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    Difference between ~300 dollar vs ~600 dollar bike

    Hi all,

    I'm on something of a budget, and looking for my first road bike, for the purpose of commuting in an urban/suburban environment. The commutes will be short (< 2 miles).

    Can anyone comment on the difference between a ~$600 bike (such as the ones mentioned by FlatSix here versus cheaper ones (eg, this - sorry if you think this is sacrilege).

    I'm not really interested in riding it terribly long distances or for sport, so is there a reason to buy a more expensive one? Optimally, I'd love to buy a used one, but I'm definitely not convinced of my ability to differentiate wear on a bike, and am looking for something which should work with little initial work put in.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    token triathlete Bah Humbug's Avatar
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    Hi! You'll probably have more luck in the Commuting sub-forum; this one is really focused on distance, exercise, equipment, and speed (not necessarily in that order).

  3. #3
    token triathlete Bah Humbug's Avatar
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    Over here: http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php/20-Commuting

    I know, you're planning on riding on the roads to work, but it's a weird historical culture thing. I had the same confusion when I started.

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    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Yeah, this should be in Commuting. Hold on a sec and I'll get it out of the 41...
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bah Humbug View Post
    Hi! You'll probably have more luck in the Commuting sub-forum; this one is really focused on distance, exercise, equipment, and speed (not necessarily in that order).
    Thanks for the help!

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    the value package of a bike improves as the sum of its price point increases.

  7. #7
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    For a decent road bike, I would plan on at least $600 LBS price. At $400 bucks, there are some decent hybrids out there.
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

  8. #8
    Senior Member a1penguin's Avatar
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    ^^^ Agree with the $600 price point. Shop around the LBS for the bikes with the deepest discount, perhaps a 2011 model. You can also consinder a used bike. Or even http://bikesdirect.com. You should be able to find a half way decent older (10 year) road bike on Craigslist that will be better than a new $300 bike. Find a friend or co-worker who can help you look at bikes. A google search will find you help purchasing a used bike.

    You could also consider purchasing a hybrid; you should be able to purchase a decent hybrid for $400 new.
    2012 Cannondale Synapse 3, 2012 Trek 7.5 FX Disc, 2003 Trek 2200 WSD, 1997 Specialized Rockhopper Al Comp

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    For such a short commute, it doesn't really matter. I'd get a cheap used bike and find out what you like and don't like before plunking down hundreds of dollars.

  10. #10
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    On the amazon bike I'm not real thrilled about the shifters, brakes, and 7 speed freewheel but that's to be expected on a $300 road bike. For your two mile commute I wouldn't have any qualms about it. You'll need to familiarize yourself in making adjustments, maintaining the brakes and so on.

  11. #11
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    Um, $ 300.00 ? Or about 4-8 pounds of weight. As said before, better and more durable parts.

  12. #12
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    On the amazon bike I'm not real thrilled about the shifters, brakes, and 7 speed freewheel but that's to be expected on a $300 road bike. For your two mile commute I wouldn't have any qualms about it. You'll need to familiarize yourself in making adjustments, maintaining the brakes and so on.
    If you or a friend can tune the bike yourself, I think a $300 road bike would be serviceable and will work for your commute. My guess is that you'd decide you want to upgrade to a better bike after a while.

    If you can't tune it yourself, a cheap bike isn't going to be very enjoyable. In this case, spend a bit more at a LBS where you'll get the bike tuned to begin with and generally get one free tune-up. Unfortunately, it is often the same with used bikes (a great deal if you or a friend know what you're looking for and can tune it up, can be not so much fun otherwise).
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  13. #13
    ride for a change modernjess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spivonious View Post
    For such a short commute, it doesn't really matter. I'd get a cheap used bike and find out what you like and don't like before plunking down hundreds of dollars.
    ^ this.

    For under 2 miles? Buy something like an old Schwinn speedster 3 speed or collegiate or a raleigh for under $100 on Craigslist. Or a used road bike that has been converted to single speed. or a 1990's mountain bike. You don't need to spend $300 or $600 on a bike for what your intentions are. Get a cheap ride first, then if you decide you like it a lot and want to expand your horizons, then start looking at a new bike that will fir you future desires.

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    For under 3.2km, just get something that works for now.

    If it is super hilly, then check out what are your low-gear options, especially when you're starting out.

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    Thanks all for the responses. I think I can find someone to tune it up for me, and it'd probably be a good learning experience. I read a lot of posts claiming that feature X is necessary and you might as well not get a bike if it doesn't have this feature. I just wanted to make sure that the bikes in that price range won't suddenly explode or something.

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    That Vilano is actually a horrible price for cheap bikes. It's pretty much no better than a GMC Denali and those go for $160 new, usually $100 on craigslist. If you're not hung up on having dropbars, walmart has the genesis gs-700 on rollback from $180 to just $130 http://www.walmart.com/ip/22.5-Genes...-Bike/20658228.

    For something in the $300 range, you want to look at the windsor wellington 2.0 http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...ington2_IX.htm. For any of the sub $200 bikes, the most you give up is probably a sealed bottom bracket. Instead they'll have cones with ball bearings which does not stand up to being left outside or ridden through wet conditions as well as a sealed unit. That's assuming it was even greased at the factory.

    The cheaper the bike you get the greater the risk something wasn't assembled correctly. And if you order from Bikesdirect/Nashbar/Amazon/Walmart, remember not to install the fork backwards. For the volume of riding you described, $600 is way overkill unless you plan to keep using it for DECADES.

  17. #17
    just ride
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    If your commute is relatively flat you can buy a single speed bike and save some money on both the initial purchase and maintenance.

  18. #18
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubbagrannygear View Post
    If your commute is relatively flat you can buy a single speed bike and save some money on both the initial purchase and maintenance.
    I agree with this.


    For me personally, I mostly want my commuters to be bikes that I dont worry about getting wet, muddy or being placed in other adverse situations. I would never spend 600.00 on a commuter bike. Might spend 300, but no more. The bike in my sig cost about 350 after all the fenders, lights and mirrors, and thats only because I bought it new, instead of Craigslist. Its a steel frame workhorse that gets hammered and is maintenance free as a brick. I think if you are strictly thinking 600.00, you are missing a lot of good alternatives that will save you a lot of money. Also, if this is your first time commuting, a year from now you WILL want another bike after your skills and miles have grown and you are a little more in-tune with your needs and style. 600.00 is a lot of money to have spent on something you might not be entirely happy with 12 months later . . .
    -ADVOCACY-☜ Radical VC = Car people on bikes. Just say "NO"

  19. #19
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -=(8)=- View Post
    I would never spend 600.00 on a commuter bike.
    We definitely have different commute needs, since 600 dollars would not get the commuter ball rolling at my household.

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