Newbie to MTB - On a budget???

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Newbie to MTB - On a budget???

Postby smiddo » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:14 pm

G'day All,

Have been riding road bikes on and off for many years but have never ventured into the mountain bike world and generally have not much idea of whats out there. A club has just started up in a nearby town and the gents involved alternate between weekly road and mtb rides. So I thought I give the mtb a go but obviously havent got a mtb. The start of the grain season and increase in B doubles getting around has got me thinking as well for the first time in years. I've googled the heck out of mtb over the last week or so but with a limited budget of about $700 does this get a "decent" ride that will handle mainly trail type riding. As usual the Giants look fairly good value for money and I can probably get a bit of a discount on these at a LBS. Obviously would prefer something with Deore level but does Alivio gear handle the average mtb riding or is it just a disaster waiting to happen....

Cheers
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by BNA » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:38 pm

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Re: Newbie to MTB - On a budget???

Postby lucifuge » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:38 pm

For $700, I'd source the best 2nd hand 26" HT I could that was in good condition.

Some Giant no doubt, a Trance or Talon variant. $700 isn't going to get you much *new*
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Re: Newbie to MTB - On a budget???

Postby trailgumby » Mon Nov 14, 2011 6:48 pm

Depends on how much riding you are thinking of doing. Deore would be preferable. If you can work out your size, maybe something second hand would be better value for money at that price.

<embarassed shuffle> the above piece of advice unfortunately reminds me that I have an attractive Cannondale Jekyll dually that used to be my son's before he got my old bike as a hand-me-down, that I really need to do something about selling. :oops:

A few years old but in outstanding condition, it needs to go to make room in our cluttered shed, and could fit within your budget. It is quite light and has XTR transmission, tubeless tyres, disc brakes, carbon handlebars, fox air shock, and I can fit you with either a 130mm or 100mm fork. It currently has the 100mm fork fitted as the 130mm needs a spot of maintenance, which I plan to get done next week. Very plush to ride. You would need to supply pedals. The only ones I have are clipless and a bit dodgy, I think flats would be better for you while in the skills acquisition phase of your mountain biking journey.

It is, however, a medium frame, which would equate to a medium Giant. You would need to satisfy yourself that it is the right size for you before going any further. The wrong frame size can lead to over-use injuries.
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Re: Newbie to MTB - On a budget???

Postby smiddo » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:01 pm

Thanks guys,

I've been scouring ebay, bike exchange etc, still trying to get my head around component level etc, whilst I obviously understand the groupset side of things getting to know shocks, brake components etc is ongoing, gotta love the internet for research. Also frame sizing etc and how it compares to road bikes (I'm 6ft)??

Will be a few weeks before any definite decisons are made anyway as gotta also factor in christmas etc. Hadn't really considered a dually as for general trail riding thought a hardtail was the way to go. Thanks for the offer TG but I wont rush into anything just yet. Also gonna try and borrow a bike and have a crack to see how much fun/pain it really is!!

Happy to listen to any more advice, cheers.
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Re: Newbie to MTB - On a budget???

Postby drubie » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:19 pm

smiddo wrote:Thanks guys,

I've been scouring ebay, bike exchange etc, still trying to get my head around component level etc, whilst I obviously understand the groupset side of things getting to know shocks, brake components etc is ongoing, gotta love the internet for research. Also frame sizing etc and how it compares to road bikes (I'm 6ft)??

Happy to listen to any more advice, cheers.


$700 will go further on a second hand bike, but the Alivio gear will work well enough while you're finding your mountain skills. The biggest problem won't be the gears, it'll be the fork. Giant fit decent (but heavy) forks to their entry level bikes. The "large" size will probably suit you better (so I think 21" frames, damn mountain bikes and their crazy sizing).

I think I'd budget to be able to play with tyres and saddles rather than obsessing over the gears.
So we get the leaders we deserve and we elect, we get the companies and the products that we ask for, right? And we have to ask for different things. – Paul Gilding
but really, that's rubbish. We get none of it because the choices are illusory.
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Re: Newbie to MTB - On a budget???

Postby trailgumby » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:35 pm

No worries. Good to know your height, that helps.

A mate of mine who is your height rides a medium Giant Trance and Reign, I'm 6'1" and prefer the next size up so at this combination of height and bike size it *can* be a matter of preference. The advantage of a smaller bike is that it is much easier to handle in techy terrain as it easier to lift the front when descending, improving safety to some extent. The downside of a shorter bike is that it is more difficult to stop the front from wandering on steep climbs. Jumping on a couple and seeing what you prefer is the way to go.

Regardless of the road riding experience you may have with clipless, I strongly recommend using flats for your first off-road rides.

Drubie makes a good point on tyres - very important. Tyre pressures are key determinant of performance off-road. Most roadies run them much too high and wonder why they're pinging off the rocks and feeling like they've got no grip. Unless you're well north of 90kgs or riding rock gardens with lots of square-edged hits, no more than 40psi on the back and 35 on the front with 2.1" tyres fitted with tubes.

While you;re here, take the time to read the ridfing tips for mtb noobs thread. Lots of great learnings in there.
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Re: Newbie to MTB - On a budget???

