Buying a mountain bike

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Doki, Feb 24, 2004.

  1. Doki

    Doki Guest

    Anyone care to give any pointers? Pre requisite is that it's cheap (cheapest my local "proper" bike
    shop has is £200 or so) and that I won't destroy it that quickly :p. I'm liable to be riding around
    woodland etc. but I've not ridden a bike for yonks, so it needn't be something that's up to Evil
    Knievel levels of abuse.

    Is back suspension considered the bare minimum nowadays, or are solid bikes still handy? I'd like
    something with quick release wheels so I can chuck it in the back of the car, though I understand
    these can be fitted later. Preferably not made of cast iron drainpipes either.

    And has anyone any experience of jerry rigging something like a Cibie lamp and some NiMH batteries
    on a bike :p?
     
    Tags:


  2. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Doki wrote:
    > Anyone care to give any pointers? Pre requisite is that it's cheap (che=
    apest
    > my local "proper" bike shop has is =A3200 or so) and that I won't destr=
    oy it
    > that quickly :

    I would not spend any less than that, and I'd only spend that little on=20 a very basic machine
    where they've spent money on Stuff. that matters,=20 rather than what is thought to look cool.

    > Is back suspension considered the bare minimum nowadays, or are solid b=
    ikes
    > still handy?=20

    I'm not an MTB expert, but my understanding is you don't want to even=20 think about rear suspension
    until you're well past "cheap". Suspension=20 has to be done well to be worthwhile, and for "done
    well" read "costs=20 Real Money". At the =A3200 level don't touch rear sus with a 15' barge=20 pole,
    I would say. Front sus may be okay, but still the case that at=20 the bottom end of the market you
    may be better off with rigid and=20 spending your cash on the frame and transmission.

    > I'd like something with quick release wheels so I can chuck it in the back of the car, though I
    > understand these can be fitted later. Preferably not made of cast iron drainpipes either.

    Anything half decent from a reputable manufacturer will have QR. wheels=20 and will almost certainly
    have an alloy frame these days. If it doesn't =

    have QR wheels it's almost certainly junk you should avoid.

    At the cheap end I'd personally get something like a Specialized=20 Hardrock Rigid at =A3260, or if
    you want front suspension (good on rocky =

    ground) then something like the Giant Boulder at ~ =A3215.

    Avoid disc brakes as well at these prices, they're for show rather than=20 effect unless done well,
    much like suspension.

    Pete. --=20 Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics,
    Ninewells Hospital Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  3. On Wed, 25 Feb 2004, Peter Clinch wrote:
    > Doki wrote:
    > > Anyone care to give any pointers? Pre requisite is that it's cheap (che=
    apest
    > > my local "proper" bike shop has is =A3200 or so) and that I won't destr=
    oy it
    > > that quickly :
    >
    > I would not spend any less than that, and I'd only spend that little on a very basic machine where
    > they've spent money on Stuff. that matters, rather than what is thought to look cool.
    >
    > > Is back suspension considered the bare minimum nowadays, or are solid b=
    ikes
    > > still handy?
    >
    > I'm not an MTB expert, but my understanding is you don't want to even think about rear suspension
    > until you're well past "cheap". Suspension has to be done well to be worthwhile, and for "done
    > well" read "costs Real Money". At the =A3200 level don't touch rear sus with a 15' barge pole, I
    > would say. Front sus may be okay, but still the case that at the bottom end of the market you may
    > be better off with rigid and spending your cash on the frame and transmission.

    The cheapest Dawes MTB (can't remember the name right now) is probably the only new MTB without
    front suspension worth buying if you dont want to spend more than =A3200
     
  4. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    in message <[email protected]>, Doki
    ('[email protected]') wrote:

    >
    > "A.Lee" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:p[email protected]...
    >> On Tue, 24 Feb 2004 20:36:23 +0000, Doki wrote:
    >>
    >> > Anyone care to give any pointers? Pre requisite is that it's cheap
    > (cheapest
    >> > my local "proper" bike shop has is £200 or so) and that I won't destroy
    > it
    >> > that quickly :p. I'm liable to be riding around woodland etc.
    >>
    >> I think your best bet would be to buy a secondhand one at that price.
    >
    > The problem with that is I've no idea what size frame bike I need or how to tell if it feels
    > right, as I've not ridden a bike for years and I was probably 6 inches shorter when I did :). Is
    > there a way to work it out?

    Difficult.

