Beginner bike?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Beginner bike?

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Plusbike Nerd 1 day, 16 hours ago.

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  • #234804

    *Disclaimer* This is my first forum post so if I’m doing something wrong please let me know…

    I’ve been doing some light mountain biking for the last two years on my cheapie Costco bike and now I’m looking to upgrade to a slightly better one. Being a kid on a babysitters salary I don’t have much money so the budget is pretty tight. I live in Arizona and mostly ride long distances in sand, gravel, and rocky terrain. Right now I ride mostly ride xc with some climbs, however I also like to try some more advanced trails and sometimes even commute on the road sometimes. I don’t know much about biking, but I was able to find a few choices that would work:

    Giant Talon 3: https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/talon-3

    Diamondback Hook: https://www.diamondback.com/hook-41308

    Diamondback Overdrive: https://www.diamondback.com/overdrive-27-14049

    Raleigh Tokul 2: https://www.eriksbikeshop.com/raleigh-2017-tokul-2-hardtail-mountain-bike/pr3e8977/product

    Now I know in this price range I won’t be getting any ultralight amazing mountain bikes but I really just want something to have fun on. I was wondering if anyone on here has any knowledge/experience on these bikes and which one has the best bang for the buck on parts. Any other bike suggestions would also be greatly apreciated!

  • #234805

    Most components are pretty close to the same quality, I would say the Raleigh has the slightly better derailleur, and with the Alivio 9 speed derailleur will will have the option to add a Wolftooth road link, and switch the cassette from the 12-36  to a wide ratio 11-40 if you need more range. I am running Alivio 9 speed 11-40 on one of my bikes.

  • #234807

    I’ve been on my Raleigh Tokul 2 for a couple of years and I don’t have any complaints. It’s a little heavy, but like you mentioned it’s expected with the budget. I switched to a 1×10 w/ sunrace 11-40 and absolute black oval chain ring. Lightened the bike up by a good amount and i enjoy the range i get. It’s the only bike i’ve owned so i can’t compare, but i can say that I’m really happy with it.

  • #234819

    Don’t forget to check local Salvation Army and Goodwill

     

    from time to time you will find a good used bike usually for under 100 dollars.  It may need a seat or tires or grips.  When you see the bike google it with your phone and get the details on it.   You might be surprised at what you can find

    Shop once or twice a week and eventually you will find a bike at this type of store.

  • #234861

    So, I thought I typed up and submitted a reply, but apparently something went wrong… Sorry if it double posts. Anyways, here are my thoughts:

    I wouldn’t recommend the Hook or the Tokul 2. They both have a very limited range of gears (1×8 and 1×9 respectively). Since you said a good amount of riding will be long distance/commuting, you’ll find yourself running out of gears as you get up to higher speeds.

    The Talon 3 and the Overdrive both have 3×8 drivetrains. These 3×8 drivetrains are a bit outdated and out of fashion, but they will give you a much wider range of gears for a variety of riding types.

    If you can find a Raleigh Tekoa Comp for a good price (it’s currently $999 on Amazon, but I got mine for $600), I would highly recommend that bike. It is a XC oriented bike, but handled singletrack very well. It has a 1×11 drivetrain with good components, a decent fork, and good hydraulic brakes. The Tekoa Comp was the bike I purchased a year and a half ago as I got back into mountain biking. I sold it a few months later to get a full suspension trail bike, but I still stand by the Tekoa Comp as a very solid starter bike.

  • #234921

    I have to disagree. While the 3×8 will give you more range, it is not as much as most people think. For one thing you are not suppose to use the two highest gears on the cassette when in low range in the front, or the two lowest when in high range to avoid cross chain tension.

    The effective gearing for the Talon has the lowest useable gear speed at 100 pps cadence 7.3  Kmph and the highest useable gear speed 49.7 Kmph. The 1×9 has 100 pps cadence numbers of 9.2 Kmph and 37.4 Kmph. Most people cannot maintain, no matter what the gear ratios are, more than 35Kmph (20mph) for any length of time and rarely use top gear when it is geared that high.

    Final reason why I disagree is because my wife has a 3×8 Acera on her bike and I have a 1×9 Alivio on one of my bikes. I have had very little trouble with the Alivio, be we have had a fair amount of issues with the Acera not shifting clean and being hard to adjust. The Alivio is a step up in quality in the Shimano line. Deore would be the next step.

