The sales guy was excellent. He asked plenty of questions and found out what I needed and did not try to sell me more bike than I needed. I looked at a Specialized as well but the Trek just felt a little more solid. The key for me was that I can upgrade the individual parts down the road (pardon the pun!)...so if I feel the need for a better seat, brakes, etc... it's an easy upgrade. I would recommend buying a bike from a good shop. You might pay a bit more but the info and service is top notch...plus they are going to be there when you have problems or need some advice.
I think more people buy these bikes for the road rather than trail...at least the factory setting seem set up for that. The handle bars are up pretty high, tires are inflated to the highest recommended pressure and I can tell the pedals will be pretty useless on a muddy downhill. Anyone got advice for getting a bike "trail ready"...I know I need to let a little air out of the tires and lower the handle bars a bit.
I will only be riding on the road for the first few months until I can get in shape and learn some technique. I'm looking for a group to ride with and do some volunteer work...I figure if I am going to ride the trails I can spare a few weekends to help maintain them!
I've had 4 different Trek bikes since I started cycling. I've liked them all...
Sounds like you went to a good bike shop..
I was just looking over this thread. It looks like you found out one of the golden rules of biking, that being find a good dealer to help you out with the decisions.
I love mtn biking, unfortunately all my cohorts have either moved, had their bike stolen, or become lazy homebodies (like myself). I haven't been out for a serious ride in a while. I've had my Giant now for about 8 years, and it's still great. Plus it's nice to blow away riders who have bikes that cost up to $1000 more than mine
Two things I wanted to mention.....
1) I haven't seen this mentioned, but get some bicycyle shorts (the ones with the huge pad in the butt). They are a big help.
2) if you go on vacation to anywhere with nice trails nearby, I bet you can rent bikes at local shops. My wife and I went to Crested Butte a few years ago during the summer. We rented full-suspension Raleighs. The ski lifts are set to hold two mtn bikes on the back of them, so the lift took us up the mountain and then we rode back down. It was the first time my wife had ridden on dirt (I don't really suggest testing yourself on a mountain to start with). She had a good time, but crashed right in front of the rental place in the parking lot (but didn't crash on the mountain, go figure??). The rental shop guy was a little worried about her...
I will never forget flying down Mt. Crested Butte, with the only part of my body touching the bike being my hands.... the rest of me was flying behind
and I had no crashes (but some REALLY close calls). Remember, brakes are your friends...
Greg = I meant to get back to this thread before now. Sorry!
If you're worried about the handle bars being too high, I would bring the bike back to the shop and ask them to adjust them. Adjusting the bike to your needs should be part of the service they offer to new bike purchases. I'm kind of surprised they didn't do this to begin with.
What do you mean the pedals will be "pretty useless on a muddy downhill"? Is there any "teeth" on the pedals or are they flat? Do they have toe clips on them? If not, you will want to get toe clips for the downhills - it's the only thing that keeps your feet on the pedals! The toe clips are also useful for the upstrokes on your pedal stroke.
As far as finding a bike club in your area, I did a little search for "Los Alamos bike patrol" on google and found The Tuff Riders Mountain Bike Club. It looks like they've been really active in trail work and have weekly rides. Perhaps you've already found them, but they look like a good place to start!
Regarding the toe clips....
there are two varieties of these. One where you are physically locked onto the pedals, and one where there is a harness your foot slides into so you can remove it quickly. I highly recommend the harness style, not the clip style.
the reason is because of all the times I watched my roadbike buddies fall over at stopsigns because they couldn't get detached from their pedals. Not a good thing for the ego...
plus you don't need special shoes for the harness style. I just used some good, stiff crosstrainers as my biking shoes. And the harnesses should work on just about any stock pedal, whereas with the clips you also need to buy new pedals as well as new shoes.
But the harness definitely helps going uphills, b/c you get the upstroke energy. One of my racing friends told me to imagine my feet are on eggs... keep the pressure on the egg constant throughout the pedal stroke. Listening to yourself pedal, you shouldn't hear any "Whiirrrr-whirrr" as you pedal harder during part of the motion. It should be a constant, even sound.
Here's a page with a pic of the harness style clip:
I didn't mention the type where your shoe clips into the pedal because I've always known those as "clipless pedals" - meaning without the harness-strap-type "clip". I almost mentioned them to say (the same as you) - don't get them when you're first starting out unless you like to fall over a lot! I have used them and actually like them (you can adjust how easy it is to slip in and out of them), but they are definitely not for someone who is just starting out!
Thanks for clarifying that.
Blues-X - I think the shorts are next on my list when I get some more "play" money! Not sure I am ready yet for harness or clipless pedals but once I start doing rougher downhill I can see the benefit. The pedals I have are fine unless it starts to get wet and then my shoes start to slip a bit. The clips and good hard sole shoes are also on my wish list.