    Unlike old road frame designs when the appropriate frame size really was a function of your inside
    leg measurement and not a lot else, different mountain bike designs are designed with the
    expectation of having different amounts of exposed seat post, so it's not easy to tell until you sit
    on it. In any case, because the amount of seat post you can show is much more variable than the
    length of your stem, what's really critical is top tube length. The only thing I can suggest is go
    and sit on a few, and get a feel for what feels right.

    > Do dampers on the suspension pack up like they do on cars? How do I tell?

    Yes. Suspension should move *smoothly*, and, when compressed, should recover *smoothly* to where it
    started from. If you hold the front brake on and push the bike backwards and forwards there
    shouldn't be any perceptible movement between the fork uppers and lowers. Ideally, suspension should
    be adjustable for rider weight (air suspension almost always is, some spring suspension forks are
    easily adjustable, others require you to change internal shims or even the spring itself). Ideally,
    it should have have adjustable damping. If you get air suspension (generally more adjustable but
    needs more maintenance) make sure you get an appropriate shock pump. If the suspension is
    'elastomer', walk away. Elastomer is OK for the small amounts of suspension needed by small wheel
    road bikes, but doesn't really scale to off-road type travel.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/ ;; This email may contain
    confidential or otherwise privileged information, ;; though, quite frankly, if you're not the
    intended recipient and you've ;; got nothing better to do than read other folks' emails then I'm
    glad to ;; have brightened up your sad little life a tiny bit.
     
  5. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Doki wrote:
    > What's the method for checking the bearings? Play and the usual knackered bearing clicky noise?

    For bottom bracket: Grab a crank and attempt to pull in and outwards. Play = bad: can't be adjusted
    out if cartridge type, which most are.

    Spin wheels and pedals to check smoothness (and wheel trueness). Play in hub bearings doesn't
    necessarily mean they're shot, though.

    Headset: Lift front wheel by the frame and lightly turn bars. Headset will need replacing if
    it's notchy. Again, play doesn't necessarily mean it's bad (although it can't be tested properly
    with play).

    Loud crunching or clicking in any bearings is not good, of course, but sometimes it's just caused by
    some recent grit, sometimes just by something trivial like maladjusted dustcaps.

    Test ride bike no-hands (or with a very light touch) to test forks. Should not keep steering to one
    side (the same side) or feel weird. Also feel/listen for any clicking in time with cranks - could
    mean cranks are loose or shot. Pedal hard to see if chain skips (after pedalling gently to begin
    with in case the whole thing falls apart!). Examine brake cable ends and squeeze brakes hard before
    test riding.

    ~PB
     
  6. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Doki asked:

    > What is elastomer suspension?

    see: www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_e-f.html

    - More minimal or subtle effect than springs. Feels more "solid".

    ~PB
     
  7. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    in message <[email protected]>, Doki
    ('[email protected]') wrote:

    >
    > "Simon Brooke" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:fgtug1-
    > [email protected]
    >> in message <[email protected]>, Doki ('[email protected]') wrote:
    >>
    >> > Anyone care to give any pointers? Pre requisite is that it's cheap (cheapest my local "proper"
    >> > bike shop has is £200 or so) and that I
    > won't
    >> > destroy it that quickly :p. I'm liable to be riding around woodland etc. but I've not ridden a
    >> > bike for yonks, so it needn't be something that's
    > up
    >> > to Evil Knievel levels of abuse.
    >>
    >> Don't buy new, if that's your budget. You can get a half reasonable new
    > MTB
    >> for two hundred, but you'd have to be pretty lucky. Cheap suspension isn't worth having, and a
    >> pair of suspension forks which are worth having cost more than two hundred new. But there are
    >> good second hand bargains to be had, if you're reasonably careful. Just check the frame isn't
    >> bent or cracked, the suspension moves smothly, and none of the bearings (BB, headset, wheel or
    >> pedal) are shot.
    >
    > What's the method for checking the bearings? Play and the usual knackered bearing clicky noise?

    Just so. Turn the bike upside down and pedal backwards with your hands, putting your full weight on
    and turning slowly. If you hear a click or feel one through your hands you've a problem. It may be a
    very cheap one to fix
    - many bike bearings are servicable - but it may not. Similarly, turn the headset through it's
    full movement and feel for anthing clicky, and try to rock the bike back and forward with the
    front brake on.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    'there are no solutions, only precipitates'
     
Loading...
Loading...