Looking for help/guidance

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Looking for help/guidance

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  matthew.krupp 1 month ago.

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  • #259978

    Hey folks,

    I live in Dallas area of TX and I’m looking to get into cycling, more specifically trails and mtb. My dad is letting me borrow his TREK xcaliber 6 29r bike but it’s very small on me and can cause knee pain, however, it’s free to use until I buy something .

    Anyways let me get to a point, I’m very new and haven’t been riding on any real trails or hard stuff. Mostly some dirt trails or asphalt trails.

    I don’t know the difference between components and brands so I went to many different bike shops . I got to test ride a few bikes one that I really liked was the giant stance (it cost about 1500). It seems like a great bike for someone who is a starter and is interested in learning / getting into harder technical riding. However other bike shops seem to be pushing me towards bikes that rang from 2500 to now up to 4500. Saying the components are junk on that bike and it’s not worth it.

    I’m not against saving and buying something nice but do I need something that aggressive? I’m not racing or planning on it. I’m in this for the fun and exercise.

    I’m sort of hung up on full suspension because it looks “cool” and when I road the stance it felt better than my dad’s hardtail .

    With all that being said please shoot me some questions that might help you guys help me. I also looked for used but I don’t know what I’m looking for to know if something is a good deal or not .

    Also if anyone is in the area that would be willing to help me learn I would be great full.i don’t have any friends that ride so I’m sort of alone for now.

    About me:

    36 years young, 6’1.5, 220 lbs, extremely new to the sport .

    Thanks in advance, I’m not sure what other details I should share to help better answer these questions.

    -Brandon

     

  • #259980

    First of all, welcome to the sport. For so many of us, off road is not just exercise, but a way of life. But with that said, I would hate to tell someone just starting out to plunge in head first and buy something +$4K. There is always a risk it just won’t grab you and now you’re stuck.  I’ve ridden a Giant Stance, and its a really good place to start. Take a look at Specialized Camber. If you have an REI nearby, try their Co-op brand. Trek Fuel is another one.

    All these models are full suspension, but that doesn’t mean you have to go that route. Try to figure out your local trails and what interests you. If it looks like rocks, jumps, and drops, then I’d strongly suggest full suspension. But if you’re looking at mostly cross-country trails that are generally flat, you can get a pretty good hardtail with maybe plus-sized tires for around $2K range.

    Try to demo ride a full suspension and a hard tail on the trails, maybe even rent a couple. Final advice – don’t get caught up in finding the “perfect” bike. The “best” bike is the one that gets you riding!

    • #259981

      A quick follow-up on major component selection, regardless of whether full squish or hard tail. I strongly recommend a 1x gear setup (which means no front derailleur) and a dropper post (for dropping the seat on command mostly for declines). In the lower end bike models, your choices for these two might be limited, but both are worth it. I’d also say hydraulic brakes, but most models now go that route so likely non-issue. Good luck!

    • #259982

      TK34

      Thank you for the welcome and the advice I really appreciate it. I did notice what gets me going the most is flying off anything I can ramp. Curbs, dirt mounds, whatever I can find to get some air.

      So far I have been on the bike none stop since I got it, and can’t wait to learn how to really rip through some trails.

      I have alot of various bike shops including rei near me.

      I will keep I eye on 1x and then other suggestions you made!

  • #259986

    Brandon, as @TK34 said, Welcome to this great sport.  With that said, the first thing I would do is go to another shop.  As a complete newb I find it highly inappropriate that your LBS is steering you into that price range unless you told them you want to go out and start riding highly technical trails and/or do big drops at the local bike park.  Entry level bikes these days are way more capable than most of the mid+ level bikes from a decade ago.  The good news is you have plenty of options.  The bad news is because you have so many options it’s easy to get mired in the details of what bike to select.  This is not a bad place to start:

    https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gear/a26007991/best-cheap-mountain-bikes/

     

  • #260083

    Brandon… Welcome to MTBing in North Texas.  No shortage of trails here (200+ miles within 45 minutes of each other)!  And we have our fair share of bike shops to boot, with just about every brand represented.  Many of them are happy to demo/rent bikes too, so you can try things out.

    There’s a lot of money running around DFW, and you’ll see that in the bikes you see on the trails.  In other words, a lot of $6k and $7k bikes, many of which never see the dust cleaned off 1/4+ of their suspension. 🙂  All good, mind you, but no need to spend $4k out of the gate.  DFW trails can be ridden on nicely equipped XC or trail bikes, hard tail or FS.  I like riding all of DFW’s trails, but like to gravitate to rock/bolder gardens spots like Northshore West, Ilse du Bois, Johnson’s F loop, etc., so I prefer full suspension on my daily use bike.  Not uncommon for me to lockout the rear suspension on the flatter fast stuff we have here (Legacy, Gateway West, Frisco Community, etc.).  My point being, a 130/140 travel FS will keep you happy in North Texas.

    Which trails have you been on and frequent in DFW?

  • #260088

    A Stance is not a bike for highly technical trails, it is 120mm front and rear with a fairly steep head angle, more suited for beginner up to intermediate singletrack, so he is not steering you wrong. My first FS bike was a 2015 Stance. Prior to that my bike road rigid and I keep telling myself FS bikes were too expensive. The Stance was the first one with reasonably decent components that I could bring myself to spend money on. Once I rode it for awhile and realized how much better I liked it, I bought a much more expensive FS. I still have my Stance and use it when I am riding eaiser trails, gravel or even pavement.

