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  1. #1
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    New to Bicycling

    Hi everyone, I recently got the urge to purchase a bicycle, but I am not sure what I want/need. I haven't had a bike since being a kid and now I am in my 20's. I would like a bike that I can cruise around the neighborhood in, run errands (go to the store, etc.) and take on bike trails/offroad. I see a lot of inexpensive bikes at places like The Sports Authority, WalMart, etc. But something tells me that I should be looking at more expensive bikes ($300-500 range). Can anyone point me in the right direction so I can narrow down my choices?

  2. #2
    Senior Member mds0725's Avatar
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    Please don't buy a bike from a retailer that does not specialize in bikes. Three of the most important things a bike retailer will do is (1) advise you on the types of bikes that might suit your needs, (2) fit you to a bike, and (3) assemble the bike you buy. Don't expect any of these to be done well at a general big box retail store. Go to a bike-only shop in your area (referred to on this forum as "LBS" for "local bike shop") and tell them how you anticipate using the bike you buy. The people at these places tend to be avid cyclists with a lot of knowledge about bicycles. The best bike is the one that fits your body. Try to go to as many LBS's as you can. Most shops carry a handful of brands and you'll be able to test-ride a wider selection of brands by going to several different stores. I'd also recommend doing a search at this forum for "new bike advice" or "buying my first bike," stuff like that. Also consider a google search on how to buy a bike. There are probably articles about this sort of thing at bicycling magazine websites. Good luck!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Check out your telephone yellow pages for bicycle shops. Check out this forum in the regional section and ask specifics about forum member's experience with those local shops.

  4. #4
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    Well, regardless of what you later decide you need, probably the first bike you're going to get will be a starter range mountain bike, posasibly even from a thrift store (not a big box) or craigslist though that stuff is usually overpriced.
    If the handlebars are straight bars, the flatbars on the end are NOT OPTIONAL. trust me you'll thank me for this. Yank the knobbies, they're not very useful, put on some slicks instead and the ride will be much smoother. MTB gearing is low, if you run out of gears you can get a road crank put on instead. After some time in the saddle you should have a better idea of whether there's anything else you need.
    Current stable: Sun Atlas X-type (mine), Trek Navigator 3 (wife), two Sun Revolution cruisers (wife, daughter)

  5. #5
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    The "best buy" in bikes are mountain bikes in the $400 price range. Right now, many shops are selling their 2008 mountain bikes for 20% off. These bikes are tougher and more durable than road bikes that cost twice as much. That is why so many downtown bike messengers use them...they only get paid for what they deliver, not for time trying to fix their bike.

    Visit every shop within a mile or two of your house. Buy from the shop that seems most committed to customer service...all bikes need service. A good bike shop can make a $400 bike feel like a $1,000 bike. Discount stores can make riding a bike a terrible experience...which is why industry sources say discount store bikes are used, on average, for less than 100 miles of riding before they are junked.

  6. #6
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    Ok, I went into a few bike stores. Looked at a bunch of bikes, and one store had a HARO MTB (flightline model). http://www.harobikes.com/mtb/bikes/flightline_one.php# He highly recommended that bike with a tire that was smooth in the center and knobby on the sides. It was priced at $359 ....any advice is welcome,
    and thanks for the help so far.
    Last edited by BikeGk; 09-26-08 at 02:54 PM.

  7. #7
    CAT4 joe_5700's Avatar
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    BikeGK, from what I am reading in your post a department store mountain bike will work great for you. It doesn't sound like you will be putting 100 miles a week on a bike or anything. I got back into biking last year with a Target Schwinn Ranger mountain bike for $139. The bike was great for months and hundreds of miles of riding. What I soon realized was that I really did not ride on very rough terrain and I wanted to go further and faster. Why have such inefficient wide tires and a way too heavy bike? I then got a Trek hybrid bike and added thinner 700X28 tires. It was a vast improvement. The bike was still comfortable, absorbed road shock and I could pedal 25+ miles without my feet touching the ground. Well, that wasn't good enough so last month, I bought a Jamis Ventura Sport road bike. With the road bike, I am reaching destinations even faster but at the cost of some comfort. The downside of purchasing a department store bike is not knowing how well it was assembled or adjusted. If you do not know how to adjust derrailers, you might want to get your bike at a local bike shop. They usually have 1 year to lifetime free adjustments. Again, the department store bike will do you fine until you get addicted to biking and start putting on the miles and the bike begins falling apart. Do some research on bike manufacturers. Remember that 99% of all bike frames come out of the same Chinese factory. What really matters are the components.

    Go to these manufacturer's websites: Trek, Specialized, Jamis, Cannondale
    Scott, Felt etc. While you pedal around on your cheapo bike you can take your time in deciding which better bike will best suit your needs.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by joe_5700 View Post
    BikeGK, from what I am reading in your post a department store mountain bike will work great for you. It doesn't sound like you will be putting 100 miles a week on a bike or anything. I got back into biking last year with a Target Schwinn Ranger mountain bike for $139. The bike was great for months and hundreds of miles of riding. What I soon realized was that I really did not ride on very rough terrain and I wanted to go further and faster. Why have such inefficient wide tires and a way too heavy bike? I then got a Trek hybrid bike and added thinner 700X28 tires. It was a vast improvement. The bike was still comfortable, absorbed road shock and I could pedal 25+ miles without my feet touching the ground. Well, that wasn't good enough so last month, I bought a Jamis Ventura Sport road bike. With the road bike, I am reaching destinations even faster but at the cost of some comfort. The downside of purchasing a department store bike is not knowing how well it was assembled or adjusted. If you do not know how to adjust derrailers, you might want to get your bike at a local bike shop. They usually have 1 year to lifetime free adjustments. Again, the department store bike will do you fine until you get addicted to biking and start putting on the miles and the bike begins falling apart. Do some research on bike manufacturers. Remember that 99% of all bike frames come out of the same Chinese factory. What really matters are the components.

    Go to these manufacturer's websites: Trek, Specialized, Jamis, Cannondale
    Scott, Felt etc. While you pedal around on your cheapo bike you can take your time in deciding which better bike will best suit your needs.
    Thanks, but the more research I do, I really want a decent bike. I am considering these two right now:

    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...3_series/3700/
    AND
    http://www.harobikes.com/mtb/bikes/f..._one.php#specs

  9. #9
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    Get the Trek 3700. My hubby and I got into biking a few weeks ago and we bought a Trek 3700. Great to start with, not too expensive either. You would love it! It is a strong bike, we do a lot of off-road as well on the road. Handles great!

  10. #10
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    NEVER buy any bike that you actually going to use from wal-mart etc, my frind bought one and even if he rides off a curb it makes un-natural noises and both of the wheels are c***py so their buckeled.

    Trek is a very good brand and you can upgrade as time goes by, i would get the trek .

  11. #11
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    The HARO has a pre-load adjustment front fork...is that desirable? I don't think the TREK does...

  12. #12
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    LBS all the way. the shop where I bought my Schwinn has a lot of good used bikes too. That can help keep the cost down for your first bike without going with a crappy WalMart bike. If you end up loving to ride like I do, you'll be upgrading in a few months anyway.

    You'll get lighter, go faster, go further which will make you lighter... etc... etc...
    Old enough to know better and old enough to forget that I do.

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