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Bike/Kit/Places For Beginner, Advice Please

Red268Red268 Posts: 6
edited May 2013 in MTB beginners
Hi all,

Short version: Pretty much decided on a VooDoo HooDoo, but not sure what kit I should be getting too, i.e. clothing, repair kit, backpack, etc etc. Complete beginner. Few questions about the bike below.

Some detail: I haven't touched a bike for about ten years. I really like the idea of mountain biking and have been looking around on an off for a long time. Recently I started looking more seriously, but with foolish expectations. I set out with a £150 budget expecting to get a full suspension bike and all the kit involved and still have enough for a few pints at the local.

Realising how foolish I was being didn't take too long! So after looking around at reviews, I came across Bike Radars fantastic section for bikes under £500, which is how I came to choose the VooDoo HooDoo.

Me: 25 year old guy, a little out of shape - Bit of a beer belly - Feel free to poke fun, or poke it with a stick :)

Kit questions: Any recommendations for a decent backpack? Puncture repair kits? Gloves? Shorts? Tshirts? Helmet? Pump? Spare inner tubes? Are normal trainers alright?

Bike questions: I know this will annoy people, but I would like to buy the bike from Halfords, for one reason - I can get 40% any bike from there. So I can get a new bike for second hand money. I'd rather not spend more than about £300 (After the 40% off. So a £500 bike.) on the bike, and given that, does the VooDoo HooDoo seem like a good bet. I know it's recommended by Bike Radar, but has anything better come out since then for the same sort of money?

I know I'll be shot for asking, but would anyone be able to give me a rough guide on size? I'm just under 5 foot 6, inside leg about 29 inches. I know it's best to go and try, but I'd just like a rough idea. Maybe an 18" frame?

Places: I live between Luton and Bedford, but have no idea where to go. Any places near me worth looking at?

Ok, I've gone on long enough. Thanks in advance for any advice!!

Posts

  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    I'd be off to Decathlon - stock all those things at good prices.
  • felix.londonfelix.london Posts: 4,067
    Sounds like a good choice on the bike especially for that sort of money

    Re. sizing - I'd say 18" was a bit BIG for you but like you say - go and sit on one and find out

    Re. kit - depends what your budget is really. Camelbak's are great hydration packs but there sre cheaper alternatives. You'll need a pump that fits in whatever pack you get. You'll need a multi-tool, some tyre levers & some spare inner tubes. Baggy shorts with inner liner are good - especially if you are planning on going on longer rides. If you're riding flat pedals as opposed to clippless (clip-in) pedals - trainers will do, skate shoes are better though. Helmet, essential. Gloves & glasses are kind of a must. Depending what and where you're gonna be riding and if you are the sort of person to push yourself, then knee pads might be handy too.
    "Why have that extra tooth if you're not using it?" - Brian Lopes

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  • MrMMrM Posts: 60
    Budget for some lights
  • Red268Red268 Posts: 6
    Sounds like a good choice on the bike especially for that sort of money

    Re. sizing - I'd say 18" was a bit BIG for you but like you say - go and sit on one and find out

    Re. kit - depends what your budget is really. Camelbak's are great hydration packs but there sre cheaper alternatives. You'll need a pump that fits in whatever pack you get. You'll need a multi-tool, some tyre levers & some spare inner tubes. Baggy shorts with inner liner are good - especially if you are planning on going on longer rides. If you're riding flat pedals as opposed to clippless (clip-in) pedals - trainers will do, skate shoes are better though. Helmet, essential. Gloves & glasses are kind of a must. Depending what and where you're gonna be riding and if you are the sort of person to push yourself, then knee pads might be handy too.

    Thanks for the detailed reply, really helpful.

    Any idea on what helmets? I know I'll have to try them on, but are there good brands, bad brands etc.

    I actually wear glasses, so I can skip that one :) I have some skate shoes too, used to do a lot of skateboarding before the beer belly attacked.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    Just one that fits and is comfortable - they all have to comply with the same standards. I'm lucky - £20 Bell fits me perfectly.
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  • WoodmonkeyWoodmonkey Posts: 412
    Aldi is worth a look this Thursday for some clothes, I got a softshell last time they were out, worth every penny of £16 it cost me, you're on the edge of the chilterns, plenty of decent riding straight out of Luton.
    pity those who don't drink, the way they feel when they wake is the best they will feel all day


    voodoo hoodoo
  • WindyGWindyG Posts: 1,099
    I'm the same size as you and I would agree with felix an 18" would be too big for you, a 16 - 17" frame depending on the bike would be more suited to you
  • WoodmonkeyWoodmonkey Posts: 412
    I'm 5'11 and have the 20 inch hoodoo, It took me a while to decide between that and the 18" your prob best to look at next size down
    pity those who don't drink, the way they feel when they wake is the best they will feel all day


    voodoo hoodoo
  • Red268Red268 Posts: 6
    Thanks for all the help everyone, it's greatly appreciated.
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    edited April 2013
    Red268 wrote:
    Any idea on what helmets? I know I'll have to try them on, but are there good brands, bad brands etc.

