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Old 07-10-12, 11:14 PM   #1
alfredomarron3
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Buying my first bike

I recently joined this forum, about two days ago to get some advice on buying my first bike. So I got a few posts on my intro thread, just a few people from around New Orleans, but one guy said I should visit a few bike shops in town and see what I liked. So this morning I went with my wife to try a few bikes. The guys at the first shop I went to were very helpful and not pushy at all. Got welcomed as soon as walked through the doors and was immediately asked how I would be using the bike. The guy then suggested that I look at the hybrids. The trek 7100 immediately caught my eye(I love the green color on it). unfortunately it was raining today so I couldn't take it outside to ride it but just sitting on it and peddling a few times in the shop it felt good. He did help adjust the seat and get it sized for me. So I made note of the price and made sure my wife knew that I liked that bike and we moved on to the next shop. The next one was a larger bike shop in another part of town. The service there wasn't as good(no greeting or questions) just kinda left to wander the store alone. I knew sorta what I was looking for at least from the previous store, but this shop carried a whole different brand than the other. It took me a while to find the hybrid bike but I did find a Giant Sedona. It was a bit less than the Trek but felt just as comfy. But I left that shop feeling a bit lonely in the service department. So then my wife suggests Dick's but again not too helpful and the bikes just didn't feel all that good when I sat on them. So I finally get to the last store, it's one I've been to before just looking around. Service was good in the past but today there was only one person in the shop and he was busy when we got there but went right to us when he was done with the others. I found the same trek 7100 for less than the first shop and he also showed me the trek navigator, which I also liked. I've looked online and seen some of the reviews on all three of these bikes but wanted to get some firsthand advice from people that ride these bikes regularly before I spend the $400 on any of these bikes.
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Old 07-11-12, 12:04 AM   #2
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1. I usually don't visit the Intro forum, so if you stated as to why you want or how you plan to use and/or ride the bike, I missed it.
2. Somewhere in that convoluted OP (hint: paragraphs make it easier to read), I think you mentioned basically you've already been advised to visit the LBS.
3. Since you're new, at this point you should be shopping for the LBS that you like and then go with something that they have.
4. You need to go for test rides- a 'sit and spin' on the floor ain't gonna do you any good.
5. Giant makes their own bikes; Trek outsourced their production years ago.
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Old 07-11-12, 05:29 AM   #3
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I think the 7100 is a good bike for the price. Just understand its a little less aggressive then most hybrids.
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Old 07-11-12, 08:51 AM   #4
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I think the 7100 is a good bike for the price. Just understand its a little less aggressive then most hybrids.
i think I'm going more for that bike than the other two, I really just fell in love with that bike. But wanted to give the other bikes a chance. Cause I didn't want to just go after the first bike I sat on. I really need to test ride it at the shop.
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Old 07-11-12, 08:59 AM   #5
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1. I usually don't visit the Intro forum, so if you stated as to why you want or how you plan to use and/or ride the bike, I missed it.
2. Somewhere in that convoluted OP (hint: paragraphs make it easier to read), I think you mentioned basically you've already been advised to visit the LBS.
3. Since you're new, at this point you should be shopping for the LBS that you like and then go with something that they have.
4. You need to go for test rides- a 'sit and spin' on the floor ain't gonna do you any good.
5. Giant makes their own bikes; Trek outsourced their production years ago.
I was planning on using it mostly on the street and bike paths. But I hope I could start to use it to ride to work, after I get some ride time to work myself up to the 24 miles round trip it would take to go to work.
Ps. Sorry about the format of my post I'm not very good at arranging my thoughts and tend to just keep typing without hitting return. But thank you for that advice as well.
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Old 07-11-12, 09:24 AM   #6
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You'll be tired of a Navigator in 90 days or less. I went that route and kicked myself in the butt for the rest of the year that I promised myself I would ride it before buying another. Go for something that at first you think is a stretch, it'll surprise you how fast you get into riding and want to go further and faster. And unless you really want to be offroad a fair bit, avoid suspension fork bikes like the plague.

FWIW I think the bike shop is a lot more important than the brand on the bike. Nearly all manufacturers make similar lines of bikes. The differences become very slight. Bike shops not so much.
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Old 07-11-12, 09:52 AM   #7
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Watch "falling in love" with a bike before you've even taken a test ride. That's more like infatuation. It's way too easy to purchase the wrong bike. Kinda like marrying wrong. Take your time and evaluate your choices. Maybe revisit the regional subforum for opinions on the good and not-so-good shops.

