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  1. #1
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    Been out of it for a while... changing gears.

    So I'm about to start graduate studies in a new city and will no longer live within walking distance of campus. I used to ride quite a bit from grades 5-9, but fell out of it in highschool. I mostly did trails, stairs, and ramps, but have since lost interest. My current bike is a Miele UA with cable disk brakes added on. It has front and rear suspension. I have grown (both in height and weight) since I bought this bike, and no longer feel especially comfortable when riding. I have a few concerns. Mainly, I am worried about commuting on a bike with front and rear suspension - I feel as though a lot of my energy is being wasted with the inefficient suspension and fat tires. So, I was thinking about getting a new bike. It would be used mainly for city riding, maybe some gravel or hard dirt paths around campus, but almost exclusively pavement. I am wondering what kind of bike I should be looking for. I'm not sure what my budget is a this point; what are my options with selling my current bike or trading it? When it was purchased years ago it was around $500 plus whatever the brake upgrade cost. I'm thinking that I would want a bike with disk brakes again (i think that's what they're called anyways) because as a teenager I had my vbrakes replaced and tuned constantly. I'm not sure if I just had poor quality ones, but I hate those things. Not sure if there are other options, too. Any advice or suggestions are very welcome, thanks.

  2. #2
    Elitest Murray Owner Mos6502's Avatar
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    Hello and welcome. Your question is perhaps too vague to answer. It sounds like you want a bike without suspension though, for $X.

  3. #3
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    Is dual suspension actually inefficient, or is that just a hunch I have? Is it worth getting a bigger bike because I am bigger? How much of a difference does that make? What type of bike should I be looking at for my needs? Hybrid? Are there other kinds of brake systems, other than vbrake and disc? What kind of tire suits what I need? What about storage options for my books/groceries?

    I have much more than one vague question,

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    I'd look around thrift shops for a used mountain bike from the '80s or '90s, like a Specialized Hard Rock, Bridgestone MB3 or the equivalent. They're decent bikes, reliable, use common components and are widely available here (Reno, NV) for much less than $100. A tire swap and whatever rackage you need will set you up. I bought my wife a Hard Rock three years ago with an Avocet computer ($25) and Blackburn rack ($40), plus good road tires, for $40 total. No problems; works great.
    For commuting and school, especially in an urban area, you don't want a flashy-looking bike. The theft rate is staggering. One of my neighbors' daughters had four bikes stolen in five years.

  5. #5
    Elitest Murray Owner Mos6502's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShallowJam View Post
    Is dual suspension actually inefficient, or is that just a hunch I have? Is it worth getting a bigger bike because I am bigger?
    If your bike is not the right size for you, nothing else really matters. So yes get a bike that fits.

    What type of bike should I be looking at for my needs? Hybrid?
    Well if you're riding dirt and pavement a hybrid is a logical choice. I do however use an old 27" wheel bike on dirt and gravel roads around where I live.

    Are there other kinds of brake systems, other than vbrake and disc? What kind of tire suits what I need?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_brake There are tons of different kinds of brakes for bikes.

    What about storage options for my books/groceries?
    How much do you need to carry?

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    Carrying: on a regular day, a laptop and a couple books.
    If possible, it would be nice to be able to carry a couple bags of groceries, if thats even feasible, i have no idea.

    Would I be okay with a rim break? or should I be looking for disc brakes? Was my bad experience a rarity?

    What are some indicators of quality bikes? If I go to a bike shop and get presented with a few bikes of the same price range, what are some key features or manufacturing standards I should be looking for?

    Will I be able to sell my bike for any substantial amount of money? Or is a used bike hard to sell, and especially hard to sell for a decent price?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShallowJam View Post
    What are some indicators of quality bikes? If I go to a bike shop and get presented with a few bikes of the same price range, what are some key features or manufacturing standards I should be looking for?
    This one is easy. If the bikes are the same type, the bikes carried by a bike shop at a similar price will have a similar quality. A few brands, for example, Kona a Jamis, might be a bit less for the same quality.

    What you can't do is compare different types of bikes that are similar in price.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShallowJam View Post
    Will I be able to sell my bike for any substantial amount of money? Or is a used bike hard to sell, and especially hard to sell for a decent price?
    It's not clear what by "decent price". You won't get anything near $500. "Meile UA" isn't going to be familiar to too many people here (from the US). Are you from Canada (or Ukraine?)?

    If you are not in the US, keep in mind that the advice you get here will be US focused (especially, if people have no idea where you live).
    Last edited by njkayaker; 05-19-12 at 05:36 AM.

  8. #8
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    Shallow,

    Throw the Miele on Craigslist for $150 and take the first $100 that comes your way. You definitely want to ditch that because full suspension, especially old, cheap FS, is inefficient for road work and what you need.

