/ Mountain BIke - How much do I really have to spend?

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Steff - on 21 Jan 2014
I have recently started mountain biking a bit, in order to supplement my running (those of you that frequent the running forum might know me from there). Currently, I use an 9 year old bike that cost me 150 pounds back then, and now that I am getting into it, I have decide to buy a "real" bike.

I have set myself a budget of 600-700 quid and have found a nice La Pierre Raid 529 that I would quite like to purchase. However, the group I have started cycling with all insist I will have to spend at least twice as much as a minimum. I am sceptical though, because whilst they have all super expensive bikes, I still usually get to tops first with my current cheap bike (they descent much faster though).

So do I really have to spend that much money? Won't I be able to get anything decent on 700 quid budget? My reasoning is to spend the rest on some really good cycling trips instead.
Intended use: longish training routes on hilly double track with the occasional easy single track thrown in. Being on the bike for 7-10 hours continuously might happen about once a month in summer but otherwise we are looking at 3-4 hours max a week.
I might do a couple of mountain triathlons a year (the mountain biking leg is usually under 20km and not too technical). Any advice appreciated.
Dave Kerr - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:
700 buys you a decent hardtail.
1000 buys you a very good hardtail.
1500 buys you all the hardtail you'll ever need.

A good tip is to look at a bike at the bottom end of a range where the same frame goes right through the range. That way it will be worth upgrading as bits wear out.

Check out Canyon - got a rep for top VFM
Post edited at 19:52
ow arm - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

the bike doesnt matter all that much unless you are doing really technical stuff or hardcore down hill.

up to a point, all that youll gain by spending more is better quality components (more durable, lighter, more shiny etc)
You have to go up large price brackets to get big differences such as a full sus xc frame, really good forks etc.

So within a certain price bracket you get essentially the same bike with a range of different levels of components e.g. shimano deore on a less expensive or a shimano XT on a better one. But the bike itself will be pretty much the same beast.

So ask yourself if you need a hardtail or a full sus xc bike? If you want to go full sus xc then yes you probably are looking at about a grand and a half, but for half of that you get a really good hardtail, which to be fair can do quite a lot.
You do loose a bit of traction with a hardtail compared to a full sus and yes you may be a bit slower than a good rider on a full sus. But as you are going from an old piece of poo to a brand new modern bike then youll probably get a lot of benefit anyway.
A lot of it is technique, which you can improve regardless of which bike you have.
I managed to keep up with two friends on giant anthems whilst I was on a kona hardtail in Afan last summer, they were better down the rough stuff than me and I was a tad better uphill - no idea why just technique?
highclimber - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

I would seriously consider 2nd hand - for that money you'll get a well-specced hardtail. check out http://singletrackworld.com/forum/
Run_Ross_Run - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

Have a look at 2013 models. Can pick up a bargain if you're lucky with the size.

Mine was 1300, i've used it twice since buying and is now 1k in the same shop ;/

lost1977 - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

Also could be worth looking at decathlon only used their road bikes which bang for buck are great and would expect their MB's to offer the same value.
Steff - on 21 Jan 2014
Thanks for the good replies so far. I am fairly sure all I need is a decent hardtail with hydraulic brakes and wearable components. My main concern with my current old bike is the weight and the brakes on the downhill. Anything under my budget looks less robust. I am not too sure I currently know enough to appreciate the differences in the more expensive bikes.

In reply to lost1977:

I have heard very good things about the Decathlon own brand, but like the idea to use my local shop, mainly for convenience in maintenance, as it's just around the corner. They do Konan, GT and Lapierre.
dissonance - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

As others have said. For full sus you would be looking to double it, for a hard tail its a different story.
You can get a perfectly capable bike for that money and if you concentrate on a nice frame you can then upgrade as you wear stuff out.

Steff - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to dissonance:

Ok, let me rephrase the question then: Does one need a full sus for my intended use? I have never tried one, so don't know the difference, but it seems like the type of upgrade which is not trivial later on.
ow arm - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

its entirely up to you, if you go to a trail centre such as Llandegla in north wales, there are others also, they hire bikes so you can try out a modern hardtail and compare it with a full sus

I think its a personal thing, although if I could afford one i would go for a full sus xc, but do i need one...?
Dave Kerr - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:
> Ok, let me rephrase the question then: Does one need a full sus for my intended use?

