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Ideally the budget would be under 600 but under a thousand is acceptable.

Should I buy locally or online? If online does anyone have a good site they would recommend?

 

I predict my use will be 40% trail riding, 50% riding with my daughter on paths, 10% "mountain biking" in the hill country. I will not be doing any downhill riding.

 

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13 minutes ago, MTskibum said:

 

Single track. There are trails right behind my house, which is part of the reason I want to get into it.

https://www.fbmba.org/blog/gallery/

 

I would strongly urge you to up your budget a little, as you'll end up with a bike that makes riding these trails far more enjoyable.  You'll want to look at a hardtail if this is the budget your working with.  You will have a very difficult time finding a bike at a local shop that fits within your budget due to the global bike shortage, so I'd suggest you order online.

If you're an XL, this bike is shockingly in stock and is considered by many to be one of the best values in mountain biking.  Has a tapered head tube, which will make it possible to upgrade the fork should you choose to do so later.  It has modern boost spacing with thru axles as well, which is basically the new standard.

If you are M or L this bike is also shockingly in stock.  The components are not quite as nice, and you miss out on the thru-axles for QR, but it's also considered one of the best value mountain bikes out there.

These bikes are out of stock 99% of the time and sell out usually within a day.  I was considering one myself when I bought my mountain bike, but didn't realize until the following day that I got an in-stock notification in my email, and they were gone.  

Factor in spending an extra $100-200 to get a dropper post if you're going to be riding single track.  It allows you to drop your seatpost out of the way on the descents to give you better control of the bike.  It's a game changer.

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Mountain bikes are really expensive (a decent new mtn bike will run you $1000 and up and they are really hard to get as production stopped and demand went up during COVID) and if you are going to be riding single track, you should get a better bike than you think you need.  For $600, I would advise you to go used - Pinkbike is a good place to search for used bikes but the Facebook marketplace can also work.  Don't get a bike that's too old though as frames can wear out over time.  You're probably OK with a hard tail, but that front shock is important and you will soon be wanting a rear shock too if you get into it.  Something with less travel (100-130mm) is fine for starters. See if you can borrow a bike before buying something though to see if you like it before spending $. 

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7 minutes ago, Mookie said:

Mountain bikes are really expensive (a decent new mtn bike will run you $1000 and up and they are really hard to get as production stopped and demand went up during COVID) and if you are going to be riding single track, you should get a better bike than you think you need.  For $600, I would advise you to go used - Pinkbike is a good place to search for used bikes but the Facebook marketplace can also work.  Don't get a bike that's too old though as frames can wear out over time.  You're probably OK with a hard tail, but that front shock is important and you will soon be wanting a rear shock too if you get into it.  Something with less travel (100-130mm) is fine for starters. See if you can borrow a bike before buying something though to see if you like it before spending $. 

This is also a good idea.  I know that I am willing to let anyone who is considering getting into the sport take my bike out on a ride as long as I'm not using it.  Also worth noting is that the used market is so strong right now that even if you instantly regret your purchase after a few rides, you can resell most lower end bikes for almost full retail price.... making a bike purchase similar in cost to a bike rental

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It's been a minute since I was really into mountain biking, but I always had good experiences with Trek, and I imagine for a grand you could get a pretty solid model.

Just me, but I would support a local bike shop if at all possible.

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2 hours ago, nirad3 said:

It's been a minute since I was really into mountain biking, but I always had good experiences with Trek, and I imagine for a grand you could get a pretty solid model.

Just me, but I would support a local bike shop if at all possible.

There is near zero chance a bike in his budget is available.  Trek is way back ordered. Worth considering is that you can order a direct to consumer bike and still support a local bike shop through accessory/tool purchases and service. The Trek bikes in his budget would be okay for family rides on paths, but if he enjoyed mountain biking as a hobby he’d probably want to upgrade from a Marlin 7 in almost no time. I think a hardtail in the $1,300-1,500 range tends to give you all the modern features that will make riding a lot more enjoyable, but you’re not paying multiples to shave weight on the components. 

