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looking to get started on my 1st bicycle purchase

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looking to get started on my 1st bicycle purchase

Old 05-26-16, 12:08 PM
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looking to get started on my 1st bicycle purchase

hello everyone, my name is Robert. I am looking for a bike for this summer and I don't know which way to go. I have a budget for around $500.00 I know it's not too high but I thought this should get me a pretty decent bike to start off with. I have a few friends who ride. One says Trek and one says Cannondale. I say I don't have $2000 to blow on a bike LIKE you guys did. So I don't want to pay $200 FOR THE BIKE AND $300 FOR THE BRAND NAME, YA KNOW? I am open to all different bike brands, I just want what's best for me. I am roughly 6 ft - 6 ft 1" with a 33" inside seam of my leg. I just bought a house that's 3 blocks from a huge bike trail. 99% paved trail. I hear a lot about getting a carbon fiber fork for ride comfort. this trail is very long. Just as a starter ride I rented a bike and went 40 miles with my girlfriend. we went about 17 miles to a few towns over and ate lunch and drove back. my complaint was cramps and a little uncomfortable for the long ride. I had to stop a few times each way to stretch. This is most likely normal but then again I don't know anything about Bicycles. I was hoping to get some advice on what I should buy. I would rather not put the bike together but I am willing to do so if needed. I have full faith I can perform the task but WHAT I don't want to have IS missing pieces to the bike and I know I would be fully unaware of this. I appreciate any help like I said I am a novice at best and would really like to buy a bike soon. Thank you for reading, looking forward to your suggestions
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Old 05-26-16, 12:52 PM
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I would recommend trying to figure out what type of riding you'd like to do. Just MUPs? Some off-road trails? How about fast road riding? Long distances? Trekking? Each calls for a different type of bike, or, at the least, a different configuration of a bike.

Once you know what type of riding you'll (mostly) be doing, go to your local bike shop, and see what you like. You might be surprised at what's available, within your budget, at the LBS. Of course, you can always shop for used bikes (the LBS may have some of those that suit you, as well), but you'll need to be more careful, since there likely won't be any warranty or service available with a used bike.

While you're shopping, you'll need to know what size bikes will fit you. The LBS can help you make this determination, and there are many on-line resources to assist, as well. Bike fit is crucial, since an ill-fitting bike can lead to premature fatigue, poor performance, and even injury. It's possible to bring a too-small bike into your range much more easily than a too-large bike, so keep in mind that, if the sources indicate that you need, for instance, a 54cm bike, most 52cm bikes can be adjusted to work for you. It's mostly a matter of saddle height and position, reach, and bar height, all of which are adjustable.

I don't think you need to worry too much about missing pieces should you decide to buy a bike-in-a-box. The risk is minimal, and the more critical issues will be found in details like properly torquing fasteners, truing wheels, and adjusting the drivetrain. If this will be your first "build", then maybe try to enlist the help of someone a little more experienced with bicycle mechanics. It's not that difficult, and there are plenty of available resources to assist (including bikeforums.net!).
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Old 05-26-16, 01:29 PM
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I'd recommend a used steel road bike - your about my size, I'm pretty good with a 56-60cm frame.

2x5 10 speeds from the 80's with down tube shifters and drop bars are fun and comfortable, compared to modern road bikes, and fit into your price scheme - even if you want to get a new set of tires, some aero brake levers, bar end shifters, and a $250 bike, you are still under the $500.
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Old 05-26-16, 01:45 PM
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Resist the temptation of buying a bike online in order to save money or get a supposedly better bike for the same amount. At the lower spectrum of price, the cost savings really isn't there. Go to a bike shop. In fact, go to a few shops if you can, and key in on who provides the best service first. Why? Because all bikes within a given category and price are generally similarly spec'd; a $400 hybrid by brand X is not much different than the brand Y hybrid at the same price. Don't worry about paying a brand tax, because the market is really too competitive for any manufacturer to price their bikes significantly higher just on name alone. Heck, almost none of the brands make their own bikes; they all come out of China, sometimes even from the same factory. So, finding a shop that is willing to guide you through the process of choosing one that suits your needs/wants, and can help you fit it to you is more important than anything else.