No. You don't seem to be talking about very technical, rocky or droppy riding so I'd say FS is not necessary. You can still do that kind of riding on a HT, just a bit slower. Plus as pointed out above you really need to spend 1500ish for a decent FS machine.
Post edited at 20:49
abr1966 - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

Im a roadie but my mates are all in to mountain biking so i bought a Giant hartdtail in 2012. I was tempted to get a full suspension but im glad i didnt as mine is really ok for what i do. In Morzine last summer i just hired a downhill bike for a couple of days and for me it has worked out better that way. I payed 450 for a decent hardtail and its very versatile..
T_Mac - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

Learn on hardtail and it'll stand you in good stead if you ever do buy a full sus. Buy the right hardtail and you'll find it will handle most terrain you're likely to ride. My go to bike is a steel hardtail, pretty slack geometry with a 150mm fork up front. I also run a 1x9 drivetrain and can climb pretty much anything my buddies on their full sus rigs can, usually faster too. 700 will get you a crackin hardtail if you do your research. For what you seem to want (efficiency rather than out and out downhill play), I would go for a 29er like the Genesis Mantle series. Get something designed for having fun on, designed for UK conditions and you'll be laughing all the way to pub on the way home (careful though as you'll be getting the round in if you're first there!!).
Chris the Tall - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

Sounds to me that you want a hardtail rather than a full-sus, which fits in better with your budget.

FS are great on technical downhills, which for most of us is the main thrill in MTBing. The downside is more expensive, more maintainence, heavier and less efficient on climbs. So for non-technical endurance, you are better off with a hardtail.

Of course what may happen is you enjoy your riding so much that you need a second bike, at which point having an FS as well an HT. Test riding or hiring an FS might help you decide.
Dave Kerr - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to Chris the Tall:

>heavier and less efficient on climbs.

And yet I can get up climbs on my FS that I can't on the HT. Traction and ability to hold a line on rough ground are the difference.
Got a job rob - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

I have a second hand decathlon 9.2 from about 2008. It Cost me 380 this summer, I have spent 180 having the forks serviced and upgraded internals, about 40 upgrading the wheels and brakes using second hand parts from ebay. IT ROCKS! i have been to Cannock and llandegla, and have ridden like a nut around the peak district. I like to ride rocks and drops, but my dad has ridden with me on a HT and done most of the same things. He can not keep up with me down hill, or ride rock gardens. I ride on SPD peddles and so can still go up hill fast. I love it, but it is my first and only proper MTB. I wont be looking to get a new bike for some time.
In reply to Steff:

> "Intended use: longish training routes on hilly double track with the occasional easy single track thrown in."
> Ok, let me rephrase the question then: Does one need a full sus for my intended use?

No, absolutely not. You could use a cyclocross bike for that if you wanted, but a HT MTB will be more fun on the single track.
Chris the Tall - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to Dave Kerr:

> >heavier and less efficient on climbs.

> And yet I can get up climbs on my FS that I can't on the HT. Traction and ability to hold a line on rough ground are the difference.

Good point, well made. Yes, an FS may be better on technical climbs, for the reasons you say. But you do waste energy as well, so it's more tiring in the long run. It's pretty obvious when you ride on the roads or easy trails.

I tend to choose my FS more than my HT, but use the latter when doing really long rides. It's also pretty versatile and good for touring
maria85 - on 21 Jan 2014
In reply to T_Mac:

> I would go for a 29er like the Genesis Mantle series.

FWIW, I have a Mantle 20 and love it. Not the highest spec out there but plenty good enough for what I'm doing on it (i.e. I'm too much of a wuss to ride anything steep or very technical). It's been fine on all red trails at trail centres and is nice and fast for longer x-country stuff/commuting on.

Steff - on 22 Jan 2014
Thanks everyone. Seems there is consensus that for 700 quid I can get a good hardtail, which is all I need, so I will go for that.

djellworth on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

There are tonnes of virtually new/unused Boardman hardtails on ebay for 75% or less of the list price. I have had 2 in the past - the 850 team for 550 or so and the 650 comp for 400 or so. Almost every review says these bikes are amazing value. People seem to get them on the cycle to work scheme and offload them quickly. They handle nicely and are very light for the money. Still some snobbery about them I think - especially the Halfords issue - but pound for pound there is little better. Good luck.
Dangerous Dave - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

For what you describe I would seriously consider a hardtail 29'r (29 inch wheels). Have a look at www.bikeradar.com and www.singletrackworld.com for reviews and possible 2nd hand deals. I have bought 2nd hand from there but I am very bike savy so know what to look for and how to fix them, if you are not so sure brand new might be better.

