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  1. #1
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    best bike for $300

    I bet this kind of question has been asked millions of times, but I am a newb and it would be great if I could get some answers from people who actually know about bikes instead of those greedy stupid-ass guys at Wal-Mart, Target, etc. I have been buying bikes(crappy, as I have learned recently)from department stores, which break on me in less than 2 months, with problems starting after the first 4 days of use. So, I was wondering what would be the best bike I could get for $300 or less that won't go south on me in less than 2 months? I usually get mountain bikes, but now when I think about it, I mostly do on-road, although almost every bike i see in stores are mountains bikes and that's what my friends have. I occasionally do some jumps, not very big though. For those who really don't like reading all the crap, let me clear it up: best mountain bike for less than $300. thank you all.

  2. #2
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    I don't know what part of the world you're in but around here, we have bicycle co-ops that fix up used bikes and sell them very inexpensively. (see my signature file for a link to the one I volunteer at)

    I would strongly suggest going that route or looking at other used bike markets - Craiglist, local newspapers etc.

    You'd be surprised how good some of the bikes are - and how bad others are - on the used market. Be sure you get your inseam measured and figure out what size of frame you need too. The best deal is no deal if the bike doesn't fit you.

    EDIT: since you're mostly riding on road but still do a jump or two, I wouldn't go with too light a frame (perhaps not a lightweight road bike) but something in the cyclo-cross or hybrid ilk might fit the bill. (hardtail, maybe a front suspension fork but not necessarily)
    Last edited by af895; 01-07-06 at 09:58 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member geraldatwork's Avatar
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    Try bikesdirect.com they might have a pretty decent bike maybe for around 4 hundred or so. I know you dont want to spend the extra hundred but it will be a decent bike that should last for a few years and be in the mid twenties weight wise. I got a better bike from them and am happy with it.

  4. #4
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    You ain't gonna get much new for $300

    Raleigh Mojave 2.0
    Giant Boulder SE
    Trek 3700
    Jamis Ranger

    you're better off looking for a used bike.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  5. #5
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    300, nothing new.
    Buy a higher quality used hardtail mtb. Best read up the under 500 mtb thread.
    If you can find a mech shop that sells used mtb, go there.
    Familiarize yourself with competent manufactures names.

    If you can find a competent frame, you can upgrade, replace later when you have
    some money.
    A nice older bike is worth a few upgrades, any bike ridden much needs maintenance
    and parts anyway.

    Get good parts, not new lowgrade knockoffs of advanced design.
    Simple bike, HT, 8 spd and maybe a sevicable suspension fork.
    Nothing wrong with V-brakes if good and you can disc the fork later.
    Used you get good parts for a resonable $, you need to know what to look for.

    Any mtb clubs in your area? Contact. Riders sell bikes to upgrade alla time.

  6. #6
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Check out this old thread. I know it says $500 but there are some pointers to some brands and models that may fit your budget.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  7. #7
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    Good advice above.

    Following up what Jeff suggested, I've attached a "Shimano Best to Worst" list. Print it and take it with you when looking at used bikes. I'd consider bikes with Alivio or higher MTB components.

    EDIT: I forgot about KHS. A 2004 or 2005 KHS Alite 500 has Alivio gear and might be found for somewhere in your price range.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by af895; 01-07-06 at 10:33 PM.

  8. #8
    Just a student norsehabanero's Avatar
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    check with l.b.s. this time of year and into the spring they have sales to clear out last years models and some of them even offer used bikes, the main bonus is the knoledge and help they will give you over dept stores, you just cant beat that

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    I am frustrated enough with NEW things breaking on me in less than 2 months and you guys want me to buy used??? hmmmm building with individual parts would be good since it probably will be cheaper plus I will learn a great deal and know how to fix it when it breaks. I will spend $500 if seems to be worth it and I could keep at least a few years. It's not like I'm gonna get shot right when I spend that money, it's just that I want to limit myself because I've seen $5000 bikes and that's pretty ridiculous, plus I'm trying to get out of the usual prices of those stupid stores. Thanks so much anyways guys. I dunno of a biking club although there probably is one, but there at least is a bike shop. Some of my friends have gotten bikes for $200 from there, and they haven't had problems for years with those bikes.

  10. #10
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    ok people are listing bikes, WHERE can I actually purchase these bikes? ebay? I'm also reading the $500 bike thread and many bikes are listed, and I really don't know where to purchase these bikes. I heard Trek bikes were good as well, any comment there? Also, I realize that size is listed by frame, not wheel size, which I am used to, so does anyone know what is a good frame size for 5'11" 140lbs 14-year old(proud of it hehe)?
    Last edited by tjpark1111; 01-07-06 at 11:11 PM.

