Sub $200 bike?



themaniac

New Member
Apr 24, 2014
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I'm planning to buy a bike soon and need suggestions on the kind of bike I should go for. Not looking at anything expensive. My only tryst with bikes in the past 10 years is riding the NYC Citibike last year (and I loved the experience). So I'm looking to buy something for regular use in the city and may be for my office commute (~5 miles one way) and for a few visits to a nearby trail if I get around to it. I was looking up at walmart website and they have a bike as cheap as $80. I'm wondering if I should start off with a $100-$200 bike and see how things go over this spring/summer/fall and then buy a better one next spring. Also, I'm confused about the type of bike I should be buying- MTB, Hybrid etc etc. Suggestions please.

From the walmart website: http://www.walmart.com/ip/26-Mongoose-Ledge-2.1-Men-s-Bike-Red/21577870 ($140) http://www.walmart.com/ip/Granite-Peak-26-Men-s-Mountain-Bike-Black/34931885 ($80) http://www.walmart.com/ip/26-Hyper-Havoc-MTB-Men-s-Bike-Black/16531397 ($130) Any ideas on which one is good enough for my requirements? Or any other suggestions? And finally, is a 26" bike the correct size for me? (I'm 5' 10" and weigh 165lbs)
 

new_rider

New Member
Jan 22, 2010
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I spent at the top end of your price range at an actual bike shop for my first bike and it was a piece of garbage. That was over 20 years ago.

Spending half as much now is going to get you a dangerous piece of garbage.

Try craigslist. Safety first.

BTW, you also need to budget at least an extra $150+ on the following essentials:

-helmet

-front light, rear light

-u-lock and cable

-spare tubes

-patch kit

-tire pump

-mini-tool


The 26" designation refers to the size of the rims. It has no bearing on how the bike fits.
 

themaniac

New Member
Apr 24, 2014
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Thanks for your reply @new_rider . I understand that my budget is not exciting but given my use case, I feel that it is not worth the $$ to spend a huge sum for a bike which a month down the line after the euphoria dies, I may not even use.

Yes I intend to buy accessories and that is not included in my sub 200 budget.

Edit:

I don't intend to buy a used bike as I don't want to run around to the LBS after buying the bike to fix stuff..
 

doss

Member
Apr 26, 2013
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If you are looking for something cheap see if you can find a local bike collective the one in salt lake almost always has some nice older rides and will help you learn tons about bike mechanics. It is a good place to get started (they may even con you into helping build some bikes for kids in need ) Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

new_rider

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Jan 22, 2010
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Originally Posted by themaniac
Thanks for your reply @new_rider . I understand that my budget is not exciting but given my use case, I feel that it is not worth the $$ to spend a huge sum for a bike which a month down the line after the euphoria dies, I may not even use.

Yes I intend to buy accessories and that is not included in my sub 200 budget.

Edit:

I don't intend to buy a used bike as I don't want to run around to the LBS after buying the bike to fix stuff..
Forget about excitement for now. You want a safe and reliable bike. An $80 to $140 bike will be neither safe nor reliable.

You don't need to rely on an lbs to maintain a bicycle. The amount of mechanical knowledge and skill necessary to keep a quality bike well maintained is minimal. Bicycles are inherently easy to work on: a multi-tool and basic home tool set will suffice.

Your budget for a new, safe and reliable bicycle is unrealistic. There is no amount of wishful thinking that will change this fact.
 

AyeYo

Active Member
Mar 21, 2014
404
26
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Originally Posted by themaniac
Thanks for your reply @new_rider . I understand that my budget is not exciting but given my use case, I feel that it is not worth the $$ to spend a huge sum for a bike which a month down the line after the euphoria dies, I may not even use.
You'd be surprised just how capable a large sum of money invested into a good bike is of maintaining that euphoria for quite some time. Store it somewhere you can see it and when you've got "damn, I spent so much on that thing" in the back of your head, you'll use it.
tongue.png
 

danfoz

Well-Known Member
Apr 12, 2011
2,432
184
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I have to agree that you need to cross a certain $$ threshold for a reliable bike, but you don't need to break the bank. I would avoid looking at used bikes unless you know the seller well, or have someone knowledgeable assist you in your search. The biggest thing beginners without assistance usually get wrong is the size.

In 1985 a slice of pizza cost 50 cents and a safe reliable bike cost $150-200 where the fancy bikes started at $399. A slice of pizza now costs $1.75...

Personally, I would beg borrow or steal to get my budget up to $350-400, which is typically the entry level for bike shop bikes (not department store bikes), especially if you were ever planning on subjecting the bike to a trail.
 

new_rider

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Jan 22, 2010
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OP, your standards for buying a bike are completely unrealistic.

Start with a total budget of $550. This will get you a reasonably safe and reliable bike and allow you to purchase most all of the essentials I listed above.

If you can't budget 5 and a half bills, don't buy a bike at all. Trust me on this one.
 

oldbobcat

Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2003
3,233
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Originally Posted by themaniac
I'm planning to buy a bike soon and need suggestions on the kind of bike I should go for. Not looking at anything expensive. My only tryst with bikes in the past 10 years is riding the NYC Citibike last year (and I loved the experience). So I'm looking to buy something for regular use in the city and may be for my office commute (~5 miles one way) and for a few visits to a nearby trail if I get around to it. I was looking up at walmart website and they have a bike as cheap as $80. I'm wondering if I should start off with a $100-$200 bike and
see how things go over this spring/summer/fall and then buy a better one next spring. Also, I'm confused about the type of bike I
Used.

Shop carefully. There are a lot of "valuable" bikes listed on Craigslist. The rule is, don't pay more than $80 for anything that can't be ridden home. That means, the tires should stay on the rims, the tubes should hold air, it should go, shift, steer, and stop without making a lot of alarming noises, and it should be sized to vaguely fit your body.

