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Advice on buying a rugged, reliable Mountain Bike and Q's :)

sean1337sean1337 Posts: 19
edited November 2008 in MTB buying advice
Hi all, im new here to the forums and really keen on buying a mountain bike that will last me at least 3 years or so...Well to start im looking for a bike that can take some punishment, will be able to last and also doesnt require much maintenance...If thats too much to ask please let me know..
Im not much of an experienced rider, but I would like a bike that when I progress skill wise, will still be able to keep up to a certain degree.
I have done some research and particularly I have looked on the website and found on there the "Specialized Hardrock Sport 2008 Mountain Bike", this seemed to be fairly priced and what I am looking for, but as im lacking knowledge in this area, I would be very pleased if you guys could help out and tell me what sort of bikes are suitable etc.
Finally, when I do get my mountain bike, do you have any short tips on general maintenance, I know its cheeky to ask but I've looked around on other sites, and its a drag trying to find out about, as there are endless pages that can be some what complicated.
Thanks very much for your help,


  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Maintenance is part and parcel of owning a bike, can't be avoided! Budget machines like the Hardrock usually require a little more to keep them running sweet.

    What sort of bike do you want? For general XC and trails, woods, moors etc? Have a look at our What Bike and What Hardtail threads. Hardrocks are usually pretty poor value.

    We also have loads of threads on general maintenance - just have to find them! Many in the workshop FAQ and tech articles too. I'd recommend a book like Zinn though, and visiting the Park Tools website.
  • Thanks for the reply :)
    I want a bike that is pretty much an all rounder, for the trials, woods, jumps, downhill runs and generally off road scenarios. If you could possibly recommend me a few models around the £200-£300 price range that are the best value I would be very grateful because truthfully I dont know much at all on bike specs.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Well, downhill bikes don't exist at this price, but I am pretty sure you don't mean the DH you see in the magazines (ie 20ft jumps, 10ft drop offs and the like!).

    Jump bikes do exist, but they tend to be very one dimensional: good for jumps, cumbersome for XC, trails and longer rides.

    Saracen Mantras are decent all rounders, but heavy. Mongoose Tyax series are tough, but again, not really a jump bike.
  • Well I mean a bike that when I take out on trails and through forests can cope with a few jumps, nothing major like huge ones! Do you know what I mean though? Also I did take a look at the saracen mantra and it looked like a nice bike, I just want something that I can throw around and take to the ocassional jumps...
    I would imagine though, that its not advised to buy a mountain bike online because obviously I cant test it out before I ride it, but roughly at my height (5"6) do you think a 17 inch frame would be sufficient?
    Thanks for your help ^ ^
  • I have just come across what looks like a nice deal on Halfords...Here is the link on the bike ... 65499#dtab

    Please tell me what you think of it

  • Here's my 2 cents worth.. The Apollo... NO!

    It sounds completely wrong for what you want and you can get far better for the money your willing to put up..
  • Right well, I've decided that i'll take a visit to this mountain bike store nearby and give the Specialized Hardrock Sport a test run there and then ask for the size of the frame. Im not going to buy it there though because its too expensive, if i like it i'll probably purchase it on the net, where its cheaper.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    The hardrock's just not a good choice unless it's on a deep discount, you're paying for the name. it's not terrible but it's far too expensive. Don't touch Apollo with a 10 foot pole, horrible, just horrible.

    Lots of good stuff in the sales... Don't be buying ANYTHING full price at this time of year :) When you can get a rockhopper for £350, only a mentalist would buy a Hardrock.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • mhukmhuk Posts: 327
    Have you a ridden a Mountain Bike? If there's a trail centre near you try to hire one and try it out for the day. Or demo one from a nearby shop?
  • The hardrock is a good bike for what it is. The frames are good quaility frames, well designed, etc. Parts wise, yeah not so good, but I'd rather get a good frame. Can't have everything in life. (Try telling my Girlfriend that... :wink: )

    If you want to do any jumps, don't get a 17" frame. You'll never have children. You may have to ask your parents what I mean. If thats what you want to do, go for the 15". Do look online at prices, but don't forget that you'll be part building the bike yourself, and you won't get aftersales service like you will at your local bike shop. You have been warned.
    jedster wrote:
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    FCN 3 or 4 on road depending on clothing
    FCN 8 off road because I'm too old to go racing around.
  • Have all you people who are saying bad things about the hardrock ever actually had one?
    My first proper bike was and still is a hardrock, it's been through hell and is by far the best bike I've ever ridden and owned, yeah it's taken some maintenance but my new I-drive has taken more so far and I've only had that 4 months, had my hardrock 5 years...

