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“As part of my ongoing delusion that I may get into adventure racing, I scammed a mountain bike today. I don't know a thing about them, so if someone does, let me know, and I'll tell you what I have, then you tell me why it's no good!”
“Before I was a backpacker I was a mountain biker. Been riding a lot lately, trying to get back into it. Ask me anything you like.”
“Good. Just the man I need.
My brother had a Mongoose that he never rode, so I appropriated it this evening. Going by what's on the frame it's a D40 model, 21 speed. The front shocks say Ballistic 105. The rear shock says DM DV-7. I have already figured out that it probably needs disc brakes, right? The tires are 26 inch Innovas.
If I had to guess, the bike is a Walmart special, but it was free, something to at least start getting in better shape with.”
“Well, you got yourself a great beginner bike. As long as neither of the shocks are bottoming out, don't worry about replacing them. IF and only IF you get into mountain biking a little more, maybe buy a new front suspension fork--a good one that you can move to a new bike when you upgrade. But make sure it is really good because a new bike might have a similar or better one, thus making your investment pointless.
I am assuming that the bike is heavy since it's the Wal-Mart Special. You should weigh it. If it weighs more than 35lbs then I wouldn't use it for any type of uphill mountain biking. I'd stick to flat trails and roads and get yourself another bike.
As for getting disc brakes...don't waste your money. The only people who need disc brakes are the crazy people who go downhill at incredible speeds and need to stop fast. Disc brakes only give you an advantage if you're a downhill racer or if you ride in a wet climate--they stop faster when wet or mucky. Normal street and trail riding doesn't require you to have disc brakes.
Do yourself a favor and get an orthopedic medical seat for men. They are funny looking seats with a giant hole or "love channel" up the center. The purpose of the hole is to relieve pressure on the tailbone. Men who ride on a seat more than 3 hours at a time without a hole in it are 70% more likely to become impotent...you don't want that now do you. I just got me a generic one from Galyan's, works and feels great. However, some people on a mountain biking forum suggested the Terry Liberator. You might want to get it if you have the money. $50
As far as anything else goes...I wouldn't upgrade anything except maybe the derailers and shifters. However, if you really get into mountain biking you'll want a newer better bike so be careful about what you buy because the new bike might have better components (like derailers) and won't need the upgraded parts from the old bike.
The best thing to do would be get the seat, get into mountain biking a little more, and then buy a better bike. Then upgrade it all that you want! You'll save money in the long run by not upgrading this bike too much and just saving for a newer and lighter bike.”
“That's kind of what I was thinking, as far as not doing a whole lot to this one.
You're right about the weight! I meant to mention earlier that it feels like it weighs a ton. I'll find a scale and find out how much.
I've been surfing the web a little, and it looks like a good bike will start out around 1200 bucks. Ouch.
Thanks for the info. I had no idea about any of the stuff, and just what you've told me has helped a ton. I'll keep you posted.”
“Well, what I've learned is that you don't always need new toys. I buy used backpacking gear and mountain bike upgrades, etc. Find out what type of bike you want and then search eBay, the internet, and local classified ads. Buying used you could save 50% easily. Plus the brand you go with is usually just preference. My buddy prefers Giant, I prefer Trek. Also you can get a good bike new for $800 and then upgrade it piece by piece and make it better than a $1200 bike. If I was going to buy another bike I'd look for one around $800 and upgrade it slowly. Take care of it and they will last a long time. I've had my current bike for about 6 years and it works great.”
“Ya the POS you got is a POS.I wouldnt upgrade it for nothing.Its a dead weight-junk!
You can get great mtn bikes on ebay for 500 bux ie Specialized StumpJumper M2(xtr derailleurs+brakes).Its a light bike with excellent components and is a great ride.”
“I remember my first mountain bike when I was 13...it was an 18 speed $50 Huffy...weighed 50lbs, no suspension, cheap everything.... I tell you what though...I lost a lot of weight riding that mofo up hills. And when I got my next bike it weighed half as much...I just cruised up hills that I once huffed and puffed on. Even though it was a POS and heavy as hell...it was a good beginner bike to make sure I was going to get into mountain biking before spending $500 on a new one.”
“Well, one thing's for sure. You can't beat the price I got it at. And a $500 bike on Ebay is 500 more than I can spend right now. We'll see what happens.”
“I thought Mongoose was a good brand. Like a Mongoose something (whatever model). However, if it's a WalMart Mongoose.... never mind.”
“I would just ride what you have for now and decide if you like the sport. If you do like like it and want a better bike that is more efficient, don't put any money into the Walmart special. It makes no sense to put good components on a bad frame. The frame is the heart of any bike and always start out with a good quality frame. It would be better just to buy a new bike maybe used if your pressed for funds, but again start out with the best frame you can afford. Components, at least not top quality ones don't last all that long if you ride hard and often so will be replaced down the road anyway, but you'll always have your good frame to upgrade on. The bottom line with bikes is "the more you pay the longer you can play" If you ride hard and often top shelf components save money and labor in the long run since they last much longer and don't need to be replaced as often saving labor time when you can be out riding instead of fixing and replacing things.”
