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  1. #1
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    What to spend $600 on?

    Ok, I found out I'm getting a tuition reimbursement check this week for work that I wasn't expecting until 2009. I'm getting married, so 3/4s of it has to go to the wedding. But I've been weighing a bunch of different options as to what I want to spend my fun portion on, and it's definitely going towards a bike or biking related equipment.

    Currently, I've got a Trek 800 that I like. I've upgraded to a slightly more comfortable saddle, slicks, and bought gloves. I'm about a 30-31" inseam, so I'm looking at like a 50cm road frame or a 18" MTB frame.

    If I purchase a bike, I probably am looking to purchase a complete bike rather than components, and buy an upgraded saddle. I am good enough with repairs/maintenance and have access to the co-op if someone can help me pick the right components if I can go that route and stay in my price range.

    My current weight is 314#.

    My primary usage is commuting/utility (10+ miles per day currently), with some weekly fun riding, and I am going to do the Wendys Sprint Triathalon in Spring 2009. So I am thinking a Hybrid. In the summer of 2009, We'll be moving to someplace else in the great lakes region, likely with slightly longer commutes.

    The other option is to keep the existing bike, but do the following:

    New shifters (right one needs cleaned occasionally to keep functioning)
    New saddle (give old one to fiance, and find one thats truly comfortable)
    Some Garmin GPS handheld for biking and walking (something between the 305 and the oregon)
    rack and or saddlebags of some sort (assuming I can find them for the 18" MTB frame)

    I'd love thoughts and ideas, specifically bikes people of around my current size, down to say 260#, really like. I have no brand proclivities, other than I'm impressed by the shape my Trek is in for being 15+ years old.

  2. #2
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    If you are eventually going to upgrade or switch to a new bike, I would wait until you can spend more than $600. You might be able to find a decent USED bike in that range though. If you're comfortable on your Trek and your main goals are fitness/weight loss then I would just keep it and make necessary upgrades/repairs to keep it rideable until you have the funds for a new bike. If I had $600 for fun/bike money, I would be looking at a Garmin 705 and/or a trainer.

  3. #3
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    Unfortunatly 600 wont be enough for a road bike from an LBS. You could go with a bike from bikesdirect, speaking of which the Windsor Tourist looks interesting. You could save the money and put it towards a nice new road bike or you could allways look for a used bike. Are you a member of a bike club? There may be someone looking to sell their used equipment there. You could always hunt craigslist for a deal.

    Oh, hybrid. Check out the Trek FX 7.3. It retails for 639 but you might be able to find a leftover or negotiate a deal.

  4. #4
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by bautieri View Post
    Unfortunatly 600 wont be enough for a road bike from an LBS. You could go with a bike from bikesdirect, speaking of which the Windsor Tourist looks interesting. You could save the money and put it towards a nice new road bike or you could allways look for a used bike. Are you a member of a bike club? There may be someone looking to sell their used equipment there. You could always hunt craigslist for a deal.

    Oh, hybrid. Check out the Trek FX 7.3. It retails for 639 but you might be able to find a leftover or negotiate a deal.
    I'm leery of buying anything from Bikes Direct. That said, I've seen a Windsor Tourist that had crossed the US, and it looked to be a decent bike.

    Let me second the advice to NOT go out and buy a new bike. Your current one gives you pleasure, and you are still working out the fit on it. I suggest spending some of that rebate money on stuff that you could use to get more pleasure from the bike you have. Lights, fenders, GPS, bike tools, gloves, perhaps a jersey and shorts, bar ends, good panniers.... whatever you want or need. All these things will work on any new bike you get when you are ready to get a new one.

  5. #5
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bautieri View Post
    Unfortunatly 600 wont be enough for a road bike from an LBS. You could go with a bike from bikesdirect, speaking of which the Windsor Tourist looks interesting. You could save the money and put it towards a nice new road bike or you could allways look for a used bike. Are you a member of a bike club? There may be someone looking to sell their used equipment there. You could always hunt craigslist for a deal.

