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Entry level bike

Old 03-23-18, 07:31 PM
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Entry level bike

New guy here.


I know this question has probably been asked before but I do not have a lot of extra money and am wondering if there really are no decent bikes in the $200+/- range. It seems all the folks on forums like this have almost no confidence in them. I have seen several in this price range on Amazon that get good reviews but maybe that is just the initial review and not after several thousand miles. I won't list the ones I have looked at unless I need to. I'm just looking for what a guy can buy/ride for a few years that doesn't have a lot of extra money to buy one.


Any input is very much appreciated.


Thanks, Charlie
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Old 03-23-18, 07:55 PM
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Welcome to the forum Charlie. Your best bet in that price range is to find a used bike on craigslist. Otherwise on very rare occasion you can find a closeout bike in the $200 range that is worth riding. What kind of bike are you looking for?
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Old 03-23-18, 08:11 PM
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If I were you, I would go to a bike shop and first see what size bike suits you. The bike shop will of course try to sell you a bike, and that's okay, you'll learn a bit about bikes, fit, and components.

Once you know your size, and have learned a little bit, then you can start shopping on Craigslist. A used bike can last for decades, and even one which is in so-so shape can easily be fixed up. When looking at used bikes, first, the bike should fit. Second, there should be no obvious mechanical problems. The chain should not be rusty, the wheels should not wobble, the brakes should not touch the wheels when they are spinning. The tires should have no cracks or cuts. If the tires are bad, you can negotiate the price down to account for putting on new tires.

If you shop around, you can get an incredible deal on a good bike. Unfortunately, many people buy bikes for fitness, and like treadmills, ab machines, and other exercise equipment, they are often used a few times, then put in the garage and forgotten.

Save buying a new bike until you are certain you'll be serious about cycling.
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Old 03-23-18, 08:17 PM
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[QUOTE=What kind of bike are you looking for?[/QUOTE]


Sorry, I should have mentioned that. A road bike. I have been looking at my local Craigslist but it's a fairly small market. I'm only about 100 miles from Dallas, TX so I think I will follow the advice and go get fitted at the LBS and if they don't have anything in my price range then I can have the fitting info in my mind for a bike should I find one used on CL.


Thanks!
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Old 03-23-18, 08:56 PM
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Ok, I checked CL-Dallas and found a "Cannondale Caad5 R900si" for $250. Is this a pretty good deal? Assuming of course that it's in mechanically good condition, etc.


Thanks, Charlie
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Old 03-24-18, 11:28 AM
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I strongly advise going to ten threads and adding something to get enough posts to post links.

I absolutely do Not recommend using the highly illegal "added characters" workaround---https://****https://www.***bikeforums.net/general...evel-bike.html for example.

Don't do that, even though it works really well.
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Old 03-24-18, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
I strongly advise going to ten threads and adding something to get enough posts to post links.

I absolutely do Not recommend using the highly illegal "added characters" workaround---https://****https://www.***bikeforums.net/general...evel-bike.html for example.

Don't do that, even though it works really well.
+1
Counts
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Old 03-24-18, 11:42 AM
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Reconditioned used bike from a Co Op?


Or, Like; My local bike shop has a continuing turn over of used bikes , but you have to go look , in person , talk to the people there.







...

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Old 03-24-18, 05:09 PM
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You can get a fully functional bike for under 250 here. They are Bikes Direct's scratch and dent bikes.

BikeIsland.com - Bicycle Parts, Accessories and Clothing at Affordable Prices with Free Shipping
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Old 03-24-18, 05:36 PM
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Make sure you know your size before you start looking. Finding bikes that seem perfect but wont fit you wont help anything. Once you have your size, you can start looking. I agree that used is the best way to go for that money. For $200 you can get something pretty nice in the used market.
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Old 03-24-18, 08:23 PM
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Thanks everyone! I'm getting a lot of good info on this post!
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Old 03-25-18, 09:06 AM
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2 hundo would not even cover my entry level wheels . you haven't said what kind of bike you want . wal mart sells those denalis for 190 sometimes. You would easily get into an 80s 90s road bike for under 200 . entry level is just a matter of perspective some bikes that are 2 grando are still entry level ...
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Old 03-25-18, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Cbourbeau32
New guy here.


