Bike shopping

Discussion in 'General' started by TheStepChild, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Looking for any input or suggestions.

    Bike will be used for short trips to local stores. Bank, post office, hardware store, sunday paper, etc. Nothing more than a mile one way. Probably 90% on pavement riding.

    Getting aweful close to 40 years old, ugg. Havent ridden a pedal bike in probably 20+ years.
    Looking to get a low end or used bike to start. Make sure it's something I'm going to stick with before I go high dollar.

    Was thinking a mountian type bike with front and rear suspension, for my sore back and the bad pavement around here.

    Walmart had a Schwinn fifth ave that seemed decent too. Little luggage rack for strapping junk on the back. Padded seat. But I dropped the seat all the way down and it was a bit too tall for me. Dont know if it could be adjusted down any more.
  2. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    You don't normally want your bike seat low enough to stand astride. You want your knee not quite straight at the bottom of each pedal stroke. Must come off the seat, standing astride the top tube when stopped.

    Otherwise, the top of the legs do all the pedal work rather than a coordinated effort from the entire leg.

    I've been using my 20 year old fixed MTB to bike commute and run errands for almost 2 years. Two months from now my folding Bike Friday Tikit should arrive. You don't want to drop that kind of change to start, but keep a folder in the back of your mind for later. It is nice to take it in the store as a shopping cart instead of locking and unlocking and worring about your lights, etc.

    I'd go for a bike with a front suspension fork, but not a full suspension bike. Just learn to unweight from the seat through the bumps. I often hop my front wheel over the bumps which automatically has me out of the seat when the rear wheel crosses.
  3. rfruth

    rfruth Well-Known Member

  4. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    Other things being equal, I'd rather have a used bike shop bike than a box-store bike.

    Better components, and more importantly, better advice.

    That said, I like the cruiser style. But fenders and racks are fairly cheap to add.
  5. Ophbalance

    Ophbalance Administrator Staff Member

    I still have my bridgestone trailblazer MB-6. It's from the early 90s, and was new when I got it. I've beat the @#$#@ out of this bike, and yet here I am, 20 some odd years later and it still works just as well as when it came home with me.

    And I'll second the advice to run from big box store bikes. The kids have all had them, and they're lucky to last more than 2 years. Try craigslist or the like to see if you can pick up an older Cannondale or Bridgestone. They had good components out of the gate, and good frames as well.

    Heck, I'm still running the same tubes as I had back in the early 90s on this bike of mine ;). Tires have changed though.
  6. Good point, thanks both of you.

    My aunt has 2 tandem bikes she wants me to haul to the bike store she bought them from. They said they would buy them for her or put on consignment, Idk.
    Not in a hurry to buy, so maybe I'll see if she's ready and do some shopping at the same time.
  7. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    what Matthew said, craigslist..

    what do you guys recommend for safety illumination and perhaps a light helmet?
  8. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    I started riding 3 years ago. We have a great state bike trail that is over 70 miles long and it is only about a mile from my house. I had bought a used Walmart bike about 7 years ago and it sat in the garage most of the time because it was so uncomfortable. I think I put less than 50 miles on it.

    I have coworkers that are avid bikers, and they strongly suggested to stay away from "Walmart style" bikes. I went to a bike shop in a nearby college town that had been in business over 20 years. I told them that I wanted something with shocks front and rear due to my bad back ( age doesn't matter. LOL) He suggested buying a hybrid. Imagine that? I purchased an aluminum framed Giant Cypress DX. It has shocks on the front and a shock absorber seat post. It has a very comfortable seat and was great to ride on the street and hard packed chat trail. I rode over 600 miles the first summer. I was riding it for fitness. I had an 11 mile, and 25 mile route that I ride for time. As my fitness improved, my speed improved. I could only get about 26 mph on the hybrid. The next summer, I started searching for a road bike. I didn't want to buy a new one because I didn't know if it would be comfortable enough. We were in Virginia and I found a great deal on a used Fuji road bike. So it was packed in the back of the Prius with the luggage and brought home. It doesn't have any suspension, but it does have carbon fiber front forks. It fit me well and rides great. Now I only ride the Giant occasionally if it's raining. I would search Craigslist, but look online to search for the right bike size to fit you. If it calls for a 58mm, don't get a 54mm because you can get a deal on it. The sizing and quality will be the difference in you riding it much or not.
  9. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    I'll echo what others have said, in that you're better off with a used respectable bike than with a new cheapo bike of the same price, even if it's old, even if you have to replace a part or two. The cheap bikes tend to be so unpleasant and unreliable that few people manage to ride them much.
    For your short urban trips, I'd suggest a non-suspension hybrid or touring model with medium-width tires. Knobby, fat mountain-bike tires will slow you down a lot on pavement, and skinny racy tires will be troublesome, especially on rough pavement.
    In case the perspective matters, I've pedaled over 270,000 miles.
  10. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    WOW!!! I'm a green rookie for sure! If I could ask, how long have you been biking?
  11. alvaro84

