buying my first bike ever...

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Joshua Lee, Apr 21, 2003.

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  1. Joshua Lee

    Joshua Lee Guest

    sorry to barge in on your group and ask a favor of everyone before contributing, but i don't think i
    have much to contribute. i'm 19, a freshman in college, and about to head home to louisville,
    kentucky for the summer. i've given a lot of serious thought to buying a bike, and i think i've
    decided that it's something i am going to do. i would mostly be using it for riding around my part
    of town (paved road and grass and dirt and other non-paved materials) and maybe a trail or two at
    some local parks.

    the last time i owned a bike and used it was about 8 years ago. it was a cheap bmx bike that i rode
    around the block, and i sometimes used it for jumping (although i sucked horribly at jumping and
    ripped my knees open many a time trying to jump). so... i don't know much about bikes. the only
    thing i really know about bikes is what i saw from the year that i worked at Target, and from what i
    seem to be gathering... those bikes aren't exactly top notch.

    well, anyway, here's a synopsis:
    1. i'm very new to biking.
    2. i would like to spend $200-$300.
    3. i'd prefer to buy a new bike.
    4. i'm not too picky.

    even the slightest suggestion would be a ton of help, and i'd really appreciate it. also, if there
    are some well-known websites that would be a wonderful resource to someone new to biking, i'd really
    appreciate knowing those URL's.

    thanks a lot... sorry to barge in...
    :p
    -joshua
     
    Tags:


  2. My suggestion to you, for your situation, is to buy the cheapest model you can find, which may be
    for $59.99 on sale at a place like a Target Store. Learn how to true the wheels and adjust the seat
    and handlebars, so it fits you as best it can. For use as a vacation bike, this will probably work
    well enough and you can inexpensively find if you want to continue biking into the future. If so,
    you can spend more on a fancier model later and you'll have the cheapo bike to use as a spare.

    Steve McDonald
     
  3. Steve McDonald <[email protected]> wrote:
    : My suggestion to you, for your situation, is to buy the cheapest model you can find, which
    : may be for $59.99 on sale at a place like a Target Store.

    No, this is bad advice. You'll only be disappointed in the bike, and you'll be discouraged
    from riding.

    Better advice: go to a local bike shop that sells several brands. If you have a friend who's
    bike-knowledgeable, bring him/her along. Look around, see what's available in your price range. You
    may want to look at used models, if they have them. Many bike shops still have models from 2002 and
    2001 -- these will cost a bit less. Ask a saleperson for suggestions. If you don't like what you
    see, go to another shop, and look some more.

    -- Paul

    ----------------------------------------------
    | Paul Steckler | [email protected] | "I'm the type-checker; I'm here to help you" |
    ---------------------------------------------
     
  4. Jon Isaacs

    Jon Isaacs Guest

    >well, anyway, here's a synopsis:
    >1. i'm very new to biking.
    >2. i would like to spend $200-$300.
    >3. i'd prefer to buy a new bike.
    >4. i'm not too picky.
    >
    >even the slightest suggestion would be a ton of help, and i'd really appreciate it. also, if there
    >are some well-known websites that would be a wonderful resource to someone new to biking, i'd
    >really appreciate knowing those URL's.
    >
    >thanks a lot... sorry to barge in...
    >:p
    >-joshua

    Joshua:

    You ought to be able to find a decent bike, one that fits, one that has reasonable components,
    decent brakes and all and has been properly assembled for you $200-$300 dollars.

    My suggestion is to shop at several local bike shops, there should be several near U.K. and let them
    help you choose the best bike for your needs.

    My guess is that a simple mountain bike would most likely fill the bill nicely, durable and
    inexpensive but getting the expertise of a good bike shop is important, saving a few dollars on a
    bike that does not fit or is poorly assembled, that would be sad.

