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Looking for First Real Bike

Old 12-01-19, 08:07 PM
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h.clakins
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Looking for First Real Bike

Hi, I am a high school student looking for my first good bike. I have been using a walmart Schwinn for the past few years and I want something new. I mostly bike around the city of Phoenix and mainly stay on the streets. But, I do cut through some parks, go over bridges, and go off curbs, so I need a hybrid bike that can handle some minor offroading. I've been looking at quite a few different bikes and I need some advice on what would be best. Thanks!

Want
-$400-600 (preferrably)
-lightweight
-will last me a good ten years or so
-able to handle going off curbs or through grass
-fast (it's subjective, I know, but it would be nice)
-fun and easy to ride (will encourage me to ride more)

Don't Want
-a mountain bike
-suspension
-a fixie (I do travel on some inclines)
-a drop bar bike
-steel frame
-twist shifters

What I've been looking at
-Specialized Sirrus Disc (tried it in a store and shifts felt smooth)
-Raleigh Cadent 1
-Trek FX 1 (tried it in store, but didn't like the shifter)
-Raleigh Redux 1 (might be good for going around the city, might be more offroading focused than I need though)
-Marin Fairfax 1 (I have seen good reviews, seems like a good price)
-Marin Presidio 1 (out of my price range, but I like the 3 speed internal gearbox)
-open to any other recommendations
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Old 12-02-19, 08:12 PM
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I'm a sucker for single chain ring bikes. I've had my eye on the Redux line for a few years, but never made the purchase as I'd always go cheaper buying something used. Still, both of my current bikes have a single chain ring. But back to the Redux, it has 8 speeds with a range of about 33 to 100 gear inches. Plenty of range for some climbing and high speed on the other end.

IMO, nearly all rigid frame bikes can do some off-roading. Personally, I like bikes with tire widths above 40mm for bouncing onto or off of hard pavement like curbs, bad sidewalks, railroad track, potholes etc. Those wider tires do well "off road" as well. Tread pattern doesn't seem to matter too much, unless you like riding in slick mud or wet grass. Another thing I like about wide tires is you can run high pressures for faster pavement use, or really drop the pressure for the hard hitting stuff.

That single chain ring 3-speed Presidio looks really nice, but I have reservations recommending a 3-speed on a bike like that unless you come from a 1-speed and just want a couple of extra "helper" gears. If it was a close ratio 3-speed*, I'd be all over it. But the Nexus 3 is geared like a traditional 3-speed where 1st gear is far from 2nd, and 2nd is far from 3rd.

*I don't know who makes those.

Last edited by FiftySix; 12-02-19 at 08:23 PM. Reason: details
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Old 12-03-19, 08:17 AM
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I would not rule out C/L. I mentioned it in other posts but it seems that the "fitness" bike configuration is one that a lot of people buy in order to get them into biking but the bikes are seldom used and the owners decide to sell them 2-5 years later. For example, you were looking at a Trek FX1. You can find used models of that bike in the the higher up models for $200-$250 around here that are in great condition. That leaves you with a $200 margin to get new tires, cabling etc in case it is needed and then you end up with a much better bike.
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Old 12-03-19, 10:01 AM
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Why exclude a steel framed bike? If you are thinking it's heavy, my old chromoly steel mtn.bike isn't any heavier than many hybrids I've looked at-and it has a susp.fork on it that isn't light! Here's links to a couple of hybrids (new) that are in your price range--Brooklyn's is a steel frame: Fuji Bikes | Absolute & https://www.brooklynbicycleco.com/products/roebling These are more from diff.mfrs., just wanted to throw a couple out there. Another option is a used mtn.bike (with or without front susp.fork) and put dual purpose tires on it, something like this: https://www.jensonusa.com/Continenta...ghter-Iii-Tire , and it opens up options of where to ride and how much abuse the bike can handle.