  • #234922

    Thanks for the responses guys! As far as the gearing my current bike has the acera 3 by 8 and it works well for my needs, but I generally only use the middle gear on the front. Thanks for the suggestion about the takoa comp, it looks like an awesome bike but I don’t know if I want to go with 29 wheels.

  • #234925

    As others have said, you should definitely consider a used bike as you can get a bike with better quality components.   Not sure where you are located but you can check Craig’s list or parse through the following bikes listed for sale on pinkbike by location:

    https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/list/?region=3&category=2&price=500..600

  • #234930

    Stanner, I think before anyone can make any suggestions it would help to know what size you are. Height and weight have a lot to do with what is comfortable for you. I was sure my next bike would be a 29er, but after getting an opportunity to ride a 27.5 I knew immediately a 29 was awkward for my build. I also like the acera 3×8 and though it took me a bit to get it adjusted after breaking it in, I haven’t had any issues, as it sounds like you haven’t had with the one you have. I totally agree with the suggestion to keep an eye open at Goodwills and St Vinnys. I see some quality bikes for cheap at those stores more often than one would think and there’s nothing like going through a bike from the inside out. Good luck with whatever you decide, Smoky

  • #252406

    Oh brother….ignore all the “save up for a better bike” people. Either the Hook or the Tokul 2 would be amazing bikes that you could bomb downhill parks with if you want and definitely do blue/black single-track all day long.  Shoot, youtube “Seth’s Bike Hacks” and you’ll see all the crazy stuff he did early on when he could only afford a Trek 4900.  He even converted just the front to a 1x resulting in (I think) a 1×7 drivetrain!…which he said was fine.  Then there’s Phil on youtube who did a hardcore review of the Tokul 3 and basically road downhill and single-track like a maniac.  Granted, it’s an upgrade from the Tokul 2 or DB Hook, but wow, look at how he road it!  From the sounds of it, the Hook or Tokul 2 will put a smile on your face for years!  You can slowly upgrade parts later.  I ride an old Trek 4500 3×8 with rim brakes down some solid blue single-track trails and routinely do 4 foot drops and 3-4 foot ramps with no problems.  If something brakes….well, it’s like $15 to replace my derailer….which I’ve only had to do once!  Just get whichever of those bikes you can get the cheapest and you’ll be stoked for years!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66-oO6PQgXE

     

  • #252628

    While you don’t need a expensive bike to ride and have fun you need to remember Seth, Phil, and even Alex from single track sampler, are WAY above average riders and can do things on cheap bikes that no one else can do. Phil was a three time collegiate national champion on mountain bikes. He regularly rides full downhill on a 130mm trail bike and goes faster than most people on full down hill bikes.

    Seth has ridden with and kept up with Blake Samson (a dirt jump and slopestyle pro rider) at Whistler down hill park.

    These guys are great to watch, and you can learn a ton from their YouTube channels, but don’t assume because they can do something on a cheap bike, or on a bike not designed for what they are doing, that you can use any bike. The better the rider is the more they can do with less bike.

    I have been riding mountain bikes for a very long time, and used to race motorcycle and ATV hare scrambles. Once won a bronze medal in a regional ISDE qualifier, and on my 160mm full carbon enduro bike I cannot do half what these guys do. And I can do a lot more on it than on my 120mm trail bike.

  • #252632

    Check out Pinkbike or Craigs List. You may find a very good used bike that fits for your budget.

  • #252633

    While you don’t need a expensive bike to ride and have fun you need to remember Seth, Phil, and even Alex from single track sampler, are WAY above average riders and can do things on cheap bikes that no one else can do. Phil was a three time collegiate national champion on mountain bikes. He regularly rides full downhill on a 130mm trail bike and goes faster than most people on full down hill bikes.
    Seth has ridden with and kept up with Blake Samson (a dirt jump and slopestyle pro rider) at Whistler down hill park.
    These guys are great to watch, and you can learn a ton from their YouTube channels, but don’t assume because they can do something on a cheap bike, or on a bike not designed for what they are doing, that you can use any bike. The better the rider is the more they can do with less bike.

    Important point by @AlvinMullin.  Well said!

  • #252681

    My favorite beginner bike would be a 29+ hardtail. My first choice would be the Salsa Timberjack 29 with 2.6in tires and i30mm (i=inner width) rims. This bike has enough frame and fork clearance for 29×2.8 tires.

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