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  1. #1
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    Back into biking for fun and fitness - help me choose a bike!?

    Getting back into biking for fun and fitness - help me pick a bike?
    Hi guys,

    I havent biked in quite a few years. Im in my late 20s, female, and wanting to get back into biking on my local bike path - the creeper trail, not sure if you guys have heard of it? It is only 20 mins from my house and wanted to bike there and some around my neighborhood. Nothing too extreme just getting back into it for fun and to lose some weight. Currently im about 250lbs and about 5'7. What would be a good bike for me? Would IF AT ALL POSSIBLE like to keep cost of bike 200 or less. MY local outlets for buying bikes would be walmart, dicks sporting goods, kmart, etc?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Welcome

    With a $200 budget I would probably hit the local craigslist - better bang for your buck picking up somebodys discarded hobby. Here is a new bike for $140 - perhaps others could comment on the specs if needed. Personally, Id go used

    http://www.meijer.com/s/26-inch-schw...mpid=commjunct

    Its a mans bike - not sure if that bothers you.

    26-Inch Schwinn High Timber Mens Mountain Bike
    The 26" Schwinn High Timber all-terrain mountain bike is ideal for off-road or everyday riding. Featuring a 21-speed Shimano drive train and durable hand-built steel frame, the High Timber bicycle comes equipped with alloy machined rims, alloy brakes and levers, SRAM Grip-Shift index shifters and a Mozo M30 suspension fork.

    * 26" Men's mountain bike
    * Alloy mountain frame
    * SR Suntour suspension fork smoothes the path and increases control
    * Shimano 21-speed SRAM rear derailleur
    * SRAM Grip Shift shifters for easy gear changes
    * Alloy linear pull brakes stop precisely
    * SR Suntour alloy cranks offer optimal on or off-road gearing
    * Sport saddle for all-terrain comfort
    * Chunky 26" black MTB tires
    * Rustproof aluminum alloy rims

    With $9.95 shipping via coupon code "newthanks".

    HTH, magohn

  3. #3
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    I'll second the vote for picking up a used bike via local bike shop, craigslist, thrift store, etc.

    If your budget was closer to $400 a new bike might make sense, but at $200 you should be able to easily pick up a used bike that was in the $300-400 tier when new.

  4. #4
    Senior Member AltheCyclist's Avatar
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    Yeah, go with Craigslist - you can easily find a good bike for $200. Check for mountain bikes, they're usually cheaper and you can swap out the tires at some point once you get the hang of it to ride faster. Hide your car keys and ride everywhere for a while, and watch the lbs. shed quickly.

  5. #5
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    can you recommend and new ones from the stores i listed? ive searched over and over on craigslist and local ads and can find nothing but junk.

  6. #6
    Senior Member AltheCyclist's Avatar
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    Personally, I wouldn't go to Kmart, Walmart, or Dicks for a bike. They're all basically the same models with different paint. They are mostly the lowest-end models from Pacific-Dorel Bike company. You'll notice the cheapness of construction right away - plastic cranks instead of metal, for example.
    Check a local bike store in your area - I hope there is at least one - for some better brand names - Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, and other "chain" brands are a huge leap in quality. Where are you located?

  7. #7
    Come here often? <wink> exile's Avatar
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    Right now may not be the best time to find used bikes. Usually right before the season begins and right afterwords (April/May and then August/September) will you really have a bunch to choose from.

    Also, if you are in a small market you might want to look in larger cities nearby.

    If you go the Xmart or Sporting Good store route you may still need the bike to be looked over by a mechanic. Unfortunately not all those places employ people who are knowledgeable about bikes.
    lil brown bat wrote:
    Wow, aren't other people stupid? It's a good thing that we're so smart. Yay us.

  8. #8
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    A police auction/sale may be a good source in a medium sized town. You may be able to ask them as I know it's a hassle for them. Champaign,Ill police has a bunch for sale for $75 (None of them fit me).

  9. #9
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    Yes Ive tried my local bike shop and they are just WAY too expensive - starting at no less than 700 new and had a few used but still high end. I have searched for weeks and found nothing used except some cheap Huffy bikes people are wanting 150 for used and in need of repairs.

    I have another question - I have noticed a lot of bikes called "comfort bikes" or "comfort cruisers"? Would any of these work or should I stick with a full on mountain bike?

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  11. #11
    Senior Member AltheCyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janda View Post
    Well, no, I definitely wouldn't go full suspension from a Dept. store. The mountain bike suggestions were for used bikes, since you usually can find a good quality model for fairly cheap and turn it into a roadster. Nothing wrong with "comfort" bikes, it really depends on your riding style. I wouldn't recommend mail-order since it's worth the time to size it (if you get wrong size, you'll be sorry). I'd still recommend going with the local store, even if it seems over-the-top for what you want, the extra few hundred bucks will make big difference.
    If you must go mail order, maybe look at something like this
    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...9_10000_202619

  12. #12
    2nd Amendment Cyclist RichardGlover's Avatar
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    Comfort and cruiser type bikes are typically designed for slow, greenway / park type rides. That is, you're not on the street, you're not off-road - you're riding a multi-use walk/jog/bike path.

    They're good for that. They're designed to sit upright, which is more comfortable for casual cyclists. They typically have wide, cushy seats, which is perceived to be more comfortable by casual cyclists. And those seats are pretty comfortable - for 30 minutes or so. If you start riding longer than that, cushy seats start becoming much less comfortable than a firmer seat might be.

