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Old 12-28-10, 01:32 PM   #1
cowchaser
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Bike purchase question

I have been considering the idea of getting a bike to just ride around the neighborhood and maybe take camping with us.

What I am looking for is just a casual bike. Not a road race bike or trail bike. Just something to ride on the paved roads around here just to get some exercise and spend some time with the family out riding.

I am not sure exactly what kind of bike I need to look at. I have read a few threads, but still didn't come up with anything.

What I am looking to do is a nice comfortable ride that is not to hard on my body. Not something I will have to stretch out or the tires make for a rough ride. Just a nice casual pace and something easy for stop an go riding since my son is younger and will likely have to stop and let him catch up or whatever the case is. We just want to get a little exercise and be together as a family. I was thinking something with smooth tires would be best but I am not an expert.

If it helps any I am 6' about 175 pounds and not in the best shape and sometimes my knees get to bothering me if I walk around to much.

My wife is 5'2 and normal weight. She does jog so she is in decent shape.

What would be the most comforatable bike for each of us? Doesn't matter to me if I look like a grandpa ( I am 36) riding around the neighborhood. Just wanting a nice casual ride and not something to hard to pedal. We do live in a fairly hilly town if that matters.
Can anyone help me out with this? Really don't want to spend a bunch of money, but won't put a limit on it.
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Old 12-28-10, 02:31 PM   #2
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I think you would be best served by heading to a local bike shop. You can get any range of opinions of what you should get but in the end what you like will be most important. Also realize that what you like may change after you have been riding for a year or two.

Go to a few bike shops, let them know what kind of riding you want to do. They'll put you on a few bikes to test. Don't buy that day. Go to another bike shop or two and try their offerings. Go through this cycle once maybe twice to help solidify what you think you want. Try those super expensive bikes that you know you will not buy because there maybe something about them that you'll figure out you would like to have. After you figure out what you would like, then start factoring in price. You'll probably end up with 2-4 bikes that you will be deciding between.

With the hills, I am pretty sure you will want gears. Whether it is an internal geared hub or cassette/freewheel you can decide later.

With weak knees, make sure you are spinning on your bike. Don't push big gears, that will aggravate your knees. Gears will let you choose higher cadences to a point, depending on how hilly your area is.

Tires can be fairly easily changed: fat, narrow, medium; smooth, tread, knobbies; hi-pressure, lo-pressure, etc. Work that in after you figure out what bike you want.

Bikes are pretty close in efficiency. The biggest factor is aerodynamics at speed. However, friction from a poorly assembled bike does not help. A super expensive bike can be poorly assembled and be less efficient than a well assembled cheap bike.

Good Luck
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Old 12-28-10, 02:54 PM   #3
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You're probably going to end up on a hybrid, but the above advice is on the money. You may end up surprising yourself and liking the skinny tire road bike or a mountain bike with full suspension.
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Old 12-28-10, 03:35 PM   #4
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Thank you very much. I see alot of your points and agree, just didn't think of them myself. I always just assumed it was just go pick out a bike and ride. Didn't take into account the tuning of the bike and all that. Thank you again and I will check around town and see what is offered. I think we may only have 1 bike shop, but I only live 45 minutes from a major city which surely will have more to offer.
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Old 12-29-10, 12:28 AM   #5
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Many test rides on many kinds of bikes will help you narrow your choice.
Trek, Giant, Schwinn, Specialized, Raleigh all make "comfort" bikes.
For me the most comfortable style is "crank forward" some of the more popular are
Trek Pure, http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ure/puresport/
Giant Suede, http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...dx/7332/44067/
Electra Townie, http://www.electrabike.com/home.php
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Old 12-29-10, 02:47 AM   #6
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Yup. Once the poster has an idea of the kind of riding he intends to do, he can have the shop fit him to an appropriate bike.

That said, an adventure bike is a good bet for a beginner. The Schwinn Super Sport DBX, Salsa Vaya and Kona Dew are all examples of bikes that allow you to haul stuff, go on weekend rides and even go out on the trails if you want.
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Old 12-29-10, 10:35 AM   #7
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My suggestion is to get a bike with gears - lots. Get a triple crankset. Some newbies are attracted to beach cruisers - very stylish but no fun to ride up hills. Single speeds and fixies are trendy now. They're for young, strong, trendy people who know what they're doing.

My experience with people new to biking, or who have a bike but don't ride much, is that they hate hills. Hills are enough of an impediment to discourage them from riding.

Having low gears makes climbing a hill easy. Get a bike with lots of gears, then learn how to use them. I also know lots of kids on multi-geared bikes who pick a "favorite" gear setting and never shift. That's silly.
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Old 12-29-10, 12:55 PM   #8
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I have returned to Internally geared hubs for my daily ride,
big advantage in being able to select a gear ratio change when stopped , and moving slowly.

