Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
guitarguy
Posts: 1705
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by guitarguy » Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:53 pm

DW and I have decided to buy bikes! Yay!

Since we have not had bikes since we were children and much of our friend/family circle is bike-less, we are looking for some recommendations and advice to help aside from what we can find on google.

Our usage expectation: 80% riding on pavement in a city type atmosphere commuting to restaurants and light shopping, and on paved bike routes thorough local parks, but we also would like to have something that can handle some light trail riding on other terrain without too much issue. I could see myself getting into other non-pavement trails and that type of terrain more easily than DW, but we'd both like the option to be there even though we know the primary use will be on pavement.

Our budget is hopefully in the $400 range (or under of course) to find something of decent quality for beginner riders with our usage expectations.

Any advice or recommendations would be helpful!

rebellovw
Posts: 240
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:30 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by rebellovw » Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:59 pm

Main advice is don't go cheap. Stick to shimono/sram middle grade or higher drive trains.

Cheap drivetrains can be dangerous.

rebellovw
Posts: 240
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2016 4:30 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by rebellovw » Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:07 pm

Hybrid city bike sounds like what you may be looking for. Check out the Giant/trek/specialized versions. Good for street and with side bags shopping.

Wricha
Posts: 254
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:33 am

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by Wricha » Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:13 pm

I hate to break this news to you but you may have to up your budget to get a decent bike. No one like working or maintaining a cheap bike. A decent bike is a pleasure to ride a cheap bike is a nightmare.

runner3081
Posts: 770
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:22 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by runner3081 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:21 pm

Buy a nicer used bike. Plenty of room with that budget.

guitarguy
Posts: 1705
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by guitarguy » Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:57 pm

Wricha wrote:I hate to break this news to you but you may have to up your budget to get a decent bike. No one like working or maintaining a cheap bike. A decent bike is a pleasure to ride a cheap bike is a nightmare.
We don't have a problem upping the budget a bit if we're upping it for good reasons and not bells and whistles.

Just keeping in mind we're not going on 30 mile rides or climbing mountains here...casual beginner use will be more our speed.

FRANK2009
Posts: 316
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2007 6:16 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by FRANK2009 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:04 pm

A bit more than your budget but here's a review for a bike that may work for you.


http://thesweethome.com/reviews/best-hy ... uter-bike/

User avatar
ClevrChico
Posts: 1007
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:24 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by ClevrChico » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:20 pm

I love my Electra, which is owned by Trek.

http://www.electrabike.com/

They offer cruiser type bikes with crank forward design, which is nicely ergonomic. It's so comfortable that I ride a lot more than I would otherwise.

I don't believe they would do well for any challenging terrain, as they are more a city bike. They have quality components and are priced accordingly.

User avatar
bogleblitz
Posts: 407
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:51 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by bogleblitz » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:31 pm

What is wrong with $99 - $200 bikes at target , Walmart or Kmart? I've been buying those my whole life and no issues with them.

TallBoy29er
Posts: 227
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:06 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by TallBoy29er » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:43 pm

bogleblitz wrote:What is wrong with $99 - $200 bikes at target , Walmart or Kmart? I've been buying those my whole life and no issues with them.
Part of it is what Wricha said - you cannot work on a cheap bike, the components are low end and don't really allow it. There is a huge difference between a $150 Target bike, and a $400 bike that is made to be maintained. The riding quality is also incredibly different.

Why buy a Honda when you can buy a Mitsubishi or Fiat cheaper? Ha ha.

TTBG
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:16 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by TTBG » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:48 pm

A couple years ago, I also went shopping for my first bike since I was a kid. If DW is like me, ie not interested in going blazingly fast but very interested in not falling over, you might try looking for a "comfort" or "step through" bike. I also gave myself a budget of $400 but ended up splurging for about $600, and I've been very happy with the bike. When the weather is good, I ride about 30-50 miles per week, mostly on paved trails. My bike model doesn't seem to be available anymore but it's similar to the Trek Verve.

User avatar
BogleMelon
Posts: 727
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 11:49 am

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by BogleMelon » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:54 pm

OP me and my DW are in the same exact boat as you!! I found a program near where I live called Bike Exchange where people donate their bike, voulunteers fix it and sell it as used, cheap and with a 30 days return! I think if you have something like that it would be a fit to your budget and in the same time I presume it would be a decent bike (go for well known brands of course). I haven't visited them yet but soon we will.
This is the web site for the them, not sure if the exist near you http://www.bikeexchangenj.org/
Edit: I just noticed it is an NJ only organization. May be if you are in NJ then..

