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  1. #1
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    Help choosing a bike

    I posted yesterday and since then have found a few bikes for sale on craigslist that we are looking at. My husband would like a new bike (for recreationally riding around) since his current bike is not very good. I have emailed these sellers except the seller of the Trek since he only gave a phone number and I wanted to get your opinions here first. We don't know a lot about different bike brands but I researched a little and these ones seem to be good. My bike is a Schwinn that I have had for about 10 years and never had a problem with. (In case it's important info, my husband is 5'9")

    This is the only one where I have had contact with the seller: http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/ws...013696450.html
    Here are the specifications she gave me via email: The wheel size is 26, frame size 19 inches. It has 18 speeds/gears, shifts smoothly and brakes without any issues. I just put two new tubes in the bike and it runs great. It has always been stored indoors, so there is no rust.

    This is a Shwinn bike. I have emailed the seller for more info and am waiting (and hoping) to hear back.
    http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/ra...019045268.html

    And here is the Trek, which I haven't contacted the seller about, yet.
    http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/an...021090293.html

    I would really appreciate your help in rating these, best to least. In case a seller(s) doesn't get back to me it would be great to know choice #1, #2, and #3. Any other general info knowledge on these bike brands or others would also be useful to us.

    And are the prices they are asking fair?

    Thank you!
    Last edited by SunKitty; 05-17-12 at 12:30 PM.

  2. #2
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    Find a used chromoly steel bicycle that has no rust issues, or dents, that fits, and buy it!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    Find a used chromoly steel bicycle that has no rust issues, or dents, that fits, and buy it!
    Is chromoly usually expensive? We aren't able to spend more than $100. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunKitty View Post
    Is chromoly usually expensive? We aren't able to spend more than $100. Thanks.
    Not really. It was very common until the early 2000s, when many manufacturers switched to aluminum.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bandit1990's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunKitty View Post
    I posted yesterday and since then have found a few bikes for sale on craigslist that we are looking at. My husband would like a new bike (for recreationally riding around) since his current bike is not very good. I have emailed these sellers except the seller of the Trek since he only gave a phone number and I wanted to get your opinions here first. We don't know a lot about different bike brands but I researched a little and these ones seem to be good. My bike is a Schwinn that I have had for about 10 years and never had a problem with. (In case it's important info, my husband is 5'9")

    Thank you!
    SunKitty,
    You can always do a search of BikeForums for "bikes to buy", or "bike recommendations", etc. There are a ton of factors that go into buying a bike for you husband. I'll just list a couple, and there are many more:
    1. What kind of riding is he going to do? Off-road/MUP/long-distance road?
    2. What size of bike does he need? Has he been to a local bike store for even an informal fit?

    If you can tell the local bike store the answers to the questions above, then you can get an idea about the kind of bikes your husband would like. Fit is paramount. If the bike is too small or too large, he's going to hate it, and quit riding. If you get him a road bike, and he's trying to take it on some mountain trails/dirt--he's going to hate it. Know what he wants to do with the bike, and find the right size. After that, you can get a good deal off Craigslist or whatever.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunKitty View Post
    Is chromoly usually expensive? We aren't able to spend more than $100. Thanks.
    Just keep your ears and eyes open. Monitor your local Craigslist very closely. One day soon you're going to see an old chromoly steel framed bicycle, be it a road or mountain bike. As long as it fits, grab it!

    Also look for a bicycle co-op in your area. After joining the bike co-op, you can install components and adjust components, whenever you deem it necessary. By the time you're done, you would have picked up a few bicycle mechanic skills, because you're going to be guided by seasoned veteran bicycle mechanics right there, at the co-op.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bandit1990 View Post
    SunKitty,
    You can always do a search of BikeForums for "bikes to buy", or "bike recommendations", etc. There are a ton of factors that go into buying a bike for you husband. I'll just list a couple, and there are many more:
    1. What kind of riding is he going to do? Off-road/MUP/long-distance road?
    2. What size of bike does he need? Has he been to a local bike store for even an informal fit?