  11. #11
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjpark1111
    ok people are listing bikes, WHERE can I actually purchase these bikes? ebay? I'm also reading the $500 bike thread and many bikes are listed, and I really don't know where to purchase these bikes. I heard Trek bikes were good as well, any comment there?
    http://www.mtbr.com/ Reviews on specific bikes.
    http://www.craigslist.org/ Select your geographic.
    Find local cycling clubs on the internet, classifieds.

    Post up what you see, all the components.?
    Last edited by jeff williams; 01-07-06 at 11:15 PM.

  12. #12
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjpark1111
    I am frustrated enough with NEW things breaking on me in less than 2 months and you guys want me to buy used???
    A used bike from a reputable bikeshop is nearly as good as a new bike and much much much more reliable than one from a big-box department store.


    Quote Originally Posted by tjpark1111
    hmmmm building with individual parts would be good since it probably will be cheaper
    Unless you have a stock of parts on hand or can really find some amazing deals then this will probably not be the case. Bike manufacturers get deep discounts from the component manufacturers because they can purchase in volume. Buying parts individually to build up a bike will generally cost you more than a complete bike. Additionally, you might have to purchase extra tools.


    Quote Originally Posted by tjpark1111
    I dunno of a biking club although there probably is one, but there at least is a bike shop. Some of my friends have gotten bikes for $200 from there, and they haven't had problems for years with those bikes.
    That might be a good place to start. And as others have said, don't shy away from used bikes from bike shops.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  13. #13
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjpark1111
    ok people are listing bikes, WHERE can I actually purchase these bikes? ebay? I'm also reading the $500 bike thread and many bikes are listed, and I really don't know where to purchase these bikes.
    tjpark: I can tell you what I did. Call EVERY local bike shop (LBS) in the phone book and find out what they have that meets your requirements.

    I ended up going to a family reunion about 500 miles away at the exact time I was bike shopping. I ended up finding a better bike within my budget in the reunion town than what was offered at any of 30 local bike shops in my home city.

    If you don't find something locally, I'd start by calling shops in an ever-increasing radius from you. First-person, buy-it-in-person is always better than mail order when it's an option since you can test ride.

    Once you cross-over into the online buying experience, determine EXACTLY the bike you want before going online so you can just do a search and turn up every shop that has it. I've had good results with "Web Cyclery" and Sheldon Browns own "Harris Cyclery" has a great reputation. They may not have the type of bikes you want though. Hope this is somewhat helpful.

  14. #14
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjpark1111
    ok people are listing bikes, WHERE can I actually purchase these bikes? ebay? I'm also reading the $500 bike thread and many bikes are listed, and I really don't know where to purchase these bikes.
    If you're a first-time buyer or a newbie cyclist then I would not recommend eBay. I would definately recommend a bike shop. Visit as many as you can. Some bike shops carry some brands that others don't due to contractual limitations. Shop around, test ride as much as possible. Get the best fitting bike that is within your budget. Take your time and post questions on here of what you find if you're confused.


    Quote Originally Posted by tjpark1111
    I heard Trek bikes were good as well, any comment there?
    The bigger/popular brand names are usually a safe bet. Companies like Specialized and Trek generally have a bike to fit whatever budget you've got. The determining factour then becomes fit and feel.


    Quote Originally Posted by tjpark1111
    Also, I realize that size is listed by frame, not wheel size, which I am used to, so does anyone know what is a good frame size for 5'11" 140lbs 14-year old(proud of it hehe)?
    Height is not the only measure. It also depends on what type of bike you're buying and what the intended application might be. You can employ a variety of fit-formulaes but sometimes it's best to just get on the bike and see how it fits. For what it's worth, you're probably going to want a large sized frame which will generally be a 20"-21" sized seat-tube measurement. However, pay attention to your top-tube length and reach. A good bikeshop will help you get properly fitted. This is yet another reason to get yourself into a shop.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  15. #15
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    You can use the forum to educate yourself, the search function and in little time you can make informed choices.

    There is no answer to your question. Hexagram 64.

  16. #16
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    OK, gonna visit the bike shop tomorrow, it's 1:27AM right now, a bit too late for pleasant bike shopping. You guys have no idea on the frame size? o well, the guy there will tell me. The shop near me is called Campus Bicycle, because Stony Brook University is right next to it, if any of you know about Stony Brook Univ. if you live in NY. I keep eyeing the Trek 820, but I guess that will be crap...... Here's the website: http://campusbicycle.com/site/showit...=39&sort=Price can you make some suggestions from the choices in the site because that is the 99% likely place I will be purchasing the bike from. thx!
    Last edited by tjpark1111; 01-07-06 at 11:34 PM.

  17. #17
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Take notes, write down what your looking @.
    Also, post your body\frame size.
    Mtb size smaller than road. Smalls not bad in mtb unless it's XC.

