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  1. #1
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    New to Hybrids/Forum - Budget Hybrid Advice for college bike

    Hello everybody!

    I am just getting into the world of bikes (from previously not knowing ANYTHING really except how to ride one around without falling off) and stumbled across this forum which struck me as a vibrant, welcoming and helpfull community.

    Now I am going to be at College in the Fall (University of California Berkeley) and need to find a bike for it.



    - PRICE:
    Budget price preferably. I was hoping to shop for under $200 unless there's a really compelling reason to go higher than that (I was planning to use Craigslist or some other resources to find USED BIKES because I hear they are of better value)

    - USE:
    Mainly just for getting to class. There are paved roads 90% of the time and sometimes the road isn't perfectly smooth but again, its in the middle of an urban city

    A rack or something might be nice to carry books or groceries but if the bikes without it are much nicer, I might consider dropping this luxury.


    - LOCATION:
    UC Berkeley, is in Berkeley California. No snow but can have lots of rain (afraid of slipping and hurting myself badly)

    - ME:
    I am a 5 foot 7 inch tall male.

    - CONCERNS:
    Hopefully not too flashy because it might get stolen (unless I learn some good bike locking techniques here).
    PRICE isn't too high because I'm just getting into this bike world (coming from old cheap walmart bikes) and want an ECONOMICAL ride with a great USER experience.



    Thank you so much! I've done over 10 hours of research online and am still very lost on WHAT bikes to search for and etc..

    THANK YOU AGAIN!
    ALL HELP IS APPRECIATED!
    Last edited by repus.jonathan; 08-19-11 at 07:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    With a $200 budget you are definitely shopping on Craigslist for used bikes, or back at Wal-Mart & Target. Bicycle shops and the Big 4 companies (Cannondale, Trek, Giant, Specialized) don't try to compete with Wal-Mart. They make better bikes that generally start around $500. Let's assume 50% discount on CL... even starting with a really cheap Trek, $200 may not be feasible for a bike in decent working order. (I would not buy a rundown, neglected bike.)

    You should look for a multispeed hybrid or city bike. They will fit your needs. A rear rack will be better than any front-mounted basket because it won't affect your steering and generally they hold a lot more weight.

    Regarding theft, ALWAYS lock it. Get a quality cable at least 1/2" or 12mm thick, not a thin & cheap one that can easily be cut. A thick cable can be cut too, but it takes huge tools that may/would draw attention. I personally disfavor U-Locks because yes they are really tough but you can't lock both wheels and the frame without a cable.

  3. #3
    Senior Member John_V's Avatar
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    You should look for a multispeed hybrid or city bike.
    +1

    You already came up with a point that I would make for a college bike and that is they will get stolen if they are expensive or even look expensive. Don't get hung up on brand names if it's just for riding around the campus. As mentioned, Craig's List and WalMart are a good place to start as well as pawn shops. Just make sure that you get a chance to ride the bike and see if it fits you before laying out any cash. Most WalMarts won't let you ride the bike before you buy and pawn shops may require that you leave something of equal value with them while riding the bike. Regardless of where you get the bike, unless you know how to do adjustments, take it to a bike shop and have them look it over and make any needed adjustments.
    Last edited by John_V; 08-04-11 at 11:47 AM.
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  4. #4
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    Thanks for the posts.

    So what do I look up on ebay / craigslist?

    I typed in "road bike" or "trek road" or "trek hybrid" and they didn't give me many options.

    Also any cheaper bikes you guys recommend?

    Lastly, WHAT are the CRITERIA I should be looking for when deciding on this bike for college and how do I evaluate them? (ex: whats a good frame, good wheels...etc.)

    Thanks!

  5. #5
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    First things first, please avoid Wal Mart! I was in your shoes a few months ago. I wanted to buy a bike that would not only give me some exercise, but would be versatile and get me around to work/school. First, I bought a bike from Wal Mart and it was a living hell (heavy, tough to ride, didn't suit me right, gears messed up, etc). I returned it and ended up buying a multi-speed hybrid from my local bike shop for around $350 NEW. I chose to by a new bike as opposed to a used bike because, well, I didn't know what to look for in a used bike.

    I agree with the above posts. Buy a multi-speed hybrid. They're quick, lightweight, and perfect for commuting. I would advise you up your spending limit a bit and get more bang for your buck. Check out the one I purchased, the Origin8 Cutler 7. Maybe a local bike shop will have one or something similar in stock. Buying from a LBS is better because the bikes are set up by hand and tuned by someone who knows what they're doing.

    http://www.origin-8.com/?page_id=91&...7&cl1=BICYCLES

    BTW, congrats on your acceptance to the University, man

  6. #6
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Inquire with Campus Security- they'll be able to tell you which types attract the thieves the most and they might have some that have been abandoned/impounded that they auction off from time to time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
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  7. #7
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    My advice, FWIW, is to look for a decent, older, unsprung MTB... hopefully for less than $100. After a thorough inspection and test ride (take a bike-savvy friend along if you're unsure) take it to your LBS and have them tune it up. If you can do it yourself, all the better. Slap some slick tires on there and you should have some reliable transportation to get you through to graduation. Don't forget to budget for a helmet, lights, and fenders to go along with your rack.

