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Hi There,

Good day...

I am new to Biking and looking to get into MTB world . Based on your experience , I am  looking for some pointers to a good entry level dual MTB bike ? 

 

Budget : around $3500

 

Thank you

 

Currently using Reid Falco road bike..

Edited by Drunken Monk
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  • Drunken Monk changed the title to MTB Dual Suspension

In my experience go Giant. They have the best bang for buck. Namely being the biggest manufacturer of cycles in the world ( bar India), doing OEM for plenty of other companies.

 

Alu frames are best value imho. Don't get sucked in the carbon black hole ( pun intended).

Whether 29" or 650B....let the salesman guide you. Don't let him convince you need a 160mm travel bike.  You are a newbie....140mm or less will more than adequate.

 

My 2cents. good luck

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I would look at all the major brands (Giant, Merida, Specialized....) go to your local bike shop and ride a couple different brands. You will be surprised at how different they are.

 

You can also get a good deal on the previous years model if they have any, they won't differ much to the current years model.

Edited by Whites
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Firstly, what sort of ‘mountain biking’ are you wanting to do?

 

Be aware that just about every bike shop will want to sell you a bike with 29 inch wheels, and a Large size frame, even if you’re 5’ 6” tall. The bike industry would like everyone to be on the same size bike, and they are on a push to get everyone on 29 inch wheels so they only have to make one size.

 

If you’re intending to ride in the bush, smaller wheels are much more manoeuvrable. Go for 27.5” aka 650B. Buy a frame size you feel comfortable on, if you’re stretching out to reach the bars, or can’t easily put your foot flat on the ground, it’s too big.

 

Choose your shop wisely. If they stock mostly road bikes, find somewhere else. If they’re all young blokes, find somewhere else. If the guy trying to sell you the bike doesn’t ride in the bush every week, find somewhere else.

 

Buy a mid-level brand, Trek, Giant, Merida, Specialized. Going for a fancier brand will get you a lesser bike for the same price point.

 

And yes, buying last years bike can often give you a much better deal. But not always!

 

Cheers,

 Jason.

 

 

Edited by koputai
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3 hours ago, koputai said:

If you’re intending to ride in the bush, smaller wheels are much more manoeuvrable. Go for 27.5” aka 650B. Buy a frame size you feel comfortable on, if you’re stretching out to reach the bars, or can’t easily put your foot flat on the ground, it’s too big.

 

Choose your shop wisely. If they stock mostly road bikes, find somewhere else. If they’re all young blokes, find somewhere else. If the guy trying to sell you the bike doesn’t ride in the bush every week, find somewhere else.

Great advice. I really don't like 29'ers, too much flex in the OEM wheels, even on some high level Carbon jobs I've hired when travelling OS.

 

I'd also take some time to critically judge your own level of confidence or fear factor. Be honest rather than hopeful of gaining confidence. Several years ago I bought an "all mountain" bike thinking I'd still have the balls to jump gaps etc like I did as a teen on my bmx. I recently sold the dually as it was way too much bike for my style of riding. In fact I now ride a gravel bike instead of a mtb but still enjoy single track. I find most trails offer me more of a challenge on the gravel bike than a dually which just ploughs through with no skills required. 

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Thanks everyone for your feedback .

 

I am 40 years and 6'0" tall, just trying to do MTB as hobby. Just moving from road bike to trails. Will not do any adventures trail. Just want some bike to drive on basic trail and gravel. Will it be wise to buy a hard tail bikes from trek / Gaint/  Merida? Rather than wasting on dual suspension.

 

Currently just enjoying road bike

 

@blybo @koputai @Whites @Honreekea

 

Edited by Drunken Monk
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@Drunken Monk 

 

I ride a MTB on the fire trails near me, only trying to keep fit. Initially I bought a cheap Merida hardtail (approx $1200, previous years model) as I wasn't sure I would like riding in the bush as I used to ride on the road. It had the smaller wheels.

 

After about 2 years I decided to upgrade to full suspension after riding a friends as it was more comfortable. I bought a Specialized as after trying a couple of models at the shop they instantly were more comfortable to ride and the quality seemed high (blew my budget though). 

 

In my case I definitely would recommend buying full suspension, however depending on your budget it might be better buying a higher quality hardtail than a cheap full suspension. Also I am 55, so I find the full suspension less stressful on my dodgy knee joints.

 

A decent bike shop will measure  and make sure you have the right frame size, they will also do the seat.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Drunken Monk said:

Thanks everyone for your feedback .

