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  1. #1
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    First bike in a long time... questions?

    Hello all,

    Looking to get a bike for the first time since I got my driver's license way back when. Don't have an unlimited budget, and am looking to get a recreational bike that I could someday use for charity rides & possible commuting.

    I'm torn between going to the LBS to get a decent hybrid/cross bike in the <$500 category, or possibly buying an older frame and upgrading it. I have a line on an early-80's Trek 600-series bike for around $50 or so. Appears to be be in decent condition, needs new tires & tubes. I'm interested in learning about bike maintenance, and thought that buying a used bike and upgrading it would be a good learning experience. However, I'd also like to start biking soon, and I know nothing about bike maintenance right now, and don't want to bite off more than I can chew.

    Any recommendations? I tried a comfort bike and the combination of shocks in the fork & seatpost made the ride feel pretty squishy to me, so I'm looking for a solid fork & seatpost. Doesn't seem to be too much out there that fits that category in my price range, from what I can see. Would like something that will accept fairly big tires (I'm 6'2" and ~260 lbs), as well as fenders & racks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Houston, TX 77095
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    Specialized Sequoia Elite, Schwinn Frontier FS MTB, Centurion LeMans (1986)
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    Go for the $50 bike ! Should be a fun project. If it's otherwise in good shape, once you swap out tires, tubes, and lube the chain, it should at least run.

  3. #3
    But Getting Smaller Bigmark's Avatar
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    May 2005
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    Yep I would build one, you would be way under $500, and there would be no compromise.
    I bought mine because I couldn’t find a deal like a $50 frame.
    ~~"Get on your bikes and ride!"~~
    Working to be JustMark

  4. #4
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
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    Milwaukee, WI
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    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400
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    I've bought a few bikes in the last couple years, mostly hybrids. I really like my Raleigh C500 hybrid. I have done some minor mods. Thinner road tires as that is mostly what I ride, It has an adjustable fork that I have cranked as tight as it goes. I also removed the suspension seat post and replaced it with a solid, mostly cuz I needed a longer one. I also bought a thinner harder seat. The suspension fork is nice on our Northern beat up roads. If you buy get the highest grade you can afford as the components will be better. Most bikes in this price range are pretty similiarly equipped and final choice can come down to price and local service. Most bike shops will let you swap items out like getting changing the seatpost. We had them change out the twist grip shifters to trigger on my sons Trek7100 for $10 labor. You may want to look at the Trek FX series of hybrids, they don't have suspensions. Buy a new bike AND the $50 old one and take your time building it while you ride the new bike now (I know how short the season is in MN). the extra time will let you shop for better components cheaper, let you ride some now to find out what it is you want out of a bike, and let you practice maintaining on a beater. Also figure on another $100 in accessories if you plan to commute, racks, lights, computer etc. This would not need to be right away. I bought and furnished my Raleigh on ebay over the winter after my last commuter was stolen. I have about $500 into a $700 value.

  5. #5
    Newbie
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    Thanks everyone for their replies. I will take a look at the old frame and see how it feels to me. A little worried about the geometry/fit, since I haven't ridden a road bike since my teens, and my personal geometry has changed a lot since then.

    I might very well get the old frame to mess around with and still look at buying a new bike to ride right away. The old Trek is a 10-speed, and I'd like to have more gears available to me eventually. Sounds like I would need to get the rear frame spread a bit to accept a freewheel/cassette with more gearings on it. Anyone have a rough estimate of the cost for that?

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