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I live in Bulgaria and I am looking for suggestions for budget mountain bike with opportunities for upgrade, budget 400-500$ . I am planning to travel from home to work (dayly) and to take part in competitions like 100 km (about 63 miles) mountain lap called the "The 100km Vitosha Lap" and to have occasional drifts in the mountain .

My choice so for goes for Drag Ontario Pro. I have heard good things about Sprint Apolon too, but I am not so impressed. 2nd hand RAM or Scott are also an options.

I am interested to hear suggestions and if you don't know what to recommend me in that price range advices what I should be looking for when buying a bike with options for later upgrade.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Assuming a new bike, look at the Scott Aspect 30, 20, or 10, depending on your budget.

They all use the same frame, and the only difference is components.

When you buy a bike with the intent to upgrade, realize you will spend far more long term, than if you bought your bike ready built with the same components you upgraded to. I understand why it can be better to do it that way to break up the cost, but it does cost a lot more money overall.

I would make sure you buy a bike with good wheels, a good frame, and a good fork. Those parts are astronomically more expensive to upgrade to than to buy on the bike.

Your budget is fairly low, so if you have the option, save a bit more before you buy. A budget of $800-1000 is more appropriate if you can afford to make it work. It allows the wheels and fork to be quality enough that upgrading the other components becomes worthwhile.

If you can make that budget work, then look at the Scott Scale line.

I like and recommend Scott bikes for you because they are readily available in Europe, and they make high quality bikes at a reasonable price.

I hope this is helpful to you.

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+1 every word is excellent advice. –  heltonbiker Jan 17 '12 at 11:58

You might also want to consider a used bike - you'll be able to get more for your money and if / when stuff wears out you can upgrade it as you go.

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True, although you must be very careful about what you buy used. Too many people don't know enough about the mechanical aspects of their bike to make informed decisions about used bikes. –  zenbike Jan 17 '12 at 9:43
    
@zenbike Good thing research is free then. –  cmannett85 Jan 17 '12 at 20:06
    
@cbamber85: It is good. But you need to know what to look for, and what to research. I always advocate both being careful with used purchases, and learning as much as your LBS mechanic knows about your bike. With some mechanics/shops, learn more. I was not trying to knock the suggestion. Only putting out a note of caution. –  zenbike Jan 18 '12 at 10:01

Later upgrade means mostly "default" component sizes most common on medium-quality bikes and good quality bikes, but often not found in very cheap supermarket bikes:

  • Cassette cogset (not threaded one);
  • Quick release axles and seatpost;
  • Vertical dropouts with separate derailer hanger;
  • Three-piece crankset;
  • Oversize head tube;
  • Threaded bottle cage holes in the frame

With a bike with these features, you will always be able to upgrade to "modern" mountain bike components.

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This is also true. It assumes a very basic level of bike which may not be worthwhile to upgrade. I think you are recommending staying away from supermarket grade bikes, which I absolutely agree with. However, I would say even the basic level of LBS level bikes suffers from a similar malady as supermarket bikes, if not as severe. They tend to use designs which are quality, but a year or two (or 5) behind the newest. Which means that by the time you are ready to upgrade, you may require far more parts than you would like to maintain compatibility with the all the new components. –  zenbike Jan 17 '12 at 10:03

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