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  1. #1
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    Help buying a bike

    OK...I have been a member of other non-bike related forums, so I am sure this question has been asked over a thousand times...

    We are looking to get bikes for the family. I haven't ridden a bike since a Schwinn 10-speed was the latest and greatest. I don't like the look and feel of the "comfort" bikes. I want a bike that I can ride for fitness, recreation, bike trails, and light off-road. I am not going to be scaling or descending rocky cliffs. I don't like the Trek 7100, but I do like something closer to the Trek 7300FX. I also like the looks and specs of the Gary Fisher Tiburon and Zebrano.

    I don't want to spend a lot for a first bike. I would love to find the above mentioned bikes used, but I haven't found anything through normal resources I use for used stuff.

    I am confused by the use of a front-fork suspension. Does this really make a difference? I was a little confused by the 26" vs. 700 tire, but I just read another post on this forum that I think cleared that up.

    I saw a Schwinn Ranger at Target for $140. Is it better to get a used "nice" bike from a shop or third-party or go with something like this for a first go-around?

    Any advice, recommendations, offers to sell a used bike like the above-mentioned would be greatly appreciated!

    Any links to previous posts are also welcome.

    Thank you!

    Chip

  2. #2
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwemely
    OK...I have been a member of other non-bike related forums, so I am sure this question has been asked over a thousand times...

    We are looking to get bikes for the family. I haven't ridden a bike since a Schwinn 10-speed was the latest and greatest. I don't like the look and feel of the "comfort" bikes. I want a bike that I can ride for fitness, recreation, bike trails, and light off-road. I am not going to be scaling or descending rocky cliffs. I don't like the Trek 7100, but I do like something closer to the Trek 7300FX. I also like the looks and specs of the Gary Fisher Tiburon and Zebrano.

    I don't want to spend a lot for a first bike. I would love to find the above mentioned bikes used, but I haven't found anything through normal resources I use for used stuff.

    I am confused by the use of a front-fork suspension. Does this really make a difference? I was a little confused by the 26" vs. 700 tire, but I just read another post on this forum that I think cleared that up.

    I saw a Schwinn Ranger at Target for $140. Is it better to get a used "nice" bike from a shop or third-party or go with something like this for a first go-around?

    Any advice, recommendations, offers to sell a used bike like the above-mentioned would be greatly appreciated!

    Any links to previous posts are also welcome.

    Thank you!

    Chip
    You really don't want to get a bike from Target or Wally World. I've heard that the average lifetime distance of those kinds of bikes are 2.8 miles. They are heavy, poorly constructed and have poor components. In general they are a pain to keep going, so they usually get parked and never used again.

    Go to a bike shop. It's your best bet. As for models, look at the mountain bike side of the line rather than the hybrids. You can use a mountain bike for everything a hybrid will do but the reverse isn't true. The Trek 3700 is an okay bike. Not the best but not as much of a dog as most x-mart bikes are. It cost a bit more ($290) but you are more likely to ride it since it will have been put together by someone who knows what they are doing rather than a clerk who happened to get the short straw. Plus you can take it back to the shop if something goes wrong.

    As for used bikes, beware! If you don't know what you are doing you can end up with someone elses junk. Find someone who knows bikes if you are going that route to help inspect it. You can find all kinds of used bikes in your area on Craigs list, but like I said be careful.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    Go to a bike shop. It's your best bet. As for models, look at the mountain bike side of the line rather than the hybrids. You can use a mountain bike for everything a hybrid will do but the reverse isn't true.
    I would not quite agree with the above statement. A mountain bike is overkill on asphalt. For that matter it is overkill on your standard bike trail. The benefit of the mountain bike is that the tires can easily take potholes, jumping off the kerb, etc. However it will be heavy, with a lot of rolling resistance.

    A hybrid is ideal if you never go beyond paved surfaces, or bike trails. I've owned a hybrid in the past (an Indian licensed version of an English BSA Sport Light Roadster) and at present (A Raleigh C200). Extremely comfortable ride, and light. The tires are thin, but not as thin as a road bike.

    Whatever you do, don't buy from a mass market store (*-Mart, Target, etc). (I bought a $59 Roadmaster, but its primary purpose is rough riding, and teaching myself bicycle repair. I would not worry if I either lost it, or it got damaged). The assembly is dreadfully poor, and the parts (even on a "Schwinn") tend to be rather cheap. You'll spend a lot in labor and parts to keep it running well. And treat mass-market "suspension" MTBs like the plague.

