Help! New Bike Recommendations

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    • #201944

      Hey All,

      I’m super new to riding (4 months) but I’ve fallen deeply in love. I’m currently riding a $350 Motobecane 400HT from Bikes Direct. It’s a hell of a deal for $350 but I’ve noticed quite a few limitations. I’ve begun researching a new bike but quickly became overwhelmed. 29ers, 27.5ers, plus size tires, hard tails, full suspensions, trail, enduro, ex – there are too many options!

      My budget is $1200 – $1500, I ride trails around Charlotte, NC. Some big roots but no crazy drops or downhills. Good mix of downhills and uphills singletrack. I’m 200lbs and 5′ 6″ – not sure if that matters. Here is what I’m thinking so far; Trek Stache 5, Trek X Cal 9, Fuji Tahoe 1.3.

      Any recommendations? My wish list is an air fork, FUN to ride, decent brakes and decent drive train (Deore minimum).

      Thanks in advance!

    • #201952

      full suspension the only bike with decent suspension in that range is the Giant Stance 2 27.5

      Hardtail you can find several. Giant has the Fathom in both 27.5 and 29  Specialized has the Jett 29. Cannondale has the Beast of the East 27+

    • #201969

      Thanks Alvin, a few bike shops I’ve been to have recommended a hardtail since our area isn’t too aggressive and I can get much better components. Makes sense to me? Any reason you can think of to get the full? The one you linked looks pretty sweet other than it’s only a 9 speed in the back.

      I’ll  check those hard tails out, thanks, Heard anything good about the others I mentioned?

    • #201973

      I’m 59 with a touchy back and knees, the more suspension I have the longer I can ride and the more fun it is for me.  Also I like technical trails, rocks, roots and stuff that works your legs if you don’t have rear suspension.

    • #201990

      X-Caliber is pretty good. I’d say get the best hardtail you can within your price range! You might like a 27.5 plus hardtail. The Specialized Fuse is awesome! Also here’s this

      Has a dropper seat post… which is awesome, air fork, and Sram NX which seems pretty good.

    • #201995

      I would try to catch a closeout 2015 or 2016 Scott Genius 740 or 750.  You could probably find one for around $1500.   Would be a good geometry/travel for what you’re riding and it has the twin lockout lever which essentially makes the bike a rigid frame with the flick of a switch.

    • #202019

      Marin Hawk Hill looks like a great buy with decent components for a double-squisher.  I would definitely look into that one.  Its also very up-gradable should you so desire.  Price is 1400.00.  NOT BAD!

    • #202024

      Ya cheers to that one @coot271!

    • #202025
    • #202045

      Well I also started with a Motobecane SPORT Fantom, sold it and got a Motobecane 529HT, and realized quite quickly that these budget Motobecane bikes have their limitations, though they are a lot of bang for the buck.

      I live in Michigan so I bought a SE F@R on closeout for $575 and upgraded almost everything and still haven’t put in more than $1000.  It outperforms many other fat bikes and I really have enjoyed this aspect of biking.  I get snow, you don’t, so maybe you’re more likely to stick with a hardtail, but I just like the performance of a fat bike better, all-around.  Another option to consider might be plus-size bikes, but these are still pretty pricey.  An efficient work-around is to buy a Framed Fat Bike, then buy a plus tire wheelset.  This would end up being around $1700 for RST suspension fork, fat, and plus tire wheelsets, but then you get the best of both worlds.

    • #202080

      Are Motobecane frames made by Giant?  The Hal6 is a good deal.

    • #202081

      Those Fezzari bikes look like a pretty sweet deal too.


    • #202091

      Hey i have been riding my Trek X caliber and its a pretty good bike only cons are the brakes There not to quick for me…

      Here is a video on my channel explaining….

    • #202121

      I live/ride in CLT as well and I think continuing on a hardtail would be a great choice for you. In that price range a hardtail will be lighter and less complicated, no rear shock to service, no bushings or bearings to replace, etc. A hardtail will make you better at line choice, jumping, technical climbing, etc. It won’t hide holes in your skills like a full squish. I have a full suspension (Evil the Following) and a steel hardtail and I only pull out the Evil for trips to Pisgah and even there the hardtail is still a load of fun. My hardtail has similar geometry to the Kona Honzo which you could pick up locally at Queen City or the The Cycle Path.

      It has good brakes, a dropper seatpost, and a nice sram 1×11 build.


      An alternative with even better value is the On-One Parkwood which is pretty similar to the Honzo or a Canfield Yelli Screamy.

      Finally, I could throw you together something custom to suit your budget! PM me if you have any interest, hopefully I’ll see you out on the trails here in town!

    • #202124

      As far as who makes motobacane frames, I am not sure but Giant would be a good guess, as the Giant factory in Taiwan make about 90% of all aluminum frames, even for other big name companies.


    • #202132

      No regrets on my Trek X-Cal9. Paid about $1,200 for it. Free tune ups for life help me make the dicision. Also liked the Stache but it was out of my budget at this time. Feel like it is my first real mtb. Started out with a low end 27.5 but like 29er better.

