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Old 07-20-11, 03:46 PM   #1
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I am looking at purchasing bikes for my husband and I. I have $1000- $1500 to spend.
My husband and I went to a bike store that was pro Trek and both like the Trek 7300 (around $550 each and 2010 models).
I have only ever had $50 huffy garage sale bikes and couldnt believe what it was like to have a frame that actually fits (I am 5 ft 11). I liked sitting up right too.
My husband had a higher end mountain bike 5+ yrs ago that was stolen. He said he liked the tires on the Trek instead of the mountain bike but wanted to have disc brakes instead.
We want to be able to go for bike rides together and get excercise. We are both ex athletes, gone soft. We also have a enclosed cart of some sort for our daughter who is 1 1/2. It was a gift so I don't know much about the weight or weight limit but it pulls behind the bike (although I heard about one that sits in front of me that might be better too).
I went to another bike shop and they were pro Specialized. He said at the bikes we were looking at brands of bikes were all pretty much the same. He said if I look at higher end mountain bikes or road bikes that certain brands stand out as better.
They had a Specialized Expedition Elite (I think) but I didn't ride it. He also thought my husband might like a Raleigh that had disc brakes and tires that were flat on the top and not on the sides.
I am not sure what features I should really be focusing on and if one brand is far superior to the others.
Any thoughts as to what type of bike I should really be looking at would be helpful and what features I should focus on would be great. Clearly you can see I am an amateur. Thank you!

Last edited by Drsuess; 07-21-11 at 04:41 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 07-21-11, 08:06 AM   #2
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Yes, you adress all kinds of elemantary questions, and nothing wrong in that. You should a) decide what kind of biking you will be doing b) talk to your LBS or others for that matter to determine what kind of bikes might be suitable c) you want to test ride different bikes in the shop or borrowing from people you know d) you should discuss bike fit at the LBS or with others with bike knowledge.

Since you posted in hybrid forum, hybrids are versitale bikes, and several brands have the same kind of geometry. They differ the most when it comes to components (derailleurs, wheels etc). Depending on standars of components, price can vary. But, a more expensive bike doesnt mean you get the best deal. My 2002 hybrid is functioning immaculate with so called low-end derailleurs, in fact, they are the most impressive pieces of bike related gadgets I have ever owned. A correctly built bike have the right kind of components, not the most bling-bling.

In the hybrid forum many members are keen to discuss the nature of different bikes in the US market. I´m sure you´ll get a tip or two on what is good and priceworthy! Good luck!
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Old 07-21-11, 08:46 AM   #3
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What part of the country do you live in? Give us the name of your city or one nearby and that will help folks familiar with the area give you advice based on the local terrain and the type/condition of the local bike paths. Do you plan to do your riding on bike paths, mountain bike trails, roads, or a mix? Are the bikes going to be used for general recreational riding or do you see yourselves getting into a specific type of cycling at a high level of intensity?

Your bike shops should be asking you questions like these and more besides. Typically they have the local knowledge and the experience with fitting people to bikes to give you a lot of good help but of course your mileage will vary. All of them will push the brands they sell and truth be told anything you can get in one brand can be had from another unless you are looking for something exotic so the brands any random shop sells will generally be good brands for you. Some things, like tires, are cheap and easy to change so don't get hung up on them and definitely do not pass up a bike that really works well for you because another model/brand has nicer tires!! In your price range of $500 to $750 per bike you will find many excellent choices. On the one hand this makes for a tough decision, on the other hand it is hard to go horribly wrong as long as the bike you buy fits you and the shops will help you nail that. If you happen to have an REI near you, they have a nice range of brands and models and their house brand, Novara, has a good reputation so give them a look too. Try as many shops as you can conveniently get to and as many models as they stock. If you look your options over thoroughly you will make a good choice.

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Old 07-21-11, 09:16 AM   #4
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If you happen to have an REI near you, they have a nice range of brands and models and their house brand, Novara, has a good reputation so give them a look too.
My wife and I bought two hybrid bikes from REI this year - I have the Forza and my wife has the Fiona. We are really enjoying them while riding the river trails around Pittsburgh. I took the Forza and rode 150 miles on the Great Allegheny Passage, so it's capable enough for longer rides (when equipped with a rack and panniers). Follow up service has been outstanding at our local REI.

Couple of points in REI's favor -
1) If you are a member, your purchase accumulates points for a member rebate at year's end (typically 10%).
2) Liberal return policy - I originally bought a Novara Corsa, but returned it in favor of the Forza after my wife bought a Fiona - I liked the shifters much better.
3) Free post-purchase tune-up is included (not a deal breaker and maybe other LBS's do something similar).

Good luck to the OP with your search!
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Old 07-21-11, 09:34 AM   #5
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^ Many bike shops offer lifetime adjustments on derailleurs and brakes compared to REI's one time free adjustment.
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Old 07-21-11, 08:08 PM   #6
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I have to agree with the others on this subject that pretty much all bikes within a given price range will have have the same components, give or take a specific item. The most important thing that you can do when buying a new bike is to ride it for fit. Buying a bike because you like the color or because it is $100.00 cheaper but it doesn't fit you will end up collecting dust in the garage. Ride as many bikes as you can and keep notes on the comfort level, how the bike felt and how it handled compared to others. Salespersons will tell you anything to sell a bike. Let your body decide which is the most comfortable for you and go with it. When you purchase the bike, make sure the bike shop does an initial fitting for you. Depending on the type of riding you are going to do, you don't need a very expensive bike fitting. You will know if you need a better fitting after you've ridden the bike awhile.

Also, don't get too hung up on the brand names of the bikes. Around eighty percent of the world's bikes are made by two companies, one in Taiwan and one is China. Good luck in finding the right bike and enjoy the heck out of it when you get it.
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