Newbie MTB riders wanting some advise

bologniusmaximus's Photo bologniusmaximus 16 May 2017

Perhaps calling ourselves newbies isn't really accurate. We haven't even started cycling.

 

The most cycling we've done so far is in stores trying out bikes to find what we like, and we need some feedback. Some genuine realistic feedback.

 

First off, we're totally new (if above did not give that away) and need equipment and rides. But because we're so new to all of this we can't spend much, as there's always the chance that my wife might not end up enjoying it. So here's what we need:

 

1. Bikes

2. Helmets

3. Gloves

 

We'll get the rest later on. Or what say you? Something we are missing? I have a toolbox full of keys that I'll take with on rides and leave in my car. I also have a pump that I got as a gift. As mentioned above, our budgets are super low. We're starting off, we want to test the waters. And then take it from there.

 

Right now I think my total budget for 2 bikes plus above gear is R20k. Yep, R20k. I see what some people post here and there is no way we can afford that. We're still settling down in life and have many other things to pay off.

 

So please share some gloves and helmets that you would recommend with us.

 

Then off to the bikes. For now we're thinking of the following bikes, might add more:

 

Merida Big Nine 20-D

Link: http://www.merida-bi...e-20-d-206.html

zoom-thumb-picture-desktop-dd3f502c44adc

I was at first thinking it would work for my wife, but now think we could both get one.

 

Then there is the;

Silverback Spectra Sport

Link: http://silverbacklab.../spectra-sport/

Spectra-Sport-9.jpg

 

Finally the following:

Titan Cruz 29R

Link: https://www.titanrac...oduct/29r-cruz/

2017-Titan-29er-Cruz.jpg

Any other brands we might consider? Any good shops to look at? Any tips? Anything?! I'll take all the feedback and help I can get. I've never seen my wife this excited about a new hobby, and she wants to use it to build up on her photography, so obviously she won't be riding like I will. And I'll be spending my times in the Karkloof trails some weekends otherwise it'll be around Drummond and the beach.

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Eugene's Photo Eugene 17 May 2017

Silverback always offers good value for money. Other good brands that focus on value for money are Momsen and Axis.

Stay away from supermarket products, they generally fall apart. Most new people tend to head for Sportsmans Warehouse, their products are good, but tend to be more expensive than bike shops.
Edited by Eugene, 17 May 2017 - 06:19 .
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ChrisF's Photo ChrisF 17 May 2017

Welcome Maximus.

 

You clearly have done some good homework.

 

Having gotten back onto bikes late last year after a 15 year absence here is some of the lessons I have learnt.

 

 

Starting out - buy a 2nd hand bike from a reputable bike shop.  They DO take trade ins.  When the bug bites people quickly upgrade, and you get the bikes on your list, and even better, traded in and available for DECENT prices.

 

If you are set on a new bike.  The bikes/brands on your list is spot on.  I started with a Merida Big 9 40.

 

 

GEARS - if you are going to do some trail riding you, and especially your wife, WILL need low gearing for the steep climbs.  THIS was the one downside of the Big 9 40 I had.  You want a 11-36 rear cluster and a 22 teeth small gear in front.

 

TIRES - 27,5'' or 29'' tires .... the flavour of the day is 29''.  I LOVE my 27,5'' for my commuter, and I also enjoy the 29'' on my trail bike.  The benefit of the 27.5'' is even lower gearing for steep hills (this may be a benefit for your wife).  Dont stress about this, you probably will only get 29'' in the models you are looking at.

 

PUNCTURES - go tubeless and get done with it.  :) :)  BEST thing ever :)

 

 

Gloves ... not needed ... at least not now.  Over time you will get a new wardrobe, gloves can then be added.

 

 

 

Get a bike and helmet and go ENJOY the outdoors.

Reply

ChrisF's Photo ChrisF 17 May 2017

Silverback always offers good value for money. Other good brands that focus on value for money are Momsen and Axis.

Stay away from supermarket products, they generally fall apart. Most new people tend to head for Sportsmans Warehouse, their products are good, but tend to be more expensive than bike shops.

 

To add to the above post -

 

The game has CHANGED !!!

 

 

Bike shops are now the cheapest place for decent bikes, AND most bike shops DO courier.

 

 

Chris Willemse Cycles (CWC), GeckoCycles and many more provide decent service and will ship the bike of your choice to your door.  :) :)

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ChrisF's Photo ChrisF 17 May 2017

just for your wife ..

 

Hermanus Trails-10 (Medium).jpg

 

Hermanus Trails-12 (Medium).jpg

 

NICE addition to the photography game ....


Edited by ChrisF, 17 May 2017 - 06:44 .
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Mr lee's Photo Mr lee 17 May 2017

When the wife and I started out a few years back we agreed on a budget of no more than 13K for the both of us....but what we did not know is that with a bike comes all the other necessary items and ended up spending around 22K  :eek:  :eek:  :eek:....took us a while to recover from that I might add.

