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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    North Carolina's Barrier Islands
    Posts
    1,237
    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Gnarley View Post
    This is all good advice. Thank you. I'm pretty close to white clay so I'll definitely check it out.

    Do they make a soft foam bike for beginners ahaha? Happy Friday everyone.
    yup and you can get it at "costco surf and sport." its called the dirtstorm

  2. #12
    White Clay is where I learned too and it is super fun, like a roller coaster, but not a good indication of what is normal in the mid-atlantic. Much more roots and less 'groomed' is more the norm. Either way, you can probably get away with a decent front-suspension bike and spend half as much as you would on a full suspension.

    Get on it, you already sound like you are in shape but I lost 20 lbs or so and got is really good shape from it. Now I don't do it much and miss it, but...

  3. #13
    For just starting out in the sport I'd recommend a hardtail over a full suspension. Gonna be tough to find a full suspension under $1k that's not a heavy piece of crap with low quality components (arguable higher than that, but I like even round numbers). Maybe can get something decent slightly under that if you go used, but even then, you can get a lot more for your money going with a hardtail. Should be able to find a decent used hardtail made by a good company for a few hundred bucks. Can't remember if any of the bike shops I used to go to in Newark sell used bikes, but I'm sure there's plenty of good deals around on craigslist and such. Then if you really start to get into it, plan on investing in your second bike once you've a better idea of riding style, preferred terrain, what you're looking for, etc.

    Is that what I did? Not at all. I first got into it riding the old too-small mountain bike I had when I was like 12, then immediately went out and bought the cheapest full suspension bike I could find brand new in a shop cause it looked cool. (it was a Giant, I think it was around $600). I got plenty of use out of it, so I wouldn't necessarily say I got ripped off, but it was heavy as all hell and once I moved to Colorado (and especially the first time I took it to Moab) it pretty much started falling apart immediately. But I'm an idiot. I've still not owned a good full suspension, so maybe I don't know what I'm missing, but I've kind of concluded that the way I like to ride and the terrain I prefer (read: I'm a *****) do not warrant full suspension. Even when I was in Colorado riding some of the more technical stuff on the Front Range, I always felt like it was my technique holding me back, not the bike. YMMV, but I doubt you'll be into anything crazy technical when first getting into the sport (unless riding lift-served downhill, but in that case you want to rent a propere downhill bike at the resort anyway).

    And at white clay specifically, there is absolutely zero need for full suspension (unless it's changed drastically in the 5 years since I last rode there). I actually think I could probably ride 80% of it on my road bike without any significant damage. I realize that makes it sound not very fun, but I promise it is.

    Also, yes, avoid falling. Piggybacking on the worst beat downs thread, you know how falling when skiing/snowboarding is far more painful than surfing (as a general rule)? Well, falling when mountain biking is exponentially worse than that. You're pretty much never gonna ride away from a crash without some sort of physical reminder of it, ranging from scrape/bruise to dead, depending...

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    In a state of flux
    Posts
    4,935
    Quote Originally Posted by NJsurfer30 View Post
    For just starting out in the sport I'd recommend a hardtail over a full suspension. Gonna be tough to find a full suspension under $1k that's not a heavy piece of crap with low quality components (arguable higher than that, but I like even round numbers). Maybe can get something decent slightly under that if you go used, but even then, you can get a lot more for your money going with a hardtail. Should be able to find a decent used hardtail made by a good company for a few hundred bucks. Can't remember if any of the bike shops I used to go to in Newark sell used bikes, but I'm sure there's plenty of good deals around on craigslist and such. Then if you really start to get into it, plan on investing in your second bike once you've a better idea of riding style, preferred terrain, what you're looking for, etc.

    Is that what I did? Not at all. I first got into it riding the old too-small mountain bike I had when I was like 12, then immediately went out and bought the cheapest full suspension bike I could find brand new in a shop cause it looked cool. (it was a Giant, I think it was around $600). I got plenty of use out of it, so I wouldn't necessarily say I got ripped off, but it was heavy as all hell and once I moved to Colorado (and especially the first time I took it to Moab) it pretty much started falling apart immediately. But I'm an idiot. I've still not owned a good full suspension, so maybe I don't know what I'm missing, but I've kind of concluded that the way I like to ride and the terrain I prefer (read: I'm a *****) do not warrant full suspension. Even when I was in Colorado riding some of the more technical stuff on the Front Range, I always felt like it was my technique holding me back, not the bike. YMMV, but I doubt you'll be into anything crazy technical when first getting into the sport (unless riding lift-served downhill, but in that case you want to rent a propere downhill bike at the resort anyway).