    Jon Isaacs
     
  5. Harris

    Harris Guest

    joshua lee <[email protected]> wrote:

    > well, anyway, here's a synopsis:
    > 1. i'm very new to biking.
    > 2. i would like to spend $200-$300.
    > 3. i'd prefer to buy a new bike.
    > 4. i'm not too picky.

    Look for a low end mountain bike (WITHOUT SUSPENSION) from Trek, Raleigh, or similar name brands. At
    the $300 level, a good local bike shop can get you a decent, properly assembled bike that will fit
    you properly.

    Art Harris
     
  6. Rich Clark

    Rich Clark Guest

    "Steve McDonald" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > Have you ever bought one of these lowest-priced bikes? And tuned it up to its best
    > performance? I did, when I needed a quick and cheap buy to replace a lost bike until I could
    > find a better one. I put higher-pressure smooth-tread tires on it, replaced the 9
    > ring-clipped bearings in the crank with 15 loose ones, trued the rims to perfection, and got
    > a custom seat. I rode the hell out of it for 1 1/2 years, until it began to break down. It
    > ran quite well on the streets and passably so on dirt. I got my money's worth many times over
    > from it and salvaged some usable parts when I dumped it. For an inexperienced rider with a
    > limited budget for a summertime vacation period, I stand by this recommendation. This type of
    > bike, fully tuned and rigged with a few key improved parts, can run pretty well. I think some
    > price-snobbery may be the reason so many people reject this low-cost option for a limited-use
    > bike.

    While your approach may work for someone who has the tools, aptitude, and knowledge to put a poorly
    assembled bike with some questionable (if not dangerously flimsy) parts to rights, I doubt the
    average "newbie" fits that description. Some people are baffled by the fact that there's more than
    one size of spoke wrench.

    The OP "doesn't know much about bikes," so I agree that for him buying a cheap mass-market bike
    would be a bad idea.

    There are plenty of entry-level brand-name hybrids and "mountain" bikes available at bike shops for
    $200-300. Since that price also buys the support and service of the bike shop, it can be a bargain
    for the inexperienced cyclist.

    RichC
     
  7. Baltobernie

    Baltobernie Guest

    Harris <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > joshua lee <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > > well, anyway, here's a synopsis:
    > > 1. i'm very new to biking.
    > > 2. i would like to spend $200-$300.
    > > 3. i'd prefer to buy a new bike.
    > > 4. i'm not too picky.
    >

    No, you're not barging in!

    Another tactic might be to contact your local club. Google returned www.louisvillebicycleclub.org/
    as one in your area. Like any other hobby, cycling has those who need or want the very latest and
    best equipment. I'm not knocking them; if I could afford it, I'd be one of 'em, too!

    You've said that you'd prefer a new bike, but I'm going to go against the grain here and claim that
    $300 will not get you a quality new bicycle, particularly if you don't already own a pair of cycling
    shoes (a must-have, IMHO). There are some great Chinese bikes out there, such as Giant, but I think
    you would have a much better bike in a well-maintained high-end used bicycle.

    I should add that I'm a roadie, and this advice may not apply to cross or hybrid designs. But my
    first bicycle as an adult was an inexpensive new one, and I found that the cost of improving or even
    maintaining this bicycle exceeded the price of a good new bike. One tiny example is wheels; a good
    wheelset can be regularly trued and even rebuilt. Cheap ones break and pull spokes, etc.

    The odds are good that there is a 8-speed Fuji, Tommasini, etc. in Louisville who's owner is using
    as a third (road) bike, and would allow you to adopt for a couple of hundred dollars. I'd contact a
    local club even if this approach does not appeal to you; they will still have good input regarding
    shops, rides, etc.

    Bernie
     
  8. Archer

    Archer Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...

    ...

    > Another tactic might be to contact your local club. Google returned www.louisvillebicycleclub.org/
    > as one in your area. Like any other hobby, cycling has those who need or want the very latest and
    > best equipment. I'm not knocking them; if I could afford it, I'd be one of 'em, too!
    >
    > You've said that you'd prefer a new bike, but I'm going to go against the grain here and claim
    > that $300 will not get you a quality new bicycle, particularly if you don't already own a pair of
    > cycling shoes (a must-have, IMHO).