    Pretty much any "real" brand will carry a quality bike, whether hybrid or mtb. Check with your local bike store, or your local bike guru. Don't buy the least expensive bike. One or two levels of upgrade get you a lot of bang for the buck.

  4. #4
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jvenugop
    I would not quite agree with the above statement. A mountain bike is overkill on asphalt. For that matter it is overkill on your standard bike trail. The benefit of the mountain bike is that the tires can easily take potholes, jumping off the kerb, etc. However it will be heavy, with a lot of rolling resistance.

    A hybrid is ideal if you never go beyond paved surfaces, or bike trails. I've owned a hybrid in the past (an Indian licensed version of an English BSA Sport Light Roadster) and at present (A Raleigh C200). Extremely comfortable ride, and light. The tires are thin, but not as thin as a road bike.
    The main benefit of a mountain bike is that it opens your horizons. I ride a mountain bike to and from work about half of the time, about 50 or 60 times a year. I even ride it with full knobbies since I like to take it on local trails on the way. I find only about a 2mph difference in my average speed from my road bike. Plus it's a lot more fun! You don't have to scale or descend cliffs to enjoy a mountain bike. In fact, I like using a mountain bike to explore dirt roads and see historic places far more then I like single track. Mountain bikes can be as extreme or mellow as you make them.

    You can take a mountain bike on single track trails and dirt roads which would be harder to do on a hybrid. Change the tires and you have a road worthy bike. Change them back and you have an adventure machine.

    Hybrids are okay but their limitations far out weigh their benefit.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

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    OK...Now I am little more confused.

    I road a Gary Fisher Tiburon last night. I also like the look of the Trek 7200FX. I see that mountain bikes are less expensive, like the Gary Fisher Mako is under $250.

    I definitely don't want comfort so it is either a hybrid like the bikes mentioned above or a mountain bike. Then only difference I can see is wheel/tire size and a slight difference in the frame. Is this true?

    From where I am looking, Trek or another large bike company should produce a low-end hybrid costing no more than $250 with lower end Shimano parts. This would attract riders like myself who are just starting out. I don't understand why I can by a comfort hybrid or a mountain bike for around $250 but as soon as we call it a hybrid the price starts at $330.

    I am thinking about the mountain bike advice that cyccommute gave.

    Other thoughts? Any trustworthy have a used 7200FX they want to sell to make way for a 7700FX?

  6. #6
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    Also,

    Can anyone give me more info on differences between the 7200 FX and 820 Treks and the Gary Fisher Tiburon versus Tarpon or Mako?

    Thanks!

  7. #7
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwemely
    OK...Now I am little more confused.

    I road a Gary Fisher Tiburon last night. I also like the look of the Trek 7200FX. I see that mountain bikes are less expensive, like the Gary Fisher Mako is under $250.

    I definitely don't want comfort so it is either a hybrid like the bikes mentioned above or a mountain bike. Then only difference I can see is wheel/tire size and a slight difference in the frame. Is this true?

    From where I am looking, Trek or another large bike company should produce a low-end hybrid costing no more than $250 with lower end Shimano parts. This would attract riders like myself who are just starting out. I don't understand why I can by a comfort hybrid or a mountain bike for around $250 but as soon as we call it a hybrid the price starts at $330.

    I am thinking about the mountain bike advice that cyccommute gave.

    Other thoughts? Any trustworthy have a used 7200FX they want to sell to make way for a 7700FX?
    It's a matter of volume. I'd guess that mountain bikes out sell hybrids so the bicycle companies don't want to make that many low end hybrids. For the most part people buy either a mountain bike if they want to ride off-road or a road bike if they want to ride on the road. That's what I've done. I, personally, don't see the point of hybrids since they don't seem to be able to do either road or off-road riding that well. Trust me, I've been on mountain bike rides where someone came with a hybrid and it wasn't pretty. We convinced her to ditch the hybrid and she could be happier!

    That said, if you can go a little higher in price than the bottom for a mountain bike. The more money you pay, the better the bike. There is a point where improvement becomes smaller for each dollar invested but you don't hit that point until you go over $1200.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

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