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  1. #1
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    Bewildered (New Bike Tips)

    I've finally come to the conclusion that it's time for a new bike. I've been holding onto the mountain bike I got a good 15+ years ago as a teenager, and well - it's awful. It probably came from Canadian Tire. Or maybe Zellers (think K-Mart). And with all the repairs it needs I could buy another cheap bike and be done with it.

    But, I don't want another cheap bike that I don't care about.

    I've spent a good chunk of the last couple days reading, but I'm at a loss at what to choose.

    It will be rode perhaps 75% of the time on a paved road and the remainder will be on a dirt/gravel road or a shortcut through grass or a farmer's field. I live in a rural area, so road quality varies quite a bit. At this point in time, the farthest I ride is about 5 miles (to a friend's house, gravel road) but I'd like to start doing longer rides to supplement my exercise routine and cut down on my walking (I do enough of it at work, and I'd like to give my knees/back/feet a break). Speed isn't all that important. I'm looking for comfort, and something that can handle a road with fresh gravel as well as new pavement. I live in the Great Lakes area, so snow is an option as well. My budget is around $500CDN, preferably less.

    At first I thought a hybrid bike would be perfect, but I've also seen a lot of negative opinions on them. For my usage, what would suit me the best? I'll be heading to a bike shop on Tuesday (and possibly a different one Wednesday) to see what they have, but I'd like to show up with an idea of what I want.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    A standard answer is to get a cyclocross bike. These bikes have drop bars and such, but accept wider tires and hence let you ride on a variety of surfaces.

    For grins I ran "cyclocross" on eBay and got a price range from $250 to $4,000 USD.

    If you have any mechanical skills, I'd consider buying a cyclocross bike on Bikes Direct.

  3. #3
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Like the ABBA song, this cries take a chance on me:

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...iberty_cxd.htm

  4. #4
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    Unfortunately, I don't live in the USA so Bikes Direct isn't all that practical.

    Thanks for the suggestion though, I'll definitely look at cyclocross bikes.

  5. #5
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  6. #6
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eflan View Post
    Unfortunately, I don't live in the USA so Bikes Direct isn't all that practical.

    Thanks for the suggestion though, I'll definitely look at cyclocross bikes.
    Hmm... I didn't realize they didn't ship directly to Canada. BD does say this, however...
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    Very informative thread! Thanks for that!

    Cplager - If I did go with Bikes Direct, do any of the women's bikes look good? Too bad I have no idea what size to pick lol. I found two local bike shops, both about 30min away (in opposite directions) and plan on checking them tomorrow and the next day... maybe I'll stick with that.

    Random question though. If I go with a cyclocross bike (or a hybrid), is that considered a road bike or mountain? I'm rather handy for a girl (even work in the trades) so I've been looking at picking up one of the Zinn books for maintenance.

  8. #8
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Size is everything, and the problem with bikes direct is you must be able to look at the bike geometry page and understand how those numbers are going to translate to fitting you. To make matters worse, BD is often out of smaller sizes; the bike you like may be available in 56cm or 54cm as the smallest size. In a similar vein, if you go the LBS don't take the salespersons word for the fit, try a size smaller and bigger and confirm for yourself that the recommended size is right for you.

    Cyclocross, or CX, is normally categorized as a road bike.

  9. #9
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
    Size is everything, and the problem with bikes direct is you must be able to look at the bike geometry page and understand how those numbers are going to translate to fitting you.
    I agree with this. BD bikes seem to be of good quality (from the few I've seen personally and the many I've read about), but (1) you need to figure out the right size (they will help with this, but there's nothing like a test-drive) and (2) you need to either put it together yourself or have your LBS do it.

    If you classify yourself as handy, I'd think after watching the video, you'll be fine putting it together (so I wouldn't worry about that too much), but you will need to figure out which size works for you.

    Visiting your LBS as you are planning is a good way to start.

    I recommend against front suspension that many hybrids come with, but if you find a flat-bar bike works better than drop bars, then that's fine.

    Cheers,
    Charles
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

  10. #10
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    If you get a new bike from an LBS, there are three main things to worry about:
    1. Fit
    2. Gearing - A cross bike has typically tougher gearing than hybrids, since a cross bike is really about racing.
    3. Drop bars vs. straight bars.

    A good shop will help with all three. Folks here are quick to recommend cross bikes, but a cross bike would be geared too tall for me personally.
    http://treadrightly.blogspot.com/

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by eflan View Post

    At first I thought a hybrid bike would be perfect, but I've also seen a lot of
    negative opinions on them. For my usage, what would suit me the best?
    Hi,

    Hybrids are hybrids and than can vary from a mountain bike with road / mild
    off road tyres to a a touring bike with road / mild off road tyres so general
    opinions of them are pretty worthless.

    A good hybrid is a practical all round bike with mudguards, racks, lights etc
    flat bars, (you can fit bar ends or combine ergo grips / ends), and is suitable
    for road and city riding, mild off road and touring. Selection of tyres can affect
    this, e.g. for a lot of touring you really want road only good rolling tyres.

    Cyclocross bikes are the do it all version of a road bike. Both have drop bars
    and are built to go fast. Neither are great round the city or very practical
    as a day to day bike, they are for when you want to go out and ride.
    Generally no fenders, racks or lights, not comfortable.
    Neither suit your description of what you want.

    You do want a hybrid, one that suits you. Your size comes into it as
    to whether its based on 622mm rim road wheels or 559mm offroad
    wheels. Fat tyres and a nice saddle, good bike fit and good grips
    (+bar ends) will make for a very comfortable bike.

    An MTB based hybrid suits city / mild off road better, a touring
    based hybrid suits the open road and touring better, your call.
    The former smaller than average, the latter taller than average.

    If your mechanically savvy there are some good value bikes online.

    rgds, sreten.
    Last edited by sreten; 05-20-13 at 11:49 AM.

  12. #12
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by treadtread View Post
    but a cross bike would be geared too tall for me personally.
    Particularly if there are hills where you live, this is an important point. I'm a big fan of triple cranks (instead of double) as you get lower gears. If you have low gears and don't use them often, that's fine. If you don't have them but need them, that kinda sucks...
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

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