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  1. #1
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    Is it worth it for a new bike, and should it be a hybrid?

    I'm 16, and I'm 5'7" 170lbs. I'm definitely out of shape right now. I've started getting back in shape by cycling, and I'm taking weight training at school. I've bought a few things to improve my ride: gotten slicks for my mtb, got a cyclocomputer, and got some bike shorts. The bike I ride is technically my dad's, but I'm the only one who puts any miles on it. It's a pacific mtb, and I don't know much about it. It's a 21sp with trigger shifts, has v-brakes, and it has shimano components (likely low-end). It's a pretty low end bike, and I was wondering if I would benefit from buying a new one. I'm interested in hybrids because they seem to fit my use well. I only ride on the road, but the area around me requires a fair amount of hills. I've also seen that hybrids aren't that great, and that a mtb with slicks (similar to what I have, but presumably a higher quality bike) would do just as good, if not better. I am looking at a budget of under 500 for the bike alone. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member albanian's Avatar
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    If you are buying it for health and exercise and you will use it, I can't imagine a better way to spend $500. Every mile you ride will add length and quality to your life compared to not exercising and you can't put a price on that. If you are out of shape and don't exercise, you will statistically have a shorter and more illness filled life than someone who is active and in good shape. How can you put a price on that?

    I know at only 16 years old, $500 seems like a lot of money when you probably have a million other things to spend money on (car, girls, college, spring break, etc.) but since you only have a cheap Mt bike and you do road riding, I think you will get a lot of use and enjoyment out of a better bike. I went from only having a Mt. bike to buying a Specialized Sirrus hybrid and I was able to rack up some serious miles on it. I enjoyed riding it more because I could do more miles and obtain a MUCH higher speed which added to the fun.

    You get the same amount of exercise with whatever bike you ride but if you have a bike that is faster and more fun, you will ride it more. A good hybrid will serve you well. My Sirrus was bought after owning just Mt. bikes so I originally had it set up with off road tires and other little things that made it an easier transaction from a mt bike. Eventually I decided I wanted skinny road tires and road the rubber off a set. I started to like road bikeing so much that I spent the cash for a new dedicated road bike.

    The $550 I spent on a Sirrus changed my life. It turned me from a coach potato to someone who couldn't wait for the next ride. I never liked exercise but I always loved sports and games. For some reason, running, weight lifting and exercise machines never held my interest. Riding a road bike got me hooked into exercise and was fun.

    I would buy a name brand from a local bike shop in your position rather than try and skimp and order a no name bike online. You may still grow enough that the bike may not fit you in a few years and you can resell a name brand for a good price where a Bikes Direct bike will be nearly worthless. The bike shop will help you with fit and adjustments you may need. You can still buy a Sirrus for about $500 I think. I don't know if it is the best hybrid but I like mine and will never sell it. I am attached to it and think I got my money's worth out of it in just the few short years I have owned it. When i consider that this bike may last me another 30 years if I want it to, I think it was a great purchase.

    I have now turned my Sirrus into a commuter with 28mm city tires, rack, headlight and fenders and I plan on taking it to the Outer Banks on vacation this summer. I plan on riding a lot out there which should be fun.

  3. #3
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    Right now, I'm basically just holding onto my money because I'm waiting for something meaningful to buy. I have a part time job, and I can accumulate somewhere in the vicinity of 100-150 every two weeks. I've also made an agreement with my mom that any money that we get from selling old bikes can be put towards my new bike. Additionally, I have some other stuff lying around that I could sell. So I don't have much of an issue devoting this money towards a bike. I'm guessing that since I've been hearing great things about hybrids, that the next step is to head down to the LBS, which is only a couple miles away. Everyone always says how the best way to pick out a bike is to try one. Thanks for the input.

  4. #4
    Senior Member sonatageek's Avatar
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    If you have an active Craigslist in your area I would look for a used high quality mountain bike and then go from there. Mountain bikes generally tend to sell pretty cheap and then you can add the tires of your choice and go from there.