    alvaro84 Homura-chan's selfishness

    I don't know how much I pedaled with my older bikes. This one has like 1430km on the clock in 1.5 years. In this pace I'd need a very long life to reach 270k miles :D
  12. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    Some since I was 9, but most of that total was in the past 13 years, and over three-fourths in the past 25.
  13. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    Here's what I use: 3-LED headlight with flashing, 2 LED tail light with flashing, reflective vest, reflective ankle velcro straps (3 functions: pants out of chain, visibility, warmth by keeping wind out of pants).

    Here's what I recommend: brightest lights you can afford in every direction. You can add reflective tape to your bike, helmet and clothing. You can get spoke lights for side visibility.

    Be seen to be safe.
  14. Stopped by a Bike store today. Wow, impressed with the difference in the quality of the bikes at Target/Walmart vs the bike store.

    They had 2 that seemed decent for me and what I want to do.

    this one:

    And a trek, last years model. Dont remember the name, but it was 21 speed, front suspension, shock seat dooodad thingy and felt nice.

    Both bikes were with-in $10 of each other.

    Still shopping
  15. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    You are on the right path, James.

    Try them out, but focus on the extra benefits of cycling, and pay a few bucks more for good equipment.

    With an expensive new bike coming, I won't save anything cycling for another couple of decades. Don't care, it is my chosen method of getting around alot of the time anyway.

    Now if I would just cut the cord and sell the extra car that goes less than 1,000 miles per year, then I would quickly save money in spite of my spendy ways.
  16. Gas savings alone will add up. Been watching all the short trips around town for a while now. And watching the Scangauge show trip fuel cost, uggg. And now I dont have a 4cyl to putz around in. Full size van, or bigger pickup truck, uggg - there goes my wallet. :D
  17. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member


    If you are a real cheapskate-you will buy used
    But the Jamis you posted is a good bike.

    The Trek series 700-from mid late 90's-are nice bikes-
    the 700 is mild steel-maybe $100 good shape
    the 720 is Cromo steel frame-maybe $125 good shape
    730 same with slightly better components maybe $150
    750 is full crome moly steel-double butted-meaning thicker at either end-making it lighter-and maybe slightly more "shock absorbing"-maybe $200-$220 used
    These bikes have 700c wheels-about 2" bigger in diameter than 26" MTB wheels

    The trek 900 series- have 26" wheels-with good double butted Cromo frames-decent components- 930 950 rigid ft and rear-but with 2" tires 35 psi -you don't need much suspension-but some of the 950 and 970 come with ft suspensions-maybe $200-$250 used

    800 series nice also-somewhat downscale relative to the 930 950 970-maybe $100-$150

    Steel frame used bikes-of good quality hold their value very well(a cheapskate concern)

    Aluminum frames are maybe 1.5 lbs lighter than equivalent quality steel
    The usual claim is steel gives a more forgiving ride-with wide low pressure tires-the difference is not noticeable(both my bikes are DB steel-but aluminum is a great frame material-lot to be said for light)
    certain bike fanatics insist :"steel is real" pure BS of course
    I have steel because I can eventually sell them for more.

    Used you can get great deals-maybe 30%-40% of new cost for quality bike
    You can get a GREAT used bike for $300-new cost maybe $800
    A very good used for $200-new cost maybe $500+
    For $100-$150-you get a $350 bike

    f you have a gimpy neck-I do-put upright-old style handlebars on it-even the flat bars on current bikes bend me waaaay more forward than I want-
    I want to be BOLT UPRIGHT- 1960 style
    It is no big deal to change bars and cables-
    I ride everyday-to some extent I'm a bike nut-
    riding is so much easier on your joints to ride than to jogging-more fun too
  18. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    Get a rack and bags for that new bike, and you can eliminate burning petroleum for most local shopping trips and errands. I do, for round trips under 22 miles or so.
  19. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    That means you're gonna be kinda slow, as I am on my Schwinn of that era.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013

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