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Mountain Bikes - Best deals for noob?

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Posted 12 November 2018 - 05:18 PM

I know most of the mountain bikers I know are still lurking on here, so....

Now that I have my knees fixed, I'm thinking about fun ways to use them more. I have always hated running, but who knows, maybe being able use my knees will open up a new world to that, too. Mountain biking has been on my radar a while, but the pain would not allow it.

So, what's the best deal to look for in a full suspension mtn bike? Should I look at quality older models that are cheap but might need a trip to the shop for maintenance? Should I look for a year or two old for a higher, but used, price? I'm sure there's many angles to come at this from. If I did get a bike I'm sure I would gravitate toward downhill biking, if that makes a difference? (Is it generally assumed mountain biking is "downhill" biking?)

I'm not looking for the BEST, but I would want a good capable ride. What price range am I looking at? No carbon, that shit's spendy as hell.



I have a Trek 7.2 FX hybrid bike. Like New condition. No clue how much it would sell for used, but it was like $550 new. I would sell that bike to put the cash toward a mtn bike. I'm assuming I'll be putting a lot more cash into a decent mtn bike compared to what I would get out of the hybrid.
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Posted 12 November 2018 - 05:34 PM

I've always heard that rear suspension on a mountain bike is not worth it unless you actually ride in the mountains. I could be wrong.
I'm sure Mike will be along shortly and give some great tips.
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Posted 12 November 2018 - 08:47 PM

Watch, noob.
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Posted 13 November 2018 - 06:05 AM

Prepare yourself for a dizzying array of options, even on the same bike. Wheels, brakes, drivetrain all drive up or down the price of seemingly the same bike. You didn't mention a budget but I would put it in the $1200 range for a pre 2016 anything full suspension and closer to $2k+ for 17 and up.

To answer your original question though, do you need full squish? Not around here. But it damn sure helps. I've seen crazy fckers out at Leb (arguably one of the more difficult trails around the city) on Cyclo bikes so you can do anything if you're nuts enough. I spent the first half the year on a 100mm Bluto forked carbon fat bike and rode all of the major trails in the cities without problem. That said, full suspension definitely makes things more plush. I love riding the fat on dry trails for something different but 95% of the time, the full squish goes.


I would look for the newest you can afford. It will have slacker head angle and steeper seat angle to get you over the cranks. You can ride without a dropper around here no problem but I would still look for one that has one personally. Once you use one you'll wonder why you waited. Travel is a crap shoot, more is nice to soak up bumps, also tends to be more soft when climbing. Remote lockouts are a gimmick IMO. You can reach down just as easily if you really feel the need to stiffen everything. Around here you wont have time between sections and will likely ride open anyway.


1x11 would by my preferred gearing. 1x12 Eagle is a great thing to have, but very unnecessary around here. Hydro brakes (Shimano uses Mineral bases oil, SRAM uses DOT, pick your flavor if you care about that stuff). 27.5, 27.5+ or 29? Good question that only you can answer. If it isn't already, go tubeless and don't look back.


Ideally you would ride several at a demo day but those are hard to come by this time of year.


Join Twin Cities Bicycle Trading Post on FB to see some good local deals. Again, ideally you'd ride it before you buy it but tough this time of year. Maybe in the spring when everyone is 2019 crazy would be a good time to pic up a 17-18 used. When in doubt, post up some options you're looking at. Craigslist can be a good place for a good deal. Bought two good deals off of CL this summer. If the deal is REALLY too good to be true, be wary of buying a stolen bike.

Surprisingly, I've found it more enjoyable than single track dirt biking around here. It's infinitely more accessible and the trails are really pretty darn nice around here.
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Posted 13 November 2018 - 06:59 AM

Apex said:

1542077266[/url]' post='1121130']
Watch, noob.




<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yotOZVELSMc" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>


This is the most accurate portrayal of mountain bike addition I've ever seen, and is really freaking funny if you've lived it :)

I can't say anything better than has already been said or is already out there. Couple things I'll note from personal experience:

- you'll get a much better "deal" on two or more model year old used bikes. First year or current bikes have been holding value pretty good from what I've seen but majorly drop off after two. Anything newer than say ~ 2015 will be a slacker head angle and have good geometry for trail riding. As with cycles, newer is always the best place to start.

