Woman here. Buying a new bike and need suggestions! (Bad back in Jacksonviile, FL)
Hello, female in my 30's here. Wasn't really sure where to put this question, but thought this would be a good place in the end.
I suffer from a pretty bad back, but I still love riding a bike to get to a lot of places. I need suggestions for something within my price range, which is about $200. I know that's not much, but it's all I can do. I want something with coaster as well as front breaks OR just front breaks. I need and a really comfortable seating. I just need it for flat terrain and occasional hilly roads, so maybe a 7 speed would be a suitable option? Is it possible to find this within my budget? I know front breaks cost more, but I don't feel safe with back breaks. Also, I am probably pushing it with this, but I really need it to come with a rack for panniers, as i'll be doing a lot of grocery shopping with it. Is my only option stores like Target and Walmart for this price range? Oh also, I am 226 lbs if that matters in terms of weight restrictions.
I have already read the hell that people went through with Bikes Direct and I too stepped into that seventh circle a few years back. I came out with an expensive dutch gravity hybrid. I did love it a lot, but it fell apart within the year and the tires were awful. They were supposed to be the best they had and they went flat every other day! I have it sitting here begging for a replacement. I was wondering if i could trade it into them... but I don't want to go back there. The guy was such an *******. This is the owner at the Bikes Direct in Jacksonville, FL at Saint Johns Town Center. I hate dealing with him. He's condescending and very unhelpful. Plus, I really think I was jipped. the bike is useless now btw. Completely flat tires, broken gears, broken kick stand...
Help very much appreciated!
Last edited by BrieLikeDcheese; 08-03-14 at 06:11 PM.
I'm surprised that so many things went wrong. Unfortunately $200 gets you pretty much the same in another bike - the lowest end components on the market. It's too bad you don't know someone who is an avid, knowledgeable cyclist who could help you find a used bike for your $200. It's also possible you are just hard on a bike and even a good used one will not last long. A lot depends upon how you treat the bike - not leaving it outside in the elements all the time (in wet, humid Florida) and performing some routine maintenance on it. Most any standard bike is not going to help your back.
I'm in Jacksonville, FL as well and agree with you on that store at the Town Center; I don't do business with them, ever. I will say that the Bikes Direct shop, Cycle Spectrum, at the beach has been OK to deal with.
However, the Performance Bicycle on Southside Blvd. a block north of the Tinseltown Theater has an excellent, very helpful staff and shop crew. Matt, the manager, is wonderful to work with. Since you say that you loved the bike, it might be worth your time to call and speak with Matt, explain your situation and then take your bike to the store to let them assess what can be done. You might be able to get it back in roadworthy shape for less than your $200 budget.
Other than the items you listed as broken or not working, what's the overall condition of the bike? Would it still suit your needs if it was brought back into rideable condition? How has it been stored? Is it rusting out or still in good shape? Tires and tubes are no big deal to replace on your own. Same with the kickstand. Depending on what's not working with the gears, it may be an easy fix as well.
I live in jax as well and agree that Bike Direct in Town Center is a crappy shop. I think you could take your bike to another shop and get the shifter's fix and decent new tires can be picked up for less than $60. Don't toss the other bike out yet...get it fixed and then save for a new one.
I too live in Jacksonville and have back/hip issues. In my case, my road bike is not bad to sit on but my hybrid bothers me. It is the way the wide seat hits my sit bones that seems to hurt.
The Bikes Direct store is what it is. Lets not pretend that it is for the avid biker. I purchased a hybrid GT from them online about 4 years ago. It has been a great bike to tool around on. I ride it along side my son and to the tennis courts and pool. I have had zero problems with this bike. I did not even know they were affiliated with the store in Town Center at the time. Their bikes are fine for your needs. You don't have to buy them from the store, as you can get them online as well. They ship right to your house and very quickly. I got mine the next day. Their shop is just not that knowledgeable of filled with bike enthusiasts.
The other poster that suggested Performance on Southside Blvd. gave a great suggestion for your price range. I buy many incidentals from them and find them to be great despite what I read on these forums. Don't forget about REI in Town Center or even Academy/Dicks Sports. There are plenty of options accross the board for you.
The problem with the $200 bike range is that it is too low for the LBS But right in line with the Mass Retailer. My wife has a Schwinn with a basket and a rack on it. She got it from Wally World or Target. She has had it for 5 years and it has been fine. Is it heavy? Yes. Who cares though? It is not for racing. It falls into your price range. I have never had to lift a finger for maintenance on that bike. It has 7 speeds and rides fine. She is not hitting any curbs or jumps and from the sound of your post you will not be either. There is nothing wrong with those bikes for your biking needs. These boards are filled with people that are really passionate about biking. For some Walmart and Target Bikes would not be a good fit. This does not mean that they do not have their place though. They do.
The other option that you have is Craigslist. There are plenty of bikes from all over Jacksonville up there all the time.