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Trying to get a bike, no idea where to start...

Old 08-30-11, 11:23 PM
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Trying to get a bike, no idea where to start...

Hello everyone,

I would like to start off saying I am by no means an experienced biker and therefore have no idea where to start when looking for a bike. I will be using my bike for basic commuting from home to school. I live in the city and therefore am looking for a rather urban bike. I have been looking at this bike, https://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-Va...-Bike/14956324


Would this be a good bike? If not what are some suggestions for a budget of $200. Thank you all in advance for your help!
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Old 08-30-11, 11:43 PM
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I'll warn you alot of people will say don't buy a Walmart bike its crap etc. That bike is decent and it might serve you well to get started on. If you can up your budget a bit more you can get a better bike thats worth the extra money spent. If not you could consider used looking on craigslist for some lightly used hybrids like Trek Giant specialized etc. There are other options of different used bikes as well.
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Old 08-31-11, 08:10 AM
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I would try a local bike shop instead of walmart. Almost anything from a real bike store will be better quality, and you will (hopefully) get better advice from store that wants to earn your business, as well as proper adjustment and set up, and service later on when you need it. If walmart has succeeded in obliterating every local business in your area, as they have done in most of America, and there is no bike shop I'd get on the phone with the folks at Nashbar. You will need someone who is mechanically handy to help you assemble a mail-order bike though. Also don't forget stores like REI also sell bikes, and are better than Walmart for advice and service.
You can also look for used bikes in your price range. A $200 used bike was probably a $500 new bike from a few years ago.
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Old 08-31-11, 08:52 AM
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I'd buy a used '90's steel-framed mountain bike with no suspension. Maybe a Trek 820 or something. Spend about $50-$80 on the bike. Then get slick tires for it, a tire patch kit, a pump, maybe front and rear LED lights, a good lock and a helmet. Have a bike mechanic go through it for lubrication, cabling, etc. You'll probably exceed the $200 budget unless you can do your own wrenching at the local bike co-op, but this would be a good commuting rig, and serviceable for decades to come. Not so much the Walmart bike- they usually only last a few rides before needing major surgery.
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Old 08-31-11, 11:23 AM
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Thank you all for your fast and helpful responses. It looks like I will be checking online and at some local bike shops over Walmart. I had my eyes on a Cannondale Bad Boy, but unfortunately that just sold.
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Old 08-31-11, 11:44 AM
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I think you are on the right path, but I'd strongly suggest looking for a year or two old Specialized Sirrus or Trek Triton (or somesuch). Many people buy bicycles like they buy treadmills, all the good intentions in the world, but many spend their lives sitting in the garage unused. So rather than paying for a "new" big-box store bike (which will be pretty budget and certainly poorly set-up), you can get a much higher-quality bike for about the same price. Plus you'll end up with something that will last longer and hold up better.

My other morsel of advice would be to avoid the MTB thing. Fat tires and flat bars really kinda suck for road riding. Drop bars, while they may look funny, really are easier on the wrists and will help make your commute/travel time more comfortable.

dp
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Old 08-31-11, 12:17 PM
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I prefer drop bars for more hand position comfort. This bike sells for 159.00 at walmart! Free shipping.


I love this straight forward review by the way.



Bikes Direct has some bikes at 299.00 that usually sell for double the money that are worth the ogling. Free shipping included in price. https://www.bikesdirect.com/

Last edited by Cyclomania; 08-31-11 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 08-31-11, 01:35 PM
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I had to giggle at the idea that GMC actually made that Denali. I am sure its assembled right next to a Yukon. LOL

If you are willing to order online and put the bike together yourself or pay a shop to do it you can check out Bikeisland.com who is a sister company to bikesdirect that was mentioned in the previous post and they have scratch and dent specials that can be nice deals.

