What would be a good bike which would be low priced and work for a rookie?


Forget about chain store big box stuff - cheap, nasty and comes with no support, They typically ride like pigs, and are usually exceptional heavy. You get exactly what you pay for - I won't put by 10 year old on one.

Cheapest is second hand, next cheapest is last years model on 50% mark down. Either way, go visit the LBS's around you and find one that has lots of kids bikes - its a sign they know about tight budgets. They also tend to be keen on the returning customers (kids grow out of bikes really quickly), so tend to give good service despite you not putting downs $1000's on a flash bike.

Do not pay sticker price. negotiate.... You will also need things like pump, helmet, spare tube etc. The LBS will also make sure you get the right sized bike.

If they are still out of your price, ask if they will check a second hand bike if you bring one in. A few dollars spent doing this and you will end up with a better bike for less money than a chain store bike.


This is highly dependent on the market you're in. The most important thing to do is have a bike that fits appropriately. You may want to look at used mountain bikes as well, since you usually get more bang for your buck there (but get the frame and wheels and stuff checked over before you buy, so there are no cracks and unwelcome surprises).

I would recommend sticking with a hard tail to begin with (front fork, rear rigid). Wheel size is personal - 26" or 29" are recommended since they are cheaper than 650b, with 26" probably being a bit cheaper than 29", but this is still preference. Decent disc brakes are a plus (probably hydraulic ones are favorable, but you'll survive with mechanical) but remember for many years people used V brakes or canti's and were alright. There are a variety of budget forks out which are suitable for beginners to go offroad made by companies like SR Suntour primarily (their XC_ lines), and a bit fancier ones made by RockShox, Marzocchi, Fox, etc - a lock out feature is useful if you're also using it on the road. Tire selection is surface dependent. Since its your first bike, you can be a bit cheap with components like derailleur, shifters, etc. (Acera level should be fine), and upgrade things as they break.

  • I have a (limited) observation, that XCR is the same price, but much better tan XCM and XCT.
    – Vorac
    Mar 5 '14 at 10:03

If there is a Target or Walmart near by I would recommend simply buying a cheap, 250 or so dollar, mountain bike from them. These are cheap and work great for a couple of years or so depending on how often you like to ride.

  • 1
    I disagree. For around $350 you can get a significantly better entry-level mountain bike from your LBS. In fact, the high dollar big-box-store bikes are actually the worst because they typically include a rear shock, which are always awful at that price range. If you go the big box route, it's better to get the cheapest hard tail you can find, probably in the $150 range, and plan to replace the fork fairly soon.
    – jimchristie
    Mar 3 '14 at 22:46
  • Cool. I will check this out. When I go to the LBS they normally start in the thousands of dollars. Maybe this is not the same at every LBS.
    – user_loser
    Mar 3 '14 at 23:21
  • The stuff in the windows will be in the thousands, but there are plenty of ~500 dollar entry level mountain bikes (350 may be a bit too low these days for the starting point) in almost all LBS's (unless, you live in say, Dubai...). Walmart and Target bikes are specifically designed and labeled to not be taken offroad - all their "mountain bike"-ness is purely aesthetic. This is downright dangerous if you really want to do mountain biking.
    – Batman
    Mar 4 '14 at 1:27
  • It is easy to ride in the dirt and stuff with a Walmart or Target bike. I have never had any terrible accidents. I am not extreme or anything though and do not try to do loops on jumps and stuff. If you just want a cheap bike to fart around on a bike from Target or Walmart is awesome. I think an expensive bike is just paying for some brand recognition but without anything much better than some cheap bike.
    – user_loser
    Mar 4 '14 at 5:04
  • @user_loser for the most part, the bikes themselves do hold up well over the years while farting around dirt trails, but you still get what you pay for. I myself commute on a 2008 Schwinn "MTB" from Meijer, but I have had to replace freewheel before 100 miles, replace the bottom bracket this past winter, and just had to grease brake bosses that never were. In all I have put $100 into a $200 bike in replacement parts and I haven't hit 5k miles yet. My wife has a Jamis hybrid from the LBS. Sure it cost more, and is still entry, but the weight, components, and feel are way better.
    – BPugh
    Mar 4 '14 at 13:18

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.