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Need Low budget mountain bike

Old 10-15-20, 06:58 AM
  #1  
BikingViking793
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Need Low budget mountain bike

I do a lot of road cycling and a little gravel riding and am really wanting a mountain bike for some trail riding. The reality is that itís a bike Iíll probably use 4-5X a year so keeping the budget low to like $400. In the 90s I had a nice mountain bike and went out on the trails and had fun with friends. Seems a lot has changed for mountain bikes. Due to the budget Iím mostly leaning towards bikesdirect, they have a cheap 27.5Ē with disc brakes. But Iím curious if anyone has good suggestions for my budget. Iím about 5,6 so a 29Ē might not be to my liking and 26Ē seems to be on the out? Only close local bike shop is trek, but there are a few other options within an hour. Been looking at used bikes the last month and not much showing in my size. Most are really old or not great bikes. I worry a used mountain bike could easily have lots of issues too. Curious for any suggestions before I buy something.
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Old 10-15-20, 07:16 AM
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Trek Singletrack w/o suspension. Virtually indestructible, widely available.

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik...211877588.html

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Old 10-15-20, 08:41 AM
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Where are you located? If you have a thriving local market you can get something pretty good used, though prices are up.

The above bike is good quality. Great, even! But it was a dinosaur even when it was new, an 80's bike from the 90's. Still, it was very popular and examples are not hard to find. The 800 models are not as nice but they are freaking everywhere
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Old 10-15-20, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
Trek Singletrack w/o suspension. Virtually indestructible, widely available.

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik...211877588.html

Iíll keep an eye open for any. There are a few for sale but nothing right size. Indestructible sounds good. Previous to my more expensive mountain bike I had a $300 Schwinn with no suspension that I loved.
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Old 10-15-20, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Where are you located? If you have a thriving local market you can get something pretty good used, though prices are up.

The above bike is good quality. Great, even! But it was a dinosaur even when it was new, an 80's bike from the 90's. Still, it was very popular and examples are not hard to find. The 800 models are not as nice but they are freaking everywhere
Iím in WI. Havenít spotted anything in used market yet that looks good and is right size. There are a lot of trek 800 and 820 out there. I guess a new 820 is in my budget, but the bikesdirect bike is cheaper. The local Trek also sounds like there wonít be much inventory till spring,
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Old 10-15-20, 10:12 AM
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Around here the bike shops are posting on facebook when they are getting shipments of bikes in so people can call ahead and reserve them. There may appear to be no inventory, but shipments are happening. Ironically, your height may be an advantage, one of my local shops has quite a few small and xs framed bikes in stock. The med, L and XL are getting snapped up the fastest.
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Old 10-15-20, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
Around here the bike shops are posting on facebook when they are getting shipments of bikes in so people can call ahead and reserve them. There may appear to be no inventory, but shipments are happening. Ironically, your height may be an advantage, one of my local shops has quite a few small and xs framed bikes in stock. The med, L and XL are getting snapped up the fastest.

Yeah it can be an advantage for new, but not much new in my budget. Is a new trek 820 better than the bikesdirect bike with 27.5Ē wheels, disc brakes and $80 or so cheaper? My friends who have gotten bikes from them say they are OK. Not great and not bad. One of the shops in driving distance has a Reid mountain bike for $350 but it is 26Ē and rim brakes so not super tempting.
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Old 10-15-20, 01:01 PM
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Disk brakes don't matter. If you were going to be bombing trails at a lift assisted park, yes, but you won't be doing that on a $400 bike. The Bikes Direct bikes are as good as bike shop bikes of the same price. The catch is you have to be able to do the setup and maintenence yourself. Right now shops are refusing work on bikes that were not purchased from them because of the backlog. Watch the park tools videos on setting the endpoints of your derailers and setting cable tension. Align and center your brakes. Pluck the spokes going around the wheel on each side and use the pitch to check for even tension. The wheels will be the most likely source of problems down the line, followed by bent derailer hanger if you lay the bike down on the right side. Bikes direct has another site called BikeIsland with super cheap replacement wheels if you need them later on.
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Old 10-19-20, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by BikingViking793 View Post
I do a lot of road cycling and a little gravel riding and am really wanting a mountain bike for some trail riding. The reality is that itís a bike Iíll probably use 4-5X a year so keeping the budget low to like $400. In the 90s I had a nice mountain bike and went out on the trails and had fun with friends. Seems a lot has changed for mountain bikes. Due to the budget Iím mostly leaning towards bikesdirect, they have a cheap 27.5Ē with disc brakes. But Iím curious if anyone has good suggestions for my budget. Iím about 5,6 so a 29Ē might not be to my liking and 26Ē seems to be on the out? Only close local bike shop is trek, but there are a few other options within an hour. Been looking at used bikes the last month and not much showing in my size. Most are really old or not great bikes. I worry a used mountain bike could easily have lots of issues too. Curious for any suggestions before I buy something.
Lots of used 26" at that price point. If you're going to use sporadically and you're not going to ride technical terrain at high speed, I'd choose a fully rigid bike so you don't have to spend money to maintain a nice fork or risk ruining it.
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Old 10-19-20, 12:19 PM
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One option I can vouch for personally is Bikes Direct. However, you do have to own some tools and have some knowledge regarding how to finish assembly on a mountain bike. Luckily Youtube has a wealth of information. At your budget you can pick up a nice bike for sure. I have owned some very high end bikes over the years, and I can say that Motobecanes ride just as well as any of them.
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Old 10-19-20, 05:05 PM
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I’d pass on the Reid; but not because it is a 26er.

