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Trying to get back into riding after well over a decade, frustrated

Old 12-08-15, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
If your LBS salespeople want to be richards, then treat them as they deserve—get them to fit you for a bike of the style you want, and then buy a similar (but much cheaper) BD bike and pocket the cash with a smile.

If you are that into ti, you can look up the geometry chart of the BD bike, find a bike online from a major manufacturer with similar numbers, and “test-ride” that before buying the BD bike, secure in the knowledge that it will probably fit. (Normally I am Very against using people this way, but if they are acting like tools, tools are meant to be used.)
Weren't you giving it the big 'un about 'good faith' in the returns policy thread? Seriously...
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Old 12-08-15, 10:04 PM
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OK, you want new but here is some stuff

MARIN LARKSPUR ROAD BICYCLE

2014 Specialized Crosstrial Hybird/Commuter Bike (New Condition)

Giant Escape 1 2015
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Old 12-09-15, 02:15 AM
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I firmly believe in spending a bit more and supporting my LBS but that being said I don't think that is possible in the $400 price range on a road bike.
I have six LBS near me and I don't think
one of them stocks a road bike of any type at that price point. And I am pretty sure almost every one of those shops has at least one salesperson who would be less than helpful towards the OP. No denying there is a lot of snobbery in the industry.
I would suggest doing a bit of research and buying at BD.
Fit is important but not nearly as hyper critical as many forum members will have you believe.
Do the research and don't obsess and you will be fine.

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Old 12-09-15, 08:50 AM
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Wow thanks for all the replies guys, I had no idea this site would be so responsive and helpful.

Okay so without quoting everything, here is what I picked up on from the comments:

- Bike fit can be tricky and even after someone helps me, I won't know what I prefer until I get more experience.
- LBS CAN be dishonest and CAN be more interested in the sale than what is right for the customer. They also have more overhead and as a result, you get less material product for the money with the LBS. They can also exhibit a tad bit of snobbery, which I did witness.
- Seems like the main point to take home is that I just need to get out and start riding. Look at the guy on the huffy!

For these reasons and also due to the fact that this is my christmas present(meaning the budget is pretty much locked at 400), I think my only option for getting a decent ride at that price is online, or used.
I'm more comfortable buying online, even if that means I get less for the money. A while back it was hard shopping for used because the frame sizes are usually too small.

Now the only thing I am debating is do I go with single speed, 3 speed, or something like a 21/24 speed?
Houston is very flat and I will mainly be riding around local streets. However, I DO love to go fast
Here's my thought process:
At 400 dollars a lot of what I am reading regarding road bikes at that price is "You are basically getting wal-mart grade shimano gears unless you bump it up to 500-600 price range"
Also, as you can already tell I am not too keen on my LBS and I like doing things myself. The advantages of going with a single or 3 speed seem to be:

#1 : Since it is likely a lot cheaper to manufacture a bike with a single gear, I get a lot more bike for 400 dollars in a single geared bike than I would if it were a 21-27 speed. Is this a correct assumption? Would the frame be inherently better in the same style bike at the same price if one bike had a fixed gear and the other was a multi-speed?
It seems like this is a better route because I may actually get a hold of a bike worth upgrading that way, then again if I later on decide I want gears...

#2 : As you can already tell, I am not too keen on going to the LBS and prefer to do my own maintenance. If my derailleur starts acting up, I am more likely to put off riding than take it to the shop. With the fixed gear any issue I can forsee going wrong would be something I could handle no problem, so I could just focus on riding.

Here are some models I am comparing:

21+ speed road bikes:

Save Up to 60% Off Carbon Fork Road Bikes - Windsor Wellington 4.0 Web Sale Prices This one is the wellington 4.0. It has STI shifters and is 21spd. are those gears junk?
It also doesn't have the flat bars, but I did own one road bike with these style bars for a short time and while it was not the most comfortable bike in the world, it was fun and fast...

Save up to 60% off new Road Bikes - Gravity Liberty CX | Save up to 60% off new road bikes
This bike has sora gears and is similar to the one above, but looks more comfortable. It's in the "touring bike" section where the other is a "road bike" Which one has better technical specs, though?

Here is one with flat bars which I prefer:
Save up to 60% off new Disc Brake Flatbar Road Bikes - Gravity Avenue FXD | Save up to 60% off new road bikes

This bike is 50 dollars cheaper than the last one(the 399 flat bar model didn't have a frame reccomended for my height), it has different gears(not sure if they are lower quality)
It also has different brakes, which I am indifferent to. For 319 I could get the model without disc brakes, but is otherwise identical...

