Mountain Bike Recommendations

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  #1  
Old 09-15-14, 06:41 AM
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Mountain Bike Recommendations

I'm planning on buying a mountain bike or hybrid bike in the next couple weeks and am looking for recommendations. I ride my dirt bike (motorcycle) on the weekends and am looking for a bike with similar ergonomics to ride on/off-road during the week (primarily on-road). I'd like to stay under $500 if possible. Diamondback and Cannondale come to mind. Also, a bike that won't rust when stored outside would be nice.
 

Last edited by mossman; 09-15-14 at 07:10 AM.
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  #2  
Old 09-15-14, 08:33 AM
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I'm on the lookout for a Specialized Hardrock. New they go for about $500 so a used one would be in my budget.
 
  #3  
Old 09-15-14, 10:39 AM
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For clarification, when I say "stored outside" I mean under a covered porch.
 
  #4  
Old 09-15-14, 10:47 AM
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Any bike stored outside (or even inside for that matter) can have rust issues if not maintained. The main issues are the chain, gears, and cables along with small bolts, nuts, and screws. Most frames are aluminum and most parts are chrome plated, but the steel parts are the issue.

Cleaning and lubing regularly will lessen the impact.

Most every shop has used/consignment bikes as well as brand new models that may be 2-3 yrs old. Often they are good deals if in good shape. Unfortunately many used bikes offered on Craigs List and similar have been sitting for quite a while before the person finally gets rid of it.

Be very careful and do research at the factory sites to determine actual year of manufacture. Local shop sold my wife a brand new bike purported to be a 2013 after the 2014's had already come out. You could tell it had been ridden some by the tire and brake pad wear. My wife really wanted it even though I hated to spend almost $1K. He gave us 10% off and a couple of accessories, so we got it.

Next day I did some research and found it was actually a 2011 model and he had given us 10% off the 2013 price which worked out to about full 2011 retail. I was not a happy camper. When confronted he stammered and uhhh'd for a while before he finally gave us 10% off the 2011 retail price so we wound up paying more like $800.

You can't always tell just by the serial number, but with some research you can match the paint schemes which change every year it seems.
 
  #5  
Old 09-15-14, 11:05 AM
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I'd like to buy new. I also came across the Trek 7.2fx Disc and Specialized Crosstrail Disc bikes. I really don't want all those speeds though. 24! Come on. I need maybe five at the most. Doesn't look like I have a choice. I guess I would just find a sprocket that works for me and leave it there. Then I would only have 8 gears to choose from. The store where I found these bikes is asking full MSRP. I've never seen anyone ask for full MSRP on anything. Both bikes are $600. How much less should I be able to get one for? Maybe strike a deal and have them assemble it as well?
 

Last edited by mossman; 09-15-14 at 01:13 PM.
  #6  
Old 09-15-14, 01:31 PM
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mossman "Then I would only have 8 gears to choose from." Bikes have a low gear and a high gear, but the steps between are difficult to shift through with only 5 or 6 or even 8 steps. Thus they use three rings in front to help provide a comfortable stepping pattern from that low to high. The real advantage to these bikes with many gears is that each rider can find what works best for them. It also helps to keep the chain straighter and thus reduce chain and sprocket wear. You should never ride in a cross sprocket position, inside to outside or outside to inside.

You said new, but sometimes there are rental places that will dump their entire stock at years end. If you have any near you it might be worth looking into. The chain and sprockets are the only expensive parts that should be checked. If you go that route I can advise on how to judge the chain wear.

Bud
 
  #7  
Old 09-15-14, 02:15 PM
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Depending on where you ride, a broad gear selection can be very helpful. When my wife was training with a local expert she learned all about gauging her effort and pedaling cadence(?). Flat ground or downhill, you want those high gears to move yer ass down the road. Steep or long up hill...those low gears will feel mighty good! Of course, it might be more important on a road only bike. Her's was a 3x9 (27 speed) and after she learned how, she was happy to have them.

I like Trek, seems a good brand. Of course we only have 2 shops in town. One is a Trek dealer, the other is Cannondale I think. They have (and work on) other brands, but all are used.

Buying used from a shop normally means some sort of limited warranty and advice (if you get a good shop). Lots of people trade bikes pretty quickly when they realize they need to step up or they just give up the sport. You CAN find good deals if you look.

