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Thread: Cheap bikes

  1. #26
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrodgers View Post
    Wow, didn't expect this many replies. Have to read through them a bit more thoroughly.

    First off, about this comment....


    Yeah, I'm just a poor working man trying to feed his family. I just didn't want the $100k/year folks getting in here telling me that I need a $2000 bike. Heck, even at $350, to me that is a LOT of cash! It's a shame really how popular biking is that it costs so much that just a regular working Joe fat guy can't easily get into biking just for a little fitness. Everyone always wonders why this country is so fat? It's because real food costs way too much money and to get the tools for exercise is pretty much out of the economic ability as well. (Heck, our grocery/toiletry budget is $1000/month! And with that, we now don't buy any junk food. That is just $250 to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner 7 days a week.)


    For the buy used part, just about anything buying used makes economic sense. I bought 2 brand new cars in 25 years of driving. My very first car (listened to parents instead of my senses) and the car my wife just rolled over on the roof in January. Both were a mistake buying new.

    The one problem that I have with used bikes unlike with used cars is I still have no idea what I am looking at. I know the value of replacing the brand new Ford Escape with a 2 year old Toyota Rav4 for the same price I paid for either because I know what a Ford Escape is and what a Toyota Rav4 is. I could pull up a used bike on Craigslist and it could be the best bike for the best deal I'd ever find, or it could be some idiot ripping people off who don't know better with a Walmart bike. That person who wouldn't know better is me. I do have a giant distrust of anyone on Craigslist and even more with E-bay.

    Yeah, a $600 bike or a $1000 bike is just out of the question. Got a family to feed and keep warm in my little thimble size of a house, more important things to spend that kind of money on.

    As for Bikes Direct and having to set it up yourself, I don't really see that as being a big deal. I'm not an auto mechanic either, but economics forces me to do my own maintenance on the cars from replacing the clutch to replacing head gaskets and timing belts (the only thing I won't do again is tear into suspension, I hate working on the suspension.) Heck, we drove a Ford for 6 years and 118,000 miles from new. I've done a lot of mechanic work. I've replaced clutches and head gaskets with printouts from the internet in my hand, never having done that sort of work before. The Ford since the day we brought it home had nothing but problems and I was constantly working on it (36k warranty up in a year and a half...) Heck, this Walmart special I'm riding right now the kids left out in the rain all the time last year. She wanted to ride it this spring and the chain was literally completely rusted in place. I tried to bend it with my hands, I couldn't get it to budge. I worked on that and got it loosened, derusted, oiled, and it's still the same chain that I am riding with. I think it had a grand total of 3 of the 21 gears I could shift into. Worked on that and got it almost operable now (having trouble with it either easily adjusting from 1 to 2 on the front, or 2 to 3 on the front, or I can get all 3 working but it is difficult to get to either 1 or 3 which is where I'm at now.)

    So, yeah, based on my 2 coworkers who are happy with their BD bikes and reading how folks here who actually have bought a bike from them are happy (ignoring those who just "don't like the business model" stuff) I think I would be happy with a BD bike.

    That still doesn't solve the I have no idea anything about components though. I've looked at the specs and component list on quite a few inexpensive or cheap bikes and can't really find any info that tells me anything other than Amazon reviews which who knows who those folks are reviewing, everything from Dad reviewing a bike bought for an 8 year old son to someone who maybe does ride. I can't get through all the overwhelming amount of brands and models to know what the heck would actually be good and what wouldn't

    Anyways, there I am again, writing a book. It's a problem of mine, LOL. Thanks for the responses to this, gonna read through them again.
    Nobody here has suggested you need to pay $2,000 for a new bike. As for the price of new bikes, consider this. Here is a 1980 Schwinn Catalog. In 1980 Schwinn was not a fancy high end brand, but rather a solid entry level bike an average guy might buy for himself or for one of his kids. http://schwinncruisers.com/catalogs/1980.html Run these prices through an inflation calculator.http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm The sort of bike a regular guy might have bought for fun and fitness would have been something like a World Sport, Traveler, LeTour, or Super LeTour. Varsity would have been more entry level, and very heavy. (37 lbs!) Anyhow, a 1980 Varsity retailed for $190, the Traveler, $195, the LeTour, $235, and the Super LeTour for almost $300. Calculate 1980 dollars to 2013 and you get anywhere from the mid $500s for a Varsity to $850 for a Super LeTour.

