Shopping for a Mountain Bike



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  • Shopping for a Mountain Bike

    I'm thinking about buying a mountain bike and don't want to spend a fortune. Expected use would be mostly riding on paved pathways and some dirt trails. Nothing too intense. Just looking to get some exercise and explore the neighborhood.

    I've seen some Diamondbacks, Iron Horses and Motivs for $200 to $300 at the local box stores. Are these durable enough for casual riding or do I need to shell out a few more bucks for a higher end bike?

    Suggestions and advice are greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    I would say it depends on what you mean by "casual" riding. If by dirt trails you mean gravel roads, you'd probably be fine with a less expensive bike. If you see yourself actually riding trails in the mountains - Resurrection Pass and trails like that - then you'll probably want to go with something a bit nicer. You can get a pretty nice bike with a front shock and disc breaks for around the $500 mark. This might be more than you need right now, but if you get into it you'll be able to grow into the bike without having to buy a new one. Also, a decent bike will retain some resale value, while a box store bike won't be worth more than $50 if you ever decide to sell it.

    I'm not trying to steer you away from a box store bike. If you'll just be riding on sidewalks at moderate speeds, go for it. Just thought I'd point out the advantages of a little nicer bike.


    • #3
      A possible suggestion

      Take a look at this bike. It's still pretty basic, but has a nice front shock, disc breaks, and higher end components than you would find at a box store. The price is $450, but REI often has sales. (unfortunately you just missed 15% off).

      K2 Zed 2.0 Bike


      • #4
        I agree that starting out with a more versatile bike that offers some nicer upgrades makes a lot of sense, especially over the long haul. I like the fact that it leaves open the option for trying out more rugged terrain at some point.

        Thanks for the link. That's a sweet looking ride and the price seems reasonable. Will have to make a trip over there and take a look.


        • #5
          Used Bikes

          If you're looking to maximize the amount of bike you're getting and minimize the amount of money you're spending on it (always a good strategy) you should at least consider a used bike. There are some nice rides advertised pretty regularly on Craigslist ( and on various bulletin boards around town. Good luck with your purchase and happy trails.


          • #6
            Good idea. What are some of the higher-end brands that I should keep an eye open for? Are the frames for most mountain bikes one size fits all or do the dimensions vary to accomodate individual riders?


            • #7
              Frame sizes vary, so you need to check out a few bikes to see what fits. Unfortunately, they also can vary from brand to brand, but not by a whole lot. I'm 6'0", and I typically like a frame somewhere between 17 and 18 inches, but some bikes seem to fit me better with a 16 inch frame and some with a 19. The measurements aren't really consistent.

              As for brands, there are lots of good ones. Some of them are Marin, Specialized, K2, Kona, Novara, Cannondale, Giant, etc.



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