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Best Hardtail for Under 500 bucks?

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Best Hardtail for Under 500 bucks?

Old 09-19-19, 11:52 AM
  #76  
prj71
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
Wow, $750-$1500 bikes that are better than $500 bikes. Incredible. Who’d have thought?

Shall I now link to a bunch of $2500-$3000 bikes to point out that $1000 bikes are junk?
That $750+ range is a fine line that gets out of department store bike territory. You know as well as I do that a sub $500 mountain bike is a decent frame with inferior parts attached to it. "Cheap" and "good" don't go together in the world of bikes.

Last edited by prj71; 09-19-19 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 09-19-19, 12:20 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
That $750+ range is a fine line that gets out of department store bike territory. You know as well as I do that a sub $500 mountain bike is a decent frame with inferior parts attached to it. "Cheap" and "good" don't go together in the world of bikes.
The OP has been given several options (entry level Marlins, Talons Trails) that rise above department store BSOs and can be had for just under or around $500. These are bikes that are found in bike shops and will serve regular use just fine. You need to consider what the OP is actually looking at the bike for.

Are they as nice ad $750? Of course not. And $750 bikes are clearly inferior to $1200 bikes which are clearly inferior to $2k bikes.... and so on.

Nobody is arguing that the OP won’t get a lot more if he spends more. But to rule out anything under $1000 as “junk” territory (as you did earlier) or that under $750 is dept store territory (as you are now) is not accurate and definitely not helpful to the OP.

Last edited by Kapusta; 09-19-19 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 09-19-19, 03:17 PM
  #78  
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Contradictions Kapusta...

You kinda ruled out anything under $1000 as junk also just without directly saying it like I did while at the same time implying he would be better off choosing a bike in the same price range I suggested.

Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
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 don’t 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 don’t 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, you’re 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
.
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Old 09-19-19, 05:17 PM
  #79  
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W
Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
Contradictions Kapusta...

You kinda ruled out anything under $1000 as junk also just without directly saying it like I did while at the same time implying he would be better off choosing a bike in the same price range I suggested.
That was definitely NOT ruling out anything under $1000 as junk. Did not say it, did not imply it.

Sorry, but no.

Pointing out that Bike A is a lot better than Bike B does not imply that B is junk. Think about it: Is a $1000 bike junk because a $3000 one is a lot better?

Pointing out that you might outgrow a bike is not the same as saying the bike is junk. Think about it: Is a $1000 mtb junk because you may outgrow it (which many people will)?

I also did not say he would simply be “better off” buying a more expensive bike than cheaper one. What I DID do is outline some POTENTIAL financial drawbacks to the cheaper bike (if he ends up wanting to upgrade) he might not be aware of. He can decide what to do with that information himself. I made the caveat that I don’t know his financial situation, so I can’t say what he is “better off” doing.

But even if I did imply he was “better off” with a more expensive bike (which I did not), that is not the same as saying bikes under $1000 are junk. You are just trying to change the subject.

Last edited by Kapusta; 09-20-19 at 05:59 AM.
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Old 09-19-19, 08:26 PM
  #80  
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man mountain bikers spend way too much time thinking about equipment. been riding for a couple of years now never felt like my cheap bike was a hindrance. get what you can afford ride when you can. OP dont spend to much time ****zing out about the bike. i started riding on a fully rigid fuji from the late 90s. I get lapped by a guy who rides a 26 inch specialized hardrock from the early 2000s. bike is a tool to get a job done you gotta start somewhere.
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Old 09-19-19, 09:22 PM
  #81  
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The one thing is getting lost here is the PURPOSE and USE of the bike. I was in the same boat as the OP. I wanted to get back into Mountain Biking and I set a $500 budget for a decent used bike to get back into it. Then after I got my feet wet and figured out if I wanted to get deeper, then I could mod the bike and do some upgrades. I looked for a while and realized that I didn't really want a used bike and that time was money and I can afford to up the price a bit. I decided I wanted 3 things in a bike. 1x drivetrain, hydro disco brakes and a decent fork. Well new there was only 1 but under $1k that I looked at that had 1x drivetrain. I rode it. A few times. Rode other bikes that were priced the same and some that were cheaper. I settled on getting a $700 (on sale) bike vs a $500 because it had 2 out of three of the things I wanted. So I ended up with a 2020 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 1x. Is it perfect? Nope...but its the perfect bike for me right now. Its light enough not to be a tank. Its agile enough to feel confident maneuvering. Stops great, and has a great range of gears. Its got a coil fork and while I wish I had an air fork, but this one has been great so far and right now I am not sure I would notice the difference. Its got QR hubs, and sure I wish it had Thru-Axle, but that's only because people say its better...right now I wouldn't know the difference. I wish it had a tapered head tube, but again...right now I wouldn't know the difference so it doesn't affect my riding. So its easy to say hey get a $1500 bike with a light frame, air shock, carbon bits, high performance brakes and drivetrain, tubeless tires and light wheels. The question is will the OP NEED all that bike for pulling around a trailer and some light trail duty? NO...

