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  1. #1
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    Bike suggestions please

    I've decided to get a bike to ride to and from class starting this fall. The trip is about a mile each way. I just have no clue what type of bike to buy. I've got very little experience riding bikes. Haven't done it in a very long time. I'm a typical college student, not in shape, but I think I can handle the ride. I've got a few options in mind, and would enjoy some feedback.

    I've heard that an old mountain bike with a rigid fork can make a decent commuter if you put slick tires on it. Is this true? I found a Motiv Rockpoint in a local pawn shop, and was considering buying it. It didn't have any suspension, but that's about all I know about it.

    Would I be better off with a used road bike? I've never ridden a road bike before, and honestly it looks uncomfortable. I've read hybrid bikes are a good compromise, but I can't find any used ones, and new ones are too expensive.

    My budget is pretty tight. $300 max, ideally. Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Dirt junkie. SnowJob's Avatar
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    My googling told me that the "Motiv Rockpoint' is a big box store bike. This means it has a cheap frame, cheap components, and will mostly likely die on you sooner or later. If you're going to buy it, don't spend any more than 50 bucks.

    Mountain bikes make great commuters. I'm using a singlespeed mtb right now as my commuter and its big tires can roll over anything on my route. I'm in a fairly comfortable body position and I can throw a rack on there and carry whatever I need with me.

    I know you only have a mile to go, but I'm guessing you'll start doing that mile then want to do more and more riding. That's how the addiction begins. So I would recommend finding a better quality used mountain bike. Go onto Craigslist and look for '90s era Specialized Rockhoppers or Treks. Then go try em out until you find something that fits. A good '90s era mtb from Specialized or Trek will have better components than that Motiv and will last for a long time. And, if you want, you can even throw better stuff on there when you become an addict.

    I bet in a year or so you'll be looking for the local singletrack and a ride of mile will seem like a stroll in the park.

  3. #3
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    Do you have any hills or inclines?

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    Thanks for the advice! I've heard varying things about mountain bikes on college campuses. Are they more likely to get stolen because everyone recognizes them? Or less likely because they're heavier than road bikes? And what about a suspension? I've read that a bike with a suspension is a bad idea for commuting.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    Do you have any hills or inclines?
    Nope, it's fairly flat around here.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenorMadness View Post
    Nope, it's fairly flat around here.
    In that case, just buy a nice chromoly steel single speed road bike....Problem Solved!

    The following are just a few of my recommendations:

    1) The Nashbar Hounder ~ $200
    www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_504148_-1_202614

    2) The 2011 Schwinn Madison ~ $275
    www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_540608_-1_202614

    3) The Dawes Revolver ~ $200
    www.amazon.com/Dawes-Revolver-Single-Speed-Track/dp/b007R6RRRE


    = Means my personal favorite / Not necessarily the best buy for your college situation...
    Last edited by SlimRider; 05-25-12 at 07:01 AM.

  7. #7
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    How much does one of those cost? I checked out my local bike shop, and the single speeds there were out of my price range.

  8. #8
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    The trip is about a mile each way
    it's just a short brisk walk.

    the pawn shop take $10 bucks. offer yard sale prices,
    or just look in yard /rummage sales..

    $300 is a starting bike shop price, really..

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    Recommendations are up there ^
    Awesome! Thanks so much. How complicated is assembly?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenorMadness View Post
    Awesome! Thanks so much. How complicated is assembly?
    The bikes comes 95% assembled already. All you have to do is put on the finishing touches!

    www.bikesdirect.com/instructionhelp.htm

    Just watch the video as many times as necessary to assemble your bike!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    The bikes comes 95% assembled already. All you have to do is put on the finishing touches!

    www.bikesdirect.com/instructionhelp.htm

    Just watch the video as many times as necessary to assemble your bike!
    Gotcha. Much appreciated!

  12. #12
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    To commute a mile is nothing,,you could use almost any bike for that. If it was me,,I would look for a Schwinn Varsity, Continental or Raleigh Grand Prix for about 50 to 125. You could even go with a single or 3 speed..vintage Racer, Speedster, you could find 3 speed sears bikes all day long for 50 bucks, that all have upright handle bars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by howeeee View Post
    To commute a mile is nothing,,you could use almost any bike for that. If it was me,,I would look for a Schwinn Varsity, Continental or Raleigh Grand Prix for about 50 to 125. You could even go with a single or 3 speed..vintage Racer, Speedster, you could find 3 speed sears bikes all day long for 50 bucks, that all have upright handle bars.
    Thanks. This info helps. There aren't many used bikes available around here, but now I know what to look for.

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    Stay with used mtb with slicks if possible, steel frame, no shocks, no disk brakes, nothing fancy
    try to avoid road bikes and singlespeeds that are shaped like road bikes
    -especially since you haven't ridden much before, a mtb style frame will be much more forgiving in terms of (im)proper fit and comfort than a road style.
    also, will be less of a theft target

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    Quote Originally Posted by SnowJob View Post
    My googling told me that the "Motiv Rockpoint' is a big box store bike. This means it has a cheap frame, cheap components, and will mostly likely die on you sooner or later. If you're going to buy it, don't spend any more than 50 bucks.
    Snowjob, your Google Fu has failed you.

    Iirc, Motiv is the old Costco store brand.
    Costco is a big box store, and they've sourced bikes from various manufacturers, but they actually have a rep for selling well spec'ed entry level bikes.

    http://www.bikepedia.com/Quickbike/B...oint&Type=bike

    I couldn't find specs for a rigid Rockpoint. It's almost certainly from before '94. But I'll bet it has a chrome moly frame and decent Shimano components.

    And a less known brand will be less of a target for thieves.

