A few MTB newbie questions

Anrai
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2024 10:14 pm
Location: Hobart

A few MTB newbie questions

Postby Anrai » Mon Feb 05, 2024 11:21 pm

Hi BNA, I'm in my early 30s, haven't ridden a bike since highschool, and it's time to really put my foot down on my fitness. Cycling (exercise bike for now) seems to be the form of solo exercise that engages me the most, and living in Hobart I'm fortunate to have a large network of trails on my doorstep. I've been doing a bit of research so I've got some idea what to look for but it wouldn't hurt to get some more personalised advice on starter bike selection.

I think I'm looking for a hardtail trail bike to start out nice and easy, though once I feel fit enough I'd like to look at XC and Enduro events. Is it better to buy a trail bike that's leaning toward one of those disciplines, or just get a comfortable starter trail without worrying about it and off-sell it for something specialised later?
I'm comfortable spending $1500-2000 at the moment, less comfortable up to 3k (especially if I'm planning on holding back some for a second/upgrade bike later.) I'm also planning to definitely look around five LBS around the city centre before I lock in a bike, but I'm unsure whether it's worth detouring to a couple of shops on the other side of the river? And should I be bringing my own helmet to test-ride or should I expect a LBS to loan me one?
Experience-wise it's been a hot minute but I rode bumpy but fairly tame gravel double-trails a lot growing up on bikes with no shocks, where should I expect my re-entry skill level to be at relative to trail grading? I'd like to think I can ease my way into blues right away but someone should slap me if that's overambitious.
And regarding bike features, I've been hearing a lot about the wonders of tubeless tyres and dropper posts. Should I be going at all out of my way for these on a starter bike I'll likely be moving on from or just let it be a happy coincidence if the right bike happens to feature them?

Thanks in advance to any responders.

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bychosis
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Re: A few MTB newbie questions

Postby bychosis » Tue Feb 06, 2024 8:45 am

Its a tough call on bike geometry. When I started riding there wasn't specific geometry for different terrain. It was XC or downhill. Now there so much more choice.

If you want to get into racing there's not a lot of doubt you'll want to upgrade. But for now, focus on enjoying the riding. Pick a bike that will do most things OK so probably a trail geometry. It won't be as fast cross country, but it will be more forgiving on descents and therefore more fun. Starting with a hardtail is usually recommended, but quickly leads to upgrades if you get into it, or less $ lost if you park it in the shed forever more. Not sure what I'd do in your shoes, but probably hardtail.

As for tubeless, most quality bike will be able to go tubeless easily. It's great IMO and worth it, but then I still run tubes in all but my trail dually because I don't ride them off road much so don't need the extra grip from lower pressures offen and don't want
to mess with sealant top ups.

Droppers are good, but I grew up without them and often forget to use mine. Upgrading later might be an option, but if its a few extra $....
bychosis (bahy-koh-sis): A mental disorder of delusions indicating impaired contact with a reality of no bicycles.

blizzard
Posts: 587
Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:56 am

Re: A few MTB newbie questions

Postby blizzard » Tue Feb 06, 2024 2:42 pm

For new in your price range, you are probably looking at a hardtail. The only dual suspension around that price I would consider is the Polygon D series which is trail leaning XC bike (or Down Country :roll: )

Tubeless is good, droppers are good, I would aim to get both. Most bikes don't ship tubeless, conversion is normally matter of adding valves + sealant and sometimes tubeless rim tape. I would just make sure the tyres that come with the bike are tubeless ready.

Personally I would only consider bikes with 29" wheels now.

Some bikes I would consider:

POLYGON D7
https://www.bikesonline.com.au/polygon- ... ntain-bike

Trek Roscoe 7 - trail hardtail
https://www.trekbikes.com/pu/en_AU/bike ... 7/p/35116/

Anrai
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2024 10:14 pm
Location: Hobart

Re: A few MTB newbie questions

Postby Anrai » Tue Feb 06, 2024 4:11 pm

I haven't tracked down if anyone sells Polygons locally, there's a couple stores that don't list their bike makes but I might keep an eye out. There is a single used Polygon in the area so it seems likely someone stocks them. (having just found more info on one of my missing stores, it seems the most likely candidate for Polygon stock is the remaining store I expect to be the sketchiest, but I'm willing to be surprised.)
I'm already expecting Ken Self to recommend me something like that Trek Roscoe, and for them to be one of the nicer stores. I've never been in there but it's an independent store that's held the same main street location for as long as I can remember so they're probably doing something right.

I might add I'm aiming for one of the stores that seems like it will give me a good fitting, I've got iffy knees (among other things) that are only going to get worse with age (get it from my dad who's currently still cycling on a replaced knee,) so I'd like to be extra sure my bikes are a good fit for my own geometry to keep me going as long as I can get out of them.

Thanks for the advice so far, both of you!
Last edited by Anrai on Tue Feb 06, 2024 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

blizzard
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Re: A few MTB newbie questions

Postby blizzard » Tue Feb 06, 2024 4:50 pm

Polygon is online only, so probably not ideal for your needs.

The Giant Fathom 29 is another option, spec is a bit lower than the Trek.

Anrai
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2024 10:14 pm
Location: Hobart

Re: A few MTB newbie questions

Postby Anrai » Wed Feb 07, 2024 1:25 pm

Crossed the least likely shop off my list this morning since I was in the area: They had no stock around what I want (said getting some Fuji Bighorns in a couple months,) and the staff didn't seem like he had a lot of personal riding experience.
Hoping to tour around the rest of my list tomorrow.

Anrai
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2024 10:14 pm
Location: Hobart

Re: A few MTB newbie questions

Postby Anrai » Wed Feb 07, 2024 2:42 pm

I'm thinking at a 41% sale the Norco Torrent S2 could be worth looking at if it's stocked? 99spokes specs it a little higher than the Trek Roscoe 7 and it's just in my comfort price range, though I'm reading as a heavier bike it doesn't do so well uphill.
Last edited by Anrai on Mon Feb 12, 2024 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

blizzard
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Re: A few MTB newbie questions

Postby blizzard » Thu Feb 08, 2024 11:21 am

Norco makes great mountain bikes. That one is definitely on the more agressive trail - enduro end of the hardtail spectrum.

Anrai
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2024 10:14 pm
Location: Hobart

Re: A few MTB newbie questions

Postby Anrai » Thu Feb 08, 2024 9:15 pm

I wound up putting a deposit on a Torrent S2.
I did ride a size-down Roscoe 7 around the car park and it felt rather nice (and nice to know I've still got the basics.) If I wasn't getting such a good sale on the Torrent I'd definitely have been happy on one of those.

blizzard
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Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:56 am

Re: A few MTB newbie questions

Postby blizzard » Thu Feb 08, 2024 10:19 pm

Congrats, there is something very cool about a steel mountain bike.

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