Seeking advice for first mtb

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by amazinmets733, Jun 8, 2018.

  1. amazinmets733

    amazinmets733 New Member

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    I'm in the market for my first mountain bike. I've never ridden MTB and am not well-informed on the intricacies of their mechanics or which bikes are optimally suited for the various disciplines of off roading. I'll provide some info on my intended usage...

    ...I plan to use the bike for off road exploring, anywhere from short to long distance. I do not intend to race or tackle advanced level MTB trails. I'm willing to sacrifice performance for durability, but do not wish to lug around a tank. Furthermore I'm on a limited budget; do not want to exceed $650 all-in.



    The usual site has a single-speed steel offering discounted at $320. It's definitely piqued my interest
     
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  2. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    If you are not going to be racing or doing fast downhill riding on technical trails then avoid MTB's with front shock forks, especially if you'll be spending less than $1000 for the bike. If you thinking, "well gee I want some shock absorption" then get a fat tire bike WITHOUT a front shock fork.

    So why no front shock fork you scream? because cheap ones simply are not up the task of working well and following the terrain correctly for control; they also weigh a lot which means you will be lugging a tank around; they also cost more than a standard fork so in order for the bike manufacture to make a certain price point they have to cheapen the frame which translates into a heavier frame, and they cheapen components which means durability will be decreased; cheap front shock forks do not last long and are expensive to replace; also any front shock for, be it an expensive one or a cheap one, but especially a cheap one, will rob you of your wattage output to go forward which makes the bike more difficult to pedal and will tire you out faster as the rides get longer.

    Problem is almost all MTB's these days have front shock forks, why? because it's a fishing lure to attract the hormone pounding male into thinking he's getting a macho bike and thus stroke his ego. And for the type of riding you'll be doing I know for a fact you don't need a front shock fork...again I can hear you screaming WHY!!?? Myself and my friends when I lived in California would ride our MTB's up and down mountain trails, some of us had full suspension, some of us had just front shocks, and some, like me, was riding hard tails and hard forks, guess what? We all did equally well, and those trails were not paths, they were quite rugged, and of course going down a mountain trail means we were going quite fast and even with a non-suspension MTB I, and others that had the same sort of bike, had no problems keeping up with the other bikes. While I do wish we had fat tire bikes back then, it may have allowed us more traction, but back then all we had was standard size MTB tires which had more to do with lack of traction then shocks can provide, and with fat tire bikes the ability to have better traction due to tire width and the ability to absorb shock due to lower PSI (15 to 20 psi) in the tires makes for a really nice bike for the conditions you mentioned.

    So you can do what you want to do one of several ways and be just fine, one is to get a fat tire bike as mentioned; two is to get a hybrid bike; and three to find the hard to find rigid mountain bike like the Salsa Fargo GX 29er, one of the few rigid MTB's on the market and it cost about $1,800 but has received very high reviews, and it has fender and rack mounts, plus it has a total of 5 bottle cage mounts! This Salsa is very well set up bike if you ever want to do some bike camping.

    Surly has a fat tire bike called the Krampus and is about $1,500 and weighs about 29 pounds; if you're looking for something less expensive you can get a Diamondback El Oso Fat bike for only $750 but it does weigh about 37 pounds; so as you can see the more money you spend the lighter the bike will be. If your thinking you want to spend more money then the two I've listed you could look at a Salsa Fargo Rival 1 fat tire bike which will cost you about $2,230 but this bike is really nice, it only has rear gears and it weighs just 26 pounds.

    If you're thinking you don't really want a fat tire bike then you can look at hybrids or gravel bikes, neither of these will have the wider tires like the MTB's or the Fat bikes, but they can do mild off road stuff.