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Old 05-26-16, 01:53 PM
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You say that you rode 40 miles with your girl friend? What kind of bike does she have? That's a long ride for an early outing by the way.

If there are people who you picture yourself riding with regularly, check out their bikes. You'll want a bike with tires that are similar to theirs. That way you'll be favorably equipped to go wherever they ride.
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Old 05-26-16, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by kevindsingleton
I would recommend trying to figure out what type of riding you'd like to do. Just MUPs? Some off-road trails? How about fast road riding? Long distances? Trekking? Each calls for a different type of bike, or, at the least, a different configuration of a bike.

Once you know what type of riding you'll (mostly) be doing, go to your local bike shop, and see what you like. You might be surprised at what's available, within your budget, at the LBS. Of course, you can always shop for used bikes (the LBS may have some of those that suit you, as well), but you'll need to be more careful, since there likely won't be any warranty or service available with a used bike.

While you're shopping, you'll need to know what size bikes will fit you. The LBS can help you make this determination, and there are many on-line resources to assist, as well. Bike fit is crucial, since an ill-fitting bike can lead to premature fatigue, poor performance, and even injury. It's possible to bring a too-small bike into your range much more easily than a too-large bike, so keep in mind that, if the sources indicate that you need, for instance, a 54cm bike, most 52cm bikes can be adjusted to work for you. It's mostly a matter of saddle height and position, reach, and bar height, all of which are adjustable.

I don't think you need to worry too much about missing pieces should you decide to buy a bike-in-a-box. The risk is minimal, and the more critical issues will be found in details like properly torquing fasteners, truing wheels, and adjusting the drivetrain. If this will be your first "build", then maybe try to enlist the help of someone a little more experienced with bicycle mechanics. It's not that difficult, and there are plenty of available resources to assist (including bikeforums.net!).
At 6'1"? I was thinking 58 cm at least. I am 5'8" and I ride a 55 cm frame.

Additionally, I would say no to going too small. It is at least as bad as going too large. I learned this myself through experience, having previously ridden a size M hybrid. I wondered why I got such a sore neck riding longer distances. The problem is, if I raised my handlebars, I sat bolt upright. If I lowered them to get a bit more aerodynamic, I was scrunched over, and constantly had to crane my neck to see. The solution was a larger, and somewhat longer frame. No more neck pain.
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Old 05-26-16, 02:08 PM
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$500 is a good budget for a decent bike. Where are you located? Have you checked CL? You should be able to get a good brand name commuter or hybrid for between $300 to $400.

I acquired a 2015 Specialized Sirrus sport for $350 and I absolutely love it. Buying a used bike means that you could add a few accessories and still stay within your $500 budget.

Last edited by legacyoneup; 05-26-16 at 02:09 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 05-26-16, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2
At 6'1"? I was thinking 58 cm at least. I am 5'8" and I ride a 55 cm frame.

Additionally, I would say no to going too small. It is at least as bad as going too large. I learned this myself through experience, having previously ridden a size M hybrid. I wondered why I got such a sore neck riding longer distances. The problem is, if I raised my handlebars, I sat bolt upright. If I lowered them to get a bit more aerodynamic, I was scrunched over, and constantly had to crane my neck to see. The solution was a larger, and somewhat longer frame. No more neck pain.
Sorry. I probably shouldn't have said, "for instance". My mistake.
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Old 05-26-16, 04:01 PM
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I'm about one month into my 1st non-MTB. This was my decision process:

Road bike vs hybrid -> road bike (I already eliminated cruiser, fixie, tandem, recumbant, unicycle, tricycle, etc.)
Performance/race vs endurance -> endurance
Strictly road or multi surface -> multi