“LLBean sold Mongoose, they may still. Doesn't mean it's a good bike though, I got one and took it back. However, FREE is FREE and if you like mtn biking, then work toward something better.
I've got some friends who've invited me to go trail riding with them, one goes on and on about what I need "first." Well FIRST, I'm using the mtn bike I have until I decide I want to continue.”
“After reading up on the bike I've found out that it's not a bad bike for strictly downhill riding if you upgrade all the parts. Several people have removed all the stock parts and replaced them with upgrades for strictly downhill riding. Someone suggested that it was much more reasonable than a $1000 frame--because when you bend it, it doesn't hurt the wallet so much.”
“Just get out there and ride it. Learn how to ride trails, learn how to maintain your bike. If you like the sport and you eventually out perform your equipment then go shopping. You can get a pretty nice Trek for $500. Its not the lightest in the world but has good enough components to last a while. Plus you can always upgrade the components later...”
“Ditch the kickstand and reflectors and heaven forbid lose the wire basket and the ta-ling bell but keep the tassels at the handlebar ends and don't forget to get a fresh baseball card for the rear spokes.
I always heard that components make the bike. Sure frame weight is a factor but nothing beats good components fore and aft.”
“Briar, thanks for the reminder. I went and checked my bike out todasy, and sure enough the baseball card in back was unevenly worn. I cant believe I didnt notice it...”
“Briar I had to keep the bell, but will a playing card do in place of a baseball card?
I rode the dang thing last night. Got a little too ambitious and started having serious doubts about getting home! Plus the bike weighs 136.4 pounds, I think.
WVa thanks for looking into it a little for me.”
Shame on you for the cards. That could effect turning performance, speed AND zoom factor.
I picked up my first mountain bike yesterday and took a test ride on the rails to trails path around my town. It's speedy!!! Boy is this going to be fun. Of course I remember going out on my Schwinn when younger and riding trails, creeks etc. Nobody told my you had to have a special bike.
Stickman - the nice thing about that free bike is that you can start out tumble around run in to a couple of trees and get used to riding before you trash an expensive new bike. More power to ya.”
“OK peeps... I am going in on a hardtail mountain bike. I got a big dividend to spend at REI. As usual I have over-done the research thing last night and here is what I think I want... any opinions out there? I like the larger wheels, the brakes and components. It's a little more than I want to spend.
last edited: 4/29/09 9:11:07 AM”
“OK, it's a LOT more than I want to spend.”
“Opinion: Get a full suspension bike and save yourself the pain. I rode a hard tail for years in my younger years and now on the bomber downhills, it kills me. I don't know if you're just riding mellow trails or what, but if you ride anything with moderate dropoffs, you will be MUCH happier with a fs.
For an in-between style frame, something like this: http://www.moots.com/#/product/bicycles/mtb/ybb/”
“WOW, Yogisan, does this mean you're going to be the third member of our adventure racing team? Does it? Does it?”
“the full suspension bikes are so darn expensive! i know it's probably worth it but for the same $$$ i can get a hardtail with what i think are much better components. if mountain bikes are like my fuji touring bike there is no substitute for good components.
not sure if you would want me! being a newb to the sport and even cycling i would prolly drag you down. i can prolly do all that other stuff (run, orienteering, kayaking, rappelling/climbing etc)... btw, keep me out of a canoe!
i do have a lot of endurance and a high threshold for both pain & discomfort. that might be of greater value in adventure racing than i realize...”
“Sweet bike, JS...you gonna let me test ride it for ya?? :)
Coupla things to think about...if you're actually going to so any serious mtn. biking I would agree with Rosey, look for a FS bike...
If however you're going to use it for AR I'd stick with the hard tail...less weight, not to mention less things that can break...plus you really don't need the FS for AR.”
“You can always replace components when they break. The flip side is, find something used. I rarely buy new bikes anymore. It's just not worth it.
Not mtn bikes, but I just scored two of these (his and her) for free and am rebuilding them (sat in a garage for 30 years).
last edited: 4/29/09 1:15:10 PM”
“Save some cash - check this one out.
“You can always replace components when they break...
Yeah but it's not much fun pushing a bike 3 miles on a mtn. bike trail! :D
OR try to fix it during a race!
last edited: 4/29/09 1:40:03 PM”
“thanks garfum. i will seriously consider it!”
“bike mechanicing ain't the simplest thing - some components are easier than others to replace too.
(Disc brakes kick major forms of ass too btw...)
You sometimes run into compatability problems - case in point, i wanted to upgrade my wheel sets last summer and wound up having to get a new rear cassette as well coz my old one wasn't compatible with the new hubs on the better wheels.
Unless you enjoy monkey wrenching more than riding get the better componets up front.”
“Unless you enjoy monkey wrenching more than riding get the better components up front.
