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Best $300-$350 Bike for what I need (Detailed)?

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Best $300-$350 Bike for what I need (Detailed)?

Old 07-04-14, 01:53 PM
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Best $300-$350 Bike for what I need (Detailed)?

Hello, I have recently got back into cycling. I already am expecting some sort of bias or lying responses but that is okay because I am expecting it. When I saying "Lying" responses I mean I am expecting someone to over exaggerate about my price point not being able to buy any bike at all or someone telling me I need to drop 1k on a bike. Obviously I will not even bother to read your post if you start bringing that up because I know for a fact that is a over statement based on the bike I was riding up until this point.

First let me explain why I got back into cycling. I used to ride bikes all the time as a kid, as I grown older I stopped riding. I recently went cycling on a trail with my uncle and forgot how much fun it was to even ride a bike, thus I am now wanting to get a newer bike that I can somewhat maintain for around $300-$350. I am not trying to be lance armstrong and I am not trying to win awards. I am not looking to go 70mph or have a 2oz bike that I can pick up with only 1 pinky finger. I am just looking for a decent bike that is not super expensive that will be at least be reliable to some extent, have working parts and last me long enough. It doesn't have to last 10+ Years but I would at least expect it to last a few years if I was to clean it and change the parts when need be.

Let me explain what bike I am riding on as we speak just so you get an idea of why I said I will not read post claiming I need to spend over $500 on a bike. I am riding on a bike that I had as a teenager, I am 21 years old right now as I am typing this. The bike that I was riding around with is called "Honda Racing Trail Winder" and I do believe it was actually a Walmart bike that people would call crappy on these forums based on post I have been reading when doing some research on bikes, from what I see if it comes from Walmart it automatically means its garbage, but based on the bike I can't say its super true or super wrong. I will agree that Walmart bikes maybe are not the best choice, may have something go wrong but what I am saying is this. At least for my case I want to explain about this Walmart bike that I have had in my shed for about 5-8 Years by now.

This is not even a joke, If I remember correctly this "Honda Racing Trail Winder" bike that I got out of my shed to ride was bought a long time ago when I was a teenager. So if you can imagine, as a kid I did not take care of stuff as I would now that I am older. So let me explain about this bike I was riding in the meantime before I buy a $300-$350 bike.

The bike is still ride able even after all this time. I have taken this bike out the shed an have been riding it for about 4 days now even after its been siting for 5-8 years and it came from freaking Walmart!!! I am not sure if my bike is better being it was made 5-8 years ago because I seen some people claim this "Honda Racing Trail Winder" is worth $600 today by collectors because it has woody the wood pecker and honda on the side? Either way, I rode this bike up steep hills and make it up all the hills although if its a really steep hill that is very long it does make my legs burn but I am sure that would happen no matter what bike I am on. My 3 left gears all shift perfectly with no problems even after 5-8 years and the possible abuse I put it through when I was in my teen years riding it. My 7 left gears do not all work, some of the gears do skip but it does not hinder me from riding the bike in anyway as if its broken. Basically only about 2 out of 7 of my right gears skip other than that my bike goes in all gears still. I had to adjust my brakes but that is only because its been sitting for 5-8 years and I probably never had my brakes set up right in the first place. I also adjusted my seat ect.

My point is this : I rode this bike as a teen!!! It came from Walmart!!! There is no way in heck that my mom paid more than $150 for this bike tops back then!!! It has been in my shed for 5-8 years!!! It is still working other than a few gears on the right skip but other than that I can go up all steep hills, shift all other gears to where they need to be, brakes work, ect. The reason I will not listen to someone telling me that I have to spend over $500 on a bike is because is this not proof enough at least for myself that if this Walmart so called junk bike is actually working this long that a bike that cost double the money should at least be better if not last me longer and be able to be maintained??? I have been going up steep hills, down hills really fast, on trails, jumping off curbs, it even has full suspension which I herd people say never to buy yet it works even on this old so called junk Walmart bike???

I am looking to spend $300-$350 on a bike.
I am 21 years old, 5'8feet tall, and this is what I plan to do with the bike I buy : I plan on mostly riding it around town for fun but obviously I want the best bike for the money, I will take it on some light trails that is very fine gravel pieces which are kind of smooth, when I ride around town I will be going up semi-steep hills that are smooth and sometimes around town there are bumps and cracks in the roads so I am basing getting a bike that will fit these needs. I am just looking for a bike that can go on light trails, ride up steep hills, go over cracks in side walks and little curbs without breaking. I am not looking for the best bike in the world but rather a bike that is at least reliable and can be maintained. Basically I want the best for my money.

