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Old 06-25-12, 07:32 PM   #1
hary536
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Which bike should I buy? and any suggested places to buy from?

Hello Folks,
My first post here.
I would say, I have zero idea about bikes.
I had a mountain bike for a year, when I was in college. Didn't know at that time, what are the different types of bikes and use cases
and still don't know much. Had picked mountain bike that time, since was the cheapest available at a Walmart.

But, now I want to get a bike which I can use for commuting to work (~3-4 miles) and cycling around in the city or trails during weekends.
I still can't afford expensive bikes.

What would you recommend me to buy for my above purpose? Any recommended places where I should look for buying?
My budget is < $200, preferably less than $150.

Any suggestions? Please advise.

Thanks.
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Old 06-25-12, 07:37 PM   #2
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Id check out craigslist.But i do like my kent gmc denaili for the price Which was 152 bucks at wallyworld
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Old 06-25-12, 07:50 PM   #3
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I'd suggest you go to a bike shop, and try out different kinds of bikes. When you have an idea as to what style suits you best, start looking on Craigslist. I don't know your market, but here in Minneapolis you would probably end up using all of your budget on the bike itself. Unless the seller is one of the flippers who tune up and put new tires on each bike before selling, you'll probably want to factor in that expense too.

A cheaper, but more time consuming option would be to find a bike coop that offers classes and has an earn a bike program. You volunteer, learn about bikes, and then at the end of your designated service, ride away on a bike that you tuned up yourself. Something like this place: http://www.cyclesforchange.org/
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Old 06-25-12, 07:51 PM   #4
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If you could let us know what major city you're closest to, we could check on your local Craigslist for examples of what you'd want to look for.

Your best bet in that price range is for a rigid or hardtail 90s mountain bike--Trek, Cannondale, Specialized. A bike like this still in good condition would be perfect--if it has the nubby tires, you may want to switch to something more slick for more speed on the road.
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Old 06-25-12, 08:06 PM   #5
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Welcome To Bike Forums, Hary!

You've got three choices as follows:

1) You can join a bicycle co-op, find a frame there and build it up right there under the watchful eyes of the co-op leaders and bicycle mechanics. Just locate or find components that they have right there to install on your bike.

2) You can monitor your local Craigslist and try to locate an old used 80's style road or mountain bike. Make certain that you have someone with you who "knows bikes". That will be your "expert". Your expert should accompany you when go to pick up your bike. Your expert will inspect your bike, both before and after you test ride it for at least twenty minutes. He will assess the overall condition of your bike and tell you if the bike looks too large or too small for you. After you purchase your Craigslist bike, join the co-op, so that you can upgrade or fix your bike whenever it's necessary.

3) Of course, your last resort should be a department store bike. Most department store bikes are bad. However, some bikes in the department store are worse than others. OTOH some are fairly popular like the Schwinn Varsity ($250), the GMC Denali ($170), and the Mongoose Sinsure ($150). All of these bikes are cheap, but they're not worth it, if you can find a better bike on Craigslist or at the co-op.

Last edited by SlimRider; 06-25-12 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 06-28-12, 10:52 AM   #6
hary536
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debit View Post
I'd suggest you go to a bike shop, and try out different kinds of bikes. When you have an idea as to what style suits you best, start looking on Craigslist. I don't know your market, but here in Minneapolis you would probably end up using all of your budget on the bike itself. Unless the seller is one of the flippers who tune up and put new tires on each bike before selling, you'll probably want to factor in that expense too.

A cheaper, but more time consuming option would be to find a bike coop that offers classes and has an earn a bike program. You volunteer, learn about bikes, and then at the end of your designated service, ride away on a bike that you tuned up yourself. Something like this place: http://www.cyclesforchange.org/
Thanks, I will look on craigslist and also see, if I can find any bike coop here in Bay area(Mountain View), California.
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Old 06-28-12, 10:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by erg79 View Post
If you could let us know what major city you're closest to, we could check on your local Craigslist for examples of what you'd want to look for.

Your best bet in that price range is for a rigid or hardtail 90s mountain bike--Trek, Cannondale, Specialized. A bike like this still in good condition would be perfect--if it has the nubby tires, you may want to switch to something more slick for more speed on the road.
Thanks. I am in Mountain View, California, between San Jose and SF. I am wondering, is a beach bike suitable for my above purpose or a mountain bike more suitable, if I ignore the budget limitation.
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Old 06-28-12, 10:56 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
Welcome To Bike Forums, Hary!

You've got three choices as follows:

1) You can join a bicycle co-op, find a frame there and build it up right there under the watchful eyes of the co-op leaders and bicycle mechanics. Just locate or find components that they have right there to install on your bike.

2) You can monitor your local Craigslist and try to locate an old used 80's style road or mountain bike. Make certain that you have someone with you who "knows bikes". That will be your "expert". Your expert should accompany you when go to pick up your bike. Your expert will inspect your bike, both before and after you test ride it for at least twenty minutes. He will assess the overall condition of your bike and tell you if the bike looks too large or too small for you. After you purchase your Craigslist bike, join the co-op, so that you can upgrade or fix your bike whenever it's necessary.

3) Of course, your last resort should be a department store bike. Most department store bikes are bad. However, some bikes in the department store are worse than others. OTOH some are fairly popular like the Schwinn Varsity ($250), the GMC Denali ($170), and the Mongoose Sinsure ($150). All of these bikes are cheap, but they're not worth it, if you can find a better bike on Craigslist or at the co-op.
Thanks for your advice. I will try to search accordingly.
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Old 06-28-12, 11:10 AM   #9
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Quick search revealed 3 co-ops in the SF Bay area. SF has the Bike Kitchen, Berkley has the Missing Link and Marin County has the Bicycle Works.

Given your budget and utter lack of knowledge, it's best to either go with a co-op or save up more money and shop the LBS.
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Last edited by no1mad; 06-28-12 at 11:18 AM. Reason: Added links
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Old 06-28-12, 11:18 AM   #10
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If you're budget is around $150 and you're going to be riding occasional dirt trails, I would recommend an older mountain bike - stay away from brands like Roadmaster, Next, Schwinn (at least the big box store ones). Look for Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Giant, Marin, Raleigh, etc.

These bikes can be made very versatile simply by changing out the tires - knobbies for dirt trails and something along the lines of the Kenda Kwest, which is a great commuter tire for a mountain bike, and can be pumped up to 100psi for low rolling resistance...and they're fairly cheap.

I would recommend looking for something with an 8-speed cassette (usually advertised as a 24 speed bike). Typically this denotes a slightly higher-end bike. The ones sold at Wal-Mart / Target usually have 6 or 7 speed freewheels...this isn't necessarily a bad thing - but you'll have the ability to easily change out the cassettes (more variety of gear ranges, too), upgrade to 9-speed, etc., without having to replace the entire rear wheel.

All of the above is what I did last year - I purchased a 2007 Specialized Rockhopper w/ disc brakes. Upgraded it to 9-speed components. I put appropriate tires (knobby / smooth) and cassette (close-ratio for road/commute or wide-range for mountain/dirt trail) to match the type of riding I was going to be doing, and it worked out great for me until I purchased a dedicated commuter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hary536 View Post
Thanks. I am in Mountain View, California, between San Jose and SF. I am wondering, is a beach bike suitable for my above purpose or a mountain bike more suitable, if I ignore the budget limitation.
I see you're not too far from me. I live in Milpitas and work in Downtown San Jose.
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