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What's the best of the cheap these days?

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What's the best of the cheap these days?

Old 11-22-21, 01:47 PM
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4evrplan
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What's the best of the cheap these days?

I've been out of the bike thing for a long time and don't really ride anymore, but I'm thinking about getting my 17 y.o. his first mountain bike. The challenge is that the SO doesn't see the value in getting anything but a cheap big box bike. If I have any hope in convincing her, it's gonna have to be <$400, maybe <$300. Unfortunately, there's no LBS in my area anymore anyway. So, these days, what's the best of the bad? Something like a Forge Sawback 5xx used to be well regarded, but it doesn't look like it's available anymore. Maybe a Motobecane 300HT from bikesdirect? And before you say get a quality used bike off of Craigslist, the options are pretty limited around here, and I don't know if I have the patience to wait for the right bike to come around or to drive to god-knows-where to check out a bike that doesn't really work out anyway. Thanks for your input.
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Old 11-22-21, 01:51 PM
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Check facebook marketplace. Look for mountain bike classifieds groups in your area.

Expect to spend more. Less than $400 is not going to get you a quality bike.
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Old 11-22-21, 03:29 PM
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Besides them being complete pieces of s**t they're put together by random employees, not proper bicycle mechanics. If your wife is fine w/ turning your kid loose on a bike built by...who knows...go for it. A lot of real bike shops won't touch those bikes because they're so unsafe.
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Old 11-22-21, 07:08 PM
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Try and find something that is single speed like the State Klunker, I am not saying that is a quality bike or a great bike for mountain biking but it is semi decent, cheap and kinda cool throwback-esque. I would completely agree with cxwrench don't waste money on stuff from Wal-mart and similar box stores, not safe, not worth the money and not something I would put anyone I loved or remotely loved on one even if I had checked it over and made sure everything was put together properly I wouldn't want to send them out into the world on that.
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Old 11-22-21, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by 4evrplan View Post
I' . The challenge is that the SO doesn't see the value in getting anything but a cheap big box bike. .
Is she an SO or wife ? -- important distinction on the validity of her opinion on what to do for your own child .

But then , if the SO is the biological mother of your boy, then that would have to be weighed in a bit also i suppose , even if she is not your wife


But ....... honestly if you can stomach a used bike - they seem to be all over the place ( EDIT : never mind - i did not realize how far Nacogdoches was from DFW area - i thought it was pretty close - looks like shreveport is much closer and you are correct - not much there at all )

Gorgeous Cannondale Mountain Bike | Handmade USA | Free Accessories... (craigslist.org)

Two Cannondale F500 - bicycles - by owner - bike sale (craigslist.org)

Specialized - bicycles - by owner - bike sale (craigslist.org)

19in Specialized Stumpjumper - bicycles - by owner - bike sale (craigslist.org)

Trek Gary Fisher - bicycles - by owner - bike sale (craigslist.org)

Trek - bicycles - by owner - bike sale (craigslist.org)

TREK 830 MOUNTAIN BIKE 16” - bicycles - by owner - bike sale (craigslist.org)

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Old 11-23-21, 08:00 AM
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I purchased a couple of cruisers from Bikes Direct (actually their Bike Island division that sells blems) and they were constructed and assembled well. Several friends and acquaintances have had similar success. Not a bad place for a beginner bike. If your son is riding MTB, get gears or he'll quit soon.
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Old 11-23-21, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Try and find something that is single speed like the State Klunker, I am not saying that is a quality bike or a great bike for mountain biking but it is semi decent, cheap and kinda cool throwback-esque.
I'm so confused by this recommendation as a "first mountain bike"
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Old 11-23-21, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
I purchased a couple of cruisers from Bikes Direct...
Cruisers aren't mountain bikes.

Bikes Direct sells junk.
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Old 11-23-21, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
Cruisers aren't mountain bikes.

Bikes Direct sells junk.
A typical comment from someone who knows nothing about bikes and has never purchased from the company he is denigrating. The same construction techniques that go into manufacturing MTB frames (mostly TIG) and cruisers are identical. The bikes that I received were welded well and very straight from the standpoint of symmetry. My friends with BD MTB's found them priced well especially considering the components and they were durable.

