First bike

Forums Mountain Bike Forum First bike

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    • #338453


      I am brand new to mountain biking, I’ve gotten hooked on videos of it and would like to try it for myself. Are there any bikes in the $500 range that anyone would recommend, I know there are going to be the comments that I should spend more, but I would rather not invest more money than I have to for something I’m brand new to. I’ve been looking at the Specialized Rockhopper, the Giant Talon 3 and the Trek Marlin 4. For reference, I am about 6′ 1″ and 180. Thanks for your help!

    • #338837

      Of the options, I would choose rockhopper, followed by the marlin 4. A large should suit you best.

      You could go used and get a good mtb for $500. Best of luck

    • #338970

      I am going to second all ‘sangier’ said. Welcome to mountain biking. Enjoy the bike you get. Ride the wheels off and sharpen your skills.

    • #338972

      For that price I would go used.

    • #338973

      You get what you pay for and for $500 you don’t get much.   $500 Mountainbikes are mostly junk.   $1000 is the place where bikes start to get durable enough for true Mountainbiking.   For a guy your size, the best Trail hardtails come with 29×2.6 tires.  Here are some $1000 bikes I recommend.

      Rocky Mountain Growler

      Salsa Rangefinder

      If you can stretch to $1500, you will see a huge improvement in quality of $1500 bikes over the $1000 bikes.   If you can afford it, this is the price point where you will get the most bang for your buck.  Here are some 29×2.6 $1500 bikes.

      Specialized Fuze

      Marin Pine Mountain

      Orbea Laufey

      Ultimately, if you really like Mountainbiking,  you’re going to want full-suspension.  Skip all the middle steps and just go straight for a full-sus bike.  Here are some entry-level 29er full-sus bikes that are very good for about $2000.

      Commencal Meta TR 29

      YT Jeffsy 29

      Trek Fuel EX 29

      Vitus Mythique 29

      Here’s how it usually goes.  A guy buys a $500 hardtail and quickly discovers he likes Mountainbiking but also realizes his bike is crap.  So he buys a $1500 hardtail and loves it but gets tired of the beating he’s taking from the rear wheel.  So his next bike is a $2000 full-sus.  He has now spent $4000.  Skip the first two steps and just go straight for the a decent quality full-sus 29er and save $2000

      Every time I’ve started a new sport and started with cheap equipment, I’ve ended up replacing that equipment with better stuff because the cheap stuff breaks or just doesn’t work very well.  It’s sort of human nature.  You don’t know if you will like the new sport so you don’t want to spend a lot of money.  However, in the long run, you end up spending more.  If you can afford it, just go straight for the $2000 full-sus 29er.  The fun you will have on a full-sus 29er will be many times greater than on the $500 junk bike.  Go rent a full-sus 29er Trailbike for a day and then rent a $500 junk bike if you want to experience the difference.  Most bike shops rent the bikes they sell and will refund your rental if you buy a bike from them.


    • #339576

      I started on a $500 bike.  I could not find a used one in my price range so I bought an inexpensive new one. I lost 35 pounds, explored 60 different trail heads all over the Midwest, realized this was the sport for me and then spent more money on a better bike later. In hindsight, that $500 was not a great bike, but I enjoyed myself riding it.  My advice is start off with the best bike you can responsibly afford.

      If you are not sure, pay a little more for a new bike. Used can be a good way to go but if you are not mechanically savvy you could wind up with a worn out drivetrain or some other issue that will cost much more.  I have been shocked by prices some people ask for clapped out pieces of junk, not every used bike is a good deal. Also, there are very old bikes that were awesome in their day but do not have the latest features.  A lot has changed in mountain bikes in the last 6-8 years.

      I will say that the more you spend, the better the bike.  The feature to dollar curve is really steep in the $0 to $2500 range.  It starts to flatten as the $ goes up but still you get more if you pay more.

    • #339852

      wm1…there is absolutely nothing wrong with your plan and I know many people that started out exactly as you are **BUT** once again, Bike Nerd is correct. I’ve been riding since 1989 and generally buy a new bike at least every 18 months. I also travel out of state/country to ride several times a year so you could say I’m hooked. My friends all know this so they usually come to me for bike buying advice. I give all my friends the same advice that Bike Nerd posted.


    • #341594

      I’ve been mountain biking for 5 weeks now. Figured I’d like it but didn’t want to invest $3,000 to find out. I knew I wanted dual suspension and quality. Figured I’d look for something used.

      On Craigslist, I found a 2010 Specialized Epic Marathon 29er in excellent condition with upgrades including  x11 gearing. Although it’s an aluminum frame, it listed for $6,1000 when it came out.

      Although I knew about bikes in the 80s I knew little about modern MTBs. Luckily my friend, who recruited me to the world of MTB went with me to check out the bike, negotiated from S1150 to $85o and told me it was a great deal.

      It is a fantastic bicycle and rides perfectly.

      As long as you can judge the product, used is a great way to go.

      In general, you can tell from riding if there are any major problems though it does get a little tricky with suspensions which could have difficult and somewhat expensive to repair problems.


      Also, I bought the bike from an avid cyclist in his 60s or 70s; probably takes better care of it then some much younger might have (just sayin’).

    • #343186

      Congrats on the bike. Welcome to the community and ride the heck out of that bike. You will learn and when it is time for your next bike you will know what to look for and what you want. Enjoy.

    • #343250

      I disagree with Bike Nerd on a number of points.

      First, I think everyone should learn on a hardtail, you’re cheating yourself out of valuable and necessary skills by jumping straight to a full suspension bikes – they do a lot of the work for you and while, yes, I ride a full suspension, there’s a lot of value to be gained from riding a hardtail, and I still enjoy riding hardtails now.

      Full suspension is not necessarily ‘more fun’, it’s just different.

      Also I disagree on his point regarding wheel size. I’m 6ft tall and prefer 27.5″ wheels. That’s just my preference. Try a few bikes and figure out which wheel size you like. The notion that 29″ wheels are for tall people and that folks our height shouldn’t be riding smaller wheels is a fallacy.

      I do agree however that going used is a good idea. His point that you stand to spend more than you need to by buying new is fair. I think it is useful to buy a cheaper bike to learn on – you don’t want to spend too much on your first bike as you’ll likely crash it a lot. Buy a used hardtail and you don’t stand to lose much money when you inevitably upgrade – then buy something nice and new once you know what you want, so you can take care of it and have a good warranty.

      Good luck!

    • #507441

      Why not Trek Marlin 5?

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