Good luck!
Excuse my English, it is my second language! | | "One of the funny things about stock market, every time one is buying another is selling, and both think they are astute" - William Feather

lightheir
Posts: 2179
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:43 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by lightheir » Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:00 pm

bogleblitz wrote:What is wrong with $99 - $200 bikes at target , Walmart or Kmart? I've been buying those my whole life and no issues with them.
Might be fine for the OP, even though I don't recommend them.

It's as said above - if you get one of these, at BEST it'll be a bike you 'tolerate' when the weather is perfect and you're itching to get outdoors. You might like it the first few times you ride it, but it'll get old pretty quickly.

If that's all the OP aspires to do is a few rides a year of short-distance, then sure, such a <$200 bike will be fine.

However, if OP gets a 'real' bike at a local bike shop (which is unfortunately pretty pricey nowadays, $600 is about as low as they get for adult starter bikes), you're opening the door to potential REGULAR bike rides, if that's what the OP is shooting for. You can both ride and maintain a bike-store bike for a long, long time, whereas the bike-shaped objects they sell for $<200 at Target/Walmart are typically good for minimal rides, and the moment anything goes a bit off, it's the end of the bike since it's cheaper to replace it than fix it. The more you ride, the more periodic maintenance will be needed.

ANd yes, there is a big difference in the build and quality of parts between even the cheapest bike store bike and a typical Walmart <$250 bike. The difference becomes really noticeable once you commit to riding regularly for large chunks of the year, rather than 2-4x/yr total.

livesoft
Posts: 56546
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by livesoft » Sat Jul 08, 2017 5:10 pm

bogleheads.org has the best bike buying advice in past threads on the subject. And still craigslist is a great way to go. You can get 3 or 4 great bikes for the price of new. What to get? Please read the other threads.

$400 for tooling around bikes should be fine for 3 or 4 used bikes. I got a titanium frame road bike with Shimano Ultegra components for that price that I ride almost every day.
This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

2pedals
Posts: 256
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2014 12:31 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by 2pedals » Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:08 pm

I think the hardest part for most people is make sure your have the right frame size. I would go to good local bike shop to have a professional size you for the type of bike you are looking for. After you get a good understand of your bike size you could look around for a used bike unless you want a new bike. Bikes are called many different things urban, city, commuter, fitness, trail, hybrid, comfort, cruiser, mountain, touring, road, etc....

Based on your post features I would be looking for are;

1) Flat bar handle bars -- A more upright for city and urban traveling.
2) Hydraulic disc brakes -- This feature is a must for Seattle and wet weather, disc brakes have less issues with adjustment. I think you will have some difficultly finding a used bike with this feature.
3) Eyelets for front and rear bike racks -- A rear bike rack is essential for urban shopping and commuter, they also help with installation of fenders.
4) I would stay away from the low end components such as Shimano Altus or Shimano Tourney, mid range components would be adequate.
5) The wheels set is important. Maybe people that buy the lower end bikes (~$400) end up with broken spokes. Higher end bikes tend not to have these problems.
6) Reflective side walls for safety -- Good puncture resistant tires with reflective sidewalls, Schwable Marathon is excellent. Note that tubeless is now very popular but probably more for enthusiasts that are willing to pay a bit more.

A bike such as Specialized Sirrus is very popular.
Last edited by 2pedals on Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

badger42
Posts: 171
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:01 am

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by badger42 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:33 pm

As a long-time bike commuter, please be wary of a few of the recommendations here.

Craigslist - at least around here, most likely stolen. Not recommended. If your workplace or similar has a "for sale" board or the electronic equivalent, that's not a bad way to go.

Hydraulic anything - stay far away. They're a huge pain to maintain, and you'll end up relying on a shop who may or may not be good at working on hydros. Also, cheap hydraulics suck a LOT more than cheap cable operated brakes. Mechanical discs or V's are fine.

I would suggest one of the following, or the equivalent from a brand your local bike shop supports.

Jamis Coda Sport - a bit low end on the components (but reliable, my daughter rode one to school for years), very nice steel frame and fork, available in traditional and step-through, can take rack / fenders / etc, and surprisingly decent wheels. About $500-$600 at your local Jamis dealer.

Fairdale Daybird - this is basically a modern old-school three-speed. Gear hub, chain guard (keeps your pants clean without rolling them up), upright position / kickstand / fenders included. I've seen other Fairdale bikes, and they're really nicely put together for the price. also available in traditional and step-through.

Edit: If you want to go a little higher end (nicer components, sportier geometry, etc), the Fairdale Weekend Archer is easily the nicest$850 bike on the market - http://fairdalebikes.com/bikes/2017-weekender-archer/

lightheir
Posts: 2179
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:43 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by lightheir » Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:44 pm

livesoft wrote:bogleheads.org has the best bike buying advice in past threads on the subject. And still craigslist is a great way to go. You can get 3 or 4 great bikes for the price of new. What to get? Please read the other threads.