Save up to 60% off new Road Bikes - Gravity Avenue FB | Save up to 60% off new road bikes I like this one too. It's in the "fitness" bike category. What's the difference between it and a regular road bike?


Single Speed:


Save Up to 60% Off Kilo TT Fixie and Track Bikes | Single Speed Bikes | Mercier Bikes - Kilo TT Fixed Gear Singlespeed Fixie
This one is a track bike without the flat bars, but just looking at it, it does seem like a lot of quality for the money...

Save Up to 60% Off Track Bikes | SingleSpeed Bikes | Fixie | Windsor Bikes - The Hour | Save up to 60% off Fixed gear and singlespeed bicycles This one looks very similar but is 100 dollars cheaper. I suppose the main difference is that it has a steel frame...


- Town Bikes | Classic, Stylish City Bikes | Urban Bikes | Commuter Road Bikes | Windsor Essex Deluxe from bikesdirect.com This bike has the more relaxed riding position I am looking for, but otherwise looks slow and clunky, so I am not sure...

The single speed selection is actually pretty limited. I know I said I prefer flat bars, but curved bars aren't bad either. I could always swap them out later, right?

3 speed:
I actually could not find any 3 speed bikes within my frame size chart height recommendation on that site. Since the consensus seems to be that fit is most important, I have decided to overlook these for now for that reason.
There IS one but it is 450, which is more than I wanted her to spend on me.
I could technically just throw in an extra 50 dollars, but this is a last resort because it just seems like a tacky thing to do for a present...




Thoughts?

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Old 12-09-15, 08:57 AM
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If you aren't set on drop bars there are scads of rigid-fork sporty hybrids around - you don't need one from 2015, either, a new 2013 or 2014 will do just as well, and if you find a shop with one on the floor you'll often be able to roll out with it at a nice discount. Buy something like that and ride it like hell for a few months. Maybe then you'll want something else, maybe you'll find that will do you just fine.

I'm partial to the Giant Escape, but pretty much every large manufacturer has something similar.

One big advantage to buying from a LBS is you have some maintenance thrown into the deal. Chances are you'll use it.
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Old 12-09-15, 09:01 AM
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I have this one for my ten minute commute:

Save Up to 60% Off Touring bicycles and Road Bikes, Roadbikes - Mercier Galaxy Tour

It's ok.

Had this one before too (was stolen):

Save Up to 60% Off Road Bikes | Track Bikes | Fixed Gear | Single Speed Bicycles | Motobecane Fixie Flat Bar singlespeed bicycles | Save up to 60% off list prices

It was a decent bike, creaking BB aside. Lighter than the other one. Did the trick and based on your requirements it probably is a good choice for you.
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Old 12-09-15, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by ph0rk
If you aren't set on drop bars there are scads of rigid-fork sporty hybrids around


I'm partial to the Giant Escape, but pretty much every large manufacturer has something similar.
Definitely not set on drop bars and actually prefer the flat ones with a more comfortable riding position, yet still somewhat aggressive.

I like the Giant escape too, but would it be safe to assume I can get a similar bike off bikes direct, like the gravity, which would have better components for the same price? For example, this one that PepeM was kind enough to link:
Save Up to 60% Off Touring bicycles and Road Bikes, Roadbikes - Mercier Galaxy Tour

Originally Posted by PepeM
I have this one for my ten minute commute:

Save Up to 60% Off Touring bicycles and Road Bikes, Roadbikes - Mercier Galaxy Tour

It's ok.

Had this one before too (was stolen):

Save Up to 60% Off Road Bikes | Track Bikes | Fixed Gear | Single Speed Bicycles | Motobecane Fixie Flat Bar singlespeed bicycles | Save up to 60% off list prices

It was a decent bike, creaking BB aside. Lighter than the other one. Did the trick and based on your requirements it probably is a good choice for you.

Perfect you have owned both styles of bike I am considering! How would you compare the fixed gear bike to the geared one for just getting around town on flat surfaces? What would you say it's speed is at say, 70-80 rpms?
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Old 12-09-15, 09:35 AM
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Oh an one more thing PepeM:
Did your single speed have a quick release on the front tire? That is kind of important to me since that's the only way a bike will fit in my back seat.
Is it easy to add one later?
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Old 12-09-15, 09:38 AM
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IMO it is too bad that so many bike shops have an attitude about bikes. Not everyone including yourself have a huge budget to blow on a bike.

If you cant find one locally, most of the internet bike sellers have bikes at reasonable price. Many appear on ads around the edges of this forum. My main advice is to get a frame that fits you. From there you can adjust the seat and handle bars to your liking. So called "bike fitting" is highly over rated, especially at the prices they charge. With the right size frame the rest can be adjusted by yourself for your comfort and riding style. The thing to remember is a bike is a machine "as is", and people must understand they will have to do some accomodation to that machine.