    Oh, hybrid. Check out the Trek FX 7.3. It retails for 639 but you might be able to find a leftover or negotiate a deal.
    A road bike can be had for $600. Jamis Ventura , Fuji Newest 4.0 and the Schwinn Fastback are all in the range. If you want to go with flat bar road bikes, the field is wide open.
    Stuart Black
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  6. #6
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    A road bike can be had for $600. Jamis Ventura , Fuji Newest 4.0 and the Schwinn Fastback are all in the range. If you want to go with flat bar road bikes, the field is wide open.
    Ah crud I left a "decent" out of my original post.

    Very true but the question is would you reccomend them for a rider that is presently north of 300lbs? It is my opinion that 600 is not enough for a decent new road bike. OP is much better off looking for a used bike or saving his money until he can afford something a little higher up the road bike food chain. That and I think he wants a hybrid anyways.

    Check out the Raleigh Cadents too.

  7. #7
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Throw the $600 in a savings account, then use it when you have figured out what exactly you would like in a bike. Since I started riding, I'm on my fourth "primary" bike, and I'm just now "getting" what I want .

  8. #8
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bautieri View Post
    Ah crud I left a "decent" out of my original post.

    Very true but the question is would you reccomend them for a rider that is presently north of 300lbs? It is my opinion that 600 is not enough for a decent new road bike. OP is much better off looking for a used bike or saving his money until he can afford something a little higher up the road bike food chain. That and I think he wants a hybrid anyways.

    Check out the Raleigh Cadents too.
    I would consider any of those to be 'decent' road bikes and certainly up to the task at hand. They may be Sora level in components and may not have all the refinements of a 105 or Ultregra level but, in reality, Sora and Tiagra will last a very long time.

    The frames on all the bikes are aluminum and the forks are either aluminum/steel (Jamis), CrMo (Fuji) or aluminum (Schwinn). Those would hold up better than a bike with carbon frame members or carbon forks. A touring bike might be better for a heavy rider but those are going to cost $300 more at a minimum.

    For a hybrid, I'd stick with a road style (700C wheels, road bike style geometry, no shock, etc.) and choose a color because they are all going to be pretty much the same and there are dozens to choose from out there.
    Stuart Black
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  9. #9
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    Ok, let me reframe the question. Let's say for the next few years, I don't see myself spending upwards of $500 for a bike. Too me, that's plenty. I don't expect my bike will be ideally suited for a triathalon or bike racing, unless/until I get to the point where my body is in the shape where a $1500 bike will really provide greater speed dividends.

    I'm thinking Hybrid, strictly because I am assuming they are built to handle my size better, and on the occasion i decide I want to take it off-road, it wont be totally useless.

    Also in answering, assume I will/can still pick up the Util/Commute accessories I like. Money for that kind of stuff won't be an issue piecemeal.

    Does that change the answer?

  10. #10
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    "I'm about a 30-31" inseam, so I'm looking at like a 50cm road frame..."
    I have the same inseam (5'8') and all my road bikes are 54-56cm. This depends on whether it is c-c or c-t. 50 cm sounds a bit small. Just something to consider if you are buying on line.

  11. #11
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    c-c or c-t?

  12. #12
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TechKnowGN View Post
    Ok, let me reframe the question. Let's say for the next few years, I don't see myself spending upwards of $500 for a bike. Too me, that's plenty. I don't expect my bike will be ideally suited for a triathalon or bike racing, unless/until I get to the point where my body is in the shape where a $1500 bike will really provide greater speed dividends.

    I'm thinking Hybrid, strictly because I am assuming they are built to handle my size better, and on the occasion i decide I want to take it off-road, it wont be totally useless.

    Also in answering, assume I will/can still pick up the Util/Commute accessories I like. Money for that kind of stuff won't be an issue piecemeal.

    Does that change the answer?
    First, no matter what the hybrid, they are pretty much useless for off-road riding.* I'm a believer in having a bike that serves the purpose and not trying to get one that will 'do it all'. Road bike style hybrids (flat bar road bikes really) are better for road riding and comfort bikes are...um...well...I'm not sure what they are for. Old people I guess

    There is really nothing, frame wise, that's different between a flat bar road bike and a drop bar road bike at this price point. The only difference is the handlebars. The wheels and other components are going to be approximately the same with about the same durability. If you are going to be doing longer rides, it's better to chose as drop bar for a slight improvement in aerodynamics and, more importantly, better hand positions.

