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Mountain Bikes - General Tips & Comments

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9 Reviews

How do you choose your mountain bikes?

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    9 Reviews
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      25.01.2009 23:14
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      Excellent spec bike for the money

      In the market for a beginners hard tail mountain bike? Step forward the Carrera Fury....Okay okay, I hear you muttering under your breath, oh, but thats from Halfords. I agree, I to had the same reservations, but then I bought one....

      Frame -

      The frame is a decent disc-only aluminium cross country frame, with the usual head tube gusset to reinforce the front end. Unlike the lower end Carreras, you'll find that all tubes are butted, too.The seat stays are quite spindly though and give small amount of flex, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

      Equipment -

      The wheels feature Shimano hubs, eyeletted rims, and Continental tyres that are more suitable for a British summer rather than winter. I'd have liked to have seen some more beefy tyres for those boggy, winter trail rides.

      Despite the investment in the fork, which retails for £180, the Carrera also gets a decent groupset, with a 27-speed SRAM X7 and X5 shifters.

      The twin-piston Tektro hydraulic discs are technically a notch down from the company's 'Comp' version, but although they don't have a two-piece lever clamp (for removal with grips in situ), actual braking performance is distinguishable only by rotor size. And lets face it, at this level, you aren't going to notice it.

      Ride -

      The Carrera has a spacious XC reach that's just right for winding up the pace in or out of the saddle. A bit more of your bodyweight on the front end instead of the saddle means you can lean steer it through twisty singletrack better, too.

      What's most significant though, is the RockShox Tora fork. For a £500 bike, it's outstanding. Its damped travel is adjustable between 85 and 130mm at the turn of a dial. Youu can lock it out, and you can adjust the rebound. On the trail it feels firm and controlled, whether you're balancing on the pedals over rock gardens, or landing drop-offs. It's not particularly light but at this price that's hardly a criticism.

      Summary - The Carrera is a benchmark £500 cross country bike with no obvious economies. Don't let the fact that its from Halfords put you off. I've had mine for 6 months now and don't regret buying it for a second.

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        12.10.2003 00:19
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        I rode a friends bike with disc brakes and was very impressed with the performance of them. Unfortunately as my frame and forks did not have the relevant mounting points things were not looking good for upgrading my bike. Then I found the Magura HS33 Hydraulic Rim Brakes. These brakes work in a similar way to conventional brakes but are hydraulic rather than cable driven. I searched the Internet and found a complete set for a little under £100. I paid my money and waited a few days for the package to arrive. The set included everything required (except the tools) to fit both front and read brakes in one box and even include brake boosters to stop your frame bending (they are so powerful that can see the frame flexing if you don’t use the booster). They are straightforward to fit as long as you follow the instructions. The most difficult stage is the shortening of the pipes from the levers to the brake pistons. Even this is fairly straightforward with a sharp knife. (just be careful not to operate the brake lever until you have reassembled everything). Once all the components are attached it is necessary to set up the brakes. This can be a little tricky but is not too difficult. Then off you go (or actually stop!). The brakes are much better than cable brakes, and although not as good as disc brakes, are still extremely effective. The manual warns you that you will experience increased wear on the wheel rims, although I haven’t noticed this to be a problem (well not yet). As the pads wear down you can adjust the brakes using the thumb wheels on the levers, these move the pads inwards to reduce the amount of travel in the lever before the brakes start to operate so you can keep them feeling great without fiddling around. The brakes require much less effort to operate and are far more controllable than cable brakes. One downside is that you will get through your tyres much more quickly if you aren't careful! As they o
        perate on the rim rather than a disc you will still suffer from problems associated with mud on the rims when riding off road. However there a number of different pads available: Black - Standard pads Grey - Standard pads designed to work better on anodised or ceramic rims Kool stop – Better stopping power in dry conditions. Green Frog – Better stopping power particularly in wet conditions. All in all a good buy, shop around and you should get them for under £100 – try www.chainreactioncycles.com and they even deliver for free!