 

Your starting budget is not bad at all and you can get some decent starter bikes in that range. As mentioned before Silverbacks offer the best bang for buck. Look at the Sola 4. You can pick up some old stock from 2015/2016 for a good price if you look hard enough.

 

Whatever you get make sure it has an air shock!

 

The main thing you are going to be comparing across most of the bikes in the range you are looking at are the components because most of the time these are what make up the price differences. Sure each manufacturer will have slight variations in the way they make the frame but for the most part a frame is a frame (bar the slight geometrical differences which only tend to differ by minute amounts in this category).

 

Tubeless definitely worth it but not essential to get you going in the beginning. Don't waste your money and time on tyre liners but make sure you have a puncture kit and pump handy when riding. If you can negotiate a deal when you buy the bikes then get it over and done with at the shop. 

 

Oh and take your time. We were....well I was hasty and if I had waited or done a little more research I could have gotten a much better bike for the money I paid....not that there was anything wrong with mine but you always want that one that is just a little better than the other  :whistling:  ^_^


Edited by Mr lee, 17 May 2017 - 09:01 .
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Mr lee's Photo Mr lee 17 May 2017

The bikes you listed do not have air forks/shocks. Also look for a bike with hydraulic brakes and not the cable type.

 

A quick search revealed that the going price on the 2016 Silverback Sola 4 is around 10k but with the right negotiation skills I am sure you could get that down a little!

 

29er will be the better way to go. My wife went from a 650B(27.5) to 29er and was much more comfortable and confident especially over technical stuff.

Reply

bologniusmaximus's Photo bologniusmaximus 17 May 2017

Silverback always offers good value for money. Other good brands that focus on value for money are Momsen and Axis.

Stay away from supermarket products, they generally fall apart. Most new people tend to head for Sportsmans Warehouse, their products are good, but tend to be more expensive than bike shops.

 

I did go to Makro to test out some bikes, not to buy but to get a feel for the difference. And yeah it was a huge difference. Was enjoying the front shocks bottoming out on a flat surface.

Reply

bologniusmaximus's Photo bologniusmaximus 17 May 2017

Welcome Maximus.

 

You clearly have done some good homework.

 

Having gotten back onto bikes late last year after a 15 year absence here is some of the lessons I have learnt.

 

 

Starting out - buy a 2nd hand bike from a reputable bike shop.  They DO take trade ins.  When the bug bites people quickly upgrade, and you get the bikes on your list, and even better, traded in and available for DECENT prices.

 

If you are set on a new bike.  The bikes/brands on your list is spot on.  I started with a Merida Big 9 40.

 

 

GEARS - if you are going to do some trail riding you, and especially your wife, WILL need low gearing for the steep climbs.  THIS was the one downside of the Big 9 40 I had.  You want a 11-36 rear cluster and a 22 teeth small gear in front.

 

TIRES - 27,5'' or 29'' tires .... the flavour of the day is 29''.  I LOVE my 27,5'' for my commuter, and I also enjoy the 29'' on my trail bike.  The benefit of the 27.5'' is even lower gearing for steep hills (this may be a benefit for your wife).  Dont stress about this, you probably will only get 29'' in the models you are looking at.

 

PUNCTURES - go tubeless and get done with it.   :) :)  BEST thing ever :)

 

 

Gloves ... not needed ... at least not now.  Over time you will get a new wardrobe, gloves can then be added.

 

 

 

Get a bike and helmet and go ENJOY the outdoors.

 

Thanks for the feedback. Apparently I missed on the shocks so will have to keep investigating.

Reply

bologniusmaximus's Photo bologniusmaximus 17 May 2017

To add to the above post -

 

The game has CHANGED !!!

 

 

Bike shops are now the cheapest place for decent bikes, AND most bike shops DO courier.

 

 

Chris Willemse Cycles (CWC), GeckoCycles and many more provide decent service and will ship the bike of your choice to your door.   :) :)

 

I'm amazed at how much better bike shops have been in every aspect. Especially service, and I would rather pay more and talk to someone who is an expert in the product or field.

Reply

bologniusmaximus's Photo bologniusmaximus 17 May 2017

just for your wife ..

 

attachicon.gifHermanus Trails-10 (Medium).jpg

 

attachicon.gifHermanus Trails-12 (Medium).jpg

 

NICE addition to the photography game ....

 

Very cool!

Reply

bologniusmaximus's Photo bologniusmaximus 17 May 2017

The bikes you listed do not have air forks/shocks. Also look for a bike with hydraulic brakes and not the cable type.

 

A quick search revealed that the going price on the 2016 Silverback Sola 4 is around 10k but with the right negotiation skills I am sure you could get that down a little!

 

29er will be the better way to go. My wife went from a 650B(27.5) to 29er and was much more comfortable and confident especially over technical stuff.