Fitting is very important. Probably more important than all the other things. Even with a new bike, you may have to change things like the seat or pedals.
 
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Old 09-15-14, 06:56 PM
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Thanks for all the advice. I'm only looking to cruise around the block a couple days a week to stay in shape, not hard core riding. I'll definitely check the used market. At least that way I wouldn't have to assemble it . I'll be stopping by my local REI and another bike place to see what brand and size fits best, then perhaps go elsewhere to look for a better deal.
 
  #9  
Old 09-16-14, 04:59 AM
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Most bikes today come with a 24 speed setup. I would suggest going with 24 as the replacement components are very common, which will be cheaper to replace/repair and more commonly available. You may not think that you will use them all, but its not the number of gears that matter, more the closeness of the gearing.
Ideal riding will be to keep your cadence the same regardless of hills. with more gears, you can change gears with little impact to your peddling.
I guess the easiest way to explain it is to use the common CVT transmissions available in most cars today. The idea is the motor RPM stays the same, but the transmission adjusts to keep the RPM/load similar, regardless of hills.
I hope that makes sense. It will be more shifting then the old bikes, but will allow you to ride longer and further with less impact on your legs.

By the sounds of it, it sounds like you will be riding mostly on the road. I would suggest looking at semi slick tires. These tires for bikes will have a smoother center, with knobs along the sides. This will reduce the rolling resistance when cruising, but provide the grip when needed on the sides.
A hybrid bike could work here, but I find they are closer to a road bike and with high pressure tires, will require more maintenance and are not as durable or forgiving.
Suspension wise, stay with a hardtail bike (shocks on the front only). The added weight of rear suspension will not benefit you in any way for this type of riding and may actually reduce your efficiency.

If storing outside, keep the bike covered when not using. If its on dirt or grass, tuck the tarp under the bike to keep the moisture from coming up. A light coating of chain oil once a week or once a ride depending on conditions will help with the chain, cassette and sprockets.
 
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Old 09-16-14, 07:09 AM
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Thanks for the tips/advice . The Trek 7.2FX does not appear to be a hardtail bike, whereas the Specialized Crosstrain is. Got my eye on this one: http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bik...ail-disc#specs. Looks like the three local dealers are all charging full MSRP. What's up with that? One location is offering free lifetime adjustments and warranty on parts (not just the frame), so that sounds like a pretty good deal.
 

Last edited by mossman; 09-16-14 at 09:18 AM.
  #11  
Old 09-16-14, 07:13 AM
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Do you mean Crosstrail? Not Crosstrain?

Edit...nevermind...the link wasn't showing when I posted.

The Trek Dual Sport is more comparable to the Specialized Crosstrail. The FX are more city/road while the DS are more road/trail. Might want to compare those.
 
  #12  
Old 09-16-14, 07:42 AM
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The bike linked is what I would consider a hybrid. It uses road bike size tires which probably means high pressure tires.
I would stay with 26" tires and avoid the 700c tires. High pressure wheels lose air faster then the regular mtn bike 26" tires and will be less comfortable as there is little to no give in the tires.
For brakes, don't get hung up on the disk if V-brakes is available (I will admit I haven't been in the bike market for a couple years now so I don't know if anything other then disk is available. Disk brakes for casual riding can be a pain as the disks can get bent/warped easily.
 
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Old 09-16-14, 09:40 AM
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Do you mean Crosstrail? Not Crosstrain?
Yes, sorry. Crosstrail. I'm beginning to think that I don't want a bike like this because I will be leaning over all the time. I'd rather be more upright. Now looking at the Specialized Crossroads bike or the Trek Verve 2. I'll have to pay a visit to my local shop to see what suits me best.
 
  #14  
Old 09-16-14, 12:52 PM
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I decided to get this one. It's more my style, and more my price range. http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bik...ition#geometry
 

Last edited by mossman; 09-16-14 at 01:18 PM.
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Old 09-16-14, 05:47 PM
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My wife started with a Trek similar to that. I think they called it a comfort cruiser or something. It was fine for paved streets and even dirt alleys, but it was no sort of trail bike at all. It had the type tires that Mike mentioned earlier. We had to have them put tubes in because of the goathead thorns we have here.

She was quite happy with it til she got more into the fitness thing and needed a bike for triathalon stuff. Sold it to an older friend who still enjoys it.
 
