Entry Level Bike Opinion

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Entry Level Bike Opinion

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    • #242531

      So I have been searching for an entry level bike that won’t break the bank, and came across a GT Aggressor. Has anyone had any experience with this bike? Is it worth the money with the components?



    • #242543

      Seems ok but I would rather have hydraulic brakes. You have to pull a little harder with mechanical and you’ll end up with cramps in your hands.

      Check bikes direct. There’s tons of selections there.

      Or just go to a bike shop. But get hydraulic brakes. Your hands will thank you.

      • #242569

        Is it a ridiculous thought to try and switch the mechanical brakes out for hydraulic brakes down the line?

        Bikes Direct doesn’t ship to Canada, so that’s out. But thanks!

      • #242570

        Upgrading the brakes later is probably not the most cost effective way to go. I have a Specialized hard rock that I use for urban rides and it has hydraulic brakes. The price was only a little more than the bike you’re looking at.


      • #242741

        just this week swapped my crappy mechanical brakes for a set of cable actuated hydraulic brakes that i found on Amazon and i am loving them. calipers, rotors and all hardware $160 (us $$)

      • #242996

        I own the GT aggressor pro, I bent both rims pretty easy and the shifting isn’t great. Honestly I would look for a 27.5+ with hydraulic disc brakes and a one by drive train and modern frame geometry

      • #243008

        Being in Canada, a lot of these brands aren’t local to me where I am. Most shops around me only sell Trek, Giant, and Norco. I was recently looking at Specialized as I am travelling to the U.S. in a couple weeks for a few days, but would have no where to test it out as the shops are out of the way of my travel path. And the conversion rate from USD to CAD is killer.

      • #243054

        As noted on another newbie bike thread, Marin has been pretty much killing it on budget bikes lately.  They have a San Quentin hardtail coming out that has a nice spec for the money that should be fully upgradeable for a while with an air fork and hydraulic brakes and a 1x drivetrain, which is unusual at that price point and a pretty nice feature (front derailleurs are very fiddly, especially 3x, and 1x is a smoother chain and shifting experience).  MSRP is 849, but Performance Bike has been selling all the new Marins for $100 under retail.

        You might be able to find a Performance store near your travels.

    • #242683

      While I recommend hydraulic brakes, the Tektro mechanical brakes work quite well.

    • #242726

      Jammers, are you new to mountain biking?  Is this your first bike?  If you’re new to MTBing, and really take to it, you may want to consider how long it may be before you “outgrow” the bike you’re looking at.  Its cost and spec seem in line, and I’m sure it will be a good ride for that price point.  But how long might it be before you realize you “need” a better fork with more than 80mm of travel?  Or the 3×7 drive train “needs” to be upgraded to a 2×10 or 1×11/12?  Yeah, I quoted “need” because that can be subjective.  Need, want, gotta have, necessary… all the same, isn’t it.  🙂

      If it were me, for that price point, I would investigate what I could pick up used.  But I would expect some tweaking, repairs, etc., which ultimately would likely lead to more cost.  I do my own work, so that works for me.  May not be for everyone.  At the same time, it’s nice to buy new and ride it out of the box with a warranty.

      Regarding “Is it a ridiculous thought to try and switch the _____ (enter whatever part here)?”  My opinion, never!  Like any hobby or sport, you upgrade stuff as you expand and improve.

    • #242743

      I would look a a bike with a better fork before I would worry about the brakes. Not sure where you are planning to ride but, constantly bottoming out on spongy 80mm travel fork is no fun.

      I had Tektro mechanical brakes and they did OK. I did upgrade to hydraulic brakes after a year and it was a nice improvement. It cost me about $100 to upgrade to a mid-level Shimano set.  An entry level fork is about$200 to upgrade.

    • #242746

      For $100 more than the regular price of this bike, I got a 2017 Rocky Mountain Fusion 910.  29″, hard tail, hydraulic disc brakes, 3×9 gears.  It is the lower model, but the parts are all upgradeable.

      Your intended use of the bike will go a long way in determining what level of bike you need.  Are you going to be mainly riding around a city with the occasional dirt path, or are you hitting the single track trails and launching over rocks, roots, and drops?

      My main intention with buying a new bike was to get one that could handle the rough trails and muddy conditions, but that would also be acceptable to ride on the road or flat rail trails.  The 29″ wheels really work well in both situations.

      The 80mm fork could be the right size for you, it depends on your height/weight and how aggressive you’re going to ride.  I have a 100mm fork that I have not bottomed out yet, and I’m heavy.

