm » Sun May 11, 2008 8:26 pm

PS - don't buy a bike online until you know EXACTLY what you need. In other words, for your first bike, you need to go into a local bike shop (LBS) to get a bike which fits you properly and "feels" right when you're on it.

Cheers,
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Postby Hawkeye » Sun May 11, 2008 9:27 pm

I agree with Graeme's advice 100%. Go to your LBS and get yourself fitted up for a bike.

Unless you knwo exactly what you need size-wise and have a small additional budget for fine tuning seatpost, bar and stem selection, you're playing russian roulette with the most important characteristic of your bike: how it fits you.

A bike that doesn't fit will rapidly become a miserable experience. Spending the extra (even full retail) is worth it to get a bike that fits you properly, because you will enjoy riding, you will therefore ride more, and quickly earn back the extra you paid, and then some. 8)

I hope this helps.

And yes, it rapidly becomes addictive. I took my 12yo son riding Manly Dam this afternoon (or, I should say, he took me) and it was a blast! :lol: :lol:

PS: If you can possibly stretch your budget to $1k-$1100 you'll get a much better bike. Trust me, it's worth it.
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Postby Bnej » Sun May 11, 2008 10:37 pm

Yep there are two big jumps in quality of forks between $400 and $1200 or so - first going from the basic cheapo RST and SR Suntour forks to the bottom end of the Rock Shox and Manitou range (Rock Shox Dart 1,2 and 3, Manitou Trace, Axle), where you start getting decent damping.

Then around the $1000 mark you can start finding bikes with Rock Shox Tora forks instead. These have 32mm stanchion tubes instead of 28mm which makes them stiffer, they have better bushings that makes them more responsive, and they are significantly lighter than the cheaper forks.

Don't worry if you can't stretch the budget though, $800 will get you a decent, off road capable hard tail bike from a good brand. Buy from a bike shop after visiting a few, look at what is available, talk about the kind of riding you want to do, etc. and see what you can learn. Don't forget to budget for helmet, pump, multitool, tyre levers, spare tube, and patches.
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Postby Mulger bill » Mon May 12, 2008 10:53 am

G'Day Turban, welcome outside :D

I've got nothing to add to the gems posted above because they've pretty much covered it all, just thought I'd say G'Day :wink:

Shaun






.....Oh yeah, [bias]Giant is good, very good. [/bias]
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Postby miss min » Mon May 12, 2008 2:13 pm

I bought my bikes over the internet from this shop, but they are in Canberra and have all their bikes on sale at the mo.
http://maladjusted.com.au/news/?IntCatI ... ContId=850
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Postby turban-elite » Mon May 12, 2008 9:25 pm

miss min wrote:I bought my bikes over the internet from this shop, but they are in Canberra and have all their bikes on sale at the mo. maladjusted.


thanks, just what I was after, I live in Canberra too!
edit: ah wait, they dont sell Giant, oh well. Looks like I'll have to go to the bike shed.

ok guys, So I am buying a Giant bike, but which one?!?!, I look at their website and they have all these categories like trail, freeride, sport, competition ect. What Giant bike is best for around a grand or so! (upped budget a bit) I still havnt been measured up for a bike, I will do that at the end of the week, so in the meantime tell me what bike I should be looking at.

thanks
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Postby Hawkeye » Mon May 12, 2008 10:25 pm

Giant Alias is around that money. That gets you hydraulic brakes, reasonable 27spd shifters and derailleurs, a coil sprung hydraulic fork with lockout and rebound adjustment, and an entry-level wheelset that will take a moderate amount of punishment (say 2-foot drops to flat). YOu might be avble to get them to throw in some gloves and a helmet with a bit of negotiation.
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Postby turban-elite » Tue May 13, 2008 7:57 pm

j.r.hawkins wrote:Giant Alias is around that money. That gets you hydraulic brakes, reasonable 27spd shifters and derailleurs, a coil sprung hydraulic fork with lockout and rebound adjustment, and an entry-level wheelset that will take a moderate amount of punishment (say 2-foot drops to flat). YOu might be avble to get them to throw in some gloves and a helmet with a bit of negotiation.


ok, so I'll look into the Giant Alias. But I have been hearing that the next level up in cost offers great performance increase in the bikes. So lets say if I had up to $1200 to spend, what would you recommend?
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Postby Hawkeye » Tue May 13, 2008 8:04 pm

turban-elite wrote:ok, so I'll look into the Giant Alias. But I have been hearing that the next level up in cost offers great performance increase in the bikes. So lets say if I had up to $1200 to spend, what would you recommend?