Especially if you plan on treating your bike like I treat mine! lol
(and I agree...disk brakes rock!)
Oh and btw Jimmy...you'd do fine in AR...you know you wanna try it :)”
“Hard to avoid Asia. My mtn. bike is a Cannondale made in the USA. My roadbike is a Trek OCLV made in the USA. My Raleighs (3 of them) were made in Nottigham, England. My Huffy Sportster and Huffy Daisy tandem were made in Azusa, California.
Moots is made in the USA :)
last edited: 4/29/09 2:51:30 PM”
“Cannondale is moving production from Bedford, PA to Asia. I think it said China in the article I read a few weeks ago.
I'm not sold on the full suspension mountain bike. It depends where you plan to ride. Some areas full suspension isn't needed. I'm pleased with a front suspension fork, Merlin titanium frame and a USE suspension seatpost. Very lightweight, good enough comfort and great climbing ability, and no extra weight and maintenance of a full suspension bike. I don't like flying downhills anyway so for me this works just fine. Falling off on rocky ground with just bike shorts a jersey and helmet is pretty painful at the speeds a full suspension bike can reach.”
“...one of the reasons I chose that bike is that it's from REI where I have a big dividend waiting. i was going to use it this year to get a better bike than i could get if i paid cash somewhere else. i use my rei visa for all my business expenses (airline, hotel, etc) so my dividend check is usually pretty large. i tend to fritter it away on little stuff, esp climbing gear and odds-n-ends for the few big treks i take each year. this year i thought i would go for one big thing... or a portion of one at least.”
“Maybe buy all your components at REI and then buy a better frame elsewhere and build it up.
Not saying it's a better thing, just another option to consider.”
“i would screw it up... no pun intended. it's my nature. i bought my kids bikes at rei because i was hopeless maintaining the piece of cr*p bikes i was getting them (every year) at wal*mart. these have lasted a few years and only one major repair (2x cannondale, 1x k2). my youngest is tough on his bike. it would be nice to ride with them this season. they really don't do anything on the trail but we would all go, the four of us, if i had a bike. so it's a good thing (tm).”
“Yeah. Sounds like you don't do maintenance (personally, I like it as much as I like riding), so definitnely take the easy route. You got the dosh lined up. Just go to REI.”
“i am gonna have to ride it. i am concerned that my feet will bump into those big tires on tight turns. they come awfully close to the pedal. i like the idea of the larger tires.
bigger is better. on this planet bigger IS better.
...or was that louder?
“I'm no expert - but I think unless you are deeply into competition or are pushing the edge at an elite level, you've reached the point of diminishing returns before you get to the 1300 dollar mark.
Bikes in the price range of Garfum's Yukon were considered pretty mind blowing not too many years ago.
last edited: 4/30/09 10:04:02 AM”
“i like the giant bikes a lot. i spent some time on their site. damn! $4k for a mountain bike. i guess i should not be shocked. i have a friend that dropped more than that on a roadie a few years back. i told him to wait and spend a lot less for the same reason you stated pedxing. there is a point where you are a good enough rider that the difference in the price points is noticeable... but he wasn't there and neither am i.
still the fs bikes at REI -start- at 1300k. i am pretty sold on a hardtail but i looked up my local giant reseller and will pay them a visit this weekend.”
“My current ride is fs - and i like the smoother transitions over rocks and off curbs, but if i were to buy a new one - i'd probably go with a hardtail and put the money saved over fs into disc brakes and beefier frame, nice wheels, etc. and yeah, once you cross the 1,200 or 1,300 buck mark, your into competetion level stuff (low end at least). For weekend warriors, there's no need to spend more - unless you can and just want to.”
“The best thing about hard tails is the weight savings. My Cannondale Killer V is about 23/24 lbs with a beefy front shock.”
“...see... about the 1300 buck thing. the fs bikes START at 1300 bucks. i guess the bottom of the fs bikes is the top of my food chain.
i am going to ride a few at rei tomorrow and then visit that giant dealer. i am pretty sold on the hardtail bike however. not sure about the 29" wheels. know i want better components. have a price range. know i am entry level.
rosey... where do you shop for used bikes?”
“List of craig, ebay, local bike shop bulletin board. I've had the most luck through friends and word of mouth.”
“hi mr Yogisan I have a question for ya. Seems like your taste is quite tasty so i have a need to ask you da question? Do you ride a hard seat?”
“I know you got the dividend and all, but have you shopped a Performance Bike store yet? Don't think they carry Giant, but they have good stuff and their FS price points fall well below $1,300.”
“i am going to ride a few at rei tomorrow and then visit that giant dealer. i am pretty sold on the hardtail bike however.
I'm getting a Giant road bike and I was very impressed with them. They make all their own frames and they have set a very high standard on head tube strength and integrity. I agree about the hard tail. I like things simple and straight forward.”
“well, making sure my head tube is strong and has integrity is certainly one of MY priorities...”
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