Suggest me a MTB

So I’m loosely looking for a MTB, that is, I’m in that phase where I don’t really know what I’m looking for, and I’m not overly obsessed by it (yet). The main motivation is that there’s heaps of MTBing around Canberra and I feel I’m missing out on something great. I’ve ridden some local trails on my CX but some were too rough and I felt a bit outgunned.

I do have a few ideas:

  • I’d prefer a hardtail to keep it simple
  • I want front suspension because, well, I want to feel smooth on those rough trails
  • I’d prefer smaller wheels rather than 29er cause I’m a midget
  • I want gears
  • I will not do downhill, too scary
  • carbon/alu/steel: don’t know. Will jump on the occasion.
  • new/second hand: see above
  • none of these ideas are set in stone, except the wanting gears & downhill

Budget wise, I like nice things but I’m not planning on spending crazy $$$, I can probably go up to $2000 if it’s really really worth it. Ideally $1000 on something nice second hand.

Also I’m a snob, and will avoid Specialized (for sure) and Giant (possibly).

I haven’t seriously ridden a MTB on dirt for a long time. Last I did was 15-20 years ago and there was no suspension on most MTBs. I used to ride my Peugeot King’s Canyon in the Pyrenees, which is still in my mum’s garage under a thick coat of dust. I should also add that I’m completely confused with the different disciplines - XC, cross-country etc. I’ve tried to read through but it does not compute.

Last week I found myself in a LBS and there was this Merida on sale for $1600, and the guy indicated that he would let it go for $1500. It’s a 29er, but it seemed good and my size (17’’). Good deal?

Usual input of FOA science greatly appreciated :slight_smile:

It’s good that you aren’t after big wheels Seb, it means that you can get a bargain on a good bike. 26" bikes go for not much these days. I will keep an eye out for some second hand bikes around the 1k mark.

Keep your eye here eh. Frequent bargains to be had.

Thanks you two. I got my eye on your nightshift list Pete.

Well if I wanted a Spesh… who knows, might have to edit my first post :wink:

For entry level I’d always point towards a Giant, good value, choice of wheel sizes, 29" and 27.5" and depending on your actual height, something with 27.5" like the XTC might be a good choice.

Then there’s also the Cell Awaba. Got a good write up on Flow.

Apart from that, my experience is higher end stuff and duallies.

Pretty sure Sean has one of those Cell Awabas, I know he has a Cell of some type.

He does, they come with xt groupset too pretty good bike from what I’ve read. But Giants are also a good choice

For your size I recommend 26" or 27.5" to a stretch.
Sean does have the Awaba, and I rode it for 120km. It went fine. At this price point I don’t think you’ll be able to pick apart the frames much, whether it’s Cell, Giant or otherwise. Just pick a good groupset, wheelset and fork

Yep I was with you when you rode the Awaba. Looked fine, but can’t try Sean’s cos all you guys are tall gents. Will have to go into a shop.


My thoughts:
-Definitely go hardtail. Dually great but overkill for a lot of riding it sounds like you’ll be doing.
-Secondhand can be good, but mtb is hard on gear, and the parts change so quickly. Today’s entry level bike is a lot better than 1 or 2 years ago.
-If new, 27.5 will be your best option.
-Get a clutch RD, this is a simple, but massive upgrade.
-Alloy frame. With mtb tyres, you really never notice any uncomfort. Get a carbon seatpost later.
-I’m a bit of a Scott fan… get a SCALE… yeahhh

Thanks H. All very good advice there. Missed Lemontime’s Scott a few months ago, seemed like a bargain.

2014 Scott Scale 740 | Scott | 27.5" Mountain Bikes for sale in Brendale | 102356337

Just sayin

If you’re not already a member check out rotorburn forum plenty of bargains to be had over there.

Any shop demo rides going on soon?

Good chance to ride a bunch of bikes esp. if you haven’t riddden many MTB’s

I.e, try a XC 100mm travel hard tail, slacker 120mm travel etc etc

Scott Scale 20 Carbon XC race machine – Hardtails - Hardtails - Scott Scale 20 Carbon XC race machine- CORC: Canberra Off-Road Cyclists

Maybe too big? Medium. Man, the scott hardtails are SWEET. This thing would be superb if its all still holding together well.

Thanks all, keep em coming! JP, ‘20’ corresponds to the size (inches) you reckon?

If it was me buying right now, I’d be seriously considering the Cell. I know there are lots of good deals on 2nd hand stuff, but with mtb-ing being what it is I’d think twice about buying a well-abused bike, and as someone else noted the spec on sub-$2k bikes is a lot better than it was a couple years ago.

I’m a good few years away from buying an mtb though.

Thru axle 15mm front is also highly recommended.

nah, 20 is the spec level… they start at 50 or something, and go down towards 10 or 00 as XTR/XX stuff. 20 seems to correspond to XT spec. Size on a medium is 585 ETT, i think, and they reckon fits 170cm to 180cm


I’m 5’7". I have a 15" 29er XC HT and a 17" 26er trail dually w 6" travel. Both work great for me. I’ve ridden 26ers, 650bsters, and 29er that are great and lame. A lot comes down to the frame geometry actually, in particular BB drop, ST and HT angles, and HT length.

If I was getting ONE mtb then I would most certainly get a (steel) 29er HT (or maybe a 650b (which is really closer to 27", rather than 27.5" as it is marketed). I would also make sure to buy a bike secondhand, as new $1000-2000 will most probably buy you a pile of junk.

My 26" trail bike is WAAAAAYYYY more fun on seriously technical, steep and hitting jumps. But that doesn’t sound like your kind of thing hey. And besides my 29er gets way more use, as its a lot more versatile.

If you have months to buy the right bike, trawl Rotorburn and eBay listings. If you want something off the shelf get the Cell. Nuffsaid.

peace D