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What level is Entry Level?

Old 10-25-21, 07:37 PM
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stevenlsmith87
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What level is Entry Level?

Hey everyone. As the tale as old as time goes...I am in the market for a bike. I primarily am a runner, but looking to add some cycling into my life to mix it up and honestly, its something I have always wanted to do. I used to ride a hybrid Cannondale back in the day, but sold it during a move. I am looking for something I can take on the roads, some gravel roads, and rails to trails here in PA. Starting off this will probably be something done every once it awhile so I am not looking to drop over $1K (or even that much) at the moment. I would like to have something to allow my to start, and allow me to buy other things I will need/want and then eventually upgrade when I know what I am really looking for and wanting in a bike. I also know that a super cheap bike can kill the fun and just be frustrating. I was curious if you had any recommendations on anything? I would go used on Facebook or Craigslist, but I am striking out in the area I live (more rural).

Is eBay a trusted place to buy a bike? I thought about even just going to Walmart and grabbing a super cheap bike to just add some miles to my running on the rails to trails, but am hesitant about that. Looking for recommendations or at least pointed in the right direction. Thanks!
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Old 10-25-21, 09:18 PM
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Definitely stay away from a Walmart bike as the quality is so low you will not enjoy it. Good entry level bikes include the Salsa Journeyer, the Jamis Renegade S4 and the Giant Revolt Aluminum. I'd recommend staying with at least 9 speeds as the 8 speed drivetrains only save a small amount of money are are a big step down in performance. Then buy really good tires on to replace the cheap entry level rubber that comes on inexpensive bikes and enjoy! Central PA has great gravel opportunities, especially above I80.
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Old 10-25-21, 09:25 PM
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It's nearly November- I dpnt think buying a Walmart bike is a great idea because it'll be winter soon so you probably wouldn't get much use before you want to hang up the bike.
Just a guess.

Ebay, Facebook, Craigslist, pro's closet- all are good places to search for used.

The most important thing is that it fits properly. After that, consider component condition.

If a 56 fits...
https://www.jensonusa.com/Marin-Nica...RoCPL8QAvD_BwE

Another common recommended sub $1k bike...
https://www.statebicycle.com/collect...rown-650b-700c
or
https://www.statebicycle.com/collect...nyon-650b-700c

Salsa Journeyman is still under $1k. Jamis used to have a Renegade for under $1k, but no longer. This last year has bumped bike prices up 10-20%.
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Old 10-25-21, 10:44 PM
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First, buy a bike from a bike shop, even though supply is inconsistent right now. Living in a less populated place will present some limitations of course, but here’s why it’s a better idea than buying on eBay:
  • You’ll get a bike that fits.
  • You'll get actual expertise from people who ride in your general area and on your terrain.
  • You'll establish a relationship with people who will know and support you should you need repairs and upgrades.
Second, spending more money initially will save you money in the end. A well-built bike with decent components will require fewer repairs, fewer upgrades, and therefore you won’t have to pay for as much labor or tools, and it will be a more durable bike in the long run.

Third, there’s a pride-of-ownership in having a bike that looks good, fits well, and runs smoothly. When you go to the garage and see your bike, you’ll look forward to riding it.

Finally, should you decide that cycling isn’t what you hoped it would be, the resale will be higher for a quality bike shop bike than a BikesDirect, eBay, or other discount bike.

And be sure to amortize the expense over the lifetime of the bike. A thousand-dollar bike only costs $100 a year over ten years. Even if you only put 1000 miles a year on it, that’s a penny per mile. The more you ride it, the cheaper it gets.
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Old 10-26-21, 04:23 AM
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I'm curious where in Central Pennsylvania the OP is. Some people think that Lancaster is in Central PA. I urge those people to look at a map.

If you live in an area where the gravel features going up and down mountains, that would make a bike with low gearing and disc brakes a better choice. Of course, any ride near Lancaster or Reading will feature some really steep hills, but maybe not as long.
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Old 10-26-21, 05:36 AM
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It seems highly unlikely you’re going to land anything like a modern gravel bike for sub $1k, and definitely not new. The entry level is around $1.5k.

You can probably find a not-too-vintage MTB, and it’ll do.
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Old 10-26-21, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
It seems highly unlikely you’re going to land anything like a modern gravel bike for sub $1k, and definitely not new. The entry level is around $1.5k.
Agreed an entry level bike is about $1500 - $1800. And right now used bikes are going for almost the same as new. I would def join some FaceBook bike groups that primarily sell stuff (like gravel and cyclocross trader).
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Old 10-26-21, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I'm curious where in Central Pennsylvania the OP is. Some people think that Lancaster is in Central PA. I urge those people to look at a map.