    If you can afford to buy new, start looking at the "urban" bike section, stuff with flat bars and larger, 700c wheels. Basically, this will give you a fast-on-the-road, more stable steering, heads-up riding position with brakes and shifting at hand, which is a great combo for city riding. There will always be divergent opinions on that matter from folks who prefer drop bars, but ignore them.

    While you're shopping flat bar 700c bikes, keep a careful eye out for bolt holes used to mount racks and fenders. Unless its usually dry where you live, you'll want fenders, and you'll definitely want a rack onto which you can attach a bag, called a pannier, for carrying your books and groceries. You may even want two panniers so you can get the value pack toilet paper. I hate running out of toilet paper.

    Lots of these urban bikes come with disc brakes, which is great, but you shouldn't kick one out of bed if it has V brakes (especially if you life somewhere arid) because they're really quite trouble free and very good. I'm guessing you are remembering wrong, and actually had cantilever brakes on your old bike. Those where a futz-fest.

    Ride whatever tire comes on this bike, it'll be fine. As you start to ride more aggressively, you'll realize you keep going down on that dirt corner because you don't have any grip and will get cyclocross tires, or you won't, and will keep the kind you have. Tires are easy to change, and not a major factor in initial purchase, IMO.

    Another type of bike you might consider is a mountain bike, especially a 29er, but at lower price points they're heavy and clunky, and in all cases sporting more tire than you need and generally not ready for the commuter basic rack-n-fender kit, but there are exceptions, and you'll be able to find an appropriate 26" mtb if you look hard enough, but I don't see why to bother if you don't have real off-road ambition. Besides, chicks nowadays dig the urban style bikes more. If you're a girl, Shallow, get an mtb for attracting dudes, and if gay either sex, stick with the urban.

    The fact is, with enough cash and enough dicking around you can make just about any bike suitable to your needs, so don't get stressed out about any of this. Once you've set a budget-- which I'd put at $600, btw-- that will make the path you should take clear. All you need is a bike to get started.

    Hope that helps.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  9. #9
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    chaadster, thank you for that reply, excellent answers and guidance. exactly what I was looking for. any recommendations on brands? I've heard good things about trek, giant, and schwinn. is it best to just see what my bike shop has?

    and for the record, ontario canada is my place of residence. it can be quite cool and rainy or scorching hot. I would likely ride the bike until it becomes too cold to do so, around november and start again in march or april. fenders are a must.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShallowJam View Post
    Carrying: on a regular day, a laptop and a couple books.
    If possible, it would be nice to be able to carry a couple bags of groceries, if thats even feasible, i have no idea.

    or manufacturing standards I should be looking for?
    Will I be able to sell my bike for any substantial amount of money? Or is a used bike hard to sell, and especially hard to sell for a decent price?
    OK, now you're overthinking. All you need is a bike, something you can ride a few miles a day under not very difficult conditions. There are always bike shops and private sellers in college towns. Put decent tires on it and buy or make some way to carry what you need to carry. I don't like to ride with a backpack, but a backpack would work. Put good tires on it, lube everything that moves and ride. Don't worry about resale. You need transportation, and you'll have to pay a little for it. What you sell it for depends on the bike and the buyer, but if you buy cheap, you can't lose much

  11. #11
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    Sorry, I wasn't talking about resale of the bike im about to buy, I'm asking about selling my current bike that no longer fits my needs.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShallowJam View Post
    So I'm about to start graduate studies in a new city and will no longer live within walking distance of campus. I was thinking about getting a new bike. I'm not sure what my budget is a this point.
    My advice is not to spend more for a campus bike than you'd be comfortable losing if it gets stolen. If you want another, nicer bike for recreational rides and you have a secure place to store it, that's different.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShallowJam View Post
    chaadster, thank you for that reply, excellent answers and guidance. exactly what I was looking for. any recommendations on brands? I've heard good things about trek, giant, and schwinn. is it best to just see what my bike shop has?

    and for the record, ontario canada is my place of residence. it can be quite cool and rainy or scorching hot. I would likely ride the bike until it becomes too cold to do so, around november and start again in march or april. fenders are a must.
    Your welcome, and you're in luck, because you've got an excellent shop in town called Tall Tree Cycles (http://www.talltreecycles.ca), and they can get you fixed up right. Go see those folks, and check out what they've got in the category.

    Regarding brands, since you're in Canada, you should give your national iron a whack at your Loonies. Norco has the Indie line, and Brodie has cool bikes like the Bolt and the Section 8. Kona's Dew bikes are on point and practically Canadian.

    Otherwise, yes the major brands all make suitable bikes, so it'll come down to dollars and little stuff, like overall appearance.

    Have fun, and let us know what you wind up with!
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

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