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Best place to buy a decent mountain bike?

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Best place to buy a decent mountain bike?

Old 04-22-08, 04:15 PM
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Best place to buy a decent mountain bike?

I've always been a roadie (Trek 1500 right now) but my GF went out and bought a $800 mountain bike to take out on trails. Hence I now need a mountain bike so I can join her.

I only plan on riding it once a month or so, so I don't want to spend a ton ($300), but I also don't want a total piece of crap. I've been combing over craigslist for weeks but everything there is either total junk or it isn't in my size (21").

Any ideas on where to look?
Old 04-22-08, 04:19 PM
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A bike shop....sun-ski-sports....REI....

or here:

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/mountain_bikes.htm
generic frames with mostly name brand components...

Last edited by covenant; 04-22-08 at 04:22 PM.
Old 04-22-08, 04:31 PM
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http://www.amazon.com/Huffy-Alpine-M...8896224&sr=8-7

That is all you need if you are riding with a chick
Old 04-22-08, 04:33 PM
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Go to a local bike shop. They'll be able to size/adjust the bike correctly and many of them will offer nice warranties or free maintenance on your bike.
Old 04-22-08, 04:35 PM
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If you want something under 300 bucks, you can't do much better than Target. They have some awesome hybrids (mountain/cruiser) for under 200 bucks. If you only ride once a month or so, spending more than that is kinda silly unless you're J.P. Moneybags.

Bike shops are overpriced IMO - small ones are anyway. Sports equipment stores aren't a bad place to look either if you want a small step-up from Target. Wal-Mart also carries a good selection of bikes for cheap, but who wants to support that?
Old 04-22-08, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Trigger

Bike shops are overpriced IMO -
For a once a month rider, yes, for a serious rider, no.

However, if you have a local bike shop that has 1 or 2 year old models (or older) left over, they will work you a hell of a deal to get rid of that older model. It is a crap shoot, but very possible to get a bike 50% off.
Old 04-22-08, 04:44 PM
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The problem with cheap mountain bikes is brakes. There have been numerous studies done on the brakes used on cheapo bikes v. decent bikes. Brakes are a pretty important thing, especially if you will be using this bike on trails.

I saw one study where they took a bike with good brakes v. an off the shelf bike from a big box store and the cheapo took 3x as long to stop as one with decent components.

This was more aimed at parents cheaping out on bikes for their kids but the same theory applies.
Old 04-22-08, 05:41 PM
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There are some decently priced entry level mountain bikes available at real bike shops. An ex-girlfriend of mine got a specialized hardrock for around $300-350. While not particularly light it was a decent bike and I would not be afraid of beating on it. Check out the entry level bikes at the local bikeshop.
Old 04-22-08, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Trigger
If you want something under 300 bucks, you can't do much better than Target. They have some awesome hybrids (mountain/cruiser) for under 200 bucks. If you only ride once a month or so, spending more than that is kinda silly unless you're J.P. Moneybags.

Bike shops are overpriced IMO - small ones are anyway. Sports equipment stores aren't a bad place to look either if you want a small step-up from Target. Wal-Mart also carries a good selection of bikes for cheap, but who wants to support that?
stay far away from those cheap pieces of crap. big box store bikes are garbage and put together by people who dont know the proper way to set up a bike. resulting in an unsafe heavy cheaply equiped bike. go to a bike shop and see what they got. tell them your price range and they might make a deal on an older model. there is also ebay. also unlike cheap bikes a decent brand holds a little resale value.
Old 04-22-08, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by chino77
stay far away from those cheap pieces of crap. big box store bikes are garbage and put together by people who dont know the proper way to set up a bike. resulting in an unsafe heavy cheaply equiped bike. go to a bike shop and see what they got. tell them your price range and they might make a deal on an older model. there is also ebay. also unlike cheap bikes a decent brand holds a little resale value.


