Bored at work? Help me pick my first 'real' mountain bike

One thing to consider is looking for a bike from one of the bigger, higher volume brands. I believe Trek has 7 frame sizes available. Specialized 6. Increases the chances of finding a bike that fits you. FWIW, I’m 5’9” and ride a M Trek Fuel Gen 5 (latest is Gen 6). I could also ride the size ML, but I the M works well for me.

Also might be worth looking for deals on previous generation new bikes. Eg Specialized recently released the new Stumpjumper 15, so you may be able to get a good deal on the previous generation. Same with Trek Fuel, although new Gen 5s may be running out of supply as the Gen 6 was released over a year ago.

Where will you be riding? If you’re going to ride in places like CO or UT, I’d recommend at least a downcountry XC bike (130/120mm F/R travel).

Getting a recent (past 2-3 year) generation will get you the geometry you want (slacker head tube angle, reduces risks of over the bar crashes). But the key to risk mitigation is practice, and gradual progression in trail difficulty. Plus decision-making - and being willing to walk a feature that looks too sketchy instead of trying to ride it.

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You are all amazing. Thank you so much for the input. This has crossed over the line of information overload. I believe I dont have enough experience ON these bikes to even know my preferences. Its making me lean towards making A decision quickly vs learning all the things first but I keep second guessing myself even typing that out.

I am going to go look at that Oiz tonight. He has not registered the warranty and has the original receipt so I am basically getting a brand new bike at that price. The bottom bracket and wheels give me a bit of pause. Eddiegrinwald talking about the top fuel being ‘more bike’ gives me pause and some of the blow outs on cheaper stuff is concerning.

I am less stressed about a couple lbs of weight. I am okay buying wheels or swapping bars/stems/etc later. I do think its a pretty looking bike. It seems to be in the travel range davewh mentioned for CO and UT where i will certainly end up at various points. The brand new epic evo at $2400 in carbon is temping but physically harder to find for me.

Maybe I ask the other direction. Talk me out of the Orbea if i can get it for $1600 with a warranty. Why does this bike suck? Why am i going to regret it? Am i going to sell and upgrade to a 5k bike in a year anyway so i should just get something and start learning what works for me?

The bike doesn’t suck. From reviews I’ve read, it does well at what it’s designed for - which is closer to the XC race bike side of the spectrum than a general purpose trail bike.

If you want a bike that will be more forgiving - either when you are a beginner, or as you gain experience and ride harder trails - a bike like the Trek Top Fuel would be a better fit.

Side note: I saw today that Trek announced the latest gen Top Fuel. Could mean earlier gens can be picked up cheaper.

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I guess this is more talking you into it, than out…

Here’s a pretty glowing review that I watched so I know it’s a good bike https://youtu.be/g2abuBpBClA?si=H_4AdwC5HebKdKDa

It is very very similar to an epic evo, but I think people just aren’t as familiar w Orbea so epic evo is always first off the tongue. The only thing that gives me a little pause is the brakes, but that is just cause I’ve never tried them. I have SLX 2 piston which is a few steps above and I think they work amazing, but never tried the mt200.

Whether you sell or upgrade depends on the type of rider you end up being. But I think a 120/120 bike with a 67 deg head angle will perform really well almost everywhere you take it. More capable than my bike I have now and I don’t feel limited much at all.

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I took a closer look at the bike for sale from the link above. There’s no dropper post on it. If you buy this bike, plan on buying a dropper post. That’ll add $200-300 or so.

One other factor - this bike has a suspension lockout lever right where the dropper post lever usually sits. You’ll need to buy a specific dropper lever that can be installed in a way that fits alongside the lockout lever.

This will mean having to get used to a suboptimal dropper lever placement. The review above posted by @nicholkid8 mentions this drawback also.

Another review here - positive for what the bike is designed for - XC racing.

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Depends if you think any sort of XC racing / events are in your future. If not, I’m another Ibis fan so would support the Ripley. If yes, I think something like an Epic Evo might be better.

I had a Ripmo V1 that I loved.

PRetty sure a new Ripmo and maybe a new Ripley is getting announced shortly, so lots of stuff on sale. If you’re shopping used, wait just a little while longer (After next week if the interwebs are right) and you could see even more stuff hit the used market.

Huh?
I don’t think anyone has said the bike sucks, quite the contrary. Honestly, don’t overinvest unless you know what you want/prefer. The Orbea will be a good basis for upgrades. Apart from the touch points, I’d get new brakes and a dropper post. Both really change a bike in tangible ways.

Also, mountain bikes need some getting used to. When I went from a 26” fully to a 29” hardtail, for the first day, it felt as if I was in clown shoes. Now I love it.

Thank you for the help everyone. I ended up going with the top fuel. It feels enormous, awkward, too much weight on my hands and I couldn’t be more excited to get used to it. Now I just need this left over hurricane to stop flooding all the trails.

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Great choice! Definitely feels like driving a tractor after riding road bikes etc

Since that looks brand new, I’m guessing your shop already helped you set the suspension up, but that is a key thing that beginners usually overlook. Also tire pressure is really important and people tend to overinflate.

It might just be the picture angle, but that saddle looks pretty far forward. Pushing it back a bit will reduce the weight on your hands.

I’m far from an expert MTB rider, but the one mantra that always helps me is “heavy feet, light hands” when riding the MTB. It solves a lot of bad habits (at least for me).

Nice!

What size did you end up getting?