Jeanie - The guy at the shop suggested I start out with the handlebars up a bit for comfort...after a couple of days I could see the benefit of dropping the bars and figured it would be best to learn with a slightly more aggressive style rather than trying to work my way into it later. The shop was more than happy to drop the bars and show me how to make many of my own adjustments. I also got some gloves to help with my growing blisters!
So far it's been a blast! I have only ridden on a few greenways and dirt roads but I am addicted. I throw the bike in the back of the car in the morning and hit the trail right after work...what a wonderful stress release!
By the way...I have actually moved back east recently (forgot to update my location). New Mexico was wonderful...but missed family and green trees! The irony is that I lived for years in the North Carolina mountains and then in the mountains of New Mexico and I finally got a mountain bike when I am living in Raleigh, NC! Luckily there is a small but very active group here...although many people in this area are more afraid of getting mud on their $2000 bikes than anything else...A sharp contrast from some of the crazy mountain bikers in New Mexico!
This post isn't for those who can easily afford the higher end bikes and the service they require.
Well i got one of Walmarts aluminum framed mongoose mountain bikes a couple of months ago... price was even lower than I thought: $98.oo with 21 speeds and
front and rear suspension.
now granted they are limited to 25" and 26" and I'd prefer a 27" but I went into it knowing that. I'm long legged for a 6 footer... other 6 footers and below would fit the bike better for sure.but it's not bad... the knee goes almost straight peddling as it is supposed to.
In truth If I were going to get into some serious trail thrills I'd have had second thoughts. but this is perfect for these rough shell rock roads in my vacinity.
The shell rock passes for gravel in these parts and is very rough.. constant stress with the "weight on arms posture" of trail bikes. also any bear evading maneuvers are likely to drop folks into one of the numerous potholes which have sharp edges here.
all that is past.. the front and rear suspension smooth out the ride and the shocks are stiff enough for my 200 lbs.
so really I say again..
doesn't have to be expensive... wal-mart sells a nice aluminum frame mongoose with front and rear shocks for under $200___($98.oo) 10 years ago it would have cost me $250 just for the front shock.. an inexpensive way to see if you'd actually enjoy it...
maybe why some of those folks who use them as "tour" bikes...
anyone who's been distracted with odometer adjustments as they approached a curb.... level with the grass ...(only to discover suddenly the grass is 8 inches tall at that point ) can tell you that with one hand on the handlebar the other pushing buttons.... front shocks make non-flight possible.. my reason for seeking them years ago.
they are a safety feature.
it's for the casual rider who can make simple repairs (none yet) and would be willing to part with $100. to give it a try. It's good for you... it's arobic exercise if you ride below the winded stage... or as I once read it... able to carry on a conversation.
if thats all you're up to fine... but with a little time you'll find yourself out-racing the meanest of pitbulls with power to spare... strength comes back fairly quickly if you enjoy doing it.
I used to say motorcycles make you look tough while a bicycle makes you tough. of course I refrained from saying that in biker bars.. chances are I could of outrun'em anyhow.
Those specialty shops get high dollar's to maintain or fix bikes.... with the lowly Mongoose repairs top out at $98.oo .... think of the spare parts if you actually had to buy a 2nd
well Happy Trails
Hey Ron! I totally agree that the bike does not have to be expensive...at least for the type of riding you mention. Any under $200 bike is usually more than adequate for greenways and occasional gravel road. Plus, it's an inexpensive way for people to get into the riding.
My problem with Walmart type bikes is that they are usually put together by someone who knows very little about bikes and parts are almost impossible to find if you break something. Bike shops do not sell "high end" only...that is a myth. In fact, most shops make their money selling less expensive bikes ($150 - $300 range). For only a bit more than a Walmart bike, you get something that was assembled by a pro, uses high quality parts and most shops will give a year or so of free tuneups.
My second problem with such bikes is that they are sold to unsuspecting consumers as mountain bikes...which they are not! I do a group ride with a local club every couple of months here in Raleigh and we usually get between 10-15 people who are out on their bike for the very first time. Inevitably, at least a few of them are on Walmart bikes and they learn very quickly that those bikes are not going to cut it on technical singletrack (and these are the easiest singletrack trails in the area!). I have literally seen rear derailleurs disintegrate in a matter of minutes...on brand new bikes!
The Trek 4300 I bought back in May was from a bike shop and was just at $300..which IMO is still pretty inexpensive for a decent mountain bike. There were several other bikes for $200 and less that would have been adequate as well. It was a good enough bike to where I could take it out on a trail and come back in one piece. It let me know that mountain biking was something I really enjoyed and have since upgraded to a much nicer ride...and I went right back to the same bike shop that had taken such good care of me! I now ride almost every chance I get, am planning on entering a few races in the spring, and am in the best shape I have been in years...Had I bought a Walmart bike and had it fall apart on me at the first real trail, I doubt I would have even attempted to continue in the sport.
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