Well worth a look are caynyon bikes from www.canyon.com they are a web only bike company so you can't try them for size but you will get a fantastic bike for the money.

http://www.canyon.com/_en/mountainbikes/bike.html?b=3206
http://www.canyon.com/_en/mountainbikes/bike.html?b=3206
AlisonSmiles - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

I got by with a basic Boardman hard tail for ages. It's kind of my second bike now but I look at it and realise it has had new saddle (first thing which had to be changed), new forks, new seat post, new handlebars, new pedals, new wheels, new gears, new brakes over the years. Frame's still going strong, and I think it's on the original cranks. It's done long distance trails, it's been to the Pyrenees and the Alps, it's done trail centres, it's done good work for me. Basically you can gently upgrade it but with its original spec (minus the saddle which went within the first couple of weeks) a basic level bike doesn't need to stay basic level as and when you can afford to change.
veteye - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

I'm new to mountain biking(apart from when I borrowed a hardtail in North Wales a couple of years ago) and got a second hand hire bike from Rutland Cycles which was six months old and about 600 cheaper because it had been used.Yet it shows no damage or undue wear.So ex-hire is another route.
stewart murray - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

The best 600 hardtail, according to various mountain biking magazines is the Voodoo Bizango stocked by Halfords.

http://www.mbr.co.uk/bikes/voodoo-bizango-29er-review-2013/
Marek - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

Off-the-shelf build might be a bit limiting at this price point. An approach to consider is to get a decent 2nd hand bike from a few years back and upgrade with after-market forks and tyres (and possibly wheels). Not sure what Spain's equivalent of Merlin Cycles (good UK source of discounted after-market forks) is though!
quirky - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

Have a look at the on one range specifically the inbred. Steel hardtail, nice and compliant on the downhills and flies uphill. Do you need fs? I doubt it..I have owned loads of mountain bikes and ride every day. .fs has its advantages but for most trail centres and cross country rides a hardtail will be just as fast and just as much fun and easier to maintain which is the major attraction for me. Look at 29er inbred too as the frames are nice and compact, roll well and are very forgiving on the rough stuff. In my arsenal of bikes I have a 29er inbred with an 8 speed alfine hub, everyone who has ridden it loves it, silent, smooth and guaranteed to bring a grin to your face.!! Second hand is a great option if you know the size you need..vast majority of mountain bikes are used seldom or ridden hard. Whatever you get have fun!
Rigid Raider - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

No, you don't need full suspension. You don't actually NEED front suspension but it makes a difference to fatigue over a long rough day. Before suspension became commonplace everybody managed perfectly well on full rigid bikes. A hardtail with carbon forks makes a great all-round bike on mountain terrain because it's so light and smooth riding - on a recent trip around the High Street circuit I had plenty left in the tank at the end of the day while my club mates on heavy FS bikes were exhausted.
LastBoyScout on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

Your budget will get you something plenty good enough, especially if you are lucky enough to find something in a sale. You'll get a decent set of air-sprung forks and hydraulic brakes at that price point.

My sister rides an 800ish Giant XtC and that gets her everywhere she wants to go, even all day rides and multi-day trips.

A friend of mine has done some epic things on a fairly basic Specialized HardRock, with a few upgrades.

No point going full suss for what you have described. I get round trail centres just fine on a hard tail :-)
T_Mac - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to Steff:

http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/bikes/mountain/ht-29/mantle-10

750, great riding UK hardtail.

If you want to splash out, save up the 999 and get the high Latitude.....same geometry, steel frame. Job done.

http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/bikes/mountain/ht-29/high-latitude
ads.ukclimbing.com
Bob on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to quirky:

Depending on Steff's height a 29er may be too big. My wife is around 5'2" and recently she was looking for a new bike so hired a 29er for the weekend. She looked like a kid on an adult's bike, sure she said it rode well but it was too big for her. She ended up getting a Juliana Furtado which has 650b wheels which is about the limit of what fits her.

I like the look of the Genesis Latitude as well and need to get my hands on one to try out.
T_Mac - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to Bob:

Thats a good point. 29ers are ridiculous with anything smaller than a 17" frame.
cat88 - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to Bob:

I have the same issue, im currently looking to upgrade my hardtail to something with a better fork and hydraulic brakes but im 5ft2 and a lot of the 'fantastic under 600' bikes seem to be 29ers or 650b's
T_Mac - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to cat88:

My wife is the same height as you. She has an Orange Diva which I built from the frame. Its a good old fashioned 26er with 100mm forks and to be honest, it does everything she wants it to do. I'd look at buying a second hand 26er as there will be few on the market now that everyone is buying 650b and 29ers!
cat88 - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to T_Mac:
Ive kept an eye on fleabay and singletrack for the past few months for 2nd hand bikes but even a 2nd hand 26er with ok components is still going for a fair wedge.

