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Old 04-05-09, 08:21 PM   #1
J_Taylor
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Not sure what style bike to get

OK, here's the skinny:

I own a Target-bought 26" Schwinn Ranger. For being bought at a discount store, the bike has never given me trouble in the 5 years I've ridden it on deer trails and on paved bike paths in my community. Well, I decided that I needed a new ride, perhaps something better suited for cement paths more than dirt. I hastily told my coworker I would sell him my Schwinn for a few bucks so he could commute, freeing me up to find another ride (in hind sight, I probably just should have kept the Schwinn and saved the cash, but what are you going to do?)
My LBS directed me to a Cannondale Adventure 5 that I liked quite a bit, especially the upward stance and the 700c tires (better on pavement). I also tried an Electra Townie 21 that I REALLY liked (comfy ride, trigger-shifting Shimanos, stable ride, etc.) But the Townie was a bit pricey for me. So I looked around some sporting goods stores and found this :

http://trailblazersbike.com/itemdetails.cfm?LibID=52429

Would a Diamondback from Dick's Sporting Goods have a ghost of a chance of being set up correctly? It's a very simple bike (7-speeds) but fit well, and might work best for me. Are the components on the D'Back worth anything (Shimano Tourney's or something like that).

One more thought - I found a guy on CL selling a Giant OCR3 for $300 firm. It only has 30 miles on it, and is a 2004/05 model. Is this a good deal?

Loaded post, I know. Sorry about it being so scatter-brained! Usually I try to keep posts focused, but searching for a replacement bike has become somewhat daunting Any opinions welcome!
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Old 04-07-09, 12:44 AM   #2
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If you live in a flat area, the Kalamaar isn't a bad bike if it was set up and backed by a bike shop. I don't know about Dick's build and service quality.

Seriously, get the Townie. You may find it pricey, but worth it, especially with a good shop to back your purchase on it.
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Old 04-07-09, 04:16 PM   #3
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Thanks Diesel!

I was leaning heavily towards the Townie, since I really have no use for a mountain bike anymore. At first I thought it was a bike for 'old' people (I'm 27), but once I looked at it closely and rode it, I discovered it was a very classy bike that was really comfy to ride. Right now I'm waiting to see the outcome of an auction I'm bidding on for a Giant Suede DX (like the Townie), and if I lose that auction, I'll probably get the Electra (the Kalamar seemed like it was put together surprisingly well, but at only 7 speeds, my hilly neighborhood might kill me )

BTW - is it tough getting the Townie to fit on a car bike rack that fits on the trunk? The top bar is severely curved...

Thanks!
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Old 04-07-09, 05:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J_Taylor View Post
BTW - is it tough getting the Townie to fit on a car bike rack that fits on the trunk? The top bar is severely curved...
Not very hard with a men's frame, but you will need a top tube adapter for a women's frame. Watch out for your exhaust pipe.
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Old 04-08-09, 09:25 AM   #5
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I'd go for the Townie, too--in fact, I yearn for one, though I have an Atlantis and Rambouillet in the garage right now.
One correction, if I may, just to help you get your terms straight: You probably don't have a "26-inch" bike. Twenty-six inches is a huge frame, suitable for a rider 6'6" or above. You probably have a bike with 26-inch wheels, which is a different thing. Frame size, which is how most adult bikes are measured, is taken from the center of the bottom bracket (the "axle" where the crankarms mount) to the center or top of the top tube, or sometimes to the top of the seat tube. Knowing that will help you avoid confusion when you're looking at potential buys.
Also, re your concerns about seven speeds and hills: The number of gears isn't a worry in climbing. The only thing that matters is that you have one low gear suitable for your worst climb. Most seven-speed setups qualify--they'll have a big rear cog, with wider spacing than a nine- or 10-speed between that and the small cog. If you want to check, count the number of teeth on the largest rear gear. A 32 on a seven-speed gives you the same climbing ability as a 32 on a 10-speed.

