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Newbie seeking advice on mountain bikes


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Old 08-29-2017, 08:59 AM   #1
LeoVSargent
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Newbie seeking advice on mountain bikes

Hi,
I am into adventure sports these days and I am planning to buy a mountain bike. I need help since I am a total newbie to cycling.
First I need to clear few of my doubts about cycling. I have never really ridden a cycle since I was a kid. Recently I saw a friend riding off road and it inspired me to start riding too.

So will I need to ride on roads or tracks before I start doing offroad?
What are the real differences between a mountain bike and fat bike?
Will I need a trainer for riding off road?

Also please suggest some bikes which I can start with and reasons. I have a confusion on what a professional bike fitting is. Can somebody explain? Is it really necessary to do a fitting?.


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Old 08-29-2017, 10:10 AM   #2
retromike3
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mountain Or street bike?

I would recommend a compromise. I would get a cross bike. they used to be called Cyclocross bike because in the off season bike racers go on short races in the winter on converted road bikes. They had smaller knobby tires and you had to carry them over barriers during the race.

They generally have pretty good gearing and you can get around on one without too much trouble. My dad got one last year for about $750.00. He got it at a Real bike shop, so it was assembled correctly and had two free tune ups. If your dirt is like where I live and you have clay soil, in the summer it gets like asphalt. You can get better-rolling resistance by putting more air in the tire (instead of 35psi go with 60) If you find you're wanting to go for more off road you can get a more aggressive mountain bike But if you spend more of your time on the road then you can get a road only bike.

Either way, you'll still have a good knock around bike just to get to the store and get groceries.

You don't need to spend a fortune to get into cycling just to try it out. All you'll have a really expensive piece of junk hanging in your garage.

Mike Frye, the bike guy


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Old 08-29-2017, 11:11 AM   #3
LeoVSargent
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Originally Posted by retromike3 View Post
I would recommend a compromise. I would get a cross bike. they used to be called Cyclocross bike because in the off season bike racers go on short races in the winter on converted road bikes. They had smaller knobby tires and you had to carry them over barriers during the race.

They generally have pretty good gearing and you can get around on one without too much trouble. My dad got one last year for about $750.00. He got it at a Real bike shop, so it was assembled correctly and had two free tune ups. If your dirt is like where I live and you have clay soil, in the summer it gets like asphalt. You can get better-rolling resistance by putting more air in the tire (instead of 35psi go with 60) If you find you're wanting to go for more off road you can get a more aggressive mountain bike But if you spend more of your time on the road then you can get a road only bike.

Either way, you'll still have a good knock around bike just to get to the store and get groceries.

You don't need to spend a fortune to get into cycling just to try it out. All you'll have a really expensive piece of junk hanging in your garage.

Mike Frye, the bike guy
Thanks for the reply. But I really want to be riding off road. But now I am scared what would happen if I don't like it. How much difference will there be between a mountain bike and a cross bike cost wise? (Considering that I am looking for a pretty good one, not the cheapest )
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Old 08-29-2017, 01:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeoVSargent View Post
Thanks for the reply. But I really want to be riding off road. But now I am scared what would happen if I don't like it. How much difference will there be between a mountain bike and a cross bike cost wise? (Considering that I am looking for a pretty good one, not the cheapest )
Have you test ridden any bikes, Leo? A lot of the time, the best bike for you boils down to the one which is the most comfortable to ride. Going back to your OP, this is where professional fittings can also come in. Everyone's body is just a little bit different, even between two people of the exact same height and weight.

A professional bike fitting involves having a pro look at and measure the way you sit and ride your bike, then make adjustments such as saddle height and angle, handlebar angle and distance from the saddle, handlebar width, and so on. A bicycle which is properly adjusted to your individual physiology will be more comfortable to ride, and should give you fewer aches and pains during extended saddle sessions. It is expensive, but highly recommended when you reach the point that you're riding regularly.

Pro fitting criteria will vary based on the type of bike you're having fitted, but should be valuable without regard to the type of bike you end up with.

When it comes to bike types, on the MTB side, pretty much any modern bike will come with a front suspension fork. Some also come with rear suspension. This smooths out the bumps and allows you to ride faster, but is also heavier and if not properly adjusted, robs your pedal strokes of power by flexing when you crank.

I don't believe 'cross bikes have any suspension options, but I may be mistaken.

In terms of cost, the sky and beyond is the limit. If you're not sure you're going to like it, or having trouble seeing the differences, you might consider calling around to some local bike shops to find one which rents bikes. Take a 'hardtail' MTB out one week, then try a fully suspended model the next. Then a 'cross bike, etc. Oh, and a fatbike!

