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  1. #1
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    Bike noob here - go easy on me please!

    I hope you guys don't get this question a lot but I'm looking to get a bike to ride to and from the gym just to get in some more exercise.

    I go to the gym 6 days a week, and I live about 1.5 miles away from the gym.

    So basically I would be riding 3 miles a day at the maximum.

    What kind of bike would you guys recommend under $200?

    My last bike was when I was 11 years old, so I am completely ignorant to what's out there now.

  2. #2
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    With that budget, I'd look at 2nd hand/used bikes.
    Craigslist, flea markets, garage sales, pawnshops,
    Salvation Army/thrift stores, Bike coop, etc.

    Where are you located?

  3. #3
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    Oh ok, what brands should I be looking for?

    I'm in CA.

  4. #4
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeRizzo View Post
    Oh ok, what brands should I be looking for?

    I'm in CA.
    Most of the mainstream brands will hold well up over time;
    Trek, Fuji, Cannondale, Giant, etc.

    Where are you in Cali? I'm asking so that members can steer
    you to a place where you can get a decent bike.

  5. #5
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    Cool I'll keep an eye out.

    I'm in Fresno, CA.

  6. #6
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    1 miles - Any bike will do, Heck walk that in 20 min. Buy used Try some and see if you want a upright Mt or hybrid or drop bar road bike. Try to determine a size is important too

    Something like this
    http://fresno.craigslist.org/bik/2758486075.html

    or
    http://fresno.craigslist.org/bik/2758119142.html
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

  7. #7
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  8. #8
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    I'd stay away from the big-box stores for bikes. Generally, they are not well built / put together and break rather easily.

    If you can let the list know what city you are in, and how tall you are, I bet we'd come up with a couple of craigslist finds that would suit the bill a lot better.

    Better still, try to find a local bike co-operative where you can stop in and chat with someone about what you are looking for, and where you can likely take a couple of bikes for test-ride.

    As a general rule, if you are looking for a low-price bike that will give you good service the best approach is less is more: Keep the equipment as simple as possible. No suspension, as few gears as possible for your terrain, etc.

    Good luck!

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    Actually I'm a big fan of Schwinn, but havent had to buy one in almost ten years because the last two are still holding up. SO even though its coming from Walmart, I'd say it's a good bike to get. My only issue is that mine came with really low gearing, so if you are riding on-road most of the time, you might want to see about swapping out the front chainrings to get something with a little more speed.

  10. #10
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeRizzo View Post
    I hope you guys don't get this question a lot but I'm looking to get a bike to ride to and from the gym just to get in some more exercise.

    I go to the gym 6 days a week, and I live about 1.5 miles away from the gym.

    So basically I would be riding 3 miles a day at the maximum.

    What kind of bike would you guys recommend under $200?

    My last bike was when I was 11 years old, so I am completely ignorant to what's out there now.

    To be perfectly honest if that's all you're going to use the bike for I'd ask the question of whether a bike is even the right thing to do. If you can maintain a 15mph average speed (which you probably won't at first, if your last bike was many years ago) then 1.5 miles will take you six minutes. Then factor in the time it will take you to get the bike out from wherever you keep it and lock it up at the other end, and potentially walk from wherever you locked it to the gym.

    Then compare the time to the 20 minutes it might take to walk it with no extra time to consider, no need to lock the bike, no concerns about the bike getting stolen etc. If you're fit enough to ride in 6 minutes you're probably fit enough to jog it in 12.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  11. #11
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    Mike, I'm not a fan of the big-box stores either but for a bike that meets your current needs/wants it may very well be the best way to go. I'd say a single-speed or 6/7 speed cruiser or hybrid will fit the bill. As already noted by others, proper assembly will be an issue so you may find it more convenient to visit your LBS. Just don't let them upsell you. Stay away from suspension at the price point you're talking about. Be aware that you're going to need a decent lock, helmet, and a rack and/or basket would be nice (if you can ride to the gym you can certainly ride to pick up a loaf of bread/6-pack of beer). Good luck with your purchase.

