My first bike - Help!

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Posted: Dec 5, 2019 at 18:33 Quote
I'm 38 and have a 4 year old. I've always biked recreationally and the last bike I had was a forest green Raleigh M40 (I think) back in the late 90's. Anyway, I wanted to get back into riding both for fitness and because of my son. Maybe me having a bike will get him interested in riding too (his bike hasn't had much riding since last Christmas). So with that said, I imagine most of the riding will be in the neighborhood, light trails near the neighborhood, and the random chance i get to go off with friends or by myself. Since he's 4 (and I have a 2 year old girl), that's what I imagine for a couple of years anyway. After that, who knows.

The problem is that I have no idea what to get. I have been told by several people that bikes are one of those things that you get what you pay for and to generally stay away from big box stores. I get that components matter but don't know how much and have a hard time deciphering what a "pretty good" bike is. So if you have any help in addition, I'm all ears to your input/advice!

If it helps, my local bike store has Trek, Specialized and Giant. My budget is in $500-600 before taxes, etc

Posted: Dec 5, 2019 at 20:55 Quote
for 5-600, you are gonna want to go hardtail, and I would proably go used. If not used, Specialized has some good cheap hardtails, such as the rock hopper for trek, the marlin, might be worth a shot

Posted: Dec 5, 2019 at 20:56 Quote
the rock hopper is specialized*** typo above, marlin is trek

Posted: Dec 5, 2019 at 21:39 Quote
Any of those suggestions would work, but I'd also consider a mac ride for your youngest and a tow Whee for the older kid. The bike itself isn't super important at that price point - a reputable dealer to deal with any service issues would be more relevant to me than a slightly better derailleur.

A little help getting the kids up hills (tow whee) or getting the whole crew biking at once (mac ride) helps a lot with motivation. Depending how tall you are, you might even find you get another year out of the mac ride for the bigger kid. My son turns 6 this summer and its getting a bit uncomfortable but not impossible to mountain bike with him.

I'm about the same age as you and have similar age kids, and a family bike ride for ice cream and trip to the park is a pretty good afternoon if you ask me.

Posted: Dec 6, 2019 at 6:16 Quote
traqs wrote:
for 5-600, you are gonna want to go hardtail, and I would proably go used. If not used, Specialized has some good cheap hardtails, such as the rock hopper for trek, the marlin, might be worth a shot
So I was talking to the local shop guys. The Specialized guy recommended the Rockhopper and the Trek guy recommended the Marlin. They did some talking and answered questions for me - very nice. I also did some reading on my own but am still confused on what the difference is between the Rockhopper and the Marlin 6?

Posted: Dec 6, 2019 at 7:51 Quote
JimTurkey wrote:
So I was talking to the local shop guys. The Specialized guy recommended the Rockhopper and the Trek guy recommended the Marlin. They did some talking and answered questions for me - very nice. I also did some reading on my own but am still confused on what the difference is between the Rockhopper and the Marlin 6?

Are you talking differences in the frame or with the components? Honestly both are going to be very similar spec and I would be surprised if the geo of the frame was far off. Go into the store and ride both to see how they feel to you. Ask them about the specs (parts) on each and why one would be better than the other.

The best thing you can do when you are wanting to learn about bike components or geo is by searching google and reading. You will find pretty detailed write-ups and reviews. This can lead you down a rabbit hole so maybe save it for if you decide mountain biking is something you want to stick with. For your first bike, just ask questions in the shop and get whichever one you like best.

Posted: Dec 6, 2019 at 8:29 Quote
You can check on this website bikes like this https://www.bigbike.sk/p/trek-marlin-7-2020 or just get inspired Smile

Posted: Dec 6, 2019 at 8:48 Quote
howmaybesgo wrote:
JimTurkey wrote:
So I was talking to the local shop guys. The Specialized guy recommended the Rockhopper and the Trek guy recommended the Marlin. They did some talking and answered questions for me - very nice. I also did some reading on my own but am still confused on what the difference is between the Rockhopper and the Marlin 6?
The best thing you can do when you are wanting to learn about bike components or geo is by searching google and reading. You will find pretty detailed write-ups and reviews. This can lead you down a rabbit hole so maybe save it for if you decide mountain biking is something you want to stick with. For your first bike, just ask questions in the shop and get whichever one you like best.
I've talked to both shops. And since one shops deals specifically Trek and the other specifically Specialized, asking one for a recommendation is a loaded question. They'll obviously tell me why their brand is better, though.