    As for buying used, spend some time here, or on bike blogs, and educate yourself about what is good and what isn't.
    Last edited by MRT2; 08-05-13 at 08:39 PM.

  2. #27
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrodgers
    Wow, didn't expect this many replies. Have to read through them a bit more thoroughly.
    Most of us here are very willing to help someone who is honestly seeking information and recommendations. You don't come off as a troll, so we'll help any way we can.


    Quote Originally Posted by mrodgers
    The one problem that I have with used bikes unlike with used cars is I still have no idea what I am looking at.
    Okay, you need to do a little bit of homework. Then you can make an informed purchasing decision. Let's set frames aside, as the quality of a frame will closely match the components on the bike. There are three major component manufacturers. Campagnolo. If you can find a bike with Campy components within your budget . . . jump on it fast! Anything Campy is good stuff, but you probably won't find anything in your price range. SRAM is another manufacturer, and you most likely will not encounter a bike with SRAM components in your price range. So, that leaves Shimano, the big gorilla on the planet. They have the biggest market share and have component groups that span all price ranges. Start out by going to wikipedia and do a little bit of reading.

    Then, take a short road trip and visit one or two department stores and look at the components on the bikes real closely. Look for stuff like sharp edges, chrome plating, poor fit, etc. Then visit a few bike shops. You don't need to talk with anybody. Just say you are browsing. Then, look at the same components on their bikes and mentally compare them to what the department store bikes have. You will very quickly be able to discern what is quality and what is not. Then, you will have a good idea what you want to get. The hard part is finding what you want in your budget.

    Several people mentioned REI. Don't know much about their bikes, but do purchase part from them. I do know that their bikes are of a higher quality than what you will find in a Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, etc. But, maybe not top of the line like the more expensive bike shops sell. However, they have a fantastic return policy and have in-store bicycle mechanics. Their prices are pretty good also, especially if you have a coupon or they are running a sale. If you have an REI near your, well worth a visit.
    Deut 6:5

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  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrodgers View Post
    Yeah, I'm just a poor working man trying to feed his family. I just didn't want the $100k/year folks getting in here telling me that I need a $2000 bike. Heck, even at $350, to me that is a LOT of cash! It's a shame really how popular biking is that it costs so much that just a regular working Joe fat guy can't easily get into biking just for a little fitness. Everyone always wonders why this country is so fat? It's because real food costs way too much money and to get the tools for exercise is pretty much out of the economic ability as well. (Heck, our grocery/toiletry budget is $1000/month! And with that, we now don't buy any junk food. That is just $250 to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner 7 days a week.)
    You seem like a nice well intentioned person, but with some misconceptions.

    I don't make anywhere near $100K, but I have two bikes that probably cost $5000 new, only I didn't pay anywhere near that for them, because I bought them used. You can learn about used bikes, as others suggest, and post things here for people to look at and give you feedback.

    I also have a bike that I got for $150 off of eBay, it's an 80s era Nishiki. I use it to run to the store and so forth, it's basically a bike I will take places and lock up, which I would never do with most of my bikes, I don't let them out of my sight for the most part. So long as I don't expect too much from the Nishiki, we're all good. But I have broken a number of parts off of it even in the gentle use I subject it to. I taco-ed the front wheel and got a $37 replacement for it, so far its ok but the ball bearings are pretty rough. I broke off the interruptor levers but haven't bothered to replace them. Braking is terrible at best, but so long as I anticipate my stops I can get stopped in a reasonable amount of time. The seat is pretty horrible but i don't really want to invest in a replacement. It's 3 chainrings in the front and 6 in the back but does seem to shift decently well, maybe because 6 gears is not too many to expect.

    Is that what you want for your "Exercise" experience? I put up with it because I need something that I don't care too much about it getting stolen. But I would never ride it more than a few miles at a time. The farthest it has ever gone is to a Rolling Stones outdoor concert downtown in 2006, about 10 miles each way. Cheaper than paying for parking

    Anyway..

    It isn't the fact that cycling is popular that makes things expensive, it's engineering and relatively exotic materials that go into these things. The people that build the bikes and everywhere in the supply chain have to feed their families too. Quality made in USA bikes cost a lot because the cost of labor is high.

