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Beginner Bike Buying Help

onedayeronedayer Posts: 41
edited February 2017 in MTB buying advice
Hi lads!

I'm looking to make the switch from road cycling to MtB and want a nice cheap bike to get me started but I don't want to buy a heap of junk.

I've got fond memories of Yorkshire Dales rides that I want to get back out and do! Mainly off-road on bridleways and such like, anything that is muddy, bumpy, technical downhills and a few slogs uphill because I like that part too!

Budget is as cheap as possible hopefully <£250. I know this is low but I don't want to splash out only for it to be a fad, or not be able to ride as much as I like and then have an expensive metal ornament which is kind of what happened to my road bike!

I've done some googling and this is what I've found so far:

http://www.decathlon.co.uk/rockrider-52 ... 60662.html

Heard Decathlon Rockriders mentioned a few times as a budget price. It looks good!

http://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/m ... -bike-2015
http://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/m ... ntain-bike

First one is cheap as chips with a load of good reviews but I'd value the opinion of proper riders like yourselves over (no offence) families taking their kids out for a tootle.

How much worse are those to bikes like this one:
http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/calibre-two ... f606473739

Or in fact how much worse are places like Halfords' entry levels such as this one?:
http://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/m ... ntain-bike

All are hard tails which I've had good experiences with in the past.
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  • jamskijamski Posts: 737
    Hello, and welcome! Others may think otherwise, but second hand may be the best option if you're budget can't shift. All those you posted are going to be pretty heavy, with a fork that hardly moves. A guy I work with started commuting 24 miles over terrain like you mentioned, and it literally crumbled within weeks. If you're doing canal paths then fine, but anything bumpy, muddy, you'll struggle.

    The Calibre two two is a great bike (I have one) and will do all you mention. The fork is entry level, but it works, and the other components are a great spec for the price. The are others around that price two which are a good buy. A Rockrider and Voodoo, not sure of the models off the top of my head, but you're looking more around the £400 mark.

    So, if you can't stretch to that, have a look second hand. Good luck! :)
    Daddy, Husband, Designer, Biker, Gamer, Geek
    Bird Aeris 120 | Boardman Team 650b | Boardman Pro FS | Calibre Two.two
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,699
    The Rockrider, Vengance and Hellcat are ok but the calibre is better apart from its 26" wheeled. For me I would get the Rockrider and get a better bike when it's worn out or you have more money. I wouldn't bother with the falcon. Alternatively you could get second hand if you know what your looking at.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • jamskijamski Posts: 737
    Wheel size is very much a matter of opinion and I certainly wouldn't seperate bikes at this level apart based on that alone. In fact, I would rather a 26er over a 29er. But that's just me.
    Daddy, Husband, Designer, Biker, Gamer, Geek
    Bird Aeris 120 | Boardman Team 650b | Boardman Pro FS | Calibre Two.two
  • jamski wrote:
    Hello, and welcome! Others may think otherwise, but second hand may be the best option if you're budget can't shift. All those you posted are going to be pretty heavy, with a fork that hardly moves. A guy I work with started commuting 24 miles over terrain like you mentioned, and it literally crumbled within weeks. If you're doing canal paths then fine, but anything bumpy, muddy, you'll struggle.

    The Calibre two two is a great bike (I have one) and will do all you mention. The fork is entry level, but it works, and the other components are a great spec for the price. The are others around that price two which are a good buy. A Rockrider and Voodoo, not sure of the models off the top of my head, but you're looking more around the £400 mark.

    So, if you can't stretch to that, have a look second hand. Good luck! :)
    oxoman wrote:
    The Rockrider, Vengance and Hellcat are ok but the calibre is better apart from its 26" wheeled. For me I would get the Rockrider and get a better bike when it's worn out or you have more money. I wouldn't bother with the falcon. Alternatively you could get second hand if you know what your looking at.

    Super speedy responses thanks guys! Thanks for the welcome too!

    I'm not making a decision yet, I've to sell my road bike first.