      I really love my hydraulic disc brakes.  I can be blasting down a trail and come to a full, immediate stop with not much effort – it’s saved me from crashing lots of times.  Also great for inching down a steep, tricky hill.

      All in all, it depends on what you’re going to be doing with the bike.

    • #242749

      My suggestion is to start off with a proper base. A Giant Fathom is a good choice for a hardtail. Not much to upgrade and it’s a great ride. Wait for a sale (15% off is ideal) and you should be golden. Good luck!

    • #242828

      Thanks everyone! Because I am so new these are all things I wouldn’t have considered. It really isn’t that much more to get a better fork and find a bike with hydraulic brakes already installed.

      My main purpose is to get a bike for trail riding. Start with beginner and work my way up, and eventually some downhill. I only ride in the city on days I don’t have time to drive to trails.

      I’ve been considering a 27.5 as I am just shy of 5′ 5″ and an average build. I think a 29er would be too much for me right now.

    • #242935

      27.5 is a good size, but don’t completely rule out a 29, give it a try if you can test ride one.  I am 5’6″ with a short inseam.  My bike is a men’s size small and I have just enough clearance to stand over the bar.

      If you intend to buy a bike for trail and downhill use, buy the best you can now, or plan on upgrading/replacing it before you get into the more intense riding.  Some people like buying a good frame and swapping out components along the way, making the bike their own creation.  Go with what you prefer.

    • #242946

      IMO,, 27.5 vs 29 is a preference not totally related to height. I am 5’9″ and prefer 27.5. My wife is 5’2″ and prefers 29.  It is as much or more about riding style. If you like to ride slow, tight technical stuff, or if you like to accelerate quickly and tend to ride places were speed varies constantly the 27.5 might be a better fit.  If you like to go fast and maintain as much speed as possible, or if you don’t mind taking your time getting up to speed but like to cruise at the highest speed possible, the 29er might be better.

      Best bet is to test ride a couple of each set up properly for you to see which you like better.

    • #242965

      For $100 more, you can get a good entry-level bike from a reputable dealer that will stand behind the products they sell.  I started out with a Specialized Rockhopper with 29″ wheels for $549 (USD).  Not only is it well-built and upgradeable, but the dealership provides me with free annual tune-ups and free labor for the installation of upgraded equipment and accessories.  They also made sure that everything on the bike was set to my height, ensuring that I had everything where I needed it to be before hitting the singletrack.

      I cannot tell you how invaluable it is to buy from certified professionals who can ask you not only what you want out of a bike, but can also educate you on things you may not even be aware enough to ask as you get into this great sport.  Like you, I just wanted to get a bike and get out there, and I was looking at department stores and online.  I stopped by my Specialized dealer out of curiousity, thinking that there bikes were out of my price range.  I learned that I was wrong about that, and now I have a relationship with experienced riders who know my bike and can answer any questions I may have.  It truly has made my entry into mountain biking far more enjoyable.

    • #243060

      Look at Rocky Mountain bikes, they are Canadian.  Entry level bikes are at your price range

    • #243065

      I would pass on suspension if you’re just starting out. Get good hydraulic disk brakes. Way more important on downhills. You can always add suspension later. Plus it’s probably not good suspension at that price.

      I just really got started on this and had my local bike shop build me a bike. You can do similar -get a basic bike and add features you want. If you buy pre made bike you are buying crap you don’t want or need.

      My opinion based on experience this weekend in Carson city most important

      Good brakes

      good tires

      dropper post

      reliable shifting

      suspension not so much  I don’t have any and it seems to me it protects your bike more than you  I think I will be getting front suspension eventually but not having it also is a good teaching experience


    • #243073

      Just returned my GT Aggressor Pro last weekend to Dicks because I broke the cranks somehow. I didnt abuse the bike and I purchased the warranty. There customer service sucked and GT’s quality control sucks. Not for someone serious about getting into mtb. This is a casual trail bike not a Aggressor lol.

    • #243074

      GT is a good beginner, but look st Giant bikes. They make a lot of other brands, nut their own brand offers a greater value. (No middle man)

      29 is the way to go and your height doesn’t affect it the engineering and geometry.  My write is 5’0” and loves her cannondale 29er.

      Yippy can find great used bikes for a better price.  Like motorcycles,  people buy them with the best intentions but 50% never ride more than 50 miles and the bike will be in great shape. Craigslist, KSL, or many larger bike stores will take great trade ins.

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