Unfortunately you’re in a tough spot. Used bikes are generally over-priced, and you usually need to do some work, and with Bikes Direct, you need to be able to work on a bike.

Our son wants to get a better bike for his wife. I told him to keep an eye out, but a year or two from now a lot of the bike boom bikes will be on the market when people end up not using them.

John
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Old 10-19-20, 06:04 PM
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Look in the mirror and ask yourself, "how long will I be dead?".

Modern bikes are more comfortable, more fun and safer to ride off road.

Start here.... https://www.switchbacktravel.com/bes...kes-under-1000


Or.... https://www.bikeradar.com/features/t...kes-under-750/

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Old 10-20-20, 10:06 AM
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I would avoid the more modern Trek 820. it's hardly a "mountain bike" and more of a "mountain bike-ish hybrid." very flimsy bike.

keep scouring the used market. do your research and and jump on anything good FAST because the bicycle market is hot right now.

wheel size has almost nothing to do with how it fits the rider. my wife is 5'1" and rides a 29er. you just need something with a small-ish frame. I'd think most bikes with a frame labeled 15 or 16" should suit you, regardless of wheel size.

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Old 10-20-20, 11:38 AM
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+1 on a rigid frame. You wont miss the weight or the crappy components. Besides, you shouldn't be spending much time in the saddle when on the trails - your arms and legs are the suspension.
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Old 10-20-20, 11:48 AM
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It would help if you posted a link to the Bikes Direct bike and the Trek you are considering. Bikes Direct can be fine of you are don't mind doing some work yourself to make sure it is put together right. All three pairs of wheels I have looked at from them were cup & cone bearings (which is OK) that were over-tightened (which is not OK). If you catch something like that from the beginning it will be fine.

That said, $400 does not get you much, but it you are only going out a few times a year and have no plans to push yourself on the trails, it will get you by. At this price-point, the suspension forks are often bad enough that an argument could be made for going fully rigid with plus-sized tires.

At this price point, buying used made a lot of sense before the COVID Bike Boom, but the prices that used bikes under $1K are fetching now makes buying new look a lot more appealing. It is totally a sellers market.
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Old 10-21-20, 05:59 AM
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OP..where are you in Wisconsin? Are you willing to travel and hour or two, or three, round trip to pick up a bike(greatly increases your chance at something nice)?

What size bike are you looking for..16 inch? 17 inch?

There's tons of mountain bikes out there used and some are quite nice. While prices have inflated a bit with covid, in Wisconsin I don't see inflation to a large degree(I scan CL for various types of bikes daily, and have for years). Folks can ask whatever they like, but selling prices often are lower. Two friends & myself have purchased used bikes in the last two weeks for fair or very fair prices. In spite of the impacts of covid, demand is dropping as the temps drop, and prices drop with it.

A fully rigid bike might be best as used, lower priced hardtails often have iffy suspension forks when they were new, let alone well used. If you can find a garage queen then a hardtail might be good. It continues to amaze me how many like-new bikes are available. I bought a bike over the weekend for a friend (xmas present from her family) that has the original tires on it and given the look of a fine center-ridge on the rear tire, the bike can't have 100 miles on it & it's a 12 year old bike.

The Trek 900 (930, 950, 970, 990) series and Specialized Stumpjumper & Rockhopper are safe bets and higher-end bikes. The models lower than these (800 series or Hardrock) are less desirable(from a component & weight standpoint) and won't sell for much less..target higher-end models. Shimano Deore, LX, DX, XT components are good..and also make for a very easy/inexpensive drop bar conversion if that's of interest.

Took a quick look in this (our) region(sizes vary, but are pricing examples) is below. The Minneapolis area continues to be a used-bike heaven..so many bikes in this area it's amazing.