$400 for tooling around bikes should be fine for 3 or 4 used bikes. I got a titanium frame road bike with Shimano Ultegra components for that price that I ride almost every day.
As good as your buy was, I think it's very important not to give false expectations.

To put it in perspective, I'm sure you know that a new Titanium frame typically sells $2000+ and a functional Ultegra group, even an old one, if it isn't heavily worn, will go for $100+ (the new ultegra group is $750+ alone.)

So don't go around expecting to find a $400 titanium/ultegra road bike on craiglist. Not gonna happen unless you win the lottery.

Here in Norcal, I actually recommend for people to NOT buy used. I've been keeping an eye on Craigslist used bikes just for fun, and the deals are not particularly good at all in general unless you're very lucky. Out of hundreds of bikes I've seen listed, I might have thought maybe 2 or 3 were a 'good' used deal. The others were all priced appropriately for their condition, meaning surprisingly pricey for good condition stuff. YMMV

Last big tip - believe it or not, the cycling ACCESSORIES will be the surprise killer in terms of expenses. Forget all the folks who say "I spent <$100 on accessories and it can be done and it's easy!!" That's a big bunch of bull - the typical cyclist that does it more than 4 times per year, will require: helmet, pump, inner tubes, cycling shorts, likely cycling shoes and pedals if they actually 'train', sunglasses, etc.

No joke, the accessories usually end up costing more than the bike itself, and I'm talking $700+ bikes. (!) I'm not making this up - the local bike shops make most of their money not on their entry level bikes, which turn them nary a tiny profit, but on the accessories, which they sell at big markups since they've captured their user with the point of sale and service on the bike purchase.

livesoft
Posts: 56546
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by livesoft » Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:06 pm

The OP needs a helmet and a decent pump, but the rest of that stuff can come later, if at all. I would not be surprised if Uber was used for a flat tire.
This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

User avatar
Peter Foley
Posts: 4071
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2007 10:34 am
Location: Lake Wobegon

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by Peter Foley » Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:35 pm

My two cents based on 5 years of experience working in a bike shop repairing and rebuilding bikes. We get most of our bikes from city and county recycling events and see a lot of cheap, abused bikes and a few better quality bikes.

There is no problem getting a used bike in your price range, but I would be careful of the brand. Keeping in mind that some manufactures produce both higher end and lower end bikes, I would be inclined to look for a hybrid made by Trek (I have 3) or Giant (2 mountain bikes ) or Diamondback (1 mountain bike). Raleigh and Novara are also good mid priced brands.

These bikes are all easier to tune up than your basic Roadmaster, Magna, or Next. We have seen a number of these big box store bikes assembled incorrectly. Then people wonder why they don't work.

A solid, non hydraulic mountain bike is a reasonable alternative. I run narrower 26 X 1.75 tires with not too aggressive tread on the rear and 1.5 slicks on the front for city trails.

renue74
Posts: 893
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:24 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by renue74 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:36 pm

livesoft wrote:bogleheads.org has the best bike buying advice in past threads on the subject. And still craigslist is a great way to go. You can get 3 or 4 great bikes for the price of new. What to get? Please read the other threads.

$400 for tooling around bikes should be fine for 3 or 4 used bikes. I got a titanium frame road bike with Shimano Ultegra components for that price that I ride almost every day.
This is the best idea. Craigslist is the best place to find bikes. A few years ago I took up road and mountain biking. You have to be patient, but CL will pay off. Also, I noticed in the off season, late fall into winter, there are more options on CL because folks stop using their bikes.

As far as the type of bike, a nice hybrid would be ideal. Do your due diligence and search CL everyday. Once you find a hybrid bike, research it on Bike Radar or some other review site.

Also, do a CL search for that bike type in other markets...to see if the used bike price is within line.

2 Tasty
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:36 am

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by 2 Tasty » Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:46 pm

Contrary to some assertions on this thread, a good bike can be had within the range of the OP's budget and planned activity level. Case in point: I purchased a new Nashbar road bike for just over two hundred dollars a few years ago, and have probably put on a couple thousand miles since that time. The roads here suck, including significant broken asphalt and gravel roads, and I frequently carry excessive weight on the bike when grocery shopping; meanwhile, the only maintenance I have done is to lube the chain, replace tubes, and install tire liners (stupid goatheads bring responsible for the last two). No regrets thus far on my sub-400 dollar bike.

Also, as others have noted, the used bike market is another source of good value, though it requires some knowledge of the market to buy the right bike and then some knowledge to make potential repairs.

Bottom line, don't be afraid to buy a bike within your budget, as it is far superior to a bike you cannot afford or no bike at all.