I know this question has probably been asked before but I do not have a lot of extra money and am wondering if there really are no decent bikes in the $200+/- range. It seems all the folks on forums like this have almost no confidence in them. I have seen several in this price range on Amazon that get good reviews but maybe that is just the initial review and not after several thousand miles. I won't list the ones I have looked at unless I need to. I'm just looking for what a guy can buy/ride for a few years that doesn't have a lot of extra money to buy one.


Any input is very much appreciated.


Thanks, Charlie
Not new, at retail. As others have said, you will have a hard time buying a new set of wheels for less than $200. Probably the best you can do is $700 to $900 or so for an entry level road bike. (though Giant makes the Contend 3 for only $635 retail. Look for a sale and maybe you can find something for a hundred or so less.

Maybe you can find something used for $200, and even there, you are probably talking about a bike that is more than 10 years old, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
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Old 03-25-18, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Cbourbeau32
New guy here.


I know this question has probably been asked before but I do not have a lot of extra money and am wondering if there really are no decent bikes in the $200+/- range. It seems all the folks on forums like this have almost no confidence in them. I have seen several in this price range on Amazon that get good reviews but maybe that is just the initial review and not after several thousand miles. I won't list the ones I have looked at unless I need to. I'm just looking for what a guy can buy/ride for a few years that doesn't have a lot of extra money to buy one.


Any input is very much appreciated.




Thanks, Charlie
Do not buy a bicycle on Amazon or in a department store. Go to Craig's list and get a $1,000 bike in good condition for $200. If you need help find a friend that rides to help you.
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Old 03-25-18, 10:26 AM
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You can often find great deals on a new Diamonback Insight 1 if you look around. It's a well rated flat bar road bike/hybrid.
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Old 03-25-18, 10:33 AM
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$200 is going to be tough for a new bike, unless you're open to single speed. However, Nashbar Flat Bar Road Bike is $270. BikesDirect Mercier is $250, with downtube shifters. This Generic bike on Amazon is $200 and doesn't look all that bad. Cheap shifters.

The pattern is that there will be compromises in that price range. Wheels, shifters, crank sets. The compromises aren't necessarily deal-breakers. Any of those bikes could be rideable and sufficient for a first entry-level road bike.

If I were starting from scratch, without already having pretty deep knowledge of bikes, I would definitely prefer something new like one of these to perusing craigslist or other used markets. Even though you can find a better deal used, fixing up whatever problems might arise, the odds are against it and it could be a long, drawn out process. Better IMO to get a bike now that you can ride, get into it, and then start looking if you want something better.

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Old 03-25-18, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton
$200 is going to be tough for a new bike, unless you're open to single speed. However, https://www.bikenashbar.com/cycling/... Bar Road Bike is $270. Mercier is $250, with downtube shifters. This Generic bike on Amazon is $200 and doesn't look all that bad. Cheap shifters.

The pattern is that there will be compromises in that price range. Wheels, shifters, crank sets. The compromises aren't necessarily deal-breakers. Any of those bikes could be rideable and sufficient for a first entry-level road bike.

If I were starting from scratch, without already having pretty deep knowledge of bikes, I would definitely prefer something new like one of these to perusing craigslist or other used markets. Even though you can find a better deal used, fixing up whatever problems might arise, the odds are against it and it could be a long, drawn out process. Better IMO to get a bike now that you can ride, get into it, and then start looking if you want something better.
It is a tough call. The irony is, the person who can spot a screaming good deal on a used bike for $200 is a person who knows a fair amount about bikes. That said, there are bike shops that sell used bikes for a slight markup over what you might pay a private seller. This can work out if you trust the shop as they can tell you what, if anything has been replaced, and what might need replacing in the future. 18 months ago, I bought my son an 80s era Gitane road bike that somebody updated with brifters probably sometime in the late 90s. To complete the Frankenbike nature of the build, the wheels were both good quality but non matching (one was a Mavic, the other a Velocity, but both wheels were built with Ultegra hubs) and the rear derailleur was a newish entry level 8 speed Shimano 2300. The novice might have hesitated, but I had no problem paying the bike shop $200 and change for this bike because though it was clearly pieced together from a bunch of different and mismatched parts, they were mostly high quality parts.
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Old 03-25-18, 03:32 PM
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For What it is worth a friend of mine ordered a cheap Gravity branded bike from the link above. I put it together for her. She has had it for over 6 trouble free years so far and has ridden several triathlons on it.
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Old 03-25-18, 05:01 PM
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For new bi;es, there are a number of decent, if basic bikes in the $250-$299 range at www.bikesdirect.com (BikeIsland is their closeout outlet)
There's also the Nashbar '7-speed Flat-bar Road bike, that's usually under $300.