Last edited by 2old; 11-23-21 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 11-23-21, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
A typical comment from someone who knows nothing about bikes and has never purchased from the company he is denigrating. The same construction techniques that go into manufacturing MTB frames (mostly TIG) and cruisers are identical. The bikes that I received were welded well and very straight from the standpoint of symmetry. My friends with BD MTB's found them priced well especially considering the components and they were durable. Stop being a poster boy for the ignore function.
1.) I know a lot about bikes.

2.) A bunch of friends of mine have purchased bikes from Bikes Direct. Between broken frames, lots of failed hubs and various other problems...They wished they never purchased a bike from that place.

3.) Cruisers have the wrong geometry to be a mountain bike and aren't subjected to the same abuse.

For the money Bikes Direct has no engineers or people with skin in the brands they sell. It's more capitalist than cyclist and trying prey on people who know nothing about quality bikes and components with some website that was made in 1990 with some key buzzwords that makes the consumer think they are getting a bike that is equivalent to a Trek, Specialized, Giant or other name brand bike. 98% of their focus is on cost savings...Not a quality product.

To me, it makes more sense to save and do things right the first time, rather than take the initial cheap route and then spend more to repair or replace in the long run.

Last edited by prj71; 11-23-21 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 11-23-21, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by 4evrplan View Post
I've been out of the bike thing for a long time and don't really ride anymore, but I'm thinking about getting my 17 y.o. his first mountain bike. The challenge is that the SO doesn't see the value in getting anything but a cheap big box bike. If I have any hope in convincing her, it's gonna have to be <$400, maybe <$300. Unfortunately, there's no LBS in my area anymore anyway. So, these days, what's the best of the bad? Something like a Forge Sawback 5xx used to be well regarded, but it doesn't look like it's available anymore. Maybe a Motobecane 300HT from bikesdirect? And before you say get a quality used bike off of Craigslist, the options are pretty limited around here, and I don't know if I have the patience to wait for the right bike to come around or to drive to god-knows-where to check out a bike that doesn't really work out anyway. Thanks for your input.
For riding actual trails, $400 is going to be a choice between bad options.

Used would normally be the no-brainer here, but it sounds like that might not work out for you.

For new.... Bikesdirect might be the place to look. My experience with BD stuff (both a bike I owned as well as a few other peoples' bikes) is that the stuff is fine, certainly worth what you pay for it. It is not worth the fake MSRPs they post, but still a decent value. You do need to go over the build. In particular I've had to check the preload on any cup and cone wheel bearings I have come across. I'd also check stuff like the preload on the headset as well. But really, even a $400 bike from BD is going to hit it's limits on the trail really fast. If your son really takes to trail riding, that bike is going to let him down.

At this price range, every $100 you can add to the budget will yield huge improvements. If you can get up to $600, you start to get into the lowest end of what could be loosely considered trail worthy... but even then you are looking at a bike that if you son gets into riding, the bike is going to need to be replaced upgraded, and it would have been far cheaper just to buy something better to start with.

$400 will let you know if you are into the sport. It won't take you very far into it, though.
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Old 11-23-21, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by 2old View Post
A typical comment from someone who knows nothing about bikes and has never purchased from the company he is denigrating. The same construction techniques that go into manufacturing MTB frames (mostly TIG) and cruisers are identical. The bikes that I received were welded well and very straight from the standpoint of symmetry. My friends with BD MTB's found them priced well especially considering the components and they were durable. Stop being a poster boy for the ignore function.
I know lots about bikes and have been in the industry for nearly 3 decades...he's right.
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Old 11-23-21, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
I know lots about bikes and have been in the industry for nearly 3 decades...he's right.
Wait, which "he"?
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Old 11-23-21, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Chinghis View Post
Wait, which "he"?
prj71
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Old 11-23-21, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
prj71
Gotcha, OK.

