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Old 05-20-09, 09:32 AM   #1
lulubelle
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Raleigh Retroglide (Women's) Good Buy?

Hi. I'm wondering if anyone here can help me make a decision. :-)

I'm a middle-aged, overweight lady. I have recently pulled up from the basement an old Sears FreeSpirit (1985) to ride around the neighborhood with my 6 year old daughter. Right now we are just riding about a .75 mile loop, having to walk the big hill. She still has training wheels right now also.

Anyway, like riding with her; don't really like my current bike. Over a decade ago, I did get the sears bike "tuned up" by a LBS, so it's not in bad shape. (Maybe I need to replace tires...these look okay, but are more than 10 years old). There are just a few quirks about it I don't like. Some I might be able to fix, but it might also cost more than I'm willing to put into this particular bike. So I've been toying with the idea of a new bike.

Other than the neighborhood, which is asphalt road (and small potholes), we hope to later work our way up to a few of the bike trails. These would be mostly paved. I think there is one around a small park that is packed stone. I was planning to go out this weekend to see what I might find for around $400. But then in our our local company buy-sale bulletin board, I found someone selling a 2004 Raleigh Retroglide 7 for $150.

It seems in good shape. I will definately ride it to make sure I like and it fits. But I'm wondering if this is the right kind of bike for the riding I might be doing. I see it's sometimes called a 'beach cruiser'. So while it would be great for the paved trails (and they are all fairly flat), I'm not sure if it would be okay on the packed trail, and not sure about our lovey neighborhood roads (and hills).

Opinions on this bike, for my use? And is $150 a fair price for a 5 year old bike in good shape?


the other thing: I do have a raleigh sc40 that I keep at my parent's house (another state) and share with my dad. Now that my daughter is older, we think we might do a few paved, flat trails around their area. So I will need another bike there. So if the raleigh doesn't work out here, that's a possibility. still wondering on the price though, and if that's an okay bike.

thanks for any help.
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Old 05-20-09, 11:13 AM   #2
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It should handle the road/trail conditions you describe. $150 is a decent price, about half what it would cost new, and if it's in good-to-excellent shape and if it fits you. Ironically, your Raleigh SC40 retails new at the same price (~$329), but has a stronger rear wheel setup (hub/cassette vs freewheel).

You could easily sell your Sears FreeSpirit for $100-150 if you want to move it quickly. There is a market for that bike, esp the 10-speed model. The 3-speed FreeSprit Sheffield is pretty much bulletproof, just needs a better saddle and the North Road handlebars are very ergo before that term was invented.
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Old 05-20-09, 12:09 PM   #3
lulubelle
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thanks. I will go ahead and check out the used Raleigh.

To complicate the matter now, I went out this morning to the LBS. I figured it would be a good idea to know what was out there and what kind of fit I needed, before buying even the used bike. I ended up riding an Electra Townie. OMG. I don't think I've ever been on a bike that fit that well and seemed so fun. But I was looking at the Artist 21 speed model, so it was $479. A bit more than my original plan and certainly more than $150. but wow. :-)

I had no idea anyone other than Goodwill would be interested in my FreeSpirit. It's a women's model, 1985 Greenbriar, 10 speed. It's probably in good shape for what it is. I'm original owner and I've ridden it less than 25 miles in all these years. I said before I did have an LBS tune it up once. But I'm in Iowa. I figured if I tried to sell it, I would be pushing things to ask $50.
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Old 05-20-09, 01:56 PM   #4
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The crank forward design of the Electra Townie is very comfortable for those coming back to cycling, for those who aren't as flexible or have balance problems and want the both feet on the ground feature, or for those that want/need a more comfy riding position. Only drawback is if you need/want to stand on the pedals to get over a hill, but changing the cassette/freewheel to have one 'bailout gear' can allow you to spin up the hill.

As far as your Greenbriar, just ask '$150 or obo' and see what the market in your area is willing to pay. $50 could be your lowest acceptable bid. The bike sounds like it's in good shape and many are turning to cycling because of the gas prices and to do shopping or run errands. The women's step through design bike is ideal for grocery shopping...easy to balance the load AND get on/off your bike.

Whether or not you buy used or new, as long as you are enjoying the ride with your daughter and the bike is comfortable and does what you want it to, it's all good.
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Old 05-21-09, 11:53 AM   #5
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thanks so much for the opinions.

I did check out the raleigh today; wasn't for me. I didn't think it was in "excellent" shape, but mostly it just seemed too big/heavy.

I will be going out this weekend to look around. I think I see one of those townies in my future. :-) the 'flat foot' did make me feel very confident, and that's important when I have to keep track of the kid too. But the idea of standing up to get up the hill has got me thinking. I'm trying to picture sitting and going up a hill. hmmm.

thanks again.
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Old 05-21-09, 11:58 AM   #6
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Free Spirit stuff doesn't get much respect in the used market- you might do better to hang on to it if you can't get a good price in a sale.
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Old 05-23-09, 06:38 AM   #7
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Other models to try that have a similar feel to the Townie: Trek Pure or Giant Suede. They come in many choices of gearing. I can go up hills on my 7 speed Suede without standing (but I never did stand to go uphill on my 10-speed). I stand when I want to stretch out on one of my hour rides.

I think KHS has a pedals forward model like the Townie too - a Smoothie?
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Old 05-25-09, 09:05 AM   #8
lulubelle
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I haven't been about to find the giant suede or trek pure in my area to try out. I went to a large shop yesterday (on vacation out of state). Still didn't find the giant. The trek pure I saw was a single speed and a three wheel. Is that standard, or should there be a two wheel model? I tried out the townie again as this place had an incline to the large parking lot. was able to get up the "hill" no problem with a 7 speed. I still think I might want to get a 21 for my large hill. went to mapmyride website and put in our neighborhood loop. I'm looking at a 4% grade...if that means anything to anyone. :-)

there's another shop here I can try tomorrow. I know they carry giants also, so maybe I'll find a suede to try.
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Old 05-28-09, 08:49 PM   #9
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Other possibilities

Sun bicycles has a crank forward model called the Rover Sport that is a 21 speed and probably $100 cheaper than the Townie. Fuji also has a pedal forward called the Saratoga that is on par with the Townie.
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