    I would disagree here. I have found that a pair of stiff-soled sneakers (cross-trainers, actually)
    work well for me with toe clips. Whatever you use, the sole needs to be stiff.

    ....

    --
    David Kerber An optimist says "Good morning, Lord." While a pessimist says "Good Lord,
    it's morning".

    Remove the ns_ from the address before e-mailing.
     
  9. B. Sanders

    B. Sanders Guest

    "Steve McDonald" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > My suggestion to you, for your situation, is to buy the cheapest model you can find, which
    > may be for $59.99 on sale at a place like a Target Store.

    There's a pretty good chance that such a bike was produced in a Chinese sweat shop using slave labor
    conditions. If you buy such a bike, you are in effect advocating this practice. I don't know about
    bikes sold at Target; but Huffy brand bikes are known to be produced by endentured workers under
    horrific sweatshop conditions.

    Giant brand bikes are not produced in sweatshops (AFAIK). Fuji is another great inexpensive brand
    that I recommend. If you spend $250 or so on a low-end Giant or Fuji bike (such as a hybrid,
    perhaps), you'll be getting a lot for your money, it will be sold by a real bike dealer, and it will
    last a very long time without problems.

    In hybrids and mountain bikes there is a lot to look at in the $200-$300 range. Marin, Fuji, Giant,
    Gary Fisher, Trek, Specialized - just about every major brand has a bike priced in that range. Ride
    as many as you can at a real bike shop, and then decide based upon your test rides. We can't tell
    you which bike is best for you.

    Whatever you do - avoid department stores. Go to a real bike shop. You'll be glad you did.

    -Barry
     
  10. Archer

    Archer Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    >
    > Denver C. Fox <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > >I would disagree here. I have found that a pair of stiff-soled sneakers (cross-trainers,
    > > >actually) work well for me with toe clips. Whatever you use, the sole needs to be stiff.
    > >
    > > I have doen many 1000's of miles on my mtn bike (with slicks, not any
    > technical
    > > stuff) using my cross-trainer shoes and toe clips.
    > >
    > > http://members.aol.com/foxcondorsrvtns (Colorado rental condo)
    > >
    > > http://members.aol.com/dnvrfox (Family Web Page)
    > >
    >
    > I guess it's whatever you're used to; I learned on clipless pedals, and find that when I rent (at
    > the seashore, for example) that athletic shoes are very uncomfortable. But boy! am I envious of
    > those of you who can walk around at

    Do your athletic shoes have a nice stiff sole? That's necessary, IMO.

    --
    David Kerber An optimist says "Good morning, Lord." While a pessimist says "Good Lord,
    it's morning".

    Remove the ns_ from the address before e-mailing.
     
  11. Joshua Lee

    Joshua Lee Guest

    thanks a lot guys... it never really hit me to just go to a local bike shop and talk with the
    owner/look at the bikes. there are actually two of them (bike shops) within walking distance of
    campus, so i plan on going there tomorrow to see what i can find.

    all of the other advice was very helpful... i was actually considering a department store bike but
    now i think i will definitely choose to look around at bike shops.

    -joshua
     
  12. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "baltobernie" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > I guess it's whatever you're used to; I learned on
    clipless pedals, and find
    > that when I rent (at the seashore, for example) that
    athletic shoes are very
    > uncomfortable.

    Me too. IMO, SPDs are the greatest advance in cycling technology of the last 20 years. I'd even put
    them ahead of suspension forks and index shifting.

    Sometimes I even bring my pedals, shoes, and a pedal wrench with me when I travel!

    > But boy! am I envious of those of you who can walk around
    at
    > rest stope, etc. without looking like a penguin!

