Interested in cycling, advice on a first bike?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by rmr1923, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. rmr1923

    rmr1923 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2010
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi everyone, I'm new here and I'm looking for advice on a beginner's bike. I'll start off by saying that I know absolutely NOTHING about bikes.

    For anyone that's from Houston, I live in the Memorial area and my wife and I enjoy exercising at Terry Hershey park (jogging, longboarding, etc), and seeing all the cyclists out there has me itching to give it a shot. We have a couple cheapo Wal Mart special mountain bikes that we bought a few years back and ride every now and then, but after my first "real" workout on this bike, one of the rear gears broke off and it's nearly impossible to ride it any faster than about 10 mph. I think I'm more interested in a road bike, I don't plan on any off road adventures.

    I'm looking for something fairly cheap just to get started, I'd hate to buy an expensive bike only to find it sitting in the garage a year from now collecting dust. I've searched on ebay and keep seeing this "GMC Denali" bike but from the reviews I've seen, it seems like complete junk. I've seen some Schwinns for about $300, and a few others for around $400 (can't remember what brands). I'm really hoping to spend no more than $300 on my first bike, and then if I find myself really getting into it then I'll look into the more expensive ones a little further down the road.

    One of my dad's friends is into cycling and he said he likes to shop for used bikes at garage sales in the suburbs, apparently he found a $1500 bike that was hardly used and picked it up for about $100, but I don't think this kind of a deal is very common. Any advice on what to look for if I come across some used bikes? What brands are considered good quality, what should I look for (signs of wear and tear, poor maintenance, etc), and just general price ranges that I should expect to pay.

    I'd really appreciate some direction here, I've been using the stationary bike at the gym lately but after March Madness is over, I don't see myself sitting on a "bike" indoors for an extended period of time. Thanks in advance!
     
    Tags:


  2. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    1,696
    Likes Received:
    3
    Going 70s or 80s is definitely the way to get a good bike cheap, but the grease dries out in the hubs so you will need to learn to overhaul the hubs and bottom bracket (pedal bearings.)

    Parts are still widely available. Stuff was more interchangeable back then, and you are unlikely to need something unique for an old bike.

    Wheels or cranks which wobble around loose when NOT turning mean the bearings are shot and you will need a new axle, cones, and bearing balls, and the wheel just may be shot.

    Aluminum rims and stem are a mark of adequate quality. Shifters on the downtube instead of the handlebar stem usually indicate better quality. Cotterless cranks usually indicate somewhat better quality unless the bike is pretty old.

    Do an online fit calculator and carry a small tape measure with you. Fit is the most important factor. And stop at no length to get a seat that spans your sit bones.

    Good 27" tires are widely available. Tubulars are available reasonably too, but you may not want the hassle when you read up on them.

    Last, use sheldonbrown.com for a resource.
     
  3. NewRiderInNJ

    NewRiderInNJ New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2010
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bought that cheap GMC bike to see if I liked it. I do. I rode a 75 mle ride on that and am riding more this year. In a way it's good because the bike is so inefficient it makes you work hard and get fit.

    But I just joined here to learn more about what bike to upgrade to.
     
  4. jagonz456

    jagonz456 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    1
    I know you said you wanted a road bike But have you looked at a Hybrid bike. You can buy a trek 7000/fuji crosstown 4.0/giant cypress all for around $300. These bike have road bike tires (700c) and components so they will go faster then 10mph and you will be more comfortable. You can ride them in almost any road. For $300 you will be getting a new bike from the bike shop. It will be fitted for your size so you will be a lot more comfortable than if you by on craigslist. Visit your local bike shop and take one out for a spin you will love the ride.
     
  5. dannier

    dannier New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2010
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was looking for a cheap bike to hold me over . I saw this and it was dirt cheap. When this baby came I was flabbergasted. It came with the SAME frame I was going to buy that was on the TREK bike. The quality of this bike far surpasses its cost. The Sram brakes, the Shimano gears, cool boby ,the rims, the seat, the handle bars, all top notch. ESPECIALLY the fork. My BMX bike buddies LOVE the fork on this bike. You don't have to spend $300 ,it's just $140 now ,you will save $26 . And this bike is now my main bike. I have taken it through its paces, jumping down long stairs at parks, riding down long concrete stairs at trick biking spots in NYC ! Grab it while you can!
     
  6. jagonz456

    jagonz456 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Messages:
    91
    Likes Received:
    1
    I am glad you found a bike and whatever meets your needs at that time is always the best solution for you. with that being said The frame on the trek comes with a life time warranty and its not the same as the above bike.The above bike is made out of steel the trek is aluminum so the trek is lighter. The shimano gears are not the same. shimano makes a lot of components you can visit their website shimano.com and see the hierarchy of all their Products.the only thing that these components share is the name. This is a Mountain bike it has 26inch wheels not made to go fast or far on paved roads. If you want a bike to ride 15+ miles this is not a good bike for you. Getting fitted on a bike is the single most important Factor in all of this. If you don't get a bike that fits you are going to feel pain while riding on long ride (15+). Once you know your size and have a solid miles on a bike you can move on to buying something online stores or craigslist. The hybrid bikes I suggested ride and share the same components as many road bikes. If you must have a road bike go to performancebikes.com They have many stores in Texas you can find one by you they offer life time maintenance on all the bikes they sell. Right now they have 10% off and if you join their club you get back 10% instore credit that you can use to buy anything you want (helmet,lights). Performance is having a sale right now if you buy a fuji bike in April you get double the credit so its 20%.

