Bike Forums

Bike Forums (https://www.bikeforums.net/forum.php)
-   Mountain Biking (https://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php?f=26)
-   -   Best Hardtail for Under 500 bucks? (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=1182797)

BirdsBikeBinocs 09-09-19 12:01 PM


Originally Posted by prj71 (Post 21114298)
LOL. Such a funny statement. You obviously don't know what a quality bike is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkMnk_eCDQU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtbj4V5x4U8

Do you believe everything you watch on YouTube. Do you believe everything that you read.?? You might want(need) to make an adjustment.

7tevoffun 09-09-19 06:36 PM


Originally Posted by sdmc530 (Post 21114656)
I got a Specialized Hard Rock a couple years ago for a few trips of gravel riding. Was $499 and been a good bike. Didn't want to spend 1K on a bike I wouldn't ride more than 500 miles a year. Triple drivetrain and I can go anyplace on it. A bit heavier than I would normally ride but still pretty satisfied with it for my needs.

Don't know what they are going for now but this late in the year you should get a decent price I would think!

Good luck!

Thanks for your take, I appreciate it!

7tevoffun 09-11-19 06:31 AM

I forgot about Marin...I had one a while ago and I really liked it, but I'm not sure what their quality is like now. All the reviews I find online seem somewhat canned. Anyone here own one and care to comment?

qclabrat 09-11-19 01:17 PM


Originally Posted by 7tevoffun (Post 21117544)
I forgot about Marin...I had one a while ago and I really liked it, but I'm not sure what their quality is like now. All the reviews I find online seem somewhat canned. Anyone here own one and care to comment?

They are IMO like Giants, good value bikes, definitely worth a look
Another brand is Jamis

prj71 09-12-19 07:58 AM


Originally Posted by BirdsBikeBinocs (Post 21114810)
Do you believe everything you watch on YouTube. Do you believe everything that you read.?? You might want(need) to make an adjustment.

Ummm no. Those walmart bikes on the video are junk. Just like any other department store bike.

You might want to have a clue.

Let's please not compare this Wally World crap to real bikes.

7tevoffun 09-15-19 08:05 PM

So I stumbled across bikes direct and the Gravity brand...it seems a little too good to be true in terms of bang for your buck. What is everyone's opinion on the dealer and the Gravity brand?

chiefsilverback 09-16-19 03:43 PM

I ride some pretty rough trails on my Cannondale Quick, and I save the weight of suspension fork that really doesn't do much, so do you really need a hard tail or might you be better fully rigid? You'll get nicer components at a given price point.

Darth Lefty 09-16-19 05:54 PM

Bikes Direct is pretty much all one company, with a half dozen brands underneath their umbrella. People who buy them don't seem to have a lot of complaints. But they're usually a few years behind the market and not very inspiring designs. The "savings" are present, but overblown.

I say pretty much because they do occasionally come up with some other brand stock, but not often. A few years ago they had Fuji touring bikes, for instance.

7tevoffun 09-16-19 05:57 PM


Originally Posted by chiefsilverback (Post 21125140)
I ride some pretty rough trails on my Cannondale Quick, and I save the weight of suspension fork that really doesn't do much, so do you really need a hard tail or might you be better fully rigid? You'll get nicer components at a given price point.

For me I want some aggressive frame geometry and disc brakes and as far as I can tell the quicks don't have disc brakes and the geometry isn't what I'm necessarily looking for.

Of course I'm not saying I'm beyond reproach, and if I'm wrong feel free to call me out.

7tevoffun 09-16-19 06:00 PM


Originally Posted by Darth Lefty (Post 21125354)
Bikes Direct is pretty much all one company, with a half dozen brands underneath their umbrella. People who buy them don't seem to have a lot of complaints. But they're usually a few years behind the market and not very inspiring designs. The "savings" are present, but overblown.

I say pretty much because they do occasionally come up with some other brand stock, but not often. A few years ago they had Fuji touring bikes, for instance.

I really want bang for my buck, but I also don't want to rely on my small amount of experience to build the bike correctly. Also, the inability to take the bike to the shop where it was bought is something to consider as well.

I did find a 2018 Rockhopper Comp in my city but it still has a coil fork.

It seems like a good deal but I'm not sure...

chiefsilverback 09-16-19 06:37 PM


Originally Posted by 7tevoffun (Post 21125358)
For me I want some aggressive frame geometry and disc brakes and as far as I can tell the quicks don't have disc brakes and the geometry isn't what I'm necessarily looking for.

Of course I'm not saying I'm beyond reproach, and if I'm wrong feel free to call me out.

It looks like the Quick rang has discs from $600 up, and Iím sure itís similar with the other brands too.

Mine does not have discs, but I didnít buy it for off-road, I just started to hit some fire roads and gravel this year, so I put a set of 37mm tires on and it does pretty well.