    As for locks get a nice u-lock and a cable or chain. Potential thieves will walk by a bike that has two different types of locks to defeat, especially if said bike is an old rigid MTB.

    This one would be perfect: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/bik/2529162258.html
    Last edited by irclean; 08-04-11 at 10:48 PM.
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  8. #8
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    repus, I will tell you what I told my own father in law last night - and it broke my heart to have to say it.

    You should look into spending more money on a bike.

    Not knowing anything about them Craigslist will be taking you for a ride more likely than not.

    Wal Mart sells sculpted scrap metal that just sits in garages waiting to rust (too heavy, too unreliable to be used as real transportation).

    I know "spend more" is never good advice, but think about the cost in terms of the fact your buying transportation and a gym membership that will last you through college. If your willing to ride in the rain, it sounds like your prepared to save hundreds of dollars against the cost of other forms of transportation down the road. Personally I would have taken out a a student loan to get a decent bike if I had known what my work/class situation would be like back in college. As it was, I was doing 13 mile commutes on a beater to get to my night job - you never know what will happen, but you do know that a bus pass or a car is a high fixed cost.

    Last year, I know Felt had some good deals running for between 3-400 at various places online. Performance Bikes & Nashbar might help. If you have to go through second hand bikes....try another student who used the bike in the same way you will.

  9. #9
    Senior Member RollCNY's Avatar
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    For a totally different slant, look at Nashbar's single speed Nekkid bikes. Can get them in four different bar styles, for $250 - 300 depending on current "sale". A single speed is no maintenance, can sit out on a rainy day, and you have no worries. You can play with gear ratio to cover yourself for hills, and you can run freewheel or fixie depending on what you prefer.

  10. #10
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    or you could get something from BikesDirect.

    (thread destruction in 5, 4, 3...)

  11. #11
    Senior Member NormDeplume's Avatar
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    Or you could go with a folder. Take it with you into class...

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the replies guys.

    I think at this point I've decided on an upright position.

    So for a lower price range (definitely sub 500), what are good bike MODELS that you guys would recommend?

    I've spent countless hours on research on "road bikes" which gave me racing bikes with the horizontal rest position (not comfortable) and have trouble finding bike models to further investigate the price on.

    Thanks so much!

  13. #13
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by repus.jonathan View Post
    what are good bike MODELS that you guys would recommend?
    As with most threads of this nature, I can only tell you what I'd buy with your money. A better approach would be to visit the bike shops in your area and test ride as many bikes in your price range as possible. Once you've narrowed down your choices, come back here and ask for opinions from owners of said bikes. That way you'll get some real-world experience. The only caveat I have is to stay away from bikes with suspension; at your price range suspension is inefficient and adds weight. My earlier suggestion of fixing up an older rigid MTB still stands.
    Gettin' my Fred on.

  14. #14
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    I didn't have many bike shops nearby. I like to research things ahead of time, so visiting the manufacturer's websites (Trek, Giant, etc.) to look at the features of the different models might suit you. Then, of course, you need to visit the bike shops to actually try some bikes out. Some shops are more helpful than others, or at least that was my experience. Even if you don't buy from a bike shop, that would make you more knowledgeable about looking for a used bike. Good luck with your purchase!

  15. #15
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    Hello Guys:

    So after doing lots and lots of research and cragistlist scrounging I've found these options. It would be great if you guys could recommend a few models(or tip me on ones I haven't found) of these bikes as I have no idea what to ask or what model is better ...etc.:

    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/bik/2528197562.html
    http://cgi.ebay.com/2010-ALUMINUM-HY...ht_9376wt_1163
    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/2522304036.html
    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/2525538537.html
    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/2522185555.html
    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/bik/2510138035.html
    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/bik/2510601014.html

    Basically all I want to know is:
    "If you were me with a sub 250 budget, what bike would you bring to college?"

    Heeding the advice here, I decided to steer away from Walmart bikes and go for used bikes because they will give me much better quality for within my budget price.

    Again I am 5 foot 7 inches with an inseam length of about 29.5 inches so I heard 19" - 20.5 " frames were good for me. (I'm a male)

    Thanks so much!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by repus.jonathan View Post
    my friend got that one from Ebay, I tried her bike, pretty decent, definitely lighter than my old "K-mart" bike (not W-mart ) I am pretty happy with the shimano tourney components. that ebay seller has some other nice budget bikes you may want to look at them. And my another friend bought a "lamborghini urbano" when it was on sale for $180 from Dick's. again, basically the same components except that the the "Lamborghini" labeled on the frame... Looking at the price point and components, they are really the same as Walmart Schwinn Varsity and GMC Denali (To be clear I never tried Varity and Denali).