    I don't have that problem with SPDs, especially when I wear my SPD-compatible sneakers (Answer
    Flatfoot). They feel like normal shoes walking around. People also have great things to say about
    SPD sandals. I haven't tried them yet, but they look like they'd do the job too.

    Shimano's SPD shoes generally work and walk very well.

    Originally, SPDs were very carefully designed for easy clipping and good walkability. Some companies
    even made a big deal of having "Shimano approved" SPD soles on their shoes. But lately, things seem
    to have drifted off the original spec. A lot of "SPD" shoes have their cleats sticking out too far,
    or are hard to clip in with, because the sole is badly designed.

    Matt O.
     
  13. [email protected] (joshua lee) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...

    > well, anyway, here's a synopsis:
    > 1. i'm very new to biking.
    > 2. i would like to spend $200-$300.
    > 3. i'd prefer to buy a new bike.
    > 4. i'm not too picky.

    See if your local bikeshops have any stuff hanging about from last model year; the new season has
    begun, and they won't be averse to getting rid of some of last years' models.

    Great thing about that is that, year-to-year, bicycles don't really change all that much; you'll
    probably save a good bit of cash this way.

    I'd stay away from suspension, unless you figure that most of your riding will be off-road. On the
    road, it's no real benefit, and it's another potential failure point, *especially* on
    department-store dual-suspension bikes. [which you can afford to avoid, definitely]

    buy a multi-tool, some tire levers, a patch kit, and a pump that you can strap onto the bike.
    and a lock!

    US$200 should get you a pretty nice bike.

    >
    > even the slightest suggestion would be a ton of help, and i'd really appreciate it. also, if there
    > are some well-known websites that would be a wonderful resource to someone new to biking, i'd
    > really appreciate knowing those URL's.

    www.sheldonbrown.com

    all the bike information you can use--!

    Ride on the road; pick quiet neighbourhood streets first & build confidence. Eventually you can mix
    it up in any traffic you want. It's just like driving a car (should say, driving a car is just like
    riding a bike...) Remember--you're not blocking traffic, you *are* traffic.

    -Luigi

    "It's tough to eat shit, without having visions"

    - Allen Ginsberg
     
  14. Tom Sherman

    Tom Sherman Guest

    "B. Sanders" wrote:
    >
    > "Steve McDonald" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > >
    > > My suggestion to you, for your situation, is to buy the cheapest model you can find, which
    > > may be for $59.99 on sale at a place like a Target Store.
    >
    > There's a pretty good chance that such a bike was produced in a Chinese sweat shop using slave
    > labor conditions. If you buy such a bike, you are in effect advocating this practice. I don't know
    > about bikes sold at Target; but Huffy brand bikes are known to be produced by endentured workers
    > under horrific sweatshop conditions....

    I have been informed that workers that make quality bicycles (e.g. Giant) in Taiwan are typically
    paid the equivalent of $12-15 US an hour, which is approximately 30 to 70 times more compensation
    than the workers making Huffy's in mainland China receive. [1] In addition, Taiwan has become a
    democratic nation in recent years.

    [1] This is more than many US factory workers make.

    Tom Sherman - Quad Cities USA (Illinois side)
     
  15. Tom Sherman

    Tom Sherman Guest

    baltobernie wrote:
    > ... I guess it's whatever you're used to; I learned on clipless pedals, and find that when I rent
    > (at the seashore, for example) that athletic shoes are very uncomfortable. But boy! am I envious
    > of those of you who can walk around at rest stope, etc. without looking like a penguin!

    I wear Sidi Dominator II Mega shoes which are identical to the Sidi Genius III road shoes except for
    the tread pattern on the soles. While I would not choose these for walking shoes, they are perfectly
    fine for rest stops, including walking on hard floor indoors. (A little bit of Shoe Goo on the
    bottom of the tread lugs does improve traction, since the soles are hard plastic). They are also
    very stiff, which is very important when riding a recumbent with the BB higher than the seat.

