I'm totally clueless about MTBs

roundthebend Posts: 205
edited August 2011 in MTB beginners
Just back from a week in the Lake District and we hired some bikes for the day. I was given a GT Avalanche - not sure which version, but I liked it. I cycle to work daily but use a skinnier tyred hybrid style bike with panniers. I really enjoyed the MTB experience though, even though we just went on fairly flat trails with just a few rocks and tree roots to get over.

I'm now thinking I'd like to get myself a similar bike and do a bit more riding on rough and dirty terrain.

I think what I want is:
* a light(ish) frame
* front suspension - comfort. rear sus would add weight and cost and I'm not likely to go on terrain that requires it
* quality gears & running gear (groupset?)
* disc brakes - I plan to go through some muck and on steep hills occasionally

I don't know what to look for in a frame. I hear people saying that the GT Avalanche is a good frame, and I hear that Scott make good frames too.

Price range? As it's a second bike I'd want to keep costs down so £250 would be nice. However, looking on the Evans site I see that £350 will get me a new bike with the right kind of spec' - Fuji & Specialized were two of the brands in that range.

Perhaps I should buy secondhand, but I just need some guidance on what to look out for and maybe some specific models that are 2 or 3 years old that I might find on ebay in my price range.

Cheers folks


  • theshrew
    theshrew Posts: 169
    Welcome to the world of getting dirty lol

    Your pretty much bang on with what you want id say. Try and get one with Hydraulic brakes might cost you a bit more but well worth the extra.

    You can find some bargains 2nd hand and get a better bike for your cash.

    The Specialized Hardrock is a pretty popular bike see plenty of people on them wherever ive been.
  • tsenior
    tsenior Posts: 664
    the GT hardtails are nice, i've got one working and a couple of frames out the back!

    value for money, i think there are some ok bikes in your price range: if you can work out the search fiunction theres plenty of threads on the "what budget hardtail" question.

    f you are happy to look over a bike then 2nd hand is a good option with your budget; i buy most of my bikes/bits off ebay and there are bargains to be had but there are dogs out there as well.

    again there is a guide to buying second hand somewhere on here.....
  • Thanks guys.

    I've just seen the Carrera Kraken (with Hyrdaulic disc brakes) on the Halfords website which looks like pretty good VFM. Though, the heavy wheels (found the BikeRadar review) put me off a bit as I'm only a little guy!

    I'm happy to look over a bike before buying. I do a lot of DIY with my commuting bike so I know mostly what I'm looking for. However suspension, disc brakes and gears are my weaker areas and those are quite critical parts of an MTB so I need to learn.
  • tsenior
    tsenior Posts: 664
    dont worry to much about the newness of those parts, once hydraulic breaks are set up properly (which if you are buying new the shop will do for you) they should require very little maintinance and there are plenty of 'how to' guides and videos on the net.

    the same principles with gears will apply from your commuter, again there are good guides such as the park tools blog to help you.

    suspension can be a bit more intimidating, i've serviced simple, older forks for budget builds myself and its more a matter of patience and taking things step by step than ebgineering knowhow but a proper service once every couple of years is probbaly adequate for the sort of riding you will be doing
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    The Carrera Kraken at £350 is the best MTB at this price point - in a totally different league to the Hardrocks and basic Avalanches.
  • supersonic wrote:
    The Carrera Kraken at £350 is the best MTB at this price point - in a totally different league to the Hardrocks and basic Avalanches.

    Really? What makes it so?
    With that kind of review I'd be tempted to go and order one now.
  • clamps81
    clamps81 Posts: 315
    Componetry. The spesh, GT etc have decent frames draped in low level components with terrible forks. The Kraken is much better value for money based on the brakes, fork etc that you get with it.
    Nukeproof Mega AM

    Tomac Snyper - Now sadly in pieces
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    As above - has 9 speed componentry (good range, slick, light), hydraulic disc brakes (powerful and reliable) and most important an hydraulically damped fork (much more controlled off road). Also nice frame, good finishing equipment.
  • Squarepants
    Squarepants Posts: 1,019
    Can't fault any of the above but to give another option

    http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtop ... t=12793979
    Cube Hanzz Pro FR
    It's not that I'm over over biked, my bike is under personed...
  • Is the Kraken frame decent? I'm thinking that componentry can be upgraded gradually but a frame is the core. Perhaps the "spesh, GT etc." are good enough to get me started and I can upgrade as and when?
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    Also nice frame

    Yes, lol. Don't be fooled by the big brands, they often offer very poor bikes at this money.
  • estampida
    estampida Posts: 1,008
    and unfortunatly there are too many polished hardrocks (turds) on the trails
  • d00m
    d00m Posts: 160
    Fuji nevada, or saracen tufftrax in this budget surely...
  • supersonic
    supersonic Posts: 82,708
    d00m wrote:
    Fuji nevada, or saracen tufftrax in this budget surely...

    Why is that?