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  1. #1
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    Me & Hubby starting to Bike... help!

    My husband and I are looking at purchasing bikes to start recreational biking for now, then maybe getting into travelling throughout our province or neighboring ones. We don't intend to become extremely serious but think it is a good idea for fitness and traveling without the kids.

    We are thinking of getting the Schwinn 700c Merano's. Because we are buying 2 bikes, we don;t have a huge budget - they are currently on sale for $299CAD. Any comments on the bike, or tips on how to prepare to travel with a bike?

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    Any links to bike?
    See the touring forum for more info.
    You can tour on almost any kind of bike including entry-level hybids.
    Do ensure that the bikes fit you well and are properly adjusted. A local bike shop (LBS) will ensure that final assembly is good . A really good LBS will check the spoke tension to ensure a strong wheel.
    Maker sure the frame is equipped with threaded eyelets to mount a rear luggage rack + fenders.

  3. #3
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Go to a bike shop. A week after you buy it things will start to get out of whack.
    The bike shop will adjust it for free during the break in period.
    It is during this period most bikes get left in the garage.....
    Don't forget helmets, and bike shorts help. Expect your butt to be sore
    for a couple weeks, it goes away.

  4. #4
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    Definitely go to a bike shop and get fitted. Even a couple of ill fitted centimeters here and there, can add up to misery on a long bike ride. You can tour on just about anything, but a dedicated touring bike that has the ideal geometry and all the eyelets for racks & panniers, or a hybrid with thin slick tires is your best bet. Hybrids are pretty cheap and in the range you mentioned. New touring bikes may be out of your price range, but you can certainly go the used route and get an excellent bike for the prices you mentioned. The other thing to look for is a wide gearing range which touring bikes and most hybrids have. If you tour, you don't want to be expending a lot of energy going up hills in too high a gear. Having a triple in front and and a mega range cassette(as small as 11 teeth, and as large as 34 teeth, or something close to that) in back will really help conserve energy.


    Just looked up the Merano and they have both a suspension seatpost and a fork suspension. If you don't intend to go major offroading, I would do away with suspensions. They just sap the energy from each pedal stroke. Having hybrid tires and a good saddle is enough to keep the ride comfortable. Also, not sure where you are getting the bikes, but online they seem to be selling only two sizes. This can be a big problem if you don't happen to be one of the two sizes they are offering. Also, from the pictures online, I don't see anyway to put a water bottle cage on it.

  5. #5
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by New to Biking
    We are thinking of getting the Schwinn 700c Merano's. Because we are buying 2 bikes, we don;t have a huge budget - they are currently on sale for $299CAD. Any comments on the bike, or tips on how to prepare to travel with a bike?
    DON'T BUY SCHWINN MERANO. I just took a look at it: a comfort bike with front shocks and suspension seatpost isn't very well suited for touring. Steer clear of Canadian Tire, Walmart and the like in general. Go to a bike shop. For anything more serious than just noodling around the neighbourhood it's a superb investment (especially if you don't know very much about bike mechanics). (Where are you in Canada? If you're in or near Toronto I can give you pointers about good bike shops.)

    I think in this price range you should probably be looking for a hybrid bike from a reputable manufacturer

    Handlebars and seat should be at about the same height. If handlebars are much higher than the seat (as in Schwinn Merano), you'll seat very upright and go slowly; this sort of bike is for a lazy half-hour spin in the park, nothing more. If the handlebars are much lower than the seat, the position is very aerodynamic and aggressive, probably more aggressive and less comfy than what a semi-serious bike tourer wants.

    Avoid suspension unless you plan to do be riding off-pavement a lot. It just adds weight and saps your strength, especially the cheaper suspension found on cheaper bikes. If you will be doing a bunch of off-roading, maybe look for a mountain bike at a bike store (not Canadian Tire! Those aren't real mountain bikes!)

    Maybe a lower-end bike of the Trek FX series or something similar might work for you. Especially if you catch 'em on sale.