  18. #18
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    thanks a lot, I just needed some help with your suggestions from the site since I might get ripped by the guy there trying to get me to buy a $1000 bike, since I am very easy to convince.

  19. #19
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    I really don't get the craiglist thing, where do I go to? I selected New York because that's the closest city to me and then I tried group, and activies, and typed cycling for a search and didn't come up with anything, HELP!

  20. #20
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjpark1111
    I really don't get the craiglist thing, where do I go to? I selected New York because that's the closest city to me and then I tried group, and activies, and typed cycling for a search and didn't come up with anything, HELP!
    "For Sale" section.

    http://newyork.craigslist.org/bik/

  21. #21
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjpark1111
    OK, gonna visit the bike shop tomorrow, it's 1:27AM right now, a bit too late for pleasant bike shopping. You guys have no idea on the frame size? o well, the guy there will tell me. The shop near me is called Campus Bicycle, because Stony Brook University is right next to it, if any of you know about Stony Brook Univ. if you live in NY. I keep eyeing the Trek 820, but I guess that will be crap...... Here's the website: http://campusbicycle.com/site/showit...=39&sort=Price can you make some suggestions from the choices in the site because that is the 99% likely place I will be purchasing the bike from. thx!
    I think you've been given great advice by Jeff and khuon. With regard to the Trek 820, my oldest son has one that he's been riding for three years. He's taken it on trails, paths and street riding with no repairs and only one tune-up and usual lubrication, chain cleaning, etc. It is a solid bike for the price with a great re-sale track record. But the 3700 recommended by chipcom offers a more up-to-date frame for only a few $ more. I think your best bet is to follow the advice on the MTB forum, ride/sample as many different bikes and different sizes that you can. Then buy the one that you feel the most comfortable on within your price range. One more comment, don't forget to consider what the LBS is offering free. One of my local LBS offers lifetime deraileur/brake tune-ups free, another charges $80 for the same service contract. Yeah, some are more hungry for your business than others. Good luck.
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  22. #22
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    well I've searched the forums and mtbr and it seems the only difference between the 820 and the 3700 is the aluminum frame, in which only loses 4 pounds from steel, and because my dealer takes MSRP, it is quite a ripoff for something I really won't care about.(correctly if I'm wrong, some idiot on mtbr might be wrong) I probably will try to bring the price down a bit, but if I test ride it out and it doesn't make any difference to me, the extra step-up ain't worth it. I was leaning toward Trek in the first place since I was in the adventure club at my school which does lots of biking and all of their bikes were a Trek, so they provided me a great experience during the school year. I really really want to check out the Specialized Hardrock Sport, but my dealer doesn't carry it. I could go out 10 miles which ain't that bad in my opinion, but 1)my mom is very busy/tired 2)my mom is a horrible driver and traffic conditions where the other bike shop is, especially at times when my mom can drive me, is really horrible and it's very likely she will crash, which I really don't want to happen. You guys think it'll be worth it to take the risk and try out the Hardrock Sport? Big improvement from Trek 820, and worth the extra $? thx. Oh yea, 1 more question. Any real advantages to disc brakes except looks? More powerful braking I would suppose? I had no problem with v-brakes though. Do the disc brakes wear out slower or is it the other way around?
    Last edited by tjpark1111; 01-08-06 at 07:25 PM.

  23. #23
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    k, here's what I've found in craiglist, btw.
    http://newyork.craigslist.org/lgi/bik/

  24. #24
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    I'd go with steel over aluminum on account of strength but others would say it matters not.

    If the frame has a lifetime warranty as I've heard Trek offers, get aluminum and jump off tall buildings with impunity. I'd hesitate to buy an aluminum bike if it didn't have a lifetime warranty though.
    Last edited by af895; 01-08-06 at 07:48 PM.

  25. #25
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjpark1111
    You guys think it'll be worth it to take the risk and try out the Hardrock Sport? Big improvement from Trek 820, and worth the extra $?
    I think checking out at least another bike is worth it. It will give you some perspective. Personally, I preferred the geometry of Specialized bikes to that of the Treks and think that generally the components are a tad better with the HardRocks. However YMMV which is why it's a good idea to compare and contrast for yourself.


    Quote Originally Posted by tjpark1111
    Any real advantages to disc brakes except looks? More powerful braking I would suppose? I had no problem with v-brakes though. Do the disc brakes wear out slower or is it the other way around?
    Discs also work better in the wet and mud. That said, a set of low-end disc brakes can be a headache and you're better off with a decent pair of rim brakes. At the pricepoint you're looking at, I would recommend rim brakes to discs unless you happen to find a really good deal on a disc-equipped model. As far as wear is concerned, it all depends on the conditions you're riding in. Disc pads generally don't wear any better or worse than rim pads. However, they also don't wear the rims and replacing a disc is cheaper than replacing a rim.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

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