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  1. #1
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    Help picking a bike please!

    I guess I'll start with a bit of backround... When I was an early teen I used to BMX race, but being 24 now it's been a while. I haven't been on a bike in 5+ years but am looking to pool some money together with a birthday and get a new bike + car rack.

    What I'm looking for is a hybrid bike, i think, that can take me 1-2 miles in town getting me to local destinations. However, I also want it to be able to withstand modest dirt/offroad trails. I wont be getting too crazy unless I get hooked once again to this pastime. If I do get hooked I know I'll need to specialize one way or another, road or mountain. My goal at the moment is to get a bit more in shape while having fun doing it.

    That being said I have a few questions:
    1) What bikes would you recomend and why please?
    2) Will it be worth it to buy a specialized bike, mountain or road, then change the tires out as needed?
    3) Is there any trunk mounted bike rack (for two) that shines above the rest as far as ease and cost efficancy.
    4) What advice do you have for a newbie rider!

    As a total package I'll have around $400-$600 to spend on the package (bike, rack, and possibly tires) Any little tidbits of information would be much appriciated! Thanks for taking time to read my post!

    -Kaleb

  2. #2
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    don't get tires less than 35. wider tires give a more comfortable ride and corner better. unless you are a racer doing 20 mph + all the time, you will not notice a difference in speed from a 35 to a 28 but you'll see a big difference in smoothness on the trails. make sure that the bike fits you very well. nothing is more important than fit otherwise your back, hands, neck will hurt and you'll want to pedal harder or longer but can't. some shops wont but two shops near me offer free fitting (on a trainer for 30 minutes) with the purchase of a bike. this is something to look for. when you test ride a bike, make sure the lbs properly inflate the tire and raises the saddle to an appropriate height for you. make sure that the stem has no more than a 10 degree rise and is 100-120 mm length. 1-2 miles is not a very long distance. if you didn't want to do trails i think you'd have been fine with a cheaper bike. if you live in a flat area then you don't need fancy derailers. if you live in a hilly area like me, then a 9 speed (= better shifting) system like deore or x5 is worth it.

    keep in mind that the 2011s are on the way...look for a discount on the 2010 or in my case wait for the 2011 which have better specs, similar price = better value

    trek marlin 29er mtn bike 2011 $470: good frame, decent wheels. downside is it's not released till august.

    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...rdtail/marlin/

    specialized rockhopper 2011: $630: drive train is very nice for the price. if you live in a flat area then you don't really need it. because you're only commuting 1-2 miles, 26" won't be a problem. they're a little slower for commuting than 700c or 29ers (people debate this endlessly) but for your short trip you won't notice difference.

    http://www.specialized.com/ja/en/bc/...nuItemId=14121

    trek 7.2 fx 2010 $480: frankly i think the marlin is a way better value.

    but make sure you get the best fit! most important. standover is that important but straddle over the top tube and should be able to lift the wheel 2". if you have to, you can give up a little bit of SO but make sure you buy the right bike with correct effective top tube length

    make sure that the steer tube is not cut too low and that the handlebars are too low. honestly, for comfort, the handlebars should be level or higher than your saddle (rivendell's philosophy). others will disagree but that's how i feel. if your handlebars are too low due to geometry or cut steerer, it can hurt your back or you'll feel scared on a descent because you can brace yourself behind the handlebars as well as if they were higher up.

    good luck!
    Last edited by common man; 07-10-10 at 09:41 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member xoxoxoxoLive's Avatar
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    How tall are you ?

    Quote Originally Posted by gaspin View Post
    I guess I'll start with a bit of backround... When I was an early teen I used to BMX race, but being 24 now it's been a while. I haven't been on a bike in 5+ years but am looking to pool some money together with a birthday and get a new bike + car rack.

    What I'm looking for is a hybrid bike, i think, that can take me 1-2 miles in town getting me to local destinations. However, I also want it to be able to withstand modest dirt/offroad trails. I wont be getting too crazy unless I get hooked once again to this pastime. If I do get hooked I know I'll need to specialize one way or another, road or mountain. My goal at the moment is to get a bit more in shape while having fun doing it.

    That being said I have a few questions:
    1) What bikes would you recomend and why please?
    2) Will it be worth it to buy a specialized bike, mountain or road, then change the tires out as needed?
    3) Is there any trunk mounted bike rack (for two) that shines above the rest as far as ease and cost efficancy.
    4) What advice do you have for a newbie rider!

    As a total package I'll have around $400-$600 to spend on the package (bike, rack, and possibly tires) Any little tidbits of information would be much appriciated! Thanks for taking time to read my post!

    -Kaleb
    There are some great buys out there, but only come in one size..Riders say 5 ' 10" and up...

  4. #4
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    I just posted this bike in another thread but I think it bears repeating here; the Specialized Crosstrail Sport. If you prefer road bike style with drop bars then cyclocross bikes, when properly equipped, are capable off-roaders. To stay in your price range you would probably need to consider a used one, but BD has a nice example in their Motobecane Fantom CX for less than $600.
    Gettin' my Fred on.

