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Old 11-21-07, 12:59 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2007
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Newbie needing help


To start off I've owned one bike in my life. I was 12 and it was a BMX that ended up getting stolen a few months after getting it..

I moved to the county a few years ago right next to a large nature preserve and 2 parks with nice biking paths. I've been wanting to get a bike to ride but i haven't a clue what would be best for me. The paths are gravel and well maintained. I figure a mountain bike would be best.

I don't feel comfortable spending a bunch of money on a bike yet. I've skimmed this and another forum for newbie advice and nothing really seems to fit my needs. It seems to get started one needs roughly 500.00 just for the bike not including any gear. Which isn't possible for me right now. What would be a good bike in the 200.00 range? I'll be buying two. I was looking online and saw;

Is it trash? Will it hold up? What specs should i be looking for?

Lastly the BMX i had use to get flats all the time. What would i need to minimize this? Good tires? The paths are about 8 miles away from my house and the longest one is 16 miles. I would hate to push a bike back from that.

Thanks for any help.
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Old 11-21-07, 01:33 AM   #2
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Do you know any cyclists? One of the best ways to find a decent bike in that $200 price range is to purchase used. Having someone around who knows what good equipment looks like could help in that regard, and you could pick up a pretty decent ride without spending too much money. The right $200 used bike can be just as good as a new $500 bike. The wrong one can ruin your day though, which is why having an experienced friend can help. Craigslist sometimes has good offerings, as do other local used lists.

I would not suggest buying your first bike online, there's a lot of uncertainty over not riding something before owning it, and buying a one size bike unless you happen to fit that one size. Fit is important for comfort and control. You can look up how to find your proper frame size online, this is an aspect of buying a bike that I really can't stress enough: be comfy on whatever you get!

If you're not mechanically inclined, try forming a relationship with your local bike shop too.
I would pick one where the staff aren't going to thumb their nose at a newbie, and where they carry beginners stuff as well as more advanced bikes. If you're not into buying new, they probably won't have anything in the $200 range, but some stores start to stock some nicer stuff around $350, the price tag comes with a mark up, yes, but it also comes with the help that a knowledgeable staff team can give, a properly set up bike, and usually a maintenance tuneup later on. The price tag is a bit higher, but the risk of a poor bike with a short lifespan is much lower. The *right* bike shop can not only get you the right bike, but help you progress in skill and knowledge.

Finally, buying a $200 bike new can be okay too. There are some things to consider though: as before, fit is important. If you have a cycling friend, bring him/her along. They can tell you whats going to work and whats going to fall apart. None of the bikes in this price range will be performers, and some of them will be junkers. The right one though will serve you just fine for getting back into the sport, set up properly they roll just fine which is what you're after: problem is, sporting goods shops and such who sell bikes in this range often don't know how to set them up properly. I would suggest having them tuned up by professionals after purchase.

If you don't have any friends who are big on cycling, try looking up local cycling groups. A lot of them are pretty casual, and will help you out in getting started.

Lastly, it sounds like there was something wrong with the wheels/tires/tubes on your BMX. With everything on your wheels properly set up, flats shouldn't be happening on their own accord. Plus, with a patch kit, a couple of tire levers and a compact pump you'll not have to worry

Hope that helps a bit.
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Old 11-21-07, 01:50 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.

I don't know any cyclists. I'll check into local groups. Infact i know they're here. I drove by a race or whatever here yesterday.

I've been checking Craigslist and the paper for about a year and theres is nothing that looked good in my area. I had planned to go to one bike shop i know of here. Any qualifying questions i could ask to verify thier experience?

As for the low starter price. I haven't been on a bike in 15 years. If i end up shelving it i won't feel too bad. I doubt that will happen but who knows.
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Old 11-21-07, 02:38 AM   #4
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I do agree that you should get a bike that has a good fit, but that should not stop you from buying online. I purchased a ok bike online for less then 200, but its pretty damn sturdy, and has some pretty good disc brakes. After putting it together, I did take it to a local bike shop to a tune up, just wanted to make sure everything was good and dandy. Im a newbie so didnt want to have any mishaps out on the trail.

shop around, but as stated. def make sure you get a bike that has a frame for you and is not too big or too small, will make for uncomfortable riding.
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Old 11-21-07, 07:20 PM   #5
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You don't mention where you are, but you also might try stopping by a local bike shop, explaining your plight - you may get steered toward a bike, or a group, in hopes that later MTB adiction will ultimately benefit the shop...
As with mud, life, too, slides by.
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Old 11-21-07, 09:30 PM   #6
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Bike does not look so good. Most of the parts are generic, in particular the hubs and bottom maker is not listed. You should look in your area if a bicycle maintenance course is being given, the knowledge is worth the money. Try craigslist, or even ebay. Garage sales. Cruise the recycling pick up routes. I really think that bike might be a maintenance headache if you ride it regularly.

Even if all you can find in the trash is a frame, you can build a decent single speed up from there. A young'n like you doesn't need all those gears anyways.
2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
2006 Rowbike 720 Sport, I recommend it as an exercise bike.
1996 Birdy, Recommend.
Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.
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