If $300-$350 cannot get me a decent bike then I don't know what can being that my so called garbage 5-8 year old Walmart bike is able to go up hills in 1st gear with no problem, without breaking ect then I assume a $300-$350 bike should easily be able to do the same if not better and be maintained with semi-ease as long as I keep it clean ect.

I know I rambled on a bit but I am asking which bike would you pick IF you ONLY had $300-$350 to spend. This means if you were FORCED to pick a new (Not used) bike which would it be? If you had to ride the bike around with no other choice which bike would it be? I am asking the question this way so that I can get a real answer instead of people just ignoring my question and telling me to buy a $1000 bike which I already explained why that is a plain lie... at least for someone not trying to be Armstrong. I say which bike would you buy for $300-$350 if you were forced to because it forces you to answer which bike you would be forced to use if you had to spend you money on a bike in that range.

#1 - I agree that Cheap bikes have the possibly of something not lasting long
#2 - I agree that Cheap bikes will not be on the same level as a $800 bike
#3 - I agree that a Cheap bike will not be as light as Armstrongs bike....
- What I am not agreeing with is that I have to buy a super expensive bike to fit my needs because my 8 year old Walmart bike pretty much proved that for me and its not even expensive at the least.... unless it was better quality back then? Don't know.

Here are bikes that I was looking at in the $300-$350 range
- Diamond Back = I have seen many people say these are good bikes and I have seen many people say they own them and they are good
- Schwinn Men's Phocus 1400 700C
- Schwinn Men's Network 3.0 700C Hybrid
- GMC Denali
- ect. There are more that I don't feel like listing, I am hoping someone will just come out and say what they think it the best bike.

NOTE : My friend asked me to fix a bike that his grandma gave him. I fixed the back tire because the tube was flat so I replaced the tube. I looked to see what bike it was and it was a "Schwinn Sidewinder" it was all blue, I looked online and its only a $150 bike? I am only bringing this up because it is the same bike he was using when I was riding around, that bike he was using made it up all the same steep hills that my 8 year old Walmart bike went up, his bike also worked pretty much fine and I didn't notice anything wrong with it from when we were riding around?

I already am expecting a certain response from someone with insane expectations of a bike so let me explain my perspective one last time
- If a bike shifts in most gears perfectly, if a bike goes up steep hills in the lowest gear, if a bike flys down hills without breaking, if the brakes work fine, if everything on the bike gets you around how exactly is it a garbage bike even if its cheap? I mean I would TOTALLY agree the bike would be garbage if it was not working but if they are working then I don't get how you can automatically say its garbage when it does its job?

What I am expecting is since I am doubling the money and spending around $350 on a bike, shouldn't I be able to at least get better than my 8 year old Walmart working bike that does everything? Shouldn't for the price of $350 I be able to be some what faster then my no more than $150 Walmart bike? Shouldn't a $350 bike be able to work ? Shouldn't it be able to shift into all gears? Shouldn't it be able to brake easily? Shouldn't it be able to work period and definitively be better than my Walmart bike that is working?

Maybe I am crazy, but my final though is this, if my no more than $150 Walmart bike that is around 8 years old is still working, never broke other than some gears skip (could be due to abuse as a teen), then should I expect a $350 bike brand new to be even better???

Please tell me I am not insane?
So can you guys recommend what bike you would choose if you HAD to choose.
Hopefully I will not get the answers I seen on some other post, that over exaggerate... I will listen to some post but I really don't want to listen to over exaggerations if I found them to be untrue based on real life.
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Old 07-04-14, 02:04 PM
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At your pricepoint, and wants as well as factoring in new etc, I also factored in the amount of time and labor I would drop in a box store bicycle before I would consider it rideable and I came to a quick conclusion (FYI I skipped reading most of your ranty parts, they really were quite off putting to be frank). But factoring all that in, I think you'd be better served getting something like this
Save Up to 60% Off Road Bikes - Dawes Lightning DT

And Skip the box stores all together while staying in your desired price range.
If it were me though, I'd be shopping used on craigslist for the biggest bang for my buck I could find.
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Old 07-04-14, 02:11 PM
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Oh I was not saying I was buying from Walmart, I was just stating that I had a Walmart bike that is around 5-8 years old and it still shifts, goes up steep hills, ect. The only thing wrong with it is that it skips 2 out of 7 gears but other than that it doesn't really stop the bike from doing anything I want it to do like go up a steep hill in 1st gear. I am not concerned about where I am getting the bike from at the moment, not to say its not important I was just trying to find the best deal for $350 that is not used. I will not buy a used bike no matter what, I am just not a used type person, I like knowing if I buy something new that it is my fault for not keeping it clean, ect.