    I have been using an older Raleigh mountain bike with slick tires, fenders, rack and trekking handle bars and have had over 3000 happy miles on it. I think total money in the bike, including a new chain and cassette, was under $300.

  5. #5
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    What are some good mtb brands? And wouldn't a mtb be less effective for my needs if I only ride on the street?

  6. #6
    Senior Member KZBrian's Avatar
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    A major difference between a MTB with road tires and a dedicated road bike is rider position. If you are comfortable on road bike drop handlebars that are even with the seat, you can be much more aerodynamic, which makes a big difference in a head wind. Drop handlebars give you several hand positions as well. Some people prefer a more upright postion that a MTB or hybrid can offer. The choice is yours.
    Get something you can use for hours at a time, should you choose long rides in the future.

  7. #7
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    I never really considered road bikes because it appears as if I have a few misconceptions. I thought roadbikes were out of my budget, uncomfortable and mostly single speed, but none of those seem to be true.

  8. #8
    Senior Member albanian's Avatar
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    Just buy a Sirrus.

  9. #9
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    The Specialized Sirrus, and Trex FX series, and one from every other major manufacturer are all similar bikes, and are much more road oriented, kinda "Performance Oriented" Hybrids.

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


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    Nishiki Sport - misappropriated from my youngest son (circa 1984)
    Marin Stinson - misappropriated by my youngest grandson - '01
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  10. #10
    Pentapointed Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    My suggestion is to look for a bike you can use for transportation as well as exercise.

    I don't know where you live but if you can use a bike for regular transportation to your job, school and friends get something with or you can put a rack for carrying stuff, fenders to keep the mud off your back and that has as simple a gearing set up as the local terrain will allow.

    I bought a hybrid for a town bike and for some light off paved road (fire trails, levee tops, etc.) years ago and it has served me well. I mostly ride a road bike and when I was your age that's what I used. But it had eyelets for fenders and racks and I used them. A lot of "road" bikes today don't have those eyelets and the rear wheel is positioned too close to the seat tube for fenders.

    Drop bars are better IMHO than flat bars because you get the tops like with flat bars plus the hoods and the drops. More hand positions help reduce numbing. You can get a hi rise stem to give you a more upright riding stance and flip it over as you lose weight and become more comfortable riding lower.

    Good luck and let us know what's happening...

  11. #11
    Roadie in Training theschwinnman's Avatar
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    ...or you can buy a frame and build your own. The Nashbar cyclocross frame looks like it would be a mean hybrid, coupled with a Nashbar nine speed drive chain, and some nice wheels, it could be your cheapest option...
    -Jonathan

    Quote Originally Posted by theschwinnman View Post
    I mix unflavored soy protein with Ovaltine, I call it Provaltein.
    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Provaltine is made of people, PEEEEEEOPLEEE! :)

  12. #12
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    ride what you've got. see how you're doing in 3 months. during that time do some test riding of other bike styles.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  13. #13
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    I doubt I'd be able to build my own. I'd need somebody to help me.

  14. #14
    Roadie in Training theschwinnman's Avatar
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    It's really not too hard, with all the internet resources and all...

    But I will warn you, some people are mechanically inclined, some aren't, if you aren't mechanically inclined, don't bother trying to do much bike work and upgrade. Mechanical inclination is one thing you cannot learn.

    But if you are mechanically inclined, and know nothing about bicycles, read up on it and you should be fine. I started working on bikes about two years ago, now I'm just as good as anybody else on this forum. It's easy, just learn to follow instructions, and you're good.

    And remember, if you need any mechanical help, there are plenty of good people on this forum who would be more than happy to help you.

    Good luck on your cycling pursuits.
    -Jonathan

    Quote Originally Posted by theschwinnman View Post
    I mix unflavored soy protein with Ovaltine, I call it Provaltein.
    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Provaltine is made of people, PEEEEEEOPLEEE! :)

  15. #15
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    I'd be more than willing to learn how to work on a bike because anything mechanical (car, bike, etc.) tends to interest me. I have a couple quick questions, though. What tools would I most likely need to build a bike? I know that in computers, building your own usually gives you the advantage of lower cost and/or higher quality. I'm guessing the same is true for bikes? How good of a hybrid could I build for around 500? Or could I still build a nice bike for even less?