So my advice to OP, because I went through this for a few months until I bought a bike 3 weeks ago, is RIDE the bikes you are looking at. Go to various bike shops and ride models between $300-$800. This lets you know what you like. See what fits YOU best. How it feels to YOU. Then buy the one that works best for you. You may decide the difference between a $400 bike and the $600 bike isn't that big of a deal. Its a personal decision and you shouldn't buy a bike from the internet..fit, comfort, and how it feels are ALL huge factors that you will only get first hand test riding bikes. I knew really fast test riding certain bikes that I DIDNT like the way they felt. Good thing because some of this bikes were suggested to me.

Since I have had the bike I have been riding a bunch and learning TONS about riding again. The forums have made me wish I had spent another $300 and gotten the Rockhopper Expert 1x with an air shock, different wheels, tapered head tube, lighter frame, etc...then I realized...none of that would make the grin I get any bigger when I am riding nor will I be able to take advantage of those options because I am on beginner trails and at 50 do NOT have the desire to get too hardcore. If I do reach the limitations of this bike (which I seriously doubt I will) I can sell this for $400-500 and then use that to upgrade to a new bike that has more. Add another $500 which is the price of a good shock and I have an upgraded bike. Maybe even less if I get a new last years model.

My .02. Now go test ride some bikes, then get one so you can start to get some saddle time!
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Old 09-20-19, 05:34 AM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by jrhoneOC View Post
The one thing is getting lost here is the PURPOSE and USE of the bike. I was in the same boat as the OP. I wanted to get back into Mountain Biking and I set a $500 budget for a decent used bike to get back into it. Then after I got my feet wet and figured out if I wanted to get deeper, then I could mod the bike and do some upgrades. I looked for a while and realized that I didn't really want a used bike and that time was money and I can afford to up the price a bit. I decided I wanted 3 things in a bike. 1x drivetrain, hydro disco brakes and a decent fork. Well new there was only 1 but under $1k that I looked at that had 1x drivetrain. I rode it. A few times. Rode other bikes that were priced the same and some that were cheaper. I settled on getting a $700 (on sale) bike vs a $500 because it had 2 out of three of the things I wanted. So I ended up with a 2020 Specialized Rockhopper Comp 1x. Is it perfect? Nope...but its the perfect bike for me right now. Its light enough not to be a tank. Its agile enough to feel confident maneuvering. Stops great, and has a great range of gears. Its got a coil fork and while I wish I had an air fork, but this one has been great so far and right now I am not sure I would notice the difference. Its got QR hubs, and sure I wish it had Thru-Axle, but that's only because people say its better...right now I wouldn't know the difference. I wish it had a tapered head tube, but again...right now I wouldn't know the difference so it doesn't affect my riding. So its easy to say hey get a $1500 bike with a light frame, air shock, carbon bits, high performance brakes and drivetrain, tubeless tires and light wheels. The question is will the OP NEED all that bike for pulling around a trailer and some light trail duty? NO...

So my advice to OP, because I went through this for a few months until I bought a bike 3 weeks ago, is RIDE the bikes you are looking at. Go to various bike shops and ride models between $300-$800. This lets you know what you like. See what fits YOU best. How it feels to YOU. Then buy the one that works best for you. You may decide the difference between a $400 bike and the $600 bike isn't that big of a deal. Its a personal decision and you shouldn't buy a bike from the internet..fit, comfort, and how it feels are ALL huge factors that you will only get first hand test riding bikes. I knew really fast test riding certain bikes that I DIDNT like the way they felt. Good thing because some of this bikes were suggested to me.

Since I have had the bike I have been riding a bunch and learning TONS about riding again. The forums have made me wish I had spent another $300 and gotten the Rockhopper Expert 1x with an air shock, different wheels, tapered head tube, lighter frame, etc...then I realized...none of that would make the grin I get any bigger when I am riding nor will I be able to take advantage of those options because I am on beginner trails and at 50 do NOT have the desire to get too hardcore. If I do reach the limitations of this bike (which I seriously doubt I will) I can sell this for $400-500 and then use that to upgrade to a new bike that has more. Add another $500 which is the price of a good shock and I have an upgraded bike. Maybe even less if I get a new last years model.

My .02. Now go test ride some bikes, then get one so you can start to get some saddle time!
I like this reply, a lot. Thanks.
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Old 09-20-19, 12:17 PM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by 7tevoffun View Post
I like this reply, a lot. Thanks.
I know I was going down the rabbit hole of buying to upgrade, but stepping back, the important thing to remember is that the best bike is the bike you have, just get out and ride it.