User avatar
BogleMelon
Posts: 727
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2016 11:49 am

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by BogleMelon » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:32 pm

livesoft wrote: I would not be surprised if Uber was used for a flat tire.
Actually AAA can be used for bike breakdown
Excuse my English, it is my second language! | | "One of the funny things about stock market, every time one is buying another is selling, and both think they are astute" - William Feather

mako171
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:18 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by mako171 » Sat Jul 08, 2017 9:37 pm

Certain bike shops sell used bikes. At least one does near me. Then you can feel good that bike has been tuned up and is not stolen. The other day he had a used Surly Cross Check for $250 that I thought was a pretty good deal.

Another posted about Craigslist in NorCal. Agree with him/her...maybe it was just that area but I was amazed at how few good deals there were on Bay Area CL.

User avatar
El Greco
Posts: 169
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 2:21 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by El Greco » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:30 pm

For a little more than your budget, $450-$500 you can get a Trek Hybrid bike. Beefy enough for a little off roading, tough enough for the city yet also good as a road bike, too. You can sit upright instead of hunched over in the drops. I've owned the same Trek Hybrid for 10 years, (a 7200). It's been wonderfully reliable and trouble-free and still going strong. It was also the first bike I had bought since I was a teenager. I credit it with helping me get my health and fitness back on track.

brennok
Posts: 129
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:18 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by brennok » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:41 pm

As others have said check with your local bike shops, you can get some entry level Giant and Trek for your budget though you might need to up it slightly.

Besides used or clearance bikes, they will usually let you test ride multiple bikes to get a feel for what you like best. For example I found I hate the twist handlebar shifters and prefer the thumb shifters.

HurdyGurdy
Posts: 1166
Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 10:21 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by HurdyGurdy » Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:10 am

This is very good advice: your city may have a bike coop. You will see many different kinds of bikes and learn how to fix very common problems, in addition to getting a good bike for the best price.

BogleMelon wrote:OP me and my DW are in the same exact boat as you!! I found a program near where I live called Bike Exchange where people donate their bike, voulunteers fix it and sell it as used, cheap and with a 30 days return! I think if you have something like that it would be a fit to your budget and in the same time I presume it would be a decent bike (go for well known brands of course). I haven't visited them yet but soon we will.
This is the web site for the them, not sure if the exist near you http://www.bikeexchangenj.org/
Edit: I just noticed it is an NJ only organization. May be if you are in NJ then..

Good luck!

russellh
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:30 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by russellh » Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:17 am

Our budget is hopefully in the $400 range (or under of course) to find something of decent quality for beginner riders with our usage expectations.
Is that $400 per bike (his and hers) or $400 total? It makes a big difference.

Trek has entry level FX bikes for sale at $359. FX2 bikes at $399. These are great starter bikes. If you find you are using and enjoying them, you can upgrade later. If they end up gathering dust, you haven't overspent unnecessarily.

Of course you can spend much, much more, but I have done 100 mile rides on $500 bikes. There is a lot of bang for the buck available at $400-600.

Below $300 is a little scary. Lots of cheap stuff, falling apart, no support, etc.

Harley BenV
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:49 am

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by Harley BenV » Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:27 am

I am currently saving for my first bike though. I am 26 and I own a sedan but not a bike :(

Hopefully by next year I will have a Harley Davidson :happy

Harley BenV
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:49 am

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by Harley BenV » Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:33 am

guitarguy wrote:DW and I have decided to buy bikes! Yay!

Since we have not had bikes since we were children and much of our friend/family circle is bike-less, we are looking for some recommendations and advice to help aside from what we can find on google.

Our usage expectation: 80% riding on pavement in a city type atmosphere commuting to restaurants and light shopping, and on paved bike routes thorough local parks, but we also would like to have something that can handle some light trail riding on other terrain without too much issue. I could see myself getting into other non-pavement trails and that type of terrain more easily than DW, but we'd both like the option to be there even though we know the primary use will be on pavement.

Our budget is hopefully in the $400 range (or under of course) to find something of decent quality for beginner riders with our usage expectations.

Any advice or recommendations would be helpful!

Get a decent bike 150cc, try for suzuki. Have you searched ebay?

fishboat
Posts: 447
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:15 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by fishboat » Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:06 am

OP..go here:

http://www.bikeforums.net/

and do some research. There are sub-forums where you'll find lots of similar people that have gone before you.

There's lots of good advice scattered in the posts here, but to find/recognize it you'll need to know more than you do right now.

Where do you live?

There are lots of ways you could approach what you're doing. One that floats to the top for a beginner, and will be very inexpensive, to the point where you can get into a bike, ride it until you want to make a change, and sell it for about what you bought it for, is older, steel, hardtail, mountain bikes. You can get some very nice rides, that cost a good amount when new, for $200-ish +/-. I've seen some nice ones go for $100. Brands like GT, Specialized, some Treks come to mind.

