Beginner advice

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by Barons, Oct 31, 2017.

  1. Barons

    Barons New Member

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    Hey,

    I don't know anything about bike riding. I used to ride a mountin bike with friends when I was a kid. Since then I've maybe went for a ride once ever couple years when renting one at the beach. I'm thinking about picking it up as a hobby. I'm just really not sure where to start. Basically I'm a 34 year old couch potato of the first stripe. Up until I finished high school I was active in sports and weight lifting but since then I've spent no time working out.

    I'm not grossly overweight or anything but I'm really out of shape. I've been a smoker since forever and I'm ready to start trying to live a healthier life. So my goal is to quit smoking and pick up an active hobby. Bike riding sounds like something I'd enjoy and I'm sure it would help me get into better shape.

    I'm just not sure what all I would need if I wanted to make this into a hobby that I'll spend about an hour on everyday. I don't want to spend a crazy amout of money but I do want a quality bike that I'll enjoy riding plus whatever else I need.

    Anything in particular I should look for in a bike or avoid? All my experience with bikes can be sumed up by going to Walmart and sitting down a few.

    Thanks for any advice.
     
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  2. trailgumby

    trailgumby New Member

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    The key thing is to find a bike that fits you. Too large or too small, it be uncomfortable and you won't enjoy riding it. And that will defeat your goals from the outset. So, to that end...

    How much is "a crazy amount money"? An alternative is to buy something good quality secondhand a couple of years old, but at this stage you don't know your size, or what to look for, so that path has its risks.

    For a first purchase I'd recommend finding a reputable shop close to you and getting them to fit you up with a bike from a reputable brand. Stay away from Wal-Mart. Their bikes are generally rubbish, if not outright dangerous for anything like the usage you are considering. Test-ride a few and see what you like before deciding.

    To get something robust, reliable, with good geometry you may need to spend a little bit. In this sphere you do get what you pay for. Think of it as an investment in your health. What you save on the ciggies will definitely help fund your new (healthy) passion.
     
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  3. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    First of congrats on deciding to want to do something, I hope you stay with the cycling thing, it's fun, you can go places, you can lose weight, women will throw themselves at you, well you get the picture...except for the woman thing, that was a stretch.

    Anyway obviously stay away from Walmart type of bikes. You didn't say how much you want to spend or the type of riding you want to do, so I'm going to assume a lot of things here in the process of saving time, hopefully my assumptions aren't totally off base, but you can always steer me in the right direction if I am.

    First off since you have looked at Walmart bikes I'm going to assume you don't want to spend a lot of money but you also don't want a crappy Walmart bike that will frustrate the crap out of you the longer you ride it, and they're not suited for long distance riding because the fear of something breaking is always looming in your head and rightfully so. Since most Walmart bikes are around the $250 mark I would try to find a nice used bike on Craigslist, Goodwill type of places, some bike shops even sell used bikes, and of course garage sales.

    As you start looking at used bikes on CL do a google search for each make and model so you can tell if the bike is a decent bike and not some cheap big box store bike, plus as you do these searches you will slowly become familiar with brands that are good and brands to stay away from, and you will become familiar with component groups and will find out which ones are good and which ones are not.

    Then you need to find out what size of a bike you'll need, usually there is range, there are web sites that can help you figure that out like this one: http://www.ebicycles.com/bicycle-tools/frame-sizer Simply click on the bike style you'll be reading, then enter the correct values that are asked and BOOM the idea size comes up with other sizes that also will work.

    Then start going out and looking at used bikes. Kind of like looking at used cars but a lot easier then a car because you can see defects like worn gears that are hidden in car, and you can tell if the bike is well taken care of or not.
     
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  4. Barons

    Barons New Member

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    Thanks for the replies! Some really helpful advice there. I didn't have a particular price in mind. I'm not even sure how much the normally go for. I'm looking at street bikes mostly. I mean something that I could also ride on a beach or off road bike trails would be good too for a couple times per yer. Mainly just on the street though.

    I'm going to have a lot of extra money after quitting smoking so if I'm not comfortable spending a lot now I could always save up. I'm just trying to avoid buying a Rolex when all I need is a Timex you know. If it's comfortable and the chain doesn't fall off all the time I'll probably be happy with it. Maybe some lazy gears so I don't need to get off and push it up a hill lol.
     
  5. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Like I mentioned, I think you need to look at used bikes, you can get these cheap, while you won't find a used "Rolex" cheap, you will find a lot of mid grade bikes for cheap that would be a lot better of a bike then a new "Timex" type of bike. Then once you've had a bike for awhile and get the hankering and the money for a brand new bike then get a new one at that time...you'll know when you're ready for a new very good mid level bike.
     
