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Just bought my first MTB

Wacky RacerWacky Racer Posts: 638
edited September 2008 in MTB beginners
Hi all, I'm not only new to this forum, I'm new to mountain biking. I have just purchased a Kona Blast 2009 model, I managed to get what I think was a really good deal as the cycling shop couldn't get me the 2008 model, so gave me a good discount. Hopefully I've spent well, as my budget was under £500. The bike cost me £425. I'd be interested to hear reviews from fellow Blast owners.

I'm itching to get off road and have some fun, but need to get my fitness up first. I'm 47 years old, and whilst not much overweight, need to build my stamina back up. I'm after advice on how to gradually improve my fitness, should I use my bike on the roads near to me first before I venture off road? I live in a rural area, so my plan was to tackle the flatter lanes first, then go for the local hills, then go off road.

Any useful tips would be appreciated.
Ridley Orion

Posts

  • -Liam--Liam- Posts: 1,831
    Welcome to the Kona Club ;)

    I've got a fire mountain which I think is excellent and I'm addicted to getting muddy now. Looking to get a blast but more likely a cindercone next year :)
  • stumpyjonstumpyjon Posts: 4,069
    Not a bad bike, I believe MBR magazine rated it very highly in group test earlier this year. You did well to get a discount on an 09 model at this time of year.

    Training plan sounds fine, you need a basic level of fitness to ride off road and enjoy it. Starting on the roads is a good idea, you'll quickly build up some fitness. Try and ride off road as well if you can but don't get too despondant if at first it feels very hard. Don't forget riding in mud and on uneven surfaces is much more difficult than on tarmac.

    Little and often is a good strategy, too many people go at it like a bull at a gate in the first few weeks and then the bike gets relegated to the garage (good bargins on Ebay though).
    It's easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.

    I've bought a new bike....ouch - result
    Can I buy a new bike?...No - no result
  • I'm in the same boat really. Just got a mtb to go with the Langster and a folder but my fitness levels need improving for heavy mud and stuff. I think little and often is the way to go too. But you need at least one day away from the bike. I love my little folding bike though, it's such a hoot to ride but will never get me fit in the length of journey it's used for. The Langster is great for road-fitness however.
    Start Weight: 128 kilos (20.2 st) (April 17th 2009)
    Current Weight:119 kilos (18.7 st) (June 18th 2009)
    Target Weight: 92 kilos (14.5 st) (sometime mid-2010, hopefully sooner)
  • beskibeski Posts: 542
    While out on the lanes you'll probably come across bridle paths etc that you were unaware of, and being in the flat area will be a perfect introduction to off road.
    You could check with an OS explorer map for bridle paths etc in flatter areas aswell, before heading for the hills, enjoy!
    Giant Defy 4 2014
    GT Avalanche Expert 2006
    Specialized Hardrock 1989
  • Thanks for the advice guys. There are lots of bridle paths where I live, I guess from the replies it's ok to use them. I've got an OS map for where I live, so will look for them, although I imagine I'll stumble across them while riding the lanes.

    The plan is to do 70 - 90 minutes every other day, so my legs have time to recover on the day off, and hopefully my fitness will improve after two or three weeks. Then I can progress onto the hills around me, there are some real gruellers close to home which I can turn into 2 hour circular rides which will offer me as much downhill as uphill, and hopefully another few weeks of that will move me onto the next phase of getting off road proper.

    I started with the Blast as an introduction to off road, my wife won't mind me spending a bit more once I have proved it is a hobby which will last, although I don't tend to give up easily. But I found the Blast comfortable and it seems to suit what I wanted. It's tough trying to choose your first bike, there's so much advice out there, but I always believe you should get what suits you and what feels right. The Kona range seem robust and well tested, I know opinions vary, but you could spend two years trying to choose the right one. Hopefully once I've had a year to ride I'll be in a better position to spend something like £1500 with a bit more knowledge. There are certainly some cracking bikes out there compared to what I was riding 20 years ago.