    Talking about people being fat and the cost of exercise being too high, it doesn't cost anything to walk around the block...for me there is a park in my neighborhood that has a .4 mile jogging track, I like to go walk around it 10 times briskly and call that a workout. Walking saves time too compared to bike riding, only thing you really need is sunscreen in the daytime or insect repellant at night. I bought a pair of running shorts the other day at Target for $16.

    I do have a gym membership that cost less than $10 per month when purchased for 18 months up front. You may not have Planet Fitness where you live but it's got all the basics for cardio and weight training.

    As for the food you get, people make choices. Even if you aren't spending a lot, you can still separate the whites from the yolks if you are health conscious, just for example. Store brand bread vs Orowheat. And so forth.

    I made choices to buy a fixer-upper house for cheap, drive a Kia and have no kids because I love to ride bikes and want to have disposable income to spend on my cycling habit. Those are my choices, yours are obviously different. Doesn't make me a snob.

    [edit] and if you made 100K/yr, I'd tell you to buy a $10,000 dollar bike, not a $2,000 dollar bike.
    Last edited by brons2; 08-06-13 at 12:54 AM.

  4. #29
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    My husband has a Diamondback hybrid. I bought it used on craigslist for $100, but it had never been ridden. I bought it to replace an older Diamondback comfort bike we got at Goodwill for $40. It's not a bad bike at all. He's very comfortable with it, which is more important to him than having a good brand. It hasn't needed any repairs or adjustments. He doesn't put a ton of miles on it though.

    My daughter has an old Trek which I got on craigslist for $30. I dusted it off, inflated the tires and replaced the brake pads. That was all it needed. She also has a Giant which we got for $50.

    Anyhow, if you see a bike you like on craigslist, you can always google it to find out if it's a good bike or a cheap one. Even a cheap bike is better than no bike, although with something like a huffy you will spend a lot of time tinkering with it and making small repairs. My first bike was a huffy and it was very comfy, but I had to fix something on it every three weeks.

  5. #30
    Senior Member North Coast Joe's Avatar
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    I started cycling just nine months ago, with the same budget concerns that the OP has. It's pretty straightforward to get dependability on the cheap, though won't happen quickly. Patience pays off, and you can ride a cheapie until you find the right machine

    My 2011 Trek mountain bike (aluminum, disc brakes, etc.) was purchased used off eBay for $120....though in November, when the bike market slows down some. Other than adding fenders, it's not cost me more than a bottle of chain lube to run.

    Over the Winter I rode the Trek while refurbing and customizing a vintage '60's three speed. It saw the road for the first time in April of this year, gets about 150 miles added weekly. It's capable of 30mph on the flats (gearing makes climbing a chore, but I live in a flat area) and has been reliable and a fun ride. Some of the older stuff (Sturmey Archer, for example) are quality products that have been lightly used typically. The total cost including purchase, and enough quality parts to insure safe operation..... $160.

    BTW, I'm down 47 lbs. since starting in November 2012....You CAN do this on the cheap. Just be quick to learn, and be observant!

  6. #31
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    I was in the OPs fiscal situation in my younger years and to this day look to maximize my purchasing power. I am a mechanic by trade and absolutely despise poor quality in anything I would purchase. When you do mechanical work for a living, poor engineering and low quality parts becomes your nemesis which is something I see in many of the low end bikes. Although I can now walk in to a bike shop and pretty much buy any bike I see, I don't. I prefer to let others buy them, realize later that they don't really want to ride and sell them cheap just to be rid of them.

    Case in point is my main bike, a 1999 Cannondale H500. I waited patiently for a good quality bike in my size to pop up on C-list. The H500 was listed in my size and for $100. I did some quick research on the internet to find out as much as I could about it. This was a $750 bike when sold new. The H500 has basically the same frame and components as C-dale touring bikes although it is a hybrid. It also has a heavy duty wheelset which is a big plus as I am a natural born clydesdale. I contacted the owner and she stated her husband bought it new and rode maybe 50 miles on it. Ok, an 80 mile round trip later, it was mine. The bike was like new. Over the course of time I have put another $400 into it in upgrades to convert it in to a drop bar light touring - commuter bike. It is a bike that I can take pride in because I feel I got good value for my money, it fits me, and it suits my riding purposes perfectly. It is also a bike that inspires me to ride. This is a bike that should serve me well for a very long time as it can be maintained without becoming a money pit. The key take away from this is that being patient and doing some research can lead you to a solid foundation for a bike that you can live with for a long time.