Lastly if you find a bike on line, if you cant fine a reasonable one at a bike shop. Buy mainly the frame size, and adjust to suit. The fact is probably most of the component will be serviceable for the time being. Then some time in the future, things like the RD can be updated so you have a better bike.
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Old 12-09-15, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by vinnyvincent

Perfect you have owned both styles of bike I am considering! How would you compare the fixed gear bike to the geared one for just getting around town on flat surfaces? What would you say it's speed is at say, 70-80 rpms?
Figuring out if you'd like a fixie is absolutely not something you can ascertain by asking other people; some people ( like me ) detest them, while others think that it's as close to heaven as you can get.

Just to be clear--you realize that on a fixie the cranks never stop rotating while the bike is in motion, right? So you can't coast, ever. Many fixies will come with flip-flop hubs that have a fixed gear on one side, and a singlespeed gear on the other that lets you coast, simply by reversing the rear wheel in the dropouts.
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Old 12-09-15, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by vinnyvincent

I like the Giant escape too, but would it be safe to assume I can get a similar bike off bikes direct, like the gravity, which would have better components for the same price? For example, this one that PepeM was kind enough to link:
Save Up to 60% Off Touring bicycles and Road Bikes, Roadbikes - Mercier Galaxy Tour

Than an older model Escape? I don't know. There is also the advantage of having the LBS swap out the stem for a length that better fits you and cutting down the bars (the Escape bars are around 25", I preferred 23" ish). I bought a 2013 or 2014 Escape 2 for $400.

Are you confident that you can handle maintenance yourself? My understanding is most bikes from BD or Nashbar need the wheels to be trued when they arrive. If you're ok doing that, you don't really need our opinion on whether or not to buy from them. If you aren't ok truing your own wheels, buy from your LBS.
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Old 12-09-15, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by vinnyvincent
Definitely not set on drop bars and actually prefer the flat ones with a more comfortable riding position, yet still somewhat aggressive.

I like the Giant escape too, but would it be safe to assume I can get a similar bike off bikes direct, like the gravity, which would have better components for the same price? For example, this one that PepeM was kind enough to link:
Save Up to 60% Off Touring bicycles and Road Bikes, Roadbikes - Mercier Galaxy Tour




Perfect you have owned both styles of bike I am considering! How would you compare the fixed gear bike to the geared one for just getting around town on flat surfaces? What would you say it's speed is at say, 70-80 rpms?
16-18 mph. I've just had one of the BD single speeds for a week, commuting on it instead of my usual road bike.

I would say that the single speed is generally more challenging, slower, but shouldn't present any real difficulties if the route is flat. Getting back into cycling after only a decade you're probably good either way. Just starting out, I wouldn't count on keeping up a 16 mph pace on either bike and would prefer a geared bike or else a larger cog on the single speed.
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Old 12-09-15, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by vinnyvincent
Perfect you have owned both styles of bike I am considering! How would you compare the fixed gear bike to the geared one for just getting around town on flat surfaces? What would you say it's speed is at say, 70-80 rpms?
It is a singlespeed (as in, it can coast) not a fixed gear. I preferred the single speed for around town riding, it was a bit lighter and didn't miss the gears at all. In fact the above bike's front derailleur does not work and I have not bothered fixing it since I do not use that many gears. The speed at 80 rpms should be ~18mph.
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Old 12-09-15, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by mulveyr
Figuring out if you'd like a fixie is absolutely not something you can ascertain by asking other people; some people ( like me ) detest them, while others think that it's as close to heaven as you can get.

Just to be clear--you realize that on a fixie the cranks never stop rotating while the bike is in motion, right? So you can't coast, ever. Many fixies will come with flip-flop hubs that have a fixed gear on one side, and a singlespeed gear on the other that lets you coast, simply by reversing the rear wheel in the dropouts.
I'd probably flip the hub so that it will freewheel if I got one.
I keep thinking back to when I was younger...it seemed like the only reason anyone's bike ever sat unused was because it had issues with the gears, where the BMX bikes I generally rode would just last forever no matter how cheap they were and how bad we would abuse them. There just wasn't much on them that could break that could not be rigged up or fixed.

I am trying to weigh out the pro's and cons as an adult now, though. I love the idea of the bullet proof reliability and ease of maintenance...however, I might want to drive somewhere and cover some long distance rides, or go on a group ride with other road bikes. Is a fixed gear bike really going to cut it for that?
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Old 12-09-15, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by vinnyvincent
I am trying to weigh out the pro's and cons as an adult now, though. I love the idea of the bullet proof reliability and ease of maintenance...however, I might want to drive somewhere and cover some long distance rides, or go on a group ride with other road bikes. Is a fixed gear bike really going to cut it for that?

