Hello, nice to meet you all. I was wanting to know your opinions on which bike I should buy my girlfriend. Her birthday is in a couple of days and I want to buy her a new bike.
Due to my time constraints and money constraints ($200-$250; I do not have alot of money as I just finished grad school), I have found only three bikes: the Diamondback Outlook (2005), the Trek Navigator 50 (2005), and a Schwinn Solution FS (forgot which year, newer though).
She (and I) are novices and know little about bikes. I looked at the models' specs (could not find much on the Schwinn Solution) and noticed that the Trek is made of steel while the Outlook is Aluminum, which I would figure would be easier for her to load in her car. She would probably ride on streets and sometimes smoother trails.
Being as you state you are new and not familiar with different types of bikes yet, I'd point you in the direction of the nearest, best, bike shop. The shop will most likely be doing your repairs and maintenance, I'm guessing, so you want a good shop. A good shop can also help you get the right bike for your needs and assist you to make sure it "fits" and that you are getting what you need for the type of riding you will be doing. Hope this helps some.
Yes that does help. I am from a smaller city in MO and the owner of the local bike shop here did not seem to know his stuff very well (or at least wasn't very helpful when I asked questions). My girlfriend lives in St. Louis, so I'll probably just try to find a place there.
Anyone know of any good places there? Also, is REI a good place to go? Thanks for the replies.
I personally don't like Diamondbacks but it's got everything to do with the company customer service and very little to do with the actual bikes. At that price point I think you're better off shopping for a LBS. Once you find that let them help your girlfriend find a bike they sell at that price and make sure it fits her. Being a novice (certainly I can relate) the support, tune-ups, advice, and overall experience of the LBS is what will make or break you in this sport. A, they won't let her leave on something that doesn't work for her. And B, should you continue to grow within the sport they will become a trusted voice that can help you make decisions on not only what to go with next, but when/if you should go there. Bike shops in my limited experience can come off one of two ways. Either they're exclusively out to get your money, or they're out to help you realizing that by helping you it will get them your money. The latter is always the preference.
Now for more expensive bikes where there are greater differences model to model a bit more bike shopping may be in order, but at the entry level bikes, IMHO, the bike shop is where the bread and butter of the decision is made..