So I went online and have tried to do some "research". Assuming the frames are the same, the components are what makes them different, right? The problem is that I have zero idea which components are "better" and why. It's all Greek to me Confused

Trek Marlin 6

Specialized Rockhopper

Posted: Dec 6, 2019 at 9:42 Quote
They look almost identical in spec. The trek gets my vote only due to the fact the brake levers on the specialized are integrated with the shifters. They are separate on the trek so you have the option of upgrading either one separately if you ever decide to

Posted: Dec 6, 2019 at 9:59 Quote
JimTurkey wrote:
If it helps, my local bike store has Trek, Specialized and Giant. My budget is in $500-600 before taxes, etc

Your original post stated "store" so I assumed it was one store.... Still not a bad idea to have them tell you why their bike is better. I have done this while shopping for a new bike.

JimTurkey wrote:
I've talked to both shops. And since one shops deals specifically Trek and the other specifically Specialized, asking one for a recommendation is a loaded question. They'll obviously tell me why their brand is better, though.

So I went online and have tried to do some "research". Assuming the frames are the same, the components are what makes them different, right? The problem is that I have zero idea which components are "better" and why. It's all Greek to me Confused

So, I wouldn't know much about the more budget oriented components or even outside of the Sram realm.... It may be a bit harder to find reviews on these items because they don't get reviewed a lot (at least to my knowledge). Would maybe focus on groupset, fork and brakes. Look up reviews on them and comparisons if you can find any.

Neither bike is going to be the same, frame or spec. That being said, they will be very similar. When checking out Geo, I would look at head tube angle, seat tube angle, reach, chainstay length and standover (maybe wheelbase). Not sure it will make much of a difference on these bikes but those are the numbers that I focus on. As to how they interact and how they will impact your ride, that is info you should read up on. TONS of forums posts, articles and videos to get you caught up. In general, the lower the head tube angle number the slacker the bike is which can be a good indication of what the bike is meant for. Slacker = more aggressive riding (faster, steeper, downhill, jumps, drops). I think both of these bikes are 69 and some change on the HA so nothing to compare there.

Posted: Dec 6, 2019 at 10:54 Quote
howmaybesgo wrote:
So, I wouldn't know much about the more budget oriented components or even outside of the Sram realm.... It may be a bit harder to find reviews on these items because they don't get reviewed a lot (at least to my knowledge). Would maybe focus on groupset, fork and brakes. Look up reviews on them and comparisons if you can find any.
Yeah, I get the feeling like I'm asking about a Kia on a Corvette Forum. Smile

Posted: Dec 6, 2019 at 11:08 Quote
There really isn't much to choose between the bikes you are looking at, get a test ride on them both and go with what feels best for you.

Posted: Dec 6, 2019 at 11:34 Quote
This is a great looking bike here ... Only problem is it's a little out of my range and I can't seem to find a dealer in the state Confused

Kona Fire Mountain

Posted: Dec 6, 2019 at 12:27 Quote
JimTurkey wrote:
Yeah, I get the feeling like I'm asking about a Kia on a Corvette Forum. Smile

You have to start somewhere Smile I bought a used Rockhopper for $350 just to see if I liked riding trails.

Both bikes you listed will get you out on the trails. Bikes in general at this price point will be very similar in spec and geo. You may compare geo charts to be sure but I wouldn't get hung up on components. If you are able to get anything in a 1x11 or 1x12 (maybe a 1x10) with some through axles that is what I would go for. A buddy of mine bought his gf a Trek Roscoe. It might have been a little over your budget though... $800ish. I think that had a 15mm axle on it.

The best thing you can do is find the bike you want and then shop. Don't be afraid to call shops that are out of state. Smaller shops will deal. For this last purchase that is exactly what I did and got about 20% off of the price. Make shops compete! if one gives you a good deal let the other one know about it. Make them compete for your business.

Or check out used in your area and chat with a bike shop about it. I asked the shop to check out the Rockhopper before I bought it just to see if it was worth the money. Any good shop will be down to help.

Posted: Dec 7, 2019 at 7:45 Quote
Where do Kona bikes fall? Comparable? Any pro’s? Cons?

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