After looking around for a few weeks at bikes that were way over my budget ($150 maximum for the bike, as I need a helmet and bike rack as well, and I'm poor : ( ) I finally picked up an inexpensive, very used and abused, but in still great working condition bike.
Pics of the bike, along with the text below, can be found here: http://www.sixstringtheory.com/blogger/blogger.html
I'd upload the pics here but they're too big.
I purchased the Bridgestone BM-6 used off of craigslist. It's a great bike but has really been used over the years. Heck, there's even a registration sticker for the University of Colorado (Boulder) on it. I'm just outside of Philadelphia : ) So this thing has seen some miles on it I'm sure. It has some surface rust on some parts of the frame and if after a few weeks I still enjoy the bike as much as I have so far, I'll perhaps clean it up and paint the frame.
I took it on a 5 mile ride yesterday afternoon after buying it and driving it home. It rode very smoothly, though apparently bikes have changed over the years because I need an instruction manual for the gear shifting : ( It has two levers and I have no clue what the second one is for. It is supposed to be an 18-speed bike.
The seller kept raving about the quality of the components on the bike. I snapped pics of the bike and components. I'm very interested in going to a bike shop soon and seeing how much the new bikes there weigh, because I remember most of the ones in the under $400 price range being rather heavy that I tried before deciding to buy used and cheap. I expected this bike to be pretty heavy, being as it has a chro-moly frame. But it is quite light. Surprisingly light - perhaps the components are the reason? It looks like a lot of the bike's parts have been changed out. It has a Diamondback part on it - the part that goes between the frame and the handlebars has a diamondback brand on it. The seat is an "Avocet" seat and is fairly comfortable. It has a rack on the back made by a company called Blackburn. Here is the parts breakdown:
Bridgestone BM-6 frame
Brakes: Dia Compe XCM
Derailleurs, front and back: Suntour XCM
Shifters (thumb) (2): on the right-hand side one it says "Suntour Power Control" and on the left-hand side it is labelled "Accushift Plus Lite, Suntour Lite Operation" (after re-reading this, I may have gotten the sides that these shifters were on backwards)
The crankshaft/pedals assembly is labelled: Sugino XM
The piece that couples the frame and the handlebars is labelled Diamondback.
Blackburn MTN rack
There are no markings on the wheels but they look like aluminum/lightweight
I forgot to look at the tires but they are almost new, knobby tires.
The handlebars are really beat up and rusty and the rubber handles themselves are really "sticky" and "squishy" - they're so soft they're probably too comfortable : ) But black rubber bits come off them when you sweat, so they need replacing for sure.
The seller threw in some pannier bags that fit the rack, an extra inner tube, and a chain and lock set. I'm very pleased with it for $100 total. He had a nice Cannondale that he rides sitting next to this one when I went to check this bike out. If I'm still enjoying the bike come next spring, I'll look into upgrading to something new of course, but I'm happy with this bike to start out with. I'm overweight but am in pretty good shape, exercise-wise, since I've been working out and losing a lot of weight over the past 3 months. I was very surprised at the lower-body workout this thing gave me during that 6 mile ride around a half-uphill/half-downhill track : )
So now it's time to learn what that second thumb-shifter is for so I can start using it properly : )