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  1. #1
    IKC
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    New Biker Looking for a New Ride on a Budget

    So as the title implies, i've started biking on my old department store bought bike, and of course, only managed to last a few weeks. It was fun riding it though, and am now looking for a new bike. The budget: $400
    Im steering towards either a mountain or hybrid bike, but as a complete novice I don't exactly know what will be worth buying, but from what i've seen and heard, anything is an upgrade from an old Wal-mart bike. I mainly plan on using the bike for commutes around town, but I don't really like the road bike style, plus in the future it would seem real fun to go down a trail, nothing extreme though, a dirt trail at most. I'll raise my budget later down the line if i become passionate about mountain biking or something and want to handle some of the more harder trails. Anyway, basically, im a 6ft dude looking around for a new bike and just seeing how it goes. Any advice on what I should be looking for or anything along those lines would be great. Im definitely not expecting some dual suspension hydraulic disc brake beast. Rim-brakes have more then enough stopping power for the riding ill be doing. Thx.

  2. #2
    Junior Member davoon's Avatar
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    400 buys you an entry level MTB, like a Trek 3 series or Giant Lever or Talon. They can be used for commuting, and they will be able to handle light trails. For a first bike its better to buy new from your LBS. Beat the **** out of the bike for a year and by then you'll know what you want from biking and then spend bigger on a bike that will suit your needs.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Menel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IKC View Post
    So as the title implies, i've started biking on my old department store bought bike, and of course, only managed to last a few weeks. It was fun riding it though, and am now looking for a new bike. The budget: $400
    Im steering towards either a mountain or hybrid bike, but as a complete novice I don't exactly know what will be worth buying, but from what i've seen and heard, anything is an upgrade from an old Wal-mart bike. I mainly plan on using the bike for commutes around town, but I don't really like the road bike style, plus in the future it would seem real fun to go down a trail, nothing extreme though, a dirt trail at most. I'll raise my budget later down the line if i become passionate about mountain biking or something and want to handle some of the more harder trails. Anyway, basically, im a 6ft dude looking around for a new bike and just seeing how it goes. Any advice on what I should be looking for or anything along those lines would be great. Im definitely not expecting some dual suspension hydraulic disc brake beast. Rim-brakes have more then enough stopping power for the riding ill be doing. Thx.
    Road/pavement/MUP path commuting and mtb trails are entirely different things. To have one that can do both, means its mediocre and not purpose designed for either.

    Pavement/commuting. Sounds like you don't care for the enhanced ergonomics that drop bars provide? That's my best guess at what you refer to as 'road bike style'... so you could opt for a hybrid. Anything with knobby tires is going to be inefficient for this, anything with suspension is going to be unnecessarily heavy and sap pedaling efficiency.

    Smooth efficient tires, flat handlebars. Can put a rack on the back and use for commuting/light touring.

    This was in a performancebike email flyer the other day: maybe...
    Capture.JPG
    Every hour spent on the bike is an hour spent in perfect balance =) Roubaix, LYNSKEY Helix

  4. #4
    Let's Ride! RidingMatthew's Avatar
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    I would encourage you to look at like this. It looks like a good entry level mountain bike plus you can lock out the fork if you are riding on a greenway.
    this is another option as well it is even less but does not have the lockout fork.

    I have a BikesDIrect Fantom CX and have commuted over 4k miles on it. It is a tough bike.
    "Work to eat. Eat to live. Live to bike. Bike to work." --Anonymous

  5. #5
    Senior Member CliffordK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IKC View Post
    i've started biking on my old department store bought bike, and of course, only managed to last a few weeks. It was fun riding it though, and am now looking for a new bike.
    So, what exactly happened to the old bike?

    So much is repairable on a bike, whether it is a $50 bike or a $5000 bike.

    Certainly there is a point where it may be more expensive to repair an old bike than it is worth, but for me it raises a huge red flag when I read that a bike disintegrated after 2 weeks.

    Personally I'd learn to fix the old bike before rushing out to buy a new bike.

    I find the best deals are always on used bikes... and MTBs are a dime a dozen. That $400 might barely get you to the upper scale of the department store bikes, but not much more. On the used scene, with a little perseverance, that $400 could easily buy you a formerly $2000 bike, but it may need a good tuneup.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IKC View Post
    So as the title implies, i've started biking on my old department store bought bike, and of course, only managed to last a few weeks. It was fun riding it though, and am now looking for a new bike. The budget: $400
    Im steering towards either a mountain or hybrid bike, but as a complete novice I don't exactly know what will be worth buying, but from what i've seen and heard, anything is an upgrade from an old Wal-mart bike. I mainly plan on using the bike for commutes around town, but I don't really like the road bike style, plus in the future it would seem real fun to go down a trail, nothing extreme though, a dirt trail at most. I'll raise my budget later down the line if i become passionate about mountain biking or something and want to handle some of the more harder trails. Anyway, basically, im a 6ft dude looking around for a new bike and just seeing how it goes. Any advice on what I should be looking for or anything along those lines would be great. Im definitely not expecting some dual suspension hydraulic disc brake beast. Rim-brakes have more then enough stopping power for the riding ill be doing. Thx.
    Have you thought of ripping your derailers and shifters off and replacing them? If you look at any bike, cheep or expensive, they are just a frame and what is different is the components. For instance a big box store bike will have $20 Shimano shifters and $13 pedals. When you look at the more expensive bikes they have $50 Shimano shifters and $80 pedals.