    If it's under $100 it may be worth considering. If it's under $60, seems to fit well, and everything seems to work properly I'd say buy it.


    The Nashbar Hounder that SlimRider posted looks like a nice option. It would have less required maintenance, fewer potential issues, and a warranty.

    First thing to do is figure out fit/sizing.
    Quote Originally Posted by sprockets View Post
    I talk to myself regularly - crazy is the technical term I believe. The only time I shut up is when I'm riding. (that's the best time to listen to all those voices in your head :D )

  16. #16
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    Is there an easy way to tell if a bike is a good fit without knowing the exact size? What should I check out when I look at one in a store?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenorMadness View Post
    Is there an easy way to tell if a bike is a good fit without knowing the exact size? What should I check out when I look at one in a store?
    Well for starters, it would help to know your inseam length and standover height.

    http://www.bicycling.about.com/od/ho...ike_sizing.htm

    When you go to the bike shop, just mount the bike. If it feels good, ask for a test ride around the property. Whatever size the bike frame is, that's your size bike, in most cases.

    * Just remember to ask a salesperson if that's your size, for confirmation.
    Last edited by SlimRider; 05-23-12 at 09:18 PM.

  18. #18
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    Cool. You've helped a ton!

  19. #19
    Dirt junkie. SnowJob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenorMadness View Post
    Thanks for the advice! I've heard varying things about mountain bikes on college campuses. Are they more likely to get stolen because everyone recognizes them? Or less likely because they're heavier than road bikes? And what about a suspension? I've read that a bike with a suspension is a bad idea for commuting.
    Well, you probably aren't going to be able to get something with full suspension for 300, so that shouldn't be a concern. If you find something with a front shock try it out and see if you like it. Since you are looking for a commuter bike I would stay away from front shocks, especially on used bikes. They're liable to be squishy and will definitely steal some of your effort as you pedal.

    I don't know if mtbs are more or less likely to get stolen. Obviously flashy road bikes are the high value targets, but in my experience thieves look for the bikes that are easiest to get. So when you get a bike also get a u-lock and learn how to lock both your wheels to your frame and lock the frame to something durable.

    Are you planning on leaving your bike outside overnight or do you have a secure place to store it inside?

    BTW local bike shops are usually fonts of wisdom and have employees who will gladly answer your questions without any obligation to purchase something from them. They'll help you get a bike that fits right. Plus, if you purchase a bike from them you'll be able to bring it in periodically for check-ups or if you hear weird noises. I've found that to be a great benefit to buying from a local shop.

  20. #20
    Dirt junkie. SnowJob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NightShift View Post
    Snowjob, your Google Fu has failed you.

    Iirc, Motiv is the old Costco store brand.
    Costco is a big box store, and they've sourced bikes from various manufacturers, but they actually have a rep for selling well spec'ed entry level bikes.

    http://www.bikepedia.com/Quickbike/B...oint&Type=bike

    I couldn't find specs for a rigid Rockpoint. It's almost certainly from before '94. But I'll bet it has a chrome moly frame and decent Shimano components.
    Good to know, thanks!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnowJob View Post
    Well, you probably aren't going to be able to get something with full suspension for 300, so that shouldn't be a concern. If you find something with a front shock try it out and see if you like it. Since you are looking for a commuter bike I would stay away from front shocks, especially on used bikes. They're liable to be squishy and will definitely steal some of your effort as you pedal.

    I don't know if mtbs are more or less likely to get stolen. Obviously flashy road bikes are the high value targets, but in my experience thieves look for the bikes that are easiest to get. So when you get a bike also get a u-lock and learn how to lock both your wheels to your frame and lock the frame to something durable.

    Are you planning on leaving your bike outside overnight or do you have a secure place to store it inside?

    BTW local bike shops are usually fonts of wisdom and have employees who will gladly answer your questions without any obligation to purchase something from them. They'll help you get a bike that fits right. Plus, if you purchase a bike from them you'll be able to bring it in periodically for check-ups or if you hear weird noises. I've found that to be a great benefit to buying from a local shop.
    I'm actually not sure where I'll be storing the bike. I'm moving to a new apartment in august, and don't know if it has a bike rack. I don't think it would be a big deal for me to bring the bike inside with me each night.

    I've been to my local shop, and the guy there was cool. I always feel funny going into a place and not buying something. Especially since most of the bikes there were too expensive for me. Guess I'll give their used rack a closer look next time.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenorMadness View Post
    I'm actually not sure where I'll be storing the bike. I'm moving to a new apartment in august, and don't know if it has a bike rack. I don't think it would be a big deal for me to bring the bike inside with me each night.

    I've been to my local shop, and the guy there was cool. I always feel funny going into a place and not buying something. Especially since most of the bikes there were too expensive for me. Guess I'll give their used rack a closer look next time.
    Next time, just go in there with a $10 McDonald's or Starbuck's gift card. Stay around for awhile and ask a few more important questions, since you're interested in buying a bike.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenorMadness View Post
    I've decided to get a bike to ride to and from class starting this fall. The trip is about a mile each way. My budget is pretty tight. $300 max, ideally. Any ideas?
    Your budget is $300 max. Does that include the lock?

    Any college campus is a high bike theft area. One mile isn't a very long ride. I wouldn't spend any more on my bike than I was willing to lose if the bike were stolen.

  24. #24
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    Soon, the Mongoose Sinsure single speeds will be sold as Walgoose bikes. Wait a couple weeks before you buy!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Your budget is $300 max. Does that include the lock?

    Any college campus is a high bike theft area. One mile isn't a very long ride. I wouldn't spend any more on my bike than I was willing to lose if the bike were stolen.
    No, $300 for the bike. I know the lock and other stuff will cost more.

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