Yes I ranted, but it was much needed because if I did not rant then I would have to hear about how I cannot get a bike for $350.
I was just looking for people that know about bikes, which bike would they personally choose for $350 if they were forced to, meaning if someone came up to you with a nuke and told you to buy a new bike for $350 which would you choose

I am also curious if my Walmart bike is actually worth $600 because I clicked on a link on google and it was being sold for like $678... if thats the case I should sell that bike . Again though, I am not buying used because then I have to deal with people, have to deal with parts possibly not working and more headaches, I would rather buy the best bike for $350 so I know for sure everything is brand new and its my responsibly to keep it clean from after I buy it.
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Old 07-04-14, 02:20 PM
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Welcome to the Forums.

No offense, but what exactly is this thread about? I mean, you come across as only willing to listen to anyone who shares your point of view, which means that there will be some people that won't take the time to respond- even if those responses could be of benefit to you.

That being said, your current bike appears to be still capable of doing everything you'd like your new bike to do... so why not just save the $$ and keep riding what you already have?

If you must get a new bike from X-Mart, then the best thing you could do to ensure your safety and prolong its life is to tear it completely apart and rebuild it- make sure the bearings get packed, the brake pads are aligned, the fork is facing the right direction, the chain is lubed.... you get the picture?

Edit: More info was divulged while I was typing this (I'm a slow typist ). You could probably fix that shifting issue for less money than buying a new bike.
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Old 07-04-14, 02:22 PM
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This is one heck of a long post. Is this a rant or do you actually have a question?
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Old 07-04-14, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
This is one heck of a long post. Is this a rant or do you actually have a question?
Boil the ranty BS off and it comes down to a 'best bang for your buck with a $350 budget- new, not used- thank you" question.
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Old 07-04-14, 02:34 PM
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Well I mean you kind of just proved why I wrote that big post....
I never said I was buying from "X-Mart" in fact I thought I just said that I wasn't buying from Walmart?

Anyways, why don't I just save the money if my bike is working?
Because I want a bike that is a step up from my bike, lets put it this way, if the bike was no more than $150 tops and is doing everything besides skipping a few gears then wouldn't a bike for $350 bet a step up from the bike I am riding now? I never herd of a sport like cycling where the more money you spend the less you get, I was under the assumption that if my no more than $150 bike is working than if I was to spend $350 on a bike that it should be even better?

I didn't say I wouldn't listen to any advice, what I said was I will not listen to advice once someone tells me to buy a $1000 bike.
This is why I won't listen to their advice, because they will tell me the following
- Its impossible to get a good bike for $350
- I need to spend at least $500 minimum (some even claim $1000 minimum thats how insane they are)
- No bike under $700 can work, No bike under $500 can shift gears, brake, or work with suspension.

Basically what they will tell me is that if I am not spending $500-$1000 on a bike that the bike will not work, will break soon, can not possibly even be decent. I am pretty sure I am very accurate in what they will tell me because when I was looking up research on bikes that are not priced super high all the links I read says the same thing, if the bike is not $1000 then the bike can't possibly work, its garbage, its ect.

I wrote a big post like that to prevent those same people from telling me a lie, and lets be honest it really is a lie, if you are a cyclist and you tell someone that no bike under $1000 works, that every bike under that price point will break, that it is dangerous. My entire point was that A $150 8 year old bike is from Walmart of all places is still working and can go up steep hills in 1st gear with no problem......

Is my point not valid?
We both can't be right, either I am a lier and my 8 Year old Walmart bike can't possibly make it up steep hills in 1st gear or the people who say no bike under $1000 can work are lying. Being that my bike actually does those things I can say for a fact that makes those people a lair thus I said for those people to please not comment on my thread because I want to get real answers and not over exaggerations or lies proven to be false.

My question again is VERY simple : If someone FORCED you to buy a $350 bike which would be the best choice, no ifs, ands or buts about it, its a very very simple question. Just as if someone told you what car you would buy for $5000, it may not be a Lamborgini but the $5000 car is going to go up hills, can still be fast for its price, can still work and still get good mileage.

What I am doing, is preventing bill gates from commenting telling me I need to buy a Lamborgini other wise don't buy a car at all.

Don't mean to be rude, I just want a strait answer without over exaggerations or lies. A lie is something that is not true, thus if someone tells me advice that I already tested to be not true its a lie...

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Old 07-04-14, 02:35 PM
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Giant Escape 3 now retailing for $330. Escape 2 is better, but it sells for $410. Both should ride and shift flawlessly for years.

