Bike recommendations for a beginner

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Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby chris268 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:08 am

Hi all,

First post :)
I haven't owned a bike in a very long time and was looking at getting soon for the short commute to the gym from home. At the same time I wanted to move cardio exercise outdoors and give mtb trails a go (novice/beginner runs). Can you guys recommend me a bike under $1000 and maybe a few bike shops in Syd I should check out? Something capable offroad but still alright for commuting. One bike I was recommend was a Trek 4500 - anyone have feedback on these? Once again, I'm a total noob so feedback, info, opinions would be appreciated :)

Cheers
Chris
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by BNA » Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:22 pm

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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby mitzikatzi » Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:22 pm

Treks are good bikes.
Find a bike shop you like and buy from them.
Have a look on bike exchange for bikes in your area.
Lots of bike sales coming up as next years models start to come out.
some general advice Buying a bike: Some general advice for new riders
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trailgumby wrote:29ers are awesome.
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby Mugglechops » Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:53 pm

Giant should be having some good prices at the moment.

Have a look at the Talon. For a newbie I would recommend a 26er over a 29er.
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby chris268 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:41 pm

Thanks guys.
I'll have a read of that link and look into the Talon also.
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby chris268 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:25 am

Are the Cannondale Trail 5 and 6 worth looking into also? Browsing a few AU sites, they seem to be around the price range i'm looking at. Does anyone know any Syd shops that sell this brand?
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby silentbutdeadly » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:47 am

The Cannondale Trails are fine frames dressed with average components for a premium price...typically. As the owner of a Cannondale Trail SL2 (29er version of the Trail) I can attest to this - perfectly adequate but overpriced at retail by at least $600.

Given you suggestion of your needs...I'd not be going for a MTB. I'd recommend a cross communter like the GT Transeo 2.0 or even the slightly higher spec 1.0. They'll do everything bar the big drops and rock gardens while the fat 700c tyres don't have the rolling resistance of a MTB tyre. You'll get one for well under your budget too. Sydney has plenty of GT dealers.

Failing that, Cannondale has the similar Quick CX but there's not much chance it'll be within your budget...damn fine bike though.
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby trailgumby » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:16 pm

Hmm.. sorry, gotta disagree SBD.

An mtb is a perfectly workable - if slower - commuter.

However, a flatbar ... yes you could use on some of the fire trails around my way, but it's going to be an uncomfortable and harsh experience. I see people attempt it, but it's rare unless the trails've just been graded, which seems to happen once every 3-4 years.

As for CX, the guys I know with them are pretty hard men ... and they don't use them that often except when a CX series round is coming up, such as the MWCC one at Terrey Hills.

Personally I reckon a good hardtail can be had for that kind of money, and a 29er is the way to go if you're skipping rear suspension. Avanti have some that look like great value, like the Scratch.

Fit some skinny slicks and it's not that much slower than a flatbar.
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby wurtulla wabbit » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:34 pm

Just had a 30 odd Klm loop today on my Marin.
Great fun, mostly beach side pavement trails and road. (the odd gratuitous wheelie thrown in for fun ! )
Different to my roady but nice change to the more serious roady.
Great for a commuter, in fact , if I wanted a commuter, it wouldn't be a full on road bike.
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby silentbutdeadly » Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:55 am

trailgumby wrote:Hmm.. sorry, gotta disagree SBD.

An mtb is a perfectly workable - if slower - commuter.

However, a flatbar ... yes you could use on some of the fire trails around my way, but it's going to be an uncomfortable and harsh experience. I see people attempt it, but it's rare unless the trails've just been graded, which seems to happen once every 3-4 years.

As for CX, the guys I know with them are pretty hard men ... and they don't use them that often except when a CX series round is coming up, such as the MWCC one at Terrey Hills.

Personally I reckon a good hardtail can be had for that kind of money, and a 29er is the way to go if you're skipping rear suspension. Avanti have some that look like great value, like the Scratch.

Fit some skinny slicks and it's not that much slower than a flatbar.


