Hi from noob getting back to cycling - which bike?

jdk2014 Posts: 24
edited May 2014 in MTB buying advice
A short history:
BMX from 8-15years old. Nothing fancy - it was the early '80s.
20yr old - bought a (wait for it)...Raleigh Activator and did a mixture of road and Forestry Commission tracks for a couple of years and enjoyed it.
Then at 32-35yr old I got back into BMX with DK and Haro bikes. There was much more around then for BMX, but, at that age, I had a lot more to lose if things went wrong.
I then moved away from the city to the country, and at 40+ years old, have a couple of kids learning to cycle.
Unfortunately, they are a bit reluctant to cycle, but, when I got out my old BMX and rode around on it, the kids were keen to jump on their stabilized bike/balance bike and follow.
I think I have to lead by example. This is (hopefully) going to be a 10 year or so project with getting the kids out and about and getting myself fitter with something I used to enjoy.

Reading around (the interweb's a great thing), and visiting Halfords, it would appear there are far more bikes out there. And perhaps more sizes of bikes too.
I'm about 175cm tall and weigh nearly 80kg(!). Halfords staff suggested a 17" or 18" frame.
The area I live in has forest tracks, country roads, steep footpaths and a cracking big hill that I've seen downhill cyclists descend at speed on You Tube.
I think I'd like to have a bike that can take on all or most of these routes. Admittedly the kids might only want smooth surfaces at first, but they might want to try the mucky stuff too at some stage.
Now here's the rub. I'm skint. So a second hand bike is in order.
So I guess the questions I'm asking are:
1) What kind of bike? (I'm assuming mountain or hybrid...but I'm leaning toward mountain)
2) What size of bike?
3) What should I be looking for regarding 2nd hand bikes and possible damage? (I'm reasonable mechanically minded and have worked on autos, scooters and the bikes I've had).
4) Specialized and Kona are two names that keep coming into my (second hand) price range in the for sale ads.

Ok, I know these questions have been asked a million times before and I'm continuing to read the forums, so thanks in advance for any tips etc.


  • Initialised
    Initialised Posts: 3,047
    Careful what you ask for, I took my two to some dirt jumps last weekend and ended up spending the afternoon in A&E after the eldest (11) ripped a hole in his leg following me down and over a jump.

    1: Hardtail mountain bike with at least 100mm travel for the rough stuff.
    2: I'm 183cm, 83kg and ride a 16" (with a massive seatpost), an 18" and a 56cm road bike. 18" is probably a good place to start.
    3: Damage, play in the cranks, hubs, headset, and pedals, warped discs, wheels out of true, loose spokes, do the gears shift well how does the fork feel?
    Mis-matching components or changes from original spec can indicate hard riding.
    Expect to bleed the brakes if hydraulic and to replace the brake pads and tyres.
    4: What's your budget? VooDoo HooDoo (2011/12) model is a cracking bike for £2-300 if you can find an 18".
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • jdk2014
    jdk2014 Posts: 24
    Thanks for all that info. I've been reading up as much as I can and also checking the small as. I'll make up a list, starting with the things you mentioned, to take with me wen viewing a bike.
    Much appreciated.