    Read these for more entertainment value of what I've written in regards to going total rigid: https://www.outsideonline.com/2251536/bicycle-suspension-evil
    And this: https://www.bike198.com/riding-rigid-suspension/
     
  3. amazinmets733

    amazinmets733 New Member

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    I found a bike on Craigslist. Buyer asking $140


    2003 Trek Hard tail, 19" frame for larger riders (I am 6' 1"). Drive train is 27 speed, Bontrager crank, XT Shimano derailleurs, and Triple up front.

    Aftermarket Manitou front fork. Aftermarket Avid mechanical disk brakes. Aftermarket wheel set. Tires are new. Cassette and chain rings are in good shape. Includes bike computer, spare tubes, patch kit, and saddle bag.

    Bike has been well used but also kept in top working order. Since I picked up my dually, this is just hanging in the basement.

    Reasonable Offers Considered
    Cash Only
     

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  4. amazinmets733

    amazinmets733 New Member

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    Cannondale-SoBe Mountain Bike 20 Inch Frame- "Team Lizard" Special Edition
    SRAM 5.0 Drive Train
    Cannondale "CODA" components - bar/stem/brakes/hubs
    ZAC 19 - 26in. wheels/CODA hubs...currently with street tires.
    Velo Crossbow Kevlar Saddle
    This model is very similar to the current Cannondale offering of their "Bad Boy" series

    Diamondback for sale, Shimano brakes and gears. Hardtail mountain bike great condition.$150, great for the spring and summer riding season..


    Found these hardtails...
     

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  5. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I can't make out the models for either the Trek or the Diamondback, but the Cannondale seems like a good bike. The only problem with the Cannondale is the SRAM 5.0 derailleurs only got an average review, however upgrading to a better derailleur when the time comes is not expensive, going to a SRAM X7, which is their workhorse derailleur and a great price at only $45 to $50, I wouldn't recommend going any higher than the X7.

    By the way I would check the bike out real well, and of course ride it to make sure all the components work as they should, if the tires are worn or the gears look pointy either the cassette or the ring gears I would offer $100 and point those things out, if the gears look flat and newish and the tires are newish I would offer $120 and see what he does, he may come down to $140 then I would offer $130. It's a game, all you're trying to do is find out how motivated he is to sell and how low he'll go.
     
  6. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    IMO ...

    Always choose SHIMANO over SRAM components ...

    CODA was once, AFAIK, Cannondale's label for their high-zoot stuff -- for example, their (rear) hubs were made by HUGI -- I'm not sure if they still use that marketing label ...

    The pre-240 CODA rear hubs were very, VERY LOUD when freewheeling ...​

    The "yellow" Diaomndback bike appears to have a really CHEAP crankset ... so, the rest of the bike's components are probably pretty low end.​

    That's my abbreviated way of saying that you should choose-the-TREK from among the three bikes you have posted.


     
  7. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    SRAM is a very good product, very much the equal of Shimano in most cases, in some cases Shimano is better and in some cases SRAM is better, but you're not going to go wrong with either. This is why racing teams support both, but in racing these things change hands all the time, right now on the MTB racing circuit the top teams are riding SRAM, but on the road circuit they're riding Shimano; does that mean anything? teams do require durability especially MTB racing, but they also get whoever will sponsor them within reason, if a particular component is constantly having issues then teams won't be using them if that means they could lose races.

    I can't comment on the Trek since I can't see the model to know what components came with it so to blindly say go with the Trek is more like coming from someone who has a love affair with Trek. So what if Coda hub is loud? Loud does not equal bad, just equals loud. Chris King makes some of the best hubs in world and they're known to be quite loud, other high end hubs that are loud: Hope Pro2, Crank Brothers, Industry 9, Fulcrum Red Metal, Profile, Tune, and others I'm probably missing. A lot of people like loud hubs, I don't happen to like them but that's my thing, but the loud or quiet doesn't make a bad hub.
     
  8. amazinmets733

    amazinmets733 New Member

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    Unfortunately the Trek was sold. Found this:

    Excellent condition 2012 Trek 6000 mountain bike. Used occasionally in 2012 & 2013 but has been collecting dust in the basement since, just don't ride it anymore. Text at 347 325 1270. Located in the South Slope area.

