Originally Posted by kwitel
So i really know squat about bikes...
Im looking for something I can ride in New York City and potentially take offroad.
I thought I was going to buy a Dual Suspension-but that apparently is out because they are too slow on the street?
So, Im trying to understand the difference between a Hybrid and Hardtail (if there is one).
Also, I have a minimal amount of money to spend and have NO CLUE where to start (<$300)
Lastly, are things like an aluminum frame or disc brakes really relevant for me?
Thsi will be predominantly recreational riding in Central Park and some offroad for fun; trying to guage what level quality bike I NEED to start with.
Any help/advice you can give is greatly appreciated.
From what you say, it might be worth considering a good quality used bike, one that hasn't been ridden into the ground. Some have low mileage, and some of these can be found well within your price range. The quality of the various parts that make up the bike can be much higher this way, than if you buy a new bike (especially one that is being sold at or near list price).
When you go up in quality, you get more durable and reliable parts and wheels, among other things.
The catch is this: real noobs don't know what to look for (and what to stay away from) in a used bike. One solution is to find someone who really
knows bikes inside out, and have that person(s) help you find a great used bike. There is a bicycle artist in NYC named Talia Lempert. Her boyfriend wrote a book called Bike Cult
, and has (or at least has had) a shop there. He sounds like a very helpful guy who is not interested in ripping people off, but in helping them. You might be able to get him, or someone like him, to keep an eye out for a good used bike. These people often have a lot of connections, and if he can find you a bike, it would be well worth paying him for his services (i.e. you could pay a finder's fee, or buy a used bike from him...).
New bikes in your price range? Someone else can probably help in that area more than I can. I would suggest finding bikes that are on sale -- last year's models or blowouts that are heavily discounted (some online bike stores specialize in this). Paying full retail will not buy you a great bike, for <$300 -- though you could certainly find an adequate bike....
here is Talia's boyfriend's website: http://www.bikeworksnyc.com
his name is Dave Perry
you might also contact http://www.bikecult.com/works/
Also: there are all kinds of 'alternative' bike groups around. I would rather do business with some of these than with most bike shops. There are co-ops and other groups who could be very helpful. Sometimes you can get a free bike in exchange for a certain amount of work. There are all kinds of good alternative possibilities....
I would suggest exploring the various groups in your area, and finding one(s) that have a good spirit, and that you feel right about -- you can find some good people who can probably help you out quite a bit.