>>Why are they inexpensive?
They're older. Mountain bikes have changed a lot since they first came out. As "mountain bikes" older models are not worth much. They're also steel frames. Steel is often poo-poo'd today, until you understand much more about what makes a bike frame desirable. Aluminum frames are everywhere today & have been for years, as they are less expensive to make.

>>Why are they a good fit for you?
Older mountain bikes, dressed up with some somewhat(?) narrower street tires or very light off road tires(slicks in the center and some light lugging on the edges), are VERY similar to modern hybrids. They'll have triple chainrings, flat bars in front, front & rear eyelets for mounting racks(avoid suspension bikes), comfortable frames, good wheels/hubs, group-sets that work well... I have a GT Tequesta that cost me about $550 in the early '90's (bought it new) and I still ride it off road, take it with me camping(never know what I'll get into), or for just knocking around. It's a FUN bike to ride and it's cost me nearly nothing since I bought it..tires..that's about it. I also have light-weight road & touring bikes and..the GT is still a blast to ride.

A quick search on CL:
https://milwaukee.craigslist.org/bik/6210440933.html
https://madison.craigslist.org/bik/6160969727.html
https://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/bid/6206292428.html
https://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/bik/6209093229.html
https://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/bik/6203823476.html
https://chicago.craigslist.org/wcl/bik/6197565431.html
https://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/bik/6184691395.html
https://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/6205701609.html
https://chicago.craigslist.org/nch/bik/6198437129.html
https://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/bik/6204563738.html
https://chicago.craigslist.org/wcl/bik/6203683791.html
https://chicago.craigslist.org/nwi/bik/6193878623.html
https://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/6207632460.html
https://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/6204474017.html

I think you'll get the idea.

Yes, it'll need a tuneup and most likely some new-street-type tires. It'll help if you can find someone that knows bikes to help you. Or meet a seller at a bike shop and have them look it over. Ride it and run it through its paces.

But..you get a good bike that will serve you well for how you want to use it and when it comes time to sell it you'll know more and get most of your money back.

If you're interested I send me a pm and I can find a few bike forum threads that will help.

Or just research at bike forums and you'll get good advice to your questions.

Don't buy fat tire bikes..they're trendy, but not for you.

User avatar
Peter Foley
Posts: 4071
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2007 10:34 am
Location: Lake Wobegon

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by Peter Foley » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:08 pm

fishboat wrote:
There are lots of ways you could approach what you're doing. One that floats to the top for a beginner, and will be very inexpensive, to the point where you can get into a bike, ride it until you want to make a change, and sell it for about what you bought it for, is older, steel, hardtail, mountain bikes. You can get some very nice rides, that cost a good amount when new, for $200-ish +/-. I've seen some nice ones go for $100. Brands like GT, Specialized, some Treks come to mind.

>>Why are they inexpensive?
They're older. Mountain bikes have changed a lot since they first came out. As "mountain bikes" older models are not worth much. They're also steel frames. Steel is often poo-poo'd today, until you understand much more about what makes a bike frame desirable. Aluminum frames are everywhere today & have been for years, as they are less expensive to make.

>>Why are they a good fit for you?
Older mountain bikes, dressed up with some somewhat(?) narrower street tires or very light off road tires(slicks in the center and some light lugging on the edges), are VERY similar to modern hybrids. They'll have triple chainrings, flat bars in front, front & rear eyelets for mounting racks(avoid suspension bikes), comfortable frames, good wheels/hubs, group-sets that work well..
Good solid advice.

The bike shop I work at sells older Trek Multitracks for about $200 - $250 and older Trek Mountaintracks for $25 to $50 less. These are refurbished, ready to ride bikes. There are lots of these available. Cross the river into Minneapolis and the same bikes sell for $50 to $100 more.
Last edited by Peter Foley on Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

260chrisb
Posts: 142
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:26 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by 260chrisb » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:29 pm

I'm in the same camp as El Greco and have had a Trek Hybrid (just got off it) 7500 for 9 years and just over 10,000 miles. It's been a great bike, had some maintenance costs of course with a couple wheels, a couple tune ups, and assorted spoke replacement over the years (I'm 6-1 and 240 so I break one once in a while) and it's good on pavement (which is 95% of my rides) and good on trails. If you're motivated enough to buy one don't buy cheap and be careful buying used. Ideally you will, over time, ride more which is the whole idea and you will be disappointed trying to maintain a cheap bike. Go to a good bike shop and check out a Trek with the right frame for your frame. Good luck! I seldom feel better than I do on the days I ride and always sleep well after riding 25-30 miles like tonight!

chemocean
Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:45 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by chemocean » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:02 pm

Make sure the bike fits you as far as your inseam and torso length, which means upping your budget. Also, get a good seat that doesn't hurt. My wife and I learned this lesson the hard way when we traveled and borrowed bikes. We shoulda at least brought our own seats.

