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  1. #1
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    n00bie who needs a n00 bike... Suggestions?

    As you can see I'm brand new on these forums and quite frankly don't know much about bikes. I'm 15 and currently have an old Trek 800 Sport but I'm quickly outgrowing it (I'm 6'1). I would use it maybe twice a week, sometimes less and sometimes more, ride mostly on roads but would like the ability to ride on bike paths, and my neighborhood is very hilly. Distances between half a mile and 2 miles mostly, but I would like one comfortable enough to go up to 5 miles. So I had some time to kill a month or so ago and stopped in a local bike place that carries Fuji Bikes (fujibikes.com). I talked with the sales guy and he decided I need a hybrid bike. I'm on a budget, under $400 preferably (but if it'll last me a while I may be able to go a little higher). Need some suggestions. I live outside of Cincinnati and the local places carry pretty much every brand I've heard you guys talking about on here.

    So, have at it

  2. #2
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    Check out this thread and this thread for answers to similar questions. Also read through the threads on this and other forums. Ask lots of questions. Think about looking for a bike at the end of the season, when they're sold at clearance prices, Think about getting a lightly ridden, good condition used bike. Check this site out to figure out the proper size bike for you.

    Ignore all the advice to get a fixed gear-- it won't do what you want it to.

    Good luck!


    EDIT: link fixed.

  3. #3
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    I'll mostly agree with above. -Don't- buy a fixed gear. For $400 you can get a pretty nice new bike. Go to a bike shop and talk it up, get some test rides, and ask questions.

    I don't agree about waiting until the end of the season; you will miss out on the summer, and I bought my '05 Trek last year when the '06 models had come out and I paid exactly MSRP--the bike store wouldn't budge on price. If you're buying used you can get a hell of a bike for $400; personally, I really enjoyed buying a new bike. Either way, if you buy a reputable name brand, you should easily be able to find a bike that'll last you many years with some care.

  4. #4
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    OK, what should I be looking for in a hybrid? I probably want front suspension, but what kind and how much "give" should they have? Any hybrids or bikes to steer away from? Any other specs I should look at that I'm neglecting?

  5. #5
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    I'll tell you up front that I'm no expert, but I bought the most inexpensive Trek hybrid last year for MSRP, which was something like $270, with "seat suspension" only. It's nothing mind-blowing, but it's just a nice, solid bike with ample componentry. I wasn't going to spend $500, and I didn't feel that the extra money was justified for mega-cheap front suspension.

    The next hybrid up from Trek is more like $320 and gets you front suspension, a different type of shifter and a cooler color but otherwise negligible component differences. At under $400, I wouldn't touch full suspension.

  6. #6
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    Cool. I think I feel more comfortable buying from a bike store, but I'll definately ask about last year's models, clearances, used bikes etc. when I go there.

    Don't worry, I'm not touchin' full suspension. But I am looking at some front suspension bikes now and I have a question. For road and trail riding, is more or less travel good? The bikes I've been researching go everywhere from 30mm to 75mm and all have the air type of shocks. Also, does the seatpost suspension really do anything significant, or is it just there for looks?

    So far, this is my favorite for the value: Crossroads Sport Unfortunately the paintjob isn't fantastic, but whatever.

    Still looking, and still accepting specific suggestions from hybrid owners or people who know a lot about them.

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    I think the salesman is right recommending a hybrid for you.

    For what you want to do you don't need suspension. Suspension is really a mountain bike thing, and I think that the money that you would spend on a suspension would be better spent elsewhere.

    Or, to put it another way, suspension == off road.

    Most of the hybrids that you might consider will have tires that are 1" to about 1.25" inches wide that are inflated to around 50-60 psi. At those pressures, there's a lot of give to the tires over bumps, and they're wide enough to handle dirt roads.

    Something like a Trek 7000 be an entry-level choice. I don't know the Fuji line, but they make nice bikes as well, and pretty much all the manufacturers make bikes like you want.

    If your area is hilly, you should make sure that the bike has a triple up front (ie there are 3 separate gears where the pedals/cranks are), since that will give you the lowest gearing.

    If you think that you might have to ride on wet pavement, fenders are a big benefit.

    Given that you have multiple shops to choose one, if you can find one that you're comfortable with, I think that's more important than the brand that you end up with.

    Hope that helps.
    Eric

    2005 Trek 5.2 Madone, Red with Yellow Flames (Beauty)
    199x Lemond Tourmalet, Yellow with fenders (Beast)

    Read my cycling blog at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx
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  8. #8
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    I agree with others that you don't need suspension. Front suspension is very popular, but it's real value is on really rough trails, where it protects the front wheel, and your arms and hands, from sudden jolts, and helps with steering since your wheel can ride up over an irregular root or rock instead of being pushed to the side. The riding you plan doesn't need it, and if you are going to need it, it should be on a mountain bike.

    I dislike seatpost suspension...the seat wobbles and bounces and I don't feel securely seated.