Most of these will be 2x7 or 3x7, entry level Shimano, aluminum frames, no real bells and whistles, but they work just fine. Avoid anything with disc brakes or a suspension fork at this price point, as it'll be more trouble than it's worth, and it usually means lower spec somewhere else on the bike.

These will be mostly assembled, you'll have to do things like the wheels, seat and bars, but it's no big deal.
Being new bikes, there shouldn't be any suprises with things that do or don't work.

Buying used, you'll have to be able to know what you're looking at; assess the quality and condition, and what needs it may have and what it'll take to correct them. If it's a CL listing, then probably only from a few pictures to determine if it's worth looking at. Once you have eyes on it, you've only got a few minutes to evaluate it and make a decision.


Case in point, was my Softride, which was not local to me, so I stopped by to check it out when I was in the area.
The seller's ask seemed a little high, but only by $30, but it was very clean and came with some extras that could be useful.
I only had a few minutes to evaluate it, when I discovered that the rear dr didn't shift. The DR moved freely, but the cable didn't, so the problem was in the STI 'brifter' pod. A couple of test shifts, manually actuating the cable told me I was most likely dealing with a fouled cable, which is an easy repair, than a broken brifter, which would be $70-90 just in parts, and would have probably backed me out of the sale.
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Old 03-25-18, 05:47 PM
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I have found at some lbs selling new bikes that are last years models for cheap. Such as a giant escape 2 for $200 OTD. Bargains are out there just have to search search and search again. Call around with in what you would be willing to drive. Check fb market place, Craigslist etc... today my buddy bought a road bike for a few hundred used but Iím good condition.

Be patient and you can get a good bike for a decent price. If you want one now and with less homework. Might pay closer to mrsp
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Old 03-25-18, 06:00 PM
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Old 03-25-18, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
Reconditioned used bike from a Co Op?

Or, Like; My local bike shop has a continuing turn over of used bikes , but you have to go look , in person , talk to the people there.
...
I would find a co-op first, the one near me has lots of old reconditioned bikes in that range and the knowledge to help fit you without any sales pressure.

Also as others have said a LBS may have used bikes, I got my first bike for a good deal used at my LBS, I broke the chain a few days later and they fixed for free (I shifted terribly).

I would recommend against Craig's or 3rd party used for your first bike. Make sure to do a lot of reading, take pictures and ask question here before committing to a sale.
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Old 03-25-18, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by GrainBrain
I would find a co-op first.
Aren't co-ops usually associated with bike clubs? I live in the middle of nowhere. There are no bike clubs close to me, at least as far as I can find. I have a very reputable LBS about thirty miles from my work. I will check with them. Again I am very thankful for the replies!
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Old 03-25-18, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Cbourbeau32
Aren't co-ops usually associated with bike clubs? I live in the middle of nowhere. There are no bike clubs close to me, at least as far as I can find. I have a very reputable LBS about thirty miles from my work. I will check with them. Again I am very thankful for the replies!
Nope usually just nonprofits ran by people and volunteers passionate about bikes. Here's a link from a wiki that lists a ton of co-ops from around the world and United States, this is the quick link to Texas: https://www.bikecollectives.org/wiki...izations#Texas

The people at your LBS might know where to look as well.
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Old 03-27-18, 06:17 PM
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It's me again! I checked at all the co-ops that were within 5-6 hours of me (that I could find) and it doesn't look too promising in my area. So I'd like to propose a question. Would I be better off buying a $299 cosmetically imperfect (Mercier, Dawes, Motobecane) from Bike Island or buying a 10 YO +/- used Cannondale, Trek, etc. for $250 (Dallas CL has some in that range) and then pay a shop $100 or so to tune it up/replace a few parts.


Let me know your thoughts.


Thanks, Charlie
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