This one may well fit you..and looks like a fun ride if the shock is ok or could be updated:
https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/r...212406393.html

https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/r...217465489.html

https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/h...216890783.html

https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/h...209409684.html

https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/h...212711618.html

https://eauclaire.craigslist.org/bik...204130263.html

https://eauclaire.craigslist.org/bik...209724124.html

Very nice bike..can't imagine why it hasn't sold..been listed for a month
https://mankato.craigslist.org/bik/d...188896489.html

https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/h...196969422.html

https://milwaukee.craigslist.org/bik...189942275.html
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Old 10-22-20, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by BikingViking793 View Post
Iím in WI.,
Where you at in WI? I'm in WI also and am thinking of selling my Niner Air 9 Hardtail
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Old 10-22-20, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
It would help if you posted a link to the Bikes Direct bike and the Trek you are considering. Bikes Direct can be fine of you are don't mind doing some work yourself to make sure it is put together right. All three pairs of wheels I have looked at from them were cup & cone bearings (which is OK) that were over-tightened (which is not OK). If you catch something like that from the beginning it will be fine.

That said, $400 does not get you much, but it you are only going out a few times a year and have no plans to push yourself on the trails, it will get you by. At this price-point, the suspension forks are often bad enough that an argument could be made for going fully rigid with plus-sized tires.

At this price point, buying used made a lot of sense before the COVID Bike Boom, but the prices that used bikes under $1K are fetching now makes buying new look a lot more appealing. It is totally a sellers market.
This is the bike I'm mostly leaning to:
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...tain-bikes.htm
Some of the full suspension ones look like a decent deal too, but not sure I want to go down that route.

Still no luck on the used market. The bikes I have found that I would like are all sold remarkably quick. Last one I found in like 40min of posting and it was gone already.
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Old 10-22-20, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
where you at in wi? I'm in wi also and am thinking of selling my niner air 9 hardtail
se wi.
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Old 11-01-20, 11:13 AM
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Still no luck. Only stuff that seems to hang around long enough for me to get a shot at buying are real old. Should I avoid anything old with a shock? I have seen some Gary Fisher Marlin's around the year 2000 as an example. There is like a 2004 Trek 4500 around that seems a little pricey but in my budget. Guess I should just keep looking as I don't need anything till spring and I have seen some great deals.
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Old 11-01-20, 11:27 AM
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I just thought I'd mention my last mountain bike was an upgraded 1996 Schwinn 9 six .6. Funny enough there is a 1997 Moab 2 for sale. Probably not the right size as I could stand over it, but not much room. But I remember seeing them in the shop back then and liking them. Most of these older bikes I'm seeing don't seem much different from my old bike. Am I better going for something newer even if it's a lower model? How would something like a Trek Marlin 4 compare to my old bike?
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Old 11-01-20, 04:03 PM
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Trek is now using the Marlin name on their cheapest mountain bikes.

A lot has happened in mountain bikes since 1996 especially on full suspension. If your 90's bike cost $1000 then an equivalent today might be around $2000, some for inflation and some for improvements. A Trek Fuel EX 5 is a good example. Compared to your 90's bike it has a four-link rear end, air spring fork with coil damping (the elastomer forks were a dead end), hydraulic disc brakes, and a dropper post. Bike fit has also changed a lot.

Schwinn per se went bankrupt in 1992. A successor company merged it with GT in the 90's but themselves went under in 2001. After that it was bought by a big company called Pacific who own a lot of other brands. They have mostly been putting the decal on department store bikes, they also own Murray, Roadmaster, and Mongoose. For bike stores they own GT and Cannondale brands.

Unfortunately thinking of it in terms of four uses per year doesn't get you a bike that's great to ride those four times. Have you perhaps considered renting?
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Old 11-02-20, 04:15 AM
  #23  
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Don't worry there is a lot of best mountain bike is available $400. You just choose which mountain bike you feel comfortable with. All the mountain bikes almost the same. You can choose the kent Hawkeye Mountain bike. It's the best mountain bike at a low price.
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Old 11-02-20, 06:12 AM
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All of my experience, the last 10-15 years has been on the road. And your story is the exact same as mine. I wanted to go cheap because I didn't expect to hit a trail all that often. That said, I have recently ordered my first ever mountain bike. I ended up with a Trek Roscoe 7 ($1300). Way more than my original $750 budget. However, I did have requirements that pushed the price. Hydraulic brakes and a lockout fork were a must. And the Roscoe comes with a dropper post already installed. If you can do without those things, Trek and Giant both have great entry level bikes for $500-$700.

Since you already have a lot of biking experience, you know the risk of buying used. Depending on the seller, something like a mountain bike could have a lot of hidden defects waiting for the first time you bounce over that tree root.

Good luck
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