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Old 09-12-04, 05:46 PM   #1
oshelef
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Help me choose a bike. Relatively cheap. Hybrid?

Hi all,

I'm looking to get a bicycle for pretty much general purpose/fitness/transportation (in that order) use. Right now I forsee mostly paved surface riding, although situations can change. I'll be moving in a year to another (as yet unidentified) part of the country, which may have more unpaved riding.

I'm also not looking to spend a lot of money. so I have the following questions:

1)I'm thinking of a hybrid sort of bike. Does this make sense? Or would a basic mountain bike also serve well? (I don't want a basic road bike, I'm not comfortable in that stance, etc...)

2)Am I better off with 26inch or "700" wheels?

3)I was looking today and I saw some different choices.... (with approximate prices)
Giant Sedona ($260)
Giant Cypress (don't remember, at least $260)
Mongoose Switchback ($180)
Fuji crosstown ($200)
GT timberline (I think) $260
target random bike (huffy?) $60

any suggestions? I think I'm leaning to the Fuji Crosstown, but I'm not really sure if that is the best fit for my needs. Or am I better off with a huffy until I see if I actually use it?

4) if I were to get 26inch, I understand that I would probably want a slick tire, but most at the base model come with fairly mobby tires. Is this a big deal? Should I wait for these to wear out and then get slick ones, or pay extra to get them upfront?

5)It seems that for each bicycle with models (e.g. Giant Sedona, DX, LX, etc...) that for an occasional biker, there is little benefit to the "upgrades" over the base. The sales people don't seem to convince me that they are worth the extra cost for "better" components. How are they better? Am I right that I probably don't need them?

Any other advice is also appreciated.

Thanks,

Orie
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Old 09-12-04, 06:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Hi all,

I'm looking to get a bicycle for pretty much general purpose/fitness/transportation (in that order) use. Right now I forsee mostly paved surface riding, although situations can change. I'll be moving in a year to another (as yet unidentified) part of the country, which may have more unpaved riding.

I'm also not looking to spend a lot of money. so I have the following questions:

1)I'm thinking of a hybrid sort of bike. Does this make sense? Or would a basic mountain bike also serve well? (I don't want a basic road bike, I'm not comfortable in that stance, etc...)
A basic mtn bike will likely serve you well. A hybrid might be a bit lighter, and the 700 wheels a bit faster, but you are sitting upright with a bit more wind resistance. Either will do fine. Be sure they fit you correctly.


How do you know you are not comfortable in a road bike stance?

You might consider a recumbent.


Quote:
2)Am I better off with 26inch or "700" wheels? ?

Both will work fine for your purposes. If you really think you might be moving to more unpaved roads, then you might want to consider the 26" - put some slicks on the 26ers (1.5x26) and it will do fine.


Quote:
3)I was looking today and I saw some different choices.... (with approximate prices)
Giant Sedona ($260)
Giant Cypress (don't remember, at least $260)
Mongoose Switchback ($180)
Fuji crosstown ($200)
GT timberline (I think) $260
target random bike (huffy?) $60

any suggestions? I think I'm leaning to the Fuji Crosstown, but I'm not really sure if that is the best fit for my needs. Or am I better off with a huffy until I see if I actually use it?

No, do not get the Huffy and mixed messages on the Mongoose. Some believe the Mongoos quality has gone down as they have become a *Mart seller. All the others should be fine.

Please consider a Specialized HardRock. These are fantastic bikes that go forever. A little bit more $$, but well worth it.


Quote:
4) if I were to get 26inch, I understand that I would probably want a slick tire, but most at the base model come with fairly mobby tires. Is this a big deal? Should I wait for these to wear out and then get slick ones, or pay extra to get them upfront?

Ask your dealer to credit you for the knobbies when he puts the slicks on new. Shouldn't cost much more. Unless you are doing serious mtn biking, you don't need knobbies.


Quote:
5)It seems that for each bicycle with models (e.g. Giant Sedona, DX, LX, etc...) that for an occasional biker, there is little benefit to the "upgrades" over the base. The sales people don't seem to convince me that they are worth the extra cost for "better" components. How are they better? Am I right that I probably don't need them?

You should be fine with a good bike from a dealer.



Quote:
Any other advice is also appreciated.
It won't be long before you are tired of being passed by folks on road bikes, and you will want to upgrade (at least that is what happened to me!) to a road bike. But, wait your time and see where your riding takes you. It is great to get started on a basic bike. Spend about $300 for the bike rather than short changing yourself.

And, no, you don't want or need any upgrades at this time.

Good luck and enjoy your riding.
Thanks,

Orie
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Old 09-12-04, 08:10 PM   #3
oshelef
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Thanks for your response. If anyone else has addtional advice, I would appreciate it.

A couple follow-up questions:
re: Road bike. Its a combination of the stance, the visiability, etc... I'm looking rihgt now for a more recreational purpose, but I expect to need it in an urban area with many pedistrians (e.g. college campus). To use a road bike in such an enviornment requies more skill than I have.

So the answer in regards to the wheels, is either. Is it possible to put slightly knobbie tires in the 700s if I find myself using those?

Not to push, what makes these dealer bikes better than the *mart bikes?
Re: mongoose, the dealer said the Giant was a better bike, but it also makes him an extra $100. What makes one better than the other?

Are the basic bikes by these companies (giant, gt, specialized, etc...) essentially the same, or are there serious differences? Or does it all come down to fit?

Any good guides on how a bike of this sort should fit?