For the commute you intend, I'd consider options with rigid forks.
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Old 07-11-12, 11:10 AM   #8
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Watch "falling in love" with a bike before you've even taken a test ride. That's more like infatuation. It's way too easy to purchase the wrong bike. Kinda like marrying wrong. Take your time and evaluate your choices. Maybe revisit the regional subforum for opinions on the good and not-so-good shops.

For the commute you intend, I'd consider options with rigid forks.
thank you for that reality check. I think I'm just in a rush to start and want to get the first thing that looks pretty. I know I need to try it out on the road first.
Really the only bike I've tried out was the navigagatior. It felt nice but I wasn't too sure about the seat and ,even though, I liked the leather on the bike I'm not sure how that's going to hold up if I start using it more.
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Old 07-11-12, 10:25 PM   #9
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thank you for that reality check. I think I'm just in a rush to start and want to get the first thing that looks pretty. I know I need to try it out on the road first.
Really the only bike I've tried out was the navigagatior. It felt nice but I wasn't too sure about the seat and ,even though, I liked the leather on the bike I'm not sure how that's going to hold up if I start using it more.
Leather saddle? You sure about that? Very few production bikes come with leather saddles. More frequently, the saddle is covered with a soft vinyl that looks similar.

As it is, I find leather (Brooks) saddles very comfortable, especially for long rides in hot weather. Seems to breathe or somehow allow your rear to stay a bit drier.

Oh, watch out for those soft, comfy saddles. After a few miles, you may not find them so comfortable. But, saddles are very personal. FWIW, my saddles are almost as hard as boards, and I'd have it no other way.
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Old 07-12-12, 12:21 AM   #10
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I know I need to try it out on the road first.
Really the only bike I've tried out was the navigagatior.
Hi Alfredo,
I'm a bike noob too and was in kind of the same boat as you a few weeks ago, starting my bicycle shopping. One of the things I found out in narrowing the shop I wanted to do business with is that the same model bike would be adjusted differently (and work better or worse) with different shops. You definitely need to shop around, and get a bike from friendly people who know what they're doing.

Go on test rides when it's not raining. Ride over small patches of gravel, over bumps, and and go up slopes where you can. Test the gears. Things reveal themselves on test rides. Do you really need it now right now? Or can you give it some time so you don't regret buying a bike 2 months from now? Sitting on a bike is just going to tell you if the frame fits and if the bars and seat are adjusted properly. What really will tell you if the bike is for you is how it rides.

Remember to also ask about any perks of purchasing at a particular store; some places have free adjustments for a month or a year after you buy the bike, or % off accessories, or discounts on future service, while others have nothing. It pays to ask.

Also, it pays to visit shops on off hours, like in the morning (before lunch) or early-mid afternoon (not lunch and before everyone gets off work at 5). One shop I visited actually offered to build a bike for me in the off hours, but I couldn't even get eye contact with a salesperson at 6:30pm the next day, the store was so crowded.
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Old 07-12-12, 12:37 AM   #11
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Keep test riding bikes. Fit and feel is much more important than how the bike looks and what color it is. Well, it matters, but if you end up with a bike that looks great but doesn't fit, you won't ride it and will have wasted your hard earned $.

I agree with several points made:

First, slow down :-) Test rides are the key to finding the right bike.

It's not uncommon to see posts where people "outgrow" their first bike once they have been riding for a few months and have improved fitness. Test ride bikes that are more aggressive. Test ride the Trek 7.1. Trek is a good brand to target because the 2013 bikes are out and you can find 2011 or 2012 bikes at discount.

Take a test ride of a couple of miles, not just around the parking lot. Run through ALL of the gears from low to high.

You probably don't want a bike with a suspension fork. A suspension fork cost more than a rigid fork and on low end bikes, you get lower quality components in order to offset the extra cost of a suspension fork.

Shopping for a bike shop is important; the people who work with you and help you find the right bike for you deserve your business. You will probably be better served by a "family" bike shop where they sell mostly hybrid and fitness bikes. A high end bike show that has a few hybrids may mostly deal with customers who know what they want and not spend a lot of time explaining.

