Noob asking for some advice on buying a used budget-range cross country bike to do a 100km trail on
Hi all,A noob here, preparing for a bike race (want to do a race in all components first before trying a tri). It's a 100km race, mostly on a trail but it's supposed to be quite flat and easy (Vitosha 100km, July, Bulgaria - http://is.gd/YHDNML )I am still very inexperienced with biking and know very little about the machines - e.g. I had to google what tyre sizes do bikes usually use - although I'm a seasoned motorbike enthusiast so I know the mechanics, etc. quite well. From what I gather, the optimal bike should be a hard tail cross country, leaning towards a road bike in parameters. A lot of people actually do this race with road bikes, including last year's winner - I was tempted to follow this route as I would reuse the bike for my tri, but then again, especially for a beginner, the better safety of a mountain bike would be advantageous, and it has better chances to survive the race and the trainingImportant contstraint - budget. £250/300 EUR tops, and I'm OK with second hand, I don't mind having to fiddle with a thing or two or even replace this and that. Apart from budget constraints, I don't have any safe place to keep it - it will live on the street, so I don't want to have to buy a new one each month.I've spent some time looking at bikes online and 3 basic questions spring to mind:
1. What features should I be looking at in order to have a mountain bike that's closer to a road bike, i.e. capable of delivering good timing on a flat terrain?Frame - I think I've settled on hard tail. Reasonably priced, and offer some cushioningFork - I believe it doesn't need to have more than 100mm travelTyres - that's clear, more towards the slicker side, but with at least a bit of texture for better off-road gripWheels - am I right in thinking that the larger the better, considering my goals? I would then need to look at 20" I guess?Anything else important that I'm missing?
2. Specific models - maybe you can give me some suggestions?The ones I've identified so far:Carrera - Fury, Vulcan, KrakenVoodoo - Hoodoo, BokorBoardman MTB HT Comp3. Any tips for buying second hand?I'll appreciate suggestions but probably everything on this subject has already been said, so a link to a good buyers guide will probably do. Also, anything specific for these types of bikes?Appreciate your suggestion!And if anyone from abroad is willing to join this race - give me a shout, I can provide all kinds of support, from help with translating from Bulgarian to finding good company for an afterparty
Reading between the lines and having no experience of the race you detail I would imagine you would be better off with something like a cross bike ... you can change tyres/wheels then for triathlon if you need a more road specific bike
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Furcough Fatty!!!(not you Cougs)
I'll take a look at cyclocross bikes - AFAIU, these are like road bikes but with treaded tires and more ground clearance. I will indeed have much less choice though, throw in a front suspension and another few bits and I'll have more options and better trail performance. I'll be shopping for a bike in Germany and here people apparently don't like to sell bikes online, so at least I'll get a chance to see a lot of bikes when I shop around.I agree that for my budget I shouldn't be too picky - that's why I want to get a list of models that are supposed to be OK as I can't really determine what's a decent bike without knowing the quality of the components. Armed with a list of acceptable choices, it will be much easier to just hop on the first one within my range that appears to be in reasonably good condition.As for wheel sizes, I apparently didn't get that right the first time - I now see that the options are 26 and 29. Maybe 29 are not that common but Voodoo Hoodoo at least has it as an option
Stefan - don't get too bogged down in wheel sizes for your first bike
to translate - 26" wheels are what most MTBs have
29" wheels are modern variants for MTBs and similar size to road/CX wheels (actually slightly bigger)
in rough terms a 29 will allow a smoother ride over bumpy ground so are pretty good for open trails; but a 26 will always win out in technical singletrack as they are easier to throw around.
and there is now a newer option for MTBs - 650b wheels - which kind of sit between 26 and 29 (650mm = 27.5" approx) so giving a compromise.
at the moment - 26'ers are the norm so will come cheaper than the other options
Thanks buddha - so you're saying that tyre size shouldn't make much difference
Can anyone give me pointers to other models in this range I can look at? Or hints for what should I be looking at to tell a decent bike apart from a shit one when I go to a 2nd hand bike sale with lots of options?I guess frame quality is the most important characteristic, but can I reliably tell them apart?Condition of wheels and presence of disk brake is something I can easily observe visually, anything else in those lines?
cougie, regarding storage - the only option for storing the bike securely will be inside my tiny flat, through 4 flights of tiny stairs if I do this every time I ride I'll end up spending more calories taking it in and out rather than riding. Might be good practice if I decide to do cyclocross though but far too complicated for my trail/tri practice
The brands of bike you suggest are all good value at this price point, specialized are fairly good value too.
If you get offered a 29er do try as i ride one and its excellent for cross country and going up hill, and if the bikes fitted with disc brakes hydraulic ones are better.
Well, that's a good pointer - if I know reliable brands I can get any bike that meets my specs and budget when I look around. Stevens seem to be one of those that I can't get it wrong with. Any others like that?
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