    Tom Sherman - Quad Cities USA (Illinois side)
     
  16. B. Sanders

    B. Sanders Guest

    "joshua lee" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > thanks a lot guys... it never really hit me to just go to a local bike shop and talk with the
    > owner/look at the bikes. there are actually two of them (bike shops) within walking distance of
    > campus, so i plan on going there tomorrow to see what i can find.
    >
    > all of the other advice was very helpful... i was actually considering a department store bike but
    > now i think i will definitely choose to look around at bike shops.

    Good call, Joshua.

    Be kind to the bike shop folks. They aren't getting rich selling bikes - nobody does. Nothing wrong
    with buying last year's bike on sale; but trying to haggle is not recommended. Their margin is about
    30%, which ain't much when you consider their overhead and the amount of free service and assembly
    that you'll be getting. Basically, as I understand it, accessories, clothing, lube and tools are the
    money-makers. The low-end bikes aren't making the shop enough money to keep the doors open. So be
    nice. They'll reward you with good advice, patience and the right bike. It's an important
    relationship to establish and maintain if you decide that you care about cycling. I hope you find a
    bike that makes you feel like riding every day.

    Pre-ride bike setup is important. The tires should be aired up properly. The seat should be
    level (not tilted). The brakes should work well. The shifters should shift perfectly through all
    the gears.

    If you ride a bike that you think you might like; but it wasn't setup right, put it aside, ask them
    to get it set up properly, and try it again. It's worth it, and if you let the shop know you're
    serious about buying, they won't grumble too much (after all, it will be ready for the next customer
    after it's adjusted).

    I believe that most small shop owners really care about making their customers happy. (As I say,
    they're not doing it to get rich, that's for sure). Personally, I avoid the high-school-age
    salespeople, in favor of older, more experienced experts (usually the owner or manager of the shop).
    They wouldn't be there if they didn't enjoy their work, and it makes a difference. You have to trust
    their judgement to some degree.

    It is likely that you'll be steered toward the hybrid bikes. This may be the perfect choice for you.
    They are quite versatile, comfortable, reasonably fast and offer excellent value for your money.

    Good luck and have fun on your bike shopping trip. Let us know what you end up buying.

    -Barry
     
  17. Baltobernie

    Baltobernie Guest

    > Me too. IMO, SPDs are the greatest advance in cycling technology of the last 20 years. I'd even
    > put them ahead of suspension forks and index shifting.
    >
    > Sometimes I even bring my pedals, shoes, and a pedal wrench with me when I travel!
    >
    > > But boy! am I envious of those of you who can walk around
    > at
    > > rest stope, etc. without looking like a penguin!
    >
    > I don't have that problem with SPDs, especially when I wear my SPD-compatible sneakers (Answer
    > Flatfoot). They feel like normal shoes walking around. People also have great things to say about
    > SPD sandals. I haven't tried them yet, but they look like they'd do the job too.
    >
    > Shimano's SPD shoes generally work and walk very well.
    >
    > Originally, SPDs were very carefully designed for easy clipping and good walkability. Some
    > companies even made a big deal of having "Shimano approved" SPD soles on their shoes. But lately,
    > things seem to have drifted off the original spec. A lot of "SPD" shoes have their cleats sticking
    > out too far, or are hard to clip in with, because the sole is badly designed.
    >
    > Matt O.
    >

    I've tried other systems over the years, but always seem to go back to Look (road). I <really> liked
    Speedplay when they first came out, but the mechanism is in the shoe, not the pedal, and it gets
    trashed. At least they make covers for Look cleats, but even with these, walking is difficult. And
    doncha know, the group decides to go while I still have coffee remaining, and I've got to snap off
    the cleat covers, hopping around on successive feet, CAREFUL not to touch down on linoleum, etc.
    which is like ice, stashing the covers in the jersey, finishing the coffee ....... was that Left or
    Right at the stopsign?