    I think I'll offer $260 and max out at $280
     

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  9. amazinmets733

    amazinmets733 New Member

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    P.S I forgot to mention in previous post, seller is asking $320. According to KBB the bike is with roughly 325 in excellent condition; 315 in very good.


    Found this steel bike..
    Jamis Exile Size 19 MTB in good condition.
    Solid steel mountain bike in black.
    Original owner with owner's manual.
    The bike saw limited use.
    Was $900 in 2005.
     

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  10. amazinmets733

    amazinmets733 New Member

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    Seller asking $290...

    1994 Specialized S-Works M2 FS mountain bike

    Brand new Maxxis Gypsy Bicycle Tire 1.5" // 26x1.50"

    Metal Matrix Composite M2 Composite means different materials bonded together and incredibly lightweight

    This was pretty much the top of the line hardtail in Specialized's one up that year.

    Has a full Suntour XC-Comp with some custom XC series brake levers combined with Thumb Shifters.

    The bike features a Specialized Titanium stem and Race Face handlebar.

    At the front is Specialized's own Futureshock suspension fork.
     

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  11. amazinmets733

    amazinmets733 New Member

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    Asking $350.. Intriguing due to the suspension

    Frame 18.5,aluminum,speeds 8x2.tire size 26 inches.tektro disc brakes,suspension front and frame.shimano deore XT Derailuers.shift type trigger.
     

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  12. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    The Specialized is the best one out of the batch you've shown so far, it was a higher end bike thus a higher in fork, but make sure you inspect all the welds at all the junctions including the dropouts checking for hairline (or larger) cracks either in the welds themselves or coming out of the weld extending into the frame, make sure the rear wheel aligns between the stays equally and is lined up in the center of the seat tube. Check the fork to make sure it fully functions, ask how to lock it out if you don't know how, and then ride the bike and make sure the entire components all work with no issues, and then give it a full on power hard balls to wall sprint and see if anything odd happens. Make sure the gear teeth are not pointy and the tires are not worn if so make an offer based on having to get new stuff and point out those issues that need replacement to justify the lower offering price. Again make an offer of about 20% less than asking if the bike is all good and see what happens.
     
  13. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FYI ...

    Even though it is June, FROZE's brain has not thawed out, yet!
    Let me say that a 1994 fork probably has an elastomer rubber-baby-buggy-bumper suspension ... very primitive ... basically, that Fork looks like a 1st generation Rock Shox suspension Fork ... not much travel ... more show than go ... only better than the cheap pogo-stick type because it barely moves & they weren't much heavier than a rigid steel fork.

    The fork may only have a 1" steerer ...

    That 1994-vintage Specialized bike may-or-may-not have an 8-speed drivetrain ... at best!?!

    I would suggest that the 90s were a dark period for most bicycle technology ...

    As intriguing as the Motobecane may be to you, you need to know that rear suspension technology is an iffy proposition ... and, the actual shock absorber that is installed can make a huge difference. I forget if there are three-or-four types of MTB rear suspension linkage ... they all supposedly have an advantage, but I think the one on the Motobecane is possibly the least desirable. Unless you are a very knowledgeable individual with regard to rear suspensions, steer clear.

    SRAM components lack continuity within their product line.

    IMO, of the second batch of bikes ... the JAMIS is probably the one to opt for since you missed out on the 1st Trek you were looking at.

     
  14. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Actually it has a 1 1/8th inch steerer...but Alfeng should have known that, because he's the expert here. The steel rigid fork the lower price version of that bike came with used a 1 inch steerer, but again Alfeng's the expert and should have known that.

    Also the Future shock was a decent shock, again as a expert that Alfeng is he should have known that too, see: http://bicyclehobo.com/specialized-future-shock/

    And the Specialized bike weighed under 24 pounds whereas the Jamis weighed 29 pounds, again the expert Alfeng has...well, left the room.

