Help me choose a MTB

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Help me choose a MTB

Postby Dez » Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:04 pm

So i've been riding around on my roadie for a few years now for commuting and training and I race triathlons on my TT bike during summer.

But now I have seen the dirt trails and want to ride them!!

To this end I am hoping for some advice on choosing a cheap, entry level MTB. I have done some research and it seems a 29er hardtail is probably the way to go. I intend to ride trails like Forsyths Mill etc. and maybe enter a an event or two (like a Single Track Minds enduro or Anaconda) for fun.

I just want something decent that will do the job as I dont want to go throwing thousands of dollars on something I may only ride a dozen times a year, as triathlon will still be my major focus. I am looking at around the $500-$600 mark if possible.

While I know a fair amount about road bikes, I know next to nothing about what to look for in a MTB. I guess the RD and fork are the two most important things to look at?

This is the best I can find at the moment: Giant Boulder 0

What say you?

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Re: Help me choose a MTB

Postby Sparx » Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:19 pm

It's a very basic bike, it'll do the job if as you say you only ride a few times a year. Otherwise spend a little more or look second-hand.

For a hardtail 29'er if you look around $1k you can get a reasonable new bike for the odd race.

I thought tri-athletes loved the latest bling? :)

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Re: Help me choose a MTB

Postby uglybob » Fri Jun 07, 2013 2:27 pm

stuff Forsyths Mill - get out to the new trails at Kalamunda! :mrgreen:

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Re: Help me choose a MTB

Postby Marmoset » Fri Jun 07, 2013 3:44 pm

Here's a couple more for you. You will get a bike that;s a lot light er and a lot more durable if you up your budget. Around your price range you'll get pretty much the same spec out of any bike, so read a few reviews about how the bikes handle, grab a test on one if you can, and then choose what colour you like!

The major things to look for are wheel quality, forks and frame. The mechs will all work as well as higher end stuff, just won't be as durable/light - this won't be a problem with the usage you envisage. I'd also say buy a well known brand as resale will be higher, if you do find that you want to get further into it and upgrade - something like a Spesh/Trek/Giant should sell a lot more easily than brands that the man on teh street may not have heard of... ... /102250861 ... /102241656 ... /102223452

Out of these I'd probably go for the Norco, it has the best wheel spec, shimano brakes and it's red, so will be faster! :lol:


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Re: Help me choose a MTB

Postby Dez » Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:15 pm

Sparx wrote:I thought tri-athletes loved the latest bling? :)

This is true. I love flying past them all on their $6k bikes with my $1k no-name chinese carbon TT. :P

Thanks for all your tips. I liked the Giant as the SRAM x.5 looked better than what the others in the range were offering.

I guess i'll head down to a few shops and test ride a few bikes to get a feel for the difference between $500 and $1k.

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Re: Help me choose a MTB

Postby jamesjperth » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:23 pm

Entry level bikes are really good these days, like you said, $500 to $1000 should be all you need to spend to get a nice new hardtail, that will be tough enough to ride some proper trails. Like Marmoset said, it's worth choosing something with a quality frame in case you get bitten by the upgrade bug, and its worth getting something with decent forks - Marzocchi, Rockshox and Fox are usually pretty good brands, but I would personally steer clear of Suntour & RST. Wheels with eyeleted rims are worth the extra money too... Don't bother with fancy chainsets though, rear mechs get trashed on rocks, and the weight saving of (for example) xtr over slx is about the same as what you would save if you went to the loo before your ride...

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Re: Help me choose a MTB

Postby michaelp7757 » Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:27 pm

I second jamesperth's call on the fork.

Aside from not really being suited to off-road use RST & Suntour forks are really heavy with little to no compression damping.

Good luck with your search.

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Re: Help me choose a MTB

Postby Roub » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:25 pm

You'll be hard pressed to beat a Giant XTC 29er for your requirements. Get something decent to start with and avoid the disappointment of a poor groupset and or frame/fork

Sran X7 upwards works very nicely and Simano SLX is decent entry level too. Avid brakes are ordinary however compared to Shimano these days. (Hayes, Magura and Formula all make good brakes too)

I'd only ever use Fox or Rockshox myself, reliable and ease of parts and maintenance

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Re: Help me choose a MTB

Postby Dez » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:15 pm

Thanks for the replies everyone.

I ended up getting a 2012 Merida Matts from Gumtree for $400. It's a little on the heavy side, but that hasn't stopped me from tearing up the trails at Jarrahdale and Kalamunda!

I will also remember to use your advice when that upgrade bug bites.


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Re: Help me choose a MTB

Postby lobstermash » Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:51 pm

Keep your eye on Gumtree. I'm a road rider that occasionally dabbles. I got myself an old (late 90s) Nishiki Rockhound, virtually unused and just needed tune up, for $40. For occasional offroad use, the rim brakes are perfectly good, and the differences between a 29er and a 26er aren't that big a deal (see qualifier at start of sentence).

For a new cheapie, the Reid mountain bikes are OK (well, the X226 and X229). I used my wife's X229 a bit before I got my Nishiki. Nothing special, but does the job with ease.

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