    Yeah, the uber-competitive crowd is always going to look down their nose at my bike; whatever. Paddle your own canoe, ride your own race. Making purchases to impress someone else is foolish money in my book.

  7. #32
    Senior Member Randolfo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brons2 View Post
    You know, I thought about one other thing. I don't like spending any more than I have to for an acceptable quality level. I have no problem using 105 or even Tiagra components where they are more or less an equal quality level. Sometimes the only difference is that the cheaper stuff weighs more. That doesn't bother me. Sometimes I even wonder if I spent too much on certain things like the Chris King rear hub on my Paul Taylor? A 105 hub probably would have worked fine and cost one-fourth as much.

    I bought some Microshift integrated shifters recently rather than Shimano because I could get them for $106 which is way cheaper than anything Shimano. If they work out, they're a steal. If not, then lesson learned.

    The point being that, I am value-conscious. Just like the person who started this thread. However, there is an acceptable quality floor.

    Cheap department bikes do not meet that quality floor in my experience. I have lots of bikes and ride lots of miles and I know the difference. Cheap stuff costs more than what I would consider value priced stuff because in the end the cheap stuff breaks and you have to go back and buy the stuff you should have bought in the first place.

    What I would recommend to someone who wanted to not spend more than $350 and didn't want to buy used, would be to buy NOS parts on eBay and piece it together bit by bit. Look for 9 speed Shimano stuff from previous generations of 105 level gear. And look for a bare frame to put them on. Check out a book on bicycle maintenance from the library. And do it all yourself, and be happy with the results.
    Being newly returned to cycling I have a question. Isn't 105 parts, 105 parts. So, if the bike was equipped with 105, would the quality of those parts be the same if the bike cost 350 dollars, or 1000 dollars?

  8. #33
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randolfo View Post
    Being newly returned to cycling I have a question. Isn't 105 parts, 105 parts. So, if the bike was equipped with 105, would the quality of those parts be the same if the bike cost 350 dollars, or 1000 dollars?
    You won't find a cheap department store bike equipped with full 105.

  9. #34
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randolfo View Post
    Being newly returned to cycling I have a question. Isn't 105 parts, 105 parts. So, if the bike was equipped with 105, would the quality of those parts be the same if the bike cost 350 dollars, or 1000 dollars?
    Yes . . . and no. With Shimano's corporate philosophy of trickle-down, today's 105 is last years Ultegra, etc. 105 from ten years ago is way different than today's 105. However, 105 has always been a good component group. Past that, then you have to look at other stuff, like the seat, frame, handlebars, etc. Realistically, anything with 105 will be a decent bike. Most people won't put that level of components on a junk bike.
    Deut 6:5

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  10. #35
    Senior Member Randolfo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by volosong View Post
    Yes . . . and no. With Shimano's corporate philosophy of trickle-down, today's 105 is last years Ultegra, etc. 105 from ten years ago is way different than today's 105. However, 105 has always been a good component group. Past that, then you have to look at other stuff, like the seat, frame, handlebars, etc. Realistically, anything with 105 will be a decent bike. Most people won't put that level of components on a junk bike.
    See there, learn something new everyday.

  11. #36
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    Tiagra is 10 speed now. I rode a new 63cm town bike which was set up like a cross bike but with fenders, racks and wide slicks and had 10 speed Tiagra along with a compact double, worked fine, shifted like Shimano which is to say good. Brakes were canti so can't comment on the quality of the Tiagra calipers but the Tiagra levers seemed fine and had a nice ergo shape similar to the higher zoot Shimano groupos. I would use it on my bike most likely, although, the 10 speed Tiagra groupo CS-4600 is not really in wide circulation yet so the prices are not in the bargain bin level that say the 5500 series 105 stuff is.

    I'm running Campy on my Rivendell because it came that way used but mulling a switch to Shimano because I get tired of paying for nice Campy bits. I'm pretty turned off by the price of 10 speed Campy barcons and mine need replacing.

