What’s a good beginner bike? – Budget mountain bike

What’s a good beginner bike? – Budget mountain bike


What’s a good beginner mountain bike? This is a question I get every day, so today
I’m going to give you the tools you need to find one, new or used, regardless of brand. But first we need to define what a beginner
bike is. If you’re a beginner and you have unlimited
money then this discussion is over. Just go out and spend a bunch of money on
a nice bike and you’re done. But I suspect that most beginners are looking
for the smallest financial commitment they can make, while still getting a decent mountain
bike. This bike is decent enough to get you into
big trouble, again and again. Better yet, it’s on clearance for $329. Yes, it’s a diamondback Overdrive and I
ride for diamondback, but I want you to forget about that today because Diamondback may not
be available where you live, or you might be looking at a used bike. So today I want you to pretend this bike is
colorless with no logos on it. How do we objectively determine that it’s
trailworthy just by examining it? Let’s start with the most important indicator
of a good mountain bike: the derailleur hanger. If a mountain bike is equipped with a rear
derailleur, it should be hung from the frame by this little piece of metal, the hanger. During a crash, the hanger is designed to
break away to prevent damage to the frame. It can then be realigned or replaced inexpensively. That’s a lot better than throwing the whole
bike in the garbage which is what you’ll need to do if you break part of your frame. So when examining a bike, be wary of band-aid
solutions like this, or worse yet a derailleur mounted directly to the frame. Bikes like these could be one crash away from
total destruction, and mountain biking is all about crashing. So a derailleur hanger is the very first thing
you should look for to determine if a bike is trailworthy. Even the most entry level bikes will have
a precision cut, purposeful looking derailleur hanger right here. So your examination should start, and possibly
end with that. The next important part to look for is a threadless
stem, which you can identify by these pinch bolts here, and these 4 bolts holding the
handlebars on. If instead you see this, it’s usually bad
news. To service or replace anything up front including
the fork, you’ll be limited to unreliable parts or vintage mountain bike parts which
are hard to find. Good luck tracking down a brand new mid 90’s
suspension fork to replace your old one. A threadless stem is not only easier and less
costly to service, but it’s also more rigid. This is not something you want to compromise
on. Moving on to the wheels, you need to make
sure they have quick release levers. These are common on entry level bikes, and
they make it so you can remove or replace the wheels by hand without any tools. More importantly, they’re an indicator of
the bike’s intended use. When mountain biking flat tires are inevitable,
so always carrying a 15mm wrench to remove these nuts is problematic. Worse yet, mountain bikes with nuts on the
axles are nearly impossible to upgrade the wheels on, and wheels are one of the things
you’ll outgrow as you gain experience. So on an entry level mountain bike you should
look for quick release levers and if you see nuts, stay away. Next up is the crank and chainring assembly. It should be modular and bolted together,
not riveted together as one big piece. I’m sure you can see the problem with that. Break anything here, and you’re probably
out the cost of your entire bike. Sure you could drill out the rivets and fabricate
something, so if that’s your thing then good on you. Otherwise, look for something you can actually
wrench on. The next thing you should look for are disc
brakes on the front and rear. Even cheap disc brakes are replaceable with
better ones, which is important to note because your bike needs to have the mountings points
for them from the start. More importantly disc brakes are dramatically
more reliable than rim brakes, which is why the mountain bike industry switched to them
quickly and decisively decades ago. Because a good mountain bike should be low
maintenance and upgradeable, you should be very suspicious of one that does not include
disc brakes. Finally, you need to ensure that the bike
is available in different sizes, and that the manufacturer actually offers some guidance
as to what size you need. This is as easy as using Google, a lost art. Anyway if the manufacturer isn’t offering
this information they probably don’t put much thought into their bikes, and therefore
you shouldn’t trust it to take you deep into the woods. I realize this indicator is less objective
than the others, but at the very least, you should get a bike that fits you. Although there are many other indicators of
a trailworthy bike, they’re largely irrelevant if the bike in question doesn’t satisfy
the requirements we just discussed. So we’ll focus our attention now on what
you can expect from an entry level bike like this, and some of the things you can do to
upgrade it. First of all it’s important to note that
almost all entry level mountain bikes will be hardtails, or bikes without rear suspension. The linkage required for rear suspension is
costly and heavy, so it’s generally not worth investing in until you start to breach
the thousand dollar point. For the sake of simplicity we’ll limit this
discussion to hardtails. Hardtails are fun and fast, so they’re great
to start out on anyway. But sub $500 hardtails are almost always XC,
or cross country bikes. XC bikes are optimized for pedaling and laying
down power. They’re fast, and easy to go long distances
on. But those advantages can hold you back when
you start to dabble in freeride. This is not to say that you can’t do a little
jumping on an XC bike. It’s just that jumps, drops, rock rolls,
or any kind of prolonged descent is best done on a trail bike. This black hardtail next to Overdrive is a
good example of a trail bike. The raked out fork, aggressive angles, wide
bars, longer travel, and shorter stem, make it better for the kind of riding I do. Since you can’t convert an XC bike to a
trail bike or the other way around, you need to be honest about what you intend on doing
on your mountain bike before you buy one. But if your budget is below $500, you’re
getting an XC bike whether you like it or not. So if you eventually take to jumping and throwing
the bike around a bit more, you could feel limited. So here’s what I did to enhance the capabilities
of my budget XC bike. The biggest thing you can do, hands down,
is change the tires. When I threw these wider, knobbier tires on
my Overdrive, it felt like a completely different bike. I was able to run these tires at a lower pressure,
making them grippier and more forgiving. But that’s not all I did. You hear all that rattling? That’s my chain slapping everywhere, and
in fact it came off entirely on several drops and jumps. To remedy this I installed a chain guide,
which virtually eliminated the problem. This will cost you a lot less than upgrading
your drivetrain, which could easily run you as much as this bike. If I were a beginner trying to progress as
far as possible on this bike, I might upgrade the pedals as well, and maybe the fork to
something like this. Venturing beyond that would not necessarily
be economical, and considering a decent trailworthy bike can hold its value well, you’d be better
off selling it and upgrading the whole thing. Finally, if you already have a bike and find
that it fails some of these tests you can still gain from this video. If it’s currently working for you and you’re
having fun on it, then keep shredding. If you feel like it’s holding you back,
you now have the tools to find something a little better. Still, we haven’t spoken about assembly,
maintenance, or all the other upgrades you can do. So I’m sure you have questions. With the help of my viewers, I’ll do my
best to answer them in the comments. So find yourself a good beginner bike and
enjoy it. Because you’re only a year away from selling
all your belongings and financing an irresponsibly expensive bike. It happens to the best of us. Thanks for riding with me today, and I’ll
see you next time.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. You don't need an expensive bike to have fun and enjoy the trails. I'm riding Schwinn boundary under 200 bucks from Walmart brand new.I'm having a blast. Over 1000 miles and countless times on the trails