    If you can tell the local bike store the answers to the questions above, then you can get an idea about the kind of bikes your husband would like. Fit is paramount. If the bike is too small or too large, he's going to hate it, and quit riding. If you get him a road bike, and he's trying to take it on some mountain trails/dirt--he's going to hate it. Know what he wants to do with the bike, and find the right size. After that, you can get a good deal off Craigslist or whatever.
    Okay thanks. I did try searching for the Trek bike here and couldn't find anything. And I know that within a bike manufacturer (like any company) there can be good and not-so-good bikes, so that is why I thought asking might be better. As I mentioned, we only really do recreationally riding. Around the neighborhood mostly and sometimes in parks which can be a little bumpy. So that is why he would like a mountain bike. The current bike he has has an 18 1/2 in frame, which he likes and finds comfortable. We also used this calculator with his info to see what frame size would be good and it says
    18", 18.5", or 19"
    . http://www.ebicycles.com/bicycle-too...n-bike?clear=1

    Hopefully I will hear back from the sellers soon so I know if the other bikes would fit him. I did the searches you recommended but couldn't find much. And since we ride only recreationally and because of climate here (Minnesota) we don't ride year-round, it is not of the utmost importance to get the best of the best. As long as it is a good bike that will hold up to our needs and ride well we will be happy. I hope that doesn't offend anyone here since it seems many of you are serious riders, it's just that we're not. I would still appreciate any input on the quality of the bikes in the links. Thanks.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    Ignore SlimRider. There are a lot more options for aluminum framed bikes. Especially given that the vast majority of bikes built in the last 10 years have aluminum frames. It's much more important to buy a bike that fits and has the best components that you can afford. Higher grade bike parts tend to last longer, work better, and are lighter.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    Just keep your ears and eyes open. Monitor your local Craigslist very closely. One day soon you're going to see an old chromoly steel framed bicycle, be it a road or mountain bike. As long as it fits, grab it!

    Also look for a bicycle co-op in your area. After joining the bike co-op, you can install components and adjust components, whenever you deem it necessary. By the time you're done, you would have picked up a few bicycle mechanic skills, because you're going to be guided by seasoned veteran bicycle mechanics right there, at the co-op.
    Good advice thanks. It's hard to know though because most people on Craigslist don't list many specifications. And I always worry about the ads that go something like this, "nice bike good condition rides well," with nothing else. You would really never know if it was a stolen bike or not...

    I will definitely look into the co-op thing. Sounds interesting and very useful!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29 View Post
    Ignore SlimRider. There are a lot more options for aluminum framed bikes. Especially given that the vast majority of bikes built in the last 10 years have aluminum frames. It's much more important to buy a bike that fits and has the best components that you can afford. Higher grade bike parts tend to last longer, work better, and are lighter.
    How would I know if the "bike parts" are higher grade or not? Is it always the same within a company and would only be different if they were replaced by newer parts?

    *sigh* this is getting complicated for someone with limited knowledge on bikes. I was really hoping for #1, #2 or #3 rating of the bikes I posted.

    Thanks for being willing to help.

  11. #11
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    SunKitty, it would be best to buy used in your situation. The reason for suggesting that you try to find a chromoly steel framed bicycle is that, if you don't know the history of an aluminum or carbon framed bicycle, you're taking a great risk. Aluminum has fatigue issues that will eventually cause it to fail. Carbon conceals damage to the point of being undetectable. I have absolutely nothing against buying a brand new aluminum or carbon framed bicycle. I also have nothing against buying a used aluminum or carbon framed bicycle, as long as you know the historical details about the bike. However, buying a used aluminum or carbon framed bicycle from a complete stranger, sounds like risky business to me.

    Now, you just find that chromoly steel bicycle. Those things can last a lifetime! Nobody can say that with conviction about either carbon or aluminum......
    Last edited by SlimRider; 05-17-12 at 03:02 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunKitty View Post
    How would I know if the "bike parts" are higher grade or not? Is it always the same within a company and would only be different if they were replaced by newer parts?

    *sigh* this is getting complicated for someone with limited knowledge on bikes. I was really hoping for #1, #2 or #3 rating of the bikes I posted.

