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  1. #1
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    Buying First Bike...Need Some Help

    First, I apologize if this is in the wrong forum. I read over all of the forums twice and figured the general thread would be the best place to post.

    I currently live just south of Milwaukee, WI and am very close to Lake Michigan. There is a long trail that runs along the lake, through several parks, and past the city. I am interested in buying a bicycle primarily for 10-15 mile rides on streets and paved paths. I would probably be using the bike primarily to go to parks, the beach, pubs, nearby stores etc. The city is ~6 miles away.

    Because this is my first real bicycle, I'm not exactly sure what I should buy. After some online research, I believe a hybrid will be most appropriate. I am not interested in going fast and will be riding at a leisurely pace the majority of the time. I am 6'3 and weigh ~200 pounds so I would like to find a bike that will be comfortable as I cruise around town. I am planning on visiting the local bike shop (http://southshorecyclery.com/) in the next day or two but would like to get some suggestions here first. I would like to try and keep my spending under $500 as I am currently a full-time student (read: broke).

    Any help would be extremely appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    My advice is to shop for a bike shop first. There's more differences between bike shops than between bike brands. Visit the shops in your area until you find a sales person who seems to be asking the right questions. When you find the right one, you'll know it.

    Once you find the right shop, buy a brand that they carry and you'll never go wrong.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the advice. Is there a decent online directory of bike shops? The South Shore Cyclery is about a mile away and the only reason I know of it is because I drive past it. Since I'm completely new to this, it'd be nice to find a list of reputable places around the area.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by armour248 View Post
    Thanks for the advice. Is there a decent online directory of bike shops?
    google?

  5. #5
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Just do a search for them, or go old school with the phone book's yellow pages. Here's the results for a search for 'milwaukee bike shops': http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=mil...UTF-8&fr=moz35. Here's another: http://www.google.com/#hl=en&source=hp&q=milwaukee+bike+shops&aq=0&aqi=g2&aql=&oq=milwaukee+bike+sh&fp=3d121c88310e67e3.
    Here's what Bing found: http://www.bing.com/search?q=milwauk...H&qs=n&sc=1-19

    You know your budget, stick with it. People will advise you to ride even the ones you can't afford... I'd suggest you don't. You are just starting out, probably not notice the difference between component groups or frame material. Some will tell you to head for CL, but since you probably don't know what you're looking for, you won't know what size you need, or if the bike is in good shape, or if the seller is trying to get retail.... Find a LBS and use them. Your next bike can come from CL/fleabay/online.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
    Community guidelines

  6. #6
    long time visiter Alfster's Avatar
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    I am 6'-2" and 220 lbs. I ride a 21.5" 2005 Trek 6700 Hardtail Mountain Bike. Either Hardtail Mountain bikes or Hybrids will make for a good trail riding bike. Here's some good trail riding bikes on Craigslist for your area:

    22.5" Trek 3900 - http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/bik/1629682339.html

    Trek 4300 disc (not sure the frame size) - http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/bik/1630608005.html

  7. #7
    Senior Member NOLABill's Avatar
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    Your hunt for shops is going to be a bit hit and miss--and more than a bit instinctive.

    I was in your shoes a year or so back, and started with a generic web search for cycle shops around town. Lots of hits, as you'd imagine for any city.

    I took a like at the sites, picked a couple that seemed most promising--way varying factors, such as proximity, brands offered, etc..

    But ultimately, it came down to a couple phone calls--the one that got me was a guy who spent time talking to me, not just telling me to "come down to the shop to see what we can offer"....And when I did go to the shop, the guy stayed about an hour and a half beyond his closing hours talking to me and educating me about different bike models.

    There are certainly better stocked shops in town--but I went with a guy I felt I could talk to.

    He got my business, and five bikes later (between my wife and I), he still has it.

  8. #8
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    Wow thanks for all the replies. I guess my question as to a directory came off the wrong way...I suppose I was referring more to a bike shop review site of some sort. Since I'm completely clueless, I have very little interest in visiting a ton of bike shops and being talked to about things that are probably foreign to me, being told to try out $1000 bikes, etc. I appreciate everyone's insight though and I'll probably do some looking around before I make any purchases. As Bill said, my purchase will likely come down to whoever takes the time to make me feel comfortable with my decision. I have exchanged some emails with the owner of the shop closest to my place and he seems friendly and helpful...we'll see tomorrow I guess. Thanks again.

  9. #9
    Senior Member NOLABill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by armour248 View Post
    I have exchanged some emails with the owner of the shop closest to my place and he seems friendly and helpful...we'll see tomorrow I guess. Thanks again.
    That's pretty much what it did it for me. We bought two bikes from the guy first go 'round--a 7.3FX and a 7300WSD for my wife.

    The experience we had dealing with the guy brought me back there this year to buy my first roadie, a roadie for my wife, and my first mountain bike.

    From a business standpoint, probably not a bad investment in time on his part, huh?

  10. #10
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    I have had all different style of bikes. I started out in BMX as a child and went through the mountain bike phase. I am now into the rode bikes. My next purchas is probably going to be a single speed road bike. No cables and derailers to monkey around with. Just ride. And if I want to change it up I can flip the wheel around and go fixed. Maybe you might want to try a fixed gear bike with the flip flop hubs. The only thing I am going to change is probably the tires and get some that are kind of cushy like some 38c or 35c. Instead of the tiny tires that come on the bike. They do good in cold weather too. That could be an option for you.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    A couple of other options to consider:

    1. Check to see if there any co-ops in your area.
    2. Consider joining a local bicycling club. Sometimes the senior members have older bikes they aren't using as much anymore. Plus, you might get a discount at the LBS if you belong to a club. All of the LBS's around here give 10% discounts, which basically pays for taxes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
    Community guidelines

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