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  1. #1
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    Newbie needs advice.

    Hi everyone. This is my first ever post. I'll get right to it. I'm thinking of getting a bike for commuting to and from work. My trip would be about six miles one way. Most of it would be on a sidewalk or bike lane. Only a few hills, none steep. The guy at Dick's Sporting Goods told me I should get a hybrid. The options there are the Diamondback Kalamar, and the Diamondback Menona. The Menona has some upgrades over the Kalamar, but since I'm not very familiar with bikes, I don't know if they are significant.

    The Kalamar has a cartridge type bottom bracket. THe Menona has a sealed cartridge. Is that a big deal?

    The Kalamar is a seven speed, the Menona is an eight speed.

    The Kalamar has regular bike brakes where the Menona has disc brakes. (who knew bikes had disc brakes?)

    The Kalamar has double tunnel alloy rims, the Menona has doublewalls.

    The Menona has puncture resistant tires.

    Due to my awesome negotiation skills, I can get either of these bikes for roughly the same price. Can you guys help me decide which is a better bike for me? Just how much better is the Menona than the Kalamar?
    Thanks everyone.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mechanicalron's Avatar
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    A hybrid is a good way to go and the upgrades all sound good, though I am not a fan of disk brakes. So I don't see what the dilemma is if you struck up a good deal, go for it! And O,,, I am not knocking disk brakes I just like the old school ones
    "newbie at heart"

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    Thanks a bunch.

    Thanks for your reply! One thing I forgot to mention, the Menona has an aluminum frame. The Kalamar is steel. I weight 280 pounds. You don't think I could bend or brake either bike do you?

  4. #4
    Senior Member mechanicalron's Avatar
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    No and an aluminum frame tends to give a smoother ride but see what they say at the bike shop. They could be a bit shy to tell you that you weigh to much so just ask them (or her/him) point blank what they think. You are big but not that big . I know how you feel, I don't sit on wicker!
    "newbie at heart"

  5. #5
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Either frame will hold up as long as you're not taking jumps with the bike. Probably go with the one that has stronger wheels, since that is a weak point for heavier riders. More spokes is a good thing. Disc brakes require less maintenance, especially if you ride in the rain / snow, or on gravel or dirt roads. Check out the Clydesdale forum here for more advice.

    EDIT: If either bike has suspension, keep looking. You don't need or want suspension on the street.
    Last edited by AlmostTrick; 04-27-09 at 10:22 PM.
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  6. #6
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    I think you mean not needing or having full suspension on the street. Having a front shock is definitely worth it. I am also 280 and was wondering about the lighter frames. So much so, that I thought a mountain bike (MTB) style was what I needed. However, since my commute is all flat and mostly street, my LBS had me test ride some comfort bikes. Made a big difference over the Wal-Mart Mongoose I was using. Returned that and am going to pick up a KHS TC-150 tomorrow.

    I was looking for a bike with disc brakes also, even though they are said to be overkill for normal street riding. The KHS I am buying does not have them, but does have the mounts for them, so I can upgrade to them when funds permit. I believe it is just personal choice however, both types work well, the discc of course has the advantage in wet weather or if you bend a rim and need to make it home without brake pads rubbing on the rim.

    If it were me, I would get the Menona. The double walled rims, and puncture resistant tires are a good idea for commuting, and the disc brakes just an added bonus. jmho.

  7. #7
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nighteyez View Post
    I think you mean not needing or having full suspension on the street. Having a front shock is definitely worth it. I am also 280 and was wondering about the lighter frames. So much so, that I thought a mountain bike (MTB) style was what I needed. However, since my commute is all flat and mostly street, my LBS had me test ride some comfort bikes. Made a big difference over the Wal-Mart Mongoose I was using. Returned that and am going to pick up a KHS TC-150 tomorrow.

    I was looking for a bike with disc brakes also, even though they are said to be overkill for normal street riding. The KHS I am buying does not have them, but does have the mounts for them, so I can upgrade to them when funds permit. I believe it is just personal choice however, both types work well, the discc of course has the advantage in wet weather or if you bend a rim and need to make it home without brake pads rubbing on the rim.

    If it were me, I would get the Menona. The double walled rims, and puncture resistant tires are a good idea for commuting, and the disc brakes just an added bonus. jmho.
    I'm pretty sure AlmostTrick meant front suspensions too. Suspension forks absorb some of the energy that would otherwise be moving the bike forward. You end up working harder than you need to. The better ones let you lock them out so you don't have this problem. But if you're going to ride around with them locked out all the time you might as well save yourself the extra weight and the expense by getting a rigid fork.

