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Old 05-21-10, 01:06 PM   #1
mindthemommy
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Please help me choose a bike for my husband's birthday

I'm purchasing a bike for my husband for his birthday and I am trying to surprise him. He used to love to ride years and years ago but hasn't even owned a bike for over a decade.

These are the two choices I've found on the local craigslist that seem best, a 2000 Trek 7000 zx and a 2000 Specialized Stumpjumper M2:

http://chicago.craigslist.org/wcl/bik/1746976551.html

or

http://chicago.craigslist.org/wcl/bik/1743575107.html

My husband is 6'0" and thought I don't have his exact inseam, he wears Gap jeans in a 32" inseam, though they would probably be a better fit in a 31"-31.5" length. I know that isn't a perfect inseam measurement, but it at least offers a rough estimate. The Stumpjumper is an 18" and I wonder if that is too small. The Trek is 19.5"

I can get the Trek for $425. I would probably try to negotiate price on the Stumpjumper. I was really trying to stay under $500. In reading reviews online, it seems Specialized is a better brand overall, but it also seems this particular Trek isn't too bad.

The LBS said to come on in as they could get him in a mountain bike for under $500, but it seemed I could get a better bike for the money going the used route. Plus, if it isn't the best bike for him, we could always sell it and get something else without losing much value.

Any and all input would be VERY much appreciated. Also, his birthday is tomorrow so I'm down to the wire. I'm leaning toward the Trek for size and price.

Thanks!
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Old 05-21-10, 01:12 PM   #2
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Bikes are like shoes.
If they don't fit they never get used.
Did you find out why he stopped cycling?
I stopped running because I discovered I really hated it.
Most used biked I have bought from CL had mechanical issues. So if you go used have a bike mechanic check it out first.
I think you rock for wanting to buy the bike for your man, but if you are going to drop that kind of change you should let him decide which bike fits better. Or better yet take him to a good bike shop for a proper fitting.
Otherwise you might end up with a really expensive garage decoration.
Enjoy
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Old 05-21-10, 04:53 PM   #3
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A little bit of advice about shopping for a husband.

He will be just as surprised, if not more, with a surpise trip to the local bike shop TOGETHER...so he can choose EXACTLY what he wants (ie what fits and what works for him). While buying him a bike secretly is a nice gesture, it might backfire if he doesn't get the proper bike....especially if you're trying to re-introduce him to the sport.
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Old 05-21-10, 04:59 PM   #4
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+1 on the taking him out and shopping together. If he doesn't like it, or it doesn't fit, you're out a couple hundred dollars, if not more. I know it may not be what you want to hear, since it's always more fun to surprise someone. Do you have a bike?
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Old 05-21-10, 05:58 PM   #5
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I too would say run him down to the local bike store and do some shopping.

I know my wife's chances of getting a bike I'd want would be just about zero, whether she asked advice on here or not.
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Old 05-21-10, 09:39 PM   #6
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Ditto.
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Old 05-22-10, 07:35 AM   #7
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I agree with the others to take him with you. If my wife did that it would be a great surprise.
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Old 05-22-10, 10:09 AM   #8
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Thanks for the advice. I do have a bike, but it is a sweet Retro Schwinn Suburban, flamingo pink, that is older than I am. I picked it up on craigslist for occasional jaunts through the neighborhood with the kids. I am a runner, not a biker.

My husband did a lot of mountain biking as a teenager. I met him when he was 22 and he didn't own a bike anymore. He hasn't had one since, and turns 35 today. I am trying to encourage him to exercise more (he spends long long hours at a desk everyday) and I thought a bike would be way more fun for him than running. He has done a little of running recently because of my interest, but I don't think he really likes it.

So do you guys think buying new is really better? It seemed like the bikes at the LBS in the $400-$500 price range just didn't have that much to offer as compared to buying a used older bike. Hmmm. Maybe we should check out the LBS. Any particular brand you'd recommend in that price range?
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Old 05-22-10, 10:41 AM   #9
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New, old, doesn't make a whole lot of difference, if it's the one he wants.

You can pre set the stage, as a surprise.

Talk to the guy at your LBS, and arrange to leave your bike for "repairs."

Have your husband drive you over there, under the auspices of picking your bike up - take him inside, and spring your surprise........

