Hi MBA, I’m looking to get into mountain bike events like the Cape to Cape stage race and want to get a dual suspension bike for under $2,000. Any suggestions?
I live in the Pilbara, so there are no bike shops around here. I’m trying to do research on the net but it’s hard to know what to look for and what’s good for the price. I currently have a Giant Iguana hardtail. It’s been a good bike but it’s now time to update.
You’ll be pretty safe if you stick with the major brands like Giant, Specialized, Trek, Merida, Apollo and so on. They all have really competitive offerings. Unless you’ve got very specific needs and wants, you’re probably best off running with the brand or brands that are sold by the store that’s most accessible to you. Obviously there are no locally based stores where you are but you’ll have to buy it from somewhere—perhaps a trip to the ‘big smoke’ is in order.
If you can pick and choose, go to a store that specialises in mountain bikes rather than one that primarily deals with road bikes and just moves a few MTBs on the side. Staff who are keen mountain bikers should be able to offer good advice and get you onto an appropriately sized bike.
At an ‘entry level’ price point, you’ll probably be looking at a 100mm travel dually and that should be fine for the use that you’ve described. Full suspension bikes that sell for less than $2,000 won’t be light however, but they can be more fun to ride than a hardtail if your trails are rough.
If you want to get a little serious with your racing, a hardtail may still be worth considering. It’ll be lighter and have better quality running gear for the same dollar value. Many marathon races are run on relatively smooth and fire trail heavy courses—this could make a hardtail the better option if you want to stick below $2,000 and still be competitive in this style of event.