Nekrotok
Posts: 97
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:44 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by Nekrotok » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:41 pm

how about these hybrid bikes?
http://www.nashbar.com/webapp/wcs/store ... 1___204687
http://www.nashbar.com/webapp/wcs/store ... 1___204687

with the extra 30% off, it's $280 + shipping each. They also carry lots of other accessories and stuff and often run an extra 25% off storewide sale.

freebeer
Posts: 1902
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 8:30 am
Location: Seattle area USA

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by freebeer » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:55 pm

badger42 wrote:...Craigslist - at least around here, most likely stolen. Not recommended....
I don't know where "here" is for badger42 but that seems like a gross overstatement. Plenty of regular people selling their bikes on CL here in Seattle for far less than they paid (or that you will pay) so you can get very good deals. Heck there were 500 bikes posted on Seattle CL just today... 1600 bike thefts a year here so say 30 per week.. so "most likely stolen" is mathematically impossible even if 100% of stolen bikes ended up on CL (which is obviously not the case)...

But I second the advise to get professional sizing and of course if you purchase a new or reconditioned bike from a shop you will know what you're getting.

chinto
Posts: 297
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:39 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by chinto » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:47 am

My advice...I have a 1983 10 speed Puch Odyssey I purchased new that I have ridden from IL to CA and back roughly several times and all over the country. It is old technology, heavy etc(actually a tightly ratioed touring bike - sucks on the upgrade)...but that bike has never failed. Understand there is a huge difference between what the pros want and what is good for your average person. Most people take up biking for exercise, hence a heavier bike actually has some merit. These modern bikes simply do not hold up, I have had several costing many times what you are considering and they simply do not last under load (pannier etc). My advice buy a couple of vintage bikes cheap and have them professionally tuned and/or reconditioned The old Schwinns are heavy but awesome tanks. Get a cheap one from the 60s or 70s into the early 80s(make sure they are Chicago made) and have it tuned and possibly rebuilt. You will then have an ultra dependable, classic beautiful machine that you can leave to your grandchildren. A lot of people will laugh at this advice but those bikes have stood the test of time. You can't go wrong with an old Varsity or Continental. Yep they are heavy, very heavy. But darn if they don't last and an old Varsity can easily handle most trails.

By the way, I am hoping to head into retirement soon and planning on taking that old Odyssey on a warm up ride on Natchez Trace and then IL to CA and back. After that I am going coast to coast. And if I am still able maybe Alaska...
Last edited by chinto on Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

guitarguy
Posts: 1705
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by guitarguy » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:13 am

Thanks so much for all the information!

DW and I are eyeing these Trek FX 2 bikes (they have men's and women's models) that are on sale for $399 right now. There is a bike shop and authorized Trek dealer just a couple miles from our house, so we're planning on stopping in there later this week. Hopefully the sale lasts!

Obviously this is just from an online search, so we'll see how the bikes fit and feel in person.

We are thinking that buying from a bike shop like this will get us much better service than a big box store.

Excited to get biking!

EDIT: does anyone have any comment on the FX 2 specifics as far as hardware and stuff goes? Anything good or bad to note on this model?

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bike ... rCode=blue

fourniks
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:38 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by fourniks » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:27 am

I'll also agree that Craigslist has a wide selection of good bikes in your price range.

Just recently I sold a bike on Craigslist I had bought from a work friend that was too small for her. It was a 1995 Georgina Terry (women's specific road bike), steel, with Shimano 105 components. It probably had less than 500 miles on it - fantastic condition. I couldn't get more than $125 for it. I think the used bicycle market is oversaturated and there are fantastic deals out there. For an additional $50-75 you can take your bike to a shop and have them make anything right that is not right.

I would stay clear of big box stores. I have seen some of these bikes on the floor and, no kidding, some had forks or handlebars that were installed BACKWARDS! Who knows what other parts were not installed correctly. And low-end shifters are a pain to fine-tune.

My two cents. Good luck!

Four

fourniks
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:38 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by fourniks » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:33 am

guitarguy wrote:Thanks so much for all the information!

DW and I are eyeing these Trek FX 2 bikes (they have men's and women's models) that are on sale for $399 right now. There is a bike shop and authorized Trek dealer just a couple miles from our house, so we're planning on stopping in there later this week. Hopefully the sale lasts!

Obviously this is just from an online search, so we'll see how the bikes fit and feel in person.

We are thinking that buying from a bike shop like this will get us much better service than a big box store.

Excited to get biking!