    The bike does only have 7 speeds but so what? If I could ride mountain trails with a 7 speed system on a fully rigid bike I think the OP will be just fine. Oh and by the way, the bike has 21 speeds not just 7.
     
    #14 Froze, Jun 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  15. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Ouch!

    If only I could reminisce about how great the 90s were for bicycling technology with the same confidence as Froze demonstrates ...

    OR have the desire to look up antiquated reviews ...

    As I once stated, my remarks are based on FIRST HAND experience and/or observations ...

    And, in this instance I happened to have the non-titanium adorned version of that fork which did indeed have a threaded 1" steel steerer & very similar carbon fiber legs ...

    And, THAT was the basis for MY observation ...
    BUT, I did read the bicyclehobo review and I will consequently stand by my assessment of the Fork as being marginal and of dubious utility even if it might have a 1 1/8" steerer ...

    I guess that in his excitment to justify his endorsement of that vintage SPECIALIZED bike, Froze didn't read the whole review. The writer ended with his coda:

    LATE EDIT: In all honesty this is probably THE LEAST reliable and STUPIDEST fork to go on a long tour where you are counting on your equipment to get you there. I was having a hard time with making the post interesting because it is such a poor choice [and total BS]. Label it pure vanity; however, I am very excited to build this into my touring bike. I have completed 1 cross country tour with this fork and will continue to use it until it becomes wall art.
    I don't know when the "LATE EDIT" was penned by writer, but it's NOT what I would call a ringing endorsement -- it is acceptable as a Road fork (i.e., for pavement ... not washboard or fire roads)-- and, two dozen years later its functionality would probably be considered to be even more marginal when compared with most contemporary suspension forks!

    BTW. A couple of paragraphs above the "LATE EDIT" the writer noted:

    This fork has a lot of things going against it. It’s a bit exotic and I am unlikely to find rebuild parts anywhere. It has a dubious history and was removed from the scene as fast as it entered. The rumor that the carbon lower will separate from the aluminum dropout after repeated impact ended the production run of this fork. The fork is a jewel and is in great shape. Most of my riding with this fork has been on pavement and I am confident of using this on my upcoming tour.
    As far as Specialized's screwed-and-glued carbon fiber frames, they were "okay" for a Road bike (my recollection is that a friend had an Allez variant, briefly -- since it was so long ago [c1999-2000], I do NOT remember what it looked like other than it was black, the fork had a threaded steerer, & had 105 components), but would be subjectively too flexible for a serious MTBer. The frame in the picture appears to be TIG welded aluminum ... which would probably be better than a 24 year old "bonded" frame.

    BTW. Since the of the named components on the particular 1994 vintage SPECIALIZEDare SunTour (nothing wrong with that), that means that rear wheel probably has one of SunTour's narrow-flange-spaced rear hubs -- another comparatively odd design from the 90s (
    yes,I know that DT/Swiss has had narrow-flange-spaced rear hubs for several years because someone decided it resulted in a more aerodynamicwheel and/or the durability of the wheel wasn't adverseley affected with the reduced dish or some other idea in wheelbuilding which I don't really embrace) ...

    Well, at least the vintage 7-speed Freehub (probaby, 14-28, but SunTour certainly had a Freewheel with a 32t Cog) can be updated with a ramped SunRace Freehub ...

    If a 7-speed cluster isn't a bother then an extra 5 lbs. would probably be less of a bother since the JAMIS will undoubtedly have much lower gearing (probably a 22t Granny vs. what is probably a 28t Granny on the SunTour XC crank) ....

    There's probably at least an extra pound in the tires-and-tubes on the JAMIS than those comparatively skinny tires on the particular SPECIALIZED.

    Centerlock disc hubs generally weigh much less than 6-bolt ISO disc hubs ... presuming the JAMIS has traditional hubs, a pound could probably be elminated there if that was a concern.
    And, the cantilever brake calipers can be replaced with some V-brake calipers.
    Clearly, Froze remembers the cycling components from the 90s with more fondness than I do!


