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.

100 thoughts on “What’s a good beginner bike? – Budget mountain bike

  1. Seth, what are your thoughts on the CO-OP drt 1.1? Have you had much experience with this brand? Thoughts potential video?

  2. Take it easy out there on the trails. A co-worker hit a tree on the back of his neck and fractured it and was out for almost 1/2 a year. He still has to take pain meds because he is early 50s. It's not worth it just go out and ride but not go crazy.

  3. Go to Walmart, buy a cheap mountain bike less than 100 $, brand new, thrash it,and if u like the thrill, then take this guys advice, upgrade and spend whatever ur budget il allow!

  4. Hey what you think about Trek roscoe 7 as an entry level mountain bike. Can you give any tips on any MB I can look for ?

  5. I mean anytime you want to send me a bike that would be great lol my Trek 820 has served its purpose I need a new bike but have to pay for car insurance so that's probably not gonna happen lol your probably not gonna see this anyway lol

  6. Im 147cm with shoes so what size bike should i get? I want diamondback cuz good bikes. Duh. I think 24'' is a bit small and 27,5''is too big?

  7. Hey. EZ that Huffy Nighthawk, i ride that bike. Wont take it trail riding, but for the road its fine.

  8. I just came home with my new Trek Marlin 5. Loving the shit out of it. 🙂 A little over six hundred including a kickstand and inner tube.

  9. 3:24 For some reason I feel like listening to some Snoop Doggy Dogg and Dr Dre.

  10. I bought my bike from Craigslist for $30 bucks and it’s still riding fine..
    But I bought my kayak for $3500 and it’s a hobie pro angler.

  11. I recently lost my bike too it falling off my bike rack. I am a kid, 13 and very short 4’5”. I had a gt stomper ace 24 and i really liked it. I have to get a new one as im 13 and dont have a car to get around. Does anybody have any suggestions on good mountain bikes for at max $400. Thanks in advance

  12. Which bike are you riding? The link is no longer working :/. I'm really interested in getting into mountain biking 🙂

  13. Hey could anyone help, I want to get into Mtb and use this bike for off-road. Does anyone know if the Focus Whistler 3.6 is good. I’m really not sure what bike to get but this seems decent. Could you guys let me know if it is a good bike. Thnx

  14. Mine has the suspension that you showed and have nice handlebars, pedals and everything but I Don't have disc brakes and I'd like a chain guide

  15. My old Santacruz Superlight has the hanger as part of the frame. I was worried when I first got it. I had a pretty bad crash and broke my deraier off, I thought the frame was toast but there was zero damage.

  16. Started yesterday and got too excited…
    Now im grounded because I ride too much.

  17. So I jump bikes (currently using a crappy academy sports and outdoors bike on black diamonds and jumping everything) I feel every little rock and i can only get about 400 bucks. any other advice?

  18. I see that my department store bike isn't all that bad after all. But on the fork it says that I can't use it for jumping or it will break, are we talking big jumps or even small ones ?

  19. I bought a diamondback atroz 1 full suspension the rear arm developed a crack after 2 months of pretty easy riding. Over half on paved trails and no jumps. Warranty wouldn't match the bike color. Guess I'm going 2 tone now

  20. Got any bikes that is full suspension under 1000? How about Polygon Siskiu D5?

  21. I have a hybrid bike, and I my parent wont spend money on a new bikes, and I really want to change the fork because atm it doesn't have suspension, how do I know what is a good fork?

  22. Wow this said "$329" bike is now $570!!! So again what is a good beginner bike?

  23. I have a carrera axle ( a hybrid carrera ) this is my first “big” bike and I want to know can I take it on a trail ? It was 300 pound.

  24. Hi, i haven't rode mtb since the 90s due to some knee surgeries. A p.t got me back on the bike last summer, i bought a used trek 950 that was hardly ridden, how ever a few days ago someone backed into the baike rack on the back of my truck and bent my wheel , that aund a few outher parts are putting me 100 to 150. Not sure if i want to put that much into a bike that age . I ride multi surfaces, dirt, gravel,road and trail all at pretty much a beginning skill set. Whats your recommendation?

  25. Sorry to ask but I am new to your channel but what is the name of that bike please

  26. Cant find this bike for the price you mentioned in the video. Can I buy it from you Seth?

  27. Thanks. Just found your site. Subbing. I'm new and getting into mountain biking. I'm 52 but I believe I can handle it. I currently ride dirt bikes on some gnarly trails and ATV's on some crazy stuff, too.

  28. Man I have a full suspension with only front discs and a broken shifter(more like shitter)and back brake,it's heavy but it's okay for going up mountains

  29. I have an ammaco dark ascent it has dual suspension and has maxed out specs but this dude called my bike trash even though I have no problems with it 😢

  30. 8:27 naw i started a month and a half ago, sold my computer and bought a diamondback atroz 2

  31. We know that you are a diamondback rider but please dont always advertise about diamond bikes you know that there is more better beginner bikes than that bike

  32. I found a bike that ad everything in this video

    Its a walmart bike

  33. I have 3 friends getting into MTB so this is perfect thanks again Seth

  34. Just buy a nice used bike for the price of this bike. You get more bike when you go used.

  35. I have a hybrid bike. My bike has everything from a mountain bike, just not the wheels. My bicycle has thin tires. Is that a problem?
    (Bad English btw)

  36. About 13 y ago I bought a 4500euro orbea alma full xt and full carbon, everything was carbon on it. It weighed 10.75 kg and it was the worst bike I ever had, I have a cannondale caffeine for years now which is about a tad more than 1/3 of the alma's price and its waaaaaaaay better. Carbon sucks and aint worth the price.

  37. I got a trek 3900 alpha custom aluminum off the curb for free scratches all over it but free. Should I take it to the woods?

  38. I live in the UK and have a 2012 voodoo hoodoo. I bought it second hand about 4 years ago for £290. Would recommend to anyone. Easy to upgrade and an overall great bike. Has to be the 2012 though. The newer models have a downgraded spring folk whereas this one has the sr suntour air folk.

  39. LOL – I still have my 94 Giant ATX I raced with back then. It has rim brakes and they work fine.

  40. 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

  41. 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.

  42. "If you see nuts stay away" – Seth's Bike Hacks Thanks bud i got you. I'm not gay either!

  43. 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!

  44. 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.

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