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Bike help needed

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I am wanting to take up mountain biking in the summer months. This will be my first mtn bike. I looked a little at them last summer, and I believe I looked at a 19" Gary Fisher hardtail. Any recommendations on a good first bike that won't break the bank. I don't want to have to sell any skis to buy the bike! I also looked at a Jamis bike, but I don't remember the name. My budget would be around $700 all said and done.
post #2 of 14
You will probably get a lot of differing opinions on this. I think GF makes good, entry level hard tails. Especially if you can get a genesis frame at your price point, which it sounds like you can. The Marlin is a decent hard tail that will keep you under $700. You aren't going to get high end components at that price point, but they will do the job. As they need replaced, upgrade.

Whatever way you go, best of luck. If you like skiing, I can't imagine how you won't find mt biking to be a great summer alternative. I know this is sacrilege on a skiing forum...but I have to admit I am looking forward to riding season.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
What components are must have components? I know there are different grades of Shimano shifters, Deore, XTR, etc. I have found a few bikes on Ebay that look like they will work pretty well for my price range, but I don't know how to differentiate between them.
post #4 of 14
Shimano Lx is the standard. Cheaper than Lx is cheap stuff, better than LX is luxury.

Look for a bike used by a gearhead who just had to upgrade.
post #5 of 14
For bike components the differences basically break down to lighter weight, stronger, and cheaper . In general you can get 2 out of three.

As a beginning biker I would go for strong and cheap. For your first bike don't worry about the components too much. Some matter alot like the crankset and rear derrailuer, others as long as they work its all good like the front derr or seat post. You will brake alot of stuff and wear lot of stuff out while you are learning to ride. Better to wait and upgrade later. If you start with a really nice bike you are simply breaking more expensive stuff.

I am actually trying to sell my 19" hard tail, which has been built up decently. If you want to try it out, send me a PM.
post #6 of 14
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
Shimano Lx is the standard. Cheaper than Lx is cheap stuff, better than LX is luxury.
Agree that Shimano LX or SRAM X7 is good/standard stuff, with Shimano XT or SRAM X9 being the next level up & all that most besides racers need.

There is trickle down the lines for both Shimano and SRAM, and LX now is what XT was a few years ago, and Deore is as good as LX from a few years ago.

If you're just starting out on fire roads and non-technical ST, you would be pretty happy with a hardtail that has a mix of LX/Deore (or better) parts on it.
post #7 of 14
If this is your first MTB and you haven't been on a bike in while, I would be very hesitant to buying a bike on-line. Rule #1 in biking: make sure the bike fits. Rule #2: spend as much as you can. You could have a 6k full carbon bike that is a size too small and you won't enjoy it as much as the 1k bike that fits you like a charm. Getting a proper fit on the bike isn't something you can do on-line. As for rule 2, generally the more money you spend, the better bike (within reason). There is a huge jump in quality from a 300 dollar bike to 700 to 1,000 to 2,000 (for hardtails). Go to your local bike shop, tell them how much you have to spend and what type of riding you want to do. At the 700-1k price range, most bikes will be similar, so go to the shop that makes you feel most comfortable. As for components, anything Shimano LX (XTR, XT, LX from best to good) or SRAM X7 (X0, X9, X7) will work. However, don't overlook the quality of the wheelset and fork which is actually more important. Too many choices to get into, but a good shop should be able to describe this to you better.

Enjoy the new bike. 700 dollars is a good place to start. You will have a good mix of decent components that will take you where ever you can pedal it. Once you catch the biking bug, you can then upgrade parts or to a whole new bike.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info. What about a Jamis Durango 2.0 or 3.0?
post #9 of 14
Go to SEVERAL bike shops and ride Fishers and Diamondbacks and Jamis and Haro and Specialized and Kona and K2 and Novarra and ......get it?

You will develop a 'feel' for the bike that works best for you. Fisher bikes are least for me, you may not like them as I do. I can spend all day on my Fisher, and I don't like my Haro much at Haro is equipped with lots of good, expensive components. My Fisher, with middle of the road stuff, rides like a dream, up and down hill.

Pick up the current issue of Mountainbike magazine, theres a section on bikes under 1000. Lots to choose from.

Every bike feels a little or a lot different...test a bunch and you will begin to know what you like.
post #10 of 14
Originally Posted by Snowfan View Post
Go to SEVERAL bike shops and ride Fishers and Diamondbacks and Jamis and Haro and Specialized and Kona and K2 and Novarra and ......get it?
Every bike feels a little or a lot different...test a bunch and you will begin to know what you like.
What? No Trek?

What he said. Most bikes shops will let you test.
Look for something with rapidfire shifters.
I agree with Newfydog too. Talk to some bike geeks and see if you can pick up a used bike from one that has put a bunch into a bike and is ready to upgrade. Sometimes you can get a sweet ride for a lot less money.
post #11 of 14
Trek bikes are extremely well made, great bikes. IIRC they and Fisher are made by the same company now. Did not intentionally leave them out.
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
I checked out a few treks and scott bikes today. I think I will go with a Scott Aspect 20. It seemed like a good starting point. I can always upgrade components as I get into it.
post #13 of 14
A good resource for MTB gear reviews and general info is They have an extensive review section and a good forum with dozens of different sub groups.
post #14 of 14
$700 is kind of like bike price-point La-la land. If you want to stick to $700 firm get a hard-tail. You will get better components with a hard tail. If you aren't set with new, look at the or ebay classifieds.

I thought you were from mid-atlantic? If you are, or want to build something up, PM me. I have scads of good parts, that I need to unload. I also am on good terms with 2 bike shop owners. Anyway I could probably hook you up.
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