What is the worst mountain bike you've ever owned?

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This topic contains 22 replies, has 22 voices, and was last updated by  blaize 2 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #204094

    Maybe this is a dumb question, but has anyone ever owned a mountain bike that was truly awful? I haven’t myself, but I suppose if I had to rank the bikes I’ve owned, something would have to end up at the bottom of the pile…

    I know I’ve waxed poetic about my old Trek 7000, and for the most part I truly loved it, but it’s probably the least-great bike I’ve owned. The bike itself wasn’t a great fit for me (the salesman even said so, but I had to have it because it was green!) and there were minor shifting issues that never seemed to get resolved. It wasn’t a terrible bike, but I guess technically it’s the worst I’ve owned.

  • #204121

    My “least good” was a KHS XC 004. Even after a bunch of upgrades, it was a heavy pig with terrible trail manners. I was glad to move it on to the next owner.

  • #204122

    Interesting question, because I think of some of the older clunkers I had. However, one “experience” comes to mind, and that was my first Niner RIP 9 RDO. To make a long story short, I had another problem with a previous Niner and the online bike shop actually took the bike back after the frame finally developed a crack in it (among other things) and several major parts had to be warrantied. They felt bad, so they let me just upgrade to a new bike. The RIP 9 RDO was just coming out, and I had to wait on it a few months, but I agreed. They mailed it to me, I unpacked it, and put it together. All I had to do was put the wheels on, install the bars, and roll. Of course I checked it out on my stand for a good 20 minutes before doing a few laps on the street. Bike seemed amazing, and I was on cloud 9 with that new bike feeling, when I literally rolled up my driveway to park and admire it. I took one more pedal stroke into my garage and BAM!: flat. No, wait…it was more than that. The chain apparently got a kink in it, got stuck in the rear derailleur, bent the hanger, the derailleur got pushed into the spokes, broke 2 spokes, and punctured the new tire. I hadn’t even had this bike for half an hour and it did $700 worth of damage. I wanted to puke, but the worst problems were just ahead. Hey, maybe I should write a story about this. 🙂 That was also when the SRAM xx1 just came out and I had every probable issue with that bike…and guess what? The company sent me another, new RIP 9 RDO. Probably the last time that will ever happen, though, as they were bought out. So, yeah, newest bikes have issues too, and when they do, you can wind up walking back to your car in the middle of an epic desert ride while your buddies enjoy the rest of their bike vacation. Boo.

  • #204124

    Trek Marlin 6- wheels, tires, and fork were a joke. It actually shifted okay. It was the type of bike you buy cheap and then upgrade everything. I could only stand it for a year until I got something else. I did learn an important lesson about going cheap on a mountain bike.

  • #204127

    The one I didn’t ride.  Conversely, the best bike is always the one I’m riding.

  • #204130

    My first real mountain bike was a Cannondale m800 beast of the east. That thing was terrifying! Super high bottom bracket and the stiffest oversized aluminum tubes known to man. How far we have come. My Pivot 429 trail is unbelievable, don’t know how I rode that beast!

  • #204134

    I had a few big box “mountain” bikes in high school.  I had no clue what I was doing. They fit horribly never shifted right all sorts of issues typical of box store bikes.  They were so bad that I got out of the sport for 8 years before getting fitted on a real mountain bike and have been hooked ever since.

  • #204136

    Ha, Jeff, good question. Undoubtedly it was the first one I owned way back in 1987: A Specialized Stumpjumper Comp. It was awesome then but I recently got rid of it after using it as a commuter for 15 years. Thankfully it got a home with a guy who needed a way to get to work so it’s still in service.

    Thing was, it was a great bike in 1987. But as we learned and bikes evolved, I quickly realized how awful it was to ride on the dirt. It was heavy, stiff as hell, and way too short on the top. I’d endo that thing going over a gnat. It had ovalized chainrings, which always made my knees hurt.

    Still a Specialized guy and what I’m riding now doesn’t come close to that original bike. Thankfully bike design has evolved as much as it has. When people talk about not needing a new bike because their ’94 Moonbeam is a beautiful rendition of what a bike should be, I don’t think they really understand how much more stable, capable and fantastic bikes have become. Planned obsolescence sucks; evolution in thinking and design, however, have made mountain biking much better.

  • #204151

    it was a heavy pig with terrible trail manners

    Haha! Great description.

  • #204161

    Yes, I had a terrible mountain bike, but compared to what everyone else had it wasn’t bad.  My first was a homemade trail bike back in 1972 before you could buy mountain bikes, and there was no technology involved so everyone’s bikes were terrible, we just didn’t know it.

    The bike I just replaced in 2015 was also not good, but was fair when I bought it, a mid 90s Huffy rigid (Tremor I think). It had cantilever brakes and only weighed about 50lbs.

  • #204201

    Hmmm, well I should start by stating that the BEST bike that I have ever  owned is my current ride, a 2005 Hardrock comp disc. The bike is miles ahead of any I have ever owned before. The worst being a Murray with 12 speeds and little to no brakes… wait.. maybe the 10 speed road bike frame I threw mtb wheels and tires on with no brakes was the worst…. it did not handle well.. at all. I was probably 13, just old enough to ruin stuff with tools if left alone. haha.

  • #204205

    I used to have a novarra brand fs that I got from one of the REI garage sale. Its not necessarily bad, just didn’t encouraged me to ride either. Was in my garage for 6 years, til a ‘bruh’ took me out to ride his zone. It was then I realized I need a better “sled” 🙂

  • #204217

    1992 GT Richter. It had a “u” brake on the chain stays. Collected mud like a magnet. The Rock Shop Mag 30 forks flexed like a fishing rod. Thank God it got stolen.

