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What's a good MTB for under $500.00

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I don't have as much money as most people so I'm looking for a decent hardtail mountain bike under $500.00 if possible, I could consider $600.00 so that's ok too. All I want is a hardtail that's light, strong, well constructed and have decent components. I will be using it as daily so that's about 10-12 hours a day. If you guys can give me some great recommedation then that's great.

Thanks!
post #2 of 16

Re: What's a good MTB for under $500.00

Quote:
Originally Posted by aikions
I don't have as much money as most people so I'm looking for a decent hardtail mountain bike under $500.00 if possible, I could consider $600.00 so that's ok too. All I want is a hardtail that's light, strong, well constructed and have decent components. I will be using it as daily so that's about 10-12 hours a day. If you guys can give me some great recommedation then that's great.
You can buy a reasonably good hardtail FRAME for $100-or-less ... less if you opt for a used, STEEL frame. NYCB certainly sells bare MTB frames for about $100. ALSO, buy a copy of BIKE magazine & look at the ads in the back of the magazine for frames.

The rest of the components, other than the fork & wheels, can cost less than $100 OR over $1000. Cantilever brakes work as well as V-brakes which work as well as disc brakes under DRY riding conditions.

Depending on how much you spend on the frame & misc. components, you should have $300+ for the wheels and fork ... if you have wheels & any components that you can cannibalize from another bike, then you have as much (or, little) money as you want for the fork.

I think that you can definitely assemble a fairly reasonable/good hardtail for under $500 without too much effort.

Otherwise, I would recommend you look for a JAMIS (usually steel) or KONA hardtail.
post #3 of 16

Re: What's a good MTB for under $500.00

i work in a bike shop with trek, gary fisher, and fuji

I far and away recommend the Gary Fisher Wahoo disc.

go check one out!

PS its muuuch better and cheaper to buy a whole bike than build one, in your case...
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

Re: What's a good MTB for under $500.00

Quote:
Originally Posted by alfeng
You can buy a reasonably good hardtail FRAME for $100-or-less ... less if you opt for a used, STEEL frame. NYCB certainly sells bare MTB frames for about $100. ALSO, buy a copy of BIKE magazine & look at the ads in the back of the magazine for frames.

The rest of the components, other than the fork & wheels, can cost less than $100 OR over $1000. Cantilever brakes work as well as V-brakes which work as well as disc brakes under DRY riding conditions.

Depending on how much you spend on the frame & misc. components, you should have $300+ for the wheels and fork ... if you have wheels & any components that you can cannibalize from another bike, then you have as much (or, little) money as you want for the fork.

I think that you can definitely assemble a fairly reasonable/good hardtail for under $500 without too much effort.

Otherwise, I would recommend you look for a JAMIS (usually steel) or KONA hardtail.
That's an awesome idea but I consider myself a noob in building bikes. Then again if I can create a new PC, how hard can it be? I only problem I can think of is finding a place to buy the parts at.
post #5 of 16

Re: What's a good MTB for under $500.00

trust me, working in a bike shop i see tons of customers whio try to save money building a bike. some parts usually don't fit right or they can't adjust everything properly and it ends up costing them more or very close to a new bike but is much uglier.

just trying to help, if you don't know what your doing, i recommend not trying it. i'm familiar with computers enough to know its easier to build a computer than a bike. cpu parts go together nicely and don't need tuning, not to mention its easy to find compatible parts

good luck! visit you local bike shop and talk to a mechanic who's been around a while
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

Re: What's a good MTB for under $500.00

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jace1283
trust me, working in a bike shop i see tons of customers whio try to save money building a bike. some parts usually don't fit right or they can't adjust everything properly and it ends up costing them more or very close to a new bike but is much uglier.

