Help purchasing first mountain bike

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    • #208196

      Below are the bikes I have been looking into. Price point is around 700$ or so. Is there anything on the list that sticks out or something I have omitted and should be looking at? Also anything on the list that I definitely shouldn’t get. Not sure what info is relevant. I live in IL and will probably do the bulk of my riding at a place not far from my house called raceway woods. I have been to Brown County Indian on a full suspension rental bike and would like to return there, so I would be looking for something that could handle the blue and green trails there. Any advice would be appreciated just a little sketched at asking the people at the bike shop because many only sell certain brands.


      Specialized 2017 Pitch Sport 650B

      Canondale Catalyst 2

      Raleigh 2017 Kodiak 1

      Giant Talon 3

      Diamondback Line 27.5


      Trek Marlin 6

    • #208228


      I think all of those bikes have pretty good reputations.  Best thing is to ride them and choose the one that feels most comfortable to you. Also, a fellow named Seth has a good video about choosing a good bike that may be of interest.  Some good things to consider, at least.

    • #208235

      My best advice would be to ride them at your LBS and see what fits you the best and feels more comfortable. Some shops even do group rides where they will let you try a bike during the ride, allows you real world experience with the bike and the ability to meet local riders. Also if I may offer another bike suggestion the Giant Stance 2 is a excellent choice, I just purchased one and absolutely love it. It’s a little more money at 1365.00, but it’s comfortable and spec’d out decent. Most shops have a layaway, some even a financing option. Giants website offers it through affinity financing I believe. Specialized as well offers financing, not sure how many others. Depending on how you want to ride, and where you want to ride will have a effect on what you buy. Try to find locals to talk to who know the area and what terrain you will encounter. Also consider in the fact that you are going to be buy other items as well, helmet hydration pack multi tools barends or whatever else you want while riding. Hopefully my advice is helpful, and good luck in your search.

    • #208236

      Of those I would go with the Specialized, I think the Shimano brakes are better than the Tektro (the Giant Talon 2 would be about the same level with Shimano brakes) but the Talon 3, and the Trek are OK also. The biggest problem with all of those is the coil fork. They are good for casual/occasional riding but if you plan on riding any harder technical trails a full air fork is so much better.


      I personally own a Giant Stance also. Great bike for the price, but as I ride harder and more technical stuff I have put about $700 on mods on it, and still want a better bike. Not that I will be able to ride any harder trails than I do now with a better bike, it will just be a little smoother, easier and more fun. Me being 60, putting less stress on my body is a big deal.  I plan to move up to a Giant Trance sometime this year.

      But all that being said, if that is truly your budget, any of those bikes will get the job done. Make sure you understand the sizing and get the right frame size for you, and do your best to test ride them if you can. The better they fit, the more comfortable they are, the more fun you will have and the more you will ride.

    • #208252

      Have you considered giving the hardtail category any thought? I purchased a Salsa Timberjack and love it! Upgrades will come for sure, but being new to riding, I feel owning something simple will give you the time to figure out your rig. Then down the road you can get a more technical setup. Cheers.

    • #208253

      I would try saving up and stretching that budget just a little further. 700 dollars will get you an adequate bike, but 1000-1200 will get you a great bike that will be upgradeable in the future. Look for things like a tapered headtube, and thru-axles if possible. You don’t want to get stuck with a bike with a lousy fork that you can’t swap out because it has a straight steerer tube.

      My other recommendation is hit up your local bike shop. This is the perfect time of year to get last years model for a steal of a deal. You may even be able to get something that was in the sub 1000 dollar range for the price point you have set.


      My vote though is the Marin Pine Mountain or a Salsa Timberjack. Both are easily upgradeable and trail ready right out of the box.


      Most bike shops will list on facebook or their website what brands they carry. Or just give a couple in your area a call and ask! Any good local bike shop will be happy to help you out!

    • #208309

      If your going in that price range, I would stay with a hard tail. Full suspension bikes in that price range are going to be skimping in so many area. I just picked up a Raleigh Tokul 3 Pretty great kit for the money. You can see an informative but entertaining review of it here

    • #208319

      Like Alvin mullen was saying, a common problem throughout all of the listed bikes is the coil fork. If you plan to do fairly minimal riding, (example once a week or twice) then it will stand up to it, but if you were planning on hitting some stuff that requires some more travel, and the air fork, it could be a problem. One ride with my friend something unfortunate happened, he had a giant revel and it was equipped with a coil fork, he hit er’ a bit to hard I think and the lockout feature was no longer available from that point on! 🙂

      So like I said, for an entry level bike that will last you a couple years those bikes on the list are good, but check out the cannondale trail sl 2 or bikes like that from cannondale. I had one (if you look at my profile) and it lasted me 4-5 years of harsh riding! I hit every imaginable surface with it, and the rock shox recon fork stood up, and it had avid hydraulic disc brakes on it, definitely another plus. Then moving up the line, if you have a bit more cash laying around, there is the specialized camber, which is a great bike, around 140mm fork and something similar to that in the back. Check out there website here. Their lowest priced one is in the 1000’s.

      These are my few recommendations, and I am sure you will find out more from other great writers that come onto this website. And make sure, GO TEST THE BIKE BEFORE THE PURCHASE!!!! 🙂 Good luck

    • #208511

      Someone mentioned to check LBS for last year sales, it’s great if they have the right size but sometimes shop staff are more interested in clearing inventory than getting you the right bike.

      another mentioned to push your budget a bit for a much better bike, I agree with them. You’re at the top end of basic bikes which leave little potential for future upgrades that are worthwhile. If you can save up a few more bucks and get something with a tapered head tube and rear drop outs that allow a 12x142mm rear hub then you’ve got 2 of the most limiting factors future proofed for a while.

      In the mean time while you’re saving, check out every bike shop you can travel to and see what’s on sale. If there’s a good deal ask them to hold it for a couple hours while you “run to the bank”, rather just grab a coffee or something and think it over, it might be the right bike or take a pass.

      Good luck and enjoy whatever you buy.


    • #208544

      If your considering full suspension i would go for the Stance that @Alvin was talking about, you just will have a much better time on a full suspension I can guarantee! It makes a world of difference when having suspension that actually moves properly and dampens nicely. The Line is a pretty solid bike i’ve heard… I had the lower bottom spec’d Pitch as my first bike and it sure held up a lot of wear and tear but after a couple of years it started to need quite a few things upgraded.

      This is exactly what you will want and need. The 1x drivetrain is that much simpler and the air fork will forgive you quite a bit more….

    • #208570

      as a Talon owner I can tell you that you’re going to need to add another $200-$400 to that bike so you can upgrade that garbage Suntour fork

    • #208576

      @mlombar17   Yup pretty much…. my friends had the Talon but he hasn’t upgraded yet…. Also Giant’s bike come stock with horribly narrow bars, that are super freaky!!!! Do you find that with your Talon??

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