  6. Barons

    Barons New Member

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  7. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I guess you decided not to go the best route and get a decent bike used that I mentioned before, so since you want to get a new bike I would recommend the Vilano because it's the cheapest priced, and since both are cheap you might as well get the cheapest because the Denali offers nothing of significant value. In fact this bike is just as good as those you mentioned but less money: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B...d=723404c194f8c7c8b21e99814de4859b&th=1&psc=1
     
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  8. Barons

    Barons New Member

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    Thanks! I haven't had much luck finding used bikes. Seems like all the cool looking ones I've found are $800 or more. I'd like to get something cheap, right now so I can get started. Then I can make sure this is something I'll enjoy and continue doing before I put a house payment or two into what could potentially be a dust collector. Unfortunately my right now budget is 250 - 300.

    I really appreciate the help though. I'm just getting impatient =(
     
  9. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    That's cool, you are at least thinking the right way about getting a low cost bike to make sure you want to do this sport. I will say this, if you get a low cost bike I would, before you ride it, take it to a bike mechanic and have them go through it and adjust everything, sometimes things come out of the factory screwed up, like failure to lube a bottom bracket before assembly, yes that's happened in these forums; or a chain with a stiff link that tore the rear derailleur off the rear stay, these sorts of things you don't want to happen while riding on your first day! LOL!! Also the bike may not come tuned up correctly so shifting and braking etc may be poorly functioning.

    Saddles on low end bikes are usually very uncomfortable, they'll be ok for riding around the block but on long rides your bum may start to hate you, more then likely at that point you may need a new saddle and that saddle will have to fit your sit bones so you have to have those measured which most bike shops can do so you get the right size.

    You need to adjust the fit of the bike, do it yourself and save a ton of money form a pro fit that wouldn't make sense on a $200 bike anyways. This is the first spot to work on; see: http://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/article/how-to-get-your-seat-height-right-14608/ And this site: https://cyclingtips.com/2010/04/science-of-bike-fitting/

    Make sure you adjust your PSi properly by using this calculator: http://www.dorkypantsr.us/bike-tire-pressure-calculator.html Scroll down and Use the second one, not the first one, enter in your total clothed ready to ride body weight, and your bike weight, enter your tire size and the correct PSI (correct within 5 psi anyways) will show up automatically.

    Also keep in mind, that a nice road bike will feel a lot better than a low end one does, so if you get frustrated due to some sort of comfort problem that could go away with a better bike. But like you said, this bike will get you started, but try not to relate comfort with failing not to like riding bikes, here's a story: I saw a bike at a garage sale about 5 years ago, turned out to be a unused 1985 Fuji Club, unused you scream? not completely unused, the owner bought the bike on sale from a bike shop who said that was the right size bike for him, he rode it about 5 miles and hated it so he put in the attic all those years. When I heard his story and saw the bike and him I knew what the problem was, he was too short for the bike, evidently the bike shop was selling off their year end stock and sold a last remaining model of a bike to the first sucker that came along without checking to see if it would fit, then lied and said it was the right size for him. So here's a guy who never rode a bike again because the bike was uncomfortable for him, if the bike shop had done it's job he may have ended up liking riding. He was shocked when I told him the bike wasn't his size and that's why it wasn't comfortable. So I picked up a brand new 84 Fuji Club for $40, good deal for me! he paid $349 for it in 85.
     
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  10. Barons

    Barons New Member

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    Okay so I went to a bike shop today. There's one in my town that does free measurements. They basically talked me out of everything I'd been planning lol.

    So I was under the impression that road bikes look cool and I'll be riding it on the road so it's perfect for me. I know they have skinny tires and the curved handlebars. I always assumed because the tires were so thin and your leaning over so far it was just difficult to pedal them off road. The lady at the bike shop told me that trying to drive them off road wouldn't only be hard but it would most likely pop the tires or bend the wheels.

    She said you can't even ride them on side walks because the areas where the side walk slabs meet often have height differences big enough to bust the tires or damage the wheels. She also said most people who ride road bikes tend to want to ride for long distances in groups. If I'm only planning on riding around my neighborhood I could save a lot of money if I just got a commuter/hybrid bike.

    We talked about those bikes for a while and I mentioned that my only experience with biking is from riding mountain bikes as a kid. As it turns out there is a 5 mile bike trail and 3 miles of off road trail maintained by some mountain bike association 1 mile away from my house. As for down sides riding for a mile to get there doesn't sound that great and the trails aren't free. It's $2 per day or $60 a year but I'm really thinking about just getting a mounting bike.