https://bikeisland.com/index.cgi

Used is usually the best bang for your buck. It seems like you are looking at hybrids and honestly thats some of the best values on the market because so many people buy them and never ride them and sell them for cheap. It takes time to find the deal and you have to get to it before someone else does. Some shops might have some closeout deals on 2010 bikes or whatever else they want to get rid of and some shops have used bikes including rentals.
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Old 08-31-11, 02:01 PM
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Uh-0h. This kind of thread ensures you will get a million different answers furthering your confusion. Good luck!
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Old 08-31-11, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by monsterpile

https://bikeisland.com/index.cgi

Used is usually the best bang for your buck. It seems like you are looking at hybrids and honestly thats some of the best values on the market because so many people buy them and never ride them and sell them for cheap. It takes time to find the deal and you have to get to it before someone else does. Some shops might have some closeout deals on 2010 bikes or whatever else they want to get rid of and some shops have used bikes including rentals.
Bike Island, nice site!!! Dawes Lightening for $199...are you outa your mind!? Great deals

Question: I can't seem to find the dented or returned deals on this site, clueless. Where do I find this?
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Old 09-01-11, 07:33 AM
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Those are the dented and returned items. thats the only thing they sell there for bikes. That $199 Dawes is a deal for the super budget shopper its normally almost $100 more. If its the right size and you would probably be happy with it if you decide a road bike would work for you. Before ordering you might want to see how much it would cost to have a shop assemble and include that in your total cost you unless you are really confident in your skills putting it together. Its not hard, but I saw a craigslist ad yesterday for someone that put together their own bike and then wanted to sell it a few months later. They had the fork installed backwards and even after I sent them a helpful email pointing this out they didn't think there was a problem. ALso I have ordered a couple of singlespeeds from them and the flaws on the bikes are easy enough to live with IMO.
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Old 09-01-11, 09:22 AM
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I just faced the same dilemma, and after weeks of research (and a post like yours) I ordered this: https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...ord_deluxe.htm

Like you, I was just looking for an urban commuter. I started asking other commuters at work about the components that they really liked/needed on their bikes, and this one pretty much had them all. I'd love to be able to give you a review, but UPS is completely incompetent. Hoping it gets here tomorrow...
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Old 09-01-11, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by tar wheel
I just faced the same dilemma, and after weeks of research (and a post like yours) I ordered this: https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...ord_deluxe.htm

Like you, I was just looking for an urban commuter. I started asking other commuters at work about the components that they really liked/needed on their bikes, and this one pretty much had them all. I'd love to be able to give you a review, but UPS is completely incompetent. Hoping it gets here tomorrow...
Looks like a fine ride for the city! I hope it gets there soon too!
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Old 09-01-11, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by monsterpile
Those are the dented and returned items. thats the only thing they sell there for bikes. That $199 Dawes is a deal for the super budget shopper its normally almost $100 more. If its the right size and you would probably be happy with it if you decide a road bike would work for you. Before ordering you might want to see how much it would cost to have a shop assemble and include that in your total cost you unless you are really confident in your skills putting it together. Its not hard, but I saw a craigslist ad yesterday for someone that put together their own bike and then wanted to sell it a few months later. They had the fork installed backwards and even after I sent them a helpful email pointing this out they didn't think there was a problem. ALso I have ordered a couple of singlespeeds from them and the flaws on the bikes are easy enough to live with IMO.
As quoted from the site:
"A: No way! We only sell bikes that have issues of some sort. That's why it's such a good deal! We actually like scratches, dings and scars. To quote an old Poi Dog Pondering song..."They are a map of the adventures and places you've been..." "

Thank you so much for sharing this site!!!! I have no qualms about dings, scratches and the like!!!
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Old 09-01-11, 02:19 PM
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No problem. I like getting discounts on bikes that already have flaws so I won't feel guilty about adding more to them. =) Thats one reason I like used bikes.

Bike Island haven't been selling these damaged bikes for very long maybe since April or so. Sometimes they have really good deals and sometimes I don't think its worth the small discount they have. I bought 2 singlespeeds to try out because they were only $200 each which I figured was too good to pass up and easy enough to move to another owner if I didn't like them them. The Gravity Swift I bought has been harder to move, but its probably because its a 61 frame size. I guess the worst case scenario is I have to keep it. =) I was really tempted to buy a couple other bikes from there, but I have resisted. The Windsor Wellington 3.0 is a nice deal for $300, but its probably too big for me.
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Old 09-01-11, 02:25 PM
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I would try a local bike shop instead of walmart
A proper bike shop will take care of you After the Sale. Wally World will not.

mail order means you are the only mechanic to help yourself out,
with no background .. that will not be so good..