     
    #15 alfeng, Jun 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  16. amazinmets733

    amazinmets733 New Member

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    The Jamis seller has yet to reply; the Trek seller claims he has a potential buyer and I'm next on the queue if it falls through. I was so entranced by the back-and-forth between Froze and Alfeng I forgot to contact the Specialized seller...

    ...Back to the drawing board.

    Specialized StumpJumper Mountain Bike. Absolutely excellent condition, ready to hit the trails. Specialized FSX Future Shock front suspension. Elongated headset for superior control and steering. XL21 Specialized Heat Treated Alloy rims. Specialized Mt. Baldy tires. M2 Composite Metal Matrix 20" frame. Ideal for 5'11" ish rider.


    1989 bianchi incline 21 speed mountain bike with a 20 inch lugged steel frame and 26 inch quick release alloy wheels . .bike is freshly tuned with new tires brakes grips and chain.bike looks and rides great is recently tuned needs nothing and is ready to hit the road or trail 01212_gHIPgz9qV5p_600x450.jpg 00M0M_k3sbQicTvou_600x450.jpg


    Side note: I'm assuming BBB isn't a reliable resource for older used MTBs? Many sellers are asking double BBBs estimated value in excellent condition. As one world deduce, in the overwhelming majority of cases, the condition of these bikes is a far cry from what even the most lenient of graders would deem "excellent"

    Furthermore, I had a chat with a wrench at a local bike shop today. I told him of my upcoming foray into MTB and my roadie background. He attempted to steer me towards a gravel bike with liberal clearance. His reasoning was that what little I'd lose in efficiency on advanced trails would be nullified by a vastly higher degree of comfort on drop bars due to being accustomed to them. Alas, his advice must be taken with a grain of salt as this particular shop specializes in gravel/adventure bikes. I imagine he'd have sung a different time had the shop been geared towards MTBs!
     
  17. amazinmets733

    amazinmets733 New Member

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    1998 Schwinn S-20


    Seller asking $140 and he's local. Original MSRP was over 1K. I'm very interested; the only issue that causes trepidation is the size. A medium frame and I check in at just under 6"
     

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  18. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW ...

    Although I am NOT a particularly huge fan of disc brakes, I don't believe that it is prudent to buy a 26er/MTB which does not have disc brakes in this day-and-age UNLESS the bike is only going to be ridden on pavement ...

    The BIANCHI would be a good TOWN bike.​

    As far as DROP handlebars ... they can be retrofitted on almost ANY bike ...

    Tektro's mechanical SPYRE calipers are designed to be used with "regular" Road brake levers ...​

    Auxiliary inline/"CX" brake levers can be added to the non-Drop portion of Road handlebars.
    BTW. The 2nd Trek you posted is not as good as the first one ... and, probably would NOT be a good purchase for you to make ...

    Since you missed out on the 1st Trek, MY choice would still be the JAMIS of the bikes you've looked ... particularly if you were inclined to put Drop Bars (or Drop clip-ons) the bike.
     
  19. amazinmets733

    amazinmets733 New Member

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    The Jamis was listed a month ago and the owner has been unresponsive. I reckon its been sold.

    I must say I enjoyed the conversation on 90s mountain bike components. Why not reignite it?

    Approximately 20-year-old Giant Cadex CFM1. Carbon fiber composite bike with Shimano XTR components. Was top-of-the-line back in its day. Was $2100 new.

    Seller wants $250. This is the best deal I've found from an original MSRP vs asking price perspective.
     

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  20. amazinmets733

    amazinmets733 New Member

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    I found another Jamis model. Seller asking $240

    Bike is in pretty good shape just spent over 300 on it at the bike shop getting fully tuned up and new cables. Also put a new wheel on it last year. Bike was over $1000 new. Everything works good but the fox float shock Is out of air needs to be fixed looking to get my $300 back on last service
     

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