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Old 02-13-07, 05:20 PM   #1
lockmat
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Newbie needs help purchasing new bike

Hi!

I'm a total newbie to the whole bike world. I know how to ride one of course. I rode all the time as a kid.

But now I'm all grown, ahhh...I know And I want to find a bike that I can ride to work. I've done just a tiny bit of research on bikes. For instance, I found out there are more than just mountain bikes, bmx bikes and what I call "regular" bikes. I now know there are urban and commuter bikes.

I know many of you are bike riding junkies. I am not and don't ever intend to be, no offense. I just want to buy a bike that works and will do what I want it to.

This is what I think I want to do: I want to buy a mountain bike and mostly use it for commuting to work and back, and I don't want to pay a ton for it, so I'm more than willing to buy last years model or even the model from two or three years ago, as long as it's new or in very good condition.

The reason I want a mountain bike is so I can very occassionally take it on the trails, what kind whether rugged or causul, I don't know. I just want the option, and from what I gather, it's probably a good idea to go ahead and get the mountain bike so I indeed can have that option.

I don't know anything as far as brands, size of tires or anything. All I knew as a kid was that it had two wheels, a handle bar, seat and it took me where I wanted it to. I don't need to get all fancy if you haven't already gotten my drift.

So I'm humlby asking for help and suggestions.

I was considering just going to wal-mart, but was told that's probably not such a good idea.

So where should I go to buy a bike? REI was really expensive.
What are the best brands?

Any advice is very appreciated.

I know people here know their stuff.
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Old 02-13-07, 05:28 PM   #2
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I have a very nice Gary Fisher entry level mtb for sale- pm me if you want more info.

Otherwise, you would be wise to not get even a commuter/cruiser from a big box store.

And welcome to Bikeforums. You came to the right place!

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Old 02-13-07, 05:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockmat

The reason I want a mountain bike is so I can very occassionally take it on the trails, what kind whether rugged or causul, I don't know. I just want the option, and from what I gather, it's probably a good idea to go ahead and get the mountain bike so I indeed can have that option.
This is a helpful bit of info. To give you some ideas, perhaps you can give us the price range you are interested in staying with.
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Old 02-13-07, 05:58 PM   #4
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Soo many words, so little info!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lockmat
I was considering just going to wal-mart, but was told that's probably not such a good idea.
Correct, stay far far away from Wally Mart!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lockmat
So where should I go to buy a bike? REI was really expensive.
Go to your local bike shop (lbs), they will get you started.
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Old 02-13-07, 06:03 PM   #5
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Well. Being naive, I went to walmart thinking I could buy one for $100-$150 dollars. Then I went to REI and found out good bikes are expensive! But I don't intend to be a bike pro, so it's hard for me to justify spending that kind of money. However, I know in the end I'll probably have to pay a little more than I want to. The one thing I don't want is a biking fanatic to be unreasonable w/ me; which I don't think anyone here will be like. I want an adequate bike. At the same time, I don't want to be naive. So if I am, I welcome constructive criticism.

But if I can get a model that's a couple years old but still new or in very good condition, I'd like to pay no more than $250. I don't know if that's realistic or not. Maybe $300. Right now I pay about $120 a month on gas. I only live about 5-7 miles from work? It's a ten minute drive on city streets. So I know the bike will probably pay for itself.

Thanks for the help.

And if anyone has links to resources on how to pick out a good bike in addition to the wisdom I know I'll get here, I'd appreciate that as well.
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Old 02-13-07, 06:11 PM   #6
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$300 is really the minimum amount of money you can spend on a decent bike.

Go to your LBS and take a look around.
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Old 02-13-07, 07:24 PM   #7
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A bike shop with good people should be able to help you find what you need. You should be able to get a good bike to get you to work and back for that price. Beware......a lot of bike guys started out just wanting a decent bike for exercise/commuting/ect. The next thing you know you're hanging out in shops,speaking the lingo and wanting all kinds of cool,fun stuff.
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Old 02-14-07, 10:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnbiker66
Beware......a lot of bike guys started out just wanting a decent bike for exercise/commuting/ect. The next thing you know you're hanging out in shops,speaking the lingo and wanting all kinds of cool,fun stuff.
Maybe when money allows. For now, I can't let myself get there.

Everyone keeps telling me to go to my LBS. Any advice on how to tell if the guy is tryin to rip me off? And I've also been told to test ride bikes. What's the protocol for that? Can I just ride any one I want?