    That being said, the Stance does not have the best frame geometry if you are going to start doing more technical trails, and it does not lend itself to being upgraded. It is what it is. I would suggest, if you can afford the difference, looking at a Trance. For the $500 the upgrade from a single pivot point suspension to the multi-pivot point suspension makes quite a bit of difference, and the slacker head angle makes it more stable at speed. Also the Trance frame accepts much higher end components if you decide to upgrade.

  • #260090

    Hey, Brandon…welcome!

    My suggestion to people new to MTB’ing is find a bike you’re happy with. It doesn’t matter if the components suck, it only matters if you ride it and have fun. You just need to make sure you get a bike appropriate to what you want to ride. So, get a mountain bike you feel good on and you know you will ride. If you grow to love the sport, like many of us here, then you can start upgrading components on the bike you have or start shopping for a higher-end model.

    I think the Giant Stance for $1500 you mentioned is a solid bike to start on (I, and many others here, started on less) and Giant is a good and trusted company. If you rode it and liked it, get it, ride it some more, and don’t worry what other people say.

    On a final note, I agree with rmap01…you ought to find a different bike shop.

  • #260097

    You might consider sticking to the lower price range to start.  As you progress you might decide you’re a XC racer, a dirt jumper, an enduro or downhill nut, whatever.  The more variety you ride the more you’ll know what you are looking for.  If you drop $3000 on a bike now you may have a hard time justifying it’s replacement once you learn more.

    That being said you’ll never regret a 1x drivetrain and a dropper post.

  • #260102

    Brandon

    Welcome to the sport!   As long as you’re not into Enduro, Downhill, or XC racing what you probably need is a Trailbike.  So what defines the modern Trailbike?

    Trailbike wheel size.  In my opinion, anyone who can fit on a 29er should ride one.  Only if you can’t find a 29er with a low enough standover height should you consider buying a 27.5 bike.  There are some 29ers that will fit people 5ft tall (Ibis bikes) but most will only fit people ~5ft 4in tall.

    Trailbike tire width.  The best modern Trailbikes come with 2.5-2.8in wide tires.   Wider tires provide more traction.

    Trailbike rim width.  The best modern Trailbikes come with (i=inner width) i29-36mm rims which mate well with 2.5-2.8in tires.  If I could design my  ideal Trailbike wheel it would have an i32 rim mounted to a true 2.7 tire.

    Plus Trailbikes.  Stay away from old school Plusbikes that come with i40-45 rims and 3.0 tires. The best modern Plusbikes come with i35 rims and 2.8 tires.  Any rim wider than i36 and any tire wider than 2.8 should be banned from all Trailbikes.  The 3.0 tire/i45 rim is just to much wheel (heavy and slow rolling) but the 2.8 tire/i35 rim is quite good.

    Trailbike travel.  The best modern Trailbikes have 120-145mm rear  travel and 130-160mm front travel.   Don’t get long travel fever.   Most riders don’t need more travel unless they race Enduro.  You’re not going to feel much difference between 120R/130F travel and 145R/160F travel.  So buy the bike you like best, not the bike with the most travel

    Trailbike frame and fork clearance.  I wouldn’t buy a Trailbike that didn’t have frame and fork tire clearance for at least a 2.6 tire and 2.8 would be better.  Nearly all modern forks have clearance for 2.8 tires.  However, many trailbike frames still only have rear clearance  for 2.4 tires.

    Trailbike drivetrains.   The best Trailbike drivetrain is probably the 1×12 Sram Eagle with the 11-50 or 10-50 cassette.

    So what Trailbikes come with 29×2.5-2.8 tires, clearance for a least 2.6 tires, 120-145R/130-160F travel, and Sram Eagle drivetrains.  Here are some that I like.  (Please remember all these bikes have front tire fork clearance for 2.8 tires.)

    Trek Fuel EX.  130F/130R travel. 29×2.4 tires.  i30 rims.  Comes with 2.4 tires but has clearance for 2.6 rear tire.

    Trek Full Stache. 130F/130R travel. 29×3.0 tires.  i36 rims.   Comes with heavy, slow rolling 3.0 Enduro tires but the bike comes alive with lighter, faster rolling 2.8 Trail tires.  This is the bike I ride and I love it.

    Specialized Stumpjumper 140R/150F travel, 29×2.6 tires, i30 rims.

    Specialized Stumpjumper ST (Short Travel).  120R/130F travel.  29×2.3 tires.  i30 rims.  Come with 2.3 tires but has clearance for 2.6 rear tire.

    Ibis Ripley LS.  120R/130F travel.  29×2.6 tires.  i38 rims.  Rims are a tad wide but still do-able.

    Ibis Ripmo 145R/160F travel. 29×2.5 tires.  i38 rims.   Come with 2.5 tires but has clearance for 2.6 rear tire.

    Similar Hardtails are also possible!

    Salsa Timberjack Hardtail.  130F travel. 29×2.6 tires. i29 rims.  Comes with 2.6 tires but has clearance for 2.8 rear tire with the adjustable rear dropout set all the way back.

    Ibis DV9 Hardtail.  120F travel.  29×2.6 tires.  i38 rims.

    I can’t recommend the Trek Stache Hardtail because the bike comes with i45 rims.   I would love for Trek to build the Stache with an i35 rims and a 2.8 tires.

    Go buy a bike and ride!!!!!!!

     

     

     

    • #260211

      OOPS!  I said that Ibis bikes come with i38 rims but they actually come with i34 rims which is even better!

  • #260130

    I say start off on the Giant Stance, you should be just fine on most trails.

  • #260149

    +1 for the Giant Stance

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