Giant Talon. Good strong Sun rims, better all-round componentry including an air fork. The performance increase is perhaps not so great as the improvement in strength and reliability.

To get a quantum performance lift you need to go the XTC2 (circa $1600 RRP), but the rims and frame won't absorb as much punishment as it's designed as a lightweight race XC hardtail.

"Strong. Light. Cheap. Choose any two."
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Postby Bnej » Tue May 13, 2008 8:19 pm

IMO, the Talon is worth it for the fork upgrade. SRAM X.7 vs Shimano Deore I think is much of a muchness, brakes I think Juicy 3s are about as good, but I think the Tora is a much better fork than the Dart. Wheels are better on the Talon.

OTOH you could get the Alias and change the fork down the track, but it would cost you more in total, and you wouldn't have the better wheels.

No-one ever said to themselves 12 months on "gee, I wish I bought a bike that wasn't so good!". ;)
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Postby turban-elite » Tue May 13, 2008 8:20 pm

woops double post
Last edited by turban-elite on Tue May 13, 2008 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby turban-elite » Tue May 13, 2008 8:21 pm

turban-elite wrote:
j.r.hawkins wrote:
turban-elite wrote:ok, so I'll look into the Giant Alias. But I have been hearing that the next level up in cost offers great performance increase in the bikes. So lets say if I had up to $1200 to spend, what would you recommend?


Giant Talon. Good strong Sun rims, better all-round componentry including an air fork. The performance increase is perhaps not so great as the improvement in strength and reliability.

To get a quantum performance lift you need to go the XTC2 (circa $1600 RRP), but the rims and frame won't absorb as much punishment as it's designed as a lightweight race XC hardtail.

"Strong. Light. Cheap. Choose any two."


hmm ok. Well I've been thinking about suspension lately, and I REALLY enjoy the comfort of having dual suspension. So If I was very inclined to find a bike with dual suspension for under $1200, what would you recommend? (it doesn't have to be giant) (and I know you guys would say not to get dual suspension on my budget, but lets say I really want it) ( also could look into second hand bikes, so if there is a good dual suspension bike for say under 2 grand you could mention it)

thanks
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Postby Bnej » Tue May 13, 2008 8:28 pm

turban-elite wrote:So If I was very inclined to find a bike with dual suspension for under $1200, what would you recommend? (it doesn't have to be giant) (and I know you guys would say not to get dual suspension on my budget, but lets say I really want it)


1. Just don't! ;)

2. If you're not going to do much in the way of climbing hills, the Giant Yukon FX or Mongoose Otero will be okay. These are decent bikes with lower end components but okay suspension designs. They won't take extreme punishment and they're VERY heavy (~16kg +) but they don't totally suck.

At $1500 the Yukon SX is roughly similar to the Talon in components, just 2.5kg heavier and with 100mm travel at the rear.

Anything less than the Yukon FX simply isn't worth riding at all. Cheaper dual suspension bikes are not only up around 18kg in weight, but won't even be suitable for off road riding at all.

If you aspire to keep up with people on the trails, you're probably better off saving the weight initially and riding a hardtail.
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Postby turban-elite » Tue May 13, 2008 8:49 pm

Bnej wrote:
turban-elite wrote:So If I was very inclined to find a bike with dual suspension for under $1200, what would you recommend? (it doesn't have to be giant) (and I know you guys would say not to get dual suspension on my budget, but lets say I really want it)


1. Just don't! ;)

2. If you're not going to do much in the way of climbing hills, the Giant Yukon FX or Mongoose Otero will be okay. These are decent bikes with lower end components but okay suspension designs. They won't take extreme punishment and they're VERY heavy (~16kg +) but they don't totally suck.