  12. #37
    Senior Member Black wallnut's Avatar
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    Am I a snob, I don't know. I currently ride a Spec Roubiax. I have three kids, a mortgage, and a wife that works an unskilled clerks job; rich i sure as hell am not. It is a matter of both choices and justification. I started with a $200 Schwinn purchased at Costco and knowing what I know now I'd probably make the same decision if I was in that same position as I was then. The bike was serviceable for about a year of short mileage rides a few days a week during good weather which is where many folks start. However once biking became my passion the bike was no longer up to the task and started costing me money. First a broken spoke, then another then a new wheel.... then a broken spoke on the other wheel so another wheel. Then a new saddle, new crankset due to me trying to use the wrong tool to remove it. (cost of learning to work on my own bikes; auto and truck mechanical knowledge does not exactly transfer straight across.) When I got a few flats in a row I upgraded the tires. IIRC. Wore that rear tire out so had to replace it. So far I've replaced the wheelset, seat, stem, due to upgraded rear hub needed a cassette rather than a free wheel, crankset, I think that might be it. Somewhere in there I started popping spokes on the rear wheel and spent even more for a handspun 36h Velocity wheel. Total cost for parts has been far more than the bike cost. I still have a bike that is valued at $200.

    I put lots of miles on that bike in a year and saved a bunch of money by commuting on it. My health improved greatly. In fact the improvement in health alone has likely more than paid for my bike habit compared to how much medical would have likely started to cost me. I've been able to reduce my meds.

    Then I did some work on the side and could afford an entry level Specialized bike. I like nice stuff. I buy the best I can afford. I spent more and my enjoyment on the bike improved, not that it was bad before. My usage increased which led to bigger health gains.

    Then I pulled the trigger on a carbon bike..... good thing because I shortly needed a replacement bike. I gotta tell ya the price I paid for my Roubiax was worth every penny in comfort on long rides. I completed the Seattle to Portland in one day and felt good the next day.

    NO sir, I am not a snob. I could care less what you ride and would welcome you on a group ride. Just don't judge me because I like nice stuff and have made the choices to buy it. That said there is a benifit associated with price for bikes but it is not likely that I will notice much past the level I'm at with a carbon 105 equipped bike. last weekend I was at a juniors stage race where the fastest riders had the best of rides and I do think their rides played a part in their results.


    Mark

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    Value points.

    Used bike from Local Bike Shop. If it's a good shop, then it should be tuned, greased and ready to go.

    Bikes Direct bikes look nice, two acquaintances have a pair of his and hers hybrids and love them to death online commentary and evidence suggests they're an OK company, some folks didn't enjoy their purchase, but most seem to.

    "Lesser brands" I had a Lotus Challenger, I don't remember how much it was back in 1987? or 89 or whatever, but it was definitely a lot cheaper than the Cannondale alternative at that bike shop. I rode that thing like I stole it, and it survived several years of bad roads and really hard riding.

  14. #39
    Senior Member mrodgers's Avatar
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    To reiterate the reason I started this thread, it is about the fact that I see so many different names out there on components that I would have no idea new or used what the heck they are or whether they are good or not.

    The thread "Quality Parts" which seems to have been influenced by my thread here shows exactly what I'm talking about and what is so confusing. I think I counted no less than 29 component names just for derailleurs in there obviously all of differing quality since that is what the question asks about. How is someone suppose to get their head around that versus buying a Dick's Sporting Goods store Diamondback when the Diamondback has all the same at least style of the good stuff (disk brakes, trigger shifters...)

    Understanding photography is a breeze compared to bikes, at least with equipment since there is only really 4 main manufacturers to worry about and very specific model levels with even the most basic model of the 4 main manufacturers being outstanding quality (unlike my Wallyworld bike with its Shimano derailleurs, same manufacturer of the good stuff but garbage.)

  15. #40
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrodgers View Post
    To reiterate the reason I started this thread, it is about the fact that I see so many different names out there on components that I would have no idea new or used what the heck they are or whether they are good or not.

    The thread "Quality Parts" which seems to have been influenced by my thread here shows exactly what I'm talking about and what is so confusing. I think I counted no less than 29 component names just for derailleurs in there obviously all of differing quality since that is what the question asks about. How is someone suppose to get their head around that versus buying a Dick's Sporting Goods store Diamondback when the Diamondback has all the same at least style of the good stuff (disk brakes, trigger shifters...)

    Understanding photography is a breeze compared to bikes, at least with equipment since there is only really 4 main manufacturers to worry about and very specific model levels with even the most basic model of the 4 main manufacturers being outstanding quality (unlike my Wallyworld bike with its Shimano derailleurs, same manufacturer of the good stuff but garbage.)
    Yes, but what about film? Edit Come to think of it growing up, my parents seemed to buy every junky camera made in the 70s. 126, 110, disc, Polaroid knockoff? Had my parents bought one decent SLR, they would have saved money, and had decent pictures to boot/
    Last edited by MRT2; 08-06-13 at 07:30 PM.