    The hybrid bikes look an awful lot like those lame bikes you rent at the beach. Idk I'm still thinking about it but at I'm leaning towards the mtn bikes. I could ride them on or off road and running over stuff in the woods or jumping things sounds like a lot more fun than riding around my neighborhood. Plus if I'm getting into this for exercise I think I'd get a better work out trail riding that I would going around my block.

    So yeah. I really appreciate all the help but it looks like road bikes aren't going to be the best option for me.
     
  11. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Problem with mountain bikes found in most bike stores is that they come with shock absorber forks, not a problem if you pay more than $1,000 for the bike, but a big problem if you spend around $500 range. Why are those shocks on those bikes problems you scream? Because they don't work as advertised, they don't work well, they will fail and when they do the new fork may cost more than the bike did, the factory had to cheapen the frame and components to put the shock fork on to meet the price point they are trying to reach which in turns leads to more mechanical issues and a heavier frame, they add a LOT of weight to a bike, the constant up and down motion of the fork robs you of your forward power, and besides shocks forks are really only necessary if you'll be doing fast down hill riding. I use to live in So California and rode a rigid bike on the trials in the mountains and never needed any shock fork or suspension bike...but of course I wasn't racing either. In addition if you do decide to take it off road and get aggressive you can actually learn more off road riding skills on a rigid bike then you can a shocked bike, read this: http://blog.jensonusa.com/5-reasons-to-ride-a-rigid-bike/

    If you can find a mountain bike with a rigid fork then great, but those are difficult to find in todays world because everyone thinks they need a shock fork and guys want to look more macho so they are attracted to these like flies to fly paper and then they get stuck with something they wish they hadn't!

    If you don't like the hybrid bikes, and can't find a rigid MTB then I suggest looking at cross bikes, they can do some rough stuff, not as much as a mountain bike, but all the problems that the lady at the shop mentioned about road bikes would not effect a cross bike. A cross bike is very versatile it can do a lot of things good, it's not the best in road, not the best in off road but does both good, plus if you ever get the hankering for touring these can handle it whereas most road bikes and mtb's cannot as well. As you know there are people who race cross bikes in what's known as cross racing.

    If you plan on doing a lot of off road I would suggest looking into fat bikes, these are bikes with fat tires, they are rigid bikes, the tires which hold about 15 to 20 psi absorb all the shock due to the very low air pressure. These bikes can even go places a MTB can't, they float over loose sand and snow for example. Of course low cost ones will be heavy like a low cost MTB but you won't have the mechanical problem of the shock fork.

    I kind of think a cross bike would be more to your liking and more for what you would use a bike for. Anyway some ideas for you to ponder.
     
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  12. Barons

    Barons New Member

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    Wow man! Thanks for all the help! You are awesome! I really appreciate the advice. I'v got to say the fat bikes look really sexy! Plus I was totally falling for the shock absorber thing. My other bikes have been ridged bikes and I loved them. But I was still looking all into how I could find the cheapest thing possible with front and rear shocks.

    I obviously need to up my price range. I watched a video of a guy riding a huffy wall art bike down a really rough trail and he just destroyed it. He went through the break pads before the end and basically didn't have brakes, the Handel bars were all loose and flopping around. It gave me a much better understanding of how cheaply made the cheap bikes really are. So now i get what you mean about the cheaper bikes falling apart faster.

    I'll have time to read the link you sent and check out the cross and fat bikes more lwhen I gt home from work so I'll probably reply again later.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  13. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    your welcome. Keep in mind with fat tire bikes, which I forgot to mention, is that they are not fast on pavement, they are the slowest of all the different type of bikes due to the fat tires of course, and they require more energy to propel forward, so keep that mind when it comes to those. From what you described in your posts I think a cross bike would more up your alley, but only you can answer that better.
     
  14. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    Should I copy paste the Cyclocross bike advice I've been giving for the last 4 years? :D

    Anyway, they are starting to make road bikes chunkier now, with mudguard clearance and even rack mounts.. I just checked that new Spesh Allez and I think that's actually perfect for anything.. Except racing maybe..

    It's around 700.. For around 400 you might find a used bike..

    Oh and since you are just picking up the sport. It might be easier for you to get used to be wearing a helmet...
     
  15. Steve5

    Steve5 Member

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    It might help to take your time before choosing a new bike. You have to be sure with the bike you choose because you're likely to use it for a long time. I'm still happy with my decision.
     
  16. Kakashi

    Kakashi Active Member

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    I'm a smoker like you and now I'm smoking just 8 sticks a day and sometimes only 6. When I'm doing physical activities like going to the gym or riding my mountain bike my smoking decreases, I would really like to get smoking out of my system sadly I can't seem to do it. But I can minimize it through sports and activities.
     
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