Having a hard time finding the right bike

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Having a hard time finding the right bike

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    • #264464

      Hi folks. I am brand spankin new to mtb’ing. I have spent the past few weeks shopping and I just can’t find a bike that I love. I’m 35 and trying to get outdoors again. Ive bikes in the past, but it has been about 15 years since. I currently live in VA, but I am moving to RI this fall. I plan to ride a bit of everything. There are lots of single tracks up north, and of course snow.

      I would like a full suspension, with a budget of $3k max. I looked really hard at Treks. I rode a few 29’s and 27.5’s but was very uncomfortable on them. Bikes aren’t built for guys like me. I’m 5’7”, 200lbs, 28” inseam. The Roscoe was comfy, but only front suspension. I checked out a couple of Cannondales and Giants. They were nice too, but they just feel too big for me.

      I am becoming very interested in a fat bike at this point. I ha ent been able to see one yet, but from what I’ve read and watched on YouTube, they seem slightly compact vapored to most bikes, yet just as agile. And I like the idea of using the tires as a full suspension. Curious is anyone else out there is built similar to me and what they ride. Any suggestions are welcome.

    • #264472

      Welcome Matt. I don’t have “the” answer for you, and I don’t think there is a single answer. But I will offer a few opinions to consider:
      1) Don’t worry about finding the perfect bike – lots of good choices. Find a good one and get riding. If you really get into it, chances are you’ll be looking at something new in 2-3 years.
      2) With that in mind, you might consider a hardtail (front suspension only) with possibly plus-sized tires (2.8″ as opposed to standard 2.25″). For example, you could get a Specialized Fuse (and other models) around $1-1.5K. Ride the crap out of that thing for a couple years and then find a full suspension you really like.
      3) I’m not a fan of riding fatty’s year round – too much rolling resistance for me. But I do know guys that go year round and love it.
      4) A few recommendations for specs – I’m a big fan of 1x gear setup (no front derailleur) and seat post dropper (lets you drop the seat for declines). Disc brakes are critical, but almost de facto now. Again, the Specialized Fuse 27.5 hits those marks.

      Demo (or even rent) a few bikes, make a good choice, and get riding!!!

    • #264480


      Diamondback Release 2 ($2,499) or if you got a little room in your budget, the Release 3 ($3,300).

      I’ve been riding the crap out of my 2017 Release 1 and been loving every second. Great bike for the price.

    • #264486


      I want to echo the thoughts of TK34 and xbd. I advise to leaning towards TK34 advise. As a beginner save your money and find out what you like on a cheaper bike, get experience and learn then you can make a more informed decision from experience. Big fan of the Fuse. I don’t have that bike but have a Santa Cruz Chameleon and it is basically the same bike. 2.8 tires absorb a lot of chatter and provide great traction without the drag.

      If you really want a full suspension bike the Diamond Back Release is a good option within you budget.

      Welcome to the mountain bike world. Enjoy the heck out of whatever bike you choose.

    • #264498

      Thank you for the inputs! I’m not against going with an entry level bike. I just don’t want to grow out of it a year and wish I had bought more bike in the first place. When I got into kayaking, I kept going through boats every couple months because I was growing out of them so quickly.

      I have a good bit of time off this summer, so I am going to try to rent a few bikes to get a good feel for what o really want. It’s just annoying because I’ve been shopping my butt off and looking at good bikes, but just can’t find something that I love. Just want to get out and ride! First bikes to rent are the Diamondback and the Fuse. Thanks again!

    • #264502

      I am 50 and really got back into mountain biking about 2 years ago.  I went with the Roscoe 8 and my son in law upgraded his Gary Fisher full suspension for a Fuse.  The Roscoe is 2.8 inch and the Fuse runs 3 inch.  Both are a blast to ride.  I agree, the front suspension is great and the plus tires give some cushion.  Depending on the types of trails you ride will depend on the need for the full suspension.  You might want to rent some bikes or wait for the LBS has demo ride days to get the true feel of the bikes.  I have ridden 29’rs and I like the 27.5 better but I am not very talented so I can’t use a bike to it’s fullest.  In the end I don’t think you can make a wrong decision with the bikes that are out there especially when you get above the $1500.00 mark.

