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MrTheCatLady

Best "Budget" MTB

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Hey Folks,

This is not a question; this is my commentary on some vids/articles I've seen recently (links below).  In a nutshell:  WTF are these people thinking when they are calling a $3000 full-sus bike "budget" or "affordable" or "entry-level"?

I understand that "a good, affordable, entry-level MTB" (AGAELMTB) means different things to different people, depending on their trail exposure and riding experience.  ATX trails are mostly XC + tech, but everywhere else (it seems) the trails are less pedal-y and more downhill-y.  But I think that there are plenty of DH-y trails out there that are completely rideable on a hardtail.  So IMHO, AGAELMTB basically has to be a hardtail (not full-rigid), and not come from a big-box store.  That's it. If you want to go a little nicer, then of course the sky's the limit.  I'd look for a bike with:

  • Threaded stem
  • Tapered steerer tube
  • Disc brakes
  • 31.6mm seat post diameter
  • 2x drive train

IMHO these are features that set you up well for future upgradeability if you so desire.  But they are in no way necessary on an entry-level MTB.

To give concrete examples, I believe all of these bikes fit the AGAELMTB bill:

  • Trek 820 ($400)
  • Specialized Pitch ($500)
  • Fuji Adventure 27.5 ($400)

I guess the way I think about it is that the $400-$1000 range is for those who want to get into MTB on a budget, and not be immediately hampered by their bike.  Anything beyond that is for folks who want specific components or types of components, like this type of drive train or that frame material, etc.  But even then, $400 is a lot of money for a high-school kid who doesn't have a job.  Or a college kid.  Or a recent graduate.  Or lots and lots of families with both adults working and N+1 mouths to feed.  Or lots and lots of people in general.  So I think stating that $3k is a good place to start is at best blissfully ignorant of most folks' financial reality, at worst snide and disingenuous.

And I also think that if you buy a MTB from Wal-Mart, most of which clearly state "not trail-rated" on the sticker, then that's perfectly fine too, but you might spend a lot of time maintaining it, and might also find that it is not as upgradeable as you want it to be.  If all you have is $100, though, then all you have is $100, and you either buy the bike you can afford or you don't.

-cls

Videos that triggered me:

 

 

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I work in a Trek dealer and can tell you full stop the 820 is not a MTB. It's and ATB at best, and a heavy, clunky one at that. The Fuji and Spec are basically the same thing with an aluminum frame. If some one told me they wanted a sub $500 bike I'd tell them to keep saving and try to get to the $1000 price point. There are lots of great hardtails for roughly a thousand bucks.

Though if they twisted my arm I'd tell them to order a Nishiki Colorado and bring it to me to properly adjust it. You could nickel and dime one of those into a really good bike that'd probably serve you for years.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tnKVG8SJmso

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 a budget hardtail that won't fold in half under you is $750-1000.

 

TheTrek 820 and the like are hybrids that looks like mountain bikes. I worked at one Trek dealer that sold a lot of 820s and they didn't last long. I left that shop and worked for a different Trek dealer that didn't bother to carry 820's because they knew that those customers were better off buying a hybrid.

I've never been interested in FSbikes but it looks like starting price for something that's OK is $1500.

I too am annoyed by the golfification of mountain bikes. MOST Americans cannot fit $3000 into their budget for a leisure activity without making a fooling debt-inducing decision. 

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If I were wanting to spend 500 on a bike, I'd probably go to the used market.   You can get quite a bit more if you're patient.

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At the $500 price point, I advise to get a good used bike. I also offer to help find one on CL. 

Though I do agree with you that $3k for a "budget" bike is tone deaf and elitist. $3k should be a bike that anyone could rock out on without falling apart. Perhaps some compromises on the quality of the suspension dampening and weight but a it should be a really good bike.

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Hell, even at 2-3k I'd probably buy used.  You can get an absolutely solid full squish bike with high mid-range components at that price.  I scanned craigslist here in town real quick and see several bikes in that range with 1x12 and nice parts.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, fontarin said:

Hell, even at 2-3k I'd probably buy used.  You can get an absolutely solid full squish bike with high mid-range components at that price.  I scanned craigslist here in town real quick and see several bikes in that range with 1x12 and nice parts.

 

 

I've bought maybe three new bikes since my '92 Diamondback Ascent EX that I had on layaway. $450 for that bike but I might have gotten those sweet Deore LX cantis and shifters if I could've bumped it up to $550... Maybe even that PLUSH Tioga rigid fork!

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2 hours ago, MrTheCatLady said:

 

Hey Folks,

This is not a question; this is my commentary on some vids/articles I've seen recently (links below).  In a nutshell:  WTF are these people thinking when they are calling a $3000 full-sus bike "budget" or "affordable" or "entry-level"?