Quality isn't always cheap, though something like the Giant is a pretty good value.

If you are good with a bike that doesn't always shift properly, or skips gears, good for you. Just keep your Wal Mart bike and ride it if it meets your needs.

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Old 07-04-14, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
Boil the ranty BS off and it comes down to a 'best bang for your buck with a $350 budget- new, not used- thank you" question.
I appreciate the translation. I'm hanging in to where this goes.
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Old 07-04-14, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
Giant Escape 3 now retailing for $330. Escape 2 us better, but it sells for $410. Both should ride and shift flawlessly for years.

Quality isn't always cheap, though something like the Giant is a pretty good value.
This.

A choice of frame sizes to ensure proper fit, support of the LBS for any mechanical issue beyond your ability.

You have no desire to be competitive, so an entry-level bike from the LBS would suit your needs well.
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Old 07-04-14, 03:01 PM
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I'm not happy with it skipping gears that is why I wanted to buy a brand new bike.
I can't really say if its the bikes fault or not though because I had the bike so long that it is possible when I was a teen I might have abused the bike more than I would if I had it now.

$350 is much better than $150 which at first I was thinking of spending that much, I bumped the price up to $350. Yes people who have alot of money can easily say why not bump $350 up to $500, but to a regular person spending over $500 starts to seem a bit ridiculous for a bike.

What would I even gain as a rider buying a $1000 bike over a $350 bike.
The bike would be lighter? The bike would last longer, ect.
Okay I get that... but I don't see why just because of that I should not buy a $350 if it can do the same thing.

What it comes down to is not if the bike can do the same thing, I am just looking for a $350 bike that will shift gears properly and can be maintained either by me making sure its clean or after a certain amount of time replace parts to keep them new.

The thing is this, all the bikes I see online that are over $300 the bad reviews pretty much disappear. There are many bad reviews on bikes that are much lower than $350 but from what I am seeing is that at least 85-95% of the bikes that go over $300 pretty much all have more good reviews than bad, the only time I am seeing bad reviews is on certain brands or bikes.
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Old 07-04-14, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
This.

A choice of frame sizes to ensure proper fit, support of the LBS for any mechanical issue beyond your ability.

You have no desire to be competitive, so an entry-level bike from the LBS would suit your needs well.
Let me ask you this, is buying online a bad idea?
For example is it a bad idea that I put the parts together, does it take a genius to put a bike together, or better yet could the average person put a bike together that they bought online or would you rather buy a bike from a LBS. Well I know you will say LBS obviously
I was just asking if buying online is a bad thing.
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Old 07-04-14, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by ICEN View Post
Let me ask you this, is buying online a bad idea?
For example is it a bad idea that I put the parts together, does it take a genius to put a bike together, or better yet could the average person put a bike together that they bought online or would you rather buy a bike from a LBS. Well I know you will say LBS obviously
I was just asking if buying online is a bad thing.
if you know a lot about bikes, can assemble, repair and adjust the bike yourself, then you can save a few bucks buying online. If not, then just go to a LBS.
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Old 07-04-14, 03:17 PM
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The OP is too long, or my attention span is too short ,, whatd he say???
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Old 07-04-14, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ICEN View Post
I'm not happy with it skipping gears that is why I wanted to buy a brand new bike.
It sounds like either the shifting needs to be adjusted,the shifter cable needs to be cleaned/lubed,or you need a new chain and possibly a cassette.

Here's a site that will show you how to adjust the gears:
Park Tool Co. ParkTool Blog

If you're not mechanically inclined,or want more help,then I'd suggest you check this site to see if there are any co-ops/bike kitchens in your area:
Bicycle Collective and Co-op Links

If your current bike fits you,you should be able to get it sorted for $50 or less.
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Old 07-04-14, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by ICEN View Post
Let me ask you this, is buying online a bad idea?
For example is it a bad idea that I put the parts together, does it take a genius to put a bike together, or better yet could the average person put a bike together that they bought online or would you rather buy a bike from a LBS. Well I know you will say LBS obviously
I was just asking if buying online is a bad thing.
I suggest the LBS to all newbies who are ignorant of bikes in general, have no clue as to what size of bike they need, no idea of what type of bike to get, have limited to non-existent mechanical aptitude, or a combination thereof because there is less chance of making a poor, misinformed decision when there is knowledgeable people who can lay eyes on you and can give you hands-on demonstrations.

If none of the above applies to you, feel free to get whatever from wherever.

