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  1. #1
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    I don't know anything about bikes... please help!

    So after using my friend's road bike a few times, I decided that I'd like to get a road bike of my own for getting around campus. Unfortunately, I don't know anything about bikes.. so when i began to search for used ones on craigslist, I realized that they came in all kinds of different sizes and brands (I saw a lot of 'Shimano' references- is that a good brand?). I'm pretty small (5 feet or so)- what size road bike is appropriate for me? Also, I'm looking for something cheap- in the $100-120 range because I'm on a budget- what brand/type is most appropriate for that price range?... etc etc

  2. #2
    Sensible shoes. CastIron's Avatar
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    Smimano is like the Toyota of bike parts in a two brand race. Good stuff, but they have a top and bottom and whole lot of middle in their lines.

    $100--even used--won't buy much road bike at all. But then, you don't need much at this point. In your price range if it physically rolls down the block and has working parts you've gotten your money's worth. The rest is just fluff.
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  3. #3
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CastIron
    Smimano is like the Toyota of bike parts in a two brand race. Good stuff, but they have a top and bottom and whole lot of middle in their lines.

    $100--even used--won't buy much road bike at all. But then, you don't need much at this point. In your price range if it physically rolls down the block and has working parts you've gotten your money's worth. The rest is just fluff.
    Good advice to start with. Another point is........
    STAY AWAY FROM WAL-MART & TARGET, ET.AL.
    when it comes to anything bicycle. As all
    you'll do is waste your money for a junk bike
    that will leave a bad taste for cycling.

  4. #4
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    I've seen some very ridable bikes in your price range at yard sales, second hand stores, and through the classifieds. Your biggest challenge might be finding one that fits. If you don't absolutely need a road bike (will a mt. bike or a hybrid do?) you'll really expand your options for finding a cheap used bike to get around campus. When you get more dough you can upgrade if you want. Oh--make sure you test ride any bike before buying so you'll know it fits.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  5. #5
    Senior Member slagjumper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peachmouth
    I'm pretty small (5 feet or so)- what size road bike is appropriate for me?
    Peachmouth, welcome to the wonderful world of bikes. Any way my suggestion has to do with getting the right size bike. While bike shops will hate you for this-- go in and get "fit" for a bike, they wont just do it for the heck of it so you kinda have to pretend to be very interested in buying a bike. I suggest going to the shop at a slow time, not saturday for example. They'll tell you the size in centimeters that you need. This size is the length of the seat tube, (the part that the seatpost goes into) to the center of the crank, (bottom bracket). Make sure you don't have to reach too far to hold the handlebars comfortably.
    .
    Last edited by slagjumper; 09-29-05 at 10:45 PM.

  6. #6
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peachmouth
    I'm pretty small (5 feet or so)- what size road bike is appropriate for me? Also, I'm looking for something cheap- in the $100-120 range because I'm on a budget- what brand/type is most appropriate for that price range?... etc etc
    For your bargain hunting purposes, a used yard sale bike is a possibility, and the crude fitting system may ok for you to start with: most road bikes, unless they're really new, have a horizontal top tube, so the old-fashioned crude way of fitting a bike is to stand over the top tube and see if it's an inch or two below your crotch. If so, you're in the right ballpark for size. If ithe bike is too big, it will be uncomfortable and possibly dangerous to ride. If too small, you may be able to compensate with a taller seat post. The top tube standover rule doesn't apply to "women's" bikes with a stepthrough design. Once you're seated on the bike, you should be almost able to straighten your leg when the pedal is in the lowest position, so raise the seat to that height. That should give you a rough idea of what size you're looking for. The biggest mistake would be to buy a bike that's too big.

    If you buy a bike that's more or less right or a bit small, you can fine-tune it by raising or lowering the seat or sliding it forward or back a bit on it's rails, and changing the stem (that holds the handlebars). Since women have a shorter upper body than men (you're a woman?) with a generic men's bike you may find that you have to lean/reach too far forward to the handlbars (ideally your back should be inclined forward at about 45 degrees), and the best way to fix that is by replacing the stem, with one that doesn't stick as far forward. Alternatively, you could also move your seat a bit forward, but that is a less desirable solution since it puts your upper body too far forward in relation to your legs so they can't provide as much support to your torso when you lean forwards. Your bum needs to stick out behind you a bit, to counterbalance your forward leaning upper body, like a diver crouching on the diving board. I think a newer road bike rider probably wants the handlbars about the same height as the seat. If you're female you may need to replace the seat with a wider, woman's seat.
    Last edited by cooker; 09-30-05 at 12:28 AM.

  7. #7
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    Small riders need small bike with small wheels. MTB wheels are ideal, you can fit fast, slick road tyres and use it for fitness and commuting.
    The best type of bike for your budget is probably a decent quality used non-suspension MTB from a respected brand (Trek, Specialized,Giant, GT etc), the kind that people rode in the 1990s.
    The fit is important: MTBs are designed for more generous standover clearance than road bikes so look for a couple of inches of air between you and the top tube. More critical is the length of the reach from saddle to bars.
    Budget for helmet, fenders, luggage rack, lights as required. With any used bike you may have to budget for replacement cogs,chain, tyres,cables if these are worn.

  8. #8
    Know Your Onion! badkarma's Avatar
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    If you're looking for a bike for getting around campus, maybe a hybrid bike might be the way to go. Those are built more as commuters with a more relaxed rider position, and basically a more comfortable ride.

    In my opinion, used bikes are the way to go. I'd check ebay and see what you can find once you know which frame size would be best for you. Congrats on getting into cycling!
    We Are Penn State

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  9. #9
    Deep In The Battlefield.. AtlPirate's Avatar
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    Yes try and stay away from wal-mart bikes, i am llike you and have not been riding long, and recently bought a Wally-World bike and the back shock broke in 4 days...It sucked, now i have purchased a bike from a bike shop and i am very pleased...if at all possible buy it used, try the classifieds in your paper, just dont buy a used wal mart bike, that would probally be even worse

  10. #10
    fmw
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    $100 is tough. I bought a budget bike for my 4' 11" wife last Spring on Ebay for $300 new, including shipping. It came from Bikesdirect.com. It has turned out to be a pretty decent bike for her. It is a comfort/MTB with a 14" frame. I would assume one could find something for less than that used on Ebay. You don't need a road bike for on-campus transportation. Virtually anything will work for those short distances.

  11. #11
    Senior Member localtalent's Avatar
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    Could you tell us where you are? Prices vary wildly depending on location.

    Also, don't forget accessories--you'll want a helmet and a lock.

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