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Just bought a mountain bike this week.  Was looking to stay under $1,000 and get a good bike for trail riding both single track and some more moderate rails-to-trails riding.  Ended up with the Giant Talon 1.  I went to a local bike shop and claimed a bike from their list of bikes coming in (no inventory in store right now).  Lucked out and found one coming in within the next couple weeks.  Next one after that was 7 weeks away.

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15 hours ago, Dickies said:

I would strongly urge you to up your budget a little, as you'll end up with a bike that makes riding these trails far more enjoyable.  You'll want to look at a hardtail if this is the budget your working with.  You will have a very difficult time finding a bike at a local shop that fits within your budget due to the global bike shortage, so I'd suggest you order online.

If you're an XL, this bike is shockingly in stock and is considered by many to be one of the best values in mountain biking.  Has a tapered head tube, which will make it possible to upgrade the fork should you choose to do so later.  It has modern boost spacing with thru axles as well, which is basically the new standard.

If you are M or L this bike is also shockingly in stock.  The components are not quite as nice, and you miss out on the thru-axles for QR, but it's also considered one of the best value mountain bikes out there.

These bikes are out of stock 99% of the time and sell out usually within a day.  I was considering one myself when I bought my mountain bike, but didn't realize until the following day that I got an in-stock notification in my email, and they were gone.  

Factor in spending an extra $100-200 to get a dropper post if you're going to be riding single track.  It allows you to drop your seatpost out of the way on the descents to give you better control of the bike.  It's a game changer.

 

If I was to buy the Large in this bike how do I know it will fit me? I am about 6'1" but am afraid an XL bike would be too big.

Is assembly easy? I have more wood working skills than mechanical skills and I have never worked on a bike.

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Always forget to post Bikes Direct in these threads. Can get a really nice bike with good features cheap, some assembly required.

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/mountain_bikes.htm

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58 minutes ago, MTskibum said:

 

If I was to buy the Large in this bike how do I know it will fit me? I am about 6'1" but am afraid an XL bike would be too big.

Is assembly easy? I have more wood working skills than mechanical skills and I have never worked on a bike.

The size chart indicates that bike will fit you. Assembly is super easy and worth familiarizing yourself with as mountain biking puts a beating on a bike, so you’ll find yourself doing some bike wrenching. You basically just put the seat post in, attach the handlebars and put the wheels on. 

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Moots

Custom made for you and your needs.  

I hadn't checked on prices, lol.  Way above the price range but pretty cool to check out these guys.  Used to go there back in the 80s when they were just getting started.  Guess the word has gotten out since the cost for a custom made bike is what you'd expect to pay for top quality.

Edited by Bracie Smathers
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2 hours ago, Al Czervik said:

Just bought a mountain bike this week.  Was looking to stay under $1,000 and get a good bike for trail riding both single track and some more moderate rails-to-trails riding.  Ended up with the Giant Talon 1.  I went to a local bike shop and claimed a bike from their list of bikes coming in (no inventory in store right now).  Lucked out and found one coming in within the next couple weeks.  Next one after that was 7 weeks away.

Welcome to the addiction!

2 hours ago, beer 30 said:

Always forget to post Bikes Direct in these threads. Can get a really nice bike with good features cheap, some assembly required.

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/mountain_bikes.htm

I would personally avoid this for mountain bikes. I’m sure the road bikes are fine, but the mountain bikes I’ve heard have really heavy frames with early 2000s outdated geometry. You get some good components for the price, but they cheap out in a lot of places too. 

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2 hours ago, Dickies said:

The size chart indicates that bike will fit you. Assembly is super easy and worth familiarizing yourself with as mountain biking puts a beating on a bike, so you’ll find yourself doing some bike wrenching. You basically just put the seat post in, attach the handlebars and put the wheels on. 

I went to the local bike shop over my lunch break. They had 2 bikes that fit me in stock.