  16. #41
    Lover of ALL things Bike Singlespeed92's Avatar
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    While I can't speak from personal experience on the "big box store" Diamond Backs and such-and I have owned and built from the frame up more than a couple $2,000-3,500 bikes over the years,my current mtn bike came from bikesdirect.com and was only $350 shipped (came as a rigid aluminum singlespeed),though I did swap out most of the components for higher end bits I had on hand (I'm currently-by that I mean it's all torn apart and hanging in the repair stand,like,as we speak) replacing the aluminum frame with a sweet On One INbred steel frame I lucked into scoring,but there was nothing wrong with the Gravity frame (or any of it's stock components,for that matter,cheap honest SS riding).

    1) For the kind of riding you mentioned that you do,those Diamond Backs should last you years and thousands of fun miles,my friend,as would many of Mike's bikes at bikesdirect.com (who are actualyl a pretty good group to deal with from my personal experiences of owning 2 of their mtn bikes).

    2)Don't worry about what "elitist bikers" say,they ain't gunna buy or maintain your ride for you,and they don't pay any of your bills. Ride what you can afford that fits you well and that you can budget (including you "$100" bike).

    3)If you get into more technical riding,the frame on those should be well worth upgrading a few key components as budget,time and skill allow (and for me,that's half the fun anyways ),or just ride the wheels off it. Almost everyone wants a Ferrari (or similar supercar),but most everyone gets their driving enjoyment out of their mor epractical cars/trucks/SUV's/minivans that cost a fraction of what the thoroughbred did
    Surly Troll,Origin 8 CX'er,enough parts to build a few

  17. #42
    Senior Member Randolfo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrodgers View Post
    Understanding photography is a breeze compared to bikes, at least with equipment since there is only really 4 main manufacturers to worry about and very specific model levels with even the most basic model of the 4 main manufacturers being outstanding quality (unlike my Wallyworld bike with its Shimano derailleurs, same manufacturer of the good stuff but garbage.)
    Do not tell the people of The Cult of Leica their cameras are not different, unless you want to be preached to for awhile. I am sure cycling has its equals to the Leica aficianados in the world. You do not sound like one of these people. So, go for the best you can get with the money you can scrape together. Then start saving again, because you might want to upgrade your bike.

  18. #43
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    If you don't care about bling, BikesDirect offers very good value for money. I had a $400 Windsor Wellington 3.0 from them that I rode a lot for a couple of years, and a buddy has been riding for the last couple. The wheels sucked a bit, but it worked fine. If you can save up 6 bills, their bikes start getting even more better. But honestly guy, the $400 bikes from Dicks are better than what your on now, and will probably be fine for just riding around.

  19. #44
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
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    decent quality is going to "cost" either in dolllars or in time educating yourself in used bikes

    My experience with lower quality bikes is that they don't get ridden as the parts don't work long,are hard to mechanic on and don't stay fixed. My neighbors across the street have like 3 costco bikes and a 25 year old trek hybrid. The 25 year old trek hybrid is the only one working as it had better components.

    I fall into the same trap of bike cost. I have bike i bought new in 1983 for $250-300 that is still in use. I bought a new car (toyota 4x4 wagon) for $7995. Today a similar car would be $18 to 20 k (subaru impreza) why should I not expect the bike to be $600-800

    If you let us know where you are and how tall you are we can sample some craiglist used bikes.

    Also used or new avoid stuff you don't need. Like if you are not going to mountain bike off road you don't need shocks suspension.

    If you plan on using a bike a lot, quality is cheap over time and time is like a year or more

    also if you are in flat ground you could even go with something like http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...0052_552679_-1 which you can often get at another 20% off
    '82 Nishiski commuter/utility
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    looking for: De Rosa 58cm ELOS frame and fork internal cable routing

  20. #45
    Senior Member mrodgers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
    also if you are in flat ground you could even go with something like http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...0052_552679_-1 which you can often get at another 20% off
    No, definitely not riding flat. I'm averaging 6mph, but that is because I coast down the hills at 30 mph, then stop at the bottom and peddle about 2-3 mph huffing and puffing the whole way back up. I'm on country roads behind my house, maybe 1 flat spot for a few hundred yards. It took me 44 minutes to ride 5 miles the other day.