    Sean, yeah it's true, you probably can get better for the money, but as is often said, try it and see...
    If the bike is comfy and you really like it.. Sorted. And yeah 17" frame is a good height for abit of jumping (I'm 6.1 and mine does me fine btw)
    If your looking for it to last at least 3 years, it's not a bad bet. Yeah the chainset and other parts may wear out, but since when was any bike immune to that. You'll end up upgrading alot of bits on any bike you buy.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    yeah, but he's 5ft 6 and the hardrock isnt a jump bike! Just that over the years they have been let down by spec, weight and definitely fork.
  • I borrowed a Hardrock Pro off my mate a few months ago and my immediate impression was how heavy it was compared to a Rockhopper - it was like a barge in comparison. The RS budget fork wasn't up to much more than light trails, but other than that it was okay as such. I don't know if you can get an awful lot for your budget but it's certainly worth looking. The '08 Carrera Kracken can be bought from Halfords for £349 and is very well specced for the price. It will serve you well and if you can buy it on the cycle2work scheme so much the better. But Sean, don't even think about buying an Apollo, really it'll be a pain to ride and won't last. You don't need a full suss bike anyway.
    You won't be able to avoid some maintenance but that's true of any sort of cycling, plus you'll find worn bits and pieces before they let you down on the trail.
    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)
  • Wow, thanks very much for all the replys! My mind has changed once again! I might look into that carrera kraken if its quite good, because halfords isnt that far from me either, but at the end of the day I just want a bike that will last, because my previous mountain bike was a disaster, breaking down all the time. When I get my new one i'll definitely look after it, do you guys have any simple tips on keeping a mountain bike in good stead?
    Thanks again, replies have been so helpful
  • Sorry for yet another post, just to make things clearer, im not looking for a bike specifically for jumps, just something that can cope with rough terrain, trials and maybe jumps?

  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    Yeah, I think people are getting hung up on the jump thing, any quality mtb will handle small jumps. Or even fairly big ones with a soft landing...

    Right, owner's perspective on the Kraken... At £350 it's not a good buy right now, because there are better bikes on big discounts that it can't compete with- the Rockhopper 08 is one, for instance. It's a better bike than the basic Hardrocks- lighter, and overall better specced.

    Most of the parts are solid- you get a SRAM X5 drivetrain, a decent frame, and the Suntour XCR fork is IMO the best of the cheapies, it's just about at the level where it doesn't constantly embarass itself. Better than a Rockshox Dart 2 for instance, which is probably the main competitor.

    Mine is off the road just now with a freehub failure but to be fair this doesn't seem to be a common problem, so I'm not holding it against the bike- the general spec is extremely solid and I expect it to last. It's basically a good, competent, entry level machine, good all rounder, and once you replace the HORRIBLE tyres and slippy pedals, it's one of the best in the entry level class IMO.

    Would I buy one just now at full price? Nah, I'd get the 08 Rockhopper with the v-brakes, because it's a higher level bike discounted into the entry level price bracket. Then I'd ask for some hydros for christmas :) Always rememberwith Halfords that their "discounts" generally aren't, they artificially inflate their prices then "drop" them to give the impression of a discount. Just now, the Carreras aren't very well discounted, while everything else is.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    about the jump thing - as you say, small drops and good landings, the latter a burlier frame will handle if it goes wrong. Look at that light boardman frame in that thread - couple of jumps, couple of bad landings and the frame snapped. Seen it far too many times. Bottom line is if you want to thrash it, dont get an xc bike.
  • No I definitely wont be taking out on high jumps...I have some bad experience of that when I decided to jump my 2 ton mountain bike over a 5 set of stairs only to completely dislodge the rear mech into the spokes...:/
    Thanks for the replies, i'll probably go for the carrera kraken as it looks nice and spec wise seems pretty decent.
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