questionscan anyone recommend a good mountain bike for…

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I suggest you don't get a mountain bike. Sounds like you want a crossover or comfort bike. A crossover (or whatever you want to call it) would be geared and built for some rough terrain, but often don't have as expensive and light of frames and don't have full suspension.

What kind of surface(s) will you be riding on? How far will you be traveling each way? How long will you be using the bike for?

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I hate to say this, but unless you find a good deal on craigslist, your price range looks a lot like Walmart and/or Target are going to be your best selection for your money. You should be able to get a 18 or 21 speed aluminum frame bike for around $150.

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@thepenrod: Mostly asphalt w/hills. Since im in west central louisiana the roads are very bad. Thats why I wanted to go for a mountain bike but I will look into comfort/crossover bikes. If you anyone could hook me up with any good sites that would be greatly appreciated.

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@moronbrigade: I'm serious about Walmart. You probably want as light of a bike as you can afford (maybe something with a front suspension) but your price range limits you for a quality bike. If you only need it to last a couple of years, then this should work well -

http://www.walmart.com/ip/700C-Men-s-Schwinn-Solitaire-Hybrid-Bike/13398140

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Wal-mart and Target are bad places to buy a bike cuz the guy who just stocked the pickles is the one assembling your bike. I've seen forks put on backwards, brakes not adjusted, bent wheels, and more walking around those stores.

Buy the cheapest bike at a real bike shop. They should also give you a free tune-up after a month or two when the break and gear shift cables stretch. They'll also show you how to change a flat tire and can help you put together a roadside emergency kit for flat tires and other minor repairs.

Lastly, the cheapest bike at a real bike store is a much better bike than the most expensive at Target or Walmart.

Good luck and have fun!

PS: I ride my bike to work half the time.

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I would recommend no matter what you buy, shop for a bike with Shimano components. Even their cheapest line (Alivio) are great. I now have Deore XTs which I love, but I rode the Alivio components hard growing up and I only had to replace 1 derailleur in 5 years. Check out Dick's Sporting Goods. They have some decent low end frames with nice entry level components.

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Shop for a used bike. You won't find a new bike that is any good for that price, they will fall apart on you. Look for something like a Schwinn Mesa, I had one for 5 years and I beat the hell out of it on the trails.

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I recommend calling local bike shops and asking if they have any used or trade in bikes. Be honest about your budget and what you are looking for. And look on the boards at bike shops. We are a big biking family, and someone bought my daughter a bike for $250 last year to just cruise around town. Well, within months she nearly crashed (on a city sidewalk) because the components were crap and the deraileur broke. On the other hand, we got my son a used Trek mountain bike for $250 at a bike shop and he has actually been riding it on big hills for 2 years. Still going strong with no problems.

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@lordopie: Totally agree. Components are so crappy on dept. store bikes, that they won't stay in adjustment. Brakes won't stop, and shifters won't shift. It's all about brakes and derailerarrrrs (really, who can spell that word?).

Also, jumping off @uranus633, a $100 used bike + $100 in tune-up at a bike shop (assuming you're not handy) can net you a bike that's really worth several hundred dollars.

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@lordopie, @Spike443, This is not always true. and if you don't trust that they put together isn't correct then take the bike to a bike shop to have them "tune" it. I bought a really nice Mongoose mountain bike(I call it Walgoose) at walmart about a year ago and have had no problems with it what so ever and I am an avid biker. I just can't afford the ridiculous prices that shops like to charge for their bikes.

I've noticed that Buying a mountain bike at Walmart I'm looked at like I bought a PC instead of a Mac or one video game system instead of another. All the "Bike Enthusiasts" scoff anyone who bought a bike at Walmart, and think that they must not know anything about biking if they committed the sin of buying a bike at Walmart.

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@moronbrigade: Also what Size of a bike are you searching for? A 26" or a 29"

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@segafanalways: 26 & 29 would be the tire size
most bikes for adults run 15.5 inch frame and up
when you are straddling the frame you should have
a couple inches of space between you and the frame
This is why it would be a good idea to start at a
bike shop so they can help size you properly and
help you narrow down what style bike would suit
you best hope this helps and good luck

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@thepenrod: I have to agree that the 2 Schwinn bikes we got at Wal-Mart 2 1/2 years back are still in great shape. We paid about $250 each for them. We only ride them around the local area but they have been through a lot. I am very pleased with them.

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@moronbrigade I am a mountain biker and if you want a bike that will be good for cross country/woods you will definitely need to spend more. my bike was $3600 but we got a deal for 2600... a good bike will cost you about 800 dollars at the least don't get huffys, tiaras, or diamonds. they are terrible.

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@moronbrigade: Shirks bike shops, betat bicycles, Capitol Shwinn Cyclery and etc. ... those are some great shops.

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For $200 you're not going to find a rockstar bike. You're going to be very limited to either a used bike or a department store bike like Walmart or Target.

I would recommend that you go with a used bike as you can find one that is better quality for a cheaper price. Personally, I have bought several bikes off of Craigslist that are all excellent quality. In fact I found a Kona mountain bike for about $150 just this past year. It was a great deal.

You want to put your focus into finding a good brand. A good brand will have good bikes that you won't have to worry about breaking down on you. You can find a list of some of the most respected mountain bike brands here: http://www.texasmountainbiketrails.com/good-mountain-bike-brands/.

Look on Craigslist for these brands and you will find a winner.