  #16  
Old 09-17-14, 01:06 PM
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I really need to just go in and look. I may just keep my current cruiser and get a fitness bike like the Trek 7.2FX or the Specialized Crosstrail. The comment about the hard tires has me concerned though. I can't seem to find a hybrid style bike with 26" tires. They all seem to come with the harder 700C.
 
  #17  
Old 09-18-14, 02:39 AM
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For comfort, a mtn bike style or a cruiser style like the one you linked is ideal.
The thing with hybrid bikes is they are more like slow road bikes. You do sit a bit more upright then a road bike, but hard tires and taller gearing make them more of an on road only bike.
A cruiser is basically a mtn bike frame, with different components to make it the cruiser style.

If you have a decent bike shop to work with, take a properly fitted mtn bike and a cruiser for a ride.

If you are not dealing with an major disabilities (age related or not), you may find the mtn bike a better bike then a cruiser. I can't base that statement on age specifically. My training and riding partner before I moved out of town 3 years ago was in his mid 50's and rode (raced) mtn bike on the trail better then most teenagers. I won't admit he was possibly a better/faster rider then myself, and I was ~25yrs younger (early 30's).
At the other end of that, my parents (now late 50's) are casual riders, stick to the roads (dirt around their house).
By the sounds of it, you may be more of a rider like my parents. Both ride mtn bikes, semi-slick tires, bull horns on the handle bars and aftermarket seat and seat post.
As a male, you will want/need a narrower seat then a woman. On my dad's bike, we used a gel seat with a suspension seat post. It allows for a more butt friendly ride, but less weight and more power to the road then a full suspension bike.
My mom's bike, we used a wider seat with built in springs (similar to the cruiser linked.
 
  #18  
Old 09-18-14, 06:33 AM
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I decided to keep my current cruiser and get a different style (likely a hybrid). I'll test a couple out this weekend to see which I like best.

Another contender: QUICK 5
 
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Old 09-18-14, 07:12 AM
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I can't say for sure, as I am not even close to what one would consider an enthusiast, but the wife and I bought new bikes last year, after years of not having ridden, with criteria relatively similar to what you have described, and I ended up with a Diamondback Wildwood. They list it as "casual/comfort", but the guy who owns one of the local bike shops seems to live and breath bikes, so I followed his advice, and am so far very pleased. We live about two miles in any direction from paved roads, so plenty of gravel and dirt riding, and it's hilly, but the bike handles it fine.
 
  #20  
Old 09-18-14, 09:11 AM
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The Wildwood looks similar to the Specialized Expedition I've been looking at. I like it. I just need to decide what purpose the bike is going to serve (pleasure or fitness) then make a decision. Here are the current top contenders:

Diamondback Insight 1
Specialized Crosstrail
Trek 7.2FX
Cannondale Quick 5
 

Last edited by mossman; 09-18-14 at 09:30 AM.
  #21  
Old 09-19-14, 09:54 AM
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I tested out a similar Trek hybrid bike and a Specialized Crosstrail (non-disc model) at a local shop this morning, and I like the feel of the Specialized. The seat wasn't very comfortable, but I'm going to get the shop to install a gel seat. They will give me a $15 credit for the original seat (and probably re-sell it for $40). I got the disc model in Satin Spruce/Black/Orange. Pretty sweet bike. Lifetime warranty on parts and lifetime adjustments. Not too shabby.
 

Last edited by mossman; 09-19-14 at 11:30 AM.
  #22  
Old 09-22-14, 01:10 PM
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I showed up at my local dealer to pick up the bike and didn't like the color. It appeared to be white on the manufacturer's website, but it's more of a seafoam green. It started to grow on me, but I just couldn't bring myself to spend that kind of money on something I wasn't totally in love with. So I walked away from the transaction. While visiting the shop, I discovered a brand I had never heard of--Giant. Apparently they make or used to make the Specialized frames. Giant is offering a bunch of their bikes at a lower cost as part of their Gateway to Adventure initiative in which they are making several of their bikes more affordable to attract more riders. I now have my eyes on a 2015 Giant Roam 3, which will become available next month. I like the looks of the 2014 model better, but apparently they are no longer available.
 
  #23  
Old 09-26-14, 06:41 AM
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The dealer gave me a call earlier this week and indicated the warehouse got 15 Crosstrail bikes in stock, so I went ahead and ordered one. Should be here in a few days:

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