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Old 09-03-2008, 10:25 PM   #1
HolyCrikey
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Default OT Mountain bikers

Hey all. I've been contemplating a new outdoor sport/activity. I used to do BMX during my teen years (I'm 23 now), but I gave it up once college arrived. I've now got more time on my hands than I had thought, and I'm getting sick of just working out. I need some outdoor activity and biking has always been fun for me. I'm just not sold on road biking.

However, I'm a total noob to mountain biking. I live in a large city (Charlotte), so besides the greenways and road biking lanes, I have no idea where to start with mountain biking. We do have the National Whitewater Center which has trails, but it's about 20 miles away and I wonder if I'd be able to make it out there regularly. Probably the best bet though... A trip to the mountains is still an hour or more, so that'd be at least a day trip.

Regardless, where does one start with mountain biking? Necessary gear for a beginner? Intro level bikes to look at? Advice for a noob?

Thanks for any info guys.
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:27 PM   #2
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Get back into BMX. It is really fun, if you have a nice city to ride in.


What bike did you have?
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:35 PM   #3
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Get yourself a decent bike and get out there. you'll love it.

I used to ride bmx a lot and switched over....

It's great exercise, but even more so, it's fun as hell. (I would probably do it if it were bad for me, but bonus because it's not)


How much $$ do you want to spend?
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:36 PM   #4
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Well, you aren't too far away from Tsali which is some of the best singletrack in the country IMO. I think it's close enough to drive up for the day and ride. Othewise get a map of the trails in your area at a local shop when you buy your bike.

Get yourself a good 26" wheel hardtail mountain bike with disc brakes. you can get a good one for $600-$800.(Gary Fisher Tassahara Disc is a great bike for the money)

Helmet, shoes, hydration(water bottle or camelback, whichever you like), pedals(if the bike doesn't come with them), and clothing will be the basics. Padded shorts are nice.

Pick up another bmx bike while your at it. I ride everything and BMX is still the most fun.
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:38 PM   #5
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if you aren't looking to do any competitions you'll just need front suspension. how much are you looking to spend?
i am a big fan of Giant bikes. hold up to a lot of abuse.
for entry level basic Boulder or Boulder SE
Next step up is the Yukon.
The Yukon has disc brakes which are better and some better components. but if you want to spend more i can give more suggestions. These two are on the low end but above walmart specials
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:02 PM   #6
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Mt. Biking is a lot of fun. used to do it a lot in college and after, but now I just don't have the time. I need to start getting back into it. I agree with the others that a full suspension bike isn't necessary for trail riding, just get a hardtail with decent components. I'm not really in the loop anymore when it comes to what are decent bikes, but I don know Gary Fischer makes some nice ones.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:15 PM   #7
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There's a ton of mountain biking here in CLT. What part of town are you in?

Check out www.tarheeltrailblazers.com . They're our local club, and are very active in trailbuilding. The forum there will be very useful in answering your questions.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:30 PM   #8
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I'm looking to spend as little as possible, to begin with, lol. Maybe 600-900 for the bike (or even less if possible!), and as little as possible for accessories. I'll add more as the money trickles in. I'm a full-time graduate student, so my money is a bit limited via my part-time job and financial aid.

In regards to the other questions, the last bike I used to ride was an older Schwinn Pro Stock. Jeez... must have been 1998 model? Not sure. It's been a long time. Sold it off almost 6 years ago. That was the nicest of what I rode. Before that when I was starting out I had a buncha junk bikes that I simply did a few modifications to.

In fact, I haven't even ridden a bike in at least four years. Jeez...it's been a long time, unfortunately.

Hmm... now that I think about it, I might just try and buy used for the first bike to make sure it's something that I stick with. Might be hitting up craiglist.

Last edited by HolyCrikey; 09-03-2008 at 11:38 PM.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VpointVick View Post
There's a ton of mountain biking here in CLT. What part of town are you in?

Check out www.tarheeltrailblazers.com . They're our local club, and are very active in trailbuilding. The forum there will be very useful in answering your questions.
Awesome! Thanks for the info. I'm in the university area. Right offa 49 about 2 miles from UNC-Charlotte.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:35 PM   #10
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Look into the dirt jumping bikes like the Specialized P.series. Little bit of the BMX column, little bit of the MTB column, and it's all fun. I ride a Specialized P.2 Chromoly, and it's a hoot.

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Old 09-03-2008, 11:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HolyCrikey View Post
Awesome! Thanks for the info. I'm in the university area. Right offa 49 about 2 miles from UNC-Charlotte.
From there, you are ~10 min. from UNCC trails(fairly technical, and not marked very well; not for the beginner), and Poplar Tent, and no more than 15 min. from Sherman Branch (excellent trail for beginner and pro alike).

Also within easy reach are N. Meck and Fisher Farm, in Huntersville, the Whitewater Center (great riding, but there's a $5 parking fee now), and Anne Springs Greenway down in Fort Mill.


You're definitely on the right track with the used purchase at first. You'll be able to get a lot more bike for your buck, and, be out a lot less if it ends up not being your thing after all.

There are a lot of knowledgable bike types here in OT, post up the ones you're looking at and you'll get some valuable opinions to help you in your search.
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Old 09-04-2008, 12:03 AM   #12
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I would suggest an entry level Specialized Mountain Bike. You can take it all around and thrash just like a BMX but without the super uncomfortable seating position.
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Old 09-04-2008, 12:14 AM   #13
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I'll chime in and say that yes hardtail w/ disc brakes.