I don't know if you're in an area that might have stores that rent bikes, but it's getting towards the end of the season now so they might be looking to sell off their rental fleet and you can get a pretty nice deal. I'm in New Hampshire, and there's a bike shop a couple of hours away from me that's selling off their fleet of Santa Cruz FS bikes for $2700 each, and their Trek Procaliber 6 hardtails for $900. If there's somewhere near you that runs a fleet of $1000 hardtails through the summer you could get one for close to your target price....
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Old 09-25-19, 07:28 AM
  #84  
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thanks to everyone for all the input.

In the end I am going with a 2020 Trek Marlin 6 - the local store gave me 75 off the list price so I'm getting it for 575. The front fork has a remote LO which I was looking for when riding on pavement and hauling my daughter in her trailer. I like the frame's geometry and I'm comfortable upgrading the bike over the next several years and eating some of the cost I would have had to spend up front to get a better bike.
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Old 09-25-19, 07:29 AM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by chiefsilverback View Post
I know I was going down the rabbit hole of buying to upgrade, but stepping back, the important thing to remember is that the best bike is the bike you have, just get out and ride it.

I don't know if you're in an area that might have stores that rent bikes, but it's getting towards the end of the season now so they might be looking to sell off their rental fleet and you can get a pretty nice deal. I'm in New Hampshire, and there's a bike shop a couple of hours away from me that's selling off their fleet of Santa Cruz FS bikes for $2700 each, and their Trek Procaliber 6 hardtails for $900. If there's somewhere near you that runs a fleet of $1000 hardtails through the summer you could get one for close to your target price....
I searched exhaustively to find exactly what you were mentioning, however I had no luck.
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Old 09-25-19, 07:53 AM
  #86  
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Back on the topic of "$1000 bikes," I really do believe MY2018 was the end of that. Even then they were $1100. In MY2019 the turf was yielded to compromised builds and the bikes with "good" forks received NX Eagle and dropper posts and went up over $1500.

Today, Trek relaunched its Roscoe. This is a very friendly and fun, and affordable bike. The bottom model has one of the Suntour forks with no damping, no dropper and why-isn't-it-11-speed M6000 shifting, pretty cheap brakes, and much-reviled QR141 hub. The MSRP is $1020. The 2019 version is much the same without the frame refresh, on sale $850. The top model for $1790 gets a decent enough fork (Rock Shox 35 Gold which I think is a new model), a dropper, NX Eagle and Deore-level brakes, and still has that hub.
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Old 09-25-19, 08:21 AM
  #87  
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Congrats. Enjoy and put some miles on it!
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Old 09-28-19, 10:38 AM
  #88  
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Congratulations. I have the same model and I am really enjoying it.
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Old 09-29-19, 07:58 PM
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So I picked up the bike yesterday, rode it around and it felt good.

The guy took off the front tire so I could fit in my car (didn't have time to put on the bike rack) and when I reassembled it this afternoon I notice the front wheel is noticeably bent...

Eff.
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Old 09-29-19, 11:24 PM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by 7tevoffun View Post
So I picked up the bike yesterday, rode it around and it felt good.

The guy took off the front tire so I could fit in my car (didn't have time to put on the bike rack) and when I reassembled it this afternoon I notice the front wheel is noticeably bent...

Eff.

You sure that the wheel is completely seated in the fork? I would think a bend would be obvious on the test ride....
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Old 09-30-19, 03:18 AM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by jrhoneOC View Post
You sure that the wheel is completely seated in the fork? I would think a bend would be obvious on the test ride....
I absolutely think you'd be right. The only thing I was thinking is that when the guy was removing the front wheel he might have somehow bent the rim?
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Old 09-30-19, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by 7tevoffun View Post
I searched exhaustively to find exactly what you were mentioning, however I had no luck.
That's a bummer, I guess it's the luck of where you live! I've got a couple of places here in New England that sell off their rental fleets each year. When it comes time to buy a new bike I'll definitely be considering them.

Enjoy your new bike, as I said before the best bike is the bike you've got!
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Old 09-30-19, 08:59 AM
  #93  
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Please describe EXACTLY what's happening. If you are standing over the bike and looking down on the front wheel. Lift it off the ground slightly and roll it in the air. Is the wheel straight then takes a drastic turn at one spot? Or is it straight but rubbing on something? Or is it rolling straight yet there is resistance somewhere?

Cant easily bend a wheel when removing it. Wheels are not that fragile.
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Old 09-30-19, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by jrhoneOC View Post
Please describe EXACTLY what's happening. If you are standing over the bike and looking down on the front wheel. Lift it off the ground slightly and roll it in the air. Is the wheel straight then takes a drastic turn at one spot? Or is it straight but rubbing on something? Or is it rolling straight yet there is resistance somewhere?