    Hi, another newbie here. I went to the Specialized shop in Harrogate this week to buy a Tactic 2 (£55), but they had no black mediums (and I really didn't like the green), so I bought an Align (£30) as a temporary measure. It fits (me) spot on, is really comfy (some lids I tried on were very uncomfortable, (maybe my expectations were a little high, being used to wearing £500 of plush Arai, lol...) and looks pretty good too (and comes with Specialized's crash replacement guarantee). For a budget helmet that's safe (with more rear head coverage than a lot of budget lids), comfortable, well made and doesn't look gash I'd say try on an Align. I was planning to upgrade to the Tactic 2 when they came back in stock, and if I get into riding enough to be using it regularly, but I think I might just keep the Align now.

    full56689.jpg

    I picked up some decent looking Muddy Fox jerseys from my local Sports Direct at £14 for two too (they have loads of cheap skate shoes too):

    http://www.sportsdirect.com/Cycling/mud ... e=63622552

    As for good £500 rrp budget bikes available from Halfords, have a read of this too:

    http://www.bikeradar.com/mtb/gear/categ ... n-12-46886
  • Red268Red268 Posts: 6
    Kowalski675 - Thanks very much, that was really helpful! I'll have a look in my local Sports Direct today hopefully. Thanks again!
  • Red268Red268 Posts: 6
    Looking around, it would appear they don't do anything smaller than an 18" HooDoo. Might have to reconsider the bike. I'll try it out, but from what I've been told so far, I'm guessing a 16" is more likely to fit. They do the Bantu in a 16, the Kraken as suggested above and also the Vulcan, which I've heard some good things about.
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    Red268 wrote:
    Kowalski675 - Thanks very much, that was really helpful! I'll have a look in my local Sports Direct today hopefully. Thanks again!

    No worries. I guess the jerseys RRP can be taken with a pinch of salt, given that Muddy Fox is a subsidiary of Sports Direct, but they look good, seem well made, and comparable in quality to others I've looked at around the £30 price point - and at £7 each you can pretty much view them as disposable.

    I think someone else may already have mentioned, but it's worth keeping an eye on your local Aldi too, as they sometimes get dirt cheap Crane cycling clothing in (I got a nice long sleeve jersey there for about £7, a zip up softshell jacket for about a tenner and compression base layer shorts & t shirt for something like £7.

    For trousers I went a bit more upmarket with Endura Humvees (in stealthy black) and Endura padded clickfast liner shorts (I don't have much padding of my own, lol), from my local proper bike shop (All Terrain Cycles), both of which are comfy and seem great quality and durable. Tesco do a very cheap Camelback style hydration pack rucksack too - it's not as good quality as a Camelback, but it'll do the job for me, and at a quarter of the cost of the cheapest Camelbacks.

    I'm starting out on a 2007 Carrera Kraken, which is better than anything that I'll be able to throw at it for some time to come, and the 2013 model is an improvement on mine (it has hydraulic brakes and lighter wheels, for instance). I reckon an 18" would be too big for you. I'm 5'10", with a 34" inside leg, and mine's a 20", but I would've fitted on an 18" (and with hindsight, I think the 18 may have been the better choice). I have a friend who's a much more experienced rider than me (not difficult, lol) and he's your height, he rides 16" frames.

    Here's a very favourable write up on the Vulcan:

    http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/ ... n-12-45673

    I think I'm right in saying both the Kraken and Vulcan share the same frame (which, according to reviews, is good enough to warrant upgrading with better components as your abilities grow and things get broken or wear out), but (especially given the discount you can get) I reckon the better equipment spec of the Kraken is worth paying the difference for, if you want a bike that'll take longer for your skills to grow out of (the XCR fork on the Kraken is still basic, but considerably plusher and better controlled than the cheaper unit on the Vulcan, for example). I'm just a newbie, so not qualified to make any judgements on bikes' performance envelopes, but maybe my newbie's viewpoint has relevance to your ponderings.
  • paulneenan76paulneenan76 Posts: 777
    The Voodoo is the best choice for you I'd say

    I'm a big fan of Aldi's bike stuff (came in yesterday) but you need to be quick as their stuff sells fast. I always buy something when its in as its such good value. The helmet in particular is still going strong after 3 years and it was under £10. Sports Direct stuff is equally cheap but the quality is not quite so good unless its D2B - still good value though.

    Skate trainers, Vans, Etnies etc., from Sports Direct, Office or TK Maxx are a good shout for flat pedals and should be under £30.

    Just get the basics to get you started and then invest as you go along - the most important thing is riding!

    Oh and I'm local to Woburn, Woburn Sands, Brickhills, Ashridge, Dunstable Downs, Chiltern Ridgeway - We are pretty spoilt for places to ride.

    Have fun

    Paul
    Family, Friends, Fantastic trails - what else is there

    viewtopic.php?f=10017&t=12898838
    viewtopic.php?f=10017&t=12897374
  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412

    I'm a big fan of Aldi's bike stuff (came in yesterday) but you need to be quick as their stuff sells fast.

    I popped into my local branch this afternoon, just on the off chance. The stuff only came in today? It had been properly rummaged, lol. I bought a pair of compression leg and arm warmers (£6.99 each), since they'll be equally useful for motorcycling as well as MTB.
  • paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    Bike kit advice has been tapped out by others already - definitely look at the 16inch range rather than 18 inch at your height - I am same as you bar a spare 15 years and I ride small frames or 16 inchers without fail. I have tried mediums and I can get away with it but am rarely comfortable. Looks like the Hoodoo is out of stock - consider the Careera Kraken?

    Or the Rockrider 8.1 from Decathlon but you wont get your discount on it and its 550 quid.
    Closet jockey wheel pimp censored .
  • bartimaeusbartimaeus Posts: 1,812
    You also need to bookmark Superstar - if only for that time you need new brake pads.
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