Need help choosing a beginner mountain bike!

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Need help choosing a beginner mountain bike!


This topic contains 9 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  rmap01 9 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #255691

    So I just recently became interested mountain bikes and have been wanting to get one for a while now. The riding I’ll be doing is basic things like trails, road, and maybe going to some basic bike parks. I have a small budget and have narrowed down the few bikes in my price range.

    1: $330 Gravity Fsx 1.0

    2: $299 Gravity Base Camp LTD29

    3: $290 Raleigh Talus 2

    I have heard good things about Raleigh but not too much about gravity.. I was hoping that someone might know there stuff and could help me choose the best bang for buck out of these bikes. Or if anyone knows a better bike within this same range and they would recommend then that would be great too! Any help would be awesome!

  • #255694

    For your budget, I would look for a hardtail. I would get the Raleigh. I had a Raleigh road bike for many years and they make a good quality bike. You might also want to checkout Craigslist in your area. You may find even a higher quality used bike in that price range.

  • #255695

    Generally new FS bikes under a minimum of $1500 have crappy shocks, and usually frame designs not worth upgrading the shocks anyway.

    As far as the two HTs, even for beginner they are only fair. If you can spring for just a little more, $399, the Motobecane 529 is not bad, my son has one. Hydraulic disc brakes, and 100mm fork. Not a great fork but can be upgraded later. Suntour occasionally has trade in/ upgrade programs.

  • #255729

    Same boat, I was looking at the Marin Bobcat Trail 4. I’ve heard good things about the bobcat trail 5 but not much on the 4 because its the mid model. The frame is the same and from what I gather, it’s a decent beginner bike with a good frame and decent upgrade path ( once things break). Any truth to those statements??

  • #255748

    In that price range a new FS would be a mistake.  You will need to upgrade it as soon as you start riding trails and it won’t be worth upgrading.  Go used and go HT.  As you improve you can replace parts as they fail or need repair.  As this will be your strategy focus on getting a good frame and you can slowly upgrade the components.  Craigslist usually has great bike deals here in the off season.  Good luck, buy a bike and get out there!

  • #255766

    Brian Gerow did a budget guide earlier this month: 10 Affordable Mountain Bikes Priced Under $1000 That Are Worth a Look

    Having bought a bike that is slightly better than the ones that you suggested, I would save more and buy a different bike. I don’t think any of those bikes will hold up.

    If you like the Raleigh, I think the Tokul is a better option. If it were me, I would go with the Vitus Nucleus VR available in 27.5 and 29. Hydraulic disc brakes, air-sprung fork, tubeless ready wheels and most importantly better geometry. All in should be under $700.

    I know that is double your budget but if you can save for the next couple months (while the trails are closed anyway), I think you will be much happier.

  • #255793

    I would recommend buying the best bike you can afford, even if it is only $300 from a bike shop instead of mail order. If you are new to the sport I am guessing you will not be self sufficient with maintenance and may need help finishing the build/ tune on your new bike. Some shops offer free shifting and other small adjustments for the life of the bike with a purchase of a new bike. This will save you a ton in the long run and you will enjoy riding more because you will be on a smoothly running rig.

  • #255804

    Checking in at your shop may get you a connection for a good used bike. Don’t buy used if you don’t know how to evaluate chain wear or other potentially expensive issues (or have a friend who does), the money you save will be spent many times over if the bike is worn out.

  • #255870

    I had a friend who bought a cheapie sub $500 bike and on his first ride he crashed in some deep sand and destroyed the front wheel. Right off, it cost almost more to replace the front wheel than the bike was worth. $300 bikes are made to ride down paved bike paths. They look like Mountainbikes but they are not made for real Mountain biking. $300 bikes weigh a ton and break easily. You get what you pay for! Save your money until you can afford a bike in the bare minimum of about $1000 and buy a 27+ Trek Roscoe, 27+ Surly Karate Monkey, 29+ Salsa Timberjack or a similar Plus hardtail. Search best budget hardtails . Nearly every bike website including Singletracks does reviews of budget hardtails. Look for sales and ask for a deal. Buy last years model which frequently has a reduced price. The bike shops where I live do closeout sales in the early spring and late fall. However, don’t buy a bike that is not the right size for you just because it is on sale. Please don’t buy a $300 bike.

  • #255876

    I<span style=”display: inline !important; float: none; background-color: transparent; color: #333333; font-family: Georgia,’Times New Roman’,’Bitstream Charter’,Times,serif; font-size: 16px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: normal; line-height: 24px; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px; word-wrap: break-word;”>f I were new to the sport and reading all the input my head would be spinning.  While t</span>here’s merit to all the above comments here’s what I would tell you:

    • The most important thing is to get out and ride.  Many of us started on entry level (or less) bikes.  (I started riding single track on an old fully rigid, steel hybrid bike).   IMO, having a lesser spec’ed bike forces you to become a better rider.  Plus, you really don’t know what you want or need until you ride more.  (Do you prefer, XC, gravity, enduro, leisurely, etc, etc?)
    • At that price range, I would steer clear of full suspension.  The rear shock won’t be good yet it will require maintenance ($)
    • Find the best hardtail you can.  I’d search pinkbike, craigslist and ebay.  Also stop by your LBS and ask.  Even if you don’t buy from them they may give you good input as they would like to service your bike.

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