    Thanks for being willing to help.
    I am a person whose interest in biking sort of ebbs and flows. (more flowing this year. ) I will lay my cards on the table just so you know where I am coming from, and hopefully, you can decide for yourself whether to heed, or ignore my advice. I live in Wisconsin, so I suspect the conditions here aren't that much different from what you find in Minnesota.

    I have ridden bikes since I was a kid, back in the 1970s, though I went a long stretch from the mid 80s through the mid 90s when I didn't ride at all. I currently own a 1997 Bianchi Advantage hybrid. The frame is chro Moly steel and it has Shimano components. 21 speed, grip shift shifters, cantilever brakes. The wheels will accomodate tires from 30 to a fairly wide 40 mm wide tire. I mention this not because there is anything special about my bike but because, IMO, something like that would work just fine for you or your husband.

    That being said, my son rides a 10, or maybe 12 year old Trek 800 mountain bike, but equipped with trigger shifters and the newer style v brakes. It is also a 21 speed. I believe that it is also a Cro Moly frame. We put slick 26 x 1.5" tires on to make it faster on paved roads, and he has no problem keeping up with me on 10 or 12 mile rides. (actually this year he is faster and stronger than I am) IMO, a bike like this would be fine for you or your husband, so long as you find one that fits.

    I bought my wife a Trek 7000 women's hybrid bike a few years ago. It has pretty entry level Shimano components, and aluminum frame, and trail style tires (35 mm wide). (less aggressive than knobbies, not as smooth as a road tire) IMO a bike like this would be fine, though if you want to do more than 10 or 15 miles, you might want to check out Trek's FX series, which are more road oriented. My wife rides her 35 year old Peugeot road bike when she wants to ride longer distances, but that is another story.

    You don't need to limit yourself to these. Hardtail mountain bikes, hybrids, comfort bikes, even old touring bikes are all viable options. Canti brakes or v. brakes, gripshifts or trigger shifters, 26 inch or 700 tires, even steel vs. alumunum (so long as you are careful). Most of that doesn't matter. Giant, Specialized, Jamis, Trek, Bianchi, Gary Fisher, Kona, Marin, Cannondale, Raleigh. That is not an all inclusive list, but these are the brands to look for. If you come across an exceptionally clean aluminum bike, check it out. I know a lady who bought an aluminum hybrid 10 years ago and, literally, has ridden it maybe 5 miles in that time. If you came across something like that, why wouldn't you jump on it. It has less use than some brand new bikes that have been taken out for a test ride. By the same token, I would take as a given that most 15 or 20 year old bike might need a bit of work, no matter what the seller says.

    Hope this helps.

    Also, try your LBS. They just might have a used bike that some customer traded in. That is how I came across my son's Trek 800.
    Last edited by MRT2; 05-17-12 at 04:02 PM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunKitty View Post
    How would I know if the "bike parts" are higher grade or not? Is it always the same within a company and would only be different if they were replaced by newer parts?

    *sigh* this is getting complicated for someone with limited knowledge on bikes. I was really hoping for #1, #2 or #3 rating of the bikes I posted.

    Thanks for being willing to help.
    For what you are looking to do, not sure I would worry too much about the grade of components, so long as they work and are in decent condition. Just make sure you get a decent name brand bike shop bike with Shimano or SRAM components (or maybe if you get a really old bike, Suntour).

  14. #14
    Senior Member bandit1990's Avatar
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    Find a good, all-around mountain bike. You can change the tires, etc. He's not doing hard-core road bike marathons (over 30 miles at at time). What you have found is fine, but make sure it fits. Other than that, forget about all the other crap spouted here.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bandit1990 View Post
    Find a good, all-around mountain bike. You can change the tires, etc. He's not doing hard-core road bike marathons (over 30 miles at at time). What you have found is fine, but make sure it fits. Other than that, forget about all the other crap spouted here.
    ^ This. Ignore SlimRider, he has an obsession about cro-mo. the Jamis looks fine if it is in as good condition as is claimed, and if it fits. The latter is the really important thing.

    Don't buy anything without looking at it. If you can possibly take someone with you who knows a little it about bikes, do that.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    ^ This. Ignore SlimRider, he has an obsession about cro-mo. the Jamis looks fine if it is in as good condition as is claimed, and if it fits. The latter is the really important thing.

