Level Aluminum

Questions about All-Terrain Bicycles?

I know close to nothing about about Mountain Bikes and know about as close to as much about regular bikes, i have ridden bicycles before though, about as much as the average person i'd guess.
anyway, ive decided that i want to start biking the dirt roads near my house. but i've no idea what kind of bike i need. If someone could point me in the direction of what bike i should buy that would be great. Also, maybe some brands that are good but not super expensive, i'd say 300-400 would be a max, hopefully closer to 200. Thank you

Welcome to mountain biking, you're joining a great community :)

Anyways, here are a couple of "musts" that you have to take care of to keep yourself safe on the trails. Most "true" mountain bikes will contain double wall rims (look for them in the specs) in order to protect you and the longevity of your wheels, a cassette type hub, which will make your back end more rigid and protect your bike (easy way to determine this is 8 gears on the back), and a nice aluminum frame. I would argue this is the basis of a durable mountain bike.

I would not be too concerned about the bike weight, as an entry level aluminum bike will run about 31 pounds (versus a steel which may approach 40). Most bike brands that you will purchase new will offer lifetime frame warranties, so you'll be able to upgrade around your frame as your skills and budget offer the leeway. I'm seeing a few Giant Rincon's from 2009 still available, otherwise look into the Specialized line for an entry level Hardrock, or a Trek 4300, used. Diamondbacks may offer the same specs but you'll compromise on frame quality and warranty. Go to a dealer that will be able to let you try one out for fit and go from there. Education is the first step in making an informed decision. As a rule of thumb, 500 bucks retail will get you an entry level rig, however, for an offbrand, check out bikesdirect.com, however, make sure you do enough comparison to guarantee yourself it will fit and please follow the above guidelines.

The cheapest "non box store entry level lbs quality hardtail" (patent pending term :) is the 2011 Specialized Hardrock base. It has a cassette type hub and double wall rims, upgraded from years past. Specialized also has a strong community following and compromises NOTHING at $420.

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