    Anyway, I am champing at the bit to do some really challenging stuff off road, so I have all the incentive in the world to work hard at my fitness for the next 6 weeks.
    Ridley Orion
  • handfulhandful Posts: 918
    Hi WR

    Your post could almost have been written by me :wink: I'm 46 and just bought my first MB, a GT Avalanche 1 a week ago after some very good advice on here. I love it so far but like you have stuck mainly to roads and easy tracks so far to try and build some stamina. I live right next to a big hill with a nice quiet rural lane running over it and have attempted to get over it but only managed it one way so far!

    I decided to get into cycling due to giving up running around a year ago due to starting to get a bit of pain in my knees and so far cycling doesn't seem to give me a problem. I only just realised how poor my pedalling technique was after reading up on the subject and have got an instant benefit by concentrating on the opposite side of the pedalling stroke to normal. I now feel like I would benefit from some spd pedals as my feet are slipping badly on the censored standard ones. Think I'll get some and try the hill again the steeper way!

    Best of luck with the Kona, looks a nice bike and I hope the training goes well :)
    Vaaru Titanium Sram eTap HRD
    Kuota Kharma Evo Rival 22 - fair weather
    Moda Chord with drop bars and Rival shifters - foul weather
    Intense Spider 29er - mud
  • beskibeski Posts: 542
    Flats might be a better option if you've got dodgy knees, some people find that spd's can aggravate their knees.
    Giant Defy 4 2014
    GT Avalanche Expert 2006
    Specialized Hardrock 1989
  • handfulhandful Posts: 918
    Thanks Besky but I don't consider myself as having dodgy knees, I just found that after around 25 minutes of running I started getting a pain and was a bit concerned about impact damage if I continued. I can still play squash without strapping them so can't be too bad....for my age anyway. Thanks for the warning though, I will bear it in mind.
    Vaaru Titanium Sram eTap HRD
    Kuota Kharma Evo Rival 22 - fair weather
    Moda Chord with drop bars and Rival shifters - foul weather
    Intense Spider 29er - mud
  • I've got a GT Avalanche too handful, they really are a fantastic bike - especially for the price. :)

    Fingers crossed, I haven't had a problem with mine yet :)
    http://www.mtbe.co.uk - UK Cycling & Mountain Bike Forum
    I absolutely love Wiggle :D
  • beskibeski Posts: 542
    @ handful, no offence regarding the knees.

    Doesn't the Avalanche 1 come with Shimano clipless pedals?
    They sometimes have a plastic sort of housing that attaches to the pedal ( which do indeed feel decidedly [email protected] with no grip ) so that you can ride the bike straight from the shop without having to have the special shoes, if thats the case you should also have some of the cleat type things for attaching to said shoes aswell.
    If so then a pair of shoes and Bobs your fathers brother :wink:
    Giant Defy 4 2014
    GT Avalanche Expert 2006
    Specialized Hardrock 1989
  • Little and often really works wonders, have lost nearly 10lbs in a month and my fitness has gone up since I now take the dog for a few laps around the local park rather than walk. Remember to have very easy days where you cycle like a granny or don't ride to give your legs time to recover. I tend to alternate between pushing it and easing off very other day.
    2008 Rockhopper Disc (Silver)
    2009 RockShox SID Race forks.
    XT Drivetrain
    Continental Speed Kings (PR) Traction
    Garmin 705 Navigation
    Fat bloke on a bike engine
  • handfulhandful Posts: 918
    beski wrote:
    @ handful, no offence regarding the knees.

    Doesn't the Avalanche 1 come with Shimano clipless pedals?
    They sometimes have a plastic sort of housing that attaches to the pedal ( which do indeed feel decidedly [email protected] with no grip ) so that you can ride the bike straight from the shop without having to have the special shoes, if thats the case you should also have some of the cleat type things for attaching to said shoes aswell.
    If so then a pair of shoes and Bobs your fathers brother :wink:

    No offence taken beski :)
    My Avalanche 1 has got a set of [email protected] welgo flats on it and I am constantly having to adjust my feet. I think some dealers put clipless on but Evans don't. still I can't really complain as it's costing me less than £20 a month for 12 months on the cycle2work scheme 8)
    Vaaru Titanium Sram eTap HRD
    Kuota Kharma Evo Rival 22 - fair weather
    Moda Chord with drop bars and Rival shifters - foul weather
    Intense Spider 29er - mud
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