You're on the right track. Keep shopping, reading and asking questions.
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Old 07-12-12, 05:56 AM   #12
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I was in your situation a few months ago, but I didn't do as much research as I should have. I went to only one store and bought the bike they recommended, a Trek 7100. I've been very pleased with the Trek except for the saddle, which I could never get used to. However, I bought a new, more comfortable saddle online for under $25 and since then I've been riding between 5 and 15 miles per day - not bad for a 62 year old overweight guy.
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Old 07-12-12, 06:22 AM   #13
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I have a Trek 7100. I bought it four years ago and it's been my regular ride ever since. It's been a good bike. The only work I've done to it was replace the rear wheel (kept popping spokes), replace the saddle (the stock one was too big & mushy) and replace the tires as they wore out. Unless you're a heavy guy the stock rear wheel will probably be fine. I had to replace the wheel because my weight exceeded the maximum weight the bike is rated to handle. That's not Trek's fault - it's mine. I should have done better research.

I do wish I had bought a bike that did not have the suspension fork. Since I only ride on pavement the fork really doesn't accomplish much. It also bounces a bit when I'm standing on the pedals trying to get up to speed.

I'm also not keen on the grip shifts. While they looked like a good idea to me before I knew any better, I now rate them as a pain in the butt. If I'm standing up and trying to get up to speed quickly (crossing a busy intersection, say), I have to make sure that my hands are nowhere near the shifters or else I'll find myself unexpectedly changing gears - which can be a problem.

Now for the good.

Aside from the above-listed problems, the bike has been great. It has never let me down. For the last three months I have been using it as a commuting bike. I have a 40 mile round trip commute. The bike eats up mile after mile without complaint.

I'm currently researching bikes with an eye towards replacing the 7100. It's not that it's a bad bike, but it's really not built for what I do with it. There are aspects of the bike that I thought were great when I bought it that are a bit problematic for me now that I'm commuting on it.

The handlebars don't offer enough hand positions. I am on the bike three hours a day. It would be nice if I had some options along those lines.

The riding position is too upright for me now. While that wasn't a problem at all when all I did with the bike was pleasure ride, on the commute it becomes a problem on windy days. It would be nice to assume more of an aerodynamic position on windy days.

The chain stays are a bit a short for me. I wear a size 13 shoe and have some Wald fold-up baskets mounted to the rack. I had to do some creative mounting to get the baskets far enough back for me to avoid hitting them with my heels while pedaling with the baskets in use.

There again, none of these issues are the manufacturers fault, nor are they problems with the bicycle's design. They are issues for me because I'm using the bike in a manner for which it wasn't intended.

I'm looking at a touring or cyclocross bike as my next commuter.
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Old 07-12-12, 10:02 PM   #14
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Thank you all for the input. As soon as it stops raining here I'm going to my local bike shop again and taking those bikes for a real test ride. Not just in the lot. I'll try to look for one with a ridged front fork also.
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Old 07-16-12, 05:41 PM   #15
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It finally stopped raining long enough for me to go to the bike store and try out some bikes.

Still humid as hell though. But I'm so glad that I waited to try these bikes out. That trek that I felt so strongly for earlier has been replaced. After a test ride, around the block a few time, I found the trek a bit uncomfortable. It felt good sitting on it in the shop, but once I started to ride it felt a bit uncomfortable. Can't really explain it just didn't feel right.

But I finally got to ride the giant bikes at the shop. Those were fun and cheaper than the trek, not by much, I didn't get to try any bikes with a ridged fork. I know I got a few suggestions to look for those, but the ones I saw at the shop where out of my price range.

After test riding a few bikes, I spent about 1 1/2 hour at the shop talking with the guys and testing about 4 different bikes. I really liked the Giant Sedona. It has big fat tires that seemed to handle potholes very well. Louisiana streets sucks.

Anyways, I might have gone a bit round about in this story but, I finally decided on a bike. I put a down payment on the Giant Sadona. The LBS and the guys there are awesome. They let me put it on layaway, so I had to put 15% down. They also had financing available but my credit sucks and don't want to pay interest.

I'm really excited about this and feel confident that I made a good investment in buying this bike. I am very happy with the LBS I went to. I've been there a few times in the last couple months and each time I go in they are very friendly. I feel like they really helped me be comfortable with my choice. I didn't feel pressured to buy anything at anytime, and they even said that before I take my bike home they'll go over some basic maintainence and repair with me, tune the bike and do the maintainence on the bike for 6 months. Now I just need to get a helmet and maybe a computer and get started biking.
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Old 07-17-12, 12:04 AM   #16
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Good choice Alfred! Test riding is the only way to find the bike that fits you best. You'll get lots of miles out of the Sedona. And you found a GREAT bike shop, which is almost as important as a quality bike. All helmets sold in the US have to pass certification, so even the cheapest helmet will provide the same level of protection as the most expensive one. Congrats!
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