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  1. #1
    Chops
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    Question In Need of Advice for the Purchasing of a Hybrid Bike

    Hello everyone.
    I have recently begun biking to work. Right now I ride a Schwinn Frontier. We got it back in the 90's but I'm not sure exactly what year it is. It's the only functioning bike I have at the moment. In order to get to work I have to ride on the shoulder of a state highway and through some rugged terrain because the shoulder is not in all places. I work a minimum wage job and I need to get a bike for college because after my parents divorce my mother, sister and I have been left destitute. Is there a decent hybrid I can buy that is priced somewhere between $400 and $700? Also, if I can't get a decent one for that kind of money, how much would I need to save for a decent one? I ask that everyone please try and keep brand bias to a minimum. I realise that many people do not trust Schwinn, GT, and Mongoose because they were bought out by Pacific (I believe, correct me if I'm wrong) The closest bike dealer to me is roughly 4 miles from my house. the next closest dealer is roughly 20-25 miles away and I have no car, so I am limited to what is close by. Thank you to everyone who contributes.

  2. #2
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    Whatever you get, spend some money on two decent locks, swap out any quick releases for nuts or locking QR's, and so on. It's a bummer being on a low wage when some-one steals your bike or bits from it. Also 'decent' is a misnomer. There are some low-price bikes out there which will be fine. More expensive generally means 'lighter.' Check out Craigslist and so on for used bikes, too. It will help if you tell the guys on here where you're located.

    You're looking for front suspension, V-brakes, hard-tail rear, 26" or 700c alloy wheels. Buying used could get you a great bike. Also look for closeouts on 2008/2009 bikes. If security is an issue where you live, have a look at bikes which are easy to store, like the very capable Dahon Jack folder. Also it's a good idea not to be swayed by elitism or generalisations over marques, it will only limit your options further.

    Don't forget you can also buy mail order too, you're not tied to a local dealer.
    Last edited by snafu21; 06-07-10 at 02:06 AM.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  3. #3
    Senior Member AdelaaR's Avatar
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    If you would have asked for a decent bike between 100$ and 300$, I would understand why you asked.
    Between 400$ and 700$ there are so many decent bikes I feel unable to answer your question ... just pick the one you like most

  4. #4
    Chops
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    Okay. Thank you both.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ChiliDog's Avatar
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    You can pick up a very "decent" bike on Craigslist for $200-300. For your purposes a hybrid or mountain bike would be appropriate.
    Ride like a kid again...out the door, not a care in the world~

    2005 Trek 7300fx; 2010 Fuji Saratoga 1.0 crank forward

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by snafu21 View Post
    You're looking for front suspension, V-brakes, hard-tail rear, 26" or 700c alloy wheels.
    actually i think disc brakes are better if he lives somewhere where it rains any decent amount of time in the year. he stated he has no other means of transportation, this is his get to work vehicle, so that means at some point he will be riding in rain. disc brakes are better for that.

  7. #7
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    ^^^^

    I've got both: little performance difference in wet weather for me, and my V-brake bike is a sharper stopper than my Shimano disk brake bike. Downhill MTB in the mud would be a different story.

    On a budget, that could mean mechanical cable disk brakes, and there's very little advantage for most over V brakes, other than a slightly easier wheel removal and no wheel rim wear on commuter bikes, which can be an issue.

    But, yes, almost everything will be arriving with disk brakes next year. They do lok sporty, too.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  8. #8
    Senior Member xoxoxoxoLive's Avatar
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    Have you bought a new bike yet ? If not you might want to check this out.

    Everything in the video, even tool kit, extra tube, Planet Bike micro pump,( fits Presta and
    Shrader valve stems ), bike lock, Topeak rack, Quick release Topeak truck bag with fold out
    panniers, Bell light, Bell helmet, patch kit, water bottle and cage, and Schwinn Trailways bike.
    Was under 400.00 dollars, I also have another video on the bikes components, it's almost
    the same bike as the Schwinn Avenue, and you can go to WWW.Walmart.com and click on
    bikes, comfort, then type Avenue in the search section. Friend of mine did a awesome
    review on it, made the top 1000 review list, when he received it he completely dissembled
    it, crank, wheels etc...and left no stone unturned about it. Bikes 199.00 dollars, and Walmart
    has a great return policy, 90 days, just keep your receipt. If you did already buy a bike, what
    did you get ? Richard

  9. #9
    Senior Member xoxoxoxoLive's Avatar
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    Found his review for you..