 

Thanks, the Sola might be a bit above my budget. So I'll keep looking. I was focusing on getting an okay gear set and overall frame. Didn't do much research into the shocks yet, so will focus on that now.

Reply

OemD's Photo OemD 17 May 2017

Welcome.

 

I was noob about 1 yr ago.

 

The bike will be your biggest expense, so here my advise:

1. 1st ask yourself what you want to do with the bike - You dont need a Ferrari when a VW Up is what you need or a 4x4 when a Bantam is what you need. 

2. Ask yourself what type of terrain you are planning to tackle. Generally doing flat jeep track/ country district road then you wont need a 11 speed bike - lots of steep climbing terrain then consider 11 speed.

3. what your 2-3 plan with you riding? What do you want to achieve?

4. buying 2nd hand can be frustrating because its difficult to find what you like but the advantage is you can find something with great components at a lower price.

 

 

I bought my baby 2nd hand on bikehub.

Merida Big Nine, 3x10 speed. with Rockshox recon ..I spent R8k . and as you can see, there is nothing I love more than getting her nice and dirty.

 

Hope this helps

 

Attached Images

  • IMG-20170517-WA0006.jpg
Reply

bologniusmaximus's Photo bologniusmaximus 17 May 2017

Welcome.

 

I was noob about 1 yr ago.

 

The bike will be your biggest expense, so here my advise:

1. 1st ask yourself what you want to do with the bike - You dont need a Ferrari when a VW Up is what you need or a 4x4 when a Bantam is what you need. 

2. Ask yourself what type of terrain you are planning to tackle. Generally doing flat jeep track/ country district road then you wont need a 11 speed bike - lots of steep climbing terrain then consider 11 speed.

3. what your 2-3 plan with you riding? What do you want to achieve?

4. buying 2nd hand can be frustrating because its difficult to find what you like but the advantage is you can find something with great components at a lower price.

 

 

I bought my baby 2nd hand on bikehub.

Merida Big Nine, 3x10 speed. with Rockshox recon ..I spent R8k . and as you can see, there is nothing I love more than getting her nice and dirty.

 

Hope this helps

 

Looks like a nice bike. I've been looking at the second hand market. Unfortunately I was under the impression that Durban and PMB would have a lot more bikes for sale considering the amount of tracks around here and groups of cyclists, but it turns out I was very wrong and there are only a few bikes for sale. Few of them are good. Some are overkill, I want something simple that I could look at myself if something does go wrong. That and I prefer a hardtail for if we do some longer enduro style rides.

Reply

JJDT's Photo JJDT 17 May 2017

You mentioned that you and your wife are just starting MTB'ing and you are not sure if she will continue riding. As also mentioned buy 2nd hand for when she quits your loss will not be that big. A quick browse through the classifieds I noticed a few bikes that are decent specced and maybe try to negotiate the price in order to include some courier costs.

https://www.bikehub....9er-full-xtslx/

https://www.bikehub....erback-slade-1/

https://www.bikehub....a3-29er-medium/

 

I will start off with a good 2nd hand bike and with time look at for a better specced bike or upgrades for your bike. Entry level equipments are fine and as your confidence and fitness grows you can upgrade. I started off managing 11 - 12km/h average on 30km races, now a good few years later I can manage between 15 - 17km/h average as my fitness and technical ability improved.

 

I started with a 26er GT 9spd with old Deore components, never had issues with the old Deore groupset. Later upgraded to a 29er Merida Big9 with SLX components. Currently riding with my sons old Specialised Comp Carve 29er with SRAM X5 components basically on par with SLX. The only difference between the Merida and the Spez is that the frame is slighly lighter.

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RobertWhitehead's Photo RobertWhitehead 17 May 2017

My opinion is solely because you mentioned the terrible word "budget" & the fact that you guys are still extremely new to the sport:

 

Lower your budget from R20k down to something like R10k for both bikes and look at the second hand market rather than visiting the bike shops.

 

My reason for this is simple: If you've paid only around 5-7 for each bike you'll be able to recover the money faster if one of you decide that cycling is not the preferred sport.

The other benefit will be that you'll be able to hold onto them for longer before you will "need" to sell if it possibly gets to that. 

 

You're welcome to send me a pm and I will guide you through all the pitfalls you may encounter during this process. The most important thing for your wife will be comfort rather than functionality so I would suggest getting some decent shorts. 

 

Second most important thing will be a proper set-up and some skills training when you've decided you want to pursue the sport. 

 

After replacing both my bikes (which were stolen) back in 2011 I bought a brand spanking new Trek 4300 (26er) for a staggering R4999.00 and every time I "upgrade" my bike I end up selling or get rid of the new bike and revert back to the 26er. Yes' I've upgraded it quite a bit but I've done over 10 000 km on it. I owned a 29er full carbon bike which I built up from scratch and after 2000km on it I sold it and still prefer the feel of my original bike. 


Edited by RobertWhitehead, 17 May 2017 - 12:46 .
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