I did have a 1k specialized full sus but it was just sooo heavy to pedal uphill Im about 50kg and the bike was about 15kg

Thats also the problem with the decathlon bikes I went to have a look at them and they are around 15kg for a hardtail and the welds on the frame are just like big ugly wonky scars
Post edited at 12:25
T_Mac - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to cat88:

You're unfortunately at a disadvantage due to your height. We found that whatever she rides has to be light for her to able to move it around properly so we're destined to be spending a fair whack on her bikes forever. Really don't underestimate the influence a lighter bike will have on your riding! Its absolutely worth paying more for.
With regards to full sus, we wouldn't entertain the idea of spending less than 2000 for her, you simply don't get light enough rigs at less than that for her height and therefore relative strength to weight ratio.
T_Mac - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to cat88:

Holy shit! I just worked out what 15kg is in Lbs, 33lbs is WAY too heavy for a hardtail! My 'heavy' hardtail weighs in at 27lbs and Fi's is a featherweight at 24lbs.
lost1977 - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to cat88:

Could you show me a link as even their cheapest hardtail seem to be lighter than that based on the website specs
cat88 - on 22 Jan 2014
In reply to lost1977:

the one i was looking at was a rockrider it had a blue frame and a size small was 13.5kg without pedals, i use DMR v12 flats which are 535g so 14kg altogether which is reasonably hefty for a HT for a small person but then that is reflected in the price tag.

My current HT is 13kg which ive had since 2010 so wouldnt want to buy a new one thats heavier than what Im replacing.

My other half has a large frame full sus that weighs 12kg but he did pay a lot more for it, Im used to my carbon road bike which is 7.5kg so it seems even more noticable when riding my mtb at 13kg, sadly I cant afford a carbon mtb too
Steff - on 02 Feb 2014
Thanks again for all the good advice. A Lapierre Raid 529 has arrived and will be thoroughly tested this week.

http://www.lapierre-bikes.co.uk/mtb-sport/raid-529
Cambridge-Climber - on 02 Feb 2014
In reply to Steff: buy one of their old bikes from them.

I ride an old Giant that I bought in 2001.
I still have fun on it. it's a hardtail, it was 12000 back inthe day, but it has lasted.


Smiffy - on 02 Feb 2014
In reply to Steff:

I got a 2 year old Trek 8500 in very good condition + some extras (tyres, tubes, seats) for 700 off ebay. So there are some very good deals out there (this bike was 1500 new). Set yourself a realistic target and stick to it. It make take you some time but you should get a decent deal. Just be careful of potential stolen bikes (gumtree seems to be the worst by all accounts). Ask the seller about the bike (where he got it from, how old it is, what has he had done to it etc.). A genuine owner will be able to give quick straight answers. A theifs answers might seem a bit "odd" as there my be hesitation whilst they make up an answer.
NEKromantiK - on 03 Feb 2014
In reply to Steff:

Don't think it's the best choice. That Lapierre at 14.2kg is very heavy. Much better the Grand Canyon Al 5.9 Dangerous Dave recommended you. 700 and 2 kg lighter. My choice would've been the Gran Canyon 6.9. With Reba forks and just 11.50 kg and 900. Unbelievable!

Anyway, I'm sure you'll enjoy your bike. Have fun!
ChrisJD on 03 Feb 2014
In reply to NEKromantiK:

Heavy is not necessarily bad. It depends what the bike is designed to do ;-)

My all-mountain long travel 650B hardtail wasn't exactly cheap and is over 13 kg; and it's not 'that' much slower down the hill than my 17kg 7inch travel full-susser that I ride XC. Sometimes bikes need a bit of weight to be strong and up to the job...

And the hard tail is easy(ier) on the ups, well compared to the Bullit, lol.
Steff - on 03 Feb 2014
In reply to NEKromantiK:

Yes, I realize Canyon bikes are good value for money, but my reasoning was to buy from my local dealer for convenience for my first good bike. If I really get the bug I will probably want to get another one at some stage. Right now, I like the excellent support they give so far, which includes being able to drop in to have help with the setup, dealing with all the adjustments that have to be made after a few weeks, etc. They even do 4 hour riding technique training sessions on Saturdays for their clients. All this, made me go for the Lapierre, as this is the brand they sell.
NEKromantiK - on 03 Feb 2014
In reply to Steff:

You're right, that's a very good reason to go for the local bike shop option then.

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