  2. Another thing is to learn how to service your own bike, and maybe even replace a frame. Considering that some Hardtail frames can be on sale for 100 to 200, from Websites like ChainreactionCycles and Used frames from Pinkbike.

  3. Awesome advice and funny as well! Im just starting and have XC and spent $500 on it. Buddy is offering a 26” 2010 Santa Cruz nomad for $800 with a pike and fox piggy back. Should I get it? Help ASAP!

  4. Those Shox are shit and not Trail rated, same with the derailleur.. you are recommending a bike for something the main components are not rated for.

  5. I think it still expensive in my country…. I buy local brand MTB single gear for beginners, upgrade will be 7sped MTB …use for exercise only…

  6. I'm planning on buying the '' gt transeo comp hybrid bike 2020''
    It has all these features you spoke about, rear derailleur hanger, Bolted steering bar, quick release lever, the suspension travel is 75mm, it's a 29er, they have different sizes, for €438, about $ 486. Anyone have any thoughts?

  7. I want to start mountain biking but I’m limited to 200 budget and my current bike is the opposite of every positive on a good bike😢

  8. Honestly Seth, as an experienced mountain biker who's not very familiar with your channel, I was expecting this video to be 90% nonsense. But I completely agreed with everything you said. Well done.

  9. Well presented. Mountain bikes, (and even their bikers), by definition, tend to BREAK because of the (risky and dangerous) NATURE of the activity. That said, wouldn't an INTERNAL GEARING SYSTEM, like Pinion or Rohloff be more suitable and workable? 🙂

  10. "If they don't put this information on their bikes you shouldn't ride one"
    Really? Because the link you posted for the bike doesn't even work. Yeah! Lemme buy that!