 

I am 40 years and 6'0" tall, just trying to do MTB as hobby. Just moving from road bike to trails. Will not do any adventures trail. Just want some bike to drive on basic trail and gravel. Will it be wise to buy a hard tail bikes from trek / Gaint/  Merida? Rather than wasting on dual suspension.

 

Currently just enjoying road bike

 

@blybo @koputai @Whites @Honreekea

 

If it's just basic single track mtb courses and gravel/rail trails etc I personally think a hardtail or gravel bike makes more sense. A dually will be more comfortable as @Whites has said, however I found my dually was complete overkill and offered zero challenge on basic to even medium difficulty trails, it was just like a lounge chair. The dually I owned was a 2014 model and was a great bike for it's time, but in recent years duallys have become even more laid back and designed to just plough through.

 

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I agree with @blybo . I reckon for your use case, a hardtail would fit the bill quite nicely. I hate to say it, but as you’re 6’ tall, and not going seriously off-road, a 29er might be right for you too.

 

A Trek Roscoe 7 at $1,900 (or 8 from last year) is a very nice bike, and well under your budget. One of my riding mates has a Roscoe and it’s a very capable bike, and awesome value for money.

 

From Giant, maybe the Fathom 29 1 at $2,300. Similar spec to the Roscoe 7, but $400 more, I can’t see why. The 29 2 has cheap shitty parts on it, avoid.

 

Specialized don’t really have a contender in this bracket.

 

Have a squizz at those and see what you reckon.

 

Cheers,

 Jason.

 

 

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19 hours ago, Drunken Monk said:

Will it be wise to buy a hard tail bikes from trek / Gaint/  Merida? Rather than wasting on dual suspension.

 

I think a hardtail would be best.       I only have a dually because  I got seduced by a very nice 2nd hand bike  (thanks @blybo),   but I'll probably never make use of it's potential.       It's bloody nice to ride though.  

 

I reckon I'd even  be happy with a fully rigid MTB.   if they existed these days.     That's all I ever had growing up and managed to thrash around the bush on it just fine.     

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, manchu said:

I reckon I'd even  be happy with a fully rigid MTB.   if they existed these days

They do exist. They are called gravel bikes

48F0DB9D-871A-439F-BB76-F9D8DD37823A.thumb.jpeg.562a53f239d0d042c0011216dc6d37c5.jpeg

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Gravel bike:

Grav-el | bi~k

/noun .  a marketing term used to sell previously unwanted bikes know as 'Hybrids'. Owned exclusively by roadies, as mtb'ers would never own such a conveyance.

/usage . I don't want to get my Colnago/Fondriest/Bianchi dirty when I ride on wet bike paths, I simply must have a Gravel Bike.

 

Cheers,

Jason.

 

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13 hours ago, koputai said:

Gravel bike:

Grav-el | bi~k

/noun .  a marketing term used to sell previously unwanted bikes know as 'Hybrids'. Owned exclusively by roadies, as mtb'ers would never own such a conveyance.

/usage . I don't want to get my Colnago/Fondriest/Bianchi dirty when I ride on wet bike paths, I simply must have a Gravel Bike.

 

Cheers,

Jason.

 

If you look closely at the photo above and below , that gravel bike is more dirty than most mtb’s. 
 

And cyclocross bikes were around for many decades before mtb’s even existed. The only marketing is changing the thoughts of what cyclocross bikes are capable of  by offering wider tyres than UCI sanctions. 
 

The true marketing in the industry is convincing occasional mtb riders (which is the vast majority of them) they need a 150mm dually to ride the local fire roads or diy single track. 

AEB57570-279A-49E8-BB86-74475F81A93D.jpeg

9A0806A4-E210-484A-850F-626452F4B534.jpeg

Edited by blybo
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I agree @blybo, I was taking the proverbial. Though to be honest I think that any use case is better served by something other than a Gravel or Cyclocross bike.

 

Any bike is a good thing. People still ride other archaic bikes like Penny Farthings, and we don’t pay out on them!

 

Cheers,

 Jason.

 

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4 hours ago, koputai said:

I think that any use case is better served by something other than a Gravel or Cyclocross bike.

I strongly disagree. Riding with kids, dirt roads, gravel or paved cycling paths, rail trails, or simply an adventure ride where you don't know what to expect, a gravel bike is the perfect choice. If I had to only have 1 bike, it would be a Gravel bike. It's efficient in most circumstances where people chose a bike as a method of transport.