You could look for a rigid MTB, and if you could find one with suspension corrected geometry you could throw on a nicer fork at some point in the future, and have better drivetrain and brakes from the get go. I just put a Manitou Markhor on my 10 year old Cannondale F5, a nice upgrade from the OEM RockShox Dart.

7tevoffun 09-16-19 06:57 PM


Originally Posted by chiefsilverback (Post 21125426)
It looks like the Quick rang has discs from $600 up, and Iím sure itís similar with the other brands too.

Mine does not have discs, but I didnít buy it for off-road, I just started to hit some fire roads and gravel this year, so I put a set of 37mm tires on and it does pretty well.

You could look for a rigid MTB, and if you could find one with suspension corrected geometry you could throw on a nicer fork at some point in the future, and have better drivetrain and brakes from the get go. I just put a Manitou Markhor on my 10 year old Cannondale F5, a nice upgrade from the OEM RockShox Dart.


That's definitely a good idea. Any suggestions on good rigid bikes? All my experience is from 15 years ago. Haha

Kapusta 09-17-19 07:35 AM

UNDER $500 new.... it gets tough. At $500 (MSRP) you can get a perfectly OK bike for riding around the neighborhood and on gentle paths, but off-road capability will be limited.

If you can go up to $600, bikes like the Trek Marlin or Giant Talon are decent options, and will handle off-road fine, but donít expect a lot.

You could probably get something decent from BD for $500, but I would only do that if you want to wrench your own bike and have the ability to check the build.

When looking at mountain bikes in the $500 to $1000 range, every little bit extra you can afford will make a very noticeable difference. Even just going from a $500 to $750 budget will make a huge difference. And $750 to $1000 will as well.

For under $500 I would be looking at used.

While the idea of rigid sounds good, I donít think you are going to have much luck finding a decent rigid mtb new for $500. Unfortunately, the mass market demands to see a suspension fork on the front of a mountain bike, no matter how crappy it is. New rigid mtbs are more of a niche thing, thus are rarely seen in entry level price points.

And to be honest, even if you could find a new decent rigid MTB for $500, buying it with the plan of upgrading it with a suspension fork is a waste of money. You will end up spending $750 to get a bike you could have bought for $600.

OTOH, if you can find a rigid bike in your price range, I would go with that over a the crappy suspension forks that they are typically speced with, and just leave it rigid.

Of course only you know what you can really afford to spend on a bike right now, but one thing I will warn you about is that with a $500 mountain bike, if you start enjoying riding off road, youíre going to quickly outgrow it and end up buying a more expensive bike anyway. Or upgrading stuff.

The two most expensive ways to end up with a bike worth $1000 are....

1) Buy a $500 bike, and then buy a $1000 bike

2) Buy a $500 bike and then spend $1000 in upgrades.

Fen 09-17-19 09:44 AM


Originally Posted by Kapusta (Post 21125958)
\
Of course only you know what you can really afford to spend on a bike right now, but one thing I will warn you about is that with a $500 mountain bike, if you start enjoying riding off road, you’re going to quickly outgrow it and end up buying a more expensive bike anyway. Or upgrading stuff.
.

I have to say that this is what happened to me. Brand new to the sport, I bought a $500 bike because I wasn't sure if I'd like it. I rode it for a year, and got frustrated very quickly although I knew I loved riding. Then I rode a "better" bike and a light went off. I got myself a $1500 bike and have so much more fun. I also realize that while the $1500 bike is a good bike, I could have spent much more. That's not to say that I didn't have fun on the original bike. I did, but the new one is worth it to me.

7tevoffun 09-17-19 09:47 AM


Originally Posted by Fen (Post 21126153)
I have to say that this is what happened to me. Brand new to the sport, I bought a $500 bike because I wasn't sure if I'd like it. I rode it for a year, and got frustrated very quickly although I knew I loved riding. Then I rode a "better" bike and a light went off. I got myself a $1500 bike and have so much more fun. I also realize that while the $1500 bike is a good bike, I could have spent much more. That's not to say that I didn't have fun on the original bike. I did, but the new one is worth it to me.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I knew this was going to be the case. Guess I have to sell my kidneys for a nice bike.

Kapusta 09-17-19 10:01 AM


Originally Posted by 7tevoffun (Post 21126160)
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I knew this was going to be the case. Guess I have to sell my kidneys for a nice bike.

Dude, donít be so rash.... you only need to sell one of them.

Darth Lefty 09-17-19 10:23 AM

And you should be able to get much more for a kidney, assuming you haven't been abusing it.