Buying new, at a LBS does have the advantages of support, and warrantee service...............
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Old 05-22-10, 10:50 AM   #10
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Buying NEW is not always better, BUT in your case I would have to agree with the above recommendations . I am 6' with a 32" inseam, & most 18 -19" bikes would fit me. BUT, I couldn't want anyone I love to buy one for me. There are just too many variances in bikes, today. A trip to bike shop with him would be a better idea. PLUS, if you bought a used bike as a surprise, & he didn't like it,,,,,,,,, what are both of you going to do ??
BTW, nothing wrong with riding that old " Pink Flamingo Schwinn !"

Last edited by Esteban32696; 05-24-10 at 05:24 AM.
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Old 05-22-10, 10:53 AM   #11
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And, if memory serves me right, it isn't "pink flamingo" ----- It's FUSCIA !
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Old 05-22-10, 11:06 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mindthemommy View Post
I am trying to encourage him to exercise more (he spends long long hours at a desk everyday) and I thought a bike would be way more fun for him than running. ..

So do you guys think buying new is really better? It seemed like the bikes at the LBS in the $400-$500 price range just didn't have that much to offer as compared to buying a used older bike. Hmmm. Maybe we should check out the LBS. Any particular brand you'd recommend in that price range?
As with most things, there are pluses & minuses to buying new vs used. There's no doubt you can get more bang for the buck used IF you know what you're looking at and have the ability/inclination to do some fixing up and refurbishing. That's a big IF. New does have the advantage of coming with some support/discounts from the LBS. Also, he's probably more likely to get excited about a new bike that fits him properly and he picked out than something that looks like a castoff, doesn't really fit and isn't in ride ready condition.

As far as brands, the major brands in the same price range are pretty comparable. If he tries a few, one is more likely to jump out at him as what he likes better than the others.
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Old 05-22-10, 08:55 PM   #13
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He's going to have to decide for himself whether he wants to exercise or not. Buying a bike, any bike, may not be the primary motivating thing. Its got to be something he really likes to do and will stick with it. In Chicago its not like here in Southern California. Winter time, and the bike stays in the garage. Perhaps you already know all this and that's why you want to go used and spend a little until he finds out for himself that he wants to spend $5,000 on a really nice bike. Yeah, I said 5 grand. Would you believe 3 grand?
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Old 05-24-10, 12:15 PM   #14
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I know that bikes get super expensive. $5,000 doesn't surprise me, though I know you can do very well in the $2000-$3000 range too.

I wanted to spend enough to get a decent (not Walmart) bike, and then we can see if he uses it enough to warrant saving up for a nice one. I figured if I got a good value on craigslist, then if he didn't use it I could resell it without taking much of a loss, whereas if we buy new, we'll take the loss as soon as we take it out of the shop.

However, we are not great repair and maintenance people, so after your comments, I think new is probably better for us. Ultimately, I spoiled the surprise and told him. We didn't have time to visit the LBS this weekend, but will go next weekend.

About my bike, it really is flamingo. It was a color only made for half a production year. It looks like this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/28639223@N07/4056673125/

And I do really love it. It's perfect for what I do, but it clearly isn't the type of bike that would be great to take on trails. I'm thinking of doing a sprint triathlon and I'll do it on this bike. I might look silly, but I don't want to spend the money on a nicer bike until I've done one triathlon and can decide if it's something I want to pursue, or if I just want to stick with runnning. We have five little children and my husband has big grad school loans which means we really have to be thoughtful about where we allocate funds.

Thanks so much for all of your comments. They have been most helpful.
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Old 05-24-10, 12:34 PM   #15
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I totally understand (and agree with) your point about getting a better resale value buying used, but I think I'm going to have to agree with everyone else and say you should surprise him with a trip to the shop where he can pick out his own. Let us know what you come up with.
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Old 05-24-10, 12:40 PM   #16
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So, what was his reaction? Excited? Into it? Liking the idea of riding?
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Old 05-24-10, 01:35 PM   #17
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no no no - he must pick out his own bike!!!!!!!
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Old 05-24-10, 01:54 PM   #18
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Your Schwinn bike is beautiful - I love the colour!

As for the triathlon - have you tried putting up an ad asking to borrow someone's old road bike or seeing if you could "rent" an older one from a bike shop?
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Old 05-26-10, 04:52 AM   #19
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Love that Schwinn ! SHARP BIKE !!
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Old 05-26-10, 05:24 PM   #20
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I recognize that bike! That's because it's my wife's. We have a Deluxe Twinn (tandem) in the same color that can also be seen at my flickr site. Enjoy!

Rick
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