Why Your First Mountain Bike Should Be A…

The latest revision of a great first mountain bike Santa Cruz 27.5" Heckler

The latest revision of a great first mountain bike the 27.5″ Heckler by Santa Cruz.  The Heckler was the first bike of many of our staff.

Why Your First Mountain Bike Should Be A…
what you should know from the worldwide leader in top tier custom MTB.

New Vs. Used:
As a retailer you know which way we lean.  I am going to keep this clinical here – these are the facts to consider.

MTB component warranties seldom transfer to a second owner.  A fork’s creaky crown, blown rear shock, finicky adjustable seatpost – these things happen occasionally.  As a new owner you have a grace period to get it handled – ebay, craigslist, even unauthorized shops (on new product too) = no warranty.

How versed are you on detecting wear and tear?  I’m guessing if it’s your first bike you might be a bit green to it?  I work for the best MTB shop there is, period.  I have immediate access to the best parts, best mechanics, the best suspension techs.  When my bikes get ready to be sold I do not refresh anything.  There is no return on that investment on the used market.  So as clean as my bike is, as much as you know its history, you need to be prepared that my bike will likely need a fork service, rear shock service, drivetrain, cables and housing (about the only thing I put new on before I sell them is brake pads – I don’t want to even hear about brakes not working right) you should have that in your budget on top of the bike price.  We won’t even get into looking at determining if a frame is “tired” or if its initial build has compromised its potential longevity.  I will tell you as a barometer you won’t see many BikeCo bikes publicly on the used market – that’s not to say they’re not sold as I build bikes for many of the same clients over the years – but a competently spec’d, built and maintained bike is an easy sell to a friend.  Most BikeCo bikes become buddy bikes without ever having to deal with strangers on the open market.

Boutique Vs. Box Brand:
This one goes counter-intuitive to most modern society parallels.  What if I told you the biggest brands often have the most proprietary components that can’t be upgraded, modified, tuned?  So you pull the trigger on the mega brand bike everyone has heard of only to realize that you are too large (or small) for the suspension to optimally work?  Would you like to look at more appropriate shocks?  Well whoops – that’s a custom eye to eye and stroke – no one makes it.  Stuck.

I wouldn’t suggest that your first bike should be a tiny, upstart 10 frames a year builder boutique purchase.  However the brands that we work all offer a variety of modern compatibility.  Suspension with accepted standards for sizing and geometry, multiple drivetrain options, strange steer tube diameters, etc, etc.  Don’t be held hostage by your purchase if you want to upgrade.  Bikes offer a multitude of personalities based on setup.  Don’t pigeon hole yourself to something So/So when you have the possibility to make a change and make it Great.

Saving for two weeks:
Do you research on what is important to your purchase.  Does the next kit up drastically improve high value components?  Does one more pay check get you there?  Brakes, Wheels, and Cranks are things to review.  Package complete bikes may provide you $1000 in value for a $300 upgrade price.  Can you afford to pass on $700  in free upgrades?  Are the upgrades things you will notice now?  In a month?  6 months?

Shopping Shops:
Do your research on shops.  Ask questions, check out the vibe, familiarize yourself with the business operation.  Giant box stores are based on a turn and burn mentality – check it in check it out – “do you want the blue or red one…”   “Bro Brah” slacker stores with staff (hell sometimes ownership) living on mom’s couch may seem like your pal, but do they really have your needs in mind?  Odds are if you are purchasing a mountain bike you can afford your own hot dog and beer lunch?

As your riding develops you will have questions, concerns, in all likelihood at some point have a PROBLEM.  How is your retailer setup to handle you?  When you factor in your time and irritation were the dozen “free tune-ups” it took to fix your bike really free?

While I can’t speak for the industry (another topic for another day) The Bike Company prides itself on working with each and every client.  Our business model isn’t based on constantly finding fresh meat so to speak.  We pride ourselves on working with riders as they expand and develop their riding.  We want our clients to feel invited, to be able to easily ask performance related questions on components and tunes.  Yes I want to sell you a bike.  In fact I want to sell you your next bike and the one after that.  The reason BikeCo is able to do this is our expert staff’s dedication to each individual’s experience.  With a professional consultation riders are able to confidently purchase bikes that allow them to follow their riding aspirations.

Bikes and Brands:
29, 27.5, 26 – 160mm, 140mm, 130mm, 100mm – OST+, VPP, DW, Switch, Single Pivot.  Different strokes for different folks so to speak.  Rather than writing another two thousand words attempting to explain a thesis concept I suggest that you talk to your retailer.  Ask questions, be involved.  Quality shops will walk you through a consultation process to help determine which bikes you should be considering.  Explain your goals, concerns, etc.  Don’t allow a sales person to simply spit features at you.  Have them explain why those features benefit YOU.  You should be confident you are getting the most for your money – and buying the wrong bike is the quickest way to kill your budget entirely.

At The Bike Company we carry a variety of great first bike options for various budget considerations.  Brands like Lapierre, Santa Cruz, and the recently revamped Marin produce appropriately spec’d entry level mountain bikes.  Call 949-470-1099 or email Sales@BikeCo.com to setup a consultation with our staff.  This isn’t point and click money – Demand More than a point and click experience.

I have a great client who we started in the sport several years ago.  He came in with an ideal bike in his mind.  He had decided he was all about pure marathon XC.  The bike he described to me would be great for 24 hour races, 100 mile days, tip to thru the daisy trails at anaerobic heart rate speed.  While we were discussing his riding aspirations we wanted to digest his personality.  Was he the look before you leap guy?  Was he the guy who would be in the air looking before for a place to land?  Well his other sports included heli-skiing and free solo climbing (rock climbing without ropes).  We discussed his personality and explained the potential limitations of a marathon bike and ended up with a small All Mountain / large Trail type bike.  Nothing Red Bull Rampage style – but certainly larger than the bike he came in asking us to quote.  When I saw him for his first tune up he brought photos of him already riding some of our local larger terrain trails.  Steep drops, burly rock gardens – he loved the sport.  Years later he articulated that had he not been on the right bike to begin he would have hated riding and never known why.  Utilize your resource – these aren’t beach cruisers.  Your shop should be happy to work to help you develop an appropriate purchase.

See you on the trails – Nate@BikeCo.com

Teaser image of an aluminum Lapierre Zesty.  Lapierre has models to fit most budgets and riding styles.

Teaser image of an aluminum Lapierre Zesty. Lapierre has models to fit most budgets and riding styles.



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