    2009 Fuji Newest 3.0 Road Bike
    retail $749 sale price $399 plus 10% off = $359 double the points so you get $70 in store credit.
    BOTTOM BRACKET: Sealed Cartridge Bearing ST
    BRAKES: Radius AS-2.3 Forged AL, dual pivot
    CASSETTE: SunRace CSR-638, 12-24T 8-speed
    CHAIN: Sunrace CNM-84
    CRANKSET: Fuji Forged Aluminum Road 30/42/52T Chainring
    FORK: FC-990 Fuji Bonded Carbon w/ 1 1/8" Chromoly Steerer
    FRAME: Fuji Altair 1 Compact Aluminum w/ traditional round downtube, Double water bottle mounts, Fuji Altair 1 Aluminum curved seat stay w/ rack mount, Fuji forged road dropout w/ replaceable derailleur hanger
    FRONT DERAILLEUR: MicroShift R-539, 31.8mm for triple
    GRIPS/TAPE: Fuji custom cork wrap
    HANDLEBAR: Fuji Alloy Road
    HEADSET: Ritchey LB 1 1/8"
    LEVERS: MicroShift SB-R08 shifter/brake, Radius RA 3.2 Top Mount
    PEDALS: FPD Road
    RACK MOUNTS: Yes
    REAR DERAILLEUR: Shimano Sora
    SADDLE: Fuji Road Sport Anatomical Saddle
    SEATPOST: Fuji Comp Alloy Micro-adjust, 350mm
    SHIFTERS: MicroShift SB-R08 shifter/brake, 24-speed
    STEM: Fuji Adjustable Road Aluminum, Removable Clamp
    TIRES: Road Sport, 700 x 25c
    WHEELSET: Rims: Alex PRD-15 Double Wall Aluminum, 32H 700c clincher; Hubs: Formula Alloy Road, 32H
    Rating: 4.5
     
  7. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    1,696
    Likes Received:
    3
    That Denali doesn't strike me as much less efficient than a modern road bike. There are more spokes, it's a few pounds heavier, and you have to reach to shift but those things don't hold you back much unless you're racing.
     
  8. rmr1923

    rmr1923 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2010
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    i ended up getting the Denali and so far i'm pleased with it. the shifters and brakes are crap, but i'm not a very avid cyclist so it doesn't bother me much. i mainly wanted to get a road bike so i could take my workout outdoors once or twice a week (there's a real nice park with biking trails close to where i live), and i figured if i end up really enjoying it then in 6 months or so i'll just go buy a nicer bike.
     
  9. NewRiderInNJ

    NewRiderInNJ New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2010
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Maybe I should hold off on the upgrade? I really don't want to spend a ton. Time is limited. Thing is that where I live the hills are real tough. The 75 mile ride was a breeze compared to the typical 30-40 I would do around here.

    The bike creaks a lot and I don't think it is a particularly good fit. Plus I put a touring seat on it (which I should replace), but I felt like being comfy for 75 miles.

    My main goal would be getting a bike that could handle hills a bit better. I'm thinking to stay with a triple.

    If I had to pull the trigger today, I would probably get a Specialized Sectaur Sport Triple. Any thoughts on that?

    Also looking at Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod 1, Jamis Xenith Comp, and maybe a low end Giant. Any thoughts on how much the improvement would be?
     
  10. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    1,696
    Likes Received:
    3
    Do an online fit calculator. Fit is important.

    Maybe you just need to keep at it a bit longer, but there's things you could do to your Denali. Does it already have a 34T freewheel? How about the front crank? There are low end triples available as well as smaller chainrings.
     
  11. NewRiderInNJ

    NewRiderInNJ New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2010
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0

    It is a triple. One of the issues is that first does not work too good. I know to get my speed up before switching but it still pops off half the time. Ruined a new jacket today with the grease of putting it back on.

    I did just switch the seat back to the original from the wide gel saddle I bought for the 75 mile ride. We'll see if that helps some. That gel seat was really comfy.

    What is a 34T freewheel? What does it do and is it pricey? The last thing I want to do is dump serious money into a $130 bike from Walmart.
     
  12. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    Messages:
    1,696
    Likes Received:
    3
    Get a book and figure out how to tune your shifters. Try setting the limit screws and make sure the cable tension is right. There may be a barrel adjuster which allows you to alter cable tension without loosening the cable clamp and retightening it after pulling some slack out of the cable. Front derailleurs are pretty simple and they've been around for many years. It shouldn't give trouble.

    The rear sprockets and the ratcheting unit underneath them which lets you coast without pedaling is called the freewheel. MTB freewheels with a 34 tooth largest cog are available, but you might have to get a new derailleur. However, if you already have a triple, I'd say you may just need a bit more patience getting in shape.
     
Loading...
Loading...