    That said, if you really want to work, get a mountain bike ($600 will buy more mountain bike than road bike), leave the knobs on it and ride the wheels off on anything you can. No, you will not be as efficient as on a road bike. You won't be as fast. You'll have to work harder just to keep the bike moving down the road. But, inefficiency mean more calories burned per mile. And pushing those knobbies down the road will build mighty legs

    c-c = center of the crank to center of the top tube

    c-t = center of the crank to top of the top tube

    I agree with velocycling that a 50 cm road frame is too small. If you ride an 18" mountain bike, add 3" for a road bike frame. That's a 21" or a 54cm in communist measure





    *Mostly personal opinion but mountain bike really do work better for off-road riding. I've been mountain biking since Methuselah was a pup and wouldn't think of using anything but a mountain bike off-pavement. Right tool - right job.
    Last edited by cyccommute; 10-14-08 at 10:23 PM.
    Stuart Black
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  13. #13
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    First, no matter what the hybrid, they are pretty much useless for off-road riding.* I'm a believer in having a bike that serves the purpose and not trying to get one that will 'do it all'.

    *Mostly personal opinion but mountain bike really do work better for off-road riding. I've been mountain biking since Methuselah was a pup and wouldn't think of using anything but a mountain bike off-pavement. Right tool - right job.

    +1000.....I had a really nice hybrid years ago. They totally suck offroad. I have a Trek 8000 now (mtb), no comparison!

    With the numbers you are posting, be sure to get fitted cause your numbers are whack!

    I ride a 19.5 mtb and a 58 roadie with a 32 inseam. Long tosrso so I am 6'1. But from your 18 inch mtb to a 50 cm roadie, is way off!

    How tall is the poster?

  14. #14
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    For $600 or less, you can get a couple of good used bikes. I would budget $150 or less for an upgraded MTB, and $300 or less for a good USED road bike. You are not going to find a good new road bike for $600 in my opinion.


    I bought my 1992 Trek 950 used off of Craigs List for $75. It is quite an upgrade from the Trek 800. It has Shimano LX and DX components, lugged True Temper frame, etc. You should be able to find something similar in the $75 to $150 max range. You can dramatically change the personality of a steel rigid mountain bike by just changing tires. I use 26 - 1.25 slicks for road riding, and Kenda Kross 26 - 1.95 for trail riding. If you want to make it even more road friendly, add trekking handlebars ($20 from Nashbar).

    I would look for a step (or two) up from the Trek 800, and if you find a really good deal, you should be able to sell your 800 for near the same (I sold my Trek 800 for $120).

    +1 Hybrids are just about worthless. Marginal off road, marginal on road. They look good in the bike shop.


    +1 I ride an 18 inch MTB and a 54 cm road bike. I have a 30 inch inseam.


    If you have your mind set on a hybrid, then for sure buy one used. Decent ones are available around here used all the time, and most are garage queens (never ridden, or barely ever ridden).

  15. #15
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    I'd save it for now and add to it when you can. Save and roll your coins, they add up mighty quick. I'm doing that now. I'm saving for a new bike.
    -------

    Some sort of pithy irrelevant one-liner should go here.

  16. #16
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    For $600 or less, you can get a couple of good used bikes. I would budget $150 or less for an upgraded MTB, and $300 or less for a good USED road bike. You are not going to find a good new road bike for $600 in my opinion.


    I bought my 1992 Trek 950 used off of Craigs List for $75. It is quite an upgrade from the Trek 800. It has Shimano LX and DX components, lugged True Temper frame, etc. You should be able to find something similar in the $75 to $150 max range. You can dramatically change the personality of a steel rigid mountain bike by just changing tires. I use 26 - 1.25 slicks for road riding, and Kenda Kross 26 - 1.95 for trail riding. If you want to make it even more road friendly, add trekking handlebars ($20 from Nashbar).