EDIT: does anyone have any comment on the FX 2 specifics as far as hardware and stuff goes? Anything good or bad to note on this model?

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bike ... rCode=blue
I have heard good things about the FX2. While a tad bit heavy and shifters at the low end of the spectrum, I think it would be a solid bike for what you want to do.

alfaspider
Posts: 912
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:44 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by alfaspider » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:45 am

If it's relatively flat where you live, consider a single speed bike. There's much less to break and maintain if you don't have to shift, and the simplicity can be really nice for a beginner. You also will get a better frame and fork at the same pricepoint because the money isn't going to shifting components. I'd also consider a cyclocross bike rather than a hybrid- drop bar bikes will be better suited if you decide you like biking and want to venture out a bit longer. Something like this:

http://www.nashbar.com/webapp/wcs/store ... 1___204735

Wanting to economize is certainly understandable, but you need to be wary of "buy cheap, buy twice." I went too cheap for my first adult bike and ended up really wanting to upgrade within the first year. It would have cost less to just buy the better bike to begin with.

If you are looking on Craigslist, I'd advise having a bike knowledgeable friend help you out. There are a lot of terrible deals (like 10 year old bikes priced more than they sold for new) on Craigslist and a beginner often doesn't know what a good deal is. As a beginner, you are also not well equipped to assess condition.

User avatar
djpeteski
Posts: 269
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:07 am

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by djpeteski » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:58 am

Some good bargains can be had from BikesDirect.com. My local shop is kind of a dealer for them, and I purchased a nice road bike from them for around $500 (Gravity). Its an AL frame with carbon fiber forks and front and rear disk breaks. Comparing notes with a co-worker he paid about 1500 for a similarly equipped name brand bike.

Both my wife and I have the same model, with her owning hers for over a year, and me just shy of that time. She ran a triathlon with hers, and I am in training for one. I can hit 22-25 mph with pretty much the stock bike, the only exception being installing clip in pedals (and of course shoes).

I'd love to upgrade and have my eye on this one:
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/kes ... on-105.htm

guitarguy
Posts: 1705
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 4:10 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by guitarguy » Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:02 am

I have also seen a couple mentions here and online for Nashbar brand bikes. Any additional comments on those?

fourniks
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:38 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by fourniks » Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:24 am

guitarguy wrote:I have also seen a couple mentions here and online for Nashbar brand bikes. Any additional comments on those?
Nashbar is probably the largest mail order retailer in the nation (I believe they also own Performance and Jenson). That being said, they probably have access to quality Taiwanese frame builders (nearly all frames these days are built in China or Taiwan). I know that one of the Motobecane touring bike frames I bought from BikeDirect (see post above) is made in the same frame factory as Fuji bikes.

With that said, you may find a good online deal from Nashbar, Performance, BikesDirect, etc. However, if you are not mechanically savvy, you would want to take your mail order bike to a shop for the minor assembly that may be required.

Also, please note that buying a bike online has its pitfalls, especially if you don't really know what size frame you need (if it doesn't fit right it won't be comfortable riding!!!). If you haven't bought a bike in a while, I would go to a bike store, or somewhere where you can ride it and determine fit.

Four

Andyrunner
Posts: 602
Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 9:14 am

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by Andyrunner » Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:32 am

guitarguy wrote:I have also seen a couple mentions here and online for Nashbar brand bikes. Any additional comments on those?
I have two bikesdirect bikes. Love them, much cheaper then the bike shop and are solid bikes. They are made in the same factories as most name brands. There is some work involved to put it together, so you either have to have the right tools, know someone who knows what they are doing or take it to a bike shop.

The big downside with nashbar or motobecane (bikesdirect) besides not test riding them, is most bike shops will either refuse to work on them or not be happy working on them. Bike shops are struggling because of these companies. Think of you bringing your home depot lawn mower to a small engine store/repair shop. The guy may/may not work on it, but regardless he will have a bitter taste in his mouth working on it.

fourniks
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:38 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by fourniks » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:08 am

Andyrunner wrote:
guitarguy wrote:I have also seen a couple mentions here and online for Nashbar brand bikes. Any additional comments on those?
I have two bikesdirect bikes. Love them, much cheaper then the bike shop and are solid bikes. They are made in the same factories as most name brands. There is some work involved to put it together, so you either have to have the right tools, know someone who knows what they are doing or take it to a bike shop.

The big downside with nashbar or motobecane (bikesdirect) besides not test riding them, is most bike shops will either refuse to work on them or not be happy working on them. Bike shops are struggling because of these companies. Think of you bringing your home depot lawn mower to a small engine store/repair shop. The guy may/may not work on it, but regardless he will have a bitter taste in his mouth working on it.
Some shops may certainly turn their nose up at working on a mail-order bike. However, most shops make most of their money on the labor side so I doubt many would. If they do, find another.