    If you just replace your components you'll be able to get a killer bike for $400 since you won't be paying for a frame.
    I ride a Haibike FS RX electric mountain bike because it's not 1810 anymore.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlqGtBHaZbU

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    Quote Originally Posted by shopkins1995 View Post
    Have you thought of ripping your derailers and shifters off and replacing them? If you look at any bike, cheep or expensive, they are just a frame and what is different is the components. For instance a big box store bike will have $20 Shimano shifters and $13 pedals. When you look at the more expensive bikes they have $50 Shimano shifters and $80 pedals.

    If you just replace your components you'll be able to get a killer bike for $400 since you won't be paying for a frame.
    That is bad advice. First of all, frames can and do make a huge difference. If his old bike was a full suspension department store bike, then the frame is worthless. The suspension is useless, the frame is heavy, and they are weak.

    If it was a hardtail, it is most likely a high tensile steel frame. Heavy. Also, for a 6ft guy it is unlikely it fits properly. And the fork is probably a flexy, undampened pogo stick. Some have 1-inch steerers, so he won't be able to find a replacement.

    Then there are the wheels, a lot of them use a freewheel which will not allow to use a modern drive train. The tires that came with the bike are also likely to be heavy, hard rubber. Handlebar and seat post are, again, going to be very heavy and weak.

    With rare exceptions, upgrading a department store bike is simply not worth it. A common misconception among new riders is that the frame doesn't matter much, is all about the parts you hang from it. The reality is that the frame is crucial to the bike. From fit to handling, it can make you love or hate the bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FrozenK View Post
    That is bad advice. First of all, frames can and do make a huge difference. If his old bike was a full suspension department store bike, then the frame is worthless. The suspension is useless, the frame is heavy, and they are weak.

    If it was a hardtail, it is most likely a high tensile steel frame. Heavy. Also, for a 6ft guy it is unlikely it fits properly. And the fork is probably a flexy, undampened pogo stick. Some have 1-inch steerers, so he won't be able to find a replacement.

    Then there are the wheels, a lot of them use a freewheel which will not allow to use a modern drive train. The tires that came with the bike are also likely to be heavy, hard rubber. Handlebar and seat post are, again, going to be very heavy and weak.

    With rare exceptions, upgrading a department store bike is simply not worth it. A common misconception among new riders is that the frame doesn't matter much, is all about the parts you hang from it. The reality is that the frame is crucial to the bike. From fit to handling, it can make you love or hate the bike.
    I guess if he is looking to go pro, then yeah, the frame matters. I feel that he can make his existing bike TONS more functional then what he could compared to buying a $400 new bike. I have a $400 bike and it sucks. Why? Not because of the frame but because it has $13 dollar pedals and cheap Shimano shifters, etc. that make riding it suck. I would rather have $400 in parts on a steel frame then $50 in parts on an aluminum frame. But that is just me.
    I ride a Haibike FS RX electric mountain bike because it's not 1810 anymore.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlqGtBHaZbU

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    Quote Originally Posted by shopkins1995 View Post
    I guess if he is looking to go pro, then yeah, the frame matters. I feel that he can make his existing bike TONS more functional then what he could compared to buying a $400 new bike. I have a $400 bike and it sucks. Why? Not because of the frame but because it has $13 dollar pedals and cheap Shimano shifters, etc. that make riding it suck. I would rather have $400 in parts on a steel frame then $50 in parts on an aluminum frame. But that is just me.
    Number one, you completely ignored the fit issue. He is a tall guy, department store bikes come in one size which will not be a good fit for him.
    Number two, you ignored the fork issue. If you buy a new fork (assuming his bike has a headset which will allow for that) there goes the $400. And while a $400 bike won't come with a great fork, it will be better than what comes on a department store bike.

    Three, wheels. If he has a bike with a freewheel he will need to replace at least the rear wheel. Again, there goes the budget. His brakes probably suck, so that's more money.

    And this whole thing assumes that he has a hardtail, and that the headset is in good shape. And that he will swap all parts himself. Afree all that, he still ends (at best) with a low quality, ill fitting frame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FrozenK View Post
    Number one, you completely ignored the fit issue. He is a tall guy, department store bikes come in one size which will not be a good fit for him.
    Number two, you ignored the fork issue. If you buy a new fork (assuming his bike has a headset which will allow for that) there goes the $400. And while a $400 bike won't come with a great fork, it will be better than what comes on a department store bike.