Cant easily bend a wheel when removing it. Wheels are not that fragile.
I took it in to the local trek shop and they said it was indeed bent. They trued it and I reinstalled it tonight but sadly the brake still rubs, so I am taking it in this weekend to see if the rotor is warped and hopefully have it fixed.

Also, I cannot lock up the wheels when depressing the levers fully. I thought that given the stopping power of hydraulic brakes I should be able to lock them up. I know that's not what I should be doing but I wanted to check the stopping power.

Should the brakes be able to lock up the wheels when riding?
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Old 09-30-19, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by 7tevoffun View Post
I took it in to the local trek shop and they said it was indeed bent. They trued it and I reinstalled it tonight but sadly the brake still rubs, so I am taking it in this weekend to see if the rotor is warped and hopefully have it fixed.

Also, I cannot lock up the wheels when depressing the levers fully. I thought that given the stopping power of hydraulic brakes I should be able to lock them up. I know that's not what I should be doing but I wanted to check the stopping power.

Should the brakes be able to lock up the wheels when riding?
When I first removed the front wheel and reinstalled, my brakes rubbed. Wheel is perfectly straight. I realized I tightened one side more than the other on the QR bolts...now I loosen it and then hold that side so it doesn't turn, then loosen the opposite side while holding the quick release handle. Then when I reinstall, I do the same by holding the quick release handle, then tightening the opposite side until the quick release handle can be tightened moving the arm. This keeps the wheel centered perfectly and keeps the brakes from rubbing.

And yes, my brakes can easily lock up. Front and Rear. That could be a lever adjustment or a bleeding. Did the shop tune it and fit it to you before you took it? Where I bought mine they adjusted brakes, shifters, tire pressure and did a pretty thorough fitting before I took the bike.
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Old 10-01-19, 03:26 AM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by jrhoneOC View Post
When I first removed the front wheel and reinstalled, my brakes rubbed. Wheel is perfectly straight. I realized I tightened one side more than the other on the QR bolts...now I loosen it and then hold that side so it doesn't turn, then loosen the opposite side while holding the quick release handle. Then when I reinstall, I do the same by holding the quick release handle, then tightening the opposite side until the quick release handle can be tightened moving the arm. This keeps the wheel centered perfectly and keeps the brakes from rubbing.

And yes, my brakes can easily lock up. Front and Rear. That could be a lever adjustment or a bleeding. Did the shop tune it and fit it to you before you took it? Where I bought mine they adjusted brakes, shifters, tire pressure and did a pretty thorough fitting before I took the bike.
I rode the bike before taking it home, but I had no idea how the brakes should feel because it's the first time I had disc brakes on a bike.
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Old 10-05-19, 08:32 PM
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Yes. You should be able to easily lock the brakes. I see that the Trek Marlin 6 has hydraulic brakes. I'm not familiar with hydraulics on bicycles other than knowing they're more finnicky than their motorcycle counterparts. I'd still be surprised if the pistons/pads could not be easily adjusted like they can on mechanicals. If the problem is that the system is airlocked, they'll need to be bled.

This is going to sound harsh on the shop but there's no reason a brand new bike, regardless of price, should roll out the door with brakes that far out of adjustment and a wheel noticeably out of true. I'd take it to a service-oriented shop(in my experience that unfortunately excludes most larger overhead factory authorized dealers). There's likely a lot of other steps in assembly they scrimped on. I've been through that once before and learned my lesson.
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Old 10-05-19, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff of Vt View Post
Yes. You should be able to easily lock the brakes. I see that the Trek Marlin 6 has hydraulic brakes. I'm not familiar with hydraulics on bicycles other than knowing they're more finnicky than their motorcycle counterparts. I'd still be surprised if the pistons/pads could not be easily adjusted like they can on mechanicals. If the problem is that the system is airlocked, they'll need to be bled.

This is going to sound harsh on the shop but there's no reason a brand new bike, regardless of price, should roll out the door with brakes that far out of adjustment and a wheel noticeably out of true. I'd take it to a service-oriented shop(in my experience that unfortunately excludes most larger overhead factory authorized dealers). There's likely a lot of other steps in assembly they scrimped on. I've been through that once before and learned my lesson.
Agreed. Thats also why i asked about fitting.
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Old 10-06-19, 08:10 AM
  #99  
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If the brake is rubbing continuous vs on/off in a single rotation, then you should be able to fix it. Although a new bike should be probably checked by the shop. If the brake rubs then loosen the caliper, hold the lever to lock the brake, then retighten the caliper. That action will recenter the caliper on the disk.
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