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  1. #1
    Senior Member Mountain_Owl's Avatar
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    Wast to get back on a bike after 25 or so years

    Hi, folks. I'm not sure if this post belongs here or in one of the other forumd, but here goes.

    I'm a 42-y/o man, and I haven't ridden a bike in 20-to-25 years. I have to say, the old adage is *false*. Youu can, indeed, forget how to ride a bike! Allow me explain.

    Two days ago, when I got it in my head that I wanted to get a bike for exercize, I went to my local bike shop. The salesman asked what I intend to use the bike for, and I told him there's a local dirt trail for bikers that I'd use, as well as well as riding back & forth between my apartment & my parents' place (1.5-to-3 miles from me), around town, etc. and that, based on research I'd done on the Web, a hybrid bike would likely suit my needs. The salesman politely disagreed and instead, recommended mountain bikes (in general) because a hybrid wouldn't do well on a dirt bike trail. Taking his advice, I found that my 'bike suze' is 17-inch frame/26-inch wheels. Two days ago, I felt a little wobbily on a Giant Boulder SE 17/26; yesterday, I tested a Gary Fisher Tarpon 18/26...again feeling wobbily, but managing. Of the two, the Tarpon felt like a better, smoother ride. I have a hard time calling it a true mountain bike, though, because it was so smoothe.

    So, based on my intended use description and experiences above, should I still be looking for a mountain bike, or should I go with a hybrid? Can anyone recommend bikes for me? I'm on a tight, 100% Disability income budget (say, $300 max. for the bike), and the Jeep line of bikes (actually made by Jeep?) look *very* attractive as a first bike in over 20 years.

    Thanks for any assistance.

  2. #2
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Hello Mountain_Owl, actually it sounds as if you do want a hybrid or cyclocross bike, rather than a straight mountain bike. Those big knobby tyres aren't the best things for going fast on a road, although they are wonderful on dirt .

    Do you know why the LBS sales person recommended a MTB over a hybrid? Was it based possibly on your disability?

    Oh, and where are you located?

    Welcome to BF!

    East Hill
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    TRY EMPATHY & HAVE LOVE IN YOUR HEART, PERHAPS I'LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD...

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mountain_Owl's Avatar
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    It was based on the sales guy saying 'hybrids don't do well on dirt bike trails...kinda like buying a combinstion TV/VCR...it'll do both, but neither psrticulsrly erll.'

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jolt's Avatar
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    I think as long as it's a fairly smooth dirt trail (something like your average dirt road) a hybrid should do fine. It doesn't seem like that kind of trail would be any worse than some of the crummy paved roads I ride on (bumps and potholes galore, along with gravel strewn all over the side of the road), and I ride a hybrid with 700x38c tires (light tread) and have no problems.
    The rhythm is gonna get you...and if it's v-tach or v-fib you're in for a shock!

  5. #5
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Jolt is right, if it's not a mad sick singletrack down gnarly rocks and stumps, then you should be fine with a hybrid. It is possible to get a MTB and outfit it with slicks, so it's easier to ride on paved roads, too.

    East Hill
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  6. #6
    But on the road more MTBLover's Avatar
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    I agree with East Hill and Jolt- I got a mountain bike several years ago after a 30 year hiatus. I figured that it was the best way to go forr riding in a city noted for its cobblestones and potholes (Philly), and I wanted to ride on gravel paths that aren't packed in places (think large rocks). The MTB is good for that stuff, but I just got a cyclocross to get more into road without the hassle of dealing with 23c tires on trolley tracks . It has 32c tires, but rides like a road bike- very comfy, and very stable. I went with this over a hybrid because I ride long distance (>50 miles and occasional centuries).

    Anyway- that wobbliness? It will pass! After riding my MTB for several years, you should have seen me on my first couple of blocks on test riding my cross. Now, no wobbles.

  7. #7
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Just remember, the faster you go (well, to a point) the less wobbly. Slow speed=wobbly. Practice will get you a lot smoother and surer of yourself.

    East Hill
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  8. #8
    One Hep Cat Joe Dog's Avatar
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    Welcome back to the bike, Moutain Owl. I had a hiatus after a lot of riding in my teens and early twenty's, but I got back in the saddle again as well. I agree the others above that a hybrid should be fine. Ride that and if you start to feel limited, then look into a Cyclocross bike, or if you really like the trail riding, look into a mountain bike. I think too many mountain bikes get sold to people because they are supposedly "tough" but in many ways they are pretty limited for road and casual riding.

  9. #9
    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain_Owl
    So, based on my intended use description and experiences above, should I still be looking for a mountain bike, or should I go with a hybrid? Can anyone recommend bikes for me? I'm on a tight, 100% Disability income budget (say, $300 max. for the bike), and the Jeep line of bikes (actually made by Jeep?) look *very* attractive as a first bike in over 20 years.

    Thanks for any assistance.
    Given your needs, I'd suggest looking into a used cyclocross bike if you can find one that meets your budget. Short of that, I would second the shop's choice of a mountain bike. Given your short distances on the road and fitness goal, a mtb certainly won't hurt you. Good luck on your choice. Regardless, you're gonna luv being back on 2 wheels - that's a guarantee!