Re: rigid mountain bikes, they are now something of a niche and so they're not any less expensive than any other "good" bike. An example is the non-suspension version of the Surly Karate Monkey, the ones currently available blue and black:
https://surlybikes.com/bikes/karate_monkey
And they're often also single speed, for maximum grumpiness:
https://surlybikes.com/bikes/lowside

jrhoneOC 09-17-19 10:31 AM

Go to www.bikeexchange.com. Put in your zip code. Plenty of last year new bikes under 500. Like Rockhoppers. Marlin 6. Bikes at 600-700 normally are discounted because they are 2018 or 2019 bikes.

Metieval 09-17-19 10:54 PM


Originally Posted by 7tevoffun (Post 21123916)
So I stumbled across bikes direct and the Gravity brand...it seems a little too good to be true in terms of bang for your buck. What is everyone's opinion on the dealer and the Gravity brand?

buy the Marlin.

I had a gravity, neighbor had a Marlin. The Marlin was worlds better.

If you look for a used bike, you can get more bike for the money.

7tevoffun 09-18-19 05:37 AM


Originally Posted by Metieval (Post 21127315)
buy the Marlin.

I had a gravity, neighbor had a Marlin. The Marlin was worlds better.

If you look for a used bike, you can get more bike for the money.

Cool, thanks! Btw, how do you like your Talon 29er?

chiefsilverback 09-18-19 08:42 AM


Originally Posted by Kapusta (Post 21125958)
And to be honest, even if you could find a new decent rigid MTB for $500, buying it with the plan of upgrading it with a suspension fork is a waste of money. You will end up spending $750 to get a bike you could have bought for $600.

I'm not sure I'd agree with that. Just looking at the Cannondale Trail range.... Trail 8 is $485 and comes with a $60 75mm Suntour coil fork at 2270g. Trail 5 is $780 with a $100 100mm Suntour coil fork at 2738g.

For $225 you could put a 100mm Manitou Markhor air fork at 1875g on the Trail 8. For $60 you could add the same Shimano MT200 hydraulic brakes that come on the Trail 5. Drive train is lower spec, but you could upgrade that with time and you've got yourself a nice bike.

Darth Lefty 09-18-19 09:39 AM

It's definitely cheaper to get better stuff if you don't buy something poorer first to replace. But that's the crux of the whole thread, isn't it?

Kapusta 09-18-19 09:49 AM


Originally Posted by chiefsilverback (Post 21127674)
I'm not sure I'd agree with that. Just looking at the Cannondale Trail range.... Trail 8 is $485 and comes with a $60 75mm Suntour coil fork at 2270g. Trail 5 is $780 with a $100 100mm Suntour coil fork at 2738g.

For $225 you could put a 100mm Manitou Markhor air fork at 1875g on the Trail 8. For $60 you could add the same Shimano MT200 hydraulic brakes that come on the Trail 5. Drive train is lower spec, but you could upgrade that with time and you've got yourself a nice bike.

Few thoughts....
  1. The Trail 5 comes with a Rock Shoc XC 30 TK. Still not a stellar fork, admittedly, but better than a $100 Suntour.
  2. The difference in the drive trains is not trivial. We are talking about a super low end 3x7 vs a Deore level 1x11. That upgrade (Deore shifter, cranks, RD, cassette, chain) is not going to be cheap, and since they give few details about the rear hub on the Trail 8, I would not be 100% sure it will take an 8-9-10 (and 11 mountain) speed cassette. They do not even specify if it uses a cassette or freewheel.
  3. The frames are different (the 5 has boost spacing and a tapered head tube).
  4. Relevant to the point #3....The Manitou Markhor won't work on the Trail 8 due to the non-tapered steer tube. You MIGHT be able to use an adapter lower race (I can't see what sort of steer tube the 8 has) but it lifts the front end up.
  5. The 5 comes with tubeless-ready rims. If you want to go tubeless on the 8, you will need new wheels.
  6. I'll take your word that the brakes on the 5 can be had for $60, but it looks to me like they go for around $85 for a complete set. But that is splitting hairs in the larger scheme.
I do think there are times when it CAN make sense to buy a bike and upgrade just one big thing like the fork: When you are very particular about the fork, and less so about other components. If you really want a really good fork (like a $500 one) but are totally fine with the rest of the spec on a bike and have NO plans to upgrade anything else... it could make sense. But I don't think it would in the case you mention.

However, the reality is that I don't think it will ever work out that way with entry level rigid mtbs.... if you can even find one.

7tevoffun 09-18-19 10:19 AM

Yeah, it is.

I'm looking on bicycle bluebook currently and there's a 2017 rockhopper for a reasonable price - I might pull the trigger if my wife gives me the green light.

I know the warranty doesn't come with it, but I feel like there's a larger probability the bike will hold up rather than give out...

Metieval 09-18-19 10:22 AM

if you are planning to upgrade shock, brakes etc... IMO it is better to buy a used bike.


Originally Posted by 7tevoffun (Post 21127446)
Cool, thanks! Btw, how do you like your Talon 29er?