 

A Cannondale Trail 5 for 950 dollars and a Trek Marlin 5 for 640 dollars.

 

Should I go with one of those and would I notice the 300 dollar difference?

 

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39 minutes ago, MTskibum said:

I went to the local bike shop over my lunch break. They had 2 bikes that fit me in stock.

 

A Cannondale Trail 5 for 950 dollars and a Trek Marlin 5 for 640 dollars.

 

Should I go with one of those and would I notice the 300 dollar difference?

 

You're not going to find much better in your price range. I own a Marlin 7 and it's a tank. For what you want to do, the Marlin 5 is fine. Don't think you would notice much of a difference for $300, specs look similar. Ride them around the parking and pick the one that feels more comfortable. If you can throw on a pair of bike shorts it would be more realistic then just hopping on because you're going to be riding with padded shorts on a hard tail on single track.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, beer 30 said:

You're not going to find much better in your price range. I own a Marlin 7 and it's a tank. For what you want to do, the Marlin 5 is fine. Don't think you would notice much of a difference for $300, specs look similar. Ride them around the parking and pick the one that feels more comfortable. If you can throw on a pair of bike shorts it would be more realistic then just hopping on because you're going to be riding with padded shorts on a hard tail on single track.

 

You were faster than @Dickies so you lucked out and managed to spend my 650 dollars for me. I already called the shop back and placed a deposit.

I will post pictures later or tomorrow. I will be picking it up after work.

 

Edited by MTskibum
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1 hour ago, MTskibum said:

I went to the local bike shop over my lunch break. They had 2 bikes that fit me in stock.

 

A Cannondale Trail 5 for 950 dollars and a Trek Marlin 5 for 640 dollars.

 

Should I go with one of those and would I notice the 300 dollar difference?

 

Key differences:

  • Marlin 5 has a 3x Shimano Tourney drivetrain.  This will make shifting more complicated in that you'll need to manage front and rear derailleurs.  These are difficult to keep tuned and shifting properly.  The derailleur doesn't have a clutch, so they are more prone to the chain whipping around all over the place and ultimately dropping.  
  • Trail 5 has a 1x Microshift drivetrain.  I cannot stress enough how much this will simplify your life.  You either shift up or down depending on what gear you need to pedal.  Easier to maintain as there is no front derailleur.  You get a big gear range with a 48t rear climbing cog.  The derailleur has a clutch, which will maintain chain tension, reducing the slap against the frame, and ultimately keeping the chain on the bike in bumpy conditions.
  • Forks are comparable between the two
  • Marlin 5 has no dropper post routing, Trail 5 has routing for a dropper post, but from what I've read your options may be limited.  If you get into this hobby you WILL want a dropper post.  Having the seat down on descents improves safety and control.  Sure you can wrench your seat post at the top of every hill, but the convenience of doing it at the push of a button is a total game changer.
  • The Cannondale has Shimano hubs versus the Formula hubs on the Marlin.  Formula hubs have a very poor reputation for failure, and wheelsets are pricey.  I say this as someone riding a reasonably nice bike with Formula hubs where the wheels/hubs are the spot the manufacturer cheaped out on. 
  • Brakes are comparable

I will go against what @beer 30 said and recommend the Cannondale.  He is riding a Marlin 7, which addresses the drivetrain concerns of the Marlin 5 and is similarly priced to the Cannondale.

 

Edited by Dickies
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4 minutes ago, MTskibum said:

 

You were faster than @Dickies so you lucked out and managed to spend my 650 dollars for me. I already called the shop back and placed a deposit.

I will post pictures later or tomorrow. I will be picking it up after work.