    ... Brad

  10. #10
    Senior Member Mountain_Owl's Avatar
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    OK, some here say mountain; some say hybrid...and noe I see something new...cyclocross...confusion, confusion, confusion...research, research, research...no problem. also, are the Jeep bikes any good?

  11. #11
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Here is the answer about Jeep bikes:

    Please Read Before asking Question: MTB FAQ.

    More research!

    East Hill
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    TRY EMPATHY & HAVE LOVE IN YOUR HEART, PERHAPS I'LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD...

  12. #12
    Senior Member Mountain_Owl's Avatar
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    ćnanks, East Hill. I'll check it out.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Mountain_Owl's Avatar
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    I probably shouldn't post this but...

    UGH! It seems all I can find in my price range is either junk or very-low-end mountain bikes.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Jolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain_Owl
    I probably shouldn't post this but...

    UGH! It seems all I can find in my price range is either junk or very-low-end mountain bikes.
    Why not consider a used bike? You can often find them on Craigslist, or sometimes local bike shops sell them.
    The rhythm is gonna get you...and if it's v-tach or v-fib you're in for a shock!

  15. #15
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Now we'll give you a different view on mountain bikes--

    Show us your vintage mountain bikes!

    East Hill
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    TRY EMPATHY & HAVE LOVE IN YOUR HEART, PERHAPS I'LL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD...

  16. #16
    Senior Member Mountain_Owl's Avatar
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    Today's test bikes, from a second bike shop: Specialized Hard Rock XC and Raleigh Mojave 2.0. So, thus far, the list of candidates looks like this:

    Giant Boulder SE
    Gary Fisher Tarpon
    Specialized Hard Rock XC
    Raleigh Mojave 2.0

    Ranked by preference after a test ride, the list looks like this:

    Raleigh Mojave 2.0
    Giant Boulder SE
    Specialized Hard Rock XC
    Gary Fisher Tarpon

    I'm not sure if that means anything, but after testing those four, I can tell you that I have a preference for 'trigger' shifting over 'twist' shifting. Without getting into a debate over that issue, I'll tell you: It's simply a matter of 'ease of use' for me. As to what my rankings above mean, I'd be interested in hearing your interpretations.

    Oh, and East Hill, thanks for the mountain bike link. I'm on my way there now.

  17. #17
    bac
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain_Owl
    I'm not sure if that means anything, but after testing those four, I can tell you that I have a preference for 'trigger' shifting over 'twist' shifting. Without getting into a debate over that issue, I'll tell you: It's simply a matter of 'ease of use' for me.
    I would also use those same feelings to choose your mtb. All the bikes listed are good steeds. It's the one that fits you the best and feels the best for you that should get your nod. Good luck, and of course post some pix when you do pull the trigger!

    ... Brad

  18. #18
    Senior Member Mountain_Owl's Avatar
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    Alas, I'm having difficulty finding a way to finance a bike on my fixed income. I've even tried craigslist to see if, perhaps, an affordable bike might be there...no luck. I may have to let go of the dream of getting a bike.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Jolt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain_Owl
    Alas, I'm having difficulty finding a way to finance a bike on my fixed income. I've even tried craigslist to see if, perhaps, an affordable bike might be there...no luck. I may have to let go of the dream of getting a bike.
    Keep checking craigslist--something may pop up (what area are you in? some are better than others for finding decent bikes). Wouldn't hurt to get a Want Ad magazine and look in that, either. Does your area have anything like an Earn-A-Bike program? That might be another thing to look into.
    The rhythm is gonna get you...and if it's v-tach or v-fib you're in for a shock!

  20. #20
    Senior Member Mountain_Owl's Avatar
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    Can a Trek 830 be inexpensively converted to use 'rapid-fire' shifting instead of the standard 'twist shifting' it normally has?

  21. #21
    Senior Member Mountain_Owl's Avatar
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    Hmmm... www.mtbr.com has this to say...

    mtbr has this to say about the bikes I've tested:

    http://www.mtbr.com/reviews/xc_hardtail/ <--- reviews of the bikes I've tried. On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best, they were: Giant Boulder SE: 3.93; Gary Fisher Tarpon: 3.38; Specialized Hard Rock XC: 4.11; Raleigh Mojave 2.0: 2.60; and Gary Fisher Advance: 3.88.

    Should I, then, get the Hard Rock XC?

  22. #22
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    One area where twist grips are an advantage - riding in traffic. When you have to make a sudden stop like at traffic lights, you can shift down through several gears with a single movement of the wrist.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Mountain_Owl's Avatar
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    Speaking of shifting gears (up OR down), is there a thread that explains how all that works? Even though I consider myself a newbie, I want to avoid posting stupid questions if at all possible.

  24. #24
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    Here's the website to answer (many) of your questions. The first article is Gear Shifting: Everything You Wanted To Know About Shifting Your Bicycle's Gears, But Were Afraid To Ask:
    http://sheldonbrown.com/beginners/index.html

    As far as actually getting the bike; you might want to consider posting a "Want to Buy" ad on Craigslist. You'd be amazed at how many people have old (and sometimes nice!) bicycles collecting dust in their garages. Sometimes, people will offer to give you the bike free!

  25. #25
    Senior Member Mountain_Owl's Avatar
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    Thanks, DevLaVaca. I've checked craigslist a few times in the past few days...nothing exciting.

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