  • #204222

    5k bike, $0.50 legs put it best: “The one I didn’t ride.  Conversely, the best bike is always the one I’m riding.”  Well said.  And the people reply “AMEN!” I am on this forum because I can’t be on the trail right now…

  • #204237

    Reading this thread makes me realize just how important it should be for anyone new to mountain biking and is considering purchasing their very first bike. I guess for many the common mindset is and always will be to find and purchase an inexpensive “entry level” beginner bike to learn and grow on. Makes sense to me as I did just that myself. lol. If we’re lucky to have a friend who knows a little bit about mountain biking hopefully they’ll remove the first inclination to try out a “big box” brand bike. And at least persuade us to consider investing in a reliable, “brand name” bike which may cost a little more but well worth it over all. Don’t get me wrong here. We all learn from our mistakes, impatience and over-zealousness as these testimonies above attest to! But reading those great testimonies just MIGHT help someone new to this step back and realize that this is an important investment that will determine their enjoyment, safety, and potential financial impact on repairs, maintenance, upgrades, etc. over time. They’re best 3 resources are going to be their LBS, a good friend, or sites like this. Without any of these it’s all a crapshoot and most likely will lead to a bad experience in which they walk away from this adventure for good. Through all of our trials by error and personal growth (lol) of owning the wrong or worse bike here’s hoping someone reading all of these will step back and take a deep breath with hopes of making sure they get the RIGHT bike for them that they can get immediate enjoyment from and grow on!

  • #204252

    The worst bike I have ever owned by far is a Haro Shift R5. It was an overweight single pivot bike with 120mm of travel, although it pedaled like it had 170mm. the pivots were always coming loose every 3rd ride or so, and overall it had terrible trail manners.

  • #204253

    2000 GT XCR something.  I think anyway, I’ve put it behind me emotionally.

    Only rig I ever had that would penalize you for making the tiniest of mistakes; no forgiveness, just crashes.  Noodle for a fork (SID), pre-tubeless with pizza cutter rims/tires so I ALWAYS pinch flatted even at 60 psi.

    Suckiest suck that ever sucked.

     

  • #204254

    Throughout my years of mountain biking, I’ve never had a bike where I just hated it and could find no enjoyment on. There have been many that where fantastic and others good if at worst pedestrian. I did however own one of the most notoriously reviled bikes among the mountain bike pantheon. My first full suspension bike was a ’98 Klein Mantra comp. I had owned a couple of pre-Trek Kleins in the early and mid 90’s a Rascal and an Adroit, respectively both of which were amazing hardtails in their time. Naturally, I looked to Klein for my first foray into the squishy world due to my previous good experiences. The Mantra looked amazing yet it’s design, a high pivot URT made it tricky to ride. It was terrifying for most riders at the time as noted in this scree from Vernon Felton. I actually went a different direction with it as I had been bit by the Freeride bug and was all about having bike for getting rad-tarded on. I swapped out the suspension front and rear for a Marzocchi Z1 and Fox Vanilla coil over. I threw on a Azonic blockhead stem and Club Roost risers and Tioga DH tires. This choppered the Mantra out big time, but it actually rode pretty well for what it was. It wasn’t great and you can never put lipstick on a pig to end up with a super model, but it did it’s job. I wish had pictures of it like that. I kept it for barely a year before I saw the light and bought a Santa Cruz. Party.

  • #204522

    I haven’t been in the sport long enough to have a terrible bike. But i’m guessing that i will be blessed not to have a “worst” bike. Bikes these days are JUST SOO GOOD… so hopefully i will be okay. Luckily when i started the sport i had friends who were into it so i got a “name brand” bike…

  • #204536

    eh… probably the one I am using right now.  A roadmaster of all things. roflol.  but, my husband and I are out on trails, trying not to die, and having fun.  Hopefully, the summer and a promotion at work, will bring new bikes into our lives.

  • #204949

    1996 or 97 Specialized Ground Control FSR Comp. It used a strut type rear copying the AMP bikes but had no adjustments on the Rockshox fixed shock. Bobbed and bounced all over the place. Sold it to a buddy and it snapped in half about two weeks later. He got a crash replacement opting for a hard tail. Ghost shifted every time you used most of its 2.5 inches of travel.

  • #204958

    TGSGramcounter

    Cannondale RZ 120, I loved this bike initially. When it was working I loved it. But soon after buying this bike the the bearings in the rear suspension wore out, not just wore out they were destroyed, the bearings fit into the link which was slightly larger than the bearing, they were not press fit, the bearing were glued with locktight into position. This resulted in me having to replace the beatings about every 400 miles or so. About once a month. The shop I bought the bike at was very helpful, first we got cannondale to give a new rear triangle and all new swing link hardware, nope still burned through a set of bearings about once a month, usually the non drive side would fail first, this led us therorize maybe the frame was slightly twisted or WELL we were grasping at straws So cannondale sent a new frame, Nope no help, still replacing bearings about once a month. At this time I think the shop was sick of me, the lead mechanic told me I just ride to much and should expect things to wear out.

    I finally resolved the situation by writing a letter to the CEO of the cycling sports group of North America a subsidiary of Dorel industries, they own Cannondale, GT and some other brands. I asked for my money back. Of course they didn’t give me money back, BUT they offered me any other bike they make at cost. So I upgraded to the New at that time scalpel 29er. Best bike I’ve ever owned and the bearings never wore out once in 4 years of heavy use, I eventually cracked the frame, Cannondale replaced it, in still loving that bike today.

  • #204969

    Currently, I’m still riding my 2009 Marlin.

    The worst one was probably my old Trek 3900. I bought it as a second bike, but even with more entry level components, it was “good enough” for XC rides that didn’t dabble in technical stuff.

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