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First (Real) Mountain Bike

edited June 2007 in XC and Enduro
Recently i have been looking into buying a new bike for going mountain biking at my local forest. The bike which i have at the minute just isnt suitable. The biking which i will be doing wont be anything extreme but i would like a bike that can cope with small drop offs and bumps. As i know relatively little about bikes i am interested int knowing others views. I am looking to spend anything up to œ500 and have seen a 2006 Kona Kikapu for œ499.00 which seems to be a pretty good price considering it was œ850.00. Is this a good price for a good bike? Is there a better Full suspension bike out there for the same money or should i stay away from the full suspension range entirely? I have heard that in most cases hardtails will give better bikes for less money. Is there is a better Hardtail out there for this money?

Any suggestions and advice will be appreciated. Thanks in advance to any advice given.


  • Rob KingRob King Posts: 6
    Hi GoldenG,

    For sure better quality, lighter, better quality components for less money with Hardtails - unless you find a true bargain.

    I think the Kona Kikapu is a decent bike - I was looking at the King (Scandium tubing = very light)as a Full Susser.

    Personally i like the frame Geometry of the Kona and wouldn't argue against it.

    Can you get to Demo it from a knowledgeable shop? One that will ask you what you want, what your budget is and advise you on frame sizing? If you can, then go for it...

    Last thing - do you know where your riding will progress to? XC or Downhill? If you might want to do big mountain downhill you may want full suspension but I think you could be looking at more money for a quality bike. hardtails will make you a better rider as you will get away with less - if you are competant/able to learn and are little lucky then I reckon you'll lot's of fun on the HT..If you ride too fast for your skills, fail to read the trail, not able to tune into the trail then you may suffer - sorry if this is old hat - just don't want to encourage you to get HT and you come a cropper!

    There are guys on here that are real knowledgeable and they will soon correct me - enhance my advise.

    Best of Luck and lots of laughs.
  • The trails which i will be riding are at Mabie Forest in the South West of Scotland if anyone has previous experience of riding there. Ive been quite a few times on the hardtail i have at present which could handle what the tracks had to offer. I think i would be more inclined to just doing XC biking. If a hardtail is a better option what would you recommend for œ500?
    Another thing which i had meant to ask was what frame size should i get? I am just under 6 foot and weigh around 11 stone. Does that help??
    PS Thanks for the advice Rob.
  • wilson26wilson26 Posts: 46
    There are a lot of œ500 hardtails which are really good, Commencal are good as are Kona and Specialized and Giant to name a few. Thanks to the technology becoming more available and cheaper to manufacture the cheaper bikes are getting better specs every year, hydraulic discs, forks etc. so you really do get very good HT's for that money. I'd reckon an 18 inch frame for your height, and if you have a good bike shop near you they'll know what bikes are good this year and they'll measure you up and get you the best bike for what you want to do.

  • After looking at some bikes, which would you recommend being best value for money and the best bike from:
    Kona Caldera 2006 - 499.99
    Kona Blast 2006 - 379.99
    Kona Kikapu 2006 - 499.99
    Commencal Combi disc 2007 - 499.99
    Dawes Reddle Bike 2006 - 374.99
    Marin Bobcat Trail Bike 2007 - 449.99

    Thanks to Wilson for your advice. Much appreciated.
  • Rob KingRob King Posts: 6

    I had (still have) a Marin Palisades Trail. Have tackled (alleged) hard technical downhill trails in Peak District, Derbyshire with it and I have used it mid winter and high summer in England (we do have a few hills dotted around) and found that:

    Front forks were chronic - upgraded.
    Fitted disc brake to front but fram not designed for rear disc brake so still on V-brake - not good.
    General level of components was/is OK but would want to upgrade
    Weight has become an issue and frame is central to that issue.

    So, I don't know if you'll be MTBing in 5 to 10 years but if you are really getting into it then you will find, in time, that you'll want to upgrade. This can be expensive and so it is a good idea to acquire, with your œ500, the 'best' frame you can get - the components can be upgraded as and when you need/can afford/see a bargain.

  • get maybe a gt avalanche or gt aggressor and upgrade the aggressor - My Site ... rid=165952 - My censored

    I rode once, i rode again

    Norco 125 Custom Build + 90's Peugeot Road Bike
  • wilson26wilson26 Posts: 46
    The Commencal has a fairly good fork with lockout which is good to have on an XC fork and it will take some abuse aswell, the Avids are good brakes and if you need new stuff in the future it'll accept anything you want, forks brakes etc.I'd recommend getting a higher model drivetrain after about a year though. although it is a damn good bike to start with. I'd also reccomend that you look at the GT avalanche 1.0 disc, might even be a better choice for you, it won't really need anything doing to it for a long while apart from the forks. I wouldn't start out on a full sus cos they are too forgiving and HT's will make you a better rider and you can get one in the future when you're a beast.

