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  1. #1
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    Woman here. Buying a new bike and need suggestions! (Bad back in Jacksonville, FL)

    Hello, female in my 30's here. Wasn't really sure where to put this question, but thought this would be a good place in the end.
    I suffer from a pretty bad back, but I still love riding a bike to get to a lot of places. I need suggestions for something within my price range, which is about $200. I know that's not much, but it's all I can do. I want something with coaster as well as front breaks OR just front breaks. I need and a really comfortable seating. I just need it for flat terrain and occasional hilly roads, so maybe a 7 speed would be a suitable option? Is it possible to find this within my budget? I know front breaks cost more, but I don't feel safe with back breaks. Also, I am probably pushing it with this, but I really need it to come with a rack for panniers, as i'll be doing a lot of grocery shopping with it. Is my only option stores like Target and Walmart for this price range? Oh also, I am 226 lbs if that matters in terms of weight restrictions.

    I have already read the hell that people went through with Bikes Direct and I too stepped into that seventh circle a few years back. I came out with an expensive dutch gravity hybrid. I did love it a lot, but it fell apart within the year and the tires were awful. They were supposed to be the best they had and they went flat every other day! I have it sitting here begging for a replacement. I was wondering if i could trade it into them... but I don't want to go back there. The guy was such an *******. This is the owner at the Bikes Direct in Jacksonville, FL at Saint Johns Town Center. I hate dealing with him. He's condescending and very unhelpful. Plus, I really think I was jipped. the bike is useless now, btw. Completely flat tires, broken gears, broken kick stand...

    Help very much appreciated!

  2. #2
    Senior Member linnefaulk's Avatar
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    Sitting upright is not going to help your back. I had back problems and it always felt better on my road bike versus my mountain bike/hybrid.
    I started going to a chiropractor and now have only occasional pain and no problems with my hybrid bike.

    About the bike, the only way you are going to get something decent for $200 is to go used. Buying a cheap bike will only be a stop gap and you may need to replace it next year.
    I would go to LBS and see if they have any used bikes. Many store have them on consignment but don't advertise them. Even if they don't have anything, try out some bikes to see what feels good to you so you will have a better idea if you look at Craigs' List or Goodwill.

    You might even take your old bike to an LBS and see if they can fix it up and for how much.
    sharon

  3. #3
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    bikeforums need to set-up a woman forum for women.

  4. #4
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone View Post
    bikeforums need to set-up a woman forum for women.
    There is a Women's Cycling forum, just ask the moderators for access.
    --Ben
    Carrboro Bike Coalition - putting the "bike" in "CARrboro" :)
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  5. #5
    Senior Member linnefaulk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbenaugust View Post
    There is a Women's Cycling forum, just ask the moderators for access.
    Huh? This is hidden from the men? Why?
    sharon

  6. #6
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    ... didn't there used to be a Women's Cycling forum on here? Unless I am completely nuts, there is one here somewhere.
    --Ben
    Carrboro Bike Coalition - putting the "bike" in "CARrboro" :)
    2011 Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno, 2009 Motobecane Fantom CX
    Previously: 2000 Trek 4500 (2000-2003), 2003 Novara Randonee (2003-2006), 2003 Giant Rainier (2003-2008), 2005 Xootr Swift (2005-2007), 2007 Nashbar 1x9 (2007-2011), 2011 Windsor Shetland (2011-2014)
    Current Linux Usage (by machine): Arch: I Debian: I openSUSE: II

  7. #7
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    There was a regular women's forum on BF but long ago it was made "private", invitation only to women after a mod granted access. I'm a mod but not a woman so even I don't have access.
    My bikes --> 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 2 (5) "Racing Edition"

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by linnefaulk View Post
    Huh? This is hidden from the men? Why?
    Linnefaulk; I am a guy and even I can figure out why the women's forum is generally closed to men!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrieLikeDcheese View Post
    Hello, female in my 30's here. Wasn't really sure where to put this question, but thought this would be a good place in the end.
    I suffer from a pretty bad back, but I still love riding a bike to get to a lot of places. I need suggestions for something within my price range, which is about $200. I know that's not much, but it's all I can do. I want something with coaster as well as front breaks OR just front breaks. I need and a really comfortable seating. I just need it for flat terrain and occasional hilly roads, so maybe a 7 speed would be a suitable option? Is it possible to find this within my budget? I know front breaks cost more, but I don't feel safe with back breaks. Also, I am probably pushing it with this, but I really need it to come with a rack for panniers, as i'll be doing a lot of grocery shopping with it. Is my only option stores like Target and Walmart for this price range? Oh also, I am 226 lbs if that matters in terms of weight restrictions.