I ask mainly because I've been curious about a flat-bar steel gravel bike they have. Like the form factor, but I also like touching and assessing my bikes before I buy them.
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Old 11-23-21, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by 4evrplan View Post
I've been out of the bike thing for a long time and don't really ride anymore, but I'm thinking about getting my 17 y.o. his first mountain bike. The challenge is that the SO doesn't see the value in getting anything but a cheap big box bike. If I have any hope in convincing her, it's gonna have to be <$400, maybe <$300. Unfortunately, there's no LBS in my area anymore anyway. So, these days, what's the best of the bad? Something like a Forge Sawback 5xx used to be well regarded, but it doesn't look like it's available anymore. Maybe a Motobecane 300HT from bikesdirect? And before you say get a quality used bike off of Craigslist, the options are pretty limited around here, and I don't know if I have the patience to wait for the right bike to come around or to drive to god-knows-where to check out a bike that doesn't really work out anyway. Thanks for your input.
The BikesDirect 300HT is certainly a better spec'd bike than I've seen anywhere for that price...
If this is to be a Holiday gift... maybe get some 'feel' for what your son thinks/likes... after all he is 17, and at that age, they have strong opinions (which persist for a lifetime... LOL!)
Thank the SO, in a nice way, and unless she knows more about bikes than what you might know... pass on the BigBox stuff.
ALSO, since you are a rider (in hiatus... LOL) , and parent. you should plan on getting one yourself.
There are few things that a parent and a 17 yr old can do, together... that are fun, and directly connect. Riding trails, mtb is certainly at the top of that list... I know...
A Strong bond and appreciation of each other.
My son now has his son riding...
I would... (if I was in your shoes... again... as I did in the past...)
get yourself the 300HT
Get your son the next step UP ! 529HT
Best Money you will spend in years... maybe a lifetime...
...just sayin...
Ride On
Yuri
Plan on having someone who really knows bikes, check them over when you get them... or go to your local LBS and see what they have.
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Old 11-23-21, 05:36 PM
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[QUOTE=cxwrench;22317911]I know lots about bikes and have been in the industry for nearly 3 decades...he's right.[/QUO
My comment was based on what I have experienced personally and my friend's experiences. You're welcome to state what you've observed, rather than some asinine statement. Join your friend on the ignore list.

Last edited by 2old; 11-24-21 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 11-23-21, 06:00 PM
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how tall?

https://easttexas.craigslist.org/bik...410682385.html

I have no idea where you are
https://austin.craigslist.org/bik/d/...411721717.html

https://austin.craigslist.org/bik/d/...410387081.html

https://austin.craigslist.org/bik/d/...403309015.html
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Old 11-23-21, 06:03 PM
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Not sure how this thread got sidetracked into a Bikes-Direct-is-the-devil thing, but:

Speaking as a guy who got my first bike racing license in 1964 and worked in and ran bike stores from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, after I left the bike industry, I bought several bikes from Bikes Direct over the years, since their prices tend to be very close to the wholesale prices I was used to paying for my bikes. The bikes I received were nearly fully assembled and of very good quality.

It's understandable that bike store employees feel threatened by on-line bike sellers like Bikes Direct, but they should sell their bikes on the merits of those bikes and on the shop's support of the products that they sell rather than misrepresenting (or outright lying about) companies like Bikes Direct.
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Old 11-23-21, 07:00 PM
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The problem with a $260 MTB from BD (like the 300HT) is not that it is from BD, but that it is a $260 bike. Even if it compares to bikes $100 more expensive, a $360 MTB is also crap. It's not like any other company is selling a trail-worthy MTB for $360.
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Old 11-23-21, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
I'm so confused by this recommendation as a "first mountain bike"
Well look at what we were given. I gave an answer to best match that and honestly a single speed "Klunker" seems to be the better option, less to go wrong but yeah not an ideal mountain bike that is why Joe Breeze and them made their own things back in the day but they were able to ride on it. Since the OP didn't specify the mountain biking and only specified cheap cheap cheap I went the best option.