just trying to help, if you don't know what your doing, i recommend not trying it. i'm familiar with computers enough to know its easier to build a computer than a bike. cpu parts go together nicely and don't need tuning, not to mention its easy to find compatible parts

good luck! visit you local bike shop and talk to a mechanic who's been around a while
For a decent mtb with decent parts at a price of $500-$600. Which one would you recommend because I don't think I will build my own bike.
post #7 of 16

Re: What's a good MTB for under $500.00

Quote:
Originally Posted by aikions
That's an awesome idea but I consider myself a noob in building bikes. Then again if I can create a new PC, how hard can it be? I only problem I can think of is finding a place to buy the parts at.
Despite what Jace1283 suggests, bicycle wrenching isn't watch making [i.e., in the days prior to when watches ran on batteries]...

I presume you have a bike of some sort -- THAT is your starting point.

Take the wheels off, front & back. How hard was that? Put them back on & secure.

Loosen the seatpost's binder bolt or quick release & remove the seatpost (AFTER you measure the height between the top of the saddle & the center of the bottom bracket [i.e., the crank's center bolt]). How hard was that? Put the seatpost back in the frame & secure.

Loosen the nut on the back of one of the brake's bolts (I'm presuming non-disc brakes) .... slide it off ... put it back on. Now, loosen the brake cable ... reattach.

And, so on.

SOME special tools are required, but less than decades ago. Most of the tools you will need are now generic (i.e., metric wrenches -- Allen/hex & 'open').

Almost ALL the information you need is now available from the Web (Sheldon Brown's site OR the PARK TOOL site) AND/OR you can buy ZINN's maintenance book (there are others, of course) for MTBs.

For a Newbie, mating LIKE parts (all LX, or all XT, or all XTR) is easier than mixing-and-matching, and that is one reason "groups" are easier to work with.

Presuming you have a bike of some sort AND if you are inclined (at some future time) toward "building" your own, you can begin by looking at the current components on your bike and deciding which ones you don't like & would like to improve ... buy those parts "used" from eBAY (some are "pulls" from bikes that have been upgraded by the owner [sometimes, a bike shop] ... your target price is HALF of what it would cost from your bike shop OR about 1/3rd less than from a mail order place like NASHBAR).

So, let's say you don't particularly like your crankset (the difference between the cheapest & best is MOSTLY weight, BTW), then you would select a crankset & BB (different cranks MAY use different Bottom Brackets), buy them ... you would then realize you need the tools to remove & install them at which point you could buy one of those "starter" toolkits (less than $50 ... often on sale for about $40) which actually have most of the tools you would need for occasional maintenance -- some of the "tools" are of mediocre quality & some are just as good or better than PARK's.

Because 99% of the information you need is now readily available, only the LACK of tools and/or the LACK of mechanical aptitude are roadblocks to doing your own wrenching ...

The ONLY (?) people who should not do their own wrenching, IMO, are surgeons & hand models OR people with arthritis OR zero mechanical aptitude (yes, I know some people who seem to fall into that category ... but, even they could probably do manage to perform SOME of the required maintenance on a bike).
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

Re: What's a good MTB for under $500.00

I can find the parts to make a bike but would it be better or worst. I don't want it to be a hassle. I know buying a pre-built PC is worst because if you make your own customized PC, it will be cheaper and faster. Now what parts should I buy for a mtb? I want something light so disk brake are no go for me. It's just a light mtb that will go down stairs, a bit of hill and a lot of street roads.
post #9 of 16

Re: What's a good MTB for under $500.00

Quote:
Originally Posted by aikions
I can find the parts to make a bike but would it be better or worst. I don't want it to be a hassle. I know buying a pre-built PC is worst because if you make your own customized PC, it will be cheaper and faster. Now what parts should I buy for a mtb? I want something light so disk brake are no go for me. It's just a light mtb that will go down stairs, a bit of hill and a lot of street roads.
I don't know what kind of TREK or GARY FISHER you can get for $500-to-$600 other than to say that the paint looks good from a distance ... and, a low-end GARY FISHER which the sales person was showing to a prospective customer (a couple of years ago) had a really SOFT front fork that would be really easy to bottom out unless the rider were only about 120 lbs. -- it was probably a good bike for the bike path.