You don't sound sure to me. Pick up a rigid-fork hybrid and ride it awhile. If you buy one used you can probably resell it for about what you paid, assuming you take care of it, if you don't like the discounted older stock suggestion.

Jumping to a specialized form of riding right of the bat doesn't strike me as a great idea.
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Old 12-09-15, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by PepeM
It is a singlespeed (as in, it can coast) not a fixed gear. I preferred the single speed for around town riding, it was a bit lighter and didn't miss the gears at all. In fact the above bike's front derailleur does not work and I have not bothered fixing it since I do not use that many gears. The speed at 80 rpms should be ~18mph.
Hm, you've really got me leaning toward the single speed with that comment. What you describe above with a derailleur that never really functions 100%, is constantly making noises, chain slipping, needs what seems like constant attention is exactly what I wanted to avoid, even at the cost of some performance.
18-20mph seems like a pretty acceptable speed to me over flat ground, too.

BTW I have rode a fixed gear that my grandma used to own now that I think about it. I am pretty sure I prefer the single speed to fixed gear...although being able to stop the bike with the pedals was a cool feature, it never outweighed not having the ability to coast for me as far as I can remember.
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Old 12-09-15, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by vinnyvincent
... I might want to drive somewhere and cover some long distance rides, or go on a group ride with other road bikes. Is a fixed gear bike really going to cut it for that?
To answer this directly, no. Not unless or until you're a horse, because the fixed gear, or freewheel single speed also, is always going to be at a disadvantage compared to the road bikes.
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Old 12-09-15, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by vinnyvincent
Hm, you've really got me leaning toward the single speed with that comment. What you describe above with a derailleur that never really functions 100%, is constantly making noises, chain slipping, needs what seems like constant attention is exactly what I wanted to avoid, even at the cost of some performance.
18-20mph seems like a pretty acceptable speed to me over flat ground, too.
Not quite what I said. The front derailleur isn't working because the cable going into the shifter broke and I haven't bothered fixing it. The rear one works fine and I think I've adjusted it twice in a few years (doesn't get that many miles tbf.) I leave that bike outside all the time and don't really give it much maintenance to be honest. Generally, I don't find geared drivetrains to need much more work. Also, the creaking I mentioned came from the SS bike, not the geared one. The speed on the single speed is definitely acceptable.

Originally Posted by wphamilton
To answer this directly, no. Not unless or until you're a horse, because the fixed gear, or freewheel single speed also, is always going to be at a disadvantage compared to the road bikes.
I agree. I've seen a few guys show up to fast group rides on fixed gear bikes and they do just fine, but they are excellent riders. As a new rider, if you show up to a group ride on a fixed gear or single speed you'll probably be regretting it fairly quickly.
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Old 12-09-15, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by vinnyvincent
Hm, you've really got me leaning toward the single speed with that comment. What you describe above with a derailleur that never really functions 100%, is constantly making noises, chain slipping, needs what seems like constant attention is exactly what I wanted to avoid, even at the cost of some performance.
18-20mph seems like a pretty acceptable speed to me over flat ground, too.

BTW I have rode a fixed gear that my grandma used to own now that I think about it. I am pretty sure I prefer the single speed to fixed gear...although being able to stop the bike with the pedals was a cool feature, it never outweighed not having the ability to coast for me as far as I can remember.
I think you're being waaaaaay too down on derailleur bikes. As long as you're not buying a department store level bike, it's unlikely that you're going to have any meaningful issues. Just as one example, I have a ancient 7-speed Cannondale tandem on which I installed the cheapest possible Shimano rear derailleur a couple of years ago -- it literally cost me $15.00. Tandems are brutal on drivetrain components because of the forces that can be created, as well as the long cable runs that push indexing/etc to the limit. And yet that cheap, stamped-metal derailleur has shifted precisely every time for thousands of miles, with the only maintenance being cleaning the chain a couple times a year.

The only common situation where I generally see an advantage for non-
derailleur bikes are for people who commute regularly in the snow and ice; hub gears or fixies are less likely to get bogged down with ice and slush in the drivetrain.


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Old 12-09-15, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by vinnyvincent
I know what you mean about the wal mart bikes and their lack of serviceable components as I have thrown several out due to written brake pads that were welded to the frame.
???
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Old 12-09-15, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by mulveyr
...I had the Specialized Tricross in mind. The salesperson immediately tried steering me to one of the more expensive Roubaix models. When I pointed out that the Tricross was pretty much everything I described, he started putting it down because of the "Old fashioned brakes activated by wires..."
???