 

Sorry, was typing out a detailed response..... lol

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6 minutes ago, Dickies said:

Key differences:

  • Marlin 5 has a 3x Shimano Tourney drivetrain.  This will make shifting more complicated in that you'll need to manage front and rear derailleurs.  These are difficult to keep tuned and shifting properly.  The derailleur doesn't have a clutch, so they are more prone to the chain whipping around all over the place and ultimately dropping.  
  • Trail 5 has a 1x Microshift drivetrain.  I cannot stress enough how much this will simplify your life.  You either shift up or down depending on what gear you need to pedal.  Easier to maintain as there is no front derailleur.  You get a big gear range with a 48t rear climbing cog.  The derailleur has a clutch, which will maintain chain tension, reducing the slap against the frame, and ultimately keeping the chain on the bike in bumpy conditions.
  • Forks are comparable between the two
  • Marlin 5 has no dropper post routing, Trail 5 has routing for a dropper post, but from what I've read your options may be limited.  If you get into this hobby you WILL want a dropper post.  Having the seat down on descents improves safety and control.  Sure you can wrench your seat post at the top of every hill, but the convenience of doing it at the push of a button is a total game changer.
  • The Cannondale has Shimano hubs versus the Formula hubs on the Marlin.  Formula hubs have a very poor reputation for failure, and wheelsets are pricey.  I say this as someone riding a reasonably nice bike with Formula hubs where the wheels/hubs are the spot the manufacturer cheaped out on. 
  • Brakes are comparable

I will go against what @beer 30 said and recommend the Cannondale.  He is riding a Marlin 7, which addresses the drivetrain concerns of the Marlin 5 and is similarly priced to the Cannondale.

 

 

Ok, you convinced me. I have no idea what I am doing.

 

I called the bike shop back and they used my money on a deposit for the Cannondale. The bike will not be ready until Monday though, so no pictures tonight.

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I ride with a guy that has a Specialized Rockhopper with a 3x drivetrain similar to the Marlin.  He absolutely hates it.  He is constantly dropping his chain while riding single track.  The other day he ended up breaking his front derailleur due to "chain suck" where the chain got bounced around while pedaling and got sucked up between the frame, derailleur and front chain rings.  I'm a HUGE fan of the 1x drivetrain trend and will never go back.

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1 minute ago, MTskibum said:

 

Ok, you convinced me. I have no idea what I am doing.

 

I called the bike shop back and they used my money on a deposit for the Cannondale. The bike will not be ready until Monday though, so no pictures tonight.

:lmao: 

Did you talk to them about the pros and cons?  

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4 minutes ago, Dickies said:

:lmao: 

Did you talk to them about the pros and cons?  

No, I do not trust salesman, but I do trust hobbyists on internet forums. I have bought many things on recommendations from people on forums, from couple hundred dollar fishing reels all the way up to cars.

I do know the bike market is pretty hot right now though. So any mistake I make I can get out of for a couple hundred bucks by selling used. Not too big of deal.

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2 minutes ago, MTskibum said:

No, I do not trust salesman, but I do trust hobbyists on internet forums. I have bought many things on recommendations from people on forums, from couple hundred dollar fishing reels all the way up to cars.

I do know the bike market is pretty hot right now though. So any mistake I make I can get out of for a couple hundred bucks by selling used. Not too big of deal.

Fair enough.  In this market I find that they are generally pretty honest.  At this price point, both of those bikes will be sold by the end of next week to someone, so they don't really need to be pushy to one bike or the other.  If they start steering you towards a $4,000 Procalibur then I''d be concerned, but the reality is that any bike under $1,500 sells out.  I hope you enjoy the hobby.  I got big into cycling in June, then expanded to mountain biking in November.  I've become hopelessly addicted, but it's great exercise and really fun.

Here's my ride

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8 minutes ago, Dickies said:

Fair enough.  In this market I find that they are generally pretty honest.  At this price point, both of those bikes will be sold by the end of next week to someone, so they don't really need to be pushy to one bike or the other.  If they start steering you towards a $4,000 Procalibur then I''d be concerned, but the reality is that any bike under $1,500 sells out.  I hope you enjoy the hobby.  I got big into cycling in June, then expanded to mountain biking in November.  I've become hopelessly addicted, but it's great exercise and really fun.