It's just that I've grown weary of people who get sticker shock when looking at bikes at the LBS, then decide to get one from X-Mart because "a bike is a bike, right?", then complain that "its junk, not fast enough, too heavy, doesn't fit..." and it turns them off of cycling or they end up spending even more money in the long run to get something that is/was sold/serviced by the LBS.
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Old 07-04-14, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
I suggest the LBS to all newbies who are ignorant of bikes in general, have no clue as to what size of bike they need, no idea of what type of bike to get, have limited to non-existent mechanical aptitude, or a combination thereof because there is less chance of making a poor, misinformed decision when there is knowledgeable people who can lay eyes on you and can give you hands-on demonstrations.

If none of the above applies to you, feel free to get whatever from wherever.

It's just that I've grown weary of people who get sticker shock when looking at bikes at the LBS, then decide to get one from X-Mart because "a bike is a bike, right?", then complain that "its junk, not fast enough, too heavy, doesn't fit..." and it turns them off of cycling or they end up spending even more money in the long run to get something that is/was sold/serviced by the LBS.
I get that X-Mart bikes are overall lesser quality or may have more problems, the only thing I am saying is that not everyone is going to tell you the truth just to tell you the truth.

For example my old Walmart bike, I am not saying every Walmart bike is good, I am just using it as one example, maybe a 15 year old kid wants a bike to ride around, if he went to the LBS it is extremely likely the guy would tell him to not buy the bike that I had when I was a teen even though everything was working. Yes the gears skip now after 5-8 years of owning it but when I first bought it for the first year or so from what I remember I don't recall the gears skipping until I've owned it for a while. My point is that if a kid only wanted a bike like I had as a teenager the LBS will steer you away from it even if it was just "Alright" nothing fancy but works.

That is the only problem I have with people is they don't go by what works but what is the best.
Its like anything, if someone owns a fancy car they will tell you not to buy a honda civic because its "Not the best"
If you are into firearms someone who owns a $800 firearm might tell you not to buy a $300 one even though it works they just think expensive stuff is the best and expect you to buy the same as them.

There has to be a meeting point between both sides, at some point there has to be a price where you can still get a working item for a reasonable price, it doesn't mean it will be the best but it should not be the worst either.

Well that Giant Escape 3 looks pretty good maybe I will see if some place has it around town.
Again, I am not advocating to buy X-mart bikes, I was just saying if a kid goes into a LBS of course the LBS is going to make him buy from their shop they are paid to do that. No LBS in their right mind would recommend another place other than their own, it would be like Walmart telling you to go to Kmart instead.

Of course LBS are superior to every bike in Walmart. The only thing I was saying was not all Walmart bikes are completely horrible, I take that back, most are just Meh, but I think at the very least the more expensive Walmart bikes should at least be better than the cheaper Walmart bikes. Once again not saying to buy from there, I was just saying if someone bought a $250 bike from Walmart I would expect it to be better than a $100 bike from Walmart just because it cost $150 more assuming its put together right.

I guess I will just look around in a LBS and see if they have anything around $350
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Old 07-04-14, 04:24 PM
  #18  
spdracr39
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If you are committed to only spending $350.00 go ride some entry level bikes at the LBS and find one you like. If you are completely against or are unable to buy a better more expensive bike tell them upfront not to try to upsell you. If you are trying to convince a forum filled with committed long term bikers that they are idiots for spending their money on higher quality more comfortable and lighter bikes then you might as well turn the computer off because YOU are instantly an idiot. I am calling TROLL ALERT HERE !!!
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Old 07-04-14, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by spdracr39 View Post
If you are committed to only spending $350.00 go ride some entry level bikes at the LBS and find one you like. If you are completely against or are unable to buy a better more expensive bike tell them upfront not to try to upsell you. If you are trying to convince a forum filled with committed long term bikers that they are idiots for spending their money on higher quality more comfortable and lighter bikes then you might as well turn the computer off because YOU are instantly an idiot. I am calling TROLL ALERT HERE !!!
No. 1 as to the troll alert. This is a really long thread for a series of long winded questions that have a straightforward answer. The OP knows his budget and knows what he wants so a bike from an LBS makes sense.
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Old 07-04-14, 05:19 PM
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It's apparent that the OP knows what he wants and what he's willing to pay ,so what is he seeking ? I didn't read those essays that he put up...
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Old 07-04-14, 05:56 PM
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Op you and I think a lot alike. IMO Giant escape 3 like someone else said or for closer to 400 a giant roam 3 if you want some better offroad capability at the expense of more $ more weight. (Bet you could talk a shop into 350 for a 2014 one of those)

Also look up rear derailleur adjustment on YouTube, you may be able to get your current bike working good as a second bike you don't mind leaving unlocked outside a store for a bit.

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