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Author Topic: In need of a Starter Bike  (Read 735 times)

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Offline SJK83

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In need of a Starter Bike
« on: May 21, 2013, 06:58:27 PM »
       In need of a starter bike… I haven’t ridden since I was a kid, but I stumbled upon Carter road and got intrigued. So with no idea of what this trail had in-store for me (and without doing any research whatsoever) I took an old sporting-goods store quality bike out on the trail. Needless to say I had a blast, but it was very apparent that I was under-equipped.
   So, I stumbled upon the SWAP site and started checking out what avid cyclists were riding and then set out on my normal channels to buying a new toy - Amazon & a google search.  Surprise! I came up empty... I think I am on the right track after visiting my friendly local Trek dealer and I am currently torn between the Wahoo & the Marlin (am I on the right track). My original budget of two-hundred bucks got tripled, and as hard as it is to justify 600+, I am under the impression that I need that level of commitment to actually enjoy this sport. I get the feeling that if I cheap out, I’ll end up wasting a couple hundred bucks on junk and ultimately lose interest without giving it a fair shot.
   - I am I correct in assuming $600+ is truly the entry level investment for this hobby or can I find a starter for 3-400, and if I fall in love with the sport, then put in the cash for a big boy toy?
   - Am I on the right track investing in a brand new Trek Wahoo or the Marlin? I think I’d be really happy with a used bike as a starter, but I couldn’t find any (Craigs list didn’t look like a good option – but I could be wrong)
   - If a new Trek really is the best way to go, will I actually use the lock out feature on the suspension of the Marlin or would I be better off going with the Wahoo (because no one uses that feature) and putting the price difference into “going tubeless”?
   - Do you guys (and girls, no sexism) advocate going tubeless or is that a gimmick to squeeze another 80 bucks out of me?

                                           I have tons of question and very few answers, please help!
   

        I realize whining about a hundred bucks here or there must seem petty to a veteran of the sport who willingly drops two grand on a new rig (that he/she probably built from the frame up!). But, I am new to the sport and I realize that this form gives me access to a great wealth of knowledge. I really appreciate anyone who takes the time to help guide me through this awkward “All I know is that I know nothing” phase.

Offline fatcamper

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Re: In need of a Starter Bike
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2013, 07:29:36 PM »
In my opinion that is a really good entry point into the hobby. There will always be those who speak of a CL steal they found, but they are few and far between. Most of the stuff on CL is junk and you would need an expert to sort out the actual deals from the outdated junk. As a precaution, know that you will also NEED a helmet along with some basic tools and a hydration container. A good bike shop can point you in the right direction on this.

As for the specific bikes you listed, I'm not familiar with either bike. In my opinion a lockout really isn't needed or really all that useful in FL. Most riders don't take the time to switch it on for the short periods it might be beneficial. There are likely other minor differences between the two bikes, but I doubt there are any game changing differences. A tubeless setup is a game changer though and I would highly recommend it.

Finally, I would recommend familiarizing yourself with the basic components of a bike and the different models of those parts. You don't need to be an expert, but a basic understanding can help in shopping. With this I would stop by several bike shops (Bent's and Leroy's are both near Carter - I am partial to Leroy's) and shop around. there are many shops and many brands, you might get more for your money somewhere besides the first place you stopped.

Good luck and have fun.

Offline Alan

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Re: In need of a Starter Bike
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2013, 08:12:43 PM »
Who hacked fc's account? This info is far too helpful.

Offline BTroll

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Re: In need of a Starter Bike
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2013, 08:47:05 PM »
There is a lot of junk to sort through on craigslist but decent bikes can be found with patience. Go to many bike shops as well - some have used bikes that are in good condition.

If you are set on a new entry bike:
Of the Treks you listed the frame is the same. The upgrades between the 2 are negligible, get the color you like the most.

Also Giant/Specialized/Cannondale have hardtail similar spec'd 29ers for cheaper than the Marlin. All of these bikes will be in bike shops locally, so go check them out in person and get which one you like the most.

Offline Alan

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Re: In need of a Starter Bike
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2013, 08:54:47 PM »
At that price if you want new you may want to consider direct buys online since you will usually get much more bike for your money compared to big brands at local shops.  BikesDirect.com is a popular one.   You'll also find some good deals on other sites like Nashbar, Pricepoint, Competitive, etc. 

Offline BTroll

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Re: In need of a Starter Bike
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2013, 09:05:31 PM »
Agree with Alan. Airborne is also another online dealer that has better equipped bikes. (Shipping is 75.00, but they sometimes have free shipping)

http://www.airbornebicycles.com/products/110-airborne-guardian-29er.aspx


Offline Albe23

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Re: In need of a Starter Bike
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2013, 10:06:00 PM »
I will also vouch for Airborne.  I have a friend of mine on the Skyhawk, nothing fancy just a solid entry level rig.  If you can swing the Guardian I would go that route.  Not because I'm a 29'r guy just the components are much better.  Still have yet to see anyone come close to Airborne for quality per dollar.
"Force has no place where there is need of skill" - Heredotus

Offline fatcamper

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Re: In need of a Starter Bike
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2013, 08:35:20 AM »
You do get more bang for your buck with a direct to consumer bike sales site, but you lose most of the benefits of the local bike shop (LBS). Unless you are familiar with modern bikes the odds are you will have trouble tuning your bike properly when it arrives. This is an advantage buying from a LBS offers, and they generally offer a free tune-up or two - which if charged retail would probably come close to exceeding the savings on the bike from a direct to consumer site.

In my opinion the minor upgrade in parts you would receive buying direct is a moot point if you can't tune the derailleurs and brakes properly. That being said, if you are mechanically inclined and don't mind a little trial-and-error buying direct is a good way to save some money. Just know that if something goes wrong and you can't fix it the LBS is likely to charge you a bit more than they would if you had purchased the bike with them. It might even be something they cover under "warranty" if you had purchased from them.

Slowly acquiring the skills to fix your own bike is the best way to do it. Throwing yourself into the fire without a good relationship with a LBS is going to lead to some unpleasant rides and potentially a few long walks to the car.

Offline Alan

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Re: In need of a Starter Bike
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2013, 09:16:40 AM »
Good points.

We purchased my wife's bike from a direct online manufacturer (Fezzari).  The bike ended up having some issues with the drivetrain skipping under power after a few rides.  They had us take it to a shop of our choice to diagnose the issue.  Fezzari then paid the shop directly for the labor and parts required to fix the issue (ended up being a bad chain).  Not sure if all direct manufacturers do warranty issues this way, but they really did a great job taking care of us.  Really ended up being no different than an LBS buy with the exception of us paying about $200 less than a comparable big brand bike.  The cool thing with Fezzari is the cost of the bike also included a custom fit...send them your measurements and they give you an appropriate size stem, cranks, bar width, etc.  LBS will usually just do an initial fit to adjust the seat and lever position....typically a stem or any other parts change comes at the cost of the buyer.  Not sure if this is something they still offer though. 

Offline Albe23

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Re: In need of a Starter Bike
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2013, 12:54:38 PM »
I would say never go to a bike shop that doesn't have clearly identified service rates.
"Force has no place where there is need of skill" - Heredotus

 

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