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First time Hybrid buyer-need advice on brands

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First time Hybrid buyer-need advice on brands

Old 08-17-10, 03:30 PM
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Canadian_rider
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First time Hybrid buyer-need advice on brands

Hi,

Moved from a small town, where I rode around all the time. To a much larger city. Attend school, and work. Looking for a Hybrid/Commuter as I've been told they're great for on the road and can handle elevation. Which is something I need for school, as my school sits on top of a mountain I am not an entirely rich student, so anything under $500 would be preferable.

I've been looking around and here are some options I've come across.

1. There was a Diamondback bike on sale at my local Sport Check for around $359. Can anyone vouch for the quality of a Diamondback bike? Can they handle elevation fairly well? (Didn't get name, but it was either Edgewood or Menona)

2. The Kona SimpliCITY "Bike". Kona seems like a relaible brand, but how's the frame and wheels? Going up an incline, I don't want to be stuck with a heavy bike. Some weight is OK, but obviously being a hybrid I'd hope that it's lighter then a Mountainbike.

3. The Norco VFR Three. Seems like a great bike, it's a bit more then what I'm hoping to spend, but obviously if Kona or Diamondback don't get good reccomendations then I'm willing to take the Norco route.

So, keeping in mind that I require a bike that can handle some (paved) elevation and that my price point is preferably around $500, what would you prefer?
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Old 08-17-10, 07:30 PM
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I would personally avoid the Diamondback. Like other big-box sports stores that don't do anything with bikes but sell them, you're not likely to get great service (in comparison to a quality bike shop anyway) from a place such as Sport Check should a problem that needs warranty work or specialized advice occurs.

I took a good hard look at Norco's VFR Three's before ultimately purchasing my Trek Valencia (a bit pricier at $850 CDN), and can't comment on Kona as a brand from personal experience, but I have seen some pretty sharp looking Kona's and have met a couple roadies who swear by them.

I'd test ride (if possible) your two latter choices and go from there. At a $500 pricepoint those are two quite decent bikes.

Last edited by AaronJohnTurner; 08-17-10 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 08-17-10, 09:40 PM
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I would also pass by the DB, or any other bike sold at Sport Check. Every once in awhile there's a diamond(back?) in the rough, but they're few and far between. I did recently see a DB Transporter DX at a sporting goods store; it had a cromo frameset, full Alivio groupset (including brakes), a rack, and fenders. It looked like a solid commuter and for the right price I would be tempted, but I would still want to service it myself or have my LBS do it rather than trust it to the "techs" at the sporting goods store.

I am a big proponent of Norco bikes. I lusted after a Norco BMX as a kid, but could never afford one. Now that I finally own my Norco Ceres I can say that it was well worth the wait. I am impressed by Norco's Urban lineup which includes the VFR, XFR, Indie, Scene, and belt-driven bikes (like my Ceres and the single-speed Vesta). Here is a review on the VFR 4 by an American publication: http://www.bicycletimesmag.com/content/norco-vfr-disc-4.

I like Kona bikes but IMHO the 2011 Bike (or the 2010 Worldbike) might not be the best choice for your self-proclaimed hilly commute. You may feel limited by its 3 speeds, but others here ride SS and fixed gear bikes in hilly areas so YMMV. If you are going to consider Kona then check out their Dew lineup - there are many models that would likely be well suited to your needs.
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Old 08-20-10, 07:07 PM
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Avoid all the advertising hype !

Being a student on a budget, you said the bike will be used for commuting, ( Mostly) ..
You could buy just about any bike you wanted, as long as it fits you..
Now if you do not know how to work on bikes and need the LBS to keep it tuned up.
Then buy there! But if not, you can take a Walmart mens RoadMaster special for less
than a 100.00 dollars, tear it down, grease everything correctly, adjust all the working
parts, crank, derailluers, brakes, true the rims, reassemble and keep up the maintenance
on it. And besides the tires and chain, it would probably out last you..
Now I know that a lot of people with disagree with me, but if you were looking to
do 50 miles a day, ( fitness ), you might want to go with lighter components, then you actually
are getting an easier work out. Here is a decent bike to start out with, keep your proof
of purchase and you can return it with in 90 days ( No ) questions asked. http://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-Me...d-Bike/8399247
I Ride very close to this model, Schwinn Trailways, Video..
Do not be afraid to step outside the box. Richard
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Old 08-20-10, 07:25 PM
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See if there's a dealer near you to check the Specialized Crosstrail. I believe the basic model is about $440 US. It seems like a decent bike for the money.
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Old 08-20-10, 10:03 PM
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For what it's worth, I've got an 09 Diamondback Wildwood. I got it at a chain sporting goods store, and I was on a limited budget of 300 for a hybrid to make sure that it was the right bike for me. I went with a hybrid because frankly I'm overweight, wanted to lose weight, and wanted to do a little light downtown commuting.