    I have already read the hell that people went through with Bikes Direct and I too stepped into that seventh circle a few years back. I came out with an expensive dutch gravity hybrid. I did love it a lot, but it fell apart within the year and the tires were awful. They were supposed to be the best they had and they went flat every other day! I have it sitting here begging for a replacement. I was wondering if i could trade it into them... but I don't want to go back there. The guy was such an *******. This is the owner at the Bikes Direct in Jacksonville, FL at Saint Johns Town Center. I hate dealing with him. He's condescending and very unhelpful. Plus, I really think I was jipped. the bike is useless now, btw. Completely flat tires, broken gears, broken kick stand...

    Help very much appreciated!
    Suggest search Amazon for Diamondback. Many good examples that seem to be pretty good bikes. Below is example that can be great for someone in the 4'10" to 5'2" range and is under $200. Many others also there.

    Amazon.com : Diamondback Bicycles Clarity Performance Girl's Hybrid Bike(24-Inch Wheels), One Size, Pink : Childrens Bicycles : Sports & Outdoors

    If your budget were higher, I would recommend looking for a Specialized dealer as I have found those to be good durable bikes.

    Second; Bikes are bikes. Buy them based on the frame and wheels for the long term. You can and should always expect the tires, saddle, brake pads, derraillers, etc., to wear out and need replacing regularly. Best you can do is to keep the tires inflated properly and keep the rest of the bike, such as the shifting, properly tuned up. If you can find a decent bike with an Internally Geared Hub, then that will make the bike easier to maintain by a ton and much less distracting to ride. Here is example of one that seems to meet all your specs, but is clearly too spendy:

    Save Up to 60% Off Town Bikes | Classic, Stylish Eight Speed City Bikes | Urban Bikes | Commuter Road Bikes | Windsor Kensington 8 from bikesdirect.com

    You might be able to find a used one on craigs list (look for 5, 6, or 7 speed bikes also as they are more common and less spendy)

    Hope that helps.
    /K

  10. #10
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    If you wish to ride a bike where you sit upright you might look at suspension seat posts. My old Raleigh 3 Spd had a sprung Brooks saddle which was a useful part of the design. Alas they are a bit expensive (over $100 new). However, I'm currently using a suspension seat post which dampens the jarring bumps to spine when riding upright. If you know you're hitting bump, you can stand on the pedals out of the seat and use your legs as "shock absorbers"--but laid-back upright bikes aren't as suited to riding out of the saddle, and standing is not a solution for a ride with constant bumps.

    If you are looking to replace your current bike, then a properly sized bike where you ride less upright and more leaning forward may help. Also I'd fit the widest tires your bike can take for a smoother ride and some protection against flats.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankHudson View Post
    If you wish to ride a bike where you sit upright you might look at suspension seat posts. My old Raleigh 3 Spd had a sprung Brooks saddle which was a useful part of the design. Alas they are a bit expensive (over $100 new). However, I'm currently using a suspension seat post which dampens the jarring bumps to spine when riding upright. If you know you're hitting bump, you can stand on the pedals out of the seat and use your legs as "shock absorbers"--but laid-back upright bikes aren't as suited to riding out of the saddle, and standing is not a solution for a ride with constant bumps.

    If you are looking to replace your current bike, then a properly sized bike where you ride less upright and more leaning forward may help. Also I'd fit the widest tires your bike can take for a smoother ride and some protection against flats.
    i agree. i tried sitting upright when my back was tweaked, but then i started making my stem shorter or longer to get a different angle for my back.

  12. #12
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    Lol I really don't see why we would need to be segregated. Men have bad backs too Regardless, I know my back and what agrees with it, it's just finding the place that would offer this heaven sent bike. I was fine on my Hybrid, but my back/hips have gotten worse since then. I am 5'7.5 and 226 and wondering if that puts a limit on me as well. Honestly, I don't plan on using it every waking day, but i will be grocery shopping at least 3 times a wk and biking a few miles with my boyfriend here and there on weekends. We are adventurists, but unfortunately my back doesn't allow much fun. I like to go trailing on occasion. I have actually heard really good things about some of the *gasp* Walmart cruisers. This pertains to light use though... I checked my gears too, they were actually just stuck, not broken.

    Is a cruiser going to be a bad for my back? I've found i'm more comfortable sitting up right. The pain is much worse the more i'm bent....Maybe i should just bite the bullet and go back to bikes direct to get my old one fixed. I thought maybe it was dead, but it may just need a good set of new parts and a rack attached to it. My Dutch Gravity Hybrid was very comfortable for my body, but I was also 50 lbs lighter when I rode it. The seat wasn't too great though. I would have to get that replaced. I think I paid over 300 for it on sale in 2007. How much does a tune up and part replacements usually run someone? To recap, I would need a new seat, tires, break stand fixed, chain re-alignment and rack attached.

  13. #13
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    Is the suspension seat kind of "bouncy" lol for lack of a better way to describe it. It has a lot of give on bumps and such. I think my hybrid has that.

  14. #14
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Save you $$$ I got one of the for $1500.