  5. #5
    Senior Member xoxoxoxoLive's Avatar
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    Same thing..

    Just posted this on another thread, but you need to be at least 5' 10" for this to fit, friend has one who is 6' 2" and fits him well also. Just food for thought.
    This is a Schwinn Trailways, price 239.00 dollars, but something you might want to consider is the
    extras you are going to need also..I just started thinking of all the accessories added and the cost, Topeak Rack 29.00 dollars, MtX trunk bag at
    REI 80.00 dollas (installed for free), Bell Wireless Speedometer 20.00 ( has been working perfectly ), Bell
    Torch Headlamp 20.00 dollars (Walmart), Schwinn Helmet 30.00 dollars Walmart, love the flashing light on the back, Planet Bike Micro pump, 18.00 dollars REI, spare tubes (2) 13.00 dollars REI, Presta to Shrader adapter and Presta extender 6.00 REI, patch kit REI ( do not remember price ), Schwinn water bottle and cage 10.00
    dollars Walmart, another water bottle from Dicks Sporting Goods 8.00 dollars, That does not include the tools in the kit or frame bag, already had....Grand Total 239.00 Dollars, .. WOW .. Just some food for thought !]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LF9VLGT9g5c Good Luck... Richard

  6. #6
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irclean View Post
    I just posted this bike in another thread but I think it bears repeating here; the Specialized Crosstrail Sport. If you prefer road bike style with drop bars then cyclocross bikes, when properly equipped, are capable off-roaders.
    Re. the crossers - yes and no! Most are double chainring bikes with a lowest ring of around 40 compared to the 20-something you'd find on a hybrid's inner ring - so they have much less climbing power. This can make a pain of even short steep off road sections unless you are in fairly good cycling shape. (The Fantom that IRC has suggested does have a triple, btw! Good call.) So if you shop for a crosser, make sure it is a triple.

    Re tyres: a good general purpose one will be fine unless you need to ride fast off road in poor grip. Marathon Duremes would be a good choice. Marathon Extremes are still fairly good road tyres, but can handle mud fairly well.
    Last edited by meanwhile; 07-10-10 at 01:32 PM.

  7. #7
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    Having re-read your original post I noticed that you are also in the market for a decent rack to carry your bike(s) on a car. I use this one; a cheap rack that I bought from Canadian Tire, but similar products can be found at WalMart or Target, I'm sure. It works okay, but I did suffer some scratches to the paint on the underside of the top tubes on two of my bikes. I don't know if higher quality racks would have protected my paint any better, but my experience with bikes and accessories leads me to believe that, for the most part, you get what you pay for.

    That being said I've heard good things about the Saris Bones bike rack:

    Gettin' my Fred on.

  8. #8
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    Starting off, WOW what a great community to respond so quickly with no trolls or sarcasm. For that, THANKS! Ill get right to some followup questions I have:

    1) The http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...rdtail/marlin/ looked nice, but I could only find it at the $599 price point. This would put the bike itself too expensive as it's the top end of my spectrum and I would still need some accessories to go along with it.
    2) I'm 5'11'' so that would put me in the catagory for the 'great buys' and i oh so love the sound of that. Was the Schwinn Trailways the only bike you could think of that fit that great buy catagory? In addition, I dont think I'd need all the accessories you listed just jumping in for the rest of the summer/fall. Maybe some of these things I could put off until I can recoup some funds after the initial purchase What accessories would you recomend first? I hate to even post this, but cosmeticly I'm not too fond of the rack on the back, but it's something I could probably get over.
    3) The Specialized Crosstrail Sport looked really sharp but again the $580 pricepoint is going to be a little high with accessories. It was mentioned that each year new versions are coming out and the previous generation drops in price. Will this be true with the crosstrail sport? Secondly, is it worth looking for a used bike? It may be the only way to fit this one into my range.
    The rebutle from meanwhile has me a little timid though... I didnt understand the whole thing but would the crosstrail be suited for hills, offroading, and road as a stock bike without any specialization? Money is a major factor...

    Thanks again guys for all the input and any more would be highly appriciated... I'll be out shopping at my local bike shops soon and this has been a great tool to help guide me along. I want to stay away from a department store when picking a bike, but it seems that may need to be a possibility as most quoted bikes were on the edge of my budget. Until next time!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaspin View Post
    1) The http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...rdtail/marlin/ looked nice, but I could only find it at the $599 price point.
    in my experience, i have never had to pay full msrp here in philadephia at the 5+ bikeshops i've gone to and the 10+ bicycles my family has purchased. i know some will disagree with this, but you shouldn't either.

    you should ask your lbs for summer sales or when they have a sale or look around the various shops to see which one does have a sale.

    for example, my lbs has a a promotion with trek...15% off if i pre-order by tomorrow (sale has been going around for 2 weeks)...they are selling the marlin for $470.

    http://bikeline.com/product/11-trek-...on-72169-1.htm

    http://bikeline.com/

    my lbs is a corporate store so its prices are kind of standard...it's not like one haggled with the private owner for a super low price. ask your lbs about this kind of pre-sale.

