Author Topic: Mountain Biking Mustachian  (Read 3185 times)


  • Bristles
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Mountain Biking Mustachian
« on: March 10, 2014, 10:23:53 PM »
I'm hoping a mountain biking mustachian can help give me some advice on picking up durable, and yet fun mountain bike.

I won't be dropping off anything over about 4', taking it on a ski lift, or 'racing' - I will be using it for technical single track and hopefully some bikepacking.

Useful facts: I live in the Northwest and would probably be using it both on the east and west side of the mountains (e.g. wet and muddy & dry and loose), I'm about 5'6 and lightweight, and I used to go mountain biking a few times a week a decade ago and have been only mountain biking mildly in the last few years, but do commute and have done a little bit of touring in the last year or two.


  • Guest
Re: Mountain Biking Mustachian
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2014, 07:30:34 AM »
I've only owned a cheap Schwinn, but I see a lot of Specialized brand MTBs on the used market here and have heard nothing but good things about them. Ultimately comes down to how much suspension you want.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 9
Re: Mountain Biking Mustachian
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2014, 01:26:45 PM »
I'd recommend a hardtail 29er or 27.5 wheel mountain bike with a decent suspension fork that you can lock out. That should do everything you need. If you can spring for a spare wheelset you can have one set with big knobby tires for trail riding and winter use, and one wheelset with skinny road treads for commuting, touring, etc.

Craigslist Seattle often has decent 29ers, and I've bought excellent bikes from reputable sellers on Ebay. The best deals I've seen on new bikes are at

Have fun!


  • Senior Mustachian
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  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Mountain Biking Mustachian
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2014, 01:55:24 PM »
No need for spare wheels!  It shouldn't take more than 20 minutes to swap your tires out for another set.


  • Bristles
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  • Age: 31
  • Location: Greater Cincinnati
Re: Mountain Biking Mustachian
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2014, 02:30:09 PM »
I'm going mountain biking for the first time (!) with a friend tomorrow on his spare bike. I'll try to remember to report back about what kind of bike he had and how it went. Maybe I'll get into it and want to get my own mountain bike?


  • Stubble
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  • Location: SoLoNoCo (aka Longmont)
  • Eat the Horses
Re: Mountain Biking Mustachian
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2014, 03:25:05 PM »
I wouldn't suggest limiting yourself to specific wheel sizes when buying on craigslist, cuts out too many good options.

IMHO full suspension is the difference between fun and kinda-fun.  And I'm not sure why people think they need lock-out, that's just for a cheap, poorly tuned, or poorly designed rear suspension.  They seem to have stopped even putting it on full suspension bikes the last few years.

In general, try to find a bike on craiglist that would be expensive new, and don't get anything downhill-specific, obviously.   The most difficult thing about a mountain bike is figuring out what matters and what doesn't, so here's my recommendations:
hydraulic disc brakes - doesn't matter, but high end bikes usually come with it
disc brakes in general (vs V-brakes) - hugely important to me - V-brakes basically stop working when your tire rim gets wet.
8/9/10 speed - doesn't matter much
steel vs aluminum - steel weighs a ton, definitely aluminum
full suspension vs hard tail - definitely full suspension
derailleur (LX, Deore, Ultegra, etc) - only matters if you're hardcore.

When buying a used mountain bike, it is not uncommon that the chain has never been replaced.  This often means that the whole drive train will need to be replaced (~$100 and probably 1 to 2 hours of work, not to mention several special tools), because a stretched chain will destroy the crankset and cassette.  To tell if this is the case, try pedaling under load (i.e. up a drive way that is on a hill) in a few different gears and see if the bike automatically shifts gears under this load.  If it does the drivetrain will probably need replaced eventually.  (there is also a chain stretch measurement tool, but let's not get carried away...)

Given that potential difficulty, the ideal craiglist listing includes a line like "I bought it but only used it twice LOL".  That's craiglist gold right there if you can find it.


  • Bristles
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Re: Mountain Biking Mustachian
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2014, 03:40:50 PM »
Thanks for the recent responses. . . I posted this back in March (about 6 months ago) and ended up buying a 29'er off craigslist for about $600 mainly because of how prevalent they are in the bikepacking world. I'm honestly not sold on the wheel size (again - I'm short and feel more on top of the bike) but it was 'cheap' and as Rage mentioned, it was hardly used (it still had those little knobbies on the tires) and had an original MSRP for $2,500 . . . so if I decide to go back to a 26' I can at least sell it for about what I paid.

I have a ton of experience mountain biking from a decade ago and am actually replacing an aluminum full suspension bike that I really didn't like with a hard tail steel frame bike that flies in the face of what rage said. . . but hey, not everyone can like the same thing. . . and I'm not willing to spend very much for my hobbies.