    Don't buy anything without looking at it. If you can possibly take someone with you who knows a little it about bikes, do that.
    SunKitty, my preferred bicycle material is Titanium, not chromoly steel. So there goes the obsession theory, right there...I happen to own an aluminum framed Trek 7.5FX, of which I'm quite fond. I'm not going to tell you to ignore anyone, because that's rude and I believe that most intelligent adults will eventually be able to figure things out for themselves in due time, anyway.

    Again, if you don't know the intimate detailed history of a used aluminum or carbon framed bicycle, it would behoove you to side step it, and move on to something less risky, due to fatigue and damage concealment issues.

    Of course, $100 isn't that much of a risk. However, I'd rather spend it on something more reliable than not.
    Last edited by SlimRider; 05-18-12 at 05:37 AM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member a1penguin's Avatar
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    Hey Sunkitty! I also like the look of that blue Jamis bike. The owner took the time to take good pics and it looks clean and well maintained. You should google "how to buy a used bike" and look for things to inspect on a used bike. Unfortunately people who have $100 bikes to sell are not going to take as much time to describe the bike as would someone selling a $2000 bike. That Trek might be a nice bike, but I'm not sure what that dent is. There's no close up of the dent.

    I would look carefully at the condition of the tires. Do they look all hardened and dried out? Or do they feel rubbery and new? You probably don't want to spend another $30 purchasing new tires and tubes.

    If you are patient, I think you can find a pretty decent used bike on Craigslist for $100. As others have stated, make sure the bike fits, otherwise pass. I would also look around for a used bike store. I found one in my area that had a lot of fairly inexpensive, used bikes. Make some phone calls and ask about the bikes and prices before making a trip. That would save you some time
    2012 Cannondale Synapse 3, 2012 Trek 7.5 FX Disc, 2003 Trek 2200 WSD, 1997 Specialized Rockhopper Al Comp

  18. #18
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a1penguin View Post
    I would also look around for a used bike store. I found one in my area that had a lot of fairly inexpensive, used bikes. Make some phone calls and ask about the bikes and prices before making a trip. That would save you some time
    Doesn't hurt to ask. Sometimes, a bike will have walked in the door and they won't have it on the floor, yet.

  19. #19
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    Thanks for all your help guys! Sorry I am not able to respond individually but you have been very helpful and I appreciate it!

    There was another Trek posted on our local craigslist. It is an Antelope 820. It looks pretty nice as well and is now my husband's #1 choice. Seller hasn't gotten back yet though... Here is the link: http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/ra...021668005.html

    And someone just posted this Miyagi Beach Cruiser. I have never heard of the brand, but I have to admit it's pretty cool looking! Is anyone familiar with Miyagi and the quality of their bikes? I am going to email the seller to get frame size and some other info, so we'll see. Here is that link: http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hn...023483282.html

    Thanks again!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunKitty View Post
    Thanks for all your help guys! Sorry I am not able to respond individually but you have been very helpful and I appreciate it!

    There was another Trek posted on our local craigslist. It is an Antelope 820. It looks pretty nice as well and is now my husband's #1 choice. Seller hasn't gotten back yet though... Here is the link: http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/ra...021668005.html

    And someone just posted this Miyagi Beach Cruiser. I have never heard of the brand, but I have to admit it's pretty cool looking! Is anyone familiar with Miyagi and the quality of their bikes? I am going to email the seller to get frame size and some other info, so we'll see. Here is that link: http://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hn...023483282.html

    Thanks again!
    Yes! Grab that Trek 820 (if it fits) ASAP!
    Last edited by SlimRider; 05-18-12 at 03:50 PM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    Yes! Grab that Trek 820, if it fits, ASAP!
    I am trying to, if they would get back to me, lol! Hopefully the frame size is right too! Thanks!

  22. #22
    Senior Member a1penguin's Avatar
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    Wow. You've had some good luck finding bikes that look clean. That 820 looks like someone bought it, broke up with their boyfriend and the bike has been sitting in the garage for a couple of years. Nice find.
    2012 Cannondale Synapse 3, 2012 Trek 7.5 FX Disc, 2003 Trek 2200 WSD, 1997 Specialized Rockhopper Al Comp

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