Shop the dealer first, then the brand and model of bike, with their help.
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Old 09-01-11, 02:41 PM
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With a small budget, I'd personally look for a good used bike, or get one from bikes direct.
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Old 09-01-11, 02:58 PM
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Whenever someone asks me what to buy on a budget, my advice is the same as most people in this thread. I advise them to look for a nice used bike, or utilize the plethora of bike fitting advice available online and buy something from Bikes Direct or eBay. If you know what size you need, it's actually easy to buy on eBay. Most sellers list the measurements in their auctions. Shipping does add to the cost, unfortunately.

I steer people away from Wal-Mart, but I've actually seen pretty decent Schwinns at Target. Last time I was there I saw a black flat bar road bike with 700c wheels. Now, I don't know what the durability is like on the big box store bikes, but they're still light years better than Murrays and Huffys used to be.

Bikes Direct does run really good deals. Bike Island has the Dawes Lightning available right now for $199.
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Old 09-01-11, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
A proper bike shop will take care of you After the Sale. Wally World will not.

mail order means you are the only mechanic to help yourself out,
with no background .. that will not be so good..

Shop the dealer first, then the brand and model of bike, with their help.
You can always buy the denali and have a bike shop assist you.

Probably just 50 bucks to set the gears and adjust the brakes.
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Old 09-01-11, 04:55 PM
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For small budget, used will almost always win. You just have to be willing to spend some time wrenching on the bike if it turns out something's not quite right, or going to the bike shop and paying for them to take a look at it. In my experience, the cost and time spent of trying to find a really good bike shop is about the same as the cost and time spent buying tools and learning how to fix your own bike. For new, Bikesdirect is also worth looking at, but be advised that many people have reported issues with poor assembly. Basically, that puts you in the same position as dealing with a used bike that potentially has similar issues.

If you buy from Walmart, you will have the same issues of poor assembly, but you will also be dealing with a lower quality bike, with lower quality parts, which will be harder to fix. I've seen several people throw away Walmart bikes because the effort involved in fixing them is not worth the cost of the bike. Also, be aware that a used bike will tend to retain its value better. A $100 Roadmaster from Walmart will be worth $5-$10 a year from now. A $100 Craigslist bike, depending on what you buy, will sell for a lot more than the Roadmaster when you decide to upgrade.
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Old 09-01-11, 06:57 PM
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I'd skip on the Varsity, and take a slight step up (If you could afford it) to get the Schwinn Tourist from Target. It's $250, and avoids the "Walmart QA" process forced upon suppliers for Walmart.

It's the bike I ride, and don't regret it. Needed derailleur adjustments, but that's it. I've put on at least 700 miles thus far in 2 months, and not a problem yet.
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Old 09-01-11, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
A proper bike shop will take care of you After the Sale. Wally World will not.

mail order means you are the only mechanic to help yourself out,
with no background .. that will not be so good..

Shop the dealer first, then the brand and model of bike, with their help.
+1

The most valuable accessory that you can get as a new cyclist is advice and help picking out a bike, along with keeping it running. You won't get those from a department store, or from an internet retailer. You may pay a bit more at your local bike shop, but it will be well worth it. You will get a better quality bike (poor quality bikes are too much trouble for a shop which knows that they will be servicing the bike), and you will get help and advice.

Go to several local bike shops until you find one where they treat you like they care, then take their advice and let them get you going.
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Old 09-03-11, 07:33 AM
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yeah, that looks good. but take it to a shop and have them check the adjustments for shifting and braking. also have them remove the wheels and check all the spokes' tension and true the wheels.

wear a helmet; hi vis clothing and use front rear strobes.
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Old 09-06-11, 02:17 PM
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Thank you for all your help, I just purchased a Gravity: Liberty 1. Does anyone know much about this bike? The components seem to be very good, and I picked it up at a great price. I am definitely glad I didn't go to a Walmart or Target. Should get here any day now!
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Old 09-06-11, 02:36 PM
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You could always go with a Ferrari bike. It's only two wheels, and the engine is, um . . . you, but it's relatively affordable for a genuine Ferrari.

https://store.ferrari.com/en/sports-g...d-edition.html

Perhaps a little out of your budget, but worth considering.
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