  16. #16
    Roadie in Training theschwinnman's Avatar
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    Yes indeedie, better quality, and built to your specs.

    As far as tools go, you need:

    wrenches, or at least an adjustable wrench

    Allen keys- just buy a nice set at Sears

    Chain tool- get a nice one, I just killed the crappy one I bought

    Bottom Bracket tool- just get the cheapest one you can find, they all work pretty well

    Crank puller- Again, there's not much difference between a good one and crappy one

    There's probably some I'm forgetting... I'm sure someone will add in soon.

    As far as frame and stuff you can't go wrong with Nashbar, either their touring frame http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...1_10000_201512 Or their cyclocross frame http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...1_10000_201512would be just dandy. For the kind of riding you said you'd do, I'd recommend the touring frame, cheaper, and comes with a fork.

    Then comes the components, Shimano Deore is pretty good, and the prices are very reasonable. My friend is building up a mountain bike with Nashbar's house brand shifters, you might want to look into that as well.

    Anyways, it's nice to see another teenager into building up bike frames, for a while there I thought I was the only one!

    If you need help, just post in the mechanics form, or PM me or any other knowledgeable forum member.
    -Jonathan

    Quote Originally Posted by theschwinnman View Post
    I mix unflavored soy protein with Ovaltine, I call it Provaltein.
    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Provaltine is made of people, PEEEEEEOPLEEE! :)

  17. #17
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    I have a wrench set and allen keys, so I'm good there. I also got some bike levers a little while back in order to change the tires. Looks like I might just end up building my own bike. It sounds like a lot of fun, and I'd expect a similar gratification as what I get from building a computer (except building a computer is easy ). Plus, there's always the fact that you're riding what you've built with your own two hands and that it's a unique bike fitted to your needs.

  18. #18
    Roadie in Training theschwinnman's Avatar
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    Yeah, I wholeheartedly agree.

    Heres one I built.



    No Nashbar stuff on this one, I really wanted a "bike shop" quality bike, so I was a bit snobbish. It's all Shimano, SRAM, or Delta Aztec.

    I built this one because I wanted a lower-down riding position, and no other hybrids had it... What can I say, it's custom... on a budget...

    And heres one I'm rebuilding (it was really high end at one time, so it's worth it)



    It still needs a chain and bar tape. I used Nashbar brakes, and it's soon to have a Nashbar carbon fork.
    -Jonathan

    Quote Originally Posted by theschwinnman View Post
    I mix unflavored soy protein with Ovaltine, I call it Provaltein.
    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Provaltine is made of people, PEEEEEEOPLEEE! :)

  19. #19
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    Wow, I never realized how many components went into a bike. Looks like I'll need to read up on this for a while. Does anyone know some good places to read up on picking parts, the actual assembly process, etc.? Also, thanks a million to everyone that's helped so far. It's invaluable to receive input from you guys that have much more experience than I do.

  20. #20
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    Hmm, it seems that self-built bikes can be the same, if not slightly more, than bikes from a shop. That, and it seems to require a decent amount of specialty tools. I'm not sure if building a bike is a realistic scenario right now. I'll probably be moving within the next couple months, so I don't want to end up with a bunch of parts taking up a lot of space and an uncompleted project.

  21. #21
    Senior Member trinamuous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    ride what you've got. see how you're doing in 3 months. during that time do some test riding of other bike styles.
    +1

    Since you have a bike to ride already, you can continue to ride it while continuing to research these forums. More experience on the bike combined with increased knowledge will lead to a better long-term purchase. An impulsive and uneducated buy now could lead to regret later on.