I suspect our disagreement is a horses for courses proposition. In my part of the country, a fat 700c tyre will go a long way quickly virtually anywhere around here. It ain't the smoothest ride but it is a hoot even before we get into CX racing. But in your part of the world...agreed - it would be a tricky proposition for many a typical Sydney sandstone fire trail. But other cities? Melbourne; Adelaide; Brisbane; Perth....many regional centres across the country...very different from Sydney. You are right though - a 29er wearing 700x42 (or thereabouts) tyres would be a fine compromise between our two positions...
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby bychosis » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:06 am

If you are wanting to give MTB a go, and not just commute with an occasional fire trial ride then you really need to get an MTB, it's addictive and a hybrid won't cope with much. A hardtail 29er will be fine for commuting, especially if you pick up some road based tyres slicks or semi slicks. I commuted on a 26" MTB with slicks for several years while I had one bike, switching tyres got down to 10min with practice. I have more than one bike now and although I much prefer MTB riding my commute is more efficient on a road bike.

If I had you budget and (I assume) your idea of what you want to ride I'd be getting a 29" hardtail. I won't recommend a particular bike but visit your lbs (more than one) and see what 29ers are available, most brands should have something in your budget. Pick one that fits well and from a shop that gives you good service as well.
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby JustJames » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:45 am

How you will commute will make a difference too. I ride between Chatswood and Dee Why once a week. The roads are very busy, there are some hills, so I prioritise my safety over speed*. I commute via footpaths most of the way, and spend a lot of time waiting for ped crossing lights. Time lost by riding a MTB as compared to a roadie is minimal as a result.

And as others have said, if you are going to venture offroad, a proper MTB is the right tool for the job.

Either way you will compromise, by choosing one bike to do both jobs. Riding a heavier bike for your commute may add some time to your commute and will add some exercise. Riding a road-oriented bike off road is likely to suck the fun out of the ride.


* And over rules. But there's another thread for that discussion.
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby bychosis » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:18 am

JustJames wrote:Riding a heavier bike for your commute may add some time to your commute and will add some exercise. Riding a road-oriented bike off road is likely to suck the fun out of the ride.


I think some people get carried away with the weight thing. It's low on the order of what affects a cyclists performance. Aerodynamics and fitness are much bigger factors. I consider myself reasonably bike fit. My old steel commuter roadie weighs near 2kg more than my MTB and yet it is easily 1min quicker over the 17min commute. The commuter does however have wheels and running gear that works well.. Getting a bike with decent, working drivetrain and wheels will be fine and the OP budget will definitely get to that level.

Statement should be more like 'riding an MTB for your commute may add ...'
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby chris268 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:19 am

Thanks for the replies. The commute i'll be using this bike for won't be very long at all, no more than 20 mins each way through roads and parks. This is the reason why i wanted to give mtb a go, more so for the fun and the exercise. I've been recommended the Trek 4500 and 6000 (i've seen some places advertise these for $999), also the Trek Mamba and Cobia. From Giant, i've been told to check out the Talon range and from Cannondale, the Trails.
I'll be checking out some Trek's on Thursday night and will find some Giant and Cannondale dealers around Sydney on the weekend :D
Last edited by chris268 on Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby JustJames » Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:51 am

chris268 wrote:... I've been recommended the Trek 4500 and 6000 (i've seen some places advertise these for $9999)...


You should be able to bargain a better deal than that. 8)
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby fassyrider » Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:31 pm

G'day Chris,
I read your topic these days and I was waiting to answer coz last Friday I just bought my son a fantastic MTB from these guys below:
http://www.italianbicycles.com.au/mtb-bikes.html - We got it delivered yesterday and it is awesome!

I asked in this forum about them on another thread: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=55171&p=838242#p838242
They are less known than others but I know very well the brand they sell, coz I ride one of their vintage and one of their road
bike: both bikes are sensational.

At the moment it seems they have plenty of deals on MTB's and on Hybrids too... give it a good check won't hurt.
http://www.italianbicycles.com.au/fitness-cross-1.html

I was very pleased with them coz the bike is very good and the prices atm are unreal! Let me know how you go, Cheers

PS: depends where you live but they do Free Delivery :D
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby chris268 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:05 pm

JustJames wrote:
chris268 wrote:... I've been recommended the Trek 4500 and 6000 (i've seen some places advertise these for $9999)...


You should be able to bargain a better deal than that. 8)


haha - fixed :oops:
I checked out a few places during lunch and saw the new 2013 Talon range, as well as the Trek 4500 and the 2012 and 2013 Mamba. The guys i spoke to reckon 29's are the way to go for what i want to do. Now to read the long 26 vs 29 threads... :(
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby JustJames » Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:51 pm

chris268 wrote:The guys i spoke to reckon 29's are the way to go for what i want to do. Now to read the long 26 vs 29 threads... :(


These guys...at a guess, they either own or are selling 29ers, right?