My Gary Fisher bike has lasted as long as the two previous (cheapo) bikes I had before it.
Old 04-22-08, 06:32 PM
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+1 to what chino77 said, those target bikes are not meant to EVER go off road. One jump could actually break the bike, how much do you value your life?
Old 04-22-08, 06:34 PM
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I have a target bike that has lasted 19 years and I've used it a lot. Yeah, a Target bike isn't a good idea for a serious biker - I wouldn't suggest you enter a triathlon with it, but if you're just gonna casually use it 10 times a year or so, it's perfectly fine. The bike shops around me sell stuff starting at about 600-800 for the low end and that's year or two old stuff. My girlfriend and I recently went around looking. There's a big price gap between big box and specialty shops. Used is definitely a good idea, but apart from that I stand behind my suggestion.
Old 04-22-08, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Trigger
I have a target bike that has lasted 19 years and I've used it a lot.
You must weigh 82 lbs, have minimal leg strength, and ride on perfectly flat smooth surfaces, or would you rather tell us how often you have put money in repairs on this Target bike?

Yeah, a Target bike isn't a good idea for a serious biker
or anyone that weighs over 140 lbs and/or has strong legs

The bike shops around me sell stuff starting at about 600-800 for the low end
You are going to super uber biker specialty shops then. We have both in my area, the super uber biker shop and then the regular joe bike shops. You can get a $400 bike (sale price or model year old closeout price) that would be ok for a few dozen rides a year on hard pack for a 180lb or so rider.

There's a big quality gap between big box and specialty shops.
Fixed that for you

Edited to add that Costco sometimes has nice bikes in the $500 range as well.
Old 04-22-08, 06:45 PM
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Remember, you get what you pay for. So if you get a 200$ bike, expect cheaper parts, and it might break more often.

Check out craigslist, sometimes you will find some great deals on the more expensive bikes.
Old 04-22-08, 07:27 PM
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Remember that the original poster is looking for a MOUNTAIN BIKE, these are used for off road terrain, some of which can be rather abusive to the bike and rider.

I have a 10 year old raleigh M-80 mountain bike, cost $600 new, I have replaced the suspension fork, seat post, seat, wheels, tires, handlebars. It is a lower-mid level bike, high end for raleigh, lower end for some of the other specialty mt bike companies. I replaced all the parts in order to make it lighter/easier to ride/more fun off road. I ride the mid level to advanced trails and you don't want a crappy bike with bad brakes on those trails.

If you are serious about riding off road, get a bike built for the purpose.
Old 04-22-08, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by The Bus


My Gary Fisher bike has lasted as long as the two previous (cheapo) bikes I had before it.
i have a gary fisher also. they make sweet bikes.
to the OP...gary fisher bikes sizes are different than most comapanys....at least the ones with the genesis geometry do (not sure if they all have it). i normally ride a 19" but mine is a 17". so if you see one of them on craigslist a size smaller than you usually ride. it might be right for you.
Old 04-22-08, 08:07 PM
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try used...
Old 04-22-08, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by 4KRG
You must weigh 82 lbs, have minimal leg strength, and ride on perfectly flat smooth surfaces, or would you rather tell us how often you have put money in repairs on this Target bike?



or anyone that weighs over 140 lbs and/or has strong legs



You are going to super uber biker specialty shops then. We have both in my area, the super uber biker shop and then the regular joe bike shops. You can get a $400 bike (sale price or model year old closeout price) that would be ok for a few dozen rides a year on hard pack for a 180lb or so rider.



Fixed that for you

Edited to add that Costco sometimes has nice bikes in the $500 range as well.
I'm 6'1", weigh about 190 and have ridden that thing on streets, dirt, rocks, and gravel. I used to live on the side of a mountain too. I used it a lot more when I was younger, but I did use it a lot when I was in college - I'd ride it to and from work (2 miles) over various conditions. I have NEVER had to repair it outside of a tire issue. The only thing I wish it had was shocks, but they weren't really a mainstream feature on bikes when mine was purchased.

Look, I'm not arguing that bike store bikes aren't way better... they are. I'm just saying that there's nothing wrong with a Target bike and it's in his price range and it doesn't sound like he's gonna use it all that much. I've ridden high-end bikes and they are nice, but they are pretty much more than I need.

Target has this one that's a Cruiser/Mountain hybrid and it's heavier than a $1000+ bike, but it's not like you can't lift it. Plus, it's cool looking and sturdy and nice. The shocks are a little stiff, but the brakes work good and the thing is made pretty solid. It comes with a warranty too. I'm sure many of you know more about bikes than I do, but have you guys owned Target bikes?

I used to carry my cheap-o bike up a few flights of stairs after my ride to work and I'm not Superman or anything.
Old 04-22-08, 10:00 PM
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And another thing - I think that high-end bikes are fine-tuned and specialized so they logically would need to be repaired more often. Everyone I know who has or has had an expensive bike has had it in the shop - me? nope.