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        26.09.2001 20:39
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        What do you look for when looking for a Mountain Bike frame. Here are some questions you should ask yourself: 1) Do you want suspension - if so how much travel. Full suspension bikes come in many shapes and sizes. Firstly you must consider what type of Mountain biking you are doing. If trail riding, 2-4 inches should surfice, whereas, for down hilling you should be looking for at least 6 inches. If you are a lightweight XC racer, a ridgid rear end is still the most popular choice, as you'll go faster (less bob), and the bike will be much lighter. What is bob? Bob is the word given to what happens with suspension as you pedal. What happens is that when weight is applied to the pedals, some of your effort is converted into compressing the shock instead of turning the rear wheel. As a consequence, it can be more tiring to ride a full suspension bike. 2) What different frame mterials are availible, and what are their characteristics? Aluminium - Very lightweight however not as strong as steel or titanium. Large diameter tubes are common as the increase stifness. Many full suspension frames are made from this, and you can get an aluminium from as little as £200, although the build quality won't be up to much. Look out for Butted frames, which can be half the weight, and take some of the ridgity out of the frame. - Buy if you are looking for a lightweight ridgid rocket! Titanium - Many different types of titanium are availible, and although it is considered by many as a 'wonder metal', it is uncommon because of its hefty price tag. For the cheapest, about £600 for a airborne, but for the best about £1500 - £2000 for a litespeed. Steel - Some steel frames are, and I agree, heavy, cheaply built, and generally won't last a long time. These frames you will find on the very most basic of bikes, e.g Apollos and Falcons. When you look further up the price
        range a whole new range of possibilities become availible. It is fairly well known for a decent steel frame to feel better than titanium or aluminium, and be more durable at the same time. I've recently bought a Full-Dynamix steel frame, its as light as any aluminium frame, and handles like an absolute dream, so don't write steel off as a frame material, just because of its heavy cheaper counterparts.

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          11.05.2001 04:44
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          well seeing as i have written a long opinion about B.M.Xing, I thought ide write you all an opinion about trials riding. What is trials riding?!?! i hear u screaming at your computer! Well trials riding is basically where you move around a course which can be naturally made by nature ie rocks and tree trunks and stuff like that or it can be man made ie big barells and other bits like that put together to form a course. The idea is get around it without touching the thing beneath you with your feet or your pedal and to do this you need a great deal of balance! its one thing you really need to master as well as the other things which i will tell you about in a miniute. Im going to give u a better description of a trials course because it might not be very clear to you at this point. imagine a forest with a few trees that have fallen down maybe creating a path. It has a few big rocks around them aswell.imagine them quite close together. Yu would have to say start on the first log in the course and bunny hop forward onto the next tree stump or log or rock. You would have to be able to stop and balance and be able to square your bike up for the next jump, as you get more confident and better, you can get onto better courses. Incase you are wondering, bunny hopping is where you somehow manage to jump and both wheels leave the ground, the better you get at it the more complex hop you can do. As you get more confident you can bunny hop sideways, do like a 90' hop or if you get really good you can lean back on your back wheel and hop like that I can only manage a few but im getting there. Where I live there is not many natural places to ride so I have to scour the streets in search of places to ride. My favourite thing to do is to side hop down steps od side hop of one wall onto another, Its pretty scary when you do it but its really cool when you pull it off, especially if people are watching :) Basically you find an o
          bstical and try to ride over it or up it or off it or whatever. People do Trials riding at a professional level and if you are lucky enough to get a sponsorship deal then thats when the fun starts. You are invited to competitions, bike demos and basically you become famous in the biking world. The next thing youll need to know is what bike to get. Well none other than a Trials bike will do. They differ from a normal mens bike frame. The whole frame slants bak at about a 40' angle. They are light and very strong. They have minimal amount of gears some dont even have any atall they just have the single chainset. They dont have a front mech,usually if they dont come like it people will put a small B.M.X chain ring on the crank and on the wheel. Usually they have hard straight front forks instead of suspension and they dont have rear suspension. They are odd looking bikes as the seat post is put right down to the frame so basically it looks like the seat is attatched straight to the frame. This is so when u jump u can bend your knees alot to get alot of height and to cushion a landing, so you dont have a seat up your arse, but its there if u bend to far if you know what i mean. Hydraulic brakes are very useful. There extremely powerful. When I pull my rear brake it is so strong you can see the frame bending either side of the wheel! This kind of bike is great fun to pull great tricks on, like endos and stoppies and complicated tricks I have not yet mastered. Oh I have forgot to include price! Well basically you get what you pay for! I have a Raleigh Fishbed and its a slalom bike so i kinda improvise abit when i trials ride. It cost £499 which is good price for the spec on it. You can pay alot less but as I said the more you pay the better the bike. I think one really good option if you have the money time and knowlege is to buy a frame and then custom build it, I havent really come to any conclusion wether or not
          it is cheaper that way but atleast you can put on what you want. As far as fitness is concerned, You need to be physically strong and quite tall, The stronger you are the more control you have over your bike and you have more strength to jump higher and further. well if you would like to know more just ask