Thanks,

Orie
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Old 09-12-04, 09:05 PM   #4
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*mart bikes tend to be heavy, one size fits all, and the components are of cheap materials and high tolerance manufacture. The components and size are the kickers. Size because if the bike is the wrong size, you won't be as comfortable as you could be riding it, and it could actually be enough of a difference to cause injury depending on how far from "average" you are in size. The components won't shift smoothly over time, and are likely to fail you at the most inopportune time. All of that adds up to a person not wanting to ride very much. If the bike shop could make money selling cheap bikes, they might do it...but many shops offer life time adjustments, and sometimes even lifetime warrentees, so in the long wrong, they would lose money. Selling quality always makes you more money in the long run.

It sounds to me like you might want to look at a variety of hybrid and comfort bikes. They will have a more upright riding position and come with tires that are wider and semi-knobby depending on what you get. They can range from almost cruiser styles to what are basically road bikes with a mountain bike like riding position (like the Specialized Sirrus) so you should be able to find something that works for you.

As far as knobbies on 700s..not likely. The frames and forks tend to be pretty narrow which wouldn't allow it even if you could find some.
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Old 09-13-04, 08:30 PM   #5
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It took me a while to figure out when *mart meant but I got it!

For anyone considering buying a *mart (or big box store) bike:

A couple of years ago I purchased a cheap (notice I did not inexpensive) *mart bike. I live in Northern California. I wanted a bike to keep at my brother's house in Southern California that I could ride during my regular visits there.

I went to several *marts and tried bikes. The *mart I purchased from (rhymes with Farget) would not let me take the bike into the parking lost to try it out (ridiculous) so I tried all of the bikes in the model I was interested in by riding them around the isles in the back of the store, and I bought the one that seemed to ride the best. I asked the kid who was working there if I could return the bike if I did not like it and he said "yes" so I figured I was safe. I knew it was not great quality, but I thought it would serve the intended purpose. It was half the price of the LBS bike, and I was cash strapped.

Luckily I can do most types of bike adjustments because I spent 2 hours tweaking the bike to get it to ride properly. One of the tires rubbed against the frame. the derailers were not adjusted properly, brakes, etc. I rode the bike for a couple of days and realized it was just junk so I tool it back. I told the clerk at the return desk that I was told that I could return the bike. Luckily my brother remembered the guy's name who told me that because the store does not allow bike returns! So they don't let you test ride the bike and they won't take it back if you don't like it. To me that meant that they know they were selling junk. I had to speak with the store manager who was not pleased that I was told that I could return the bike.

An LBS owner told me that he makes a ton of money repairing *mart bikes because most people can't do their own adjustments.

I seriously thought about going to my local "Farget" store and asking if I could assemble bikes for a flat rate per bike. Most of these bikes are bought for people who will not know how to adjust them and EVERYONE should have a decent bike. There 'oughta be a law.............

With bikes, you get what you pay for.
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Old 09-14-04, 02:20 PM   #6
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If you're considering 700c hybrids, there are a few 38mm wide knobbies on the market for such bikes. I have an older Specailized Crossroads that I call my back up bike, as it can road ride decently and handle light trails with a set of 700x38 Kenda Kross tires.
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Old 09-14-04, 05:06 PM   #7
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For a first bike, both my wife and I got the Sedona. We are (were) both extremely happy with them and still ride them. I however, got bit by the road bug. Stayed with Giant though and ride the OCR1.

I still have knobbies on the Sedona. My wife has always ridden smoth tires on hers.

I certainly agree with those who advise a quality bike which is set up at the LBS over mass market stuff.
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Old 09-14-04, 11:44 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advice.

I'm tempted to go used and see if I can save some money. Any thoughts?

Also what is LBS?

Orie
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Old 09-15-04, 05:40 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by oshelef
Thanks for the advice.

I'm tempted to go used and see if I can save some money. Any thoughts?

Also what is LBS?

Orie
LBS = Local Bicycle Shop

Used is ok as long as you know what you are doing.

1. Fit is really important - that is where a LBS can be of great help.

2. If you go used, try to get one from a reputable LBS. They will have evaluated the bike prior to accepting it for resale.

3. Unless you know how to evaluate wear on such things as the cassette, chain rings, bottom bracket bearings and chain, used may end up costing you more. Replacing all of those may cost a couple of hundred dollars.
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Old 09-15-04, 09:13 AM   #10
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Gary Fisher also makes a very nice line of hybrids, such as the Tiburon (their cheapest) which retails around $320 but you can get a deal on an '04.
http://www.fisherbikes.com/bikes/bik...h&bike=Tiburon
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Old 09-15-04, 12:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox
LBS = Local Bicycle Shop

Used is ok as long as you know what you are doing.

1. Fit is really important - that is where a LBS can be of great help.

2. If you go used, try to get one from a reputable LBS. They will have evaluated the bike prior to accepting it for resale.

3. Unless you know how to evaluate wear on such things as the cassette, chain rings, bottom bracket bearings and chain, used may end up costing you more. Replacing all of those may cost a couple of hundred dollars.
I agree....to a point. If it's true low dollar and you are willing take a small risk find a bike that you can
comfortably ride and cheap to ride until you figure out what you really like. THEN RIDE THE CRAP OUT
OF IT!!

Now while your riding the crap out of this bike read and learn here and elsewhere about bikes, vist (and
try) bikes at your LBS to get a feel for YOUR dream bike. Once you've done your homework you'll be much
better prepaired to spend your money to rehab a quality older bike or buy a new one. Just remember......
Your hard earned dollar will buy more in a quality framed bike used.........anyday. All the rest of the
components are replaceable anyway. What you will wind up with, in the end & your careful, is the
sweetest dream bike that is your vision. Money can't buy that.

Last edited by Nightshade; 09-15-04 at 12:35 PM.
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