I think I read somewhere that the business model within the industry is turning to internet sales. I heard that trek was moving in that direction. While Raleigh still sells alot of bikes through dealers, you can buy through their web page.

There is very little profit margin in new bike sales at brick and mortar stores (so I'm told). Labor and accessory sales is reportedly where they make their money.

Four

mmarreco
Posts: 165
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:54 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by mmarreco » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:23 am

djpeteski wrote:Some good bargains can be had from BikesDirect.com. My local shop is kind of a dealer for them, and I purchased a nice road bike from them for around $500 (Gravity). Its an AL frame with carbon fiber forks and front and rear disk breaks. Comparing notes with a co-worker he paid about 1500 for a similarly equipped name brand bike.

Both my wife and I have the same model, with her owning hers for over a year, and me just shy of that time. She ran a triathlon with hers, and I am in training for one. I can hit 22-25 mph with pretty much the stock bike, the only exception being installing clip in pedals (and of course shoes).

I'd love to upgrade and have my eye on this one:
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/kes ... on-105.htm
+1 bikesdirect has some great pricing, pay attention to the components.
Between me and the wife we have 5 bikes, 3 of them were >$5K each. But if I had to buy a cheap bike I would go to bikesdirect or peruse Craigslist (you need to be lucky to find something worthwhile there)

Andyrunner
Posts: 602
Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 9:14 am

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by Andyrunner » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:36 am

fourniks wrote:
There is very little profit margin in new bike sales at brick and mortar stores (so I'm told). Labor and accessory sales is reportedly where they make their money.

Four
I have heard the same. Maybe a few hundred dollars profit on a 3-5k bike.

Guy I know started a mobile bike shop. Converted a Ford Transit to a bike shop and does 95% service, does not sell much. Put my new fatty together for $100.

fishboat
Posts: 447
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2014 12:15 pm

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by fishboat » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:37 am

fourniks wrote:Just recently I sold a bike on Craigslist I had bought from a work friend that was too small for her. It was a 1995 Georgina Terry (women's specific road bike), steel, with Shimano 105 components. It probably had less than 500 miles on it - fantastic condition. I couldn't get more than $125 for it.
..cough..someone got a very good deal there. I'd go for a couple deals like that..wow.

OP..Nashbar has some very good deals, particularly when they do 20%-30% sales. They have great customer service. I've been considering picking up one of their carbon bikes. BUT..buying online requires you know specifically what will work for you. At you and your wife's stage, you need a bike shop to help with sizing and setup, or someone knowledgeable to help look at local CL deals. A bike shop will swap parts out if needed to get the right fit (on a new bike). The Trek FX is a sporty hybrid..should be fine for what you need.

Andyrunner
Posts: 602
Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 9:14 am

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by Andyrunner » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:38 am

mmarreco wrote:
djpeteski wrote:Some good bargains can be had from BikesDirect.com. My local shop is kind of a dealer for them, and I purchased a nice road bike from them for around $500 (Gravity). Its an AL frame with carbon fiber forks and front and rear disk breaks. Comparing notes with a co-worker he paid about 1500 for a similarly equipped name brand bike.

Both my wife and I have the same model, with her owning hers for over a year, and me just shy of that time. She ran a triathlon with hers, and I am in training for one. I can hit 22-25 mph with pretty much the stock bike, the only exception being installing clip in pedals (and of course shoes).

I'd love to upgrade and have my eye on this one:
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/kes ... on-105.htm
+1 bikesdirect has some great pricing, pay attention to the components.
Between me and the wife we have 5 bikes, 3 of them were >$5K each. But if I had to buy a cheap bike I would go to bikesdirect or peruse Craigslist (you need to be lucky to find something worthwhile there)
Agree on attention to components. You can also go to their sister site, bikeisland and pick up scratch and dent bikes for a few hundred off. I got my latest bike $150 off for a scratch I have yet to find...

bloom2708
Posts: 2831
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Shopping for first bike since I was a kid

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:09 am

Do you have a few local bike shops around to see and sit on/ride some different styles?

For easy comfort rides, you want an upright style. Nice seat. 3 to 7 gears is all you need. You don't need super skinny or super aggressive/wide tires. Just a street tire. Make sure it is sized correctly.

Raleigh Bikes has a Heritage series I like:

https://www.raleighusa.com/urban/heritage

For women, the Prim or Gala.

For men, the Harlan or Wilder

If you stick in that $300 to $400 range (per bike), you will likely get something that will last for a long time.

I have great luck with Craigslist, but you have to know the brands to stay away from. Also, sizing is harder because people often don't list the frame size of bikes for sale or don't know it.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

Post Reply