    Just started though, I literally can not leave 1st gear on both ends.

  21. #46
    The cat says Merry Xmas Pamestique's Avatar
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    OK so... about cheap bikes... I have a friend who has been riding a comfort bike... she is now trying to do farther distances (20+) and was told to get a "road" bike. She went to REI - saw a bike on sale for $350. Thought "hey not bad - I will get that one; the price is right!"

    So here's my complaint about "cheap" bikes besides being almost made out of plastic and just really cheap, REI sold my friend a mountain bike, not road, and an XS frame (13.5) - my frame is 5'8" and should be on a medium or around 17. She also was given absolutely no instruction on how to put the bike together, shift, maintain it etc. I how to show her how to connect the V-brakes, put air in her tires, lube the chain, adjust the seat etc.

    I am really dispointed in REI - they should not have sent my friend out of the shop with that bike - it clearly was way too small (she looks like a bear on a trike!) for her.

    Sometimes its better to pay alittle more (a lesson my friend has learned) to get some good ole LBS advice on fit and function.
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  22. #47
    Just Plain Slow PhotoJoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrodgers View Post
    Understanding photography is a breeze compared to bikes, at least with equipment since there is only really 4 main manufacturers to worry about and very specific model levels with even the most basic model of the 4 main manufacturers being outstanding quality (unlike my Wallyworld bike with its Shimano derailleurs, same manufacturer of the good stuff but garbage.)
    OK, now we're into a space I can talk about intelligently here!

    Shimano Road Groupsets vs. Canon

    2300: PowerShot A1400 Point and Shoot
    Sora: PowerShot SX500IS
    Tiagra: Rebel XT
    105: Rebel T3
    Ultegra: 7D
    Dura-Ace: 1-D X with EF 800mm f5.6L IS Lens
    Di2: Hasselblad H5D-200MS

    Glad I could help!
    If at first you don't succeed, Skydiving is not the sport for you!

  23. #48
    Rides Majestic
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    Don't get too caught up in components, which is good and junk, etc. The reality is that most $350 bikes are going to be shimano altus/acera or sram 3.0/4.0 level. This level of bike is an entry level bike aimed at a recreational user. Provided you are not looking to exceed the design of the bike (i.e. dirt jumping in it), it should work fine for you for quite a few years. What is more important is making sure that the bike is tuned properly at all times whenever possible, and that worn parts are replaced as needed (chains, tires, cables). Ask yourself a question, how much time, money, and effort did you invest into your old Mongoose? If the answer is none or very little, then I would say that it runs that poorly because it's needed service for a while. My advice is to buy spend the most you can ($350) on a hybrid style bike that you feel good on. Get a book on repairing bikes and read it. Get metric allen wrenches, tire levers, and a park mini brute chain breaker. These are tools you will need in the shop and on the road. Metric tappet wrenches are great because they are thin, can be used on the car, and the 15mm will work as a pedal wrench. When the bike starts to act up, buy a $50 Nashbar tool kit and fix it yourself. Bike forums has a mechanics section where you can ask questions, park tools has an online repair tutorial section. Provided you are good with your hands and don't break too many parts, your bike will last a good long time.

  24. #49
    Senior Member rawly old's Avatar
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    It's sadly true that in recent decades Schwinn & Huffy have acquired a bad rep. Those bikes,
    along with everything else, are no longer made in the USA. I had occasion to do some
    yard work for old man Schwinn when I was young and can attest to quality being part
    of his very character. I think he'd spin in his grave if he knew what's become of his company.
    I don't waste money on new bikes when there are still many high quality, virtually unridden,
    bikes languishing in garages & storage. waiting to be discovered.
    If you know what to look for there are always good used bikes to be found on craigslist.
    Unfortunately, the majority of those posting have an inflated notion of what their
    bikes are worth. So much so as to be laughable. Nonetheless, there are incredible
    bargains to be had if one is patient enough to find them. Though I'm not in the market
    for anymore bikes,(the wife would kill me), I watch the list each day and weep at the
    bargains I cannot have.

  25. #50
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rawly old View Post
    I watch the list each day and weep at the
    bargains I cannot have.
    Glad I'm not the only one

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