At $1500 the Yukon SX is roughly similar to the Talon in components, just 2.5kg heavier and with 100mm travel at the rear.

Anything less than the Yukon FX simply isn't worth riding at all. Cheaper dual suspension bikes are not only up around 18kg in weight, but won't even be suitable for off road riding at all.

If you aspire to keep up with people on the trails, you're probably better off saving the weight initially and riding a hardtail.


okay, thanks for enlightening me. I guess I'll stay away from rear suspension for now. ok so I found this Giant STP 0, 2007 advertised for $1,200, used. Worth it or not?
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Postby Deanj » Tue May 13, 2008 8:50 pm

Bnej wrote:1. Just don't! ;)


+1

If your just getting into MTB not only will you get a better hardtail for around your budget, riding one will also make you a better rider in the long run.
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Postby Deanj » Tue May 13, 2008 9:02 pm

turban-elite wrote: ok so I found this Giant STP 0, 2007 advertised for $1,200, used. Worth it or not?


STP stands for street, trail, park, more aimed at dirt jumping etc What type of mountain bike riding have you got in mind?
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Postby turban-elite » Tue May 13, 2008 9:11 pm

needsapush wrote:
turban-elite wrote: ok so I found this Giant STP 0, 2007 advertised for $1,200, used. Worth it or not?


STP stands for street, trail, park, more aimed at dirt jumping etc What type of mountain bike riding have you got in mind?


yeah, so doesn't that mean its a all-rounder? or am I missing something here :) what type of mtn biking is it not good for?
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Postby Hawkeye » Tue May 13, 2008 9:22 pm

Street, Trail and Park: you could probably throw 4-cross in there as well.

If you want to go trail riding with your mates, you'll find the STP pretty much ... sucks. :lol: With the seat so low and a short effective top tube you'll struggle on the climbs. OTOH, descending will be pretty good - so long as your knees and quads aren't fried from the climb.

Most popular bikes around my local are mid-range dual-suspension ($2.5k and up) or decent hardtails like the Talon. My local is known for being technical compared to most. If you're worried about your butt or lower back, a Thudbuster seatpost is worth looking at. Any DS less than about $2.5k really isn't worth looking at.

Oh, and just to confuse you more: my entry-level hardtail actually climbs better than my DS. :lol:
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Postby Deanj » Tue May 13, 2008 9:26 pm

Yeah its an all rounder, if your going to be doing all types of MTB on just one bike. If your never going to the skate park, 4x track though, and just want to ride single track and fire roads its not the way to go.

I'd be very cautious buying one of these second hand personally unless you know how its been ridden and by whom. They retail about $2000, but a quick search you can get them for $1500 at the minute.
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Postby Deanj » Tue May 13, 2008 9:36 pm

miss min wrote:I bought my bikes over the internet from this shop, but they are in Canberra and have all their bikes on sale at the mo.
http://maladjusted.com.au/news/?IntCatI ... ContId=850


Could be worth looking here if its local, especially with 20% off Kona's.

Thats from bias though as I ride one :wink:
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Postby Mulger bill » Wed May 14, 2008 2:05 am

The STP is a big bmx with gears and fork Turban, made to take the big jumps and the stacks that go with them, it's pretty heavy and the design is not right for distance work, if you're into sub ten km blasts in an urban environment, maybe a creative approach to the terrain :wink: or airtime at the BMX track, this is your bike.
If you might want to commute, use a rack to carry stuff or climb hills longer than your driveway and can fit the Talon in your budget, test ride one to be sure.

Shaun
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Trek

Postby mohicanmate » Wed May 14, 2008 10:08 am

I have ridden a Trek mountain bike in the $600 range before and it was a beautiful ride. So i would recommend them.

Giant and Avanti are worth checking out as well.
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Postby miss min » Wed May 14, 2008 2:45 pm

I find it bemusing and amusing that when most people ask for advice on buying a bike, they are told to test ride lots of bikes and buy the one that sings to you, but when someone says I have only looked at Giants, the general response is yeah, yeah buy a giant. :roll:
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