Last edited by Velo Dog; 04-08-09 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 04-09-09, 11:55 AM   #6
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Velo Dog,

You're absolutely right - I misspoke. The wheels were 26" and although it wasn't marked, I believe the frame was ~ a 19". That Kalamar I looked DID have one large rear cog compared to the other cogs, so I'm assuming that this gear would have been that hill-climbing one you were speaking of. I'm curious: if the number of gears isn't especially relevant to hill-climbing, why do so many mountain bikes come as 21-speeds?
BTW, I won that auction for the 2006 Giant Suede DX 21-speed bike, so that's my new ride. The seller is having his LBS take it apart and ship it. Is this something I would competently be able to reassemble (I think I have the proper tools)? Both wheels are quick release, as is the seat post, but it sounds like the fork may be coming off too. I'm mostly concerned with tweaking the brakes and shifers than anything else - I've played with these components on other bikes, but it appears there is a real art to fine tuning them. Should I just pay to have my LBS put it together for me?
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Old 04-09-09, 12:46 PM   #7
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MTB's have the wide range because of the wide range of terrain they are designed to travel on. They don't need as big a top end gear because the bikes are not as optimized for speed as their road bike brethren. Alternatively, they frequently are on terrain that requires lower gears. The lowest gear will help determine how steep/difficult a trail you can handle. The gears in between will help keep you at a good cadence on everything in between. So you need that wide range to deal with the wide range of terrain.

Congrats on the new bike. Maybe consider trying to put it together yourself and then having it checked over by your LBS or a biking friend. If you lubricate all threads, don't cross thread, don't over-tighten and you should be fine. To get you started you'll probably need hex and box wrenches. If you like doing the bike maintenance, look for cone wrenches and bottom bracket tools next.

Since the bike is new to you, I'd lubricate where you can. Head, wheel and BB bearings (if they are not sealed). Chain and pedals (may not be possible on pedals, depending on make). Adjust brakes and gears. Whatever you can't do, have someone else take a look at. I'm not sure what kind of brakes this one has (coaster, V, disc, etc.), gears (internal, der.), shock (yes {oil, water, spring, elastomer, etc.**, no). Most things will likely be fine. It will be good to know what kind of shape they are in at the start so you can plan for future maintenance.
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Old 04-09-09, 05:35 PM   #8
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Well, I do own hex and box wrenches, so I'm probably good there. Are there special types of lubricants for the chain, the BB's, etc? I'm assuming I can't just spray most moving parts with WD-40 and call it good, right?

The brakes are not coaster style - it appears they are cantilever. I believe the shocks are also spring-coiled. The rear is an external SRAM 3.0 Plus derailleur, and the front is an external Suntour w/ 3 cogs. The cassette is a Shimano 12-32T, 7-speed.
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Old 04-09-09, 08:04 PM   #9
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Everything will likely be metric. Cone wrenches will let you work on the hubs.

There are bike specific lubes but you can use other lubricants. WD-40 is not a good lubricant. It will quickly wash out of parts. For bearings you want something with higher viscosity to stick to the bearings. There are all sorts of chain lubes and many proponents of all sorts of formulations. It is religion for some. For bearings, I've used bearing, lithium, Phil Wood, Trek, etc. Doesn't really matter from my experience, just as long as it is decent grease and you relube when needed.

For chains, I'd recommend getting something specific for bike chains. You'll have to decide between wet and dry lubes here. An oil of any type might be your simplest option here. Don't fret over it too much though. Good chain maintenance is probably one of the nicest things you can do for your wallet. It will prolong the life of the chain, chainrings, and cogs.

If you are up to it, I'd recommend taking off the pedals, seat post and other small bolts to lube the threads on them. It may prevent some part seizing in the future. If you do it, I'd have someone check that you got everything back together correctly and with the right amount of torque.

I would think the brakes aren't cantilevers, but probably V-brakes or linear pull. A minor distinction, they all work via cable pull.

You should have plenty of range with those gears.
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Old 04-14-09, 07:21 AM   #10
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One more thought - I found a guy on CL selling a Giant OCR3 for $300 firm. It only has 30 miles on it, and is a 2004/05 model. Is this a good deal?

$300 for a Giant OCR3 is a fair deal, but keep in mind that the OCR3 is a drop-bar road bike, not a comfort bike. While it has a fairly relaxed frame, you'll be far more bent over on the OCR3 than on a mountain or comfort bike. Now, I own and OCR3 and it's a wonderful bike for hitting the pavement, but just letting you know what you're getting into.
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Old 04-17-09, 09:03 PM   #11
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Helpful site for newbies

If you're just getting into biking or getting more serious about it, here's a helpful site with lots of good basic information - lots more than just what kind of bike to get (although it has that, too).

http://www.biketoledo.net/
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Old 04-18-09, 09:42 PM   #12
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Thanks for the link, rsbeach! I'll check it out!
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Old 04-19-09, 09:03 PM   #13
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Here's a good site for relative newbies - everything you need to know to keep from making expensive mistakes:

http://www.biketoledo.net
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