My first AR was the Boar 6 hour and my second will be the 12 hour Nocatee race. For the first race, I borrowed a friends "Target" bike but I am looking for my own bike for this race or the one after.
I have a max budget of $400 - $500 and am looking for a make that is light and durable enough to cope with the kind of trails we ride. As a noob, I know little of what are the good bike models within my budget so thought i'd throw this out there.
I switched from an upgraded Gravity to a Trek Mamba for the Nocatee AR and I'll never look back. This Trek is 1/2 the weight and built for AR racing. The issue is the price. I have about $1,500+ in the bike after upgrading the saddle, tires, grips and pedals and adding a computer and lights. My suggestion is to get on craigslist and shop for a good Trek, Specialized or Cannondale mountain bike. Do some homework on each home page before buying. You should look for a hard tail (no rear suspension). It lessens the over-all weight. Make sure it's sized right for you. Go to a local bike shop and get sized. Also another huge suggestion is look for a 29'er. 29" wheels vs. 26" wheels. Huge difference. Trek's home page does a terrific job explaining the geometry behind the increased diameter. Maneuverability is not an issue since introducing Trek's G2 technology designed by Gary Fisher. In any event, I hope this helps. Good luck and I'll see you at a Pangea event again sometime in 2012.
Hey Nate I to am new the AR but not mountain biking. I currently have a Nishiki Colorado wich is front suspension. It is a great bike however I bought it in 1994 so it has seen plenty of use. I agree with the other posting look at the Trek bikes they do have a 29er for around $550 it is called the wahoo model and should do the job for you. I personally will be buying myself anf the wife the Marlin model which is one step up from the wahoo. Either way a "target" bike is not the ideal bike to use. If you are looking for a bargain I would be willing to sell my Nishiki to you for a reasonable price.
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