Bike shops do have new basic bikes that start around $360. They aren't special, but they hold up to normal use (and a little abuse) by adult and teen riders and they are fun to ride and a lot more comfortable and maneuverable than a full-suspension bike from Wal-Mart. And after riding it for a year, or even a decade if you maintain it, it will be more than scrap metal.

There is a reason Wal-Mart full suspension bikes cost $150 and a full-suspension Trek starts at around $1500, and it ain't Wal-Mart's amazing economies of scale and low overhead.
 

Froze

Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2004
4,711
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First off stay away from any low cost suspension bike, those suspensions systems cost more to make and thus the rest of the bike is made horribly cheap to keep the price down and the suspension systems suck. You can get a better bike by going with a non suspension bike. Plus as a commuter with cheap parts you'll have frequent breakdowns something you don't want trying to get to work on time!

Look at the GMC Denali, or the Genesis, or the Schwinn Varsity (not really a Schwinn) even though it cost $50 more than your budget it's a bit better than the first two I mentioned), or a hybrid called the Schwinn Fifth Avenue. Or go to Bikes Direct if you live in the USA and look at either the Dawes Eclipse 1.0 if you want a hybrid, or the Dawes Lightning Sport if you want a road bike. Both of those Dawes will cost a bit more than your $200 budget, closer to $250, but they're probably a bit better bikes than the Walmart ones I mentioned.

If you do buy a Walmart bike, Walmart is notoriously bad at assembling their bikes, Bikes Direct is so so but you have to assemble the major pieces but the adjustments may need to be gone through. Either way, you'll need to take the bike to a professional (unless you know how to this sort of stuff) and have the bike gone through to make sure everything is tightened and adjusted properly.
 

Volnix

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2011
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Originally Posted by Froze
or a hybrid called the Schwinn Fifth Avenue.

Ha! I tried one of those in Belgium. In blue!
big-smile.png


I think it is so heavy that lighter bikes orbit around it!
big-smile.png


Did anybody mention ebay or police auctions yet?

Or maybe thrift shops?

+1 on a used chromoly frame (not crashed and with a traceable history) with functional parts.

But yeah the price is kinda unrealistic for a good new bike. There are new bikes sold for as low as 80 euro around here in big department stores. There is a reason why they are so cheap...

Mostly really bad cheap Chinese designed and manufactured parts and horrible ergonomics. Bad quality steel stuff that rusts. Really heavy. Not that much fun. But they might make good candidates for e-bike conversions, being horribly overdesigned with massive steel sections because that was what was available for less for the manufacturer.

I once rented one of those 100euro dual suspension bikes when I was in a resort to go for a ride. It wasnt just bad... It was worst then walking.
big-smile.png
 

Froze

Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2004
4,711
756
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NE Indiana
Originally Posted by Volnix


Ha! I tried one of those in Belgium. In blue!
big-smile.png


I think it is so heavy that lighter bikes orbit around it!
big-smile.png
Of course, but we're talking about a sub $200 bike not a sub $2,000 bike.!
 

Volnix

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2011
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Originally Posted by Froze

Of course, but we're talking about a sub $200 bike not a sub $2,000 bike.!

Well at least the brand has some history. Much better then the bikes they sell in the big department stores where the brand just makes a batch of bikes and then dissappears.

But really, it was very heavy...
big-smile.png
 

Indytona674

New Member
Apr 22, 2014
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Froze gave you some good leads. Keep an eye on your local Craig's list. My buddy just bought a fuji newest for $250 saddle bag, computer, shoes, and pedals included. It is a bit older (1998ish) and their entry level with the down tube shifters. But rides perfect shifts perfect and it didn't break the bank. I have owned several Wal-Mart bikes. Only one of them lasted any amount of time under normal use. +1 on bringing someone who knows about bikes along. Allot on Craig's list is priced high because they said"vintage" or it is a name brand priced high because of name only. I have a 79 schwinn varsity I picked up for $100 on Craig's list. A little high but outstanding shape and 100% ready to ride and super shiny. Keep looking deals or at least a fair price can be had in your range.
 

Indytona674

New Member
Apr 22, 2014
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new_rider said:
OP, your standards for buying a bike are completely unrealistic.  Start with a total budget of $550. This will get you a reasonably safe and reliable bike and allow you to purchase most all of the essentials I listed above.  If you can't budget 5 and a half bills, don't buy a bike at all. Trust me on this one. 
$550 is about right for entry level. Got my wife her first bike that was not garage sale or Wal-Mart. A Giant Escape. Bike with different seat water bottle and kick stand was right at $500. Escape was there low end hybrid.
 

Nukuhiva

Well-Known Member
Jul 14, 2004
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At WallyWorld, you will get a poorly made, shoddily assembled, super-heavy piece of ****, regardless of how much you spend. Based on my experiences over the past 15 years or so, most bike shops will sell you a ton of car dealer attitude along with your $ 2,000 'entry-level' bike. Parts? LOL! Buy the latest model, chump! Parts....some people..... You are lucky to live in These United States of Internal Combustion, where the crushingly overwhelming majority of bikes spend their entire lives forgotten and ignored in sheds, garages, attics, leaning against back walls, etc., until they are finally discarded in yard sales, flea markets, dumpsters or even left for dead by the side of the road. $ 20.00 or less should get you a perfectly serviceable 10-speed or similar at most yard sales. Invest another $ 100 or so for new tires, tubes, chain & cables and you've got a virtually almost new bike well within your price range. It won't win the Giro, but it'll be plenty good enough to commute. Less than $ 200 but not used? Get a scooter. They have handlebars.