    And at white clay specifically, there is absolutely zero need for full suspension (unless it's changed drastically in the 5 years since I last rode there). I actually think I could probably ride 80% of it on my road bike without any significant damage. I realize that makes it sound not very fun, but I promise it is.

    Also, yes, avoid falling. Piggybacking on the worst beat downs thread, you know how falling when skiing/snowboarding is far more painful than surfing (as a general rule)? Well, falling when mountain biking is exponentially worse than that. You're pretty much never gonna ride away from a crash without some sort of physical reminder of it, ranging from scrape/bruise to dead, depending...
    try falling off and 8 foot ladder bridge to dirt

  5. #15
    I ride a lot.
    White Clay is fun - can get boring, but def. a good start. Its a ton of fun. Bike Parks are fun - blue mtn, mtn creek, etc, but **** is dangerous. make sure you wear all the protective gear - i found out the hard way.

    It can be a big investment. I rode a $1000 hardtail for years. It was just a hobby i did 1x a week. When i stepped up to a 150mm full suspension, it made it so much more fun again. the trails around my house are a lot of 20 minute climbs / 2-5 minute downs...but those downhills are intense - sorta like dropping into quality waves.

    shoot me a pm if you ever wanna ride...I still have a ton of fun riding a places like whiteclay, which as mentioned, are suited well for hardtails.

    Essentials:
    Get on Pinkbike
    Download Trailforks and MTB Project on your phone.

    Strava - can be fun and helpful, but sometimes pushes you beyond your limits

  6. #16
    Marsh Creek State Park in PA is also a good place to start. It has it's challenges but it can be done by a first timer.
    Which brings us to the next step up. French Creek State Park. Also in PA. Can be very challenging. You can camp there (check the seasons) and fish there too.
    Get maps before you go. Check em out, maybe hike the trails first.
    Both parks are at most an hour from White Clay. Pump can prolly give up some other places like Blue Marsh up by Reading PA.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Monmouth Beach, NJ
    Posts
    4,815
    Quote Originally Posted by NJsurfer30 View Post
    A lot of the same vibe of surfing or skiing/snowboarding, but a much better workout and where you live there's probably 200-300 days per year where the conditions are good for it, depending on the year, and your tolerance for riding when it's cold but dry.
    When I planned to move to Michigan, I knew I wouldn't be surfing, so I bought a mountain bike and started riding at Cheesquake and Hartshorne in Monmouth County. I could definitely see the similarities... picking your line and getting a good adrenaline buzz, plus all the technical stuff.

    Michigan was heaven. When I moved back to NJ four years later, I hung up my bike and shaped a few boards.

    I'll get back into it someday...

  8. #18
    I can throw some knowledge into the mix. I stuck to XC riding (flowy single track). As far as bikes go, I highly recommend buying used first. You can spend an insane amount of money on good mountain bike so it's best to be sure you're going to stick with it before splurging. Make sure you get the right size. It really matters with mountain bikes. There are decent bikes on CL all the time. Also, a lot of trail systems have FB groups that people are selling bikes on all the time. You will get more bike for your money with a hardtail. Don't spend a bunch of money on your first bike. See if you like it first. Then if you do, splurge on a full suspension bike. The older you get, the more you appreciate the rear suspension. You can get good deals (40%-50% off) on them if you buy closeouts at some larger online vendors when the new model years are coming out. I picked up a Giant brand carbon framed full suspension bike for $3K which was pretty good price 4 years ago. If White Clay is in range for you, so is Brandywine, Fair Hill and Wissahickon. There are also a couple small but fun trail systems in South Jerz (Ceres, CCC). You have good options. Finally, the one thing I wish somebody told me when I started is if you're going down a steep, bumpy trail, get your butt off your seat and over the rear tire if you'd prefer not to get thrown over the handle bars.

  9. #19
    Does anyone ride coastal NJ - in particular Allaire or around that area? Anything worthwhile?

  10. #20
    Too flat. Head for the mountains.
    Hence...mountain biking.
    If you ever want to ride out west, hit me up. I'll hook you up with some of the best riders and trails.