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    Merano vs Giant

    I did go to a bike shop and they had a Giant for $360 CAD. That bike had about the same components as the Merano. The Merano also comes with an adjustable handle bar so even though it looks high it can be adjusted. My husband liked the Merano better than the Giant, I liked the LBS but agreed that the Merano looked like it came with more. Arg! so confused. I still got the receipt!

    BTW I am in Nova Scotia - there are a few bike shops around, most of them in Halifax but I live a couple of hours from there.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    Almost anything over $200-$300 US is good to start with. Even a $20 US bike from a jumble store that takes $200 US to get in good working order. Just get started. Even just around the neighborhood. In 6 months to a year you two will be ready and fit for something better, or not. For a tour in your area I would like to go down the shore of the Bay of Fundy, watch the tides roar by a few times, take the high speed Cat ferry across to Maine, and back to your home. Do what is fun. Wait a while, maybe quite a while, before looking at a tandem. They can make or break a marriage.
    This space open

  8. #8
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    Test ride the Giants in different sizes to see how the comfort compares with the Merano. If there is no significant difference, be happy with your Merano. If you want to make the bike a bit easier rolling you could change the tires to ones 32 mm wide when the current ones wear out. A new saddle may improve comfort. I suspect the one on the Merano is too soft. A firmer one which carries your weight through your sit-bones would be more comfortable - this may cost $30. Get a few bike tools, since you are not close to a bike shop - you dont want to be stuck with them out of adjustment. A set of metric hex keys, spoke wrench, tire levers, patch kit and pump. Park Tool's and Sheldon Brown's websites will tell you all you need to know about using them.

  9. #9
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    The Meranos will get you started and that is important. however, if you really get into cycling and put a lot of miles on them, they may wear out in a year or two because they are entry level bikes, sold for casual riding.
    Last edited by cooker; 08-02-06 at 10:53 PM.

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    Just returned my Merano. I understand why everyone talks about LBS. The bike was not put together properly and the parts had a mind of their own. I am going to take my time and look for a better bike at a LBS where i will have support if I need adjustments.

  11. #11
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    A Trek FX can accept both fenders and racks in the front and rear, has the relaxed geometry of a hybrid, and has the gearing for climbing hills and touring. Maybe not as good as a dedicated tourer but a lot cheaper and can handle light trails. Specialized has something similar.

  12. #12
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    Um, I might be confused... I just googled "Schwinn Merano" again and the search seems to turn up a different bike than the first time I did it (this one actually looks a bit more suitable for touring).

    Quote Originally Posted by New to Biking
    I did go to a bike shop and they had a Giant for $360 CAD. That bike had about the same components as the Merano. The Merano also comes with an adjustable handle bar so even though it looks high it can be adjusted. My husband liked the Merano better than the Giant, I liked the LBS but agreed that the Merano looked like it came with more.
    Well, don't forget that with an LBS you get better assembly than with Walmart/Can. Tire and a lot of free service/adjustments. Many bike shops offer lifetime free tune-ups! If you pick a good bike shop, it will save you a lot of hassle and $$ in the long term.

  13. #13
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    whatever you do don't get a his-and-her set of bikes: same brand, color, model, etc. it looks ridiculous when you're together.

  14. #14
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by landrover4
    whatever you do don't get a his-and-her set of bikes: same brand, color, model, etc. it looks ridiculous when you're together.
    Actually it looks great to see a couple cycling together on any bikes including matching ones.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by landrover4
    whatever you do don't get a his-and-her set of bikes: same brand, color, model, etc. it looks ridiculous when you're together.
    What a STUPID thing for you to say. It doesn't look ridiculous at all, it's pretty cool. Are you in middle school or something? Go catch your bus man, you're going to be late for the sock hop.

  16. #16
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by landrover4
    whatever you do don't get a his-and-her set of bikes: same brand, color, model, etc. it looks ridiculous when you're together.
    Yes, but the poster is from Paris! Perhaps that is the rule in France? If so, do the opposite here in North America.

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