There are 5 out of 13 Roubaixs that use "old fashioned" caliper brakes (at $1800 or more). Plus 1 mechanical (wired) disk brake bike.

Specialized Bicycle Components

The Tricross doesn't appear to be available anymore. If so, then you are talking about a year or more ago. When even more Roubaixs had "old fashioned" brakes.

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Old 12-09-15, 11:15 AM
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I don't know what the issue here is. Trek offers an entry level Hybrid 7.0 fx. It has gears but is a perfectly fine bike. The 2016 model retails for only $379.00. The other mfg's all have a similar model. Go back to the LBS and tell them what you want don't ask what you need and look at their name brand in the proper size. You can order direct from Trek and have it delivered to your local Trek dealer for assembly and pickup if you want to.
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Old 12-09-15, 11:22 AM
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I know a few people who have purchased from BikesDirect. They were all satisfied.
I believe they also have some tips, maybe in FAQ section or in the area close to the bike specs, that help you determine the correct size bike. Not as exact as a bike shop fit, but will get you in the ball park.
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Old 12-09-15, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by PepeM
Not quite what I said. The front derailleur isn't working because the cable going into the shifter broke and I haven't bothered fixing it. The rear one works fine and I think I've adjusted it twice in a few years (doesn't get that many miles tbf.) I leave that bike outside all the time and don't really give it much maintenance to be honest. Generally, I don't find geared drivetrains to need much more work. Also, the creaking I mentioned came from the SS bike, not the geared one. The speed on the single speed is definitely acceptable.



I agree. I've seen a few guys show up to fast group rides on fixed gear bikes and they do just fine, but they are excellent riders. As a new rider, if you show up to a group ride on a fixed gear or single speed you'll probably be regretting it fairly quickly.
Here's the thing and maybe it's just that the derailleur was damaged, but...that Giant I bought off craigslist(boulder) I assume had a derailleur that is at least a slight step above wal-mart had issues shifting when I bought it. Not horrible, just an annoyance...so I took it to Bike Barn and paid them 25 dollars to fix it. They gave it back to me and it still didn't work perfect, but was acceptable.
I then took the bike on some off-road trails over the course of the next few weeks. It gradually started doing the same thing again and started getting even worse than before. Chain slipping on hills, ect...
So I tried adjusting it myself since I had just paid 25 a few weeks ago. At it's max settings I was able to get it about how bike barn had it, but the chain was still slipping.

Maybe the thing was bent or something, but the point is I've never known anyone, or owned a bike with a derailleur that has worked 100%. It just seems like a huge hassle to always be tinkering with something so finicky and if you can even get it to work, it doesn't last very long...
With that being said I have never owned a bike worth over about 500 new, but again that is the price range we are in.
Maybe I have just been unlucky or technology has improved things?

Sure you aren't trying to fix yours, but if I owned it and I were wanting it fixed, would it even be possible? or would it be yet another derailleur that I own which is impossible to get working 100%>

Originally Posted by njkayaker
???
lol okay bare with me on the terminology, but the metal clamps that hold the actual brake pads were permanently welded to the frame rather than being bolted on. Brake pads not replaceable, so without being able to replace the entire assembly short of drilling and tapping the frame, which was beyond the scope of our ability as 14 year olds, the bike just had no brakes. At least not ones that worked better than a foot shove between the fork and tire anyways.

Last edited by vinnyvincent; 12-09-15 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 12-09-15, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by spdracr39
I don't know what the issue here is. Trek offers an entry level Hybrid 7.0 fx. It has gears but is a perfectly fine bike. The 2016 model retails for only $379.00. The other mfg's all have a similar model. Go back to the LBS and tell them what you want don't ask what you need and look at their name brand in the proper size. You can order direct from Trek and have it delivered to your local Trek dealer for assembly and pickup if you want to.
The issue is that all the bike shops I checked don't stock anything that is less expensive than 600 dollars, unless it is a beach cruiser or something with a step thru frame, ect...

All these mountain and road bikes I see online for less than 500 are apparently too much of a hassle for them to stock. Pair that up with the fact that even IF I were to spend the 600 on a bike they have in stock, I didn't see any bikes that looked much larger than the wal-mart size frames, which is what I think I need.
So the question then becomes "If they have to order the bike for me to even try it and I am paying a premium to 'shop in person', yet they still have to order it, why bother paying more for their bike?". Other than fit, which from what I understand they just do ballpark anyhow which could probably be accomplished using a sizing chart, why bother?
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