- a hard tail is far cheaper than full suspension. The ride of a full suspension is great and a big selling point but traction is the key to them and the reason the money can be worth it. But to start, a hard tail is a deal hard to beat, especially since you could buy new, get fitted by a shop, have them help get you setup and start you on your way.

- having said all that, a damn decent hard tail can be had new for $1200 or so, you'll spend at least that on a used FS to get a good suspension designed bike. This time of year the '19s are out, look for a deal on a '18.

- 120mm travel is a good place to be for the terrain around here. A bike 100mm is fine as well and will be a very sporty ride, handle quickly and be fun. Unless you plan on downhill at Spirit Mountain, arguably 140mm or longer travel is overkill in this area.

- mid fats and fat bikes are a hoot to ride and you can go all year long. After my wreck a few years ago, work changed and my time went away really fast so I stepped out if the XC style FS bikes and I have a '18 Trek Stache 5 29+ mid-fat hardtail bike that's a blast to ride. I've tweaked the hell out of it, full XT 1x11 drivetrain and brakes, Carbon bars, etc. (I went with the 5 because I liked the silver more than the black in the 7) and it's a beast with traction for days. I can't ride through fresh snow like a 4" or more fat tire bike, but on a groomed snow trail, the 3" tire holds its own. A 27.5" mid-fat (2.4"-3.0" tire is a mid fat) is sort of the rage now, but I like the 29"x3" the Stache has. Big bike for a big guy they said at the bike shop.

Go to a bike shop, look, ask and learn. Lots of great, local shops like One on One, Angry Catfish, Gateway Cycle, or even your Penn's and Erik's are good ways to at least try lots of bikes and see what works for you. Everyone is different, but most start out on a hard tail and move up to full suspension but done jump in right away. Whatever works, whatever fits your budget best.
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Posted 13 November 2018 - 08:58 AM

View PostApex, on 12 November 2018 - 08:47 PM, said:

Watch, noob.




<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/yotOZVELSMc" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>


So True!!! Backcounty.com and Rei Outlet/ serria trading post will become your new best friends for sweet gear deals!
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Posted 13 November 2018 - 09:39 AM

View Postmiweber929, on 13 November 2018 - 06:59 AM, said:

This is the most accurate portrayal of mountain bike addition I've ever seen, and is really freaking funny if you've lived it :)

I can't say anything better than has already been said or is already out there. Couple things I'll note from personal experience:

- you'll get a much better "deal" on two or more model year old used bikes. First year or current bikes have been holding value pretty good from what I've seen but majorly drop off after two. Anything newer than say ~ 2015 will be a slacker head angle and have good geometry for trail riding. As with cycles, newer is always the best place to start.

- a hard tail is far cheaper than full suspension. The ride of a full suspension is great and a big selling point but traction is the key to them and the reason the money can be worth it. But to start, a hard tail is a deal hard to beat, especially since you could buy new, get fitted by a shop, have them help get you setup and start you on your way.

- having said all that, a damn decent hard tail can be had new for $1200 or so, you'll spend at least that on a used FS to get a good suspension designed bike. This time of year the '19s are out, look for a deal on a '18.

- 120mm travel is a good place to be for the terrain around here. A bike 100mm is fine as well and will be a very sporty ride, handle quickly and be fun. Unless you plan on downhill at Spirit Mountain, arguably 140mm or longer travel is overkill in this area.

- mid fats and fat bikes are a hoot to ride and you can go all year long. After my wreck a few years ago, work changed and my time went away really fast so I stepped out if the XC style FS bikes and I have a '18 Trek Stache 5 29+ mid-fat hardtail bike that's a blast to ride. I've tweaked the hell out of it, full XT 1x11 drivetrain and brakes, Carbon bars, etc. (I went with the 5 because I liked the silver more than the black in the 7) and it's a beast with traction for days. I can't ride through fresh snow like a 4" or more fat tire bike, but on a groomed snow trail, the 3" tire holds its own. A 27.5" mid-fat (2.4"-3.0" tire is a mid fat) is sort of the rage now, but I like the 29"x3" the Stache has. Big bike for a big guy they said at the bike shop.

