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  1. #1
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    Is it possible to get a decent bike for under $200?

    Hi everyone! I'm new to cycling & this forum. I am a poor college student & can't afford a really nice bike right now. I would just be using it to ride on roads & possibly trails in a local park. I saw a Schwinn at Target that seemed promising but after reading some postings here I am beginning to think it might just be pure crap.

    Is it even possible to spend less than $200 & not get a pile of junk?

    Would getting a used bike be a better option?

    Thanks so much!

  2. #2
    The Kaiser
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    Go used for sure...and welcome to the forums

  3. #3
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    thanks alpe!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    The answer is a definite maybe....

    Target does carry a Schwinn bike with the model name "Ranger". It is a mountain-style bike, virtually identical to the bike store Schwinn with the model name "Frontier". The Ranger sells for around $140, but sometimes goes on sale down to about $120. The Frontier looks to sell for around $200 or so.

    Equipment on these Schwinn (Pacific Corp.) frames is low end, but at least name brand:
    Steel frame - reasonably neat welding and finishing / paint
    Aluminum wheels
    Suntour 3 gear crankset
    Shimano Tourney T40 (?) rear derailleur, 7 speed cassette, and front derailleur
    SRAM 3.0 gripshifters
    Tekro or ProMax brakes
    RST front fork suspension

    Much of the stuff you find at the other dept stores uses components that you have never heard of (and probably do not want to deal with when they break....).

    Remember, though, when you buy from a dept store, you are kind of on your own to get it properly assembled and running right. You might be lucky and find an employee that was properly trained, or you might not.... The extra $75 or so paid to the bike store is part of your insurance policy that it will be put together right, and that the frame size was chosen to properly fit your body.

    As mentioned above, the alternative is to buy used. While you can very well buy a lot more bike for less, you are also very much on your own to make it right. If you are handy, this is probably your best route.

    Steve

  5. #5
    The Other White Meat BroMax's Avatar
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    You don't say where you are; but in smaller cities in which the college constitutes an important portion of the population, you'll find good used bikes for sale. I was recently in Eugene, Oregon and it seemed every pawn shop had a fleet of bikes on display, probably from departing students who had too much outgoing freight to include them in the load. Also check the bulletin boards at school. You can get more bike (or more of most things) for less money if you buy used. You might want to make a friend or two who knows something about bikes who can help you check out your purchase candidates for deal-breaking or price-bargaining flaws.

  6. #6
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    Thanks so much Steve! That was so helpful

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BroMax
    You don't say where you are; but in smaller cities in which the college constitutes an important portion of the population, you'll find good used bikes for sale. I was recently in Eugene, Oregon and it seemed every pawn shop had a fleet of bikes on display, probably from departing students who had too much outgoing freight to include them in the load. Also check the bulletin boards at school. You can get more bike (or more of most things) for less money if you buy used. You might want to make a friend or two who knows something about bikes who can help you check out your purchase candidates for deal-breaking or price-bargaining flaws.
    I am in Athens, GA & go to UGA. Checking out pawn shops is actually a pretty good idea. I never would have thought of that. I will also check out the "for sale" bulletin board in the student center. Thanks so much for your help!

  8. #8
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    Look at the prices of some LBS for basic trail bikes such as this one for example:

    http://gorhambike.com/site/showitem....ory&Catalog=39

    (note: I have no connection to this shop. These are full retail prices, you could find previous year's at <$200.00)

    ...before you buy a dept store bike.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cycliste
    Look at the prices of some LBS for basic trail bikes such as this one for example:

    http://gorhambike.com/site/showitem....ory&Catalog=39

    (note: I have no connection to this shop. These are full retail prices, you could find previous year's at <$200.00)

    ...before you buy a dept store bike.
    Those prices aren't so bad! I could spend a little more than $200. Thanks so much Cycliste!

  10. #10
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    On a related note - how do you go about pricing a used bike? I'm considering selling a bike sometime in the future and am trying to figure out a way to price it. Any ideas? Tnx!

  11. #11
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    If you want a NEW bike for under $200, and want one that is tough and reliable, you have two choices.

    1. A one speed beach cruiser. Zero upkeep. Great for one or two mile rides in an area with no steep hills. Designed to fit guys who are between about 5 feet six inches and 5 feet eleven inches...."one size fits all".

    2. A "clearance" sale on entry level mountain bikes from Trek, Giant, or Specialized, etc. Many bike shops are currently clearing out the last of their 2005 mountain bikes at good discounts. Many stores have one or two models for $199.99, including assembly, set-up, and a free tune-up in thirty days. And, these bikes come in four or five sizes, so you can get exactly the size you need.

    A "basic" mountain bike is not really tough enough for a daily pounding on mountain trails. But, it is perfect for around town, around the campus, and the sorts of dirt trails you find in urban parks. A $200 bike from a good bike shop usually has the same warranty that comes with their $1,000 bikes, so you don't have to worry about paying for a broken part in six months.

  12. #12
    Senior Citizen DiRt DeViL's Avatar
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    A new quality bike is over $200, go used.
    "Life is not like a box of chocolates ...
    it's more like a jar of jalapenos.
    Whatever you do today,
    may burn your ass tomorrow."


  13. #13
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    I'd go used, too. Check out the local bike shops in Athens, they may have some used bikes on hand or can give you some advice on getting one. College kids are always selling their bikes, particularly the foreign students or the seniors. Or maybe you can find somebody hard up for Spring Break Cash that has a decent bike.

  14. #14
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    If you go for a used bike, get one that was decent quality when new. There is no point buying a low grade used bike.
    Get the right size with no obvious crash damage and no excessive transmission wear.
    For a utility bike, ensure that the bike can take medium size tyres , fenders and a rear luggage rack. There is no point getting a nice competition racer for hauling groceries.
    Major brands are usually good but there are lots of decent minor brands.
    Good pointers to quality include thicker, more intracately moulded steel parts where you fit the wheels (the dropouts).
    A sticker indicating the grade of material (chromly, butted, Reynolds, Columbus ...)
    Budget for possible replacement of overhaul + replacement of bits that wear out.
    I put together a very nice machine for that kind of budget.

  15. #15
    Member minolta7's Avatar
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    Garage sales are your friend. I once picked up a decent "vintage" Schwinn Peloton for $20.
    Man, Treks suck!

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