I ended up with a "gravel" bike, which is essentially a road bike that has characteristics making it suitable for use on unpaved roads. I use it mostly on the road but really like that I can also take it on a dirt trail at times. There might be some trade off with road speed, but that's OK with me. Yeah, I know there are other categories/sub-categories I've left out, but this is the general process that worked for me - someone who really knew very little about road bikes (and still does, really). HTH. Good luck.
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Old 05-26-16, 04:11 PM
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For $500 a hybrid for any of the major brands should serve you well. What does the shop near you sell?
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Old 05-26-16, 04:42 PM
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If yuo are 6 feet to 6'1" you can probably fit on a 56 or a 58 if you are of normal proportions. A little small is better than an little big because you cannot make anything smaller, but you can use a longer seat post and stem, plus spacers to make a smaller frame bigger ... too much of anything is obviously too much though.

You can get a better bike online for $500 than at a bike shop ... as people here who have done so can attest. The same bike at a bike shop with be a couple hundred more as a rule, because they have more overhead.

However, if you don't know pretty much what you are doing, or have a friend who does, you can easily get beat buying online, or buy the wrong bike.

I ride an '80s steel frame, and it is not a huge amount more comfortable than my modern aluminum frame with carbon fork and seat post. And buying old bike,s you have to know how to do mechanical work, and you have to know enough about parts to know what to buy to replace what you've got if it goes. if you cannot tell what a BSA BB is, and what size .... then that ugly noise when you pedal will just keep getting worse until you can no longer pedal.

I definitely recommend a new bike for a first timer, and if you don't have a savvy friend, find a bood shop and buy there. A good shop will offer lifetime tuneups, and will help you if you suddenly realize you don't know how to change a flat or something---for instance, some brakes have a quick-release, and you can't get the wheel back in past the brakes ...

if you have some confidence, you can visit YouTube and the Park Tools site and learn everything about bicycle repair and maintenance. None of it is very hard.

also, for help with fit, if you should order online: Bike Fit Calculator | Find Your Bike Size | Competitive Cyclist
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Old 05-26-16, 06:19 PM
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I say a Giant Defy. The lowest end I honk is around $500. Super comfortable geometry. Lots of room to grow.
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Old 05-26-16, 06:21 PM
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It really depends on whether you're going to be putting the hammer down and challenging yourself and riding regularly, or if you want to putt around and have a plush and comfortable ride.
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Old 05-26-16, 08:02 PM
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I actually looked at Giant Defys for a while .... good spec, very good frame, good price.

Not a "racing" bike, which means it doesn't demand that you bend double and reach forward all the time on every ride, but still light enough and low enough that you can get under the wind ... and frankly, if you can race a bike, you can race any decent bike. it's not like the difference between a "race" frame and an 'endurance" frame is the reason you do or don''t podium.

For general road riding the Defy seems to offer about everything a person needs. Also, from what I read (but this might be about the line two years ago) the frames are pretty good, as in, if you decide to upgrade some stuff you won't be throwing good parts at a bad bike.

Best thing, still, I think, is to go to several shops and ride several bikes. Tell the shop about how much you are willing to spend ... consider saving a few extra bucks in case there is a price-point break (for instance, if for an extra $127 you can get a significantly better parts spec, or at least a couple much better parts) and ride a bunch of stuff.

Find out about the bikes, and also about the shops. The ones that aren't interested because you are buying budget ... ride all of their bikes, including the best, then leave and never come back. The ones that really explain everything about the bike and seem honest, keep in mind.

That way you can know your options, find out what sizes fit you on a lot of different bikes, test a varierty of bikes, andf whether you find a good deal at an LBS or go online, you will make better choices.

The only thing is, don't put a shop through all that if you are already certain you plan to shop online. Give them a chance. if they blow it, good info for you.

Also, don't be afraid to bargain, either on price or ... say something like, "A friend of mine got lifetime tuneups and half off on a bunch of accessories. I plan to buy (gloves, helmet, bottles and cages, rack, lights, seat bag, multi-tool, mini-pump, spare tubes, patch kit, etc.) I was going to shop online---do you guys carry any of this stuff?"
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