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    VWVortex


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    Thread: Learn me about mountain biking

    1. Member
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      04-05-2012 12:39 AM #1
      Hey guys, I'm not big into the cycling scene, have a beater road bike I occasionally commute to work on (7 mile round trip) and that's about it. Starting to think about getting into mountain biking, first because it looks like a ton of fun and also to stay in shape for my other main pursuit (riding motorcycles, track days, etc...) So where do you start? What's a good "starter bike", how much should I be looking to spend, etc. I live in the city, but there are some decent trails withing riding distance.

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      04-05-2012 11:17 AM #2
      Quote Originally Posted by romano258 View Post
      Hey guys, I'm not big into the cycling scene, have a beater road bike I occasionally commute to work on (7 mile round trip) and that's about it. Starting to think about getting into mountain biking, first because it looks like a ton of fun and also to stay in shape for my other main pursuit (riding motorcycles, track days, etc...) So where do you start? What's a good "starter bike", how much should I be looking to spend, etc. I live in the city, but there are some decent trails withing riding distance.
      Which city? I'm assuming Philadelphia....

      the hardest part is deciding on your first bike......

      Basically.... there are 2 main decision points:

      Hard tail vs Full Suspension

      26" vs. 29er.

      (third is frame material).

      Hard tails have a shock in the front fork and Full Suspension, as you would guess, have a shock/spring for the rear wheel. Full Suspension costs a lot more (not referring to cheap Wal-Mart, Dick's etc bike).

      The bigger debate is 26" vs. 29er. Both have its pros and cons and followers of both types.
      Here's an article to get you started
      http://www.mbaction.com/Main/News/Sh...s_26_5159.aspx

      A popular bike last season on the 29er side was the Trek Marlin.
      http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...r_sport/marlin

      My bike, when I bought new a couple years ago.... cost $1000, with nearly the same equipment levels... so 29er prices gone down a lot....
      2008 Passat wagon, 2.0T 6MT with mods
      Other Rides:
      - 2013 Cannondale CAADX-6
      - 2010 Specialized Secteur Elite
      - 2009 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29-er

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      04-05-2012 11:57 AM #3
      Most important thing - Focus on where you want the bike to go, not at the tree you're heading toward.

      2 - Give horses a wide berth, or stop to let them pass. They can get pissy. But usually not as much as the riders.

      3 - Don't eat a salad before a hard ride.

      4 - Don't skid if possible. (With your back wheel or in your shorts if you ate salad before the ride)

      5 - Bring a small pump and an extra tube.
      Expose your cracks and love will fill them.

    4. Member B3passatBMX's Avatar
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      04-05-2012 12:09 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by BsickPassat View Post
      Basically.... there are 2 main decision points:

      Hard tail vs Full Suspension

      26" vs. 29er.
      Full rigid single speed 29'er That was my first mtn bike, it was a hell of a lot of fun.
      Quote Originally Posted by Rutledge View Post
      Well, then, I'm here to "ruin" the vortex for you. I'm sorry you hate fun.
      91 318is M50 Swapped
      93 525iT

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      04-05-2012 12:21 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by BsickPassat View Post
      Which city? I'm assuming Philadelphia....

      the hardest part is deciding on your first bike......

      Basically.... there are 2 main decision points:

      Hard tail vs Full Suspension

      26" vs. 29er.

      (third is frame material).

      Hard tails have a shock in the front fork and Full Suspension, as you would guess, have a shock/spring for the rear wheel. Full Suspension costs a lot more (not referring to cheap Wal-Mart, Dick's etc bike).

      The bigger debate is 26" vs. 29er. Both have its pros and cons and followers of both types.
      Here's an article to get you started
      http://www.mbaction.com/Main/News/Sh...s_26_5159.aspx

      A popular bike last season on the 29er side was the Trek Marlin.
      http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...r_sport/marlin

      My bike, when I bought new a couple years ago.... cost $1000, with nearly the same equipment levels... so 29er prices gone down a lot....
      Yup, Philly. Figure Wissahickon creek should keep me busy for a while. So what the general verdict on full suspension vs. hard tails? Is full suspension overkill for newbs? What kind of basic gear should I invest in (helmet obviously, but what about armor..)?

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      04-05-2012 01:39 PM #6
      On full suspension vs. a hard tail, I'd say it comes down to budget. A cheap HT will have a better parts spec than a cheap FS will.

      Most of us who have been riding for a while started out on HTs and built skill from there. I'd recommend the same. A HT will teach you bike handling skill that you won't learn on a FS. That's not to say a FS bike is a bad choice, but for a new rider, I'd suggest buying a decent, affordable HT and figuring out what style of riding you like best. Then drop some real money on your next bike.

      For protection, wear what makes you comfortable. Knee/elbow pads seem overkill to me for anything but DH/DJ, but if you'll be more confident riding with pads, then wear them. For xc, I only wear a helmet and gloves.

      Not really in the protection category, but pick up some good riding shorts (tight or baggie, whatever you prefer) with a decent chamois, your taint will thank you.

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      04-05-2012 01:45 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by romano258 View Post
      Yup, Philly. Figure Wissahickon creek should keep me busy for a while. So what the general verdict on full suspension vs. hard tails? Is full suspension overkill for newbs? What kind of basic gear should I invest in (helmet obviously, but what about armor..)?
      Helmet, camelback (or two water bottles and cages), shorts with a padded liner should get you started. Gloves and glasses are optional but I never ride without either. Hamburger hands aren't fun after a fall, either is a twig in your eye.

