First Mountain Bike Selection Help

Forums Mountain Bike Forum First Mountain Bike Selection Help

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of PlasmaQuasar PlasmaQuasar 1 year, 8 months ago.

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  • #219458

    Hey guys, I’m new here on the site. I’ve been riding bicycles since 2 years old, and most of my experience comes from racing BMX and riding dirtbikes. I’ve recently been craving mountain bikes, and I’m looking to purchase my first. I will be riding mainly trails in So Cal, but I’m also interested in Nor Cal, Oregon, and Washington trails/bike parks.

    I want something that I can actually pedal uphill, but also something that will be nimble and fast downhill. Like I said I come from BMX and motocross, so I will be jumping the bike as well.

    I’m thinking used for cheaper prices, but new is okay as well. I recently rode a 2017 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp Carbon 650 and loved it. I want full suspension no matter what, but I’m open to nearly anything. Any recommendations?

    Also, another question. How much do bike frames vary in performance from year to year? I’m wondering because I’ve been finding a bunch of lightly used bikes from 2010-2015 for fairly decent prices, and I need this bike to last for awhile.

    Thank you for your time!

  • #219466

    The Stumpjumper is a good bike, also check out the Giant Trance, Santa Cruz Bronson, and the Salsa Redpoint. I have demoed all four, and a bunch more in the last year and they were some my favorites.  If I was to buy a new bike now the Trance would be it. If you are thinking about plus size tires, my favorite was the Cannondale Bad-Habit.

  • #219537

    I come from a similar background.  Mostly MX but some BMX.   I think one factor to consider is that the suspension on a mountain bike will involve more tradeoffs than on a motocross bike because you have power to spare on the motocross bike but a mountain bike that sags and bobs too much will cost you pedaling efficiency (i.e. lost “horsepower”).    So you need to decide how much efficiency matters vs the ability to jump high and take gnarly obstacles.  This is not something we worried too much about on our MX bikes.

    If you are riding mostly smooth singletracks and care about your lap times and keeping up with the fastest dudes on the trail, I’d go for an XC bike which has less travel (e.g. 90mm-120mm) but will also be lighter and have better pedaling efficiency.

    If you don’t care about lap times and just want to hit the gnarly descents and obstacles, then go for an enduro bike.   They tend to be heavier and less efficient but will be faster going downhill.

    A trail bike is sort of an in-betweener, jack-of-all-trades expert of none.

    Sounds like you can rule out downhill bikes since you care about climbing.

    Whether performance varies year-to-year significantly or not depends on whether the model is being entirely overhauled or just based on small improvements.  A lot like motocross bikes.

    I personally went with an XC bike since my trails are not that gnarly and I want to keep up with the fast guys.  Plus, being from a motocross rather than a road biking background, pedaling fitness was my weakness but bike handling is not.     When I have taken my bike to trail systems that have downhill flow trails with big berms and jumps, I don’t feel like the bike was a major handicap.  I think “going fast” on a mountain bike is not at all like going fast on a motocross bike and you shouldn’t struggle too much even if you don’t have the slackest bike with the most suspension.   But I still struggle to keep up with guys with better fitness even when they are on trail bikes and I’m on an XC bike.

  • #219687

    I’ve consulted a couple people and some other forums. I’m looking for more of a DH than trail, 27.5 or 650B, and my budget is around $3000. That said, I have a list of bikes I’m looking at.

    Specialized Enduro or Stumpjumper
    Santa Cruz Bronson
    Trek Remedy or Fuel Ex
    Commencal Meta TR or AM V4.2
    YT Jeffsy AL or AL ONE 27
    YT Capra AL Comp
    Giant Trance 2 or Reign 2
    Intense Tracer or Spider
    Niner Jet9 or Rip9
    Kona Process 153 or 134 DL
    Diamondback Clutch 1 or Release 1 or Mission 2
    EVIL Calling or Insurgent

    Now I am mainly comparing the bikes to see which has the best parts for price.

  • #219950

    Alright so I took everybody’s advice into consideration and I’m down to two bikes. Either the Diamondback Mission 2 or the Rocky Mountain Altitude Alloy 50. The DB just went on sale for $2600 free overnight shipping which is pretty convincing, but I’m not totally convinced about it. I know people talk trash about DB sometimes but I’m not into all that name brand stuff. I just want what will work best for the money. Any thoughts?

  • #220588

    Update; I completely changed my mind with some help from a friend. On the table is the Commencal Meta AM V4.2 Race 650b and the YT Capra AL Comp. Leaning towards the Commencal. Gonna try to demo it at their Carlsbad, CA warehouse.

  • #220592

    That Commencal is a lot of bike and great spec for the money. One criticism I’ve heard of the Meta is the seat stays are super wide so they could rub your calves or heels. I rode the Meta V4 and didn’t notice this problem, but I have not ridden the updated V4.2.

    Let us know how the test ride goes!

  • #221457

    Okay guys, I went with a buddy to try out the bikes yesterday. Sadly, the warehouse was a “graveyard” of bikes, with only medium frame sizes and random parts missing from the trial bikes. Anyways, I tried the AM V4.2 and LOVED it. Much much better fit than my friends Giant Trance 2, but I’m still unsure about frame size. I loved the feel of the shifting, brakes, and how it handled. I know mediums are better for reselling, but I want to be able to throw this bike around and I’m not sure I’ll be able to do that as well with a medium as the seat post is a bit tall and the reach a bit too far. That said, a medium also sort of future proofs me, since I’m 18 and still growing a bit. If anyone in the Los Angeles area has one of these bikes, an AM or even a TR, in small I’d love to hop on it to see if it fits me any better. Thank you everyone for your advice, it was much needed.

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