    • #264531

      I had the Giant Stance last year and it was my first full squish. I bought a Roscoe 8 this year since I wanted a little higher tier hard tail. I can tell you waaaaahat, I’ve had more fun on my Roscoe than I ever did on my squish. You also learn a lot more on hard tails. If you’re just getting into it, that’s what I would recommend. Start with a HT and after a year or two then move onto a FS and you will be better off. I got injured last year and tore my ACL because I was lazy with my FS and learned the hard way. Now, I know I’m a lot better rider and I have my HT to thank for that.


      Also, I think the Roscoe’s suspension is insane because of the 27.5+ wheels. The ride is nowhere near as hard as a regular 27.5/29ers.


      Just IMO though.

    • #264532

      Welcome Matt!

      Before you buy…TEST RIDE like crazy. You can do all the homework on every little itty bitty detail that you want, and know the performance difference of ceramic versus steel ball bearings, but it won’t mean squat until you go and ride it. I’d also recommend NOT spending near your budget for a bike, especially for your first one after a long hiatus. Especially if you’re not quite sure if you’re going to stick with it. Plus, there’s always something that comes up i.e. you don’t like how the tires grip, seat not the right size, or you want wider bars, or a dropper post, clips and shoes, more well ventilated helmet, etc…these items WILL come up later.

      Ask shops if they allow you to put money spent on rentals towards the purchase of a bike, I know that quite a few do, and they sometimes sell their demos at a discount!

      I’d recommend a plus bike (larger tire) and a hardtail (front suspension only) as your first bike. IMHO, hardtails are much better in helping (re)teach you how to read and ride the trails, and the larger tire gives you a little extra cushion. The gearing out of the gate won’t matter as much, as you’ll be just getting into it and not sure how much or what the trails are riding. Personally, I ride a 1×11, with a 34 front chainring and a 11-46 in the back. I rarely use the big ring in the back except for when I go west a bit to the mountains. Ride whatever’s on the rental when you get to RI, and find out what you like and what you don’t.


      For specific brand/model recommendations, I’ve had great luck with Salsa, the Timberjack in particular is a VERY flexible ride (you can customize and tweak like crazy, and you can run several different wheel sizes if you want), and comes in less than $2k, which gives you plenty of budget left for upgrades! Specialized Fuse or Trek Stache would be great options as well, I’ve either owned or have friends who own.

      • #264536

        Great info Brooks. I appreciate it. Most people are recommending a hard tail. I guess I should take heed.

    • #264545

      I am 5′-8″ with a 30 inch inseam. When I am looking for a bike, I like about 2″ of stand over height. Which for me, excludes the majority of 29ers. Even the 27.5s require a good bit of looking. Since you are new to MTB, you may want to look for a really good used 26er. They can found by private sellers in the areas where the good and popular trails are. They usually list between $800 and $1500. That will allow you to build your skills while the bike takes more that it’s share of crashes for a reasonable cost while you save up for your perfect new bike in a couple of years.

    • #264623

      I recommend joining your local mountainbike club, then go to the next monthly meeting and ask around.  I can almost guarantee that you will find experienced riders that would love to help you get started.  Many of them will have an extra bike and will invite you to ride with them.

      I am also with Oldandrolling, you can get a great used 26” bike for around $1000.  When you’re at the club meeting, tell them you want to meet the older guy that rides a 27.5” front wheel in a 26” frame.




    • #264624

      Thank you again for the replies. I’ve looked around for a few bike clubs but it seems that most of them are inactive.

      I went and purchased a Roscoe 8 yesterday. I figure I can grow with that bike a little bit. I hope to meet some folks out on the trails soon. I don’t know anyone else who rides. I sincerely appreciate everyone’s advice. And I will post some updates on my progress.

      • #264628

        Congrats on the new bike! I know you will love it and once back out on the trails you’ll meet great people to ride with. Enjoy!

      • #264640

        I think you made a really good choice – that bike has everything you need to rip the trails, gain experience, and figure out what makes sense for your next step. Enjoy!

    • #264625

      Matt7082 Congratulations on the new bike. I have heard many good things about the Roscoe 8. Ride the heck out of it and enjoy. Hope you find riding buddies soon.

    • #264630

      Fat bikes are awesome, and you get a lot of component for the money because you don’t spend on the suspension.


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