Originally Posted by CluelessConsumr
I'm in the market right now for a new bike, I'm looking for mountain style bike but will primarly be using it for street riding (everyday travel) most importantly it's importaint that the bike can handle inclimate weather without heavy maintence. Front suspesion would be nice but it's not a must. I don't want to spend much more than $400, but last bike shop I went to immediately jumped to the more expensive bikes. I've looked at cannondales, trek and fisher bikes. I guess I just need some sound advice from someone isn't tring to get in my walet.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated
Mountain bike or road bike? Steel or aluminum frame? Here's how to choose a bicycle that fits you and the kind of riding you do.
Practically any new bike is likely to ride more smoothly and easily than the one you had as a kid. Most now have shift levers mounted accessibly on the handlebars, along with crisp detents that tell you when you're at the right shift point. Some bikes have as many as 30 speeds, or gears, compared with just 10 on yesterday's "racing" bikes. More speeds can mean a wider selection of gear ratios for easier riding uphill and a better match between pedaling effort and road speed. But the 24 to 27 speeds on most bikes are fine for most needs.
Mountain bikes, which now account for roughly two-thirds of the market, typically feature a shock-absorbing suspension for the front and sometimes the rear wheel. Bikes of all types have quick-release axles that make it easier to remove the wheel to fix a flat or to fit the bike into a car trunk or onto a roof rack.
Bike options also include lighter-weight road bikes and esoteric types, such as electrics, from companies like ZAP and EVGlobal Motors. Electric bikes run on a battery-powered motor and range from about $600 to $1,500.
Some bikes are available in women's versions. Those are priced similarly to men's, but are proportioned to fit women with average-size torsos. Women with longer torsos may find that men's bikes fit them better and more comfortably.
Then there's price--from $100 for a mountain-style bike at Wal-Mart to $4,000 or more for a carbon-fiber-frame road bike similar to the Trek 5500 that Lance Armstrong rode in the 2001 Tour de France. In between are the $200-to-$600 bikes that most people buy.
MATCH THE BIKE TO YOUR BIKING
Types, prices, caveats covers the major types. Each has pros, cons, and features that make it better for certain kinds of riding. Here's how to narrow those choices.
Where will I ride? A mountain bike, with its sturdy frame, knobby tires, and semi-upright riding position, is the obvious choice if you prefer dirt paths. But if you do your riding on the road, you're likely to find a lighter, thinner-tired road bike or hybrid bike easier to pedal.
What type of riding will I do? If you like a fast pace on pavement, choose the lightest racing or touring road bike you can afford; today's top-of-the-line bikes weigh as little as 17 pounds. For tours, consider a touring road bike or a hybrid, with its sturdier frame, wider tires, and racks for saddle bags. Bike to work? For moderate commutes, consider an inexpensive hybrid or nonsuspension mountain bike. For long commutes, choose a road bike.
CONSIDER THE FIT
Fit is as important for bikes as it is for helmets. Mountain and hybrid bikes come in frame sizes that range from about 14 to 22 inches, measured from the center of the pedal-crank axle to either the frame's top tube or the top of the tube where the seat attaches. Road bikes are sized metrically, typically from about 40 to 53 centimeters (16 to 21 inches) for women's bikes, and 48 to 62 centimeters (19 to 24 inches) for men's models. Children's bikes are sized by wheel diameter, which ranges from 12 to 24 inches.
The right fit involves a complex series of interrelated measurements and adjustments for seat height, angle, and front-to-rear adjustment, along with handlebar height and reach. The best way to get them right is to have a knowledgeable bike shop fit a new bike to your physique.
You can start by checking that the bike's frame isn't too tall or short. Here's how: Straddle the bike and measure the clearance between your crotch and the top tube. About 1 inch of space is right for road and hybrid bikes, 3 to 6 inches for mountain bikes, depending on the top-tube angle.
CHECK THE COMPONENTS
The right gears, brakes, seats, and pedals can ease your journey. You can also buy many components separately and retrofit them to a bike you own. Here's what to look for:
A frame that's strong and light. The least expensive bikes use a steel frame with thick tube walls--strong but heavy. Better ones are lighter and use aluminum or stronger, thinner steel. Some riders prefer the added stiffness of aluminum, others the softer ride of steel.
Comfortable handlebars. Straight handlebars let you ride more upright. Dropbars provide an aerodynamic position and several places to put your hands during long rides. But the bent-over position could be stressful for those with back problems.
Effective pedals. Many standard pedals can be equipped with toe clips and straps to keep your feet from slipping off. Clipless pedals (about $50 and up) connect to cleats mounted on the bottom of some biking shoes and let you apply more pedaling force upward as well as down. A caveat: Removing your feet quickly from toe clips or clipless pedals takes practice. Do it in safe areas until you're comfortable. And think twice about these add-ons if you're a casual rider.
Labor-saving shifters and gears. Multispeed bikes have two or three chainrings on the pedal cranks and, typically, 8 to 10 cogs on the rear wheel. Look for a wide range in diameter between the smallest and largest cog and chainring; more range makes for easier pedaling uphill.
Most new bikes have shifters mounted on the handlebars. There are several types, so see which you prefer. Once you've ridden the bike awhile, have a shop adjust the shifter cables, which tend to stretch at first, reducing precision.
Reliable brakes. Road bikes use caliper-style brakes. Mountain and hybrid bikes use linear-pull, or "V," brakes, which have longer arms for better leverage. Some mountain bikes have disc brakes, which tend to have more power and work more effectively when wet. But they cost more than other brake types. As with shifter cables, you should adjust brake cables as needed.
The right tread. Most road-bike tires are smooth; key choices are wire-bead tires and lighter, pricier Kevlar-bead tires. Some have Kevlar belts for added puncture resistance. Tires for mountain and hybrid bikes include a range of tread patterns; choose a knobbier tread for mud and loose dirt, a smoother tread for pavement or hard-packed dirt.
A comfortable seat. You can replace the saddle on most bikes for about $25 and up. Among the choices are men's and women's versions with a center hole or groove designed to take pressure off sensitive areas of the body. Try several saddles on your bike to see which fits you best.
A smooth ride off-road. Front-suspension mountain bikes feature impact-damping shock absorbers only on the fork straddling the front wheel, while full-suspension bikes add a shock absorber and pivot points in back. The rougher the terrain, the more suspension you want. But if you're riding mostly on smooth pavement, suspension devices merely add cost, weight, and complexity, while reducing pedaling efficiency.
CONSIDER A BIKE SHOP
Most people buy their bikes in a Wal-Mart, Toys "R" Us, or other mass merchandiser. These retailers often have the lowest prices, but most offer a limited selection of types and frame sizes. You'll usually find more choice at a bike shop, along with a wider parts selection, repair facilities, and knowledgeable advice on fit. Bike shops also tend to offer good deals on last year's models