Postby Mapomatic » Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:23 am

I was recommending this bike to brother in law and wife.

http://www.malvernstar.com.au/range/bike-2605.aspx

I've seen 2011 models for $700 in NSW, and they have been cropping up on ebay recently too. Topped one of the mountain bike mags best hardtails for under a grand. Review in mag found the bars and grips not real nice, but otherwise pretty nice. Deore all round, hydraulic disks. Comes in around 13.5kg if memory serves? I can dig up the article and have a look, send me a Pm if you're interested.

Brother in law ended up buying a full suspension off a mate, and I'm in the process of building a MTB for the wife but otherwise would have bought this.
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Re: Newbie to MTB - On a budget???

Postby silentbutdeadly » Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:31 am

Smiddo...the Alivio group will perform fine in most MTB situations for beginners provided the terrain is not too difficult. Given that you've said you're in a grain growing region I'll wager that the MTB won't of the steep hills variety...in which case, Alivio will be fine from a durability perspective. Worst comes to worst...do what I did. As the rear derailleur and shifters die...replace them with Deore or better. The wrinkle though is that many Alivio equipped bikes are typically 8 speed whereas Deore is a 9 speed setup. So be prepared to replace the cassette.

Above all...make certain that the bike does not have a screw on freewheel. This will stuff your upgrades efforts royally.

Drubie also makes a fine point about the fork - at this price point, an MTB suspension fork often makes a rather good boat anchor. Hence I ditched mine and replaced it with a rigid alloy fork. Saved nearly a kilo in weight for a tiny tradeoff in front end comfort. The main thing to hunt for on a low spec suspension fork is the ability to lock it out ( to make it perform almost like a rigid fork). Otherwise...they are all much the same.

Honestly...if you can sniff out a 2nd hander then that'd be a good bet but don't be too concerned if you have to accept new. What you pick really depends on what the LBS can offer...
Ours is not to reason why...merely to point and giggle
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Re: Newbie to MTB - On a budget???

Postby smiddo » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:30 pm

Thanks everyone for your thoughts, off to the big smoke tommorow (Tamworth) so plan to ditch the wife and daughters and have a sticky in the bike shops and see whats about. Good excuse - no 3 daughter would like a new BMX from Santa so have a decent excuse to visit!!

Cheers
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Re: Newbie to MTB - On a budget???

Postby smiddo » Sat Nov 19, 2011 2:20 pm

Well went out for my first mtb 101 lesson this morning and did about 35k in various terrain from country roads, fire trails and some single track stuff. Borrowed a bike and was surprised when I was shown a full carbon, dual suspension, deore and sramx9 clad disc braked monster and told it was mine for the day. To say the bike outshone the rider is an understatement. The gents I rode with were very understanding and I was amazed at how quick they were especially on the rocky downhill stuff.

Lessons learnt.
Road riding at a constant aerobic pace is easy compared to the high heart rate stuff I felt today.
Disc brakes are the business!! Sometimes too good for a newbie.
I can’t go up hills very well and am even slower downhill – scared stupid and nervous and kept wanting to brake.
Single track riding is technical and beyond my limited skill and fitness at the moment.
Gotta learn to use the full range of gears.
Road shoes and pedals don’t work well off road – but that couldn’t be avoided today.
Have to learn to trust the bike more – it was amazing – though my initial budget won’t get me anywhere near the thing I rode today. Might have to wait a bit longer, up the budget and scour ebay for a bargain.
I think I enjoyed it – in that perverse kinda way where at the time you want it to end and when it ends you say you wouldn’t do it again but you know that’s really not quite true. I'm officially shattered at the moment and really don't feel like going to work this afternoon!!.

Cheers
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Re: Newbie to MTB - On a budget???

Postby trailgumby » Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:36 pm

smiddo wrote:I think I enjoyed it – in that perverse kinda way where at the time you want it to end and when it ends you say you wouldn’t do it again but you know that’s really not quite true. I'm officially shattered at the moment ...

LOL! That brings back memories... Thought my young bloke was trying to kill me on my first ride :lol:

Very thoughtful of your mates to loan you a dually. Just take it easy, maybe use flat pedals for the first few months, it's much easier to bail out safely when you need to do an unplanned dismount.

Mountain biking tends to give you much more of a total body workout, especially on singletrack. I know when I go back to riding my usual haunt (Manly Dam) after focussing on aerobic work for a few weeks riding fire trails at Terrey Hills that I rediscover heaps of core and upper body muscles I'd forgotten I had.

Just be extra careful when your mates yell out "NO BRUNCH!" (borrowing jules21's link)
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Re: Newbie to MTB - On a budget???

Postby silentbutdeadly » Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:41 am

trailgumby wrote:
smiddo wrote:I think I enjoyed it – in that perverse kinda way where at the time you want it to end and when it ends you say you wouldn’t do it again but you know that’s really not quite true. I'm officially shattered at the moment ...

LOL! That brings back memories... Thought my young bloke was trying to kill me on my first ride :lol:



+1

...these are memories worth retaining. If you want a memory refresher after a few months of riding.......then ride the same trails at night. :twisted:

As for the bike....generous mates should be applauded. It'd be worth spending a little more than your budget but don't be trapped into inactivity by dreams of bling. Just find a bike and ride it...
Ours is not to reason why...merely to point and giggle
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