  10. #10
    Senior Member AdelaaR's Avatar
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    I totally agree with common man that the suggested retail price is what it is: "suggested".
    Bikeshops can easily give you 10% to 20% or even more discount on that MSRP.
    That specialized crosstail sport looks like a nice bike ... but $580 is a lot for an 8-speed acera-equipped bike.

  11. #11
    Senior Member xoxoxoxoLive's Avatar
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    Try this one out.

    Quote Originally Posted by gaspin View Post
    Starting off, WOW what a great community to respond so quickly with no trolls or sarcasm. For that, THANKS! Ill get right to some followup questions I have:

    1) The http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...rdtail/marlin/ looked nice, but I could only find it at the $599 price point. This would put the bike itself too expensive as it's the top end of my spectrum and I would still need some accessories to go along with it.
    2) I'm 5'11'' so that would put me in the catagory for the 'great buys' and i oh so love the sound of that. Was the Schwinn Trailways the only bike you could think of that fit that great buy catagory? In addition, I dont think I'd need all the accessories you listed just jumping in for the rest of the summer/fall. Maybe some of these things I could put off until I can recoup some funds after the initial purchase What accessories would you recomend first? I hate to even post this, but cosmeticly I'm not too fond of the rack on the back, but it's something I could probably get over.
    3) The Specialized Crosstrail Sport looked really sharp but again the $580 pricepoint is going to be a little high with accessories. It was mentioned that each year new versions are coming out and the previous generation drops in price. Will this be true with the crosstrail sport? Secondly, is it worth looking for a used bike? It may be the only way to fit this one into my range.
    The rebutle from meanwhile has me a little timid though... I didnt understand the whole thing but would the crosstrail be suited for hills, offroading, and road as a stock bike without any specialization? Money is a major factor...

    Thanks again guys for all the input and any more would be highly appriciated... I'll be out shopping at my local bike shops soon and this has been a great tool to help guide me along. I want to stay away from a department store when picking a bike, but it seems that may need to be a possibility as most quoted bikes were on the edge of my budget. Until next time!
    Go to Walmart, or you can order online site to store, The Schwinn Avenue is almost exact
    same bike as the Trailways, different grips, paint,( black), and a little smaller riser on the handle bar stem. Other than that, same bike and components, and is only 199.00 last time I checked. They have a 90 day return policy on bikes , just keep your proof of purchase, and no questions asked. On the rack, the one in the video is a 20.00 dollar Schwinn seat post
    rack, not the Topeak I have now...You will need a front head lamp, small tool kit, and pump,
    probably a water bottle and cage, helmet, and maybe a bike lock depending on where you will be riding. Hope this gives you a starting point... Richard

  12. #12
    Senior Member xoxoxoxoLive's Avatar
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  13. #13
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    Personally, I have not had a lot of luck with big-box store bikes; I always end up swapping out components for higher quality parts and find myself spending what it would have cost me to buy a better bike at the LBS in the first place. Used bikes can be great, but make sure you take someone with you who knows a lot about bikes if you are somewhat unsure. Often the LBSs in my area have some used bikes for sale that they've tuned up, and they're usually a step up from dept. store bikes. You're right that you can sometimes find last year's (or older) brand-new bikes for reduced prices. Again, your LBS is the place to check for that. Don't be afraid to ask if they have anything in the back for sale that's not on the showroom floor. Finally, if you're heart is set on the Crosstrail, here's an example of the next model down from the Sport for $399. Before laying any money down, however, I would visit your local Specialized dealer and ask for a test ride.
    Gettin' my Fred on.

  14. #14
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xoxoxoxoLive View Post
    Go to Walmart, or you can order online site to store, The Schwinn Avenue is almost exact
    same bike as the Trailways, different grips, paint,( black), and a little smaller riser on the handle bar stem. Other than that, same bike and components, and is only 199.00 last time I checked. They have a 90 day return policy on bikes , just keep your proof of purchase, and no questions asked. On the rack, the one in the video is a 20.00 dollar Schwinn seat post
    rack, not the Topeak I have now...You will need a front head lamp, small tool kit, and pump,
    probably a water bottle and cage, helmet, and maybe a bike lock depending on where you will be riding. Hope this gives you a starting point... Richard
    This sounds an insanely good deal, especially with the 90 day return policy. But I wouldn't ride in the dark without a red rear light. Re the tool kit, all you need are tyre levers for fixing a flat and a $10 cycling multitool with hex key blades for making small adjustments.

  15. #15
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    I have had my Kona Smoke less than two weeks but am very happy with it. You might want to check it out if you like rigid frame bikes.

  16. #16
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    the new fisher 2011 line has a bike that may suit you. and has front suspension for trailriding.

    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes..._sport/bodega/

    the konas seem like a good deal for the money too.

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