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  1. #1
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    Newbie to biking but loving it!

    Hi there -- I hopped on my dd's Walmart mb about a month and rode for a couple of miles. Realized that it felt WONDERFUL! So I've been riding that bike 4-5 miles at a time since then, 3-4 times/week, mainly for fitness purposes and to clear my head. Now I'm in the market for a hybrid better suited to me... and my own helmet, lol. I want to go farther and faster than I can on her bike. I'm riding mostly country roads with gravel shoulder areas, some hills, and a decent amount of wind. I'm hoping to do some trails (pea gravel?) in a few years when a couple of my kiddos are more up for it.

    I've been reading the forums here and I've learned a LOT between that and talking to some guys at the LBS. But I still feel so green... it's hard to know how to go about doing this. I've got mainly Raleigh, Trek, and Specialized readily available. I know this is the place more for intros, but if anyone has anything to say about those brands, go right ahead! I definitely want to stay under $500. Thanks!
    Fitness rider on a 2010 Specialized Sirrus Sport, traveling on windy, hilly country roads with gravel shoulders. Hate the wind but love to ride! :)

  2. #2
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    Welcome

    I always recommend looking for a used bike as opposed to buying a brand new bike.. you can get much more value for your money, though you do have to look longer and have to be more careful in your selection to make sure you buy from the right person. Any good quality mountain bike from the 80s or 90s that doesn't have shocks will make a great hybrid bike. You can put road or hybrid tires on it and it will go fast and still handle the gravel trails well.

    if you look on craigslist for a bike which is advertised as fully restored, and talk to the seller and they seem like a true bike enthusiast, chances are they are selling a quality steed at a fair price.

    I know this is all a bit much for a newbie, but if you take your time and do some research, you can get an excellent bike for much less than $500


    if you want new, i'd look at Trek or Specialized brands
    1986 Diamondback Apex ~ 1988 Diamondback Ascent EX ~ 1989 Jamis Dakar ~ 1989 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp
    1993 Trek 8300 Composite ~ 1993 Diamondback Axis Team Titanium ~ 1995 Diamondback Apex

    Join the Chainstay Brake Mafia!

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply and the advice, frantik! I actually have been watching Craigslist every day for the past month. lol I even almost got one early on but they sold it to someone else before my scheduled appt. But it's been sooo slow on the postings, and I was concerned that I wouldn't even know how to tell if it was in good shape, etc. I guess I had just resigned myself to buying new. But maybe you can offer me a bit of guidance:

    -- the sizing: every manufacturer seems to have it's own sizing. How do you know what you need when you're reading Craigslist? (for example, I found a 21" men's Fuji Supreme, but think maybe that would be too big?? Not even sure how inseam is measured for biking purposes... 28" for pants to ankle; 30" to floor)
    -- Good brands? Off the top of my head, I'm thinking maybe Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Fuji?
    -- at a minimum I would probably need new tires and a tune up. Any idea how much decent hybrid tires would run? At least a ballpark figure.
    -- how different will a test ride of a mtb be once I put different tires on it? I mean, how do you know if you'll like it?

    Sorry for all the questions, but I hadn't thought of going about it the way you said. I was just looking for a hybrid on Craigslist and those are scarce.
    Fitness rider on a 2010 Specialized Sirrus Sport, traveling on windy, hilly country roads with gravel shoulders. Hate the wind but love to ride! :)

  4. #4
    Chainstay Brake Mafia
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mysterious Lady View Post
    Thanks for the reply and the advice, frantik! I actually have been watching Craigslist every day for the past month. lol I even almost got one early on but they sold it to someone else before my scheduled appt. But it's been sooo slow on the postings, and I was concerned that I wouldn't even know how to tell if it was in good shape, etc. I guess I had just resigned myself to buying new.
    yeah, i was recommending you look for a bike being sold by a "flipper"/"restorer" that had done all of the maintenance, but if you live in an area where there aren't a lot of bikes being sold, let alone restored bikes, then new can be appealing. Bikes Direct has good deals on bikes and lots of people like them, but i haven't bought anything from them.

    But maybe you can offer me a bit of guidance:

    -- the sizing: every manufacturer seems to have it's own sizing. How do you know what you need when you're reading Craigslist? (for example, I found a 21" men's Fuji Supreme, but think maybe that would be too big?? Not even sure how inseam is measured for biking purposes... 28" for pants to ankle; 30" to floor)
    it mostly matters how tall you are, though with newer bikes they give you a big seatpost so you can adjust the size more. How tall are you? I follow this table or others which are similar: http://bicycling.about.com/od/howtor...ike_sizing.htm. I have 3 bikes and they are 58cm (23"), 56cm (22") and one is only 43cm (17")! the 17" frame has a LOT of seatpost showing but it still fits right.