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            10.03.2001 17:34
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            I like bikes a lot but have stop riding because I have broken mine. There are many types of bikes out there: Trials, Mountain, Dual Suspension, Hard Tail and many more. I'm going to write about Dual Suspensions. Dual Suspensions are bikes with front and back suspension they are made for off road terrain the suspension can be hydraulic, air pressure, oil bath plus a few more. A good dual suspension would cost from 400 pound if you don’t want it to break. It needs strong wheels and frame so it can take anything you throw at it. Some good brands who make these types of bikes are Saracen and Carrera. Dual Suspension bikes can cost about 2,500 pound (Saracen Addiction) which is a great bike. You want a frame to be quite light but still strong so it won’t snap if you go over a jump (which can happen). You need a lot of springiness in your suspension so the wheels don’t take the full force of the landing. A good brand that makes wheels is Mavic or Vuelta but their products are quite expensive. I recommend dual suspensions because of the great fun factor and the fact that you can go almost anywhere on your bike.

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            05.02.2001 23:15
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            So you're going to invest in a new Mountain bike? How do you choose? New or secondhand? What make? Shop or mail order? what size should it be? Now for some answers! First thing is to ask yourself some Questions: 1. What am I going to use it for? 2. How much am I willing to spend? 3. Am I confident enough with sizing, mechanics etc to know a good buy secondhand when I see one? There are lots of types of MTB & I will try to categorize them for you! 1. Cross Country Race or trail Bikes 2. Downhill bikes 3. Jump/Dual/Duel/Freeride bikes 4. Trials Bikes 5. Crap! The first rule to Buying a new bike is the £250/£300 Rule anything much under this is likely to come in category 5! These bikes will be heavy, slow & sometimes downright dangerous! They also use cheap components in hidden areas such as bearings that wear quickly & thus are a false economy! When Buying new go with "Big name" Brands or custom specced Bike Shop Kit AVOID £79 Makro specials - you know what I mean! Avoid the suspension trap; suspension like all components has to be paid for, therefore it follows that a full - suspension bike at the same price as a Rigid or Hardtail model will be downgraded in other areas & will 9.9999 times out of ten be heavier than its counterpart! Sizing: when sizing a bike make sure youu have a minimum of 2" clearance on a rigid or hardtail bike & a minimum of 4" on a full-sus, you have been warned; it's your love life! The most important part of a bike is it's frame, other components can be upgraded as & when they wear out but a good frame is fundamental. (look to leave your options open, for instance disc mounts are a must even if you don't think you'll use em now....) A good Bike shop should be able to advise you on all this & make sure you get a test ride - if the shop won't let you ta
            ke it out then walk away; there are plenty of others that will. Avoid Mail order unless you know EXACTLY what you want, although remember if something does go wrong with it, it could be an inconvenience if your shop is 150 miles away! As a general rule - pick a type of bike best suited to your uses & pay as much as you can afford! Don't for instance buy a full susser with 8" of travel to go down the shops, why carry the extra 20lb in weight & as a plus you'll look bloody silly outside Tesco's on it! Remember to budget for other kit you'll need like shoes, lights, HELMET, camelback etc. -------------------------------------------- So you know one end of the bike from the other, you've owned one or two & now you want that dream bike but it costs a bit too much new... Or maybe you want a cheap first model.... Who knows...! If you don't know what you're looking at take someone who does! Take cash - you'll get a better deal if you "drive it away"! Look to take all their spares & accessories with it, especially if they're getting out of the sport, anything not worth using you can always junk! So my advice on what to look for secondhand: Try it for size Ride it, leave your car keys or a friend with them for security if they ask.. Listen for any funny noises - grinding etc. Carefully inspect the frame & forks for cracks, especially round any of the joints. Check the frame alignment as best you can by eye, you'll see anything that's grossly bent! Make sure the suspension works, isn't leaking & doesn't make any horrible noises. Find out when it was last serviced. Get them to show you how the suspension is adjust & do so to make sure that for instance a dodgy valve hasn't been sealed shut or whatever. Make sure the headset turns smoothly.
            Check the seatpost isn't stuck in the frame by moving it Change all the gears & check nothing is bent Check the wheel bearing by moving them side to side - they shouldn't rattle Grab the cranks; push & pull & make sure there is no BB movement. Wiggle the pedals & make sure there is no movement there. Check the brakes work, if hydraulic check for leaks, see if they have the bleed kit. Any problems with bearings / components remember they can always be replaced but make sure the underlying cause isn't more expensive / serious & bargain hard if you do find anything that needs doing! I think that's about the best I can offer! Other than Good luck & remember don't buy from a Pub car park & definitely don't buy anything Hot, if it looks too good to be true it just might be... You can check local police records for a frame number or verify with datatag if registered.