-but here's the rub; I'm lucky to live a few miles from a great bike shop, and I took it there for a "tune up" (which it severely needed because the kid that put it together at the store didn't care about bikes), bought a beam rack, kickstand, and upgraded the cheap plastic pedals to sturdy metal ones.

I ended up going about 60 bucks over budget, but I have in my opinion a great new entry level bike. Take all that with a grain of salt though, because I am a complete newbie to biking.
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Old 08-22-10, 08:25 PM
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Sometimes you do get the jewel out of a bigbox store, but you would almost certainly need to get it tuned up (you or the LBS) if you wanted a hope in it riding well. Coming from stores like that everything is loose and just waiting to cause an accident.

While I totally agree that the decal on a bike means nothing towards how long it will last, those brand-name bikes tend to carry better workmanship and componentry for a longer lasting bike in comparison to what is sold by the big-box man. They know the majority of people who by bikes at a place like Wal-mart are likely to hardly ever ride them, and will continue to buy them every couple years instead of buying a bike that will last. So they cater to those people with cheap bikes and keep em coming back year after year to get new ones. I know a few people who buy bikes like this and I just think of what a nice bike, or even a quailty rebuilt older bike they could get for all the money they've sepnt over ten years buying and then binning bicycles.

Most frames from places like Wal-mart are perfectly adequate, but most of the componentry is total junk.

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Old 08-22-10, 11:17 PM
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Your right !

Originally Posted by AaronJohnTurner View Post
Sometimes you do get the jewel out of a bigbox store, but you would almost certainly need to get it tuned up (you or the LBS) if you wanted a hope in it riding well. Coming from stores like that everything is loose and just waiting to cause an accident.

While I totally agree that the decal on a bike means nothing towards how long it will last, those brand-name bikes tend to carry better workmanship and componentry for a longer lasting bike in comparison to what is sold by the big-box man. They know the majority of people who by bikes at a place like Wal-mart are likely to hardly ever ride them, and will continue to buy them every couple years instead of buying a bike that will last. So they cater to those people with cheap bikes and keep em coming back year after year to get new ones. I know a few people who buy bikes like this and I just think of what a nice bike, or even a quailty rebuilt older bike they could get for all the money they've sepnt over ten years buying and then binning bicycles.

Most frames from places like Wal-mart are perfectly adequate, but most of the componentry is total junk.
But you need to no what to look for..
.... Richard
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Old 08-23-10, 12:12 AM
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The Tourney is a great derauiller, my mom's Electra Townie came with one and it's been problem free and without need of adjustment so far. Most of my bad experiences with big box bikes haven't been with derauillers and shifters, but instead with things like the pedals, crankarms, chainwheels, seat post calmps, handlebar stem clamps and cassettes, . Many seem to be made of soft metals that will strip threads before holding things with enough force and aren't home-mechanic friendly when it comes to service. That Schwinn is defaintely one of those "jewels" and I'm glad you've had a great experience with it. There's definately no need to spend thousands on a bike if you can score a reliable one such as yours at a friendlier price.
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Old 08-23-10, 03:49 AM
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A "brand" is a name ... painted on a frame.
The components are what makes a bike.
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Old 08-23-10, 11:48 PM
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We have 2 diamondbacks. Anyone that brings their bike to the shop for routine service deserves to pay more for the well known brand frame built in the same factory with the same components as the cheaper DB. I never bring my bikes to the shop so I just care about price. I'd you have qualms then buy it from Performance Bike. Great return policy.
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Old 08-23-10, 11:52 PM
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@Aaron I don't like walmart/target frames because of the rear derailleur setup/dropouts. You can't just throw a spare uleegra or deor e RD if the Tourney breaks. Also many of them have super subpar componentry but don't cost much less than last year's off brand model with better components but maybe less # of gears (like diamondback)
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