    I would look for a step (or two) up from the Trek 800, and if you find a really good deal, you should be able to sell your 800 for near the same (I sold my Trek 800 for $120).

    +1 Hybrids are just about worthless. Marginal off road, marginal on road. They look good in the bike shop.


    +1 I ride an 18 inch MTB and a 54 cm road bike. I have a 30 inch inseam.


    If you have your mind set on a hybrid, then for sure buy one used. Decent ones are available around here used all the time, and most are garage queens (never ridden, or barely ever ridden).
    Used bikes, like buying a bike off the internet is best left to people who know what to look for. Yes, there are deals out there but there are also lots of traps you can fall into. Questions to ask before you buy used are:

    Do you know what size bike you need?
    Do you know how to adjust a bike to make it fit?
    Do you know how to adjust the brakes? Derailers? Wheel bearings?
    Do you know what a bottom bracket is?
    Do you know where to look for common frame fractures?
    Do you know what makes a good wheel? What's true mean?

    If you can answer those questions (and the first one seems to be an issue), then I'd stay with a shop. Too often people come here with a question on a frame they just bought that is broken and there's no recourse to fixing it. It ain't a bargain if you have to buy it twice!

    For some one who may be taxing a bike a bit more than a 140 lb racer dude, TechKnowGN, you may want to have a full factory warranty also. You don't get that with a used bike. Buy new for this one and shop around after you learn some stuff for a good used one later.
    Stuart Black
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  17. #17
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    Let me throw in my "50cm sounds small, a 54cm sounds more correct" vote.

    I would ditch the hybrid plan, you already have a MTB and can throw some knobbies back on and hit the trails. A flat bar road bike might be the way go if you're not sure about riding in the drops. I don't know what models are out there and what the price ranges are though.

    I'm beginning to think that Fuji offers some great deals on their bikes the more I see about them. I know they make a flat bar and their entry level Roadies are a nice deal compared to a Specialized or a Trek, that's for sure.

    If you know you are relocating, and think that you will go the LBS route, I would wait. Having an LBS that offers tuneups/warranty/bennies that's no longer local is pretty much not very helpful. One thing you could do if you LBS sells used bikes is get to know a salesperson and figure out what you are looking for and what you want to spend. Let the sales folks know you are serious and ask them to call you if something comes in. It helps to drop in once a week or so and check yourself to show some sincerity in the request.

  18. #18
    Thread Killer evblazer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TechKnowGN View Post
    Ok, I found out I'm getting a tuition reimbursement check this week for work that I wasn't expecting until 2009. I'm getting married
    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    For $600 or less, you can get a couple of good used bikes. I would budget $150 or less for an upgraded MTB, and $300 or less for a good USED road bike. You are not going to find a good new road bike for $600 in my opinion.
    Hmm a couple of bikes.. two people

    Pretty bike for two?

    1968 Schwinn Twinn Tandem Bicycle - $250
    Last edited by evblazer; 10-15-08 at 07:10 AM.

  19. #19
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by txvintage View Post
    Let me throw in my "50cm sounds small, a 54cm sounds more correct" vote.

    I would ditch the hybrid plan, you already have a MTB and can throw some knobbies back on and hit the trails. A flat bar road bike might be the way go if you're not sure about riding in the drops. I don't know what models are out there and what the price ranges are though.
    D'oh! Yea, he has a mountain bike. I'm such an iediot!

    Go pure road bike or something that can take racks (commuting/utility) bike. Jamis Aurora or a Norvara Randonee (on sale) from REI would do the trick. Some people are seeing the Randonee for as little as $700. If you have a Performance store near, you might be able to score a Fuji Touring for around $600 on sale too. Any of these are made for carrying touring loads and are very durable.

    If you can swing another $300, TechKnowGN, look at a Surly LHT or Crosscheck complete. Good bikes with a huge following around here. The LHT is a touring bike and the Crosscheck is a cyclocross bike. They'll be slower and heavier than the Ventura, Finest or Fastback I detailed earlier but they are very rugged.
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