    Bernie
     
  18. [email protected] (Steve McDonald) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I believe you won't be a successful or happy bike rider until you learn how to adjust and repair
    > your own equipment.

    But you don't have to do it all at once!

    Some people gain pleasure from wrenching. It can be fun. But other people would rather just ride the
    bicycle. That is also fun.

    Most beginners would much rather just get on the bicycle and ride; there's nothing quite like that
    sensation of movement and the knowledge of distance traveled. It's quite a rewarding sensation.

    The rewards of truing wheels, servicing bearings, and building things can come later; the main thing
    to do is to enjoy the ride.

    An old bicycle is great fun and value, but only if you're willing to make it so; it requires a
    certain mechanical temperament (which, incidentally, I don't have in overabundance). Why not get
    something that's rideable right off the shop?

    -Luigi

    -Luigi
     
  19. Rich Clark

    Rich Clark Guest

    "Steve McDonald" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > I believe you won't be a successful or happy bike rider until you learn how to adjust and
    > repair your own equipment. If you acquire this ability and the basic tools you'll need to
    > carry, you can save a lot of money and avoid the long waits and inconveniences, when someone
    > else fixes your bike. You can also go on long rides and trips with more confidence, knowing
    > you can resolve most of your breakdowns out on the road. Best of all, you can be a big help
    > to someone else you meet, who has bike trouble.

    I agree with that part.
    >
    > What better way to start gaining these skills, than to buy a low-cost bike that has to be
    > thoroughly readjusted, before it works at its best?

    I vehemently disagree with this part. Putting a newbie on a bike that hasn't been assembled and
    checked out by a professional is borderline criminal.

    > This is why I suggest that people who are starting out, consider buying a cheap model or an older,
    > beat-up one, so that riding and repairing abilities can develop together.

    Horrible, dangerous, insane advice. Nobody should be riding a bike that isn't roadworthy, regardless
    of their repair skills. And nobody should be riding a bike that doesn't fit them, that they don't
    know how to adjust.

    Much better advice is to establish a relationship with a good local bike shop, where you can buy a
    decent modestly-priced bike. The mechanics there can show the cyclist how to do all the basic
    adjustments to keep the bike safe and functional, and even sell them the necessary tools. They may
    run classes on bike maintenance (or know where they're held) and probably serve as an information
    source for local bike activities.

    >This concept applies to the use of cars, motorcycles, boats or any type of vehicle. In the case of
    >more complicated machinery, that only a professional could fix, just being able to diagnose the
    >nature of one's own breakdowns, can save a lot of money and grief.

    Yeah? People should buy beat up crap motorcycles and cars and have to learn how to fix them before
    they're safe to drive? I don't think so.

    It's not that people shouldn't learn to maintain the equipment and vehicles they own. It's the
    idea of putting people on the road using junk vehicles, and somehow seeing that as beneficial,
    that's just nuts

    RichC
     
  20. [email protected] (Steve McDonald) wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I believe you won't be a successful or happy bike rider until you learn how to adjust and repair
    > your own equipment.

    I'm a successful and a happy bike rider. I have only the tiniest inkling as how to adjust and repair
    my own equipment, much less repair and adjust some beat-up or crap bike.

    Good grief, I trained for and then rode in a 200 mile event without having to know how to change a
    tire. I still have not a clue about how to twiddle my derailers, much less do things like true a
    wheel, and I put several thousand miles on my bike annually.

    I'm not saying that not being able to adjust or repair my bike is a virtue, it's just not a
    necessity in having a good time. It's the notion that you have to know how to repair and adjust a
    bike before riding one that keeps many women from even thinking about riding.

    Warm Regards,

    Claire Petersky ([email protected]) Home of the meditative cyclist:
    http://home.earthlink.net/~cpetersky/Welcome.htm

    Books just wanna be FREE! See what I mean at: http://bookcrossing.com/friend/Cpetersky
     
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