A little discouraged, newbie here

Discussion in 'Women's Cycling' started by G0ldengirl, Jul 2, 2019.

  1. G0ldengirl

    G0ldengirl New Member

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    decided to buy a bike at walmart, only store in town except an expensive bike-shop. Took a look at measurement charts etc. but none covered the pedal crank (crank-shaft??). Anyway, on a 24 inch my knees came up too high, not to my chin, but close, lol! I'm exaggerating but I knew that wasn't right. Went back to "try on" a 26 inch, same darn thing.

    So I find one semi-knowledgeable young man that pointed out the fact that pedal cranks come in different lengths. Long story short, the bikes that I can actually afford, and not assemble myself, don't give enough info, and I am lost :(

    I searched for a "used" on Craigslist, but nothing in a town close enough to me. I could order from Amazon, and make payments, but again, not having a good description of every, important part of the bike is going to be lacking on a "mail order" bicycle.

    Any feedback welcome. Btw, I would really like a hybrid. Not a trail-bike, but not a full-blown road bike. I am just starting out, I am 66 and in good shape, but I just want to get a bike that fits (as close as possible) so that I can see if I am going to keep up with this new interest.

    Thanks in advance gals :) for any help.

    PS One more thing, I have searched "a lot" for another bicycler that might ride with me, but first, just give me some pointers but haven't met any in the out-of-the-way town (Crescent City, CA) right on the coast and 101.
     
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  2. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    Walmart bikes are toys. Go to a local bike shop get fitted and try and find a similar used bike. Fit is very critical.
     
  3. Chuckabutty

    Chuckabutty Active Member

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    It sounds to me like the saddles on the bikes you tried were too low. When Walmart sets the bikes up, the saddles are pretty low if not at the lowest point. It's not the wheel size that determines whether your knees will come up to your chin, but how high the saddle is. Saddle heights are adjustable on all bikes. There's quite a lot of adjustment so it's just a matter of slackening a nut or a lever-type clamp, pulling the saddle up, then locking it in place. Try the bike again, and that will show you whether you need to go higher or lower.

    The general rule for saddle height is when you sit on the saddle, with your hips level. your heel should rest on the pedal. When you've got that bit right, then you ride with the ball of your foot on the pedal.

    I have a fat bike and a hybrid. The hybrid is a Schwinn which I ordered through Amazon. I figured, when I ordered it, that it might need work despite being brand new. Price tells you a lot, so I knew that $199 for the Schwinn 3rd Avenue was cheap. Some assembly is required, and I'm okay with doing that. The tires and tubes were useless, unable to hold any air. They were pure garbage despite the number of great reviews the bike got. So I bought decent tubes and tires from a bike shop.

    Warning: Don't trust the reviews as many of them are done by shills, to sell the bike. It's a shame that you can't trust them but generally speaking, if there are a lot of wonderful reviews, they're probably fake, as I found out.

    So, once I got my Schwinn together and did a few other things to it, I now have a great bike. I'd say the bike is about the same general quality as the Walmart bikes but at least their tires stay inflated. Such bikes are made with the lowest quality components but I would not worry about that as they are usually quite serviceable for the kind of riding you may be doing. Obviously, a professional rider wouldn't be happy with them.

    Go back to Walmart and ask to speak to their mechanic. He may not be there every day, so you'll need to find out when he is, and ask him to raise the saddle. Or if you know someone who is handy with tools, ask that person to help you adjust the saddle height. You might be surprised how easy it is if you have a few wrenches.

    Do an internet search for bicycling clubs in your area. Here's one to get you started, (click on the link below) and I know you'll find someone there to help you with questions and mechanical stuff. Don't give up. Cycling is a great life. Enjoy!


    Crescent City Cyclists
     
  4. BrianNystrom

    BrianNystrom Member

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    I suggest that you check local shops to see if they sell used bikes. That way, you can get a good quality machine at an affordable price. The department store stuff is basically junk that's unreliable and will require constant repairs and upgrades. Ultimately, it will cost you as much as buying a better bike in the first place. You deserve better than that.