Here's my ride

Where do you live? Somewhere in the west by looking at that picture.

My riding will be mostly flat around the houston area, but I do make it over to el paso a few times a year which is in the rocky mountains.

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7 minutes ago, MTskibum said:

Where do you live? Somewhere in the west by looking at that picture.

My riding will be mostly flat around the houston area, but I do make it over to el paso a few times a year which is in the rocky mountains.

SF Bay Area. Have family in Tahoe, so looking forward to riding up there in the summer, but so far my only riding has been within 15 miles of my house. 

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1 hour ago, Dickies said:

I ride with a guy that has a Specialized Rockhopper with a 3x drivetrain similar to the Marlin.  He absolutely hates it.  He is constantly dropping his chain while riding single track.  The other day he ended up breaking his front derailleur due to "chain suck" where the chain got bounced around while pedaling and got sucked up between the frame, derailleur and front chain rings.  I'm a HUGE fan of the 1x drivetrain trend and will never go back.

Totally agree.  I went from a 2x to a 1x front chain ring last year.  Thought it would hurt me on the uphill, but didn't notice a difference.  The only place i notice it is when I'm riding pavement downhill (so what).  Meanwhile, I've cut weight, moving parts, and gotten rid of a shifter, which was replaced with a seat dropper trigger. 

The seat dropper was a game changer for me too, but I'm not sure it's going to be used effectively by someone just starting out.  I view it as something to grow into once he starts doing longer and/or more technical rides and starts to play with his bike positioning on downhills.

My advice would be to buy the best bike you can for now.  That appears to be the Cannondale.  Now get ready to ride!

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Posted (edited)

I have been trail riding at least 10 miles every day. I know that will slow down, but I think this is exercise I will like.

 

I was running 3-4 days a week and am bored of it. This winter I had to will myself to get running. This seems to be a more fun way to stay in shape. I should have bought a bike years ago.

Edited by MTskibum
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1 hour ago, MTskibum said:

I have been trail riding at least 10 miles every day. I know that will slow down, but I think this is exercise I will like.

 

I was running 3-4 days a week and am bored of it. This winter I had to will myself to get running. This seems to be a more fun way to stay in shape. I should have bought a bike years ago.

You get the bike?  

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Just now, MTskibum said:

Yeah, the trail 5.

Nice. I thought you weren’t going to get it until today, so I wasn’t going to bump the thread for a few more days. I think you made the correct choice between the two you were considering. Sounds like you’re enjoying it so far. 

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31 minutes ago, Dickies said:

Nice. I thought you weren’t going to get it until today, so I wasn’t going to bump the thread for a few more days. I think you made the correct choice between the two you were considering. Sounds like you’re enjoying it so far. 

That is what they told me when I just wanted to look at it, however once I paid the deposit they built it right away. Funny how that works.

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10 minutes ago, MTskibum said:

That is what they told me when I just wanted to look at it, however once I paid the deposit they built it right away. Funny how that works.

When I bought my hybrid last year on a Thursday they told me it would be ready Monday or Tuesday. I got a call the next day saying it was ready. Wasn’t complaining. 

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27 minutes ago, MTskibum said:

 

When I lived in wyoming i had a suzuki 250 that I used for trail riding and paid 2000 dollars for. If you are going to use power, why spend 10k.

You can bypass/override the Govenor, I did this on my Powerfly FS 5, cost me around $130 for the chip from Germany and like $25 for the tools. I can hit close to 45 mph on it, can't peddle fast enough before it will shut off.

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10 minutes ago, MTskibum said:

 

When I lived in wyoming i had a suzuki 250 that I used for trail riding and paid 2000 dollars for. If you are going to use power, why spend 10k.

