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New to bikes! Help me find a good fit?

Old 09-14-15, 07:34 PM
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New to bikes! Help me find a good fit?

Hi!

I'm new to this forum/website AND bikes! I just recently moved and don't have enough money for a car. I'm buying a bike to do basic commuting to the grocery store, to work and school. I don't have to travel too much, maybe roughly 10 miles a day. I'm a broke college student, haha.

So:
-I'm 4'11''..Short legs
-Looking for a basic Hybrid or City/Commuter bike
-budget is $150-$200
-a bike I can assemble a basket to

I found some nice looking hybrid bikes on amazon, but don't know how I feel about them just because I know nothing about bikes.
Any advice is greatly appreciated!! Thank you so muchhh!
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Old 09-14-15, 07:54 PM
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Hi,

Glad to see you are looking at bicycles instead of loading yourself up with car debt. I would say to goto a local bike shop or bike coop and see if you can find something used. For that kind of money, you can't really get a decent quality new bike, but you can easily find a quality used bike with the correct road tires to take care of most of your needs. In any case, look for a used "Dutch" style bike that may indeed already have a wire basket installed on it. For that range, I would also be looking at a single speed.

Take it slow, dress warmly and make sure you get rechargeable light for front and back as these days start getting shorter.

Good luck!
T
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Old 09-15-15, 10:40 AM
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Yes, I would check with local shops about a used bike. Is there a co-op in the area? If so, that's your best bet. At your height, you might want to look for a bike with a step-through frame (what people used to call a "women's" frame). You can attach a basket to almost any bike if it has flat or swept back handlebars. I would also consider using a rear rack. You can find an old milk crate and zip tie it to the rack. Very functional.
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Old 09-15-15, 01:29 PM
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Good advice above, if you don't have a co-op or shop with used bikes locally, craigslist can also be a good source. $100-$150 can often get a very reliable older mountain bike from a good name (like Trek, Specialized, GT, Giant, etc etc).

Post a few links from your local CL here, we love to look at bikes and tell people our opinions about them!
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Old 09-15-15, 01:55 PM
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check your LBS The one here buys and sells Used Bikes .. they dont last long before selling ..

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Old 09-16-15, 04:47 PM
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Trek Navigator 200 Comfort Hybrid Bike

I was taking a look at this one. Any opinion? (Especially considering my height which is a huge reason why this buying bike deal is difficult for me)
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Old 09-16-15, 04:51 PM
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Amazon.com: Schwinn Women's Wayfare Hybrid Bike Sage, Green

I was also looking at this one on amazon! Any opinions would be appreciated, since I know amazon can be a hit-or-miss situation sometimes.
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Old 09-16-15, 05:08 PM
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Was also taking a look at this one
https://www.amazon.com/Critical-Cycle...ritical+Cycles
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Old 09-16-15, 05:20 PM
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https://jet.com/product/product/8a22...qTtRoC9GXw_wcB

Was also looking at this one, too!
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Old 09-16-15, 06:17 PM
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OK, so those are some interesting choices. Toss out that first Trek, it is a giant bike and you are a tiny person, it would not fit.

The other three are quite similar, so let me try to break down some differences.

Schwinn & Critical have fenders, rack, and partial chain-cover, that's good.

The Critical also already has lights, which may be a good, it probably depends on how good the lights are (output) and how fast they would go through batteries.

Vilano has none of those extras, but instead has front suspension, which is almost certainly unnecessary, so I'd rule that out too.

As for whether it's worth an extra hundred for the Critical over Amazon, I don't have a good idea because I am not aware of any reputation of the Critical brand, and as for Schwinns, they can be hit or miss. The very bottom of the Schwinn range is crap nowadays, but this is more like the middle, so it would probably be ok for non-extreme use. I would say pretty sure the lights alone are not worth an extra $100.

I can't see any information about sizing on the Schwinn, at your very small size, you want to make sure not to get a too big bike.

Poking around with size/color for the Citizen, it looks like you could nab a small/black for cheaper ($244 vs $299)!

If others speak up here that Citizen is likely to be more reliable in the long term than Schwinn, then maybe the extra $45 would be worth it, otherwise, Schwinn is probably ok.

You should probably read the amazon reviews for both bikes as well, get a feel for what others have experienced.
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Old 09-18-15, 11:06 AM
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Okay, thanks for the response! I think I'm going to go with the Critical Bike.
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Old 09-18-15, 11:16 AM
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Does anyone happen to know any cheap but decent baskets(front or rear) that I could get on amazon? And also, any backlights?

(sorry) but also for Bike Locks, are U-shape or coil better?