 

Proper MTB bikes are now adrenaline toys, not transport and are so over spec'ed that you really have to drive to a dedicated MTB park and have a big set of Kahunas to find a challenge. I hated the fact I had to pack my old dually in the car and drive at least 30 minutes to find somewhere that would moderately test my skills. With the roadie or gravel bike I just open up the garage and actually ride somewhere with multiple options, be it for fitness, social ride or fun in the dirt and actually spent at least 1 hour more on the bike, for the same elapsed time. I regularly ride my Gravel bike on single track I find when out and about riding with the kids, just like the images above you'll notice one of my daughter's hardtrail is in shot. Their mtb tyres coped better with the mud than my mixed use gravel tyres, but my gravel bike was the better conveyance for 95% of the ride when there was no mud.

 

When we go on holidays in the Otways, I take my Gravel bike. I can ride much of the Forest MTB park on it or local "mtb" tracks out the back of our Caravan Park with the kids, and then ride the Great Ocean Road the next day at speeds not far off what my road bike would do. And I built it from the ground up for $1800.

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The I guess (actually I know) I’m very lucky that I can ride 5 minutes from my front door to the highest concentration of good mtb tracks in the country.

 

For me, a proper mtb is not a w**k, it’s the right tool for the riding that I do several times a week. Yes, I use 160mm of travel most times I go out.

 

So really, the right bike is the bike that suits what you do, and where you do it.

 

But, would a gravel bike not be more controllable, more comfortable, safer, and indeed more usable if it had flat bars, rather than roadie drop bars?

 

Cheers,

 Jason.

 

Edited by koputai
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On 16/01/2021 at 8:52 PM, koputai said:

would a gravel bike not be more controllable, more comfortable, safer, and indeed more usable if it had flat bars, rather than roadie drop bars?

Ah, that old chestnut. This is a favourite topic of mine. As said in the Matrix, ignorance is bliss.

 

People who don't know any better always feel for some reason that flat bars must be easier/safer/more comfortable to ride on. In my experience the opposite is true. Road bikes and cyclocross bikes evolved to use drop bars over 100 years ago, as the most efficient style of bars for rides of more than an hour or so where the multiple hand positions and more natural wrist position come into their own. Why would they make drop bars if not for superior comfort? They are certainly more difficult and complex to manufacture, especially 100 years ago.

 

Gravel drop bars can be up to 65cm wide for the guys used to super wide mtb bars, but in truth the wider bars are mostly for bike packing and allowing space for wider handlebar bags and lights etc. The standard position of holding a drop bar "on the hoods" is far more ergonomic than twisting your wrist 90 degrees to a flat position. Arm pump is not a condition known to drop bar riders so I believe that the flat bar position must contribute to it significantly. I personally found I very quickly developed numbness in my hands riding flat bars and even though using Ergon grips helped, they didn't fix the issue. I occasionally get numb hands on the roadie, but that is because I'm currently overweight and putting too much pressure on my hands because my core strength is not what it should be. I can move my hands to a different position on a drop bar till the numbness or tingling goes.

 

The first bars I had on my MTB were cut down quite narrow by today's standard, and I never thought they hampered my riding. Wider bars only came into existence to counter the twitchiness of shortening the stems on MTBs over the last 5-7 years. My 2014 Pivot Mach 5 "All mountain" dually came with a 100mm stem, and would be laughed at as vintage today, despite many gongs for being the best MTB money could buy only 7 years ago. Because it had a longer stem than fashionable today, it didn't need wide bars to slow the steering down.

 

Interestingly narrower bars are becoming more popular on road bikes as it make the rider significantly more aero. Many pros will ride as narrow as 38cm bars but I wouldn't feel safe on those, so I ride 42 or 44cm wide drop bars.

 

On 16/01/2021 at 8:52 PM, koputai said:

For me, a proper mtb is not a w**k, it’s the right tool for the riding that I do several times a week. Yes, I use 160mm of travel most times I go out.

Never said it was a w**k. But in Melbourne we don't have ANY trails where a 150+ travel bike would be the right tool. The nearest hard core trails are the You Yangs, but that's over an hour drive for me so only ever went a couple of times. Most of our metropolitan trails are fairly basic 95% of the time with the occasional obstacle that may suit a big travel dually

 

On 16/01/2021 at 8:52 PM, koputai said:

guess (actually I know) I’m very lucky that I can ride 5 minutes from my front door to the highest concentration of good mtb tracks in the country.