If you live in an area where the gravel features going up and down mountains, that would make a bike with low gearing and disc brakes a better choice. Of course, any ride near Lancaster or Reading will feature some really steep hills, but maybe not as long.
I am in Blair County, near Altoona. While I know I can get into some elevation where I live, I plan on taking it easy and doing the Rails to Trails. It has been awhile since I have been on a bike and I want to slowly build a base as I mix it in with my running.
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Old 10-26-21, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
Definitely stay away from a Walmart bike as the quality is so low you will not enjoy it. Good entry level bikes include the Salsa Journeyer, the Jamis Renegade S4 and the Giant Revolt Aluminum. I'd recommend staying with at least 9 speeds as the 8 speed drivetrains only save a small amount of money are are a big step down in performance. Then buy really good tires on to replace the cheap entry level rubber that comes on inexpensive bikes and enjoy! Central PA has great gravel opportunities, especially above I80.
Honestly, the only reason I even thought about a WalMart bike was for the fact that most of my riding starting out will be on a Rails To Trails, or very similar type roads. Not much climbing at all. I just was looking for something that I took out once a week (maybe) to see if I even like it, and to build a base as I mix it in with my running. I totally get it though about them being super cheap and messing with my perception of if I am going to like being on a bike or not. All the fitness hybrids I had in the past were flat bar, and I wanted something to kinda give me the feel of drop too.

I may just have to keep running and keep saving and just go for it around spring next year.
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Old 10-26-21, 02:30 PM
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Poseidon Redwood, State Allroad
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Old 10-27-21, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Elvo View Post
Poseidon Redwood, State Allroad
I came here to make this recommendation. If it is really a part time bike, the Redwood seems like a good choice. A friend of mine picked up a Framed Basswood with an aluminum frame (it's not showing up on their website right now, so not in stock) that has been really good for him. A little heavy, but we've ridden a number of longer gravel rides on it. I think he paid right around $1000 for it.
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Old 10-27-21, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Elvo View Post
Poseidon Redwood, State Allroad
Oh, wow…I guess I’d heard of Poseidon, but didn’t really know what the deal was. I just looked at their website though, and it seems they’ve got a pretty innovative thing going. DTC sales have really taken off, notably behind Canyon’s efforts, but Poseidon are doing some clever spec on the bikes avoiding the big name drivetrain suppliers. I guess that outfits like MicroShift have also really stepped up their game in the last few years helps make this possible. I’ve never ridden anything from MicroShift other than a thumbshifter, but I’ve seen some YouTube reviews which make it sound like the stuff works pretty well. It also looks good, elevating the appeal of bikes at that pricepoint.

Are there other companies like Poseidon?
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Old 10-27-21, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by stevenlsmith87 View Post
I am in Blair County, near Altoona. While I know I can get into some elevation where I live, I plan on taking it easy and doing the Rails to Trails. It has been awhile since I have been on a bike and I want to slowly build a base as I mix it in with my running.
Altoid resident here.

There aren't a lot of nearby riding options for relatively flat and smooth trails (i.e. rails to trails). The Lower trail that goes from near Canoe Creek to Alexandria is the main option. There is also the 6 to 10 trail out near Duncansville /Foot of Ten, although it's a bit short and the part of that which is west of Valley Forge Rd. is pretty rough (or at least it used to be). There is also a trail up near Bellwood that goes up the mountain there but I haven't ever been on it.

Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests up near State College have all of the gravel roads you'd ever want to ride. But that's also pretty rough (very very rideable with tires 38mm or fatter, though). And that's very much not flat. You are either going up or down a mountain there.

Consider connecting with the Blair Bicycle Club. https://www.blairbicycleclub.org/
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Old 10-27-21, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
A thousand-dollar bike only costs $100 a year over ten years. Even if you only put 1000 miles a year on it, that’s a penny per mile. The more you ride it, the cheaper it gets.
10-cents per mile, but it sure feels like a penny per mile!
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Old 10-27-21, 10:06 AM
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I ran across this bike in another thread, but the Marin Nicasio is $1000:
Cro-mo/steel frame
Shimano 8sp Claris
Mechanical disc brakes
The gearing (50/34 with an 11-32) is more road than gravel, and the 30mm tires would need to be upgraded (the frame can take up to 40mm).

​​​​​​https://www.marinbikes.com/bikes/2022-nicasio-1

Seems like a pretty solid deal for the money.

For another $200 they have a more gravel specific version with 1x9 MicroSHIFT gearing and 650b wheels w/ 47mm tires:
​​​​​​https://www.marinbikes.com/bikes/2022-nicasio-plus

Another option would be the Kona Rove, which has a 650b build with 47mm tires and Shimano Claris groupset, for $1000:
https://konaworld.com/rove_al_650.cfm

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Old 10-27-21, 10:29 AM
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https://altoona.craigslist.org/bik/d...388999638.html

Not too far away from the OP. Seems a little overpriced. And not sure if it fits the OP - fairly large bike.
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Old 10-27-21, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by SalsaShark View Post
10-cents per mile, but it sure feels like a penny per mile!
Oops! Math isn’t my best subject.
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Old 10-28-21, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Steamer View Post
Altoid resident here.

There aren't a lot of nearby riding options for relatively flat and smooth trails (i.e. rails to trails). The Lower trail that goes from near Canoe Creek to Alexandria is the main option. There is also the 6 to 10 trail out near Duncansville /Foot of Ten, although it's a bit short and the part of that which is west of Valley Forge Rd. is pretty rough (or at least it used to be). There is also a trail up near Bellwood that goes up the mountain there but I haven't ever been on it.

Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests up near State College have all of the gravel roads you'd ever want to ride. But that's also pretty rough (very very rideable with tires 38mm or fatter, though). And that's very much not flat. You are either going up or down a mountain there.

Consider connecting with the Blair Bicycle Club. https://www.blairbicycleclub.org/
HEY!!! That's awesome! Thanks for the trail recommendations. I'll have to look into some of those gravel roads in Rothrock and Bald Eagle. My plan was to just do the Lower Trail for the time being. I wanted to take time on an easy trail to get used to drop bars and to get accustomed to spending some miles in the saddle. I was thinking a cheap bike could handle that to even see if this is something I would like. I may just have to wait and keep saving for spring. Thanks for the info! Really appreciate it!! I'll have to check out the BBC too.
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Old 10-29-21, 01:49 PM
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I really like the Lower trail, but out in the middle (between Williamsburg and Alexandria) it's usually pretty soft. So bigger tires will ride nicer. OTOH, I have ridden it on 25mm tires and lived. A lot of it is paved on the Altoona end.
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Old 10-30-21, 03:42 AM
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You can get such a variety of entry level now, that its really hard to know what you are getting.
Years ago I swore I would not go below 10sp Shimano cassette on any bike I buy, but soon that will be shifting to 11sp Shimano.
I find if I focus on the gearing, theres equivalent other components to match the build quality.
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Old 10-30-21, 04:43 PM
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It's such a good time to get a used gravel bike. Even with the supply chain issues, people are upgrading and selling off their entry level and entry level + bikes that they started out with. $1k will get you a very decent bike. FB groups, FB marketplace, Pinkbike, even Craigslist.
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Old 10-31-21, 06:49 PM
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I have always had this opinion, but I think it makes even more sense now with the new bike price inflation + ongoing shortage, and that is more people should be considering flat bar gravel bikes for first time / entry level / casual. Most of the rigid hybrids out there will easily fit 40c tires, and can be still be had for $700-800 with hydraulic brakes. So few people actually use the drops correctly anyway, so I don't understand why this isn't more of thing, other than the perception that it doesn't look right.
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Old 11-02-21, 10:32 AM
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I agree about how nice current hybrids would be on gravel. A lot of them come with tires that would work fine.
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Old 11-05-21, 04:39 PM
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Uh, no.

I have a hybrid in my collection. Don't know what it is, but I can't easily ride it over 15mph. normally I cruise at 20mph (or 25 in a pack).

Its great if you like the fit and are not in a hurry. Not at all as efficient as my daily gravel grinder.

I'll say, that the hybrid's long wheelbase and stability is what most people want on a gravel bike. Personally, I'd rather be on a good hard tail, but these days the chain rings on mountain bikes are getting so small - I see people in their tallest gear going 18mph, so when I ramp it up to 30+, they can't hang. Realistically most of those mtb bikes aren't going to go over 25mph under power.

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Old 11-05-21, 09:28 PM
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I am not a fan of hybrids on gravel. Most are too upright and put most of your weight on the seat, making them poorly suited to any distance riding or hill climbing. If it is all you have you can make it work of course, but if you are buying something for gravel, may as well get something really suited for what you want to ride.
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