New to mountain bikes but willing to learn

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djsb
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Joined: 25 Jul 2010, 6:06pm

New to mountain bikes but willing to learn

Postby djsb » 31 Dec 2014, 11:11am

Hi,
I'd like to buy myself a QUALITY mountain bike over the next 12 months or so (2 years at the most) and I'm open to suggestions. I intend to use the bike mainly for commuting to/from work on country lanes with the occasional riding on shared cycle routes/public footpaths in Hertfordshire. There are also lots of hills so lightwight steel would be good. What are the best tyres and wheels for this kind of terrain.
I'd also like a full suspension model and my budget is around £2k. I'm 6' 2" tall and my first question is what frame size to choose?I obviously need to test ride a few bikes so if anyone knows of any knowledgeable bike shops in the Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire or central London I'd be grateful. Also what magazine would everyone recommend for mountain bike newby like me.
Any questions please ask away.


PS. I'm riding a Dawes Galaxy touring bike at the moment and I wonder if I cant maybe adapt that (IE better tyres (Marathon Plus at the moment) in the meantime but thats a seperate topic.

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Si
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Re: New to mountain bikes but willing to learn

Postby Si » 31 Dec 2014, 1:07pm

First thing to note is that you are not allowed to ride on a public footpath (unless you have gained permission from the land owner), but you are allowed on bridle paths.

If it's mainly for country lanes with a bit of cycle route and the odd BW then I'd say that you'll be wasting your money on full suspension (or even front suspension)....it'll just make the bike heavier, require more maintenance and give you very little advantage in return.

I think that getting some bigger, grippy tyres (cyclo cross type) for the galaxy ought to allow you to do modest BW work if you are happy to go at modest speeds.

Penfolds11
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Re: New to mountain bikes but willing to learn

Postby Penfolds11 » 3 Jan 2015, 1:45pm

I've got a Trek Crossrip which I use in and around Herts; along country lanes/cycle paths etc, up and down hills and around the potholes. I agree entirely with Si about suspension: it is not only heavier but dampens the ride (if that's the right verb) unless you lockout the suspension and in that case what's the point in having it? You don't need suspension for hills, bridle paths, The Nickey Line and the like. I'm very happy with my Crossrip and there are plenty of other bikes available that are marketed as Cyclocross bikes but which are really "all-rounders" as they are great for roads as well as rougher tracks.

You've got a Cycle Surgery in Hemel, and I'd suggest popping into Leisure Wheels in the High Street to ask their advice.

Out of interest, did you go off the idea of building a "once in a lifetime custom expedition bike" that you had a couple of years ago?

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al_yrpal
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Re: New to mountain bikes but willing to learn

Postby al_yrpal » 3 Jan 2015, 3:45pm

Having had a few MTBs with and without full suspension I have the following comments.
Suspension forks need to have good damping, you dont get this on cheap ones. My first bike had cheap Suntour forks and the front of the bike would bob going up steep slopes, you had to lock the forks out to stop this happening because the bobbing sapped your effort. My second bike, a Cannondale Rush has excellent front and rear suspension. You dont have to lock out the forks when ascending because the damping is first class. The rear suspension on this bike is also great, particularly when ascending steep debris strewn paths. On a hardtail bike (one without rear suspension) the back of the bike will often bounce on hitting bigger stones, branches and twigs, this adversly affects grip and you can quickly loose momentum and get stopped. On a steep slope its often impossible to get started again, particularly if there is a lot of debris. A good Full Susser with properly set and decently damped rear suspension just rides over the debris very easily without losing much momentum and traction. Full suspension is well worth having IMO. But, you wont find decent suspension on cheap bikes. Paying £1000+ should get you a decent bike. Check out the MTB forum on Bike Radar for some suggestions on what to buy.

If you have an Evans cycle store near you you can try a 2 hour free test ride on any bike by leaving them your credit card and driving licence in their special safe.

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. What do you do to make a difference?

Bicycler
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Re: New to mountain bikes but willing to learn

Postby Bicycler » 4 Jan 2015, 3:05am

My route was very much along the line of Si's 'ride what you've got' rather than Al's £1k+ full sus suggestion. If going for the latter I strongly suggest you rent or borrow such a bike first to see it does offer you the benefits you want.

Penfolds11
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Re: New to mountain bikes but willing to learn

Postby Penfolds11 » 5 Jan 2015, 1:42pm

al_yrpal wrote:If you have an Evans cycle store near you you can try a 2 hour free test ride on any bike by leaving them your credit card and driving licence in their special safe.


OP's nearest Evans is 15 miles away in Hendon. However, that branch is at the bottom of a hill so pretty good for measuring how potential purchases ride up it!

Bikefayre
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Re: New to mountain bikes but willing to learn

Postby Bikefayre » 9 Jan 2015, 3:28pm

Try fitting Continental Nordic Spike tyres [fully studded] and a Shimano Megarange rear cog and derailleur to your Galaxy.