Though agreed BD is not usually of quality but sometimes parts hung on their bikes are OK but usually only on the "high end" stuff. I have known a couple people to buy the bike for the groupset and toss the rest or use it for a beater.
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Old 11-25-21, 07:18 AM
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If you can push up to $600 then you can start buying "real" bikes from mainstream bike manufacturers, like the Giant Talon 4: https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/talon-4

It's basic, but it'll got decent parts and will be well built and hold up well. Or look to ebay for used bikes and see if you can get something shipped for under your $400. At that budget a good used bike it going to be better than a crap new bike.


It also depends on your son and what he's going to do with it.

Is it going to be used for a week and left in the garage? Cheap will do
Is he taking it to school/work? Cheap or old will make it less likely to be stolen
Is it to see if he likes mountain biking? Renting one at a trail might be a better intro
Is he keen to get into it? You may as well buy a good one or he'll be wanting to upgrade almost immediately even if he doesn't break it.


If you do have to go cheap then try to go for something as simple as possible (because cheap fancy stuff is a bad idea). Go for rim brakes with no suspension, 1x gearing if you can or a low number of rear gears.
For example, something like this https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...tain-bikes.htm is going to be a much safer bet at $350 than this https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/gravity/fsx_v.htm for the same money because of all the extra complexity and parts.

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Old 11-25-21, 08:18 AM
  #23  
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Buying new for under $500 is going to be a disaster. A used bike would be a much better option for your budget.
Facebook market place. I would also try to join some local biking groups and put out a plea for a bike. This is what I did to get my tandem. I told the group my budget; explained what I was looking for and a man who had a nice tandem wanted me to buy it because he knew that It was going to be used by a great family. You could probably find someone who has a nice older bike they don't ride becasue they bought a nice $$$$ bike a couple of years ago and just never got around to selling it.
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Old 11-25-21, 10:19 AM
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In the last few years Iíve convinced myself to buy something from BD. Every single time, when I spec it out, look at what I want and what I would immediately replace, it no longer makes sense and I buy something more well known. Maybe Iím missing out but for me, they seem really attractive until I dig deeper.

As for the teenager. Seems like you could get a pretty decent 2009-2012 bike, possibly with those undesirable 26Ē wheels in that price range. Would he be interested in an older bike or would he want something brand new?

Something else, at that age I had two jobs and spent all my money on gas and bikes. I saved, I befriended dudes that were always selling something cool, and I rode. Can you make a deal with him, like one to one matching for the money he puts towards it?

For your wife/so/whatever, just take her to the shop and let her test ride a few bikes. Then take her to Walmart and let her test ride a few more. I donít think itíll be hard to convince her that a certain minimum level is required for safety and enjoyment.
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Old 11-26-21, 09:10 AM
  #25  
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Well, this is a first mtn bike for a teenager....the OP doesn't sound as if he is all that sure the teenager will take to mtn biking or not. So buying something from an online shop like BikesDirect actually would be ok to do to save money. IF the kid likes mtn biking, then the kid could get himself a part time job and save up money for a better bike.

It's something I'm doing with my 17 yr old teenager, I did buy him a hardtail (albeit a bit more expensive Scott Scale for a greatly reduced price before covid hit) but now he wants a dual suspension now that he is finding he really enjoys trails like what Cacapon has in WV. Well, that's on him when he saves enough money for himself.

If Performance Bikes was still in business (not the current PB), I would suggest getting a GT mtn bike from them. Did get my son those bikes when he was younger and could get a decent GT for $400 and under.

Some of my suggestions, possibly might be a bit over $400:

https://www.bikesonline.com/2021-pol...h-mountain-bik

https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/p...ggrssrprxxxprf

Dicks sporting goods has a variety of sales that you might need to wait for a better price.

https://www.amazon.com/Schwinn-Timbe...-19&th=1&psc=1

Yes, I know the following are WalMart Bikes, but check out some youtube video's on them (Kev Central). Not that bad of bikes if they are put together properly:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/29-Men-s-...reen/302140001

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-A...grey/388726134

IF you can afford, this bike is really nice for the price of $450 (these are currently in stock and if you can splurge a bit, would be a really nice bike that your son might enjoy much more than the list above and WAY BETTER THAN BIKESDIRECT )
:

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-A...1?athbdg=L1800

Hope this helps!
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