  12. #12
    Goodbye Leeroy Jenkins tagaproject6's Avatar
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    A mile and a half from the gym? Walk or run to the gym...make it a part of your work out. Don't waste you rmoney on a bike.
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  13. #13
    My legs hurt
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    It is possible to go other places on the bike too

    I say, get bike ride it to the gym. Ride it to shop. Ride it to the park. Maybe you'll wind liking it, and wind up riding just to ride!

  14. #14
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    IMHO you've got three choices:

    1) Look for a chromoly steel-framed bike on CL

    2) Buy either a Schwinn Varsity or a Denali from Walmart

    3) Buy from www.nashbar.com


    PS.

    I would not advise buying either a used carbon or aluminum framed bike, due to lack of accurate history.

    It's possible to ride the crap out of an Al framed bike to the point where it is just a kilometer away from its final resting place.

    Buying a used CF bike means possibly purchasing a damaged frame.
    Last edited by SlimRider; 12-22-11 at 08:07 AM.

  15. #15
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    I would not advise buying either a used carbon or aluminum framed bike, due to lack of accurate history.

    It's possible to ride the crap out of an Al framed bike to the point where it is just a kilometer away from its final resting place.

    Buying a used CF bike means possibly purchasing a damaged frame.
    There are no issues with an aluminum frame unless it's been damaged, which would also be the case in a steel frame. Plenty of 20-30 YO Al frames being ridden dailey. At his price point I don't think a carbon frame will even be an option.

    IMHO walking or joggin to the gym would be the cheapest option or a used 80's 90's rigid frame Mt. bike with slicks on it.
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

  16. #16
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    I saw this on nashbar - it's an extra 20% off and is a single speed with steel frame

    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...5_10000_202383

    There are a couple more bikes that are slightly above your price rage on nashbar under "hybrids" but with the extra 20%, they should be just under $200

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
    There are no issues with an aluminum frame unless it's been damaged, which would also be the case in a steel frame. Plenty of 20-30 YO Al frames being ridden dailey. At his price point I don't think a carbon frame will even be an option.

    IMHO walking or joggin to the gym would be the cheapest option or a used 80's 90's rigid frame Mt. bike with slicks on it.
    Aluminum has DEFINITE fatigue limits, so the 20-30YO frames you speak of are being BARELY ridden. Those of us who ride with some energy, effort, and passion can EASILY bury an AL frame in 5 years or so.

    MikeRizzo, I would look at used stuff, too; thrift stores (Salv. Army, etc.) usually have 'vintage' bikes for chump change. Bike shops may also have good deals in used bikes; can't hurt to check.

    If you go the Walfart route, look at the Mongoose Detain for $199. It's a singlespeed, all you need for that short trip. (Just don't read the reviews, they're written by the usual idiots that come through WM's front door, they think WM's BSO's are as good as a shop, just 80% cheaper)
    Last edited by DX-MAN; 12-24-11 at 03:24 PM.

  18. #18
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    Sorry for the stupid questions but the last time I rode a bike was when I was 8-9 years old, but can someone just point me to a bike that has no gears? I just want a bike that when I pedal harder, it goes faster, and when I don't pedal as hard, it goes slow. I'm 5'10, 210 lbs.

  19. #19
    Live Beautifully Jewel's Avatar
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    Hi Mike! No question is stupid. I'm glad to see that you're hoping to start biking again. I think biking, instead of walking, is a good choice because it'll give you options to ride to other places beyond the gym (like the market or other errands). Plus, who knows, once you've been biking for awhile, you may not even want to keep your gym membership as you'll be getting your workout for free (kind of ;-) once you buy your bike) by biking. Since you haven't been riding for quite awhile, I would recommend either finding a friend who has a bike with gears that you can try to get the hang of riding again. Really, if you get either a single speed or cruiser (one speed with coaster brakes), it'll limit how far you'll want to go due to hills and such & may put a damper on the enthusiasm of riding.