Bicycler
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Re: New to mountain bikes but willing to learn

Postby Bicycler » 9 Jan 2015, 4:40pm

Aren't Megarange 6/7 speed freewheels? A Galaxy made this century will have a cassette hub for 8 or more gears. I can't really see the point of Megarange now that 34t cassettes are readily available without the massive jump down to the low gear.

Mattyfez
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Re: New to mountain bikes but willing to learn

Postby Mattyfez » 21 Jan 2015, 9:17pm

If you get the opportunity to try some out, that's the best bet.

From what you have said a hard tail front suspension bike would be more suitable. A full suspension bike would be a waste as it will add weight and and if you don't do any real down hill /off piste stuff the rear suspension will just be an energy drain.

I'm 6'3 and have a 22 inch frame, but frame sizes are a bit like shoe sizes, different makes can vary slightly.. If you're going to pay 2k, I'd expect the bike shop to fit you up properly and make any nessesary adjustments.

hamster
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Re: New to mountain bikes but willing to learn

Postby hamster » 22 Jan 2015, 5:46pm

I used to live in Hertfordshire and my main experience MTBing there for 2 years was that mud clearance was everything. If you are going to ride the Chilterns then front suspension will be advantageous. I'm still not sold on Full Sus for much outside the Peaks / Pennines etc, or unless you ride lots of trail centres. There's a huge weight or cost penalty and they require more maintenance. I gave up on full sus and went back to a rigid singlespeed and a hardtail. However, I don't ride the monster stuff, more like 40 mile bridleway days out.

JohnChell
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Re: New to mountain bikes but willing to learn

Postby JohnChell » 25 Jan 2015, 12:16am

Unless you want to ride off road & on mountains or trail centres you just don't need a 2grand bike. I ride to work (sustrans route down an old railway line and country lane with cattle grids, mud etc on a heavy ridgid 26 inck wheel bike, with frount 7 rear racks, it copes with most things. I also ride "proper" moutain bikes, I completed last years Mountain Mayhem 24 hour solo race on a steel framed Jamis Dragon, that i bought 2nd hand on Ebay for less than 400 quid, I used the same bike for last years "rough ride" and have now entered another 24 hour solo MTB event (the TwentyFour12) where I plan to use the same bike. I also run a aluminium frames 29 hardtail (which cost less than £300 to build up using a 2nd hand One On frame). and for more serious stuff an full sus 29er, which as an ex demo bike cost a grand, (I've propbably spent another £500 on upgrades, but its more bike than i really need for most trail centre red routes). Don't be fooled into thinking you need to buy the overprice bikes & kit the mountain bike mags try to sell you. Even brand new you can buy a nice hardtail that will do everything you want for well under a grand.
"Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidarity to pure wind" -George Orwell.

hamster
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Re: New to mountain bikes but willing to learn

Postby hamster » 27 Jan 2015, 9:58am

Agreed John.

The mountain bike mags seem convinced that you need a minimum of 100mm travel on the rear and 120 on the front merely to ride to Tescos. :roll: They have advertisers to keep happy I suppose, but seem particularly self-serving here compared to magazines in other countries.

Mark1978
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Re: New to mountain bikes but willing to learn

Postby Mark1978 » 27 Jan 2015, 10:08am

For £2k you can get an exceptionally good quality full carbon CX bike that on the country lanes and bridleways will be the fastest bike out there.
e.g. http://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/CBPXXLSCX1 ... cross-bike even though that's overkill unless you're racing it (even then).

I often ride decent bridleways and the likes on my road bike without problems.

reohn2
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Re: New to mountain bikes but willing to learn

Postby reohn2 » 6 Feb 2015, 10:04am

FWIW,I'd keep the Galaxy for the commute,it'll be more practical than an MTB unless your commute is all serious off road stuff.
I'd fit a more comfortable tyre than M+'s,the comfort factor will rocket,but only if you're prepared for the odd puncture.
I'd recommend Vittoria Randonneur Pro as wide as the frame will take with adequate clearances:- http://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/TYVTRNDP/v ... lding-tyre

I dithered for ages over an MTB and finally bought a Genesis Longitude,I didn't want the hassle of maintaining suspension,even though I'm a 62year old living a beat up body from a life time of hard manual labour.
That said I was slightly wrong in that the more rougher trails were giving my back and dodgy hip a beating leaving me sore despite the 29x2.4in tyres run at low pressures,so I bought a Cane Creek LT Thudbuster,magic carpet ride and the problem solved.
Total cost £840(though list price is £1000)for the bike,£108 for the seat post.I've also swapped the handlebars and saddle as the standard ones didn't suit but that's personal choice.
I'm loving the Genesis it does everything I want :) .
-----------------------------------------------------------
I cycle therefore I am.

djsb
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Joined: 25 Jul 2010, 6:06pm

Re: New to mountain bikes but willing to learn

Postby djsb » 2 Aug 2015, 3:21pm

Thanks everyone for your replies. I'm going to keep my Galaxy and will give riding into work a try next week (weather permitting). In the meantime I've been looking at a Montague Paratrooper folding MTB. I'll see how it goes next week first.