Thanks again for all the help y'all.
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Old 02-14-07, 10:53 AM   #9
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Any LBS that's been around for awhile is not going to try to rip you off - they WANT your repeat business. Tell them what you're looking for & how much you want to spend. Anything they have is test-rideable, and if it isn't, move on down the road to another shop. You will want to see how the bike fits you, and whether you are comfortable on it. You might get a good deal on an entry level 2006 model MTB, or you could also look at the hydrids - mostly road/commuter/comfort, with light trail (no drops!). A 2006 model that retails for @$500 should be marked down by now.

If you spend some time looking, and still can't find your pricepoint, look at used bikes. People buy bikes & move on to more expensive bikes, or lose interest. If you know someone who knows their MTBs, they can advise you on a used bike. Good luck!
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Old 02-14-07, 11:49 AM   #10
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I was in the same situation as you were starting out, lockmat; and I too suffered sticker-shock. I made some bad decisions to start out and learned some valuable lessons the hard way. You are on the right track asking here and you are getting some good advice. Good luck.

For what it's worth, Giant has some excellent entry-level values that may fill your needs. The Boulder lists for $240 and the Boulder SE is $290 and will be far more bike than X-mart fare.
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Old 02-14-07, 12:04 PM   #11
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Most shops around here have price tags clearly marked. Compare those against msrp on manufacturers websites, should give you a good indication if you're being taken for a ride or not.
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Old 02-14-07, 01:23 PM   #12
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at my local shop i think $269 is the lowest price MTB they have. it's a Trek 3700, i think the Steel Trek 820 might be the same price or maybe $249. those bikes would be ok for short to medium distance commutes and light trail riding. but they are fairly heavy and lower end components. lower end components need adjustment more often.

You could check out used bikes. I'd recommend going to your LBS and checking out the new bikes, test ride a few and get an idea of the type you like, and make note of their prices. if they are too much for you, find a used bike shop or check out garage sales, or craigslist.org for your area. My first bike was a $30 mtb i got from goodwill. I used it for commuting and a lot of trails for a year and it ran great.

I've since upgraded to a Trek 4500 but my $30 bike still runs great, all it has is an aftermarket seat, and the left shifter was replaced when i broke it trying to take it apart
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Old 02-14-07, 02:59 PM   #13
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Once again, more great adive. Thank you so much. I'm soaking it all in.

Now y'all say to test ride it to see if it's comfortable. My question is, how should comfortable feel? After all, what's comfortable for a few minutes might not be after 1/2 an hour or longer. Or is comfortable just whatever feels natural?

And thank you for your brand suggestions. What bike manufacureres would y'all say have the best entry-level bikes; top three for example?

Hope I'm not bugging y'all with too many questions. Y'all are just full of great information
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Old 02-14-07, 03:28 PM   #14
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Comfortable is when you feel like you are gliding over the clouds on the shoulders of gods.

just kidding. you are right it might feel comfortable for a few minutes but 45 minutes into a tough ride something might be really uncomfortable. basically just test ride as long as you can and try to imagine any pressure spots that might get sore after a while. try to see how your weight is balanced between the handlebars and the seat, how your legs feel, the angle of your neck and back etc... it will be tough being a newbie. mostly you just want to find a bike that's the closest to the right size. if you get the right size frame you can make it perfect with stems, bars, grips, saddles, seatposts etc...

When i was test riding bikes they all felt about the same except Gary Fishers. I tried many sizes of GFs and just hated them all. Which sucks because I thought they looked cool.

Add: some of our LBSs here make you just go around the block and come right back, and they stand outside and watch you. other LBSs just say have it back within an hour because they don't want to build up miles. some have a short singletrack trail around the store to see what it would feel like on dirt too.
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Old 02-14-07, 04:24 PM   #15
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Check out Giant,Specialized,and Trek for entry level bikes. I know a few kids that ride the entry level Giants and they have held up great. You might also look a KHS.
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Old 02-14-07, 04:46 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnbiker66
Check out Giant,Specialized,and Trek for entry level bikes. I know a few kids that ride the entry level Giants and they have held up great. You might also look a KHS.
All those bikes suck.. big time!
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Old 02-14-07, 05:02 PM   #17
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All those bikes suck.. big time!
Thanks for the info, but how am I to believe you unless you give some "good" ones of your own. That'd probably be more helpful.
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Old 02-14-07, 05:56 PM   #18
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Thanks for the info, but how am I to believe you unless you give some "good" ones of your own. That'd probably be more helpful.
sorry thats an old joke that mtnbiker66 won't give up. Anyway they are fine, but of the three go with specialized, because giant and trek really do suck.
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Old 02-14-07, 06:48 PM   #19
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Quote:
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....... because giant and trek really do suck.
Why?
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Old 02-14-07, 07:08 PM   #20
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obviously specailized.....
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Old 02-15-07, 03:44 AM   #21
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What makes a mountain bike a mountain bike??