    Don't get me wrong, -a suspension fork is definitely worth it for offroad stuff. Just not so much for street riding. People have come to expect them on anything but road bikes which is why they're so common.
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

  8. #8
    Senior Member lil brown bat's Avatar
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    I'd do a little more shopping than what you have done, actually. Dick's Sporting Goods sells bicycles, but they're not a bicycle shop and their employees probably don't know a lot about bikes. I'd spend at least a little time in a bicycle shop and see what they have to offer (and if you find a bike that you like, buy it there, don't skeevy your way over to Dick's and see if you can get it on the cheap).
    You have the right to your own opinion. You don't have the right to your own facts.

  9. #9
    Senior Member poopisnotfood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lil brown bat View Post
    I'd do a little more shopping than what you have done, actually. Dick's Sporting Goods sells bicycles, but they're not a bicycle shop and their employees probably don't know a lot about bikes. I'd spend at least a little time in a bicycle shop and see what they have to offer (and if you find a bike that you like, buy it there, don't skeevy your way over to Dick's and see if you can get it on the cheap).
    +1 go to a few different stores, just have a definite budget in mind, and don't let anyone talk you into spending a ton, you will use the bike as a tool, if it gets you there it has done its job.

  10. #10
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    I would recommend going to a real bike shop and seeing what they have. You can get good quality, name brand bikes for a similar price to the kind of bikes you're describing in department stores. Check out Giant, Trek, Fuji and Specialized. Especially since you're pretty large, the employees at a bike store will have better advice for wheel types and durability. They will also get you a bike that fits properly, which is the most important part.
    '08 Giant OCR3

  11. #11
    Older than dirt CCrew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechanicalron View Post
    No and an aluminum frame tends to give a smoother ride
    Sorry, but I think you'll find that an aluminum frame will ride harsher than a steel one. But I agree to go to a regular bike shop. Dick's is basically a Wal-Mart that specializes in sporting goods.

  12. #12
    The Haberdasher BroadSTPhilly's Avatar
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    If you can get a deal get a deal. We are people who ride bikes not the International Fund to Save the LBS.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy McTrumpy View Post
    pancake theoretical physics is a good new direction for this thread.

  13. #13
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCrew View Post
    Sorry, but I think you'll find that an aluminum frame will ride harsher than a steel one. But I agree to go to a regular bike shop. Dick's is basically a Wal-Mart that specializes in sporting goods.
    I agree a bike shop would be a better place to get a quality bike and good fit, (especially for a noobie) but Dick's and Diamondback are still better than Walmarty and most anything they call a bike.
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  14. #14
    Senior Member lil brown bat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
    I agree a bike shop would be a better place to get a quality bike and good fit, (especially for a noobie) but Dick's and Diamondback are still better than Walmarty and most anything they call a bike.
    Yeah, but who's to say that OP is restricted to Wally World and Dick's? It's worth a look. And no, supporting a LBS with your business is not charity; last I heard charities weren't "giving" bicycles in exchange for your "donation".
    You have the right to your own opinion. You don't have the right to your own facts.

  15. #15
    Senior Member daxr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigWheel1111 View Post
    Thanks for your reply! One thing I forgot to mention, the Menona has an aluminum frame. The Kalamar is steel. I weight 280 pounds. You don't think I could bend or brake either bike do you?
    Opinion of one skinny rider here: big congrats at getting into biking, but I'd say shop your decisions around the "Clydesdale" forum too.

    I'd ordinarily have issues with department store bikes based on build quality, disposable components and so forth, and say that you'd be better off going to an lbs. I got the Giant I commute on for $300 from an lbs, after deciding against a $100 cheaper W-mart hybrid. At 175, that's about all the stuff I have to worry about. But I'd have to say that most bikes aren't engineered for 280 lb riders. Some parts should be fine, others I'd question - brakes in particular. There's no end of brake failure stories you can find on cheap bikes, to the extent that I'd say some research is worthwhile. Disc brakes are probably a no-brainer, but cheap ones do have a pretty bad rep, regardless of rider weight. The other forum here probably has a good population of experts, and you might get lucky and find someone knowledgeable at an lbs.
    "... the age of Happy Motoring is over. Many Americans have already bought their last car -- they just don't know it yet."

    James Howard Kunstler, 2008.

  16. #16
    One Man Fast Brick hubcap's Avatar
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    I just took a quick look at both 08 models on bikepedia and it looks like the Menona has a suspension fork while the Kalamar is rigid. The Menona is actually a 24-speed while the Kalamar is truly a 7-speed with a single up front and a 7-speed cassette. I betcha the Menona weighs quite a bit more than the Kalamar.

    For my commute, the Kalamar would be my choice. I don't want a suspension fork and I don't want to risk messing around with cheap disc brakes. Seven gears are more than enough for me. Are you getting these for around $200?

  17. #17
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    If you're heavy you want a strong back wheel and have the shop check the spokes after a few hundred miles. Is there any difference between these bikes with respect to number of spokes?
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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