    GTOridwe.jpg

    Mesh Seat with no pressure on your back.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrieLikeDcheese View Post
    Is the suspension seat kind of "bouncy" lol for lack of a better way to describe it. It has a lot of give on bumps and such. I think my hybrid has that.
    The original Raleigh Brooks spring equipped saddle had fairly stiff springs as I recall, but that was years ago. I don't recall it being bouncy. The suspension seatpost I have there now is set so that telescopes on any significant bumps with my weight on it, but it doesn't really bounce in a floaty way with multiple up and down movements after a bump.

  16. #16
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    The Trek series-from early 1990's to early 2000's are nice steel framed upright posture bikes-and they are usually under $200-excellent sturdy bikes-under $200

    as the numbers go up the percentage of the frame that is better quality Chrome Moly steel goes up
    700 series 700c tires 700(under $100) 720 730 750 750(under $200) is double butted cromo steel-usually right at $200 bit less maybe
    800 series 26" tires 800 820 830 850 bit cheaper than the 700 series
    900 series- 26" TIRES all DB CRMO- ABOUT $200 in great shape

    Diamondback Specialized made equivalent models-slightly cheaper used

    I find an UPRIGHT posture is easier on my gimpy neck and back
    Back exercises-leg raises hanging in doorway etc-seem to help my back-other and exercises help also

    -plenty of decent to good bikes on CL (be patient) for $200.
    Usually best to avoid flippers-buy from an actual owner you will get a better deal
    Sometimes flippers are ok-if they "fix" everything before selling-it is worth buying from flipper-tires cables adj brakes etc
    If you are a DIY repair person-avoid flippers-if not flippers buys not a bad idea
    Luck
    Charlie

  17. #17
    Senior Member FLJeepGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrieLikeDcheese View Post
    Maybe i should just bite the bullet and go back to bikes direct to get my old one fixed. I thought maybe it was dead, but it may just need a good set of new parts and a rack attached to it. My Dutch Gravity Hybrid was very comfortable for my body, but I was also 50 lbs lighter when I rode it. The seat wasn't too great though. I would have to get that replaced. I think I paid over 300 for it on sale in 2007. How much does a tune up and part replacements usually run someone? To recap, I would need a new seat, tires, break stand fixed, chain re-alignment and rack attached.
    I posted the following reply to the thread you started in the General Cycling Discussion forum before I realized you had started this duplicate one here.

    I'm in Jacksonville, FL as well and agree with you on that store at the Town Center; I don't do business with them, ever. I will say that the Bikes Direct shop, Cycle Spectrum, at the beach has been OK to deal with, but it's still not a favorite.

    However, the Performance Bicycle on Southside Blvd. a block north of the Tinseltown Theater has an excellent, very helpful staff and shop crew. Matt, the manager, is wonderful to work with. Since you say that you loved the bike, it might be worth your time to call and speak with Matt, explain your situation and then take your bike to the store to let them assess what can be done. You might be able to get it back in roadworthy shape for less than your $200 budget.

    Other than the items you listed as broken or not working, what's the overall condition of the bike? Would it still suit your needs if it was brought back into rideable condition? How has it been stored? Is it rusting out or still in good shape? Tires and tubes are no big deal to replace on your own. Same with the kickstand. Depending on what's not working with the gears and chain, it may be an easy fix as well. Once all that is taken care of, swapping the seat and adding racks, etc. would be fairly inexpensive.

    Another kudo for Performance... A few weeks ago, my wife was looking for a new seat but didn't know what the proper one would be. Matt and one of his shop guys spent close to 45 minutes working with her, swapping out seats and adjusting position until she was very comfortable. They used multiple seat posts so that they could quickly swap back and forth for comparison while she rode around the parking lot. When she finally chose a seat, they swapped it onto her original seatpost and did a final fit adjustment and she couldn't be happier. They didn't charge her anything above the cost of the seat for this service.

    Feel free to PM me if you want someone experienced to take a look at your bike to see what it would take to put it back in rideable condition.

  18. #18
    Hi-Tech Redneck Johnny Mullet's Avatar
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    Women's cruiser bikes are dime a dozen around here on Craigslist. Youcan get a really decent woman's bike cheap if you search. A few examples...........

    Women's Vintage Schwinn 10 Speed Road Bike

    Womens 26 inch Retroglide Seven

    Ladies and girls SCHWINN bikes: Breeze, Hollywood

    26" Ladies Galaxy, 10 sp.

    26" Raleigh Beach Cruiser Bike sale/trade
    Putting the fun between my legs.......
    '89 Reflex ALX Carbon - '96 Huffy Thunder Ridge

  19. #19
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    Hello, sorry, life got in the way. I have been working out what I want to do in my head and will hopefully have the money and time soon to put all the advice into action. Thanks so much for all the valuable help and i'll be in touch!

    PS Is there a weight limit for most cruisers?

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