Go to a bike shop, look, ask and learn. Lots of great, local shops like One on One, Angry Catfish, Gateway Cycle, or even your Penn's and Erik's are good ways to at least try lots of bikes and see what works for you. Everyone is different, but most start out on a hard tail and move up to full suspension but done jump in right away. Whatever works, whatever fits your budget best.

This so true. Your height you should be able to find a good deal on a used one. If you can stand the cold I would go fat bike! It will get you out year round and the giggle factor is high.The snow will kick your butt and when summer comes you will be alot faster. You can pick a used Frame Fat Bike on CL for pretty cheap. Swing by the house and test ride one. Also alot of bike shops will do rentals for the day. I have a salsa Beargrease and a Trek Fuelly.
Got out for are first winter ride last nite.

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 09:59 AM

I'm 5'10" ~175-180lbs ...if this helps for sizing or bike type


I watched the vid, it was pretty good hahaha. The initial two purchases are what I'm trying to avoid. I'd like to get a used bike that fits me and the riding style for around this area. Lebenon and whatever else people go (Elm Creek maybe? I can't remember.)

Once I get mtb'ing figured out a bit, and whether or not it's for me or not (I think I'll really enjoy it), then I'll get "THE" bike that I want. I'm trying to balance CRA and other hobbies budget wise, so we'll see how it goes. 2018 was the year of the Grom engine builds and doctor visits. So hopefully next year I'll only have to put gas and oil into the Grom and then pay for CRA and a bicycle. Oh, and lot of fishing tackle. I really burned through a lot of my fishing gear in the last couple years. Good tackle ain't cheap either.

Anyway, any help with models, sizes and explaining a lot of the terminology you used above would be great. "Dropper"? "Slacker"? Benefits and differences of 27.5/27.5+/29'er? I've heard of a 29'er before, but didn't know what the alternatives were. I'm assuming it's a measurement of a frame component? Any FAQ links to help explain these would be great. MTB101 websites I should look at?

Thanks guys. I know I could go google this when I have time, but I know you guys are going to provide a lot of good info much quicker than I could find on my own. I hope this hobby works out and I can join many of you out on the trails.
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Posted 13 November 2018 - 10:02 AM

I highly doubt I will winter ride. I'm not a fan of the cold and my lungs don't do well with it.

But would there be any benefit to a fat bike if I only rode in the dry/warm?
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Posted 13 November 2018 - 10:27 AM

Not to brush you off on these terms at all but go to a small bike shop and talk to them, they'll go over it all for ya and help this make sense. Figure your size to be anywhere between 17.5 and 19.5 so an 18.5 may be the "perfect" size. But that varies with the style and feel of the bike, gotta see what you feel best on which is why you have to go ride some.

VERY briefly-

Dropper- seat post that drops to get out of your way for technical ride areas. Some say you'll never ride another bike without one once you try it, I say it's cool and helps, but not a deal breaker unless you really get technical.

Slacker- is a description of geometry as in "slacker" head tube angle. Makes the bike handle "better" in the latest configuration fads.

Tire sizes- 27.5 is a mid point between a wagon wheel 29er and the old standard 26" wheel, supposed to be the best of both. The plus sizes give you a wider tire so you can run less PSI, have more traction and more bump absorption. They take the harshness out of a hardtail, makes a very beginner friendly bike.

I will second going to The House and looking at Framed bikes. I had an Alaskan for a while and it was an absolute blast to ride at a great price.
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Posted 13 November 2018 - 10:53 AM

Thanks Mike!
Do I really want a hard tail if FS is where I want to be in the end?
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Posted 13 November 2018 - 11:55 AM

Just get yourself a Huffy!

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 11:55 AM

what are you looking to spend.
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Posted 13 November 2018 - 11:57 AM

View Postslopoke, on 13 November 2018 - 11:55 AM, said:

what are you looking to spend.


After reading the above and looking at a few for-sale ads, I would guess 1200 tops, but 800 or less would be more ideal if there are good bikes to be had in that range.
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Posted 13 November 2018 - 11:59 AM

View Postcrakerjac, on 13 November 2018 - 11:55 AM, said:

Just get yourself a Huffy!


And then I can build some sweet jumps and put baseball cards on the tires!

I remember my brother jumping his huffy over our homemade cinder block and plywood ramp. The handle bars popped out of the steering column mid-flight. That was scary and hilarious.
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