A chain guard will separate the dirt on the chain and your trousers..

New designs add to the range of ratios from traditional 3, and 5 to 7 and 8 speed ..

most recent purchase for me was a folding bike , It sits in a corner of the room Folded up.
taking up little space .. where the big wheel non folders are taking up a significant amount.
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Old 12-29-10, 11:34 PM   #9
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Thank you everyone. You are very helpful here. Being, bike dumb I am having to look up alot of what you're talking about, but that fine. It will help me learn better what I am looking for.
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Old 12-30-10, 07:01 AM   #10
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I agree with the above posts. Don't forget that once you get into casual biking, you may want more after your legs get in better shape. In hilly areas , a 6-7 speed bike won't be helping you very much. Neither will a heavy cruiser type. Probably hybrid will be a better choice. I like Giant bikes a lot & think they offer a lot for the money. Maybe try to ride some friends bikes, rent a bike, etc., to get a feel of the set-up.
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Old 12-30-10, 09:15 AM   #11
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One other thing to consider is how you think your cycling might evolve once you get into it.

At present you're concerned about hills and being seriously unfit. But you could be surprised at just how quickly you adapt to cycling and find the huge hill you find a daunting prospect becomes something to attempt and then becomes a hill you might prefer to avoid but if needs be you just drop a few gears and go up it.

If you think your longer term desires would be to go offroad, look towards something that is more rugged and can deal with more punishment. If you think your longer term desires are for speed look towards something more like a racing bike. If your first name is Sheikh then buy whatever you fancy and get a new one in a few weeks

Seriously, if you buy something that's better suited to the road and subsequently find the trails calling your name you may find you need to get a new bike. Likewise if you get a mountain bike and then feel a need for speed there's only so much you can do to configure the bike for speed.

Don't be afraid to visit your local bike shop (LBS) and talk to them. The guy I bought my bike from was as helpful as I could ask anyone to be when I walked in one afternoon to talk about bikes when I had absolutely no idea of what I wanted, or indeed if I really wanted a bike at all. If you get the kind of "assistant" who wants you to point at what you want, hand over your money and leave, go somewhere else.
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Old 12-30-10, 11:07 PM   #12
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Let me ask this of you all. Do you have different bikes for different kinds of riding? As in do you have an offroad trail bike, and have a cycling type bike? I would tend to guess there is no one size fits all. Are bikes something people are measured for? I know my wife has a set of water skis that were made to her exact style of skiing and her height and weight. As in how she stands up, turns and so on. Are bikes that complex? I know a reputable bike shop should be able to answer all these questions, but I won't know how reputable they are until I have dealings with them if you know what I mean. Is there certain size bike that I need to look at, say a 20" frame or whatever? I just want to prepare myself somewhat to go into a shop and not get buffaloed into by a 1000.00 bike when a 300.00 bike would have met all my needs.
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Old 12-31-10, 12:53 AM   #13
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If you give your location someone may be able to refer you to a good local bike shop.
Some good articles here: http://sheldonbrown.com/beginners/index.html
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Old 12-31-10, 01:23 AM   #14
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Sorry about the location. I am located about 40 minutes north of Tulsa, OK.
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Old 12-31-10, 06:52 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowchaser View Post
Let me ask this of you all. Do you have different bikes for different kinds of riding? As in do you have an offroad trail bike, and have a cycling type bike? I would tend to guess there is no one size fits all. Are bikes something people are measured for? I know my wife has a set of water skis that were made to her exact style of skiing and her height and weight. As in how she stands up, turns and so on. Are bikes that complex? I know a reputable bike shop should be able to answer all these questions, but I won't know how reputable they are until I have dealings with them if you know what I mean. Is there certain size bike that I need to look at, say a 20" frame or whatever? I just want to prepare myself somewhat to go into a shop and not get buffaloed into by a 1000.00 bike when a 300.00 bike would have met all my needs.
bikes are something you're measured for, yes - at least at a good bike shop and not a department store. Road frames are typically measured in centimeters and mountain bike frames frequently in inches. For a road bike you will want 1-3" of clearance between the top tube and your groin area. For a mountain bike some people like more than that. Your bike shop should also adjust your stem and seat height for you, possibly even swapping out the stem if necessary.

Also, you're not likely to find a $300 bike at a bike shop. Probably $600 and up. It's well worth it over a department store bike that has crappy components and doesn't fit you properly.
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Old 01-01-11, 01:03 AM   #16
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I don't have personal knowledge of these but http://leesbikes.com/
in Tulsa has been in business over 90 years!
They carry some quality bicycles.

http://www.adventurebicyclecenter.co...m/Welcome.html
in Bartlesville carries Trek and...
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