    My whole life is on a crappy bike so $200 for a bike is already very nice to me. In my opinion, there's nothing wrong buying from Walmart. I own a Huffy myself ($80 6 years ago). its heavy, but it serves its purpose. I had it for more than 6 years for urban commuting only and I never had any mechanical problem with it. biggest advantage is I never had to worry about the bike getting stolen... If you know some basic bike mechanic I think you will be fine with any crappy bike. Now I switched to a better, lighter hybrid I custom built, I'll just leave my old Huffy lying around for backup.

    The choices I mention above I think are the best multi-speed hybrid you can get for $200.

  17. #17
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    The Spalding Blade is an interesting find; I'd wanna take a closer look just to see if it is salvageable. Both Fujis and both Raleighs might be worth a look as well. Personally, I'd be checking out that Miyata; it looks ready to go and was a decent bike in its day. The fresh upgrades and new tires means less $$$ for you to put into it.
    Gettin' my Fred on.

  18. #18
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    try this place http://recyclebicycleshop.com/ mikes bikes in berkeley has a single speed for 200 in large if your ride is mostly flat. looks like 6-7 bike shops in that town
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  19. #19
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    Thanks guys:

    It seems the the miyato looks like one of the best of all the bikes I've listed in that post.

    However, the post says that it only fits 5' 9 and above comfortably and I'm only 5' 7 which is a real downer.

    Any other suggestions among the bikes i listed or other sub 250 used bikes please?

    Thanks!

  20. #20
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    At 5'7", I think 17" to 19" will be your ideal frame size. Smaller and you'll feel cramped, bigger and you might be too stretched out. I am 5'8" and I ride a 19" frame 700c hybrid. It took me a few rides to decide between 17 and 19 inch frames which is one advantage of purchasing new from a bike shop but I dropped about twice as much on my bike. For me, 21" was too stretched out.

    Is the $250 for just the bike or does it include accessories also? If you ride at night, front AND rear lights are a must for safety. If you are under 18, then a helmet is required (state law). After that, it's on you whether you wear a helmet or not. Plan to spend about $30-50 for a set of lights and $30 and up for a helmet.

  21. #21
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    Some bikes to consider:
    Trek 930 - Not sure what a fair price for these are to be honest, but $250-300 that some of these people are asking for seem like a bit much
    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/2529090536.html
    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/bik/2486365802.html
    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/2523591245.html

  22. #22
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    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/2534601319.html Close to you and definitely worth a look IMO
    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/bik/2533548022.html Newer bike but low end. Seems like an ok price
    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/bik/2520852449.html Seems like this would be a decent beater bike at $150. You'd have to figure out how to get to Santa Rosa though. BART doesn't go up that way.

  23. #23
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    Thanks so much jsdavis! I'll get looking into them and try to compare them with my novice eyes.


    Would you still go with the Miyato out of all of these models or if not, which one (of these we've listed)?

    And also, I found out that the Miyato is a 20"...which I'm hoping wont be too big. I'm 5'7 with an inseam of about 29.5 inches. (measured from ground to my groin area as one website told me).
    Also, the seller hasn't told me the year or model of it even after I emailed him for that stuff....should I bug the seller about it to get the specs before looking into it further or is it already, according to your eyes, a great buy without knowing the specific model?

    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/bik/2510601014.html

    That is the link to the miyato one.

    Thanks so much ! I really appreciate it!

  24. #24
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    a 20" MTB-type frame probably is usable for you on-road, but you won't have enough standover clearance to safely use it offroad. a 5'7 / 29" inseam you should be on a 17.5" MTB frame for trail use. but like I said, probably not a major concern around campus.

    jsdavis really threw out some good options, the marin in berkley for $175 is my favorite. some of these will go FAST I bet. my local CL churns through bikes really quick, unless they're overpriced.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    a 20" MTB-type frame probably is usable for you on-road, but you won't have enough standover clearance to safely use it offroad. a 5'7 / 29" inseam you should be on a 17.5" MTB frame for trail use. but like I said, probably not a major concern around campus.

    jsdavis really threw out some good options, the marin in berkley for $175 is my favorite. some of these will go FAST I bet. my local CL churns through bikes really quick, unless they're overpriced.
    Hey guys,

    So it seems to be a showdown between the Miyato Valley Runner (220 dollars, which comes with a gel seat):

    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/bik/2510601014.html

    and the Marin FS Hybrid:

    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/2534601319.html
    .

    Thing's I've noticed:
    -It seems the Miyato has a lot less support because Miyato has apparently exited the US market.
    - The miyato comes with a gel seat.
    - Marin is 19' frame and the Miyato 20'
    - It seems the Miyato is a much better bike? (has 18 speeds v the 7 speeds of the marin fs hybrid).



    1) This is the final showdown (unless you guys find better school commuting contenders) I think.
    Your thoughts have been GREATLY HELPFUL and I really appreciate the prompt responses I get from you guys.



    OTHER CONCERNS:

    A) - I need to lock the bike and make sure things don't get stolen. Are there any concerns I should have? (the gel seat being stolen off Miyato?, quick release wheels on them because they don't say if they have quick release or not?...etc.)

    B) - What should I look for when I am checking these bikes out to see if I should buy them (when I go see the seller/ bike in person)

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