Target bikes are mass produced to be sturdy and rugged - not to be light-weight or customizable or high-performance. I don't know of anyone who has had a problem with them. I think specialty bike stores tell you they are garbage because they want your business. On top of all that, as long as you keep the receipt, Target will take the thing back or replace it. The one near me is awesome about that. Costco would also be good.

Target also carries Huffy and Schwinn - both companies make quality products that get good reviews. Specialty bikes are overpriced... particularly if you're a novice or casual about it. I don't buy the resale angle either - after 2 years owning a Target bike, I bet you could sell it for more than half what you paid for it... after 2 years with a fancy pants bike, good luck selling it for 10% of the retail cost... hell, you see how much they drop in price by just being a year or two out of style or whatever.

Sorry, I call shenanigans on the fancy bike thing.
Old 04-22-08, 11:45 PM
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trigger you have no idea what you are talking about. so you are telling me that a you will only get $60 for a 2yr old $600 bike? i would love to shop where you see these amazing prices. also older models are cheaper because...well they are older models. just like a car are they all junk too? big box bikes doent get marked down because they dont have people lining up for the new 2009 huffy. they sell the old one untill its gone then place another order. which just happens to be an update on the model they made 5 yrs ago.

also huffy has been know for being piece of garbage bikes for years. and those fancy name brands you see at target at walmart like schwinn and mongoose. well those arent the same as the bikes they used to make. they are just a shell of a company now that gets by on its past reputation.
the reason your friends have had their good bikes in the shop is probably because they ride hard...like a good bike was meant to be. personally ive never broken anything on my 2006 gary fisher. honestly i dont know anyone who hasnt had a problem with them. when i was a kid my cheap bikes were always messing up.
specialty bikes arent overpriced you can find a decent one brand new for less than $350.

as for the reciept thing. thats all fine and dandy if you can return your broken bike...as long as the car that hit you because of your bad breaks doesnt kill you. will they also pay the adoption fees when you cant have kids because were standing up and pedaling when your crank or chain broke and you cracked your nuts on the top bar? your cheap bike may work fine for you but for a $100 or $200 more why ride a heavy piece of shit when you can ride something that actual thought went into when it was designed?

Last edited by chino77; 04-22-08 at 11:47 PM.
Old 04-22-08, 11:46 PM
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Thanks guys..Target bikes are def out. After riding around on a $1400 road bike I refuse to sit on anything from Target.

I was mainly askinf for places to get good bikes cheaper than my LBS...tax and stuff kill many deals. I do like some of the prices on bikesdirect.com
Old 04-22-08, 11:47 PM
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chino77:

Trigger I think you're in over your head on this.
Old 04-22-08, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by namrufmot
I do like some of the prices on bikesdirect.com
ive never heard of that store so i cant voice my opinion on their frames. but one rule of thumb when buying a lower end bike is to stay away from full suspension.
Old 04-23-08, 12:07 AM
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Yeah ive heard that Chino...

my GF got the Gary Fisher Piranha and that only has front shocks
Old 04-23-08, 09:03 AM
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namrufmot - *IF* you wanted to buy a bike online, there are lots of places that randomly discount an old model of a good bike.

Currently has 20% off
http://www.nashbar.com/index.cfm

Will haggle if you call
http://bikeworld.com/itemlist.cfm?category=60

random sales, join their club for more discounts
http://www.performancebike.com/

more high end, but again random deals to be found
http://www.cambriabike.com/shopdispl...0&cat=Hardtail

this place use to have good deals, but a shady rep, not sure if they are better or not now
http://www.jensonusa.com/


I will admit my bike info is a bit dated, I built a high end bike about 10 years ago, put some very hard miles on it (I am a large guy with enough leg strength to snap chains in uphill climbs) and the only thing I have replaced on it in 10 + years and lots of miles are the tires, brake pads, the chain and cassette (they just wore out), and the cables. The wheelset, frame, shocks, brake levers, etc, etc, etc are still as stiff and strong today as they were when new.

The question is, what is good. I agree that some Gary Fisher models are nice and as well as some Specialized, Giant, and GT models. Since you are no stranger to bikes, look at all these models and buy the one with the best components for the least $$

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