    Quote Originally Posted by xoxoxoxoLive View Post
    Everything in the video, even tool kit, extra tube, Planet Bike micro pump,( fits Presta and
    Shrader valve stems ), bike lock, Topeak rack, Quick release Topeak truck bag with fold out
    panniers, Bell light, Bell helmet, patch kit, water bottle and cage, and Schwinn Trailways bike.
    Was under 400.00 dollars, I also have another video on the bikes components, it's almost
    the same bike as the Schwinn Avenue, and you can go to WWW.Walmart.com and click on
    bikes, comfort, then type Avenue in the search section. Friend of mine did a awesome
    review on it, made the top 1000 review list, when he received it he completely dissembled
    it, crank, wheels etc...and left no stone unturned about it. Bikes 199.00 dollars, and Walmart
    has a great return policy, 90 days, just keep your receipt. If you did already buy a bike, what
    did you get ? Richard
    Occasionally you can find a big-box retail bike which rivals those at a local bike shop for twice the price. The Avenue is one of them! This is an awesome bike for the price.
    .
    Well-built, stylish, and has quality components. With its aluminum frame, it weighs 31 pounds assembled. A sign of high-quality, almost all the logos and printing on the bike feel like they are painted on. No obvious sticker edges. (The Suntour fork has an obvious sticker edge).
    .
    Perhaps the heaviest component is the front Suntour fork. If you intend to ride primarily on pavement, you can easily replace this with a rigid fork and shave at least 5 pounds from the weight.
    .
    This bike is a bit on the large side. I'm 6'-0" with a 33" inseam. It fits me nicely with the seatpost 3/4 of the way up, and the seat rail adjusted all the way back. A friend is about 5'-6" and it seemed a bit too big for him even though he could stand over the top-tube. (Look through my "answers" for all the detailed measurements.).
    .
    There are a few differences in the Walmart product photo. 1) The seat does not have the silver reflective fabric on the back. It is all black, with a small red reflector built into the base of the seat (in addition to the clip-on on the seat post). 2) The rear derailer jockey wheel is not red, it's black. 3) the threadless "Aheadset" has 3/8" vertical adjustment using two 3/16" spacers. The product photo shows something closer to 1" worth of spacers below the stem. 4) The front chain ring is black, not silver.
    .
    The bike does not come with assembly instructions. Just a very generic manual used by Pacific Bicycles (holding company of Schwinn and other brands). One of the biggest complaints about big-box retail bikes is the quality of assembly. For that reason, I suggest learning as much as you can about assembly/maintenance (google for "bicycle tutorials"). Or, pay a local bike shop to assemble it for you. Additionally, assembly from the factory may not be correct. My axles were overtightened (felt crunchy/grumbly). And, the bottom bracket (where the crank passes through the frame) had metal shavings mixed in the grease. It's a good investment to study tutorials learning how to regrease/adjust those (and the headset), and do it on the out-of-the-box bike.
    .
    The wheels have some sharp edges inside. It's wise to use some fine sandpaper or a polishing stone to take the edge off the seam inside the wheel. Maybe the spoke holes too. These things can chaff your tube. While you're at it, replace the rubber rim strip with Velox narrow (10mm) rim tape.
    .
    The frame has the standard bolt holes on the seat post and down tube for a water cage, air pump, etc. But, it does not have bolt holes near the seat post for a rear rack. That's not a show stopper. Even smaller-sized expensive bikes at the local bike shop don't have those holes. Rubber-coated cable clamps are commonly used to clamp onto the seatstay tubes and bolt the rack to the clamp. (Racks that clamp onto the seat post are also very popular these days.). Talk to your local bike shop about this.
    .
    The wheel is odd. It has a 1" (25mm) depth, making it difficult to find a replacement Schrader-valve tube (normally 1-1/4," 32mm long). The tube which comes with the bike has a 1-3/4" (44mm) valve. (Look for my "answers" where I discuss this topic, and various workarounds.).
    .
    Another oddity is the wheel's spoke configuration. It's more of an aerodynamic racing wheel, with significant gaps between spokes. If I weighed 250+ lbs, I'm not sure I'd trust this wheel. Also, because of those spokeless gaps, the wheels come with very large and heavy spoke reflectors. These DO cause a significant imbalance. If you go down a hill at 40mph, it's not a pleasant feeling. I recommend replacing these reflectors with something like "spoke blazers." Lightweight plastic tubes with 3M reflective tape which slip over your spokes. (Or, make your own with a drinking straw and some 3M tape.). They provide full 360-degree reflectivity. (They don't depend on headlights hitting them at precise angles.). More importantly: they won't create the imbalance of the factory reflectors.
    .
    I removed the large stickers from my wheels. That was hard to do. Required turpentine to soften the sticker. Kerosene to soften and remove the adhesive. Rubbing alcohol to degrease the remaining slop. (All this was done with all rubber removed. None of those things are good for rubber.).
    .
    Because other customers have posted full-view photos, I will post two closeups. Note that the seat post is extended about 3/4 to the max length. And, the seat rail is adjusted back all the way.
    He also covers all the questions you could have about this bike in question section !

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