    Jesus, a 24m off road commute!? Guy must be a machine! Worrying about the wear and tear so soon, was it one of those models? Second hand is definitely an option, a little bit worried that I won't know a good bike if I see one and buy one that's just about to die! Missed those calibre smaller tyres!

    Rockrider has 80mm suspension which sounds ok? Whether or not they work is a different matter. And it's <15kg because it's Aluminium - something I was looking for. Choices but Rockrider is leading the way so far, I will look into used bikes though.
  • jamskijamski Posts: 737
    It's 12 miles each way, a mix of canal path, some pretty steep bridlepaths and some real bumpy stuff. I do it now and then and it's good fun. Although he does it so much now it's no longer fun for him.

    The other thing I thought of for you woild be a ride to work scheme, or there are some 0% interest bike places. For a £500 bike ot wouldnt be much each month. Let us know what you decide on.
    Daddy, Husband, Designer, Biker, Gamer, Geek
    Bird Aeris 120 | Boardman Team 650b | Boardman Pro FS | Calibre Two.two
  • 2nd for C2W. I got a Bossnut on C2W and it works out, after tax savings, to be a about £55 a month for a £1000 bike so for something like a £500 bike you're talking peanuts per month.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    For £430 the Trott MTB1 at Halfords is incredibly good value (a bit cheaper with topcashback and British cycling membership), ignore the 'womens' tag that's just some splashes of colour.

    I can understand not using a roadbike, far fewer people don't use their MTB's!
  • Ah CTW scheme isn't an option! It was at my last place too!

    That's a bike for a woman Rookie!! :lol:

    Had some bad news on the selling front, apparently the bike that I paid £1000 for is now selling new at £650! With only 200 miles rode I wanted near that figure for it! Now I'm maybe looking at <500 which has made a cheaper bike more of a priority.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    The Trott is great value, and if it fits, who cares?
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • cooldad wrote:
    The Trott is great value, and if it fits, who cares?

    Agreed. Why not strip the paint job, if you really don't like the colour?
  • I don't actually think it's a bad looking bike! Maybe a little bit plain.

    What would the ride position be like? It says it has Female-specific geometry, whatever that means.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,699
    I was going to get one for my lad until I was overruled. I was going to change the saddle, remove the fork decals, change the grips. I looked at the main frame decals and realised that unless I stickered over them I would have to spray the frame. The frame is the same as a carrera unisex frame without the seatpost gusset. The forks and drive train are excellent for the price.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • oxoman wrote:
    I was going to get one for my lad until I was overruled. I was going to change the saddle, remove the fork decals, change the grips. I looked at the main frame decals and realised that unless I stickered over them I would have to spray the frame.

    Pain in the censored to strip, then. My bad.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,699
    I now it's out of your budget but halfrauds have reduced the 2015 carrera fury as long as you fit a 20"frame. Good spec and a cracking bike.
    http://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/m ... -bike-2015
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • oxoman wrote:
    I now it's out of your budget but halfrauds have reduced the 2015 carrera fury as long as you fit a 20"frame. Good spec and a cracking bike.
    http://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/m ... -bike-2015

    I can recommend that bike, as I have it.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    onedayer wrote:
    That's a bike for a woman Rookie!! :lol:
    You don't say
    The Rookie wrote:
    For £430 the Trott MTB1 at Halfords is incredibly good value (a bit cheaper with topcashback and British cycling membership), ignore the 'womens' tag that's just some splashes of colour.
    It is also amazingly good value and a near unbeatable spec for the cash, saddle, grips and fork stickers are easy to change and the frame is fairly unisex anyway, still if you aren't confident enough in your masculinity I guess you may struggle with it?
  • jamskijamski Posts: 737
    Sorry, I wouldnt ride it. It is a great spec though.
    Daddy, Husband, Designer, Biker, Gamer, Geek
    Bird Aeris 120 | Boardman Team 650b | Boardman Pro FS | Calibre Two.two
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    If you really dislike the frame that much (or feel you aren't masculine enough to carry it off - bit like some guys can't cope with wearing pink shirts) it's such good value even doing a reframe into something like a Parkwood would still leave it as good value.
  • jamskijamski Posts: 737
    The Rookie wrote:
    If you really dislike the frame that much (or feel you aren't masculine enough to carry it off - bit like some guys can't cope with wearing pink shirts) it's such good value even doing a reframe into something like a Parkwood would still leave it as good value.