The difference between a fatbike and an MTB is largely a matter of scale: both have very wide tires relative to most any pavent-only bike. On an MTB, that translates to a tire diameter of ~1.7-3 inches. Fatbikes, on the other hand, have tires which look like they should be mounted on an actual motorcycle: anywhere from 3.5-5+ inches in diameter. They are also usually unsuspended. Please be aware that I am oversimplifying a very diverse market, and the numbers quoted are meant as a general guide, not a hard and fast rule .

Generally speaking, the wider your tires, the easier it is to get through loose, sandy terrain, over rocks, or through mud, but at the cost of top speed and acceleration when you are enjoying more smooth trails. An MTB can thus generally be expected to be faster than a fatbike over most given trail sections, up to the point that trail conditions deteriorate enough to favor the fatbike's larger tires. This might look like a big section of beach sand, or a sandy dry riverbed. Maybe a couple feet of snow or a muddy bog.

To go with an automotive analogy, you might see an MTB as a well-equipped 4x4, the fatbike as a tracked vehicle. Either will be a lot of fun for the skilled operator. A fatbike will take you a lot more places, but at the cost of taking longer to get there. Either will work just fine on pavement, though you're not likely to be winning any pickup races with roadies, which might be seen as high end supercars by comparison.

As for types of trails, you're likely to find that smoother, flatter stuff is nice in the beginning. It takes a little time to build up your legs and cardiovascular system, to say nothing of your bike handling ability. I recommend starting easy and working your way into the harder stuff as you build physical conditioning and skill.

In the end, I believe your best bet is to ride some examples of each type of bike. Maybe test ride a few, then rent the one which feels best and play with it for a few days or a week and see how you feel then.

However you end up going, do find a bike and get out on it regularly! Don't forget to take some pics and include us in your adventures, too! You're on the cusp of something really awesome here. Don't let the crazy number of options and subcategories distract or turn you off. What matters is finding a bike which is fun and comfortable for you, then riding the wheels off of it.
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Old 08-30-2017, 11:04 AM   #5
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If you know anyone who knows anything at all about bicycles, you can probably find a used rigid mountain bike (MTB) from 1995-2005 on your local classified site for cheap. This is where MTB began--regular bikes with fat tires. This is what became cyclocrosss---but don't spend $750 on something you aren't going to do frequently. For $100-$200 you can get an old rigid steel MTB and ride the crap out of it.

I had a 1988 Bridgestone MB4 that was unbeatable. It took a lot of skill to ride tough trails on it, but I could ride easier trails and get a real feel for off-road riding. Old Stumpjumpers and such .... simple and effective and tons of fun and CHEAP. If you like riding, then spend more later and get the good stuff. If you can't have fun on an old rigid MTB, you probably don't like riding.

Also, they make great commuter- and touring bikes. They work fine on the road---just pump up the tires real hard. You won't be winning races against road bikes, but you will be able to ride well on roads and see how you feel about road riding --- and those bikes always have rack mounts so you can throw on racks and lights and fenders and ride to work---or to the grocery store or whatever.

Between an old rigid MTB and the millions of videos on YouTube about how to fix or adjust absolutely every part of any bicycle, you should be good to go. Before long you will know if cycling is right for you.

Then, you can come back here and have a better idea of what you want and how you plan to use it, so people can give you much more focused advice.

Also .... look online about bicycle fittings. Getting a "professional fitting" can cost a couple hundred dollars .... and after two months on the bike your body will change and the "perfect" pro fitting will be useless.

Basically, all the wisdom of the ages is available through your keyboard, so paying a lot of money for someone to look it up for you is not a good deal. If you come across conflicting or confusing info, then ... come here and ask "The Experts"
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Old 08-30-2017, 03:25 PM   #6
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Leo,

spending upon where you live many ski parks have mountain bike facilities now. Go to one and rent several different bikes to see what you like best. Also check with your local dealer for insights.
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Old 09-04-2017, 03:20 PM   #7
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If you want to really trail ride I recommend a mountain bike. You do not need road experience to be an mtb rider. There is a learning curve to trail riding but road riding won't help you with it. The hard part is technical riding skills not fitness.

Cyclocross bikes are a blast and can be ridden on dirt or gravel roads and smooth trails but do limit where you can go trail wise.

You can get a plus bike which is between a fat bike and traditional mountain bike. In a lot of cases these are good entry level bikes because you can ride them places that a traditional hardtail would take a lot of skill to ride and a full suspension mountain bike worth owning will cost at least 1600-2000 $ and up from there. Vs a plus 27.5 in wheeled mtb like the TREK Roscoe that is legit trail worthy and retails at around $1,000.