    • #202136

      A plus hardtail will be a fantastic super fun bike and if you are a smart shopper you can score some great end of the year deals. Of the ones you listed The Stache would be my pick, but you can find a far better spec’d bike for less. I cannot stress to you enough how much having a dropper post will add to your fun factor. It’s hard to measure the increase in your confidence not having your seat (ass hatchet) in your tuckus when the gnar factor increases. The gnar factor goes way up anywhere west of you. This Diamondback Mason is a smoking deal. That is a really fun bike. The Big Honzo is extra rad too, but a bit more kale. This Speshy is dope too. Ride on!

    • #202277

      Agree with hbelly13. Mason, Honzo, or Fuse would all be great. I just built my girlfriend a Ruze with a paint sample frame. She loves it! Plus tires are great for beginners and the penalty in rolling resistance is minimal. Personally, I still prefer a 29er with about a 2.4″ tire on a wide rim.


    • #202312

      you can’t get a “good” full sus for under a $1000. so i would go with a hardtail and if you don’t race you could also get a plus bike.

      for a good bike look into some of the scott scales. more bang for buck. the scales also come with 27.5 or 29ers. i would recommend a 29er for cross country.

    • #202609

      Love the Stache.  Your budget is either a new hardtail or used FS.  Body hurts a lot less after a big ride on a FS.

    • #202632



      In Oct I got the deal of the century from Cycle Gear in the UK. Basically the bike had 45% off the listed price (25% discount and 20% tax). It arrived in six days to Calgary, Alberta . The make was a Cube Stereo SL 160 c:62. They have aluminum bikes at a great price. Do not buy from Chain Reaction, as their bike prices are more expensive. You can capitalise whilst pound sterling is low due to Brexit.


    • #202740

      If you want fun, you’d probably want a bike with a modern geometry like the Kona Honzo or the new Giant Fathoms.  The Stache looks pretty good too and I think Trek has the best customer service.    If you are willing to bump up to  around $2000, you can get a good full suspension bike like the Fuel EX 5 or the Giant Anthem 3.   The Anthem 3 is technically an XC bike but it’s really a cross over if you look at the geometry.     Personally, I like cross-overs because they are more flexible and it doesn’t sound like you are going to be too many gnarly downhills.

    • #202745

      My two cents are that you get a hardtail there are some great ones out there and there’s a article on here about 10 great hartails for slaying you may not need something so intense… you can get better bang for your buck and hartails these days are pretty sweet actually.. look around at your local shops and see what they can get you..

    • #202766

      Whoa, emails stopped coming through and had no idea there were so many awesome responses, thanks so much! Since posting I found the Fuji Reveal 1.1 at Performance Bike here in Charlotte. It’s $1,500 and comes pretty well spec’d. I took a quick ride around the shops backyard (torn up asphalt, little hill, etc) and I loved it. It felt firm, stable and is actually lighter than my moto 400ht!

      What do you guys think about this? I hear everyone’s thoughts on a hardtail + bike but the squishy back end really felt nice on my tush. Performance Bike also gives 10% back if you are a member ($30 one time fee) so I’d get $150 back to by some clipless pedals and shoes or upgrade to a 1X.

    • #202772

      @Mharding that’s a solid bike! Great spec for the money. It even looks like it has routing for a dropper post, should you want to add one down the road (you should).

      It uses a single pivot suspension design, which is simple and reliable. No extra links, bolts, and bearings to worry about. I say go for it!

    • #202793

      Thanks Aaron, seems like a pretty good bike. Looks like it’s the same kind of category as the Marin mentioned earlier but my LBS doesn’t have that model yet.

      I like everyone’s thoughts on hard tails and I think they all make sense but the spec on this Fuji should suit me well enough and if not, I can upgrade in the future.

      Thanks again all, glad I reached out!

    • #202829

      The Marin has a slightly more modern geometry and should be a little more fun.  But either way, they are both good deals.    If you can get them for a similar price without a significant wait, I’d hold out for the Marin.    My LBS ordered a bike for me and it only took a day.

    • #202833

      Ya looks like a great bike! I was looking at this bike from Performance… thoughts would MA!

    • #202844

      Eh, @midwestmtbiker I’ll agree that the Marin does have more “modern” geo, but the Fuji isn’t outdated by any means. Also the Fuji has 20mm more suspension front and rear, so that’s something for @Mharding to consider. As far as which one is more fun, that’s totally subjective.

      The best way to figure out which one you like better is, of course, to ride them both.

    • #202846

      I think the Fuji actually has better components. Sektor vs. Recon fork, RockShox rear shock, oval cockpit, etc so I think I’d lean more that way. That’s good to know that LBS can order bikes quickly though. Didn’t think of that. Bikerboy, that GT looks sick but out of my price range unfortunately.

    • #202850

      Sorry wasn’t suggesting it to you, just wondered if somebody had ridden it and could give their thoughts!

    • #202851

      Oh, lol no worries! Looks like a nice bike. Performance Bike seems to have quite a few good deals. Their “club” is pretty cool too. 10% back store credit on all purchases is quite a bit of dough when you’re buying a new bike!

    • #202864

      Yeah I kno..! I’m still trying to see what closer shops to me can do…

    • #202867

      I agree Aaron that the Fuji is not outdated.   Just going by what he wrote in his original post and trying to make the best prediction for him.  He asked about fun and mentioned no killer downhills so I thought he wouldn’t need the extra travel and the shorter chainstays might allow him to lift the front end a bit more.    But I take your point.  He should test ride both if possible.

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