    Specialized is a respectable brand. If you re-examine that picture of the Crossroads Sport, you'll see the handlebars are much higher than the seat. That gives you a very upright body position which is comfortable for short, sight-seeing cruises, but not very efficient for longer rides. If you were buying the bike for longer or faster rides, you'd want a bike that puts you in a more forward leaning position with the handlebars and seat at the same height (more like the Crossroads XC or the various Sirrus models). If you are athletic and are eventually going to cycle longer distances than 1-5 miles, you might find the Crossroads too slow for your liking.
    Last edited by cooker; 04-21-06 at 04:55 PM.

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    I don't think I'll be going much farther than 5 miles any time soon. Also, I don't think any hybrid is going to seem slow on the road given I'm using a mountain bike right now. You said suspension would be better spent elsewhere. Like, how? I mean, if I can save 90 bucks getting a Giant Cypress ST instead of a Cypress, where should I spend some of that extra money?

    By the way, thanks for all the help thusfar.

  10. #10
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    The main reason mountain bikes are slow is the fat knobby tires. Putting on smoother ("slick") and narrower tires will speed it up a lot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by b-dizzle
    Cool. I think I feel more comfortable buying from a bike store, but I'll definately ask about last year's models, clearances, used bikes etc. when I go there.
    They won't help you with used bikes, probably, because they probably don't sell used bikes. But if you look at Craigslsit, you'll find lots of used bikes. If you do see something used, ask here, because some people exxagerate a bit when describing what they're selling.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-dizzle
    I don't think I'll be going much farther than 5 miles any time soon. Also, I don't think any hybrid is going to seem slow on the road given I'm using a mountain bike right now. You said suspension would be better spent elsewhere. Like, how? I mean, if I can save 90 bucks getting a Giant Cypress ST instead of a Cypress, where should I spend some of that extra money?

    By the way, thanks for all the help thusfar.
    Well, one thing is to consider that you're going to need some gear to go along with your bike, which should include at least some of the following: Helmet, cyclocomputer (speedometer, odometer, stopwatch, etc.), spare tire tube, tire levers, multitool, saddle bag, bike lock, tire pump, air pressure gauge, car bike rack, fenders, carrier rack (ever want to bike to the grocery store?). It's -really- easy to spend another $50-$100 on fairly necessary gear.

    However, if you seriously don't think you'll do over 5 miles at a time, something like a Trek 7000--which is what I have--would probably suit you just fine, as would a brand name used bike in good condition. An expensive bike is as much a status symbol as an expensive car, and if you don't need top-level acceleration and ride quality, it may not be worthwhile to spend top dollar.

  13. #13
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    Here's a great used bike in Portland: Miyata Triplecross. Even with shipping, you'd come in way under budget.

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    OK. What about derailleurs? Am I going to be able to tell the difference between a SRAM and a Shimano on the back derailleur? What about between 2 Shimanos, like an Acera and an Alivio? I guess I should just go and test them and see if I can find a difference. It's just that the Trek Store here is kinda far away.

  15. #15
    Senior Member edp773's Avatar
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    I notiiced a big difference in shifting between the Trek 7200 amd 7300 on test rides. I have a Giant Cypress and a Trek FX, but prefer riding the Giant. Also. the gearing on my Cypress is much better for hills. Your riding style and personal preferences may be different. The Crossroads, Cypress, or 7000 series should all work well for your type of riding.

    Test ride as many bikes as you can and wait a day before making a choice.
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  16. #16
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    Alright, thanks for all the guidance. A few questions, and then I'll come back after I test ride some.

    1. It occurred to me that maybe sometime in this bike's lifespan I may be riding farther than 5 miles (college when I go, local bike path project that's not done yet). What sort of things am I going to need on a bike to increase its practical range? Are they things I should be looking at now, or things I can add later as I need them?

    2. Are there any hybrids that you guys would suggest against? Any bad experiences?

    Thanks. You can post all the suggestions you want, and I'll read em, but otherwise I'll resurrect this thread after I've tested to make sure there's nothing wrong with what I pick, and after I buy it just to say I'm satisfied . After that, I'll probably start learning the basics of bike care.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-dizzle
    1. It occurred to me that maybe sometime in this bike's lifespan I may be riding farther than 5 miles (college when I go, local bike path project that's not done yet). What sort of things am I going to need on a bike to increase its practical range? Are they things I should be looking at now, or things I can add later as I need them?
    Water bottles and cages, toe clips or clipless pedals, a light, a rack, maybe panniers if you decide to go on a long trip.

    Regardless of how far you ride, get a quality lock (look for threads here about locks) and learn the proper locking technique, get a helmet, and blinkies for riding in traffic, and a light for any riding outside of daylight hours.

    If you ride in the rain, fenders and rain wear.

  18. #18
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    Just to let you guys know, I ordered a 25" Gary Fisher Zebrano from the local Trek Store today (they didn't have it in stock). More info on it here.
    Thanks for helping me with my decision; getting the shockless version saved me at least $50 and probably a pound or two also. I'll put up a couple of pictures when I get it.

  19. #19
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    That Zebrano looks like a good bike for your purposes, the gearing will help on the hills and the riding position is good for a new rider. I have a Fisher mtb that I've had for many years and it's been a great bike. I'm another XXL guy, 6'4" and 225 lbs, and it's held up well, even though it's been ridden pretty hard. Good luck with your new bike!

    Smokey

    Lemond Poprad, Fisher HT mtb, Burley tandem

  20. #20
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    Looks good, enjoy!

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