    I began cycling last July, and bought a new hybrid for commuting purposes. Unfortunately, I did not have a bike already, and did not have quite enough knowhow (then) to pick up something used. 3 months after purchasing and riding the hybrid (during which time I fell in love with cycling), I was given an 80s steel road bike. With three months on the saddle and 3 additional months of intensive forum reading, I found the road bike better suited me for most conditions. Fast forward 5 additional months, and I just purchased a gently used, Ultegra-equipped 11 year old road bike for $200. It was in great condition...just needs a chain and a tune up. 6 months ago I would not have known what to look for, but now was able to get a great bang-for-the-buck purchase. My point...keep riding, keep learning, and you will soon know what kind of rider you want to be and can make an educated purchase for a new (or used) bike.
    1986 Schwinn Prelude
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by trinamuous View Post
    +1

    Since you have a bike to ride already, you can continue to ride it while continuing to research these forums. More experience on the bike combined with increased knowledge will lead to a better long-term purchase. An impulsive and uneducated buy now could lead to regret later on.

    I began cycling last July, and bought a new hybrid for commuting purposes. Unfortunately, I did not have a bike already, and did not have quite enough knowhow (then) to pick up something used. 3 months after purchasing and riding the hybrid (during which time I fell in love with cycling), I was given an 80s steel road bike. With three months on the saddle and 3 additional months of intensive forum reading, I found the road bike better suited me for most conditions. Fast forward 5 additional months, and I just purchased a gently used, Ultegra-equipped 11 year old road bike for $200. It was in great condition...just needs a chain and a tune up. 6 months ago I would not have known what to look for, but now was able to get a great bang-for-the-buck purchase. My point...keep riding, keep learning, and you will soon know what kind of rider you want to be and can make an educated purchase for a new (or used) bike.
    I kinda agree on this. Ride what you have for the moment. Try out bikes, look to what you realy think suits your needs. I dislike drop bars myself, and will likely never own a road bike again. I am more at home cycling down a bike path or dirt trail than riding on the road. I enjoy cycling more when I am upright and can SEE what is going on around me, Speed doesn't matter much to me, because cycling should be fun, not work. I am not ever going to be paid to cycle, so I might as well be comfortable and have fun doing it! Do you have any off-road trails that are bicycle friendly? If you do your going to want at least a hybrid. Gravel roads? Rail to Trail multi use trails? If any of those are near you or near where you might move, I would stick with a mountain leaning hybrid or a mountain bike. I personally would rather be on a MUP than a road, any day.

    You could pick up a used Mountain bike for a good price. I got my 1980's schwinn woodlands for $30 off a guy on craigslist. It needed a complete rebuild, but I also have the tools to do that. It is now my beater bike. In fact if it stays nice out for another day or two, without snow, I am going to get it out for 5 miles or so... Its a slow riding bike, so thats about all I can fit in haha.

    I had nothing but a mountain bike with slicks on it for many years, until I had a better paying job. That would suit you just fine. A mountain bike frame will take a lot of abuse, so you could put racks on it and load it down without problem. There are 26x1" slicks out there, which will roll smoothly.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Cyclepup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    The Specialized Sirrus, and Trex FX series, and one from every other major manufacturer are all similar bikes, and are much more road oriented, kinda "Performance Oriented" Hybrids.
    +1
    Just go with a ready-made bike that will give you a comfortable, fun and as-fast-as-you-might-wanna-go ride. To add to the excellent choices above are the Cannondale Quick 5 or 6, the Globe Vienna 2, and Bianchi's Iseo or Verona. Just some extra choices to consider and all of them are in the $500 (or close) range.
    Look them up online to see which one might suit your needs better.

    Good luck!

  24. #24
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    Sounds like I'll be sticking around with this bike for a couple months. That'll give me time to sell the childhood bikes just lying around. Also, more time to earn more money to put towards the bike. Weight loss seems to be going in the right direction because I've already lost about 9lbs.

  25. #25
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    And, while you are doing that, visit every bike shop you can find, and ride all of their offerings - sooner or later, you will find the one with your name on it.

    Just don't rush the project...... the right bike is a thing of beauty, underneath you.

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


    Specialized Crosstrail Sport - '08
    Nishiki Sport - misappropriated from my youngest son (circa 1984)
    Marin Stinson - misappropriated by my youngest grandson - '01
    "The Beast" - 1990 Schwinn Airdyne (in the basement for winter torture)

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