    I quickly googled your area & found a bike shop that offers rentals. Here's the link: http://www.yelp.com/biz/rubber-soul-...le-shop-fresno --Try them and have them give you a "tutorial" on how to shift gears. By trying out a bike with gears, you'll have more choices when it comes to checking out thrift shops/Craigslist, etc. You could even ask the bike shop if they sell their rental bikes. Take it slow and have fun and if you have more questions about shifting, let us know and we'll help you out :-)

  20. #20
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    If the only thing you're going to use the bike for is to ride to the gym, I agree with those who said save your money. You'll get more health benefit from walking both ways, and much more health benefit from jogging each way at a 10 min/mile pace. You're not going to be on the bike long enough to derive much benefit from it. OTOH, if you think that you might take to cycling as a fun way to get exercise, get a decent bike from the outset. A used major brand would be fine, but you can pick up a very good, name brand "comfort" or "hybrid" for under $400 from most local bike shops. My wife has a Specialized Expedition that she bought for around that price over 10 years ago, and it's been just about flawless since. Specialized has cheapened the component group somewhat over the years, but it's still a solid buy. Trek, Carbondale, Giant, all of those big names make decent entry level hybrids and comfort bikes. Much better to go that way IMO than with a Wally World special.

  21. #21
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veloronfla View Post
    Mike, I'm not a fan of the big-box stores either but for a bike that meets your current needs/wants it may very well be the best way to go. I'd say a single-speed or 6/7 speed cruiser or hybrid will fit the bill. As already noted by others, proper assembly will be an issue so you may find it more convenient to visit your LBS. Just don't let them upsell you. Stay away from suspension at the price point you're talking about. Be aware that you're going to need a decent lock, helmet, and a rack and/or basket would be nice (if you can ride to the gym you can certainly ride to pick up a loaf of bread/6-pack of beer). Good luck with your purchase.
    This is pretty good advice. Go ahead and buy a Wal-Mart Schwinn, keep it simple, and ride it. If you're literally just riding a mile or two each way, you will probably be fine with a "cheapo" bike, at least for a while. The problem with the bikes sold by Wal-Mart, etc., is that they are built for very light duty and don't always use standard parts that are easily replaced. So when something goes wrong, instead of a minor repair you may need a major repair. For light duty, though, they can last quite a while.

    Note also that Wal-Mart Schwinns and bike shop Schwinns are actually different product lines. The ones you get at bike shops are "Schwinn Signature" models and are better built. If you have no major hills on your 1.5 mile route, you may want to look into a basic single speed bicycle. A bike shop may have an older model in your price range (on closeout). Check around and see what you can find.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  22. #22
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    Another route, is ebay. I almost bought a 86 schwinn prelude the other day for 215 including shipping. The good thing about ebay is that there's a guarantee on purchases.

  23. #23
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    What ever you do, just remember to flip it and slam it.

  24. #24
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    +1 to the idea of looking for a decent used bike either on Craigslist or at one of the local charity thrift stores. I haven't ridden a one-speed bike since I was 13 years old and that was a very long time ago. Anybody can learn to use gears and they make the ride a lot more pleasurable. If you buy a decent bike, you might find that cycling is fun and you will do more than ride it to the gym. I bought my first "10 speed bike" in the late 1960s (a Fiorelli) and chose it over a much heavier but more familiar Schwinn Varsity, the other used bike within my price range at the time. Thank God I chose the lightweight Fiorelli with Campignolo components or I probably would have never taken up cycling as a life-long activity. I still ride several thousand miles a year as a senior citizen but on a recumbent now.

    There are some good deals out there if you are persistent in looking. Last week I picked up a 1993 Specialized Hardrock from a local thrift store for $20. The rear tire was flat and the seat and seatpost were missing but I instantly realized it was a great buy by the weight of the bike and the quality of the components. The bike had a list price of $325 in 1993. After I checked it out to make sure everything worked on it and it was properly set up, I passed it on to a friend for use by his his son. I had a spare seatpost so all he needs is a new seat. It sure beats any of the spiffy looking but morbidly obese bikes that are sold in the mass merchandiser stores.

  25. #25
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    I think the best bang for your buck is thrift stores. I would just check that any shifters are free and moving, and the same with brakes. Other than that if nothing is bent or broken on the bars, frame, and wheels a tune up at a local shop should take care of it. Broken spokes and shifters can also be repaired. You will probably want to change any brake pads. If you like you could also get a bike repair book and learn to do it yourself. People here will help I'm sure. Keep in mind that just because a bike has gears doesn't mean you have to use them, but it leaves the option for later. A Walmart bike is probably fine, where I live I would likely come out around $100-$150 for a decent thrift store bike with tune up.

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