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Cheap mountain bike

(11 posts)
  • Started 1 month ago by Baldcyclist
  • Latest reply from Arellcat
  • This topic is not resolved

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  1. Baldcyclist

    So, up front, I've riden road bikes all my life and have no clue about MTBs at all.

    Looking to do some wild camping with the boy next year (he'll be 10 then), ride in - up to 15km - pitch up, walk up a hill in morning, ride out. Do this maybe 3 or 4 times a year.

    Might also replace my decrepit Pashley with it as a shopper/train/work bike occasionally (also to maybe justify a cycle to work purchase).

    Bike will mainly see landrover tracks when off road, need pannier rack for camping stuff. Don't want to spend a lot for limited use case.

    What should I be looking at, specs, cost for this type of activity? Halfords Boardman, Decathlon MTB, would that type of thing do?

    Not really seen anything with pannier mounts, how do you do that on an MTB?

    Thanks in advance.

    (also, If I do C2W. Halfords/Tredz seems to be my options for purchase)

    Posted 1 month ago #
  2. chdot

    For such low level use, I’d start with Gumtree

    Most bikes have frame fittings for racks

    For £50-100 usually plenty of choice

    Obviously, alloy rims, cantilevers (rather than side pulls) 18 gears or more

    Perhaps main ‘consideration’ might be tyres - ‘general use’ or chunky enough for mud…

    Posted 1 month ago #
  3. davey2wheels

    There's several types that come under MTB depending on the difficulty of the terrain. Starting cross country (XC) which could be full suspension (front and back) or hardtail - front suspension only. Then trail bike, all mountain and up to down hill. There is some overlap between.
    Or you could consider a gravel bike - looks like a road bike but different geometry, a wide gear range and flared drops for off road and should be able to fit panniers. Another difference is the tyre clearance offered so you would be looking for a frame and fork that could take up to typically 50C tyres.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  4. Baldcyclist

    Gravel bike could double as a new commuter as well, however my current commuter (kind of early gravel, pre cx) is close enough to a gravel bike to know I want a wee bit more comfort and less bone shaking.

    I know I don't need full suspension or downhill, I'm thinking something with front suspension.

    Had thought about gumtree as well, and spend £150 but then thought I could probably spend £700/£800 on CtW and have a cost to me of less than £400.
    I however do tend to overspend on bikes (the 2009 tour winning Cervelo hung from wall testament to that), and I'm determined not to do that here, hence strict £7/800 budget (CtW) or £500 (non CtW).
    I think I could use a MTB on the train enough times not to lose sleep over using CtW.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  5. Dave

    For front suspension to keep working effectively it needs to be taken care of / serviced otherwise you just end up with a very heavy nearly rigid fork (we have one of these!) and the cost of that can be kind of grim.

    For something that you want to use to ride in on access tracks I would try to get a rigid frame that will take at least a 50mm tyre, personally.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  6. Morningsider

    I bought a new mountain bike about 18 months ago (Merida Big Trail 600) using the cycle to work scheme. I decided to push the boat out a bit, but it was well worth it as it it is super fun to ride.

    Merida (big Taiwanese frame builder for other brands) offer great value - much better components for the price than competitors. The Edinburgh Bike Coop seem to have some great deals on 2023 Merida bikes at the moment - Big Trail 400 for £795 looks good and seems to fit your criteria.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  7. fimm

    On a MTB, the "expectation" is that you would use bikepacking bags for luggage - these can be quite expensive but I think you can also get stuff second hand. Your other option would be to see if you could get hold of a Bob Yak or similar trailer - off-road trailers seem to have gone right out of fashion with the advent of on-bike bags, but I think one would work well for what you want to do.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  8. Baldcyclist

    @Morningsider Thanks, that looks like it would fit the bill - and also could be purched on CtW from Tredz (I'm limited to Halfords scheme).

    @fimm I hadn't even considered that, I had expected to just use my current Edinburgh bike co-op commuter bags (I have 2), and strap tent/sleeping mats/bags to top of rack with bungees.
    But come to think of it, I have the boys old trailer which he is now too big for (that the dog uses sometimes) which I could just load up. For short distances (<15km) that would be grand. Also would have the added benefit of dry overnight storage when using a small backpacking tent. :)

    Posted 1 month ago #
  9. neddie

    @IWRATS (is he still here?) used to use a single-wheel MTB trailer for his "overland" adventures.

    So if it's good enough for him, it's definitely the right choice

    Posted 1 month ago #
  10. fimm

    Yes, I was thinking of IWRATS' journeys. Sounds like Baldcyclist has a two-wheel trailer, which will be "more challenging" off-road but for 15km up a land rover track it should be fine, even if you have to unhitch briefly to drag it over some awkward section while your 10-year-old laughs/complains about the midges...

    The Red House bothy ( might make a good destination for a first trip - no tent required.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  11. Arellcat

    @neddie, no he isn't.

    Posted 1 month ago #

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