What mountain bikes for the wife and I

Joined
Mar 2, 2013
Messages
8,825
Location
The Midwest
My wife is an avid bike rider and wants to buy herself and I new mountain bikes. Her current bike is a Terry road bike and I have a Diamondback cyclocross. I know nothing about mountain bikes. I'm thinking hard tails would suit us for the trails we have near us aka Alum Creek. She will not buy a bike online. Luckily, we have about every brand available to us locally. Even less well known brands like Kona are available locally. There is a KEI and a Performance Bike store near me. They offer the best pricing I think. I've always wanted a bike with Sram bits, but I can live with Shimano. Size wise, she is 5'8.5" 120 and I'm 6'2" 166. Would like to keep the bikes at $800 or less each. My wife is interested in the CO-OP brand bikes at REI. What should we look at?
 
Joined
Sep 6, 2015
Messages
6,235
Location
Kalifornia Kollective
Craigslist. I got an older Trek 6000 for $10. Put about $100 in it at the local bike shop and it's been flawless for 5 years. I suggest this because you can save a bunch on the first one. Go try trails and see what you like. The rougher, the more you need suspension. But maybe that's not your thing ... So try first. Sell the CL bike and THEN buy what you really want smile
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
913
Location
NJ
Not only am I an avid cyclist but also repair, fit, bikes on the side. But a bike for two reasons first! Bike fit and handing, which you won't know until you ride on the trails; the other is the components, mainly the quality of the derailleurs and shifters. Other than this, the quality of the frames is similar between brands. I've had and have ridden many different bikes over the years including Scattante, never Ghost or Co-Op Cycle. My favorite strictly for the handling, the feel, which I own, are Marin and Intersens. Marin is a smaller company from Cali and easily obtainable by bike shops. Intersens is a non-imported bike from the Netherlands. I prefer a triple 9 speed, 9 speeds last longer than a 10 and are cheaper, but rather have a "double" keeping the small and middle chainring removing the large ring and replacing it with a chain ring rock guard.
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2013
Messages
36
Location
Fargo, ND
Consider a "Fat" bike. The "Framed Minnesota" would be in your price range. You can ride it on trails and you can ride it when there is snow on the ground.
 
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
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7,218
Location
Wet side WA
In just two months there will be some unbelievable bargains if you could just wait. Its late enough there just isn't a lot of real quality riding time left the end of summer is here. 8 years ago I picked up a used Expedition Specialized for under $200 with a bunch of extras and new tires on it.
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2006
Messages
2,515
Location
NY, NY
I second the fat bike suggestion but finding good ones under a grand is a little rough. The tires and wheels are almost always sub par and don't tubeless easily... Trust me, you want tubeless. Have a look at the Surly Pugsley or the Wednesday. Both are excellent bikes but they cost twice what you're looking to spend.
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2002
Messages
2,441
Location
Indiana
JJ's suggestion to wait a couple months is good. The 2018s will be discounted heavily and you will get some sweet deals. For a budget <$800, don't even think about a full suspension bike. Anything in that price range will be junk. Buy the most expensive hardtail you can afford from a well known company like Specialized, Trek, Kona, Giant, etc. Bikes from these brands will be good and have comparable components. So just look for the best deal and the quality of the bike shop service will come in handy too. New bikes need to break in so you will need periodic adjustments for the first few months. A good local bike shop should offer these adjustments for free if you buy new from them.
 
Joined
Sep 6, 2015
Messages
6,235
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Kalifornia Kollective
OK, so just to add to the conversation. I just bought a used K2, prolly a 1999 4000 (no markings) that the previous owners had spent the bank on lightening. Marzocchi air fork, Fox air shock with lockout (for flat ground pedaling - no up/down), all RaceFace gearsets and crank, light thin walled seat tube (maybe titanium ...), Mavic wheels, etc. Bike is aluminum frame with carbon swing arm. Point being it was a couple of thousand dollar bike before the owners dropped at least $2K more into it. Got it for $100 when the last PO wanted to get a new Santa Cruz something. It weighs 27 lbs all up. Got off Craigslist. There are incredible bargains out there in used bikes. I have a Specialized Hard Rock also (hard-tail) and it's an OK bike, but feels twice as heavy as the K2 and not nearly as responsive. Granted I like to tinker on older bikes, but even if you'all don't, the local shops can do the wrenching cheaper than the cost of any but lower end bikes. Fit on a mountains bike is very subjective. Seatposts with rear offset and steerer necks with additional reach can make a huge difference. Flat bars vs raised make a big difference. The Downhill guys that like to go really fast and jump need a different set-up from casual trail riders. Climbers need weight savings at all cost and lower bars to keep their weight forward. Most casual trail riders need a more upright position to minimized fatigue over miles. Trail speeds don't generate much wind resistance, so a road crouch is not needed. So I have three. The a fore mentioned TREK, the K2, and the Specialized. I might sell one. But I'm glad I had a chance to ride all three and see where they work best for me. My trails are either flat'ish, or they are bugger steep (but fast down), so I'll always have two bikes to choose from. Craigslist shopping gave me a good chance to try different frames and ergos. I have learned to appreciate different build philosophies and see if they fit me. All w/o dropping much coin. MTB's are an evolutionary experience. Your first will not be your last. Go try stuff smile
 
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