I love my Trek 6000 its similar in trim to others posted here.
$800ish
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Old 09-04-2008, 12:21 AM   #14
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VpointVick, thanks for all the info! What places would you suggest for single track trails? And would you recommend this for beginners or no? Thus far, this seems to be what I'd really be interested in.
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Old 09-04-2008, 12:29 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HolyCrikey View Post
VpointVick, thanks for all the info! What places would you suggest for single track trails? And would you recommend this for beginners or no? Thus far, this seems to be what I'd really be interested in.
That would be pretty much all of the ones that I posted.

N. Meck, Sherman Branch, Col. Francis Beatty over near Ballantyne, are all great for beginners. After you've cut your teeth on them for a while, give Renaissance, Poplar Tent, and the WWC a try, and then we'll get you up to Pisgah and show you what world-class MTBing is all about!

I'd be more than happy to show you around and help you get going. PM me.
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Old 09-04-2008, 12:54 AM   #16
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size of the frame will make big difference too.

I'm 5'11" but ride a slightly smaller size (17") because it's more BMX-like to me. A lot of people my height would ride an 18".


You should see if there's a shop around that has some demo-bikes around that would let you test ride.... (on the trails, not parking lot) and get a feel for some different bikes.
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Old 09-04-2008, 01:00 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VpointVick View Post
I'd be more than happy to show you around and help you get going. PM me.
I'd definitely be up for that. I'll start the PM's once I (and hopefully not "if") get up and running! Thanks!

I too am wondering about bike sizes. I'm fairly small overall. Skinny build, about 5 foot 10 or 11. Not sure... I've definitely gotta try different ones out.

Last edited by HolyCrikey; 09-04-2008 at 01:13 AM.
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Old 09-04-2008, 07:27 AM   #18
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A good place to start is the fit calculator at www.wrenchscience.com . It'll help with things like stem length too, in addition to frame size.

I've used it on both a road, and an MTB purchase and been very happy both times.
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Old 09-04-2008, 09:53 AM   #19
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http://www.rei.com/product/761415 - $500

i got this bike earlier in the year, and it has been pretty solid. i just wanted an entry level bike, and this fit the bill well.
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:25 AM   #20
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I'm also in Charlotte and i ride too. PM if you ever want to go. We normally go every Sunday morning to Sherman Branch or whitewater center, 2-4 of us, and about 2-3 times during the week evenings just another guy and me. We are going tonight to Anne Springs in Fort Mill, which is literally 3 min from my house. I am starting to night ride as soon as my lights come in, so we need to get you on the trails and get you warmed up so you can start night riding with me. I have never been, but i here whitewater night riding is awesome. I think on Thursday nights they have live bands, and a lot of people night ride. Again, VpointVick set you straight with the website. It's a great staring place, and i have ridden with 2 people on there and everyone is really nice. As for a bike, i had a used bike when i first started and then went on the lookout for a newer bike. Someone i met at the trails one day was telling me about Dicks Sporting goods. So i stopped by. Got a Diamondback Response with good components. and a 3 year warranty, if i break, bend, crack or stretch anything. they replace the bike or part for free. Only thing it doesn't cover is flat tires. So for three years if i wreck it, which i ride pretty hard, they will replace with the newest model or the next model up if it's not available. So is it worth the money? I think so to check it out. They have the new 29er Diamondback as well which is very well built and fantastic components. Find some coupons get it on sale, and get the warranty. Your set for three years. But just my opinion. If you ever want to ride Let me know! I am always willing to go if i am available.

And VpointVick - I would love to Pisgah! I have heard it's awesome! If you are ever making a trip up there PM me.I would love to go out there for a day!
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:29 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zavigm View Post
size of the frame will make big difference too.

I'm 5'11" but ride a slightly smaller size (17") because it's more BMX-like to me. A lot of people my height would ride an 18".


You should see if there's a shop around that has some demo-bikes around that would let you test ride.... (on the trails, not parking lot) and get a feel for some different bikes.
Yeah make sure you get the right sized frame, I was riding a 17" Gary Fisher and moved up to a 19". Much better when the bike fits you, no more back pain and I can go faster it seems!

Like everyone else says a hardtail with disc brakes would be perfect for you starting out again. Thats what I did two years ago after being out of mnt biking for a couple years I got a hard tail Gary Fisher with discs they are great bikes.
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:34 AM   #22
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I got my first real mountain bike about 3 years ago and haven't looked back. It was actually something I had wanted to do for a while, but never had to money to get into it through college.

I would suggest getting something decent, inexpensive and probably used. You could probably go to an LBS and ride a couple of bikes to see what size fits you, then buy used. It will at least be a start.

I've heard there are some good trails in and around CLT. I would suggest that once you get your bike, get acclimated with it first before you hit too much single track. For me, it had been years since I had been on a bike and my skills weren't too up to par.

Good luck.
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:39 AM   #23
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:40 AM   #24
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Gary Fisher—good bikes

I used to see that dude chillin' around San Anselmo all he time.


mat420 - just curious your height, afa switching from 17" to 19" ?
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:55 AM   #25
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6' 1"
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