As suggested go see your local bike shop and talk with the lads there for the best trail riding advice. They know the trails in your area and can help you with a bike that works best on those trails.
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Old 09-04-2017, 04:27 PM   #8
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Don't get a hybrid or a crossbike to ride trails. Get a real mountain bike.

Like cwtch mentioned you don't need any road skills to ride MTB. I suggest finding a local club or show up to a trail and ask some people if they can show you around. I got a lot of my skills from following better riders and watching how they ride over various terrain.

Don't cheap out on the big box bikes found at walmart, target, etc. Those bikes are heavy and not fit for the job in any way shape or form.

I recently got my full suspension bike from Diamondback.com for 1499.00 it retails for 3k. However, it is a night and day difference on how it rides compared to every other bike I've owned.

Something like this https://www.diamondback.com/mountain-bikes/trail/overdrive-comp-27-5 would get you started off on the right foot
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Old 09-11-2017, 03:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newleaf150 View Post
Have you test ridden any bikes, Leo? A lot of the time, the best bike for you boils down to the one which is the most comfortable to ride. Going back to your OP, this is where professional fittings can also come in. Everyone's body is just a little bit different, even between two people of the exact same height and weight.

A professional bike fitting involves having a pro look at and measure the way you sit and ride your bike, then make adjustments such as saddle height and angle, handlebar angle and distance from the saddle, handlebar width, and so on. A bicycle which is properly adjusted to your individual physiology will be more comfortable to ride, and should give you fewer aches and pains during extended saddle sessions. It is expensive, but highly recommended when you reach the point that you're riding regularly.

Pro fitting criteria will vary based on the type of bike you're having fitted, but should be valuable without regard to the type of bike you end up with.

When it comes to bike types, on the MTB side, pretty much any modern bike will come with a front suspension fork. Some also come with rear suspension. This smooths out the bumps and allows you to ride faster, but is also heavier and if not properly adjusted, robs your pedal strokes of power by flexing when you crank.

I don't believe 'cross bikes have any suspension options, but I may be mistaken.

In terms of cost, the sky and beyond is the limit. If you're not sure you're going to like it, or having trouble seeing the differences, you might consider calling around to some local bike shops to find one which rents bikes. Take a 'hardtail' MTB out one week, then try a fully suspended model the next. Then a 'cross bike, etc. Oh, and a fatbike!

The difference between a fatbike and an MTB is largely a matter of scale: both have very wide tires relative to most any pavent-only bike. On an MTB, that translates to a tire diameter of ~1.7-3 inches. Fatbikes, on the other hand, have tires which look like they should be mounted on an actual motorcycle: anywhere from 3.5-5+ inches in diameter. They are also usually unsuspended. Please be aware that I am oversimplifying a very diverse market, and the numbers quoted are meant as a general guide, not a hard and fast rule .

Generally speaking, the wider your tires, the easier it is to get through loose, sandy terrain, over rocks, or through mud, but at the cost of top speed and acceleration when you are enjoying more smooth trails. An MTB can thus generally be expected to be faster than a fatbike over most given trail sections, up to the point that trail conditions deteriorate enough to favor the fatbike's larger tires. This might look like a big section of beach sand, or a sandy dry riverbed. Maybe a couple feet of snow or a muddy bog.

To go with an automotive analogy, you might see an MTB as a well-equipped 4x4, the fatbike as a tracked vehicle. Either will be a lot of fun for the skilled operator. A fatbike will take you a lot more places, but at the cost of taking longer to get there. Either will work just fine on pavement, though you're not likely to be winning any pickup races with roadies, which might be seen as high end supercars by comparison.

As for types of trails, you're likely to find that smoother, flatter stuff is nice in the beginning. It takes a little time to build up your legs and cardiovascular system, to say nothing of your bike handling ability. I recommend starting easy and working your way into the harder stuff as you build physical conditioning and skill.

In the end, I believe your best bet is to ride some examples of each type of bike. Maybe test ride a few, then rent the one which feels best and play with it for a few days or a week and see how you feel then.

However you end up going, do find a bike and get out on it regularly! Don't forget to take some pics and include us in your adventures, too! You're on the cusp of something really awesome here. Don't let the crazy number of options and subcategories distract or turn you off. What matters is finding a bike which is fun and comfortable for you, then riding the wheels off of it.
Great post newleaf.
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Old 09-16-2017, 07:00 AM   #10
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If you live in an area with ski resorts, now is a good time to go visit them. Many of them buy relatively good mountain bikes and rent them during the summer. As fall comes along,they typically sell their fleet at a much reduced price. I have bought maybe 6 bikes this way for family members over the years and while the bikes were used, they were well maintained and I paid about 60% of retail.


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