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  1. #1
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    Newbie thinking of buying this bike, thoughts / help?

    Hi folks, newbie here!

    Sorry if this is the wrong area to post in, I'm just starting to feel around here.

    I'm a medical student at a large university and I'm looking to get a bike for exercise and some communiting. Downside is that I have a pretty limited budget.

    I'm thinking of getting a Schwinn Empire XL off CL. The seller is asking $115. Is that reasonable?

    It's a AL framed road bike. I know it originally came from Wally world (and I know of the reputation those bikes have), but this bike seems to have good reviews and even some mentions here. My other alternative would be a 80s steel framed bike, but those seem heavy and will need some work.
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    Last edited by Orinix; 04-10-14 at 07:47 PM.

  2. #2
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    It looks very nice for a $115 bike. Of course fit is everything, and it's not a bargain if it's not right for you.

    Recruit a knowledgeable friend to go with you to confirm the fit, and run through a few basic checks for any clues to problems, and help you estimate what's involved is repairing them.
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  3. #3
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    I agree, that looks like a lot of bike for $115, and clean and probably in good mechanical shape, maybe needing some adjustment of derailleurs and brakes.

    However, there's nothing necessarily wrong with an 80's steel frame bike. There's a whole forum here (C&V) that would vociferously argue for that instead, especially for commuting, when you want a stronger, more flexible steel frame, and clearance for wider tires.

  4. #4
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    What's your budget?

    What is your riding terrain like?

    What is the total distance of your commute?

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    That bike will suck as a commuter. It won't even be that great as a quasi-road racer. I have an 80's steel road racer and it is the lightest bike in the stable. A medical student should be able to find more than $115 to spend on a cycling hobby that may end up being transportation some of the time. Believe that the investment is worth it and you will find the cash. Either get two bikes, each optimized for their purposes @ around $150 for the commuter, $225+ for the road racer, OR buy a nice touring bike of mid-90's vintage for around $300, put a rack and fenders on it (if it doesn't have them already) and use it for everything. Or use the $150+ commuter for everything, but I don't think a quasi-road racer is a practical choice for all purpose riding.

    H

  6. #6
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Something just looks wrong about that bike. For $100 or so, I say look for an old hard tail mountain bike ( no suspension) or hybrid.

  7. #7
    Bike rider alexaschwanden's Avatar
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    It looks ok, I would lower the bars so its level with the ground.
    2013 Felt 960 29er MTB. 1,336.2 miles
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
    That bike will suck as a commuter. ....
    Assuming it fits, and is in decent shape mechanically. And also that the OP wants a drop bar road bike, what is wrong with this bike? It's fairly wide range road gearing, has decent street use tires, and looks to be in pretty clean condition.

    Certainly the price is right, ant that may be the only real issue because it seems like too good a deal based on the photo, and the OP should look it over very carefully for a reason.

    Other than that $115 doesn't buy lot's of bike, and while it may not be the right choice for serious riders, a commuter or casual rider can pull an awful lot of value out of it.

    IMO- if it fits (most important) works (or needs only minor repairs), and is the basic type of bike the OP wants, he should snap it up and start riding it.
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    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  9. #9
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Go ride it and see what you think. If you're going to use it a lot I would first check on prices for tires with flat protection along with a spare tube and pump to bring along. See if the total cost still falls within your budget. Some people don't like the idea of using a road bike for commuting. I personally like them but acknowledge that you have to take greater care to avoid flats than you do with bikes fitted with wider tires that require less air pressure.

    $115 is not a lot for a bike in good working condition. If after a couple of months you find you don't like it, sell it and get something different. You can probably get your $115 back and maybe even a little more to help cover the costs of the upgraded tires.

    This is not a high quality bike, but I think you know that. Learning how to do simple repairs on your own will save you some money and my guess is you could get a lot of miles out of this but there will be stuff that needs to get fixed now and then.

    I heard they weigh about 26 lbs. A good 80's road bike would bike would weigh less than that but would cost you more.
    Last edited by tjspiel; 04-11-14 at 02:20 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Thanks guys for the advice. Bike was sold earlier, so it's back to searching CL!

  11. #11
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    It looks very nice for a $115 bike. Of course fit is everything, and it's not a bargain if it's not right for you.

    Recruit a knowledgeable friend to go with you to confirm the fit, and run through a few basic checks for any clues to problems, and help you estimate what's involved is repairing them.
    +1

    True Wally bikes are cheap. Some are worse than others, and this one isn't that bad. Decent budget bike. As a rule the Schwinn name (no relation to the original Schwinn company) is used by the big box stores to indicate a product that is a step above their lowest priced lines.
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

  12. #12
    Senior Member TransitBiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orinix View Post
    Thanks guys for the advice. Bike was sold earlier, so it's back to searching CL!
    After looking that thing over in the photo, i'd say you're better off not having bought it. I have had a few lower priced bikes, and they were a nightmare, Low quality parts made by lowest bidder. I'd go for the steelie. You may feel its weight difference (if there is one) initially, but over time your muscles will get used to it. Good luck hunting, and perhaps hit up local bike shops to see if they have anything useful for you in your budget range.

    - Andy

  13. #13
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    College campus is where people go to steal bikes , because there are so many in one place.

    What ever bike you get, Spend a lot on a good Lock and security chain to keep it .

  14. #14
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    Why buy a used Walgoose, when you can get a brand new one directly from Uncle Wally?

    If your terrain is flat, get a Mongoose Detain or perhaps, the Beast.

    Otherwise, just get a Denali!

    You could most probably score a better deal from www.bikesdirect.com in the form of a single speed road bike!

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