I understand that "a good, affordable, entry-level MTB" (AGAELMTB) means different things to different people, depending on their trail exposure and riding experience.  ATX trails are mostly XC + tech, but everywhere else (it seems) the trails are less pedal-y and more downhill-y.  But I think that there are plenty of DH-y trails out there that are completely rideable on a hardtail.  So IMHO, AGAELMTB basically has to be a hardtail (not full-rigid), and not come from a big-box store.  That's it. If you want to go a little nicer, then of course the sky's the limit.  I'd look for a bike with:

  • Threaded stem
  • Tapered steerer tube
  • Disc brakes
  • 31.6mm seat post diameter
  • 2x drive train

IMHO these are features that set you up well for future upgradeability if you so desire.  But they are in no way necessary on an entry-level MTB.

To give concrete examples, I believe all of these bikes fit the AGAELMTB bill:

  • Trek 820 ($400)
  • Specialized Pitch ($500)
  • Fuji Adventure 27.5 ($400)

I guess the way I think about it is that the $400-$1000 range is for those who want to get into MTB on a budget, and not be immediately hampered by their bike.  Anything beyond that is for folks who want specific components or types of components, like this type of drive train or that frame material, etc.  But even then, $400 is a lot of money for a high-school kid who doesn't have a job.  Or a college kid.  Or a recent graduate.  Or lots and lots of families with both adults working and N+1 mouths to feed.  Or lots and lots of people in general.  So I think stating that $3k is a good place to start is at best blissfully ignorant of most folks' financial reality, at worst snide and disingenuous.

And I also think that if you buy a MTB from Wal-Mart, most of which clearly state "not trail-rated" on the sticker, then that's perfectly fine too, but you might spend a lot of time maintaining it, and might also find that it is not as upgradeable as you want it to be.  If all you have is $100, though, then all you have is $100, and you either buy the bike you can afford or you don't.

-cls

Videos that triggered me:

 

 

You too good for a 30.9mm seat post...Size Queen

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@crankin - whoops, I should have listed 30.9.  Or maybe I should have said what I was really thinking - "not 27.2".

To all who have mentioned used - of course you are correct.  I totally missed that one in my mind.  I was stuck on "new" I guess.

To all who are bashing the 820...I've never owned one...is it really that bad?  Is it at least better that big-box?

-cls

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The 820 is a half-step above a big box stores bike. It's the least amount of bike that Trek can hold their nose and put their name on it. Trek does not even label it a "mountain bike" at all.

Edited by mack_turtle

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For the Win, the best budget mountain bike is my wife's Salsa Spearfish found in the for sale section of this forum. It might have ten miles on it, Mostly pavement. Perfect for someone that fits a small - medium frame with a low budget.

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BUDGET PRICE!!!

Nice...

There are fine new FS rides out there for $2,200 to around $1,850.

After that, go used.

Last year I built up for someone a Giant Talon 4 27.5 that I bought used for $250 — with upgraded Rockshox fork. The frame was light, and with a 9x1 Shimano XT/Deore level drive and other components that I put on, the end product was a really nice mtb for the person I built it for. Will it hold up to 15' jumps... Probably not. But it wasn't designed to, and the new owner wasn't interested in riding anything more than flowy singletrack. Sold it with a Saris bike rack for $400, which was right in her budget.

Review here... https://www.bikeradar.com/us/mtb/gear/category/bikes/mountain-bikes/hardtail/product/review-giant-talon-27-5-4-47695/

IMG_1797.jpg

IMG_1798.jpg

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On 1/25/2019 at 3:17 PM, MrTheCatLady said:

@crankin - whoops, I should have listed 30.9.  Or maybe I should have said what I was really thinking - "not 27.2".

To all who are bashing the 820...I've never owned one...is it really that bad?  Is it at least better that big-box?

-cls

I know droppers are the new hot thing but the fuck I would buy a hardtail with anything bigger then a 27.2 seatpost. Bigger diameters transmit to much force and make the ride feel harsh. 

Anything with a Tourney drivetrain, including the 820, isn't suitable for off road use imo. Not to mention that usually means it'll have a freewheel so the axle will likely snap too.

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I hear these are coming back into fashion
 
 
p4pb3880877.jpg.1eb00528b165ae5e65f13cf844ea956e.jpg
I see what you did there.. funny

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

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54 minutes ago, Ridenfool said:

I was looking for a righty,  but not a lefty.

lefty loosey

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I was confused till I realized that there is part of the conversation I have blocked. LOL. 

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  • Haha 1

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2 hours ago, ATXZJ said:

I hear these are coming back into fashion

 

 

p4pb3880877.jpg

 



When I see these types of comments from ATXZ he reminds me of this song...
 

 

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In Trinidad there's actually a phrase that describes what ATXZ is experiencing...

Here it is...


"Tobago Love... Said of a relationship characterized by lack of demonstration of affection, or by fighting."

Isn't he cute.

Edited by RidingAgain

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36 minutes ago, Ridenfool said:

I just operate from a confused state at all times. This really make things much easier for me.

Ima give that a try.

  • Confused 1

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