    Three, wheels. If he has a bike with a freewheel he will need to replace at least the rear wheel. Again, there goes the budget. His brakes probably suck, so that's more money.

    And this whole thing assumes that he has a hardtail, and that the headset is in good shape. And that he will swap all parts himself. Afree all that, he still ends (at best) with a low quality, ill fitting frame.
    In that case he should buy a used bike from Craigslist for $100 and replace the parts with better parts.

    I took his post to mean that he's not looking for a monster DH bike. He's looking for a bike that handles OK and can maybe be taken off road some. The biggest thing that sucks about cheap bikes is the components suck, not the frame, fork, or shock. You go to shift and it doesn't shift or it shifts like BOOM CLACK and then your chain pops off.
    I ride a Haibike FS RX electric mountain bike because it's not 1810 anymore.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlqGtBHaZbU

  11. #11
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    A $400 bike from a shop will come with a functional drive train which will shift fine for many miles to come. And the overall package will be better than a Walmart bike with a fancy derailleur.

    Buying used is always a good option when you have a low budget.

  12. #12
    Moar cowbell dminor's Avatar
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    This is getting good . . . .

  13. #13
    Senior Member scoatw's Avatar
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    Let me mention giving Ebay a look. I've bought three bikes from there over the years. All were smooth transactions. One that I got was a Surly 1x1 for $350. At least it would give you some other bikes to look at and compare to Craiglist or something like that. But I wouldn't hesitate at all buying off of Ebay. You can get a good deal if you know what to look for. My 96 Turner Burner is a classic. I paid $500 for it three years ago. It is one bad ass mountain bike.
    Last edited by scoatw; 07-17-15 at 03:13 PM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member osco53's Avatar
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    OP,, try walking into your local bike shop and asking for help

    I know two with Motobecane's from bikes direct, they are happy with them.
    Save up to 60% off new Mountain Bikes - MTB - Full Suspension Gravity FSX 1.0
    Maybe overkill for what you want but both the riders and both bikes are holding up well on real Single track trails,(Intermediate Level),, But not Black Diamond trails,,

    Do try for disk brakes over rim brakes, they tend to actually work when wet and muddy....
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.” Mark Twain

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    If you are commuting, I'd reccommend I hybrid. It has all the familiar comforts, frame and setup of a mountain bike with road bike components such as thinner/bigger wheels and less weight. It's basically like riding a mountain bike, but with more comfort and speed on pavement. Look for a fitness hybrid type of bike

  16. #16
    Junior Member hig4s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IKC View Post
    So as the title implies, i've started biking on my old department store bought bike, and of course, only managed to last a few weeks. It was fun riding it though, and am now looking for a new bike. The budget: $400
    Im steering towards either a mountain or hybrid bike, but as a complete novice I don't exactly know what will be worth buying, but from what i've seen and heard, anything is an upgrade from an old Wal-mart bike. I mainly plan on using the bike for commutes around town, but I don't really like the road bike style, plus in the future it would seem real fun to go down a trail, nothing extreme though, a dirt trail at most. I'll raise my budget later down the line if i become passionate about mountain biking or something and want to handle some of the more harder trails. Anyway, basically, im a 6ft dude looking around for a new bike and just seeing how it goes. Any advice on what I should be looking for or anything along those lines would be great. Im definitely not expecting some dual suspension hydraulic disc brake beast. Rim-brakes have more then enough stopping power for the riding ill be doing. Thx.
    Go check out a Giant Sedona DX or Cypress DX They come if varied frame sizes list for $450 but most shops will discount to $400 Just bought my wife one last week. Sedona is a comfort bike with 26in mostly dirt multi-use tires and the Cypress has 29in mostly pavement multi-use tires.
    If you decide you want a more aggressive off road bike, check out the Giant ATX 27.5 Lists for $450 and comes with 100mm fork and disc brakes.

    And yes I have only mentioned Giant bikes because I feel at the entry level of quality bikes you get more for the money with Giant. If you are moving up, really know what you want, and have more to spend, then Trek, Specialized, Felt, Cannondale and several others have bikes hard to say anything but good things about.

  17. #17
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    I agree with hig4s about Giant, but I think you should look at the ATX mountain bike. It's got a 100mm travel fork, 27.5 wheels and disc brakes. You'll be fitted by the bike shop and you can rely on them if the bike needs repairs.
    As for your old bike, no don't upgrade it. If you want to learn about bikes, then repair it only to get it riding again. Your story about a Wally World bike breaking down after only a few weeks is not unique, especially if you took it on a mountain trail. I've been on rides with guys who brought them back in pieces and saw others break down on the trail. They're not rugged bikes in my opinion. Your plan to go with an LBS is the way to go. Craigslist is for experienced folks who know what to look for. Bikes Direct is OK if you know your size and how to fit yourself to a bike. When you're new to cycling, a good LBS is your friend.
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