      I've been riding wiss since I got a driver's license in 94. I've ridden lots of different bikes there but currently a hardtail 29er is my choice. You'll see a lot of other riders there on them.

      Full suspension isn't overkill there, but until you get to the upper price ranges the hardtails usually represent the better value. IE - a $1,000 hardtail is going to have better parts than a $1,000 full suspension. And be lighter.
      Expose your cracks and love will fill them.

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      04-05-2012 02:37 PM #8
      If you aren't sure you are going to like it you may think about renting or borrowing a bike for a few rides first. If that isn't possible buy as cheap as possible. Find a nice used hardtail that is in good shape. Get some time in the saddle before you make the plunge on the big investment of a new bike.

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      04-05-2012 03:11 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by MAC View Post
      Helmet, camelback (or two water bottles and cages), shorts with a padded liner should get you started. Gloves and glasses are optional but I never ride without either. Hamburger hands aren't fun after a fall, either is a twig in your eye.

      I've been riding wiss since I got a driver's license in 94. I've ridden lots of different bikes there but currently a hardtail 29er is my choice. You'll see a lot of other riders there on them.

      Full suspension isn't overkill there, but until you get to the upper price ranges the hardtails usually represent the better value. IE - a $1,000 hardtail is going to have better parts than a $1,000 full suspension. And be lighter.
      Lots of people I ride with ride a FS bike. It doesn't beat you up as much.... but one of the weakness of the FS is when you pedal, many rear suspension will compress, that you lose contact with the ground, do you don't transfer power to the terrain. The major bike companies have been messing around with this for ages, to get the proper balance on the rear suspension design.

      I have a 29er hardtail.

      One of the other decisions is platform vs. clipless pedals.
      2008 Passat wagon, 2.0T 6MT with mods
      Other Rides:
      - 2013 Cannondale CAADX-6
      - 2010 Specialized Secteur Elite
      - 2009 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 29-er

    10. Member
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      04-05-2012 04:06 PM #10
      Thanks for the responses guys, they've been extremely helpful. Definitely not looking to spend a ton of dough, my current hobby eats up way too much as it is. Now off to craigslist...

    11. Member vwsutton's Avatar
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      04-06-2012 12:38 PM #11
      I ride the Wiss at least once a week, it is a quick ride from downtown, cant beat it. I have ridden hardtail 26ers and 29ers and Full suspension 26er. I learned on a steel 26er with only 2 inches of travel in the front.

      I will echo what others say buy learning on a hardtail. I go with a used 26er, steel if you can find it. It will teach you a lot, if you ride it hard for a year. And then figure out what bike you really want by trying others out.

      I would look on craigslist and pick something up that is a high end bike but is anywhere from 5 to 15 years old. Older Higher end bikes have good components that will be better then and new lower end bike.

      here is some examples:
      steel frame: more forgiving then Aluminum
      http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/bik/2938978645.html

      two Cannondales: With Aluminum frame/ lighter bike but stiffer ride:
      http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/bik/2923587395.html
      http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/bik/2929187574.html

      And again, this is only my thoughts and no has to agree with them, just passing them on to you.

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      04-19-2012 06:05 PM #12
      Test riding a Stumpjumper Comp 29 tonight, can't wait!

    13. Member mk2jettabro's Avatar
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      04-21-2012 12:18 AM #13
      I had been a road rider, and triathlete for a few years, then took a break for a season or two. I was looking for something exciting to breathe some new life into cycling and get me back outdoors.

      I had been interested in mountain biking for a couple years, and decided to finally bite the bullet. After some research, I picked up a 2012 Trek Mamba 29er on sale. It was absolutely the best purchase I have made in a long time.

      I have rode the bike at least 4 days a week since I bought it and it has also got me back into road cycling. I picked up a single speed and a vintage road bike to start riding, too.

      It is such a blast and so much more engaging than road cycling. It adds a whole new element to riding and I absolutely love it. I would recommend mountain biking to anyone!

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      04-25-2012 09:59 AM #14
      I'd say go with the Hardtail if you're strating out. I've noticed guys buying the duallies ignore proper riding technique as the full suspension can smooth things out.

      I prefer Hardtails for 3 reasons.

      1. They're cheaper (for a college kid that's a huge plus)

      2. They're better training bikes since they don't give you complete freedom over the obstalces like a dual suspension bike does.

      3. For most of the trails I ride a dual suspension isn't really necessary. I ride a lot in the South Jersey region and Western North Carolina.

      I actually just bought an Access Raptor from Performance Bicycle down here in NC. I think it cost me about $700, the base model was 4-500 I think. They have a store right in philly near the walt whitman bridge i think.

      Before that I had a Specialized Rockhopper and honestly it's been one helluva bike. I've had it for 7 years now and it's great. My friends ride it and I use it as a back-up. It's a bit old fashioned now (v brakes, and early Shimano trigger shifters) but still rides great.

      Bottom line: I think you can spend less than $600 and get a good bike for strating out. A friend of mine just bought a dual suspension for 2k and he's a terrible rider. Don't fall into that category.

      Best of luck!

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