    Still, if you're going to stick to paved pathways, then it might be the right type of bike for you.


    As far as the bike you linked... The biggest issue with any bike you buy from a non-bike retailer is that the person putting everything together isn't likely to be that knowledgeable about bicycle mechanical issues. The wheels may turn and the brakes may work, but the wheels might not be true, and the brake pads might not hit the rims at the right spot. And so on.

    I bought a 'cheap' mountain bike from Dick's sporting goods. Thought it was a good deal. Until the seat broke. Then the shifters wouldn't shift right or stay in gear. And the brakes were installed so poorly that the rear one was rubbing on the tire more than the rim, and the front one was barely hitting the rim on the bottom side. Then the pedal cranks started going bad.

    All in six months of light riding - none of it offroad. Maybe 150 miles total. I thought about fixing everything, but it was just throwing good money after bad. I fixed the brakes, seat, and got the gears to stay in a middle gear front and back, and gave it to one of my kids, who'll ride it occasionally until I can buy them something better.

    Contrariwise, the bike I bought from the local bike shop for about $400 on clearance (check out last year's models... often good deals) has nearly 1000 miles on it, and the mechanical problems I've had are minor, & were repairable on the roadside. The bike is still going strong, and should last me a lot longer, with a lot more miles in it.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janda View Post
    Short answer, NO

    Long answer: That is what is typically referred to as a BSO, or Bicycle Shaped Object, because they are such junk that they don't even qualify as bicycles. I have said this before, and will say it again.
    The three most important factors in buying a bicycle are fit, fit and fit. BSO's typically come in one size, and that means for 40% of riders it's too small and for another 40% of riders it's too large, and trying to make a bicycle that doesn't fit, comfortable is like trying to make a bed of nails comfortable. Larger riders tend to provide a lot of power when cycling, and that means they need moderate to high quality components, and a BSO tends not to have them.

    Your best to look for a hybrid or a mountain bike from the brands that sell in bike shops that is 3-5 years old, if not, then save your money and buy later in the season. Bike shops are worth talking to, because a shop may know of folks that are upgrading and may have older bicycles that they are going to be selling. If I were buying a new mountain bike and was wanting to get rid of my older one and the shop said they knew someone who would be interested, I would want to talk to that person before putting out an advert.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janda View Post
    can you recommend and new ones from the stores i listed? ive searched over and over on craigslist and local ads and can find nothing but junk.
    A department store bike really isn't worth your $200. It's not going to last all that long until you start having to do repairs.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  15. #15
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    Look for a slightly older used bicycle that is either without suspension preferably.
    If you cannot find one, then consider one with a suspension fork. Look for used
    quality bikes like Trek, Specialized, Jamis, Kona, etc. NOT department store brands
    like Next, Huffy, newer Schwinn, etc. Get a used bike at a lower price and spend
    the additional money on a tune up and smooth tires.

    Yard sales, thrift stores, pawn shops, auctions, ask if anyone has an old bike in the garage they want to lend or sell are good sources of bikes.

    Determine what size of bike you need before you go looking. Do you know anyone who rides and can help you look and has some bicycle knowledge? This could make selecting a used bike easier.

  16. #16
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    Look for a used Jamis. IMHO better than decent quality for the price.

  17. #17
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    i found a local bike shop that i may just go with a new bike - what they have in my price range is a Giant brand, Trek or Diamondback....which would be the best brand to go with?

  18. #18
    Senior Member natbla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janda View Post
    i found a local bike shop that i may just go with a new bike - what they have in my price range is a Giant brand, Trek or Diamondback....which would be the best brand to go with?
    Of those three brands Giant and Trek are your best bet as Diamondback has both department store models (junk) and LBS models (not junk), and its not always clear (to me) which is which. In general spend the most money you possible can afford.
    just spinning the wheels and up and over the hills of Western Maryland. Hmm make that the Hocking Hills of Ohio.


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  19. #19
    Senior Member bassjones's Avatar
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    Probably the Trek.

  20. #20
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    Could you all help me also with opinions on a bike for my husband as well - Im hoping to get him into riding with me but he is reluctant - he says most bikes are just uncomfortable for him - what would you all recommend as far as a bike to make things enjoyable for him?

  21. #21
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    It depends on what things he finds objectionable in riding. Where is the discomfort? Saddle? Body position?
    Craig in Indy

  22. #22
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    Well he hasnt ridden since he was 14 - so Im not sure but he says knees and back - like the position he is in while riding.

  23. #23
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    I guess the next question would be what kind of bike did he ride back then, or what position was he in when riding it?

    I really hate suggesting that anyone go soak up time and expertise from an LBS only to buy from other sources, but it could be the best way to see if he can get around those issues. A local expert who can look at him on a bike, and talk to him direct about what he likes and dislikes about the whole thing may be the best bet to find a way for him to work through his issues, whether the solution is the type of bike, or proper sizing/setup/positioning. In that case, get as much info as you can from the folks at the shop, and if they don't have a suitable solution in your price range, take the info you've gleaned and use it to shop the local used market.
    Craig in Indy

  24. #24
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    He may change his mind when he starts to worry about you being able to kick his butt.

  25. #25
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by janda View Post
    Well he hasnt ridden since he was 14 - so Im not sure but he says knees and back - like the position he is in while riding.
    Could you get him to post here? It would help him, and possibly you as well.

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