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n00b alert!!!

3324 Views 10 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  CTD50
Hey guys,

Me: 30yrs old, 6'2", 250, fairly athletic

I used to ride mountain bikes mainly on trails in the woods close to my house that my friends and I would often make, but that was many many years ago. I'm looking for a kind of do everything bike. It's about 5 miles one way to my local commuter train station, so purpose #1 that I'm looking for would be that 10 mile on-road round-trip. Purpose #2 would be some off road trail riding, nothing too heavy at first, but I think riding on dirt with trees around sounds like a lot of fun. At my weight, I'm definitely not looking to get too far off the ground, but I'm not opposed to occasionally leaving the ground. Purpose #3, which is kind of distant but something I might like to do if possible, would be some recreational charity rides. I have a friend who has done the Pan-Mass challenge for the past couple years and he has mentioned o me on a couple of occasions that I should do it. So, thats in the back of my head. Like I said, I'm a fairly athletic guy. So, I tend to progress at physical activities pretty quickly. I imagine that as with most things in my life, I will be fairly aggressive when it comes to my trail riding for fun, and once I'm comfortable I might start doing some occasional downhill trips.

SO, can all of this fit into 1 bike?

Now for the kicker, I would love to fit all this into a price range of under 300, but with a kid on the way I'm fairly certain the absolute most my wife will let me spend at this point would be in the 500 range. Once, you're done laughing uproariously at my last statements, I would really appreciate your thoughts, tips suggestions etc.:D

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Phatman, I'm having the most trouble thinking of a do-it-all bike which would include charity rides, especially if you want to do any of the century rides.

I would suggest a full-rigid mountain bike or, if you go with a front shock, be sure it can be locked. This would work well for your commute and still be functional off road. You can even get semi-slick and slick tires for the mountain bike that would enhance its ability to be a commuter/town bike.

I recommend a mountain bike, because reading between the lines, it seems like you would soon be doing a fairly significant amount of trail riding. My first real bike was a full-rigid Gary Fisher Marlin. Great bike for the money ($350 at the time). I bought it the summer before my freshman year in college and basically used it for all the things you are wanting one for with the exception of the charity events. At that time, I didn't know they made slick tires for mtb's, but since, I've picked up a set for my current mtb, and they make a huge difference on the road. The Marlin was a cromoly steel frame. Not the lightest, but really no weight restrictions, either.

Wow...I just checked Fisher's website, and the Marlin now is listed at $770! It is also shown with front suspension. Has it really been that long?!
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Yeah, I kind of thought the charity ride stuff might be reaching, but figured I'd throw it in there in case there was something I didn't know about. I think you're probably right about the trail riding. Riding on the road just doesn't appeal as much to me as playing in the dirt, and I just like being in the woods.

A friend mentioned the Specialized Hard Rock Disc, any thoughts?

Are the Disc brakes worth the additional 70 bucks?

Thanks again for your help
Yes specially at your weight. I am 290-300 and love the stopping power of the discs. The Specialized is a good bike. and as mentioned when you wear the tires out you can get a set of smoother street type tires as replacements for the commute. You may find out that with regular commuting by bike you will not be 250lbs. And the small jumps when you find a dirt trail will not be so bad when the weight comes off.
Fuji Cross Comp Cyclocross Bike

I would look at a cyclocross bike the fuji cross comp is great for off road and can be used as a commuter. It comes with shimano 105 group set.Your not going to find a bike that does everything perfect but this is pretty close. I ignored your price point as just crazy $300 is not going to buy much but you can get a cross comp for around $900.
I would look on craigslist some good buys on there , but first I would find out what size bike I nead. A good book like bicycling for dummies read first might help you make a better buy. my .02
I've been keeping an eye out on CL, but there doesn't seem to be much around my area. I am planning on making a trip to a local shop on Saturday to see what kind of insight they can give me. They are both a Specialized and a Fisher dealer.

Not much of a reader, but Bicycling for Dummies sounds like it could be helpful. Can't be too expensive I'll probably pick it up and see what kind of info I can gleen from it.

Might have a lead on an older Specialized Rock Hopper through a guy at work. He has to go grab it from his parents house, but believes it to be in near-mint condition as he says he really only used it on the street to help with staying in pedaling shape to ride his full suspension Trek on weekends.

He's pretty similar size to me so frame wise I think it would be about right. Fully rigid, rim brakes, and if in the condition he thinks it is, he said probably $300 or so, Good deal?
Well what I did was find a mountain bike that was full suspension, then I bought an extra set of wheels. Put road tires on one set and wider trail tires on the other. Not as comfortable or as fast, and not nearly as light but it got me by a while. Now have a road and mountain bike. If you think you might want to carry some stuff, a hardtail ie no rear suspension might also be an option. That way you could add a solid rack for rear panniers too. The full suspension requires a seat post mounted rack that will not carry as much weight and panniers designed for that type of rack. Good luck
I allways say bikes are like tools you nead the right tool for the job :D
Looks like I'm going to be going with a Cannondale F9

Frame seems to get good reviews and Components appear to be "okay". Has tabs to Upgrade to Disc brakes when/if I decide to stock tires seem to be a good balance between street and trail.Most importantly I can get a deal on it.

Seems like a bike that I can ride on both street and trails, then when I get fed up and decide to buy a road bike I can deck it out for trails, and have a pretty decent bike.


*Edit; what other essentials do I need for daily commuting and a little weekend trail riding? Any good recommendations on helmets?
For a helmet, no need to get extravagant; something about $40 that fits your head will do.

Should you make the jump to discs, you won't do better for the buck than the Avid BB7; look at for them, and also ceramic disc pads. They're a magnitude better than stock.
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