    -- Good brands? Off the top of my head, I'm thinking maybe Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Fuji?
    for new or old? i know those are all good brands for old, not sure if fuji is still a "good" brand. If you're looking at older bikes, those are all good brand names names, as well as the Univega Alpina, Diamondback Apex, Ascent or Axis. when you go to test ride the bike, look for a sticker on the bike that indicates what kind of tubing the bike is made out of.. if it says something about "4130", "CR-MO", "Tange" or similar, you will know it is made from decent to very good quality tubes. If the components say "Deore" on them, they are also good quality.

    -- at a minimum I would probably need new tires and a tune up. Any idea how much decent hybrid tires would run? At least a ballpark figure.
    you can spend from $10 - $50 per tire, plus 5-10 per tube. i have some $10 slicks from amazon that i absolutely love for city riding. they also are fine for light offroading.. you don't really need those knobby tires unless you are going through muddy areas imo.. here are the tires i have on my mtb hybrids: http://www.amazon.com/Kenda-Bicycle-.../dp/B002DX1DWG

    i would recommend trying to find a bike that doesn't need any work, unless you are mechanically inclined, or don't mind paying a lot for a "tune up". there are people who restore bikes and sell them on craigslist.. if you can find one of those people they might have bikes which don't need a "tune up".. i say that in quotes because tune up could mean anything, but you want one that has new cables and cable guides, new brake pads, and axles/bearings greased at a minimum.

    If there isn't anyone selling a bike like this on CL, then other options are to buy one that needs work and do the work yourself, or bring it to a local bike shop and have them do the restoration, though it will be more expensive than finding one that already has the work done.

    -- how different will a test ride of a mtb be once I put different tires on it? I mean, how do you know if you'll like it?
    the main difference is it will feel slower because the knobby tires slow you down. it's kind of riding through sand or something. if you like it with mtb tires, you will LOVE it with slicks A wide slick tire provides a lot of cushioning and looks good too

    Sorry for all the questions, but I hadn't thought of going about it the way you said. I was just looking for a hybrid on Craigslist and those are scarce.
    yeah "hybrids" as a class of bike are much newer, but most mountain bikes are really used as hybrids anyways. i never really thought about making hybrids out of mtbs until i came to this forum either. i had a mountain bike but wanted a road bike, so people suggested i hybridize my mtb. Now i have a road bike and a better mountain bike hybrid, and the better mtb is my favorite of the 3

    pop over to the hybrid forum for more advice.. there's lots of old mtb fans there.
    1986 Diamondback Apex ~ 1988 Diamondback Ascent EX ~ 1989 Jamis Dakar ~ 1989 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp
    1993 Trek 8300 Composite ~ 1993 Diamondback Axis Team Titanium ~ 1995 Diamondback Apex

    Join the Chainstay Brake Mafia!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Dean7's Avatar
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    I rode one of these for a while (an older version of it) and it was OK:

    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...Id=0&gold_ses=

  6. #6
    Cactus Hobbit GeoBigJon's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forums!

  7. #7
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    Thanks guys! Thanks for the recommendation, Dean7 -- nice looking bike.

    frantik -- you are a wealth of info! I wish I could have someone like you to come with me to look at bikes! lol I'm 5'6" so according to that (great) chart I should be looking at roughly 54cm frame. I started a thread over on the hybrid forum (well, a couple of threads), so hopefully I can continue to get some good advice there too.

    Everyone has been so helpful here. I *really* need that right now. Thank you!
    Fitness rider on a 2010 Specialized Sirrus Sport, traveling on windy, hilly country roads with gravel shoulders. Hate the wind but love to ride! :)

  8. #8
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    Welcome to the forums. My husband has been a member here for years but I am just getting the bug and wanted more women's info so I signed up...once you hit 50 posts see about getting into the women's forum. My hubby picked out a Specialized Ruby for my but previously I was riding a Specialized Sirrus that he found used for me years ago and has been a great bike. They now have a women's specific version called the Vita and the Sport level is just over your budget at $550 but can often be found right at your number. As my husband has told me (and I found to be VERY true when we got my Ruby) the biggest thing you get at you LBS (assuming it's a good one like ours) for your money is proper sizing and a fit on the bike. For my Ruby they have swapped the saddle, the bars and the stem all at no additional cost. You won't find this in an eBay or Craigslist deal. If you know what you are doing you can get a great deal but if not you can easily throw your money away. Seriously consider the LBS option.

    Above all else have a great time out there.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for your input, Grasschoppette. And I didn't even realize there was a women's forum so I will definitely look into that when I get there.

    I've been considering the Vita, but didn't look at the Vita Sport at all. You said is can often be round right at my number... how does one "find" that, or how do you get them to drop their price? I just started a thread on this in the General Cycling forum, about negotiating a better price, because your comment got me thinking.
    Fitness rider on a 2010 Specialized Sirrus Sport, traveling on windy, hilly country roads with gravel shoulders. Hate the wind but love to ride! :)

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