Regardless, IMO, the most important parts on a hardtail are the front fork (solid OR suspension) and the shifters (ALL Shimano derailleurs work equally well if properly adjusted & maintained, IMO). Other people may have a different opinion about what is important on a hardtail ... and, THEY MAY BE RIGHT.

So, with MY simple parameters, if I were you, I would look at new & used suspension forks (presuming you want a suspension front fork) -- I recommend Marzocchi, but Rock Shox are generally good, too. Supposedly, Manitou cannot be rebuilt to spec according to people who own Manitou forks & have had them rebuilt (see MTB Reviews) ... so, that suggests (to me) that there is something (unknown) about the stanchions on the Manitou which does not hold up which precludes the repacement parts fitting perfectly OR the replacement parts are not "perfect" replacements.

So, look to spend between $150+ (used) to $300+ (new) for a fork (you can obviously pay MORE, but you're trying to work within a budget) that you think suits your anticipated riding needs ... and, add the rest of the components according to what is left in your budget.

The "small" stuff can be upgraded in the future as needed OR as your budget allows.
post #10 of 16

Re: What's a good MTB for under $500.00

Try using an online fit calculator to make sure you get the right size bike.

I'm guessing you want a bike to commute to work on. Think about getting a flat bar road bike. 700c road tires will have a lot less drag than fat MTB slicks, but you would have to carry the bike down stairs.

I don't believe you can save any money putting new bike an entire bike together yourself. Add up the cost before you try it.

You need special tools to put in the bearings that hold the fork and the pedal cranks in the frame, and to put the cassette onto the rear wheel. You'll need a chain tool to break your new chain to the correct length.

Except for the cassette tool, all this is stuff you'll only need when putting the bike together.

Setting up derailleurs so they shift well can be a pain.
post #11 of 16

Re: What's a good MTB for under $500.00

First, there's a lotta shee-it being blown here -- "how tuff can it be? It's a bike, not a swiss watch! (or whatever was said, don't start flaming)" If that was true, then Wal-Mart would be right, and ANYBODY could just walk in off the street and build their crap for them, and they wouldn't have a fistful of (often frivolous) lawsuits over bike assembly/construction to deal with every year.

Look at the Specialized Hardrock, Iron Horse Warrior, something from Redline, etc. Google it and see what you find. Check used bikes at the bike shop. But don't build -- you can't match the bulk-price deals the factories get. My Dakar XLT 1.0 cost almost as much as the 2.0's retail when I got done building it (but I have a one-of-a-kind, with the EXACT parts pick I want!).
post #12 of 16

Re: What's a good MTB for under $500.00

Quote:
Originally Posted by aikions
I don't have as much money as most people so I'm looking for a decent hardtail mountain bike under $500.00 if possible, I could consider $600.00 so that's ok too. All I want is a hardtail that's light, strong, well constructed and have decent components. I will be using it as daily so that's about 10-12 hours a day. If you guys can give me some great recommedation then that's great.

Thanks!
not sure if id want to ride it 10 hours a day but.... I just got a Giant Yukon for 500.00
post #13 of 16

Re: What's a good MTB for under $500.00

2009 Motobecane 700HT $499.95
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...cane_700HT.htm


post #14 of 16

Re: What's a good MTB for under $500.00

Check out the Durango line from Jamis. Might be a bit more than 500, but definitely worth it in terms of what you get for that money.
post #15 of 16

Re: What's a good MTB for under $500.00

go with the Gary Fisher Wahoo. I just bought one today for $530 on the dot from my local bike store. They said its the best bike for around $500. I was in the same situation you were with the $500 dollar limit. A trek 4300 ($440) doesnt have the components even though its cheaper than the GF Wahoo. The trek 4500 is too much at around $620. So go with the Gary Fisher
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