    Definitely check out the local cycling club link above. You should be able to find knowledgeable riders to help you and you may find someone with a properly-sized bike that they're willing to sell. Cyclists tend to upgrade pretty often and you don't need the latest technology to get started. If you post your question on their site, I'll bet you'll get plenty of responses and helpful ideas.
     
  5. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    +1
    There's a wide spread belief in the US that you should be able to reach the ground flat-footed while in the saddle. That is usually NOT the case, unless you have a "crank-forward" AKA Semi-Recumbent bike.

    +1
    +1
    A bit of safety advice: pull the post all the way out and look for a minimum insertion mark.
    Once you've identified this, go ahead and find your appropriate saddle height - assuming you can get it on that bike w/o the minimum insertion mark showing. If the mark appears, you'll either have to replace the seat post with a longer one, or the bike for one with a bigger frame.
    If there is no minimum insertion mark - still happens - make sure to have at least 3" of post in the frame.

    Semi-knowledgeable was a kind judgement.
    Yes, he's right as such. But the common range of crank lengths only go between 165-175 mm.
    That's less than 1/2".
    If you feel like your knees are getting up to your chin, crank length is NOT where you start adjusting the fit of the bike.
    Crank length is what you muck about with to get the fit of the bike "just right".
    Or if you have anatomical/medical issues that have to be considered.
    If bicycles were running shoes, going for another crank length would be similar to replacing the insole with the one of your choice instead of the factory supplied one.

    The problem with department store bikes is that they're put together from the cheapest parts by the lowest paid.
    And both parts quality and build quality tends to reflect that.
    If you need to have something done to the bike, which is a sure thing if you end up riding regularly, almost all repairs will cost a considerable fraction of the purchase price of the bike.
    If you're OK with that, go ahead.
    If you can't find a used quality bike, bring the department store bike straight to a mechanic for inspection and adjustment.
    Don't get me wrong, there's room in the world for inexpensive bikes too.
    But they still need to be good enough to fulfil their purpose.
    And the cheapest department store bikes don't always reach that goal.

    This leaves you in a bind.
    I understand the desire to limit your start-up investment, but you still need a bike that's good enough to be a reliable reference to what riding is like.
    And the cheapest department store bikes don't always reach that goal.

    Here's a link to a site with loads of useful info on bicycling in general: www.sheldonbrown.com
     
  6. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse New Member

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    A few thoughts:

    1. Unless you plan to ride on rough, unpaved trails, you probably don't want a hybrid. They're heavy, especially the inexpensive ones. You'll get more enjoyment out of a "fitness" or "urban" bike.

    2. As others have mentioned, crank length is not very relevant for sizing of a bike. Saddle height is the most important measure.

    3. Do not buy a department store bike! They are terrible and will almost guarantee you will have a bad cycling experience. Go to a local bike shop that carries a major brand, like Back Country Bicycles in Crescent City.

    4. If you tell me your height, I can recommend a frame size (I've fitted several thousand riders).
     
  7. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Member

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    Don't listen to the guy above me telling you not to get a hybrid. A hybrid is the perfect bike for someone just starting out - I got one years ago. Since then I've also bought 3 carbon fibre road bikes because that's what I learned I like, but I still have my hybrid and it's perfect for commuting, errands, bike path rides and riding with people that don't like to go fast.

    The other advice here about saddle height and avoiding department store bikes is good. As others have said, try to buy from a bike shop.
     
  8. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse New Member

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    Please explain how a new rider benefits from the extra cost and weight and maintenance of a front fork with a shock, which comes standard on every hybrid.
     
  9. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    Every hard tail MTB but not Hybrids. The commonality with a hybrid is larger tires and straight bars as opposed to drops but not shocks.
     
  10. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse New Member

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    There seems to be a problem with terminology creep of bike categories. Trek, for example, uses “hybrid” and “fitness” inconsistently. A search for either a fitness or hybrid bike on their site brings up the FX 2, for example, which has a rigid fork.

    To be clear, a bike with a fork shock—whatever category the bike gets placed in by the manufacturer—rarely serves a new rider (unless they plan to ride on rough paths).
     
  11. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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