Lucky man. If I lived in your area I probably wouldn't have sold my MTB to @manchu

Edited by blybo
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I see the OP is from WA, it just so happens I also started off getting into MTB over in that neck of the woods.

 

I started off with a very basic dual suspension MBT with the thought that if it was indeed a little harder to peddle, I'd just get fitter.

A couple of years latter I caught the bug and started hitting the harder lines and found the 100mm travel and geometry wasn't up to it anymore.

I then upgraded to a much more capable bike (Trek Remedy 9.7) and it is been the best purchase I have ever made.

My thinking at the time was I would use the new bike for the harder stuff and the old bike for the tamer, fire trails etc.

However, the newer bike excels in everyway over the shorter travel bike.  And it is in fact easier to climb with than the XC bike.  So don't just assume if it has more travel it will be a pig to ride.  I wouldn't use it for a commute to work but you already have a road bike for  that anyway.

 

You could head up to Kalamunda, https://www.kmbc.org.au/trails there is stuff there for all levels of riding.

 

There is a bike shop there, ('rock n roll' if my memory serves me right) which when I was last there would do hire bikes, so there is a possibility of trying out a few different bikes right at the trail head.

Might be your best bet to find what personally suits you.

 

 

Edited by todagt
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13 hours ago, todagt said:

I then upgraded to a much more capable bike (Trek Remedy 9.7) and it is been the best purchase I have ever made.

I see you now live in inner Melbourne. Do you drive out to the You Yangs or Wombat to ride?

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13 minutes ago, blybo said:

I see you now live in inner Melbourne. Do you drive out to the You Yangs or Wombat to ride?

Usually the you yang's. Although wombat is if I feel like a bit more xc. Then there's Harcourt. I did lake mountain last weekend and yeh... Good luck on a hard tail there.

There was a time I just had a quick play at quarry park in Footscray and there was a crazy roadie there, on his road bike absolutely sending it. Was incredible seeing just how skillful he was.

Ultimately it proves what you can get away with comes down to the skills of the rider.  You only need to watch Ashton Martyn's road bike party on you tube to see what can be done on a road bike.

 

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29 minutes ago, todagt said:

You only need to watch Ashton Martyn's road bike party on you tube to see what can be done on a road bike.

Yeah, but get it wrong and you end up in a wheel chair... just like he did filming the sequel to that movie.

 

57 minutes ago, todagt said:

There was a time I just had a quick play at quarry park in Footscray and there was a crazy roadie there, on his road bike absolutely sending it. Was incredible seeing just how skillful he was.

 

Was it really a road bike or a wider tyred gravel bike, like mine above (and upside down)? I've ridden that at Lysterfield, Yarra Flats and selected Forest runs. It's a great buzz and challenge of your skills. Stockyards @ You Yangs would probably be a bridge to far for a gravel bike, but it would be the bike of choice for 95% of the Karrajong side. I never got out to Wombat myself, sounds like it's more to my tastes.

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On 18/01/2021 at 9:54 PM, blybo said:

Arm pump is not a condition known to drop bar riders so I believe that the flat bar position must contribute to it significantly.

You've never descended Galibier (on a road bike with drop bars) in a rain storm, 12% ramp, hairpin, 12% ramp, repeat. No barriers, no grip, brakes jammed on the whole way to keep the speed to 'only' 50km/hr. Did I say that there were no barriers...

That's arm pump.😂

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 14/01/2021 at 1:59 PM, Drunken Monk said:

Thanks everyone for your feedback .

 

I am 40 years and 6'0" tall, just trying to do MTB as hobby. Just moving from road bike to trails. Will not do any adventures trail. Just want some bike to drive on basic trail and gravel. Will it be wise to buy a hard tail bikes from trek / Gaint/  Merida? Rather than wasting on dual suspension.

 

Currently just enjoying road bike

 

@blybo @koputai @Whites @Honreekea

 

 

As you already ride you will likely pick up MTBing fairly quickly.

Given your height and experience in the bush I would definitely suggest 29" (although 27'5 are fine too).  

I would also suggest a dual suspension over a hard tail. The duallies these days are fairly efficient climbers and are a blast on the trail whether it be single track or fire trail. Have a look in the 120mm-140mm travel range bikes. Stick to an alloy frame to keep costs in your budget.

Something like the Norco Optic or Scott Spark as examples. 

Have fun.

 

Cheers,

Russ

 

 

 

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