New 'cyclist" needs HELP on what bik to buy, to get started.

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by tonequester, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. tonequester

    tonequester New Member

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    Greetings. tonequester here.

    I am a 56 year old man, in apparent good health. My BP is 98/56, no cholesterol or cardiac issues. No joint problems. I am 5" 10" tall at 175lbs. BMI is in healthy range. History of long distance running and weight training, and years of good diet and supplementation. However, it has been years since I've done any bicycling. I am on Social Security Disability Insurance, due to Bipolar disorder, and plan to move to a large enough town that has all needs covered. However, I have plans that do not IMMEDIATELY include driving

    .
    That said, I need to know advice on the best all-purpose bike to buy that is in the $300.00 to $400.00 range. I would prefer a ten speed that would be comfortable to ride, and that would have all-purpose tires. No racing or rallies considered at this time. If this works out I may well upgrade, but until I try, will not invest a lot. I realize that $400.00 tops, will not get me a great bike, but I am hoping that the right choice can be made to get me started. I qualify for assitance in getting rides, but wish to be as independent as possible. Hard work is not a problem.


    I am a complete newbie here, and do not know if I have made the right choice of forum, ...yet. I welcome, and appreciate all opinions and comments, advice, etc., giving thanks ahead of time, to anyone who would take the time to help me out.

    Best Regards, tonequester.
     
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  2. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    Hi! [​IMG]

    Your best bet is probably a second hand bike...

    Second hand bikes sell for about half the price of new ones. So you can get an $800 bike for $400.

    A new bike for $400 might not be such a good buy...

    A chromoly bike would might make a better used buy since steel bikes have better "fatigue strength" then aluminium bikes (last better through time if not knocked or crashed).

    I would suggest a cyclocross frame like this one: [​IMG]
    "Surly Cross Check"
    [​IMG]
    It would make a great commuter and it can tackle a bit of gravel paths too... If you want something more "road like" you can check some road bikes. Again chromoly or a quality alu-frame with -not too much- mileage.

    Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  3. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Well....

    First off, 10-speed:
    - 10 speeds used to mean five sprockets at the rear and two chainrings at the front. Those days are long gone, although some survivors still linger. Today "10-speed" would be generally be assumed to mean 10 sprockets at the rear. Drivetrains (apart from in department stores) are usually discussed as "2x10", or "3x9" or even "1x10". And some other combinations in the same style.
    - There's nothing inherently wrong with a "traditional" 10-speed, but I wouldn't deliberately set out looking for one.
    -there's one definite step in durability between what's known as freehub bikes and freewheel bikes. Once you go to 7+ sprockets at the rear, freewheel bikes becomes more prone to rear axles bending or breaking. And there are plenty of 7-speed freewheels out there. 8/9-speed exists, but are relatively rare.
    - Drop bar bikes can be an acquired taste. Some take to them right away, some manage to adapt eventually, some never get happy on them. While I was quite happy with them on the open road, I never found them particulary useful for urban/city riding. They do offer a variety of hand positions(but there are other bars that can do that) and a deep tuck for those high-speed descents or headwind grinds.
    - it is fairly important to get the choice right between drop bar and flat bar, as switching from one to another is more complicated than merely switching the actual bar. Brake levers and shifters usually aren't compatible, and the fit of the bike will change quite a lot. There are plenty of threads about "drop bar conversion" and "flat bar conversion".
    -I'd go for a a rigid MTB. Either one made as a rigid originally, but I'd even consider a bike with a sus fork, factoring in the need to have the fork replaced with a rigid fork from the start. Plenty of space for fenders, a wide choice of tires and those at the lower price range usually come with fender and rack eyelets.
    - For utility riding, fenders and a rack are really useful. Heck, I even run a rear fender on my "nice" MTB. Having that "racing stripe" down the back didn't seem to bring any extra joy to my rides.
    - A MTB-based bike will be limited in top speed WRT road bike, but it'll do 25 MPH for an average rider. To me, not much of a limitation.
    - If you're going to be riding regularly, particularly with a history of weight training, pay some attention to pedalling technique. Knees tend not to appreciate a slow, heavy grind much. It is generally agreed that a cadence(pedalling rate) between 80-100 turns/minute is a healthy number to shoot for. A cyclocomputer with a cadence counter may be a worthwhile protection from developing bad habits and troubles literally down the road.
    - by all means, go used. If you set $100-150 aside for servicing, odds are you'll get a much better bike than the total sum would have bought you new. Also, if the fit/style ends up being all wrong you can sell it on with a very minor loss. New bikes usually lose half their value pretty much as soon as they leave the sales floor.
     
  4. Edward Franklin

    Edward Franklin New Member

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    I found great cycling equipment and get some more ideas from here
     
  5. tonequester

    tonequester New Member

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    Greetings Volnix, and glad to "meet" you here.

    I appreciate the info, and have written it down, as I will be looking to buy after the holidays are over. I printed off the picture of the cyclocross frame bike as well. I will probably spend some time in a bike shop, with the info gleaned here on the forum, just to be able to see some models that have the characteristics that I am collecting here. I can see examples, and be better be prepared to ask more questions. Then, I will go on the hunt for a used bike, as you and dabac have suggested.

    I truly appreciate your time involved in helping me make what for me, is a big decision as I do not drive anymore.

    Sincerely, Best Regards, and Good Cycling ! tonequester out.
     
  6. tonequester

    tonequester New Member

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    Greetings dabac, and thanks for your in depth info.