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Old 12-03-19, 08:26 PM
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Do you think that 35mm tires would be too small for what I need?
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Old 12-03-19, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by h.clakins View Post
Do you think that 35mm tires would be too small for what I need?
Are you going to ease your bike off curbs or go full speed off curbs?

I think the 35mm wide tires will do either, but my bike that came with 35mm wide tires I tend to ease off curbs because I usually keep those tires at 60 psi. Which makes pounding the bike off curbs feel abusive to the bike.

Keep in mind I'm taking a 35 pound bike due to rack, fenders, etc. plus 185 pounds of fully clothed FiftySix on top of it. If I were my old high school senior year weight of 135 lbs I'd pound it off curbs until something failed.
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Old 12-04-19, 02:51 AM
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^ Fully clothed me @ 190 lbs + 30 lbs bike (with front suspension), on 38mm tires @ 50 psi - flying off the curbs (usually 12-15cm high) at speed is no problem. I just try make sure I land on both tires simultaneously, but thatt's more because it makes easier to absorb the impact with my body that way. Not that I do it all the time but happens roughly once every other commute.

I have went down short flights of stairs at slow to moderate speed, no problem there too.
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Old 12-04-19, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by h.clakins View Post
Want

-fast (it's subjective, I know, but it would be nice)
This is an attribute of the rider not the bike. Bikes don't move themselves.

Try and locate one of these used if you can't afford new...

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/bi...hroad-slr-2020
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Old 12-04-19, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
This is an attribute of the rider not the bike. Bikes don't move themselves.
Hard to say. Perhaps the OP currently has something with low gears and bad bearings? The Walmart Schwinn the OP mentioned could be a single speed cruiser or BMX style bike for all I know. Should be pretty easy to get a new faster bike if that is the case.

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Old 12-04-19, 06:40 PM
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Any particular higher-end bikes you would recommend that I could find on craigslist for a better price?
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Old 12-04-19, 08:03 PM
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I'd mostly be easing off curbs, nothing that would purposely damage the bike. Do you think I'd notice much of a difference with a wider tires on something like the redux? Would that be worth the extra price?
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Old 12-05-19, 05:03 AM
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If you're unsure about what tire width you would prefer, get a bike that can fit fatter tires - you can always go narrower if you wish.
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Old 12-05-19, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by h.clakins View Post
Any particular higher-end bikes you would recommend that I could find on craigslist for a better price?
The used bike market is very inconsistent, and bike styles that may be popular in your area may not be popular in mine, etc.

It sounds like you're looking for, or think you're looking for, an aluminum flat-bar hybrid, like a Giant Escape, Trek FX, Specialized Sirrus, etc. The Phoenix Craigslist is littered with mountain bikes and cruiser bikes, and there doesn't appear that you have a lot of choice in road bikes or even many hybrids of any description.

This X-rod may suit you, though the seller is basically asking for MSRP new on a used bike, and his is apparently an 8-speed version. You can buy new 10-speed versions online here. Here is a 2013 Specialized Sirrus Comp, though the asking price is a little high I think. Here's a Trek 7.5 FX that seems priced right.

The bike style you're looking for seems relatively uncommon in your area on the used market, but definitely available new in the price range you're considering. Giant typically offers pretty good value in this segment, and a Giant Escape would probably be a good bike for you. I've never owned one, but just bought a used 2015 Escape 3 for 30 bucks off my local Facebook Marketplace. It was stored outside, so it needs a new chain and cables, but it looks to be a fun project. It has pretty decent tire clearance (at least 45mm tires front and rear), so that's good (for me). Locally, I've found better deals on FB Marketplace than on Craigslist. I don't have a FB account, but I use my wife's...the only trouble is she knows when I'm scouting a new purchase. :-)
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Old 12-05-19, 06:10 PM
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Thanks. I appreciate the recommendations. I'll keep an eye out for whatever pops up. I'm willing to watch the market for a little while.
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