    Now that's a good looking frame, and a great idea. Do that.
    Daddy, Husband, Designer, Biker, Gamer, Geek
    Bird Aeris 120 | Boardman Team 650b | Boardman Pro FS | Calibre Two.two
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,699
    Even better value now, the trott is down to 380 if you have bc membership you can get a further 38 off it.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • I've heard a lot about a British Cycling membership. Aside from the initial 10% off new bikes what does it get you? Pros and cons?

    To reframe the Trott with say the parkwood suggestion, how much are we talking?

    I've got a ride planned for tomorrow in the North York Moors. I was just searching for routes and found one that starts and finishes at a visitor centre which has a bike shop so I'm hiring one for a few hours and getting out there!
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Cost would be the frame, you will need a new lower headset (upto about £25), you may need some spacers in the BB as I've heard the latest Halfords frames are 73mm and the Parkwood is 68mm, maybe a couple of quid, it looks like everything else will fit so it would just be grips, fork stickers and saddle. Circa £150 for all that or maybe a little more.
  • So that takes it to ~£550 bike? Pushing out of my budget there but I bet the result would be very satisfying. Sounds like excellent spec and I'd think the customisation aspect would make it seem more 'mine'? To be honest it sounds like something to do when I 100% know that MtBing is my thing.

    With the news of the Trott bike being reduced I had another look at Halfords and saw this:

    http://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/m ... bike-black

    Carrera Vengeance down to £250 from £320. Their most popular mountain bike they say. Thoughts on that?

    Also, ex-hire bikes? There's the fact that it's not one person's bike and when it gets hired out people will hammer it, and throw it around a bit. But at the same time it will go straight back to the shop, get cleaned up straight away and have constant servicing due to living in a bike shop?
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    It's pants and never worth £320, typical Halfords pricing.

    If you really can't have the Trott frame then it could be reframed for cheaper using a decent enough frame used, any Carerra frame from about 2012 onwards will take all the parts.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,699
    2015 CARERRA FURY CURRENTLY AVAILABLE IN 20"
    http://www.halfords.com/cycling/bikes/m ... -bike-2015
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • My ride today in the North York Moors was a lot of fun. I rode a Cube Reaction I think it was this one: https://www.cube.eu/uk/products/mtb-har ... blue-2016/

    Bike saved my censored a few times bounding down bridleways in the mud (and snow/ice) grip was ace. Made me realise I think that bikes like that carrerra vengeance are simply not going to cut it. I know Rookie said it's pants but seeing for my own eyes how much grip and suspension you need on routes like that opened my eyes.

    Plus the triple ring was a blessing!

    Cream crackered now!
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    Can't have been the one you linked to which is a double.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    The Trott is £390 now (or £380 - seems to change every day). And the Vengeance back up to £320. For the extra £70, you are getting so much more bike - hydraulic brakes, air fork with 15mm axle and adjustable damping (compared to a coil spring with no damping) and 11 speed rather than 8.

    If it still doesn't float your boat then the Rockrider 540 is a good buy.
  • Found it, this one: https://www.mantel.com/uk/cube-attention-sl-2016 Attention not a Reaction.

    A few of my favourites from the ride on Sunday, before the bridleways turned into WW1 trenches and I got grumpy.

    Ls04Rgw.jpg
    9MzwzZX.jpg
    OG8B26U.jpg
    VKUK3sy.jpg
    ySkNLYk.jpg

    Three way race between the Rock540, Trott and Carrera Fury (although I'm 3cm too short for the 20" frame).
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