    I am printing your post off, as it is an obvious wealth of information, some of which I will need to get some clarification about. However, I am planning to buy after the holidays, and I will spend some time in a bike shop, checking out examples, and probably asking more questions at the time(with your info in mind). Then, I will go on the hunt for a used bike. It kinda' sucks, but I really need to get a bike,suited for city, open road, and even for a little gravel road use. I may have to "shoot for" 2 bikes. However, I will put your advice to good use, come what may.

    I truly appreciate your time in posting, and helpful advice.

    Sincere Best Regards. tonequester out.
     
  7. tonequester

    tonequester New Member

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    Greetings, Edward Franklin.

    I thank you for your reply. However, it seems that you tried to give me a link to advice and ideas, and the link did not appear in your post, for some reason. If you get more time to post, I would like to see the link you mentioned.

    Glad to "meet" you here.

    Sincerely, tonequester.
     
  8. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Well...

    If you want to do gravel "safely", a true road bike is out. It won't have the clearance to use the kind of tires needed for reliable gravel riding.
    Not that a road bike will automatically self-destruct at the sight of gravel, but it will be more a case of negotiating an obstacle than enjoying the ride.
    You can think of it a bit like cars. The low-slung hotrod or sports car will shine on the track and the open road. It'll do OK inside city limits - as long as road upkeep isn't too bad, but you won't have much use of the things that it's good at. And if you ever find yourself on a rutted road, you'll have to negotiate your way with great care.
    A SUV won't be as nimble off the line or around corners, but it'll handle a wide variety of surfaces rather well. Its main characteristic is its overall usefulness rather than its stellar performance in any one situation.
    A "true", jacked-up 4x4 will also go anywhere, but unless it's up to the hubs in mud or rocks, you won't benefit from its strong sides.
    So you have something like:
    Hotrods = road bikes
    SUVs = hybrids, cyclocross(CX) bikes and HT/rigid moutainbikes
    4x4 = full-suspension mountainbikes

    To me, the most sensible choice for someone with more utility riding than group(road) rides in mind is in the hybrids, cyclocross(CX) bikes and HT/rigid moutainbikes range. Depending on which tires you fit, you can "dress" them to do real well on either road or trail surfaces, or to be OK on both. Or you can keep two wheelsets. Less money and space than two bikes, but a huge chunk of the usefulness.
    They'll be a bit slower on the road than a dedicated road bike, but unless you're trying to keep up with the pack, what does that matter? They'll take fenders easily, which is really handy for a utility bike wherever weather actually means something.
    The big choice is probably going to be between a drop bar bike or a flat bar bike. And you really want to get that one right, as it's not that easy to change.
     
  9. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    If I needed to have only one bike that had to do it all, I would choose either a cyclocross or monstercross bike. This time of year, I have my Tri bike in storage, road bikes on trainers and my Mountain Bike and Cross bike at the ready in the garage. I use my disk brake cyclocross bike for 90% of the riding in the winter and on gravel roads and other questionable terrain in the summer.
     
  10. tonequester

    tonequester New Member

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    Greetings dabac.

    Thanks for further advice on which bike would best suit my needs. I understand your analogy with automobiles, and it's a good way to look at the situation. I have printed off your post, as I think that a trip to a good bike shop/outlet is in order(just to look around), and I will have this info to guide me in choosing some models to search for, that are used. I am not a cyclist(yet), but I don't have much of a choice. I have been a big time walker, up to twenty miles in a day and loving it. However, there is a "need for speed", and I am even checking into good quality utility carts, that can be pulled behind around town. The place that I am going to move to,is small enough to have many back streets with little traffic, and yet has everything that I need shopping wise. I will have the spring to start serious cycling, before I move in the summer.

    I wish to thank you sincerely for your interest and helpful advice. As I am bound to become a cyclist, and since this forum is proving to be a wealth of info provided by good hearted people like yourself, I am going to continue to participate in this forum. I am hopeful that someday I might be able to give somebody the kind of help ,that you and the others who have replied, have given me, to another in need.

    Have a great day, and happy cycling ! tonequester out.
     
  11. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Carts vs panniers is sometimes debated, but either way another reason to be wary of road bikes. Both carts and panniers tend to place extra stress on the frame, and I haven't been at all happy with the performance of racks on road frames. IME, they behave sort of snaky, flexy. But maybe I had a frame that was already on the flexy end of the scale and perhaps a stiffer frame would have done well enough. O maybe a stiffer rack would have worked better.
    Haven't used carts or trailers much. They're undoubtedly good for heavy, bulky haulage, but they do take some getting used to. Expect to bump curbs and get hung up on corners until you've learned your new turning radius, particularly when using the 2-wheeled variety.
    Compared to panniers, they do reduce the load on wheels and axles, which can be important to some.
    Eventually it'll mainly come down to pattern of usage and preferences.
    Expect the single entity, bike-with-panniers to be easier to handle in traffic and around town than the dual entity bike-with-trailer. Even lugging a loade bike up/down a few steps isn't a big deal if it should come to that. Your bike will still fit along other bikes in a bike rack.
    OTOH, transition from haulage mode to riding mode is faster with a trailer. Unhook it and you're done. All that's left is a fairly discrete hitch.
    Around here, I've seen a few guys switching from trailers to Xtracycle and Surly Big Dummy - basically bikes with an extended wheel base and a longer, stronger rack.
    Apparently, wheel failure isn't a problem, and they get easier to handle than the bike-and-trailer combo. If nothing else, braking is more predictable w/o the trailer pushing.
     
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