Yet another new guy looking to buy his first bike.
Hello, I'm looking to purchase my first bike since probably the 3rd grade and could use some input and opinions. I've been lurking around the forums for about a week now and have made a couple of trips down to my local shop to ask some questions but I could always use more feedback.
I'm a student and this bikes primary use will be very short commute to campus and back, probably less than 5 miles a day. However I would also like to get back into shape and I hurt my knee playing soccer in high school so running doesn't exactly sound appealing to me. I'm 24, a smoker -trying to quit, down to 2 or 3 smokes a day, really feel much better- about 145lbs and 5'8" on a good day but I realize I need to start taking better care of myself and I always enjoyed riding when I was younger.
As I said this bikes primary use will be a very short commute that I usually walk, but there are also some nice bike paths around here and being a college town are plenty of bike lanes to use. On top of my usual commute I'm planning on tossing in some longer rides as my stamina improves and the weather cools off.
I haven't ridden either of these yet and admittedly the last bike I rode was my 1997(ish) Gary Fisher Marlin that I used to ride to class. Obviously I've grown a little since the 3rd grade so I'm looking at the Trek FX 7.2 and Raleigh Misceo with the fixed fork.
The FX seems to be a very popular bike and it does seem like it would eat up longer rides better than the Misceo. I haven't found much feedback on that particular model but the one or two reviews I've found have mentioned that it is a heavy bike but I also feel like it would be a little more sturdy for the ride around campus. I don't really plan on hopping any curbs or anything but I feel like the Misceo would be just a little more versatile than the FX and it also has disc brakes which the FX does not. So I feel like the Misceo would be great to ride to and from campus but what about for the longer rides? My primary use is the commute but the ultimate goal is to get into better shape so Im probably going to put a higher priority on the longer rides when making my decision. We have two shops here; a small one that sells Raleigh and Marin and a larger store that seems to primarily deal with Trek. I'm planning on taking a ride on the FX sometime this week but I did not see the Misceo at the smaller shop and I highly doubt they would order one without a deposit. Anyone have any input for me here? I'm open to suggestions and other models but I need to stay under $600 and would prefer to stick to those three brands as that's what my local shops offer but if there's something you absolutely think I should look at please post it up.
Some advice that I got from regulars here:
1. Find an LBS you like first. Test ride lots of bikes (I ignored this initially, but fortunately test rode lots just at the time of purchase).
2. Will you have to lock up the bike outside? Is theft something you need to worry about? If bike theft is a major issue, a second hand bike from craigslist may be a better idea.
3. In terms of bikes: also see Giant Escape, Specialized Sirrus, Jamis Coda, Cannondale Quick
I test rode the Escape, Sirrus and Quick and ended up buying a Sirrus. The others are nice too though, its a personal fit choice. From the description I would have loved to try out the Jamis Coda, but the nearest LBS was quite far away so I skipped that one - didn't fancy the idea of going that far for any maintenance.
I discovered recently during my own search for a bike that given similar equipment, styles, etc. it really boils down to how the bike feels to you. I decided on a Trek because of the quality and feel, but also nearly as much so because of my brother in law's recommendation and the closeness of the LBS, which is only 15 minutes away. I have looked at and tested Giants and Raleighs and am sure if I had to choose one of them I'd have been just as happy with either. Proper frame size and seat comfort are two of the most critical factors, without them you won't ride much. Get those down and the rest really boils down to which options and components you like most.
On a side note. Please, please do whatever you have to to quit smoking. Down to 2 or 3 a day may seem like a great accomplishment, but you're still clinging to them and feeding the addiction. I've been quit now for 15 months and feel like I never smoked, but I smoked for 33 years and I know even though I've stopped I still have a higher chance of getting cancer and other smoking related illnesses than I would have otherwise. I tried for years to quit. Even watching it slowly and agonizingly kill my father wasn't enough of an incentive for me to stop. You'd think watching someone slowly suffocate over a period of a few years because they had less than 20% lung capacity and still dropping would scare a person enough to make them throw the damn things away and never touch them again, but no, not me. I was truly addicted and had resigned myself to dying the same way my father did. I can't explain what made me quit. I had sinus surgery scheduled and had prepared for not smoking for a few days after by stocking up on nicotene gum. I even smoked one cig the morning before the surgery against doctor's orders. I woke up after the surgery and haven't touched a cigarette since and can count the number of times I had a craving on just my fingers. You can call it devine intervention or whatever, but I couldn't do it on my own even having tried all the stop smoking drugs and gimmicks on the market.
Before Slim posts up his recommendations that will probably have quite a few SS models, just how bad is that knee of yours?
It's seen better days. Walking around campus doesn't usually bother me but there are some days when I'll wake up and its just randomly stiff and not really pleasant to walk around on. I never really got an answer as to exactly what was wrong with it but after a couple of MRIs and a couple months of physical therapy I just gave up and stopped playing soccer. It doesn't want to make a full extension willingly from a sitting position and fully extending or retracting will result in a popping/grinding/tearing sound that I can feel. It doesn't hurt but I wouldn't call it normal. Before I retired the Gary Fisher I took it out for a 7ish mile ride but my knee seemed fine.