I'll summarise for you:
1. 29ers roll easier over obstacles
2. 26ers are more nimble (all other things being equal, which they usually aren't)
3. If you're tall, give more consideration to a 29er than if you're short
4. Any discussion on 26 v 29 ends up as a religious battle

Tubeless for MTB, however is the One True Faith (TM).
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby chris268 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 5:15 pm

JustJames wrote:
chris268 wrote:The guys i spoke to reckon 29's are the way to go for what i want to do. Now to read the long 26 vs 29 threads... :(


These guys...at a guess, they either own or are selling 29ers, right?

I'll summarise for you:
1. 29ers roll easier over obstacles
2. 26ers are more nimble (all other things being equal, which they usually aren't)
3. If you're tall, give more consideration to a 29er than if you're short
4. Any discussion on 26 v 29 ends up as a religious battle

Tubeless for MTB, however is the One True Faith (TM).


Thanks for that - i bought a couple magazines yesterday and this was one of the topics that was covered. It's a pretty interesting read. I was looking at 26's initially but will probably test ride a few and i guess go with what feels best.
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby Shifter » Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:11 pm

chris268 wrote:The guys i spoke to reckon 29's are the way to go for what i want to do. Now to read the long 26 vs 29 threads... :(


Test ride them all. If a 29er is more comfortable going over bumps than a 26er, then you have your answer.

If you head to a Giant dealer, possibly try the following:

1. XtC 2/Talon 0 29er RRP $1499 / $1199 - Hard tail 29er
2. Anthem X1 29er RRP $2699 - Dual suspension 29er
3. Trance X3 RRP $1999 - Dual suspension 26er
4. XtC 1/Talon 0 RRP $1499 / $1099 - Hard tail 26er

note: I mentioned Giant as I know more about their range, and as I own 2, consider them fairly decent bang for buck. You could easily compare models from Scott, Merida, Trek etc.

I'm 5'11" and 85kg and prefer a 26er. To me a 29er looks and feels weird to ride. It could be better, I just don't like it as much.
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby trailgumby » Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:54 pm

Re 29rs, as a non-owner: all my fast racing mates have them and are going quicker over the same trails. My slow racing mates who have bought them can now keep up with me :(

Having ridden one for 8 weeks for a soon to appear review, my 26er feels unstable skittish amd slow.

I'll be in the market for one next year.

Hopefully that blows the "well you'd expect them to say that" Bulverism nonsense where it belongs. :wink:

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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby bychosis » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:14 pm

I dont own a 29er either, have tried one on a test ride day. It was fantastic in a straight line and rolling over stuff compared to my 26er. 26 was better in the tigher single track stuff. The amazing straight line/bump difference could have also been necasue it was a $10k 9kg carbon everything race bike, vs my bike with boat anchor wheels (2.2kg set). Since putting on some 1600g wheels and dropping the tubes has made my 26 ride feel more like that 29 ride acceleration wise.

A 26er in your budget may 'feel' faster due to quicker response in steering and lighter wheelset (smaller) through tight stuff or when accelerating but for fire trails and open going a 29er may feel 'easier' when loping along.
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby trailgumby » Tue Aug 14, 2012 10:43 pm

Hear what you're saying. I'd make the following observations on the wheel size debate.

1: One ride isn't going to tell you much more tjan whether you like the bike's setup and geometry. You need some time to tune and play. Cockpit changes can change a bikes handling significantly.

2: Geometry affects steering response just as much as it does on 26ers. You want chainstays as short as possible. Ride a few different 29ers and compare.

.The one I rode had longish chainstays but tje steering response was helped by a steepish 71 degree head angle plus the changes i msde to fork and cockpit as above.

3: Lighter wheels and tyres will help any bike

4: The rougher the trail the more it will suit 29rs. They lose less speed on choppy surfaces.

5: Rapid direction changes will suit a 26er more, but swweping corners favour the better grip of the bigger wheels.
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Re: Bike recommendations for a beginner

Postby chris268 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:17 pm

I checked out some of the new Giant Talons tonight. Will be checking out some Cannondales and Treks over the weekend. The Giant's seem pretty good value for money.
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