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              01.12.2000 22:50
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              The best in sprung mtbs, The I drive is so smooth and the bike is so silky that this bike is a pleasure to ride anywhere. The research I did into this bike before buying it warned of problems with mud in the I drive system, my friends told me this was a bike designed for california and not Suffolk. I bought it any way. I have covered 3000 miles trough Suffolk mud and on roads. It has never let me down and is quite the smoothest bike I have ever ridden. Tough yes. Durable seems to be so far. A great all rounder both uphill and down. It is downhill that this bike really shines it has control and the judy shocks really do keep the front in line but through it all the I drive really keeps the drive on the ground and it really is a competitive machine. Well worth a try and well worth the money.

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                07.10.2000 02:32
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                Well it is in my belief that you have to be an xtra hard man to do mountain biking ive been doing it for about three years and have competed several times on downhill tracks luckily i havent broken any bones but i am covered in bruises and i have about 1000 scars on my legs. If you have only just started to mountain bike and you are looking to find out which bike you want for a cheapish price i would bye the specialized hard rock - this is quite good and is only 300 pound - yet if you are a keen mbiker and have 3,000 grand to spare do what i did and buy the stinky deluxe - this is the best bike ever with hydraulic disc brakes and some sweet bomber monster t forks i would recommened this to any biker i have ever met it has a wicked ride especially when doing a 25ft dropoff??!! well it is in my belief that all mountain bikers are hard but skateboarding is also one of my favourite sports as well?! i leave it in your hands!!

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                  04.10.2000 00:02
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                  After using a racer for many years, it was a pleasant suprise to ride on a mountain bike - its brakes were amazing, much better than than I had expected they would be. The reason for this is the braking system, called V-Brakes (also know as linear pull (i think)) They are really powerful, and also easy to adjust! Older types of brakes needed 3 pairs of hands, these are a joy to work with. I know disc brakes have at least, if not better stopping power, but disc brakes are more expensive. If your bike has normal brakes (side-pull, or canti-lever) and you want better stopping power you could do worse than checking at your local bike shop to see if V-Brakes can be fitted. Dont forget if you do upgrade that you should also upgrade the brake levers as well, this is important as normal brake levers *should not* be used with V-Brakes. The biggest problem I had with them was that they were so powerfull I was skidding everywhere and wearing my tires out at first until I familiarised myself with them. Unless I get a bike with disk brakes, I will be making sure V-Brakes are fitted on any bike I buy!

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