I don’t think Suzuki 250s are allowed on 99.9% of mountain bike trails. I don’t ride dirt bikes but I’d have to imagine they both provide wildly different experiences. Just because some e-bikes are $10k+ doesn’t mean you can’t get in for less. My neighbor that I ride with rides an $8,000 Yeti SB130 and it’s not electric. His justification is that people routinely drop an extra $10k for tech packages on cars to add on a bunch of features they never use. He rides his mountain bike 3-5 days per week.  I think he’s getting his money’s worth  

A couple of my other neighbors drop $10k per year for golf memberships. Another one has a $5,000 fishing kayak and thousands of dollars worth of fishing rods. Hobbies can be expensive, but I’d suggest making sure you enjoy said hobby before investing in the highest end gear. 

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7 minutes ago, Dickies said:

I don’t think Suzuki 250s are allowed on 99.9% of mountain bike trails. I don’t ride dirt bikes but I’d have to imagine they both provide wildly different experiences. Just because some e-bikes are $10k+ doesn’t mean you can’t get in for less. My neighbor that I ride with rides an $8,000 Yeti SB130 and it’s not electric. His justification is that people routinely drop an extra $10k for tech packages on cars to add on a bunch of features they never use. He rides his mountain bike 3-5 days per week.  I think he’s getting his money’s worth  

A couple of my other neighbors drop $10k per year for golf memberships. Another one has a $5,000 fishing kayak and thousands of dollars worth of fishing rods. Hobbies can be expensive, but I’d suggest making sure you enjoy said hobby before investing in the highest end gear. 

This is me with skiing.  If I add it up, it’s ridiculous. And I’m smart, and buy last year/off season.   About to drop $2500 for next year’s pass

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1 hour ago, Penguin said:

You can bypass/override the Govenor, I did this on my Powerfly FS 5, cost me around $130 for the chip from Germany and like $25 for the tools. I can hit close to 45 mph on it, can't peddle fast enough before it will shut off.

My Powerfly FG 5 was $3900 and it's amazing. After bypassing the governor it's an amazing  feeling climbing a 30 degree grade at 25 mph

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7 hours ago, MTskibum said:

I have been trail riding at least 10 miles every day. I know that will slow down, but I think this is exercise I will like.

 

I was running 3-4 days a week and am bored of it. This winter I had to will myself to get running. This seems to be a more fun way to stay in shape. I should have bought a bike years ago.

I ran for years before taking up road cycling. It definitely did wonders for my exercise routine, but ultimately I tired of agro drivers, and have gone back to running/hiking.

Mountain biking is more fun, but you have to be careful not to hurt yourself. That being said, I highly recommend downhilling in full body armor at least once. I took at lesson at Whistler and has a blast; but you don’t need to go to a resort to access most of the IMBA epic rides.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Dickies said:

I don’t think Suzuki 250s are allowed on 99.9% of mountain bike trails. I don’t ride dirt bikes but I’d have to imagine they both provide wildly different experiences. Just because some e-bikes are $10k+ doesn’t mean you can’t get in for less. My neighbor that I ride with rides an $8,000 Yeti SB130 and it’s not electric. His justification is that people routinely drop an extra $10k for tech packages on cars to add on a bunch of features they never use. He rides his mountain bike 3-5 days per week.  I think he’s getting his money’s worth  

A couple of my other neighbors drop $10k per year for golf memberships. Another one has a $5,000 fishing kayak and thousands of dollars worth of fishing rods. Hobbies can be expensive, but I’d suggest making sure you enjoy said hobby before investing in the highest end gear. 

 

It probably depends where you live. This was in the Bighorn national forest and while not all of the trails allowed dirt bikes, there were hundreds of miles of single track dirt bike trails in the forest. It is one of the most sparsely populated parts of the country which is probably why it was allowed.

 

I have to try to be cost conscientious with all of my hobbies because I have so many. I do have have a decent collection of fishing gear, I have a season pass for skiing/snowboarding even though I live in Houston, etc. I cannot get too crazy expensive into any one hobby. I usually try to buy budget gear.

Edited by MTskibum
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