I absolutely love my Talon 29er. I bought it used and could have left it the way it was but.. I upgraded

So it was a $900 bike. the guy upgraded the wheels and the fork. I gave him $500 and then I turned it into a 1x

what I don't like about it, Our trails are really rooty here. So if I was to stick with a hardtail I'd probably buy a 27+ hardtail.

7tevoffun 09-18-19 10:42 AM


Originally Posted by Metieval (Post 21127863)
if you are planning to upgrade shock, brakes etc... IMO it is better to buy a used bike.





I absolutely love my Talon 29er. I bought it used and could have left it the way it was but.. I upgraded

So it was a $900 bike. the guy upgraded the wheels and the fork. I gave him $500 and then I turned it into a 1x

what I don't like about it, Our trails are really rooty here. So if I was to stick with a hardtail I'd probably buy a 27+ hardtail.

Is it a Talon 1, 2, 3?

smullen 09-18-19 10:48 AM


Originally Posted by 7tevoffun (Post 21106415)
I have had terrible experience with Treks. Does anyone have first hand experience with that trek?

I've got an older Trek 4900 That I rode for years, never had any issue out of it. I wasn't doing any jumps or anything crazy with it, but It was a good bike.

7tevoffun 09-18-19 10:50 AM


Originally Posted by smullen (Post 21127904)
I've got an older Trek 4900 That I rode for years, never had any issue out of it. I wasn't doing any jumps or anything crazy with it, but It was a good bike.

I test rode a Marlin 7 last Friday and if it weren't for my lack of available funds (thanks higher education loans!) and the incredibly condescending Trek Store manager, I would have picked it up. I was super surprised with the quality and ride.

My past Trek experience was to their very entry level MTB's so I assume that is the reason behind my unfavorable perception.

chiefsilverback 09-18-19 10:56 AM


Originally Posted by Kapusta (Post 21127815)
Few thoughts....
  1. The Trail 5 comes with a Rock Shoc XC 30 TK. Still not a stellar fork, admittedly, but better than a $100 Suntour.
  2. The difference in the drive trains is not trivial. We are talking about a super low end 3x7 vs a Deore level 1x11. That upgrade (Deore shifter, cranks, RD, cassette, chain) is not going to be cheap, and since they give few details about the rear hub on the Trail 8, I would not be 100% sure it will take an 8-9-10 (and 11 mountain) speed cassette. They do not even specify if it uses a cassette or freewheel.
  3. The frames are different (the 5 has boost spacing and a tapered head tube).
  4. Relevant to the point #3....The Manitou Markhor won't work on the Trail 8 due to the non-tapered steer tube. You MIGHT be able to use an adapter lower race (I can't see what sort of steer tube the 8 has) but it lifts the front end up.
  5. The 5 comes with tubeless-ready rims. If you want to go tubeless on the 8, you will need new wheels.
  6. I'll take your word that the brakes on the 5 can be had for $60, but it looks to me like they go for around $85 for a complete set. But that is splitting hairs in the larger scheme.
I do think there are times when it CAN make sense to buy a bike and upgrade just one big thing like the fork: When you are very particular about the fork, and less so about other components. If you really want a really good fork (like a $500 one) but are totally fine with the rest of the spec on a bike and have NO plans to upgrade anything else... it could make sense. But I don't think it would in the case you mention.

However, the reality is that I don't think it will ever work out that way with entry level rigid mtbs.... if you can even find one.

Based on the models/specs on the REI website, the Trail 4 at $1000 has the Rock Show XC30 fork, tapered steerer and 1x10 Deore drivetrain. The Trail 5 has a 1 1/8 straight steerer, Suntour fork, and a 3 x 9 Altus drivetrain.

Kapusta 09-18-19 10:59 AM


Originally Posted by chiefsilverback (Post 21127918)
Based on the models/specs on the REI website, the Trail 4 at $1000 has the Rock Show XC30 fork, tapered steerer and 1x10 Deore drivetrain. The Trail 5 has a 1 1/8 straight steerer, Suntour fork, and a 3 x 9 Altus drivetrain.

OK, I am looking at the Cannondale site.

Looking at the ones on the REI site.... you still can't put the fork you are thinking of on the 8..... or the 5.
And my point regarding doing ANY upgrade to the drive train remains. Not specified if the 8 is using a cassette or freewheel.

You are going where many have gone before.... thinking there is some way to beat the system with upgrades. Ultimately, unless you know you have very specific needs out of the mainstream, or have a very good lead on the upgrades (or already own them), it almost never works out financially. Yes, you can cherry pick two models to compare where it works, but in those cases it is either an unusually good deal on the cheaper one, or bad deal on the more expensive one. Find the best deals at $500 and $750 and $1000 level, and it will seldom work out.

And, as the bikes you mention illustrate, upgrading low end bikes can sometime not be an option due to the different standards.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:18 AM.


Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.