  • BlundellBlundell Posts: 308
    What about a giant xtc (wshat ever number it is 4,3 or 2) They have good frames and are good value for money?

    one of my bikes Scott scale 20
    Another one 2004 klein attitude xv
    and finally 2006 Giant anthem2
  • After much deliberation Ive decided that I'm going to get a kona. The only thing is i can't decide whether to get the 2006 Blast or the 2006 Caldera.
    The blast is œ120 cheaper but taking Robs advice into account both bikes have the same frame. I understand that the components on the Caldera are better but do you believe that these will be good enough to last any length of time? Or would you recommend buying the Blast and then upgrading the parts with more higher quality parts after a short period?
    Thanks for the the advice and suggestions so far. They are greatly appreciated.
  • omblaeomblae Posts: 206
    Really you want to be looking at a hardtail.

    Honing your skills on a full susser is much harder because you can get away with alot more.

    Caldera is a good choice as the Blast will eventually need some upgrading and thats when the costs really stack up.

    Make a choice based on your own feelings and good luck with your MTB career.

    And the lord said "Thou shalt not put Tora's on a VP Free"
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Ben Bramhill</i>

    On upgrades? Pay someone œ90 to take it away.
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">
  • mbukfanmbukfan Posts: 3,052
    if you have the money for the Caldera it may save you money in the long run
    if you upgrade the blast you may only upgrade it to the level of the Caldera anyway

    <font size="1"><font color="green">Only the truth hurts, but thats more than enough.</font id="green"> </font id="size1">
    <font size="2"> Andy</font id="size2">
    <font size="1"><font color="green">Only the truth hurts, but thats more than enough.</font id="green"> </font id="size1">
    <font size="2"> Andy</font id="size2">
  • Rob KingRob King Posts: 6
    The Caldera is a better base spec to upgrade from - if/when things get knackered - so long as you can afford the initial outlay.

    For general XC the initial kit should work well, if you keep it well cleaned and lubricated and work at adjusting everything regularly AND learn to live with the glitches that 'generally' develop on lower spec kit then you could get years of wear and tear out of it.

    You have to consider the pedals though; the Caldera has cleats - which I am now a fan of, whereas the Blast has clips - which I used to be a fan of...the cleats are the way to go and being supplied on the original bike saves you a few quid - as long as you have cleated shoes..else it costs you even more as you'll need to buy the shoes [8]!!

    Regarding upgrading: as I am doing more on the bike and the 'performance' becomes more of an issue I have wanted to upgrade to better spec. Eventually the frame will become the weakest link so I am buying kit that I would want to put on my 'dream bike' - hence the very high spec front forks/brakes, I've also purchased a X.0 rear mech and shifters [8D]...and so on.

    Do this as and when you get fed up with the performance of your OE components then over 2-3years when you find the frame is totally outclassed by the kit go get a better frame.

    So GoldenG, the caldera is a better longer term spec, the Blast may need quicker upgrading but, in the end if you enjoy you MTBing as much as many people here you'll want to get high end kit and uprate as you get better.

    Bottom Line: think about the pedals, look after your bike (whichever you buy) and that Kona frame looks good - especially in black [;)]
  • Ive decided to go for the Kona Caldera following your advice. On the issue of the pedals im going to be replacing them with flats (most likely DMR V8's). Thank you very much to everyone that has replied to the question as your advice has helped alot in my choice. Thanks again. The Golden Goldfish.
  • dgowenlockdgowenlock Posts: 24
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Rob King</i>


    I had (still have) a Marin Palisades Trail.
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    Don't suppose you still have the forks that came with the bike? Were they RST?


    <hr noshade size="1">[^] Check out my <font color="red">photography portfolio.</font id="red"> [^]
    <hr noshade size="1"><b>|</b> 07 Specialized Stumpjumper Hardtail <b>|</b> Fox F90RL <b>|</b> Avid Juicy 5s <b>|</b> EA70 low risers <b>|</b>
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  • Great bikes the caldera's. Unfortunately for me mine snapped, Im sure it was a one off though as i would have another.


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