Fundamentally, isn't it mainly the geometry and tires as well as structural soundness. If you look at all the refinements that have been added, by what margin does each thing improve the bike?

I absolutely love suspension and disk brakes, but not as much as my Shimano Clipless pedals and Panaracer dual composite tires, which are where the performance really comes from.

Over time the standard of components goes though different levels, so manufacturers can continue to sell new products. The only reason why we see $3000+ bikes is because people are willing to pay for the latest gadgets as well as replacing every ounce of steel and aluminum with carbon fiber.

On the other hand, we should probably stop for a second and see where all of this fancy stuff has taken us. There are tons of old school steel-framed bikes floating around on Craigslist for probably less than $100 simply because people don’t think they’re any good. Now, if you take something like an old Trek or Specialized, lube everything up really well and put good offroad tires on it as well as clipless pedals, I think most of us might be amazed at what simplicity can still do.

What I think you should do is try to find an older used model that's been well taken care of. For your commutes, put street tires on it. If you ever want to do off road riding, simply change the tires. Also, try to learn how to use clipless pedals.
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Old 02-15-07, 07:45 AM   #22
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My .02 cents...I ride a REI Novara Bonanza,yes it cost more than I wanted to spend but after two years and a couple of upgrades (I off road tour with a BoB Tralier) I love it. and one can't beat REI's return policy. IMHO it was worth living on ramen and cheap coffee for a coupla months. and I looked all over Boston at used,new,ebay,craigslist before getting it. at 120 a month in gas how long before it pays for itself?
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Old 02-15-07, 10:27 AM   #23
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My .02 cents...I ride a REI Novara Bonanza,yes it cost more than I wanted to spend but after two years and a couple of upgrades (I off road tour with a BoB Tralier) I love it. and one can't beat REI's return policy. IMHO it was worth living on ramen and cheap coffee for a coupla months. and I looked all over Boston at used,new,ebay,craigslist before getting it. at 120 a month in gas how long before it pays for itself?
I'm not impressed with the service dept at every REI but I have to second Figment on their return policy. Go to any scratch-and-dent sale at an REI and look at what they allow to get beat-to-crap and then returned and it's amazing.
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Old 02-15-07, 11:21 AM   #24
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Quote:
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I'm not impressed with the service dept at every REI but I have to second Figment on their return policy. Go to any scratch-and-dent sale at an REI and look at what they allow to get beat-to-crap and then returned and it's amazing.
I agree when I got mine it took a week or two to get everything setteled in,but I do 90 percent of my own work so it wasn't a prob. you would think a place like REI would do a better job of assembly
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Old 02-20-07, 02:16 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uphillbiker
What makes a mountain bike a mountain bike??

Fundamentally, isn't it mainly the geometry and tires as well as structural soundness. If you look at all the refinements that have been added, by what margin does each thing improve the bike?

I absolutely love suspension and disk brakes, but not as much as my Shimano Clipless pedals and Panaracer dual composite tires, which are where the performance really comes from.

Over time the standard of components goes though different levels, so manufacturers can continue to sell new products. The only reason why we see $3000+ bikes is because people are willing to pay for the latest gadgets as well as replacing every ounce of steel and aluminum with carbon fiber.

On the other hand, we should probably stop for a second and see where all of this fancy stuff has taken us. There are tons of old school steel-framed bikes floating around on Craigslist for probably less than $100 simply because people don’t think they’re any good. Now, if you take something like an old Trek or Specialized, lube everything up really well and put good offroad tires on it as well as clipless pedals, I think most of us might be amazed at what simplicity can still do.

What I think you should do is try to find an older used model that's been well taken care of. For your commutes, put street tires on it. If you ever want to do off road riding, simply change the tires. Also, try to learn how to use clipless pedals.
Would everyone second this???
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