T Nation

Mountain Bike Recommendations


Hey Guys,

I was hoping there were some peeps on here that know some things about mountain bikes. My old street bike finally broke last summer ( It was older than I was). I am now looking for a new mountain bike that I can ride in the street and take on trails as well.

I want to spend less than $400 no ifs and s or buts because I am a college student and my money could go to better places like saving for a house. I'm not sure what type of frame I would like, I'd be happy with a hardtail or fully rigid. Other than that though everything is negotiable.

If you guys have any recommendations please let me know. Thanks.


I stumbled across another thread and I think I have decided on a rigid frame/front suspension.


Well really its going to come down to what kind of trails you are going to want to ride on. Also if most of your riding is going to be in the city on the streets or paved trails I would go for a hard tail, a full suspension will waste a lot of energy. Another option that I like is checking out the used sport stores, you can ussually find something good there. Personally I would't go full rigid, I would take front supsension. What I did when I bought my bike was rented a few to see how they felt which was good, because all my friends were saying go with a soft tail, but when I tried a couple of them out, I hated riding them, its really different riding one, and unless you are willing to spend some good money a soft tail wont be a great way to go. One web site that is good to check out is www.pinkbike.com
If you have any questions or anything else I can help you with just pm or email me.
Peace Adam


I don't know how often and/or how intense you intend on riding, but assuming you're looking for at least a front suspension bike that's of serious quality, then I'd recommend, b/c of the cost you're trying to stick to, a Specialized Rockhopper or Stumpjumper.
Both are great entry-level mountain bikes.
The nice thing about Specialized is that they make a great, durable bike that takes a lot of punishment.
Specialized frames are among the best, and the components that come standard on those models are typically Shimano Diores, or possibly a bit better. It'll probably come w/ a Roxx Shox Judy front fork, but the newer versions may have a Fox or low-end Marzochi 3'-5' front suspension fork.
At $400, you'd be wise to look for last year's models still sitting around bike showroom floors, or rather hold off until August-September until the next year's models beginning hitting stores.
Hope that helps.

p.s. Once you graduate school and begin making more $$, I'd suggest you look into a Santa Cruz. I bought a Heckler, last year; I don't have body organs worth as much as this thing...though, given the stuff I ride, it's well worth it.

Enjoy the Trails!!!! - chris


I have to agree with Lock on the Specilized frames. I should have mentioned that in my above post. I've bent a couple frames doing small jumps, but my spcilized hardrock has stood up well. Last year while I was weghing in between 260 and 270, I was able to drop off 10 foot jumps without damaging anything.

Other frames I've had cant remember the make were bending over 2 or 3 foot jumps at that weight. Another thing make sure you get a frame that fits your body size and riding style.


Specialized is great for an entry lovel bike. You can usually get a good deal on what you're ending up with.


I went and test rode a Specialized Hardrock and a Trek 4300 today.

I know Specialized has a good rap but what about Trek?