  11. 4 weeks ago I bought a Scott Aspect 730 MTB, still a beginner hardtail bike. But it has all important things from this video, it has even a Suntour XCR air fork as standard, and bigger 180 mm front discs. The brakes are no high end ones, but they are hydraulic Shimano ones. It's a joy to ride, even if I don't ride MTB trails.

  12. my first bike was a Reebok Oregon Pro Ds it was nice for 250$ it had everything that you said a good bike should have

  13. Trek x caliber 7 2020

    It won't leave you bankrupt and bridges the gap between an entry-level xc to something you can shred your local trails with

  14. from the looks of it the bike im going to be buy has all of these UPDATE: Got my bike its perfect sram gears tektro auriga brakes all the bells and whistles

  15. im a beginner and want to buy a bike for around 400 – 600$ (preferably 400 xD), but i live in Germany, so most brands mentioned in the comments are not available here. Has anybody got a good bike in that price range thats available in germany?

  16. would a bike that cost 700 dollars be considerd as a trail it has suntour xcr rlr 100ml travel forks on it but it does have wide handelbars with an aggresive angle

  17. I have a Marin Bolinias ridge 1 (if i spelt that wrong sorry) Its $429, Hardtail, comes with disk brakes., 7 gears in the back 3 in the front, WTB Trail Boss tires (atleast the one i got) The reccomended height on the website is a bit of a understatement, Im EXTREMELY short and riding a 27.5. Good suspension. For the first week or days, mine wasnt the best with suspension, but it gets better. LOTS of fast trips to school

  18. Just quick question is Giant talon 3 is worth getting it's been 10 years i did trails currently i getting back to it.

  19. Just bought a 2020 TREK Marlin 5. Lowest/ entry level bike. Still paid about around 500. I love it! In this hobby you get what you pay for..

  20. I am rebel, I want change my quick release axis for fixed, because of thieves. I saw many locked bikes without one or both wheels and this is at least something what can complicate thieve's life. 🙂 But I am not speaking about only mountain bike, I am speaking about universal every day bike.

  21. I bought a fugi for about 650 and 3 years and almost 3000 miles on it…//I use it to tow trailers and ot IS my vehicle// it's super worth it! Way better than any walmart bike! It passes all your tests except the brakes, but I'm loving it!

  22. This bike literally is not rated as a bike for real mountain bike trails..it’s not even rated for green trails.. it’s got a yellow sticker on the shocks that say DO NOT TAKE IT ON ANYTHING OTHER THAN LIGHT PATHS. This goes the same to say for the derailleur, it’s also not trail rated. Two of the main components. If you plan on riding even green trails DO NOT BUY THIS BIKE. THE BIKE LITERALLY TELLS YOU NOT TO USE IT FOR THAT. Why Seth recommends this bike without telling people of this warning is shitty, it sets people up for failure and disappointment. I bought a bike just like this, as a beginner even on green trails the chain would pop off and the shocks felt horrible and only got worse with use. I had to sell it right away at a big loss. If you cannot afford a $800 plus bike than just buy a used one.. you easily find a used $1000 bike for $700 on eBay or elsewhere.. i bough an $1100 dollar bike for just $600 and it’s a joy to ride.. the bike Seth is showing here was just a pain in the ass and barely even fun with all of its issues.

  23. Got myself a 2nd hand Ridgeback MX4 for little money, it has all these components except disc brakes.
    I just need to keep pedalling and get fitter.

  24. Just getting back into it after about a 10 year hiatus, picked up a DB Line…… I'm already eyeing upgrades. In 6 months if I end up living in my Corolla but with a Mission 2C hanging out the back I'm blaming you…..

  25. A good beginer bike would be the jamis nemesis 650 it might be a cheap price( around 700) it reallly works for jumps and drops

  26. A good beginer bike would be the jamis nemesis 650 it might be a cheap price( around 700) it reallly works for jumps and drops

  27. i have a 2008 trek mt240 hardtail it has all of the features except disc brakes and the drivetrain is a 3×8 do you think its a good beginner bike?

  28. i’ve a question, i ride just flat trails in the netherlands (usually) but in vacation i ride kinda fast downhill, what kind of bike is the best to buy?

  29. ok so i found a raleigh talus 3 for $499 and its got everything but a serviceable crankset, it cannot be wrenched on. Should i buy it?

  30. That bike is a lot better And more expensive than most bikes i ever had, i always had to buy used bikes to get a good fork, and put it in the cheapest but slack as possible then changed pedals fork and handle bar and some very cheap kenda tyres,,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *