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Rookie Question: Trying to fnd the right bike, am I going down the right path?

Old 06-29-15, 11:40 AM
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Rookie Question: Trying to fnd the right bike, am I going down the right path?

First off, I am sorry for the newbie question.

I am looking to get into biking/cycling, and want a decent bike for a decent price. Not too much to ask for? I've gotten entirely lost in the culture, and am a little overwhelmed.

What I'd like-
Ideally, something that is fast, light on the roads, but can handle a couple gravel trails here and there. I'm also looking for a bike that won't have it's tires popped if I have to ride in the shoulder of the road(my last road bike). I also attend a university, and would like something just to commute to/from, living about five miles away. I'd like to start biking a lot for exercise, and would like to spend under $350, preferably around $200.

Some have recommend a cyclocross bike, which I hear is a fixed gear bike. I'm wondering what others think of this. I'm not looking for a mountainbike because I plan to travel a lot on roads, but I'm also not looking for a road bike that can't handle a gravel bike trail. Being in my 20's, I'd also prefer something that didn't look ugly as all get-out, but beggars can't be choosers.

I found a 2012 Masi Single Speed Cyclocross Bike for $350 on Craigslist,

"2012 Masi Single Speed Cyclocross Bike:
Size: 55 CM Excellent condition. Rear wheel spokes and hub adjusted in June.
Has freewheel and fixed cogs at 16 and 15 teeth respectively. Has about 600 miles on it and it's never been ridden off road. "

Could anyone recommend a solid, light, fast bike for a decent price?

I appreciate any and all help, and again, I apologize for such a rookie question.
Thanks so much!
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Old 06-29-15, 12:22 PM
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A cyclocross bike is basically a road bike with a slightly stretched frame and the ability to take wider tires. The longer stays will make it a touch less responsive on the road and the bigger tires will make it a little heavier. A Fixie is a completely different animal.
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Old 06-29-15, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ctophman
First off, I am sorry for the newbie question.

I am looking to get into biking/cycling, and want a decent bike for a decent price. Not too much to ask for? I've gotten entirely lost in the culture, and am a little overwhelmed.

What I'd like-
Ideally, something that is fast, light on the roads, but can handle a couple gravel trails here and there. I'm also looking for a bike that won't have it's tires popped if I have to ride in the shoulder of the road(my last road bike). I also attend a university, and would like something just to commute to/from, living about five miles away. I'd like to start biking a lot for exercise, and would like to spend under $350, preferably around $200.

Some have recommend a cyclocross bike, which I hear is a fixed gear bike. I'm wondering what others think of this. I'm not looking for a mountainbike because I plan to travel a lot on roads, but I'm also not looking for a road bike that can't handle a gravel bike trail. Being in my 20's, I'd also prefer something that didn't look ugly as all get-out, but beggars can't be choosers.

I found a 2012 Masi Single Speed Cyclocross Bike for $350 on Craigslist,

"2012 Masi Single Speed Cyclocross Bike:
Size: 55 CM Excellent condition. Rear wheel spokes and hub adjusted in June.
Has freewheel and fixed cogs at 16 and 15 teeth respectively. Has about 600 miles on it and it's never been ridden off road. "

Could anyone recommend a solid, light, fast bike for a decent price?

I appreciate any and all help, and again, I apologize for such a rookie question.
Thanks so much!
The price range dramatically limits your option, so much so that I would say your best bet for what you want is to look for a good used late 90's mountain bike and run street tires on it.

I do not believe you will be able to find a new bike for $200 that is worth buying for your purposes. $500 is about as low as I would think you would need to go to buy a new bike that would do what you want.
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Old 06-29-15, 12:38 PM
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Would the Cyclocross Masi bike for $300 be a good deal? Thanks for your input!
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Old 06-29-15, 12:50 PM
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First, make sure any bike you consider fits you. Second, are you sure you want a single speed (such as this Masi)? If you want to ride in hilly terrain it's almost certainly better to have a bike with a range of gears.
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Old 06-29-15, 01:21 PM
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GuitarBob, what would you recommend then for my interests? Daily commuting? Thank you!
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Old 06-29-15, 01:48 PM
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I'd suggest that you spend some time learning about the various 'flavors' of bikes that are available so you can make an informed choice. If 99% of your riding will be on roads (and only a small portion on gravel), you might consider a road bike. Most of these won't take tires that are very wide, which won't be ideal for gravel but should be fine for hard-packed dirt. You'll find lots of these available used, especially those with a few years on them, so sorting through all of that will require a bit of effort, but it will be time well spent.

Your issue with flats will lessen if you choose something with beefier tires, but there are also tires for road bikes that resist punctures well, though most of these are not cheap.

Hope that's some help.

Originally Posted by ctophman
GuitarBob, what would you recommend then for my interests? Daily commuting? Thank you!
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Old 06-29-15, 01:54 PM
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You're looking for a bike to commute with. You would prefer that bike not to be an MTB. So far so good.
I'd say a fixie or a single speed bike won't work for you, because you'd probably appreciate the option to change gears.

Now in that price range, anything new would most likely be way too low quality. I believe your best bet would be to get an older and well used cyclocross/touring/road bike. As long as you have a good solid frame, you can refresh some of the bike's components whenever the need arises, so that you aren't forced to spend a lot of money right away.
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Old 06-29-15, 02:09 PM
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If you have a flattish commute, a SSCX can make an excellent commuter. A single speed is not for everyone, though.
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Old 06-29-15, 02:54 PM
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make sure of the size you need, a good fit is an absolute must...a cheap bike that is the wrong size is NOT a good deal... hell, a free bike that is the wrong size is not a good deal....go to a few LBS and look at what they have and re-evaluate your budget...
if increasing the budget is not an option, once the size is known, check out craigslist and maybe look at a few hybrids/fitness bikes similar to the Trek FX series.
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Old 06-29-15, 02:58 PM
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$200 the bike will have to be used, or a Bike Shaped Object.

try a Bike Shop at least you get to leard what frame size suits you.

some buy used bikes and sell them as is.
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Old 06-29-15, 03:03 PM
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$200 is an unreasonable price range for a new bike.

$350 is still scraping the bottom of the barrel.

For commuting, general path riding, and not much money, the Giant Escape 3 is my default recommendation (~$360). It's lighter than many (no useless deadweight suspension), rides fine, and takes accessories (racks, lights, etc) well. It's a hybrid, so it fits medium-width tires that are good for multiple surfaces.

Otherwise, look for a used, rigid fork MTB or hyrbid. At your price range, any suspension will be either garbage or totally worn out.

I doubt that you would like riding single speed for very long.
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Old 06-29-15, 04:29 PM
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You've gotten good advice so far, except for one of your requirements—attending university. I wouldn't ride anything that looks even close to attractive anywhere near any college I've ever seen. If you have the option of locking it up inside, maybe, but otherwise, look for something used that looks the worse for wear but functions well. Also, you may actually like riding a single speed (not a fixie). You're young and, since you plan to commute 5 miles, presumably fit. Single speed bikes are devoid of complications and clutter, simple to maintain, and give a more "direct-drive" feel than geared bikes that is efficient and quite satisfying. Standing to climb moderate hills isn't much of a hassle for someone in halfway decent shape. I'm 60 and do it all the time (not my only bike, I have a road bike, but I like single speed too). Honestly, if I were limited to just one bike (and happy I'm not), I'm not at all sure I wouldn't pick the single speed.
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Old 06-29-15, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ctophman
Would the Cyclocross Masi bike for $300 be a good deal? Thanks for your input!
In conjunction with what the above poster pointed out, a new-looking Cyclocross Masi on a college campus locked up outside would be a magnet for thieves.

To clarify my above recommendation, I know you said you didn't want a mountain bike, but the late 90's mountain bikes are not the same animal as you see marketed as mountain bikes nowadays, and they can make nearly ideal commuters.

For instance, this is a Trek 820 currently on eBay... no suspension, no silly body cladding, just a nice bike very well suited to college commuting.

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Old 06-29-15, 06:57 PM
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I dont think the Masi is a bad idea if your under 5'9" or so. Id say you could knock $50-100 off if you wave cash. Your young and a single speed will build character. Less maintaining and for being parked in weather. Plus saying you own a Masi pretty cool factor. Just cover Masi name up if locked up outside.
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Old 06-30-15, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ShortLegCyclist
The price range dramatically limits your option, so much so that I would say your best bet for what you want is to look for a good used late 90's mountain bike and run street tires on it.

I do not believe you will be able to find a new bike for $200 that is worth buying for your purposes. $500 is about as low as I would think you would need to go to buy a new bike that would do what you want.
What brand mountain bike should I look for? Thanks for your input!
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Old 06-30-15, 04:39 PM
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Thanks ShortLegCyclist! I have been scouring Craigslist for Trek bikes after you mentioned this, and looks like I'll try and go after those! Are there any other brands/manufacturers that I should look for? I like the idea that you're going with. Any specific models of Trek to keep my eye open for? I am about 5'8", so I should ride a 52-54cm? Any and all tips are greatly appreciated! Thanks so much.
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Old 06-30-15, 04:41 PM
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Thanks Cross Creek! That is a good idea about the magnet for thieves info. Also, how could you explain the difference between a fixie, a single speed, and cyclocross bikes?
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Old 06-30-15, 05:22 PM
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Singlespeed:

While any bike that doesn't have multiple gears is technically a "single-speed" bike, current use of the joined word "singlespeed" generally refers to a bike with a one-speed freewheel and hand brakes, distinct from both one-speed cruisers (these have coaster brakes, not freewheels) and fixed-gear machines.
Fixed-gear:

The pedals of a fixed-gear bicycle revolve whenever the rear wheel turns; coasting is impossible.
You can find out more about both styles on Sheldon Brown.

As for cyclocross, it looks a bit like a road bike, but with more clearance between the wheels and the frame. You can find out more about them here.
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Old 06-30-15, 05:43 PM
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Cyclocross is a type of racing. CX bikes resemble road bikes but generally have higher bottom brackets and clearance for wider, knobby tires. Some CX bikes, like mine, are single speed:



Single speed means that it coasts but can't shift into a bigger or smaller gear. You choose your gear by selecting the chainring and freewheel, and you go with it.
Fixed gear is a subset of single speed. You can't shift and you can't coast. FWIW, I run my SSCX as a FG when I use it for commuting or a winter road training bike.
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Old 06-30-15, 11:20 PM
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I just bought this bike and love it. I know it's out of your price range but please realize you get what you pay for. Chances are you will end up loving this hobby and will upgrade again eventually. Don't waste $300 now when you can put it toward something a lot better.
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Old 06-30-15, 11:56 PM
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Re: the Masi. It looks like a great deal, but! if you ride it on campus, don't plan on getting off. It will remain yours less than 3 hours. Get the best lock in the world and it will take the local thieves 3 days to come up with the tools to steal it. Next time they see it, it's gone.

To hang on to your bike on a college campus, it must be either of less apparent value or the same value and better locked than the other bike on the rack. And that second option only works it the thief isn't interested in two bikes. He might come back. Or you have to find a safe place to keep it. I rode into campus and kept my bike in the "drawing room" of our department. Each of us was assigned a table. It was on the top floor of the building and was always occupied. But that was a perk of being an engineering student in a very specialized, very small program.

If you are commuting to campus on this as your basic transportation, that will override any other concerns. The good thing is that the less you spend the worse the bike will look and the better the chance of keeping it. Once you find it, go to the bike shop off campus. If there are several, find the one that deals with used bikes. Get to know them. Pick their brains as what your campus bike should have to be a ride that is fun but still looks bad. This could be a lot of fun for both you and them and you will learn a lot!

When you graduate, you can treat yourself to a much nicer bike after landing that job and you will know far more about what to look for. You will have a much better idea of what matters and what doesn't and you will be able to pick up a ride that will really be fun, probably for far less than the guy who just landed the job beside you and has to load up his credit card to get that ride the salesperson hooks him on.

Ben
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Old 07-01-15, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by TheCannon
I just bought this bike and love it. I know it's out of your price range but please realize you get what you pay for. Chances are you will end up loving this hobby and will upgrade again eventually. Don't waste $300 now when you can put it toward something a lot better.
I could buy this bike for $300, still not a good deal?

Trek SL 2200

It is a Trek SL 2200. Anyone know of this bike? Could deal for the price?
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Old 07-02-15, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by ctophman
I could buy this bike for $300, still not a good deal?

Trek SL 2200

It is a Trek SL 2200. Anyone know of this bike? Could deal for the price?
That bike is a good deal at that price.
Good components (Shimano 105), good frame.
The triple crank gives it wider gearing, which most people like.
It appears to have slightly higher handlebars and slightly more relaxed geometry than the raciest roadbikes.
It appears to have eyelets on the rear dropout to mount a rack or fender, in case you want to carry stuff or ride in the wet. But no fender mounts on the fork, so you'd have to use clamps or a clip-on front fender.

But it has its downsides:
* maintenance condition - the owner says they bought it used and rarely rode it. It could probably benefit from a thorough tuneup.
* tires - this bike has very skinny road tires, which give it a harsh ride. This bike will not work well on a gravel trail, and will beat you up on rough pavement. You should be able to fit wider, 25 mm tires. You may be able to fit 28 mm tires, but maybe not.
* appearance - this bikes looks pretty nice. It would definitely tempt a thief if you lock it up around campus. Buy a really, really strong lock. Go spend around $100 on something like an Abus chain lock. Square link chains are even harder to defeat than a U-lock (which can be broken with a bottle jack or just a long enough prybar).
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Old 07-03-15, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Tim_Iowa
That bike is a good deal at that price.
Good components (Shimano 105), good frame.
The triple crank gives it wider gearing, which most people like.
It appears to have slightly higher handlebars and slightly more relaxed geometry than the raciest roadbikes.
It appears to have eyelets on the rear dropout to mount a rack or fender, in case you want to carry stuff or ride in the wet. But no fender mounts on the fork, so you'd have to use clamps or a clip-on front fender.

But it has its downsides:
* maintenance condition - the owner says they bought it used and rarely rode it. It could probably benefit from a thorough tuneup.
* tires - this bike has very skinny road tires, which give it a harsh ride. This bike will not work well on a gravel trail, and will beat you up on rough pavement. You should be able to fit wider, 25 mm tires. You may be able to fit 28 mm tires, but maybe not.
* appearance - this bikes looks pretty nice. It would definitely tempt a thief if you lock it up around campus. Buy a really, really strong lock. Go spend around $100 on something like an Abus chain lock. Square link chains are even harder to defeat than a U-lock (which can be broken with a bottle jack or just a long enough prybar).
Thanks! I checked out the bike, and the unfortunately the guy selling it was a bit uneasy to get rid of it, and ended up not selling it to me... Go figure.

Anyways, I managed to offer $300 for this bike.
1996 Trek 5200 OCLV 54cm

The guy seemed friendly, and it looks like a halfway decent bike. Any last thoughts/opinions? I plan on checking this one out today! Thanks everyone for your help, helps more than you know.
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