Last edited by nalgene5evr; 09-18-15 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 09-18-15, 12:06 PM
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Fortunately since the rear light only needs to be a "be seen" light, not a "see by" light, pretty much all cheap taillights are decent. I happen to use this one (because it comes with the mount to put it on the back of my rack).

But that Critical already has a taillight built into the fender, I would evaluate that before buying an extra one. Also, rear lights (if they are LED, which most are nowadays) typically are very good with battery life. Once you find out what it takes (2 AAA is typical), you might buy yourself some rechargeables.

I don't have any basket recommendations, but I'd say for starters use the rack that comes with it. Use a bungee cord to strap your backpack on it.

If you want your bike to be ugly (some people do) it's pretty popular to ziptie a milk crate onto your rack...

Generally speaking, U-locks are considered better than cables.

Last edited by RubeRad; 09-18-15 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 09-18-15, 12:14 PM
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If (when) you find the included headlight to be insufficient, my recommendation for a cheap high-powered headlight is something like this. It can be attached to handlebars with all manner of devices, but for security and stability I use two interlocked hose clamps (a few bucks from your nearest hardware or auto parts store). With a low-cost flashlight/battery/charger kit like that, expect the batteries to be junk, so after a few charge cycles they will hold less and less juice, but you can buy quality replacement batteries separately, maybe $5-10 bucks each for reliable 18650s.
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Old 09-18-15, 12:26 PM
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Ohh okay. I didn't realize that the critical bike didn't necessarily need the back lights.

Do you have any recommendations for bike locks?
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Old 09-18-15, 12:55 PM
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Sorry, I got nothin there, except I know Kryptonite is a trusted brand. I actually only use a cable lock myself, since I can keep my bike in the garage at home, parked in a gated/secured campus at work, and when I'm doing errands, my town is safe enough that I feel the cable lock is sufficient (no problems yet...)

College campuses are notorious for bike theft though, if I had that situation I would definitely upgrade my security.

Bottom line, the bike you are getting is still a cheap bike, so if you can park it next to more valuable bikes, hopefully you'll be ok!
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Old 09-18-15, 12:55 PM
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My take on sizing:

Correct frame size

And fitting:

bike fitting


Apart from that: avoid suspension and disc brakes. Good ones cost a lot and are not necessary for a commuting/groceries.

Make sure the frame has room (and drilled holes for bolts) for a rear rack and mudguards.

An old rigid MTB is a good cheap choice, as well as most "city", or "hybrid" bikes, as long as they can take rack. Even a "road" bike with room for 28mm or wider tyres and bolts for mounting a rear rack is a good choice IMO.
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Old 09-18-15, 09:57 PM
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OP should upgrade to a front wheel with dynamo hub and install a front dynamo headlamp. No need to carry batteries and will more than pay for itself over the years.
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Old 09-18-15, 10:32 PM
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no way, OP is a 'broke college student' and already $100 over intended budget. $15ish for the led/charger kit I linked to, plus a $10/year budget for replacement rechargeable 18650 batteries, how many decades would it take to achieve roi on a dynohub + lamp?
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Old 09-18-15, 11:42 PM
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Decent, lights that last long:

https://www.amazon.com/CatEye-Bicycle...SIN=B005CT009K



As far as locks go: 12 mm of hardened steel is impossible to cut with bolt cutters that fit beneath a jacket. That works well against the thieves where I live. Also, a good lock mechanism to prevent picking is important. These three are equivalent, minimal protection that I feel safe with:

Best for carrying (frame mount), medium flexibility and locking choices:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...l&tag=bikeg-20

Expensive, heavy, hardest to carry but with most locking choices (can be tied around a tree, landpost, AND a front wheel AND a chain):
Amazon.com : Abus Granit Extreme Plus 59 Chain Lock - 55in. x 12mm 4003318 56559 5 : Chain Bike Locks : Sports & Outdoors

This one has medium ease of carry on a bike, and lowest flexibility when locking (you are limited to bike specific racks, or thin posts, like road signs):
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...l&tag=bikeg-20


Anything cheaper I could find either had low quality steel, or low quality lock. I bought the Bordo version (first one). Use it on expensive road bike, and cheap MTB commuter - put it on whichever bike I use to ride. It only buys 15 minutes with a hack saw, 2+ minutes with a battery powered angle grinder, but that's about 5 to 10 times more than most other locks, so I guess thieves will move onto easier targets. So far so good.
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Old 09-19-15, 01:47 AM
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Thank you all for your help and advice!!
I felt pretty set on the Critical Bike I was looking at on amazon. I called the company and they said it should fit my size and i was about to buy it.. until i realized that if I put the seat all the way down so my feet can reach, the handle bars are pretty high..

So I'm looking into kid bikes 24''. but there are so many. Any recommendations on brands or anything?
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