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First bike in a long time

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Old 04-06-17, 04:09 PM
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mfhorn
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First bike in a long time

I'm looking at buying a bike for the first time in a long time. Of course, I can hit WalMart/Target and pick something up in the 100-150 range. Reasonable quality (usually) at a fairly low price, and either I can try to put it together or I can have them do it.

I stopped by a local bike shop today & looked at three different bikes in my size. They're more expensive, and are at least the same make as WallyWorld has. As far as the quality, I don't know.

First one, and the bottom of my list, was a Diamondback 'Fleet Streak' for $100.

The second choice was a Mongoose Ledge 2.1 with an 18" frame and 26" wheels for $129.

The third was a Schwinn Sierra with 17" frame and 26" wheels for $169.

Would any of these be a better choice than something from a big box made by Kent, Huffy, Northwood, Roadmaster etc?

I'm not in the best of shape, and kind of like sitting a little more upright. I know which one I like, but if I can do as well or nearly as well and not spend as much, that's a big point too.

Thoughts?

Thank you!
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Old 04-06-17, 04:43 PM
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Bikeshops offerings will be tuned, you can test ride, they'll adjust/fine tune/fit bike, some offer another
free tune up after about a month of riding, comes with warranty, free professional advice/recommendations,etc.

Might be a few dollars more initially; way better deal in the long run.
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Old 04-06-17, 04:51 PM
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mfhorn
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extra info

I should have mentioned that the bike shop bikes are used, not new.
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Old 04-06-17, 05:01 PM
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Dept. store bikes will have the cheapest, heaviest and oldest tech to get to a certain price point.
Bikeshop bikes will have more reliable and lighter parts.

I'll take a used bikeshop bike over a new big box store any day.
If you ask most seasoned riders; I bet they feel the same way.
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Old 04-06-17, 05:49 PM
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I would ABSOLUTELY buy a used bike at a bike shop before I bought a new big box bike. Even if it is a big box bike (like the Schwinn Sierra), you know it's been set up right and you often have a year's free tune-ups (or sometimes it's tune-ups for as long as you own the bike). Buying used in general is a great deal. My current bike that I ride the most is a 2015 Trek Verve 3 that retails for $650. I bought it on Craigslist for $250 last summer, so it was just one model year old. It was an older guy who hardly ever rode it, and it looked the part -- there wasn't a mark on the entire bike. I think I got an uncommonly good bargain on that bike, but the point is that you can often find good deals when shopping used.

Above all else, though, is bike fit. You need to find a bike that fits you right, or you won't ride it. That's another very compelling reason to visit a local bike shop. They can sit you on a variety of new bikes to at least get your basic fit, and then you can shop either new or used at their store and they'll know what they're looking for (for you). Even if you don't see something there that day, something may come in later (this is probably peak bike trade-in season) or you'll know what size you're looking for you and you can be more informed when looking at Craigslist, etc.
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Old 04-06-17, 06:08 PM
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One good way to separate the wheat from the chaff is weight. You can even take a scale with you and weight yourself holding the bike steady. Subtract your own weight from the result and you have a good estimate of the bike's weight. In general, better bikes weigh less than cheap bikes. When I look at bikes to recondition, I rarely bother with anything much over 30 pounds. I like under 30 as a target. Avoid inexpensive bikes with any suspension. It's a gimmick on such bikes because cheap suspensions don't work well and just add weight. If you got your hands on a light bike and rode it, you would understand why it makes a difference. My best find in the recent past was a Cannondale SM800 MTB which cost me $20 at a thrift store. It was dusty and a bit neglected but as soon as I picked it up, I realized it was a fine bike. It's old but fun to ride and takes a lot less effort than a heavier bike.
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Old 04-06-17, 07:49 PM
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Bike shop

Yeah, I called this guy up & he asked my height, told me he had 3 that would be about the right size. I went out for test rides on all three today, and I think the Schwinn would be my top pick.

It's got handlebars that you can adjust up so you sit a little more upright, the 'crank' shifters and a more comfortable seat.

I also like buying local instead of from a big box.

I appreciate the feedback. I was kind of leaning the same way anyway, but having people who know what they're talking about telling me the same thing helps.
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Old 04-06-17, 08:20 PM
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Other than a helmet, reflector and at least some kind of light in front so people can see me if I'm riding at night, what would you suggest to start out with? I'm not going to be going very far for a long time. With the shape I'm in, a mile or two will be plenty for a while.
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Old 04-07-17, 05:56 AM
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The bike should already have a front and rear reflector, and I'd probably skip the light unless you KNOW you'll be going out at night. I would be sure the bike has a bottle cage so you can bring water or a Gatorade bottle with you. Otherwise, I'd just ride for a month and see how you feel about it and see what you might want next. Maybe you'll want to put a rack on the back and a small trunk bag, maybe not. Maybe you'll want some handlebar ends (I love 'em, for additional hand positions), maybe not. Maybe you'll want to change the saddle, maybe not. I'd just ride it some and see what strikes you.

Good luck!
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Old 04-08-17, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by mfhorn View Post
Other than a helmet, reflector and at least some kind of light in front so people can see me if I'm riding at night, what would you suggest to start out with? I'm not going to be going very far for a long time. With the shape I'm in, a mile or two will be plenty for a while.
There are some decent lights that are very inexpensive. I would get lights for front and back (as a motorist i always notice the red flashing tail light even in the daytime). I just think it helps visibility.
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Old 04-08-17, 01:53 PM
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Mfhorn wrote:
Of course, I can hit WalMart/Target and pick something up in the 100-150 range. Reasonable quality (usually) at a fairly low price,
Always remember: YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR: CAVEAT EMPTOR.
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Old 05-06-17, 11:42 PM
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One thing you can guarantee is that you can NOT predict how you'll use this bike nor how you'll be riding in twelve months time. The more appropriate the bike is to you now, the more likely you'll do lots of riding.

Choose a bike shop that understands you and talks to you and who isn't trying to talk you into what they have. Even people who do all their own mechanical work develop a close relationship with their lbs and you're best to choose this now. You'll bet benefits like lots of advice, help with buying stuff, suggestions on when to buy (new year's stock coming in, last year's stock being sold off, etc) and shops always have access to stuff that's not on the shop floor - you're more likely to know about this if you've already got a good relationship with the lbs.

As for which one to buy - buy the bike you fall in love with. Nothing else matters (provided it fits).
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Old 05-07-17, 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
Dept. store bikes will have the cheapest, heaviest and oldest tech to get to a certain price point.
Bikeshop bikes will have more reliable and lighter parts.

I'll take a used bikeshop bike over a new big box store any day.
If you ask most seasoned riders; I bet they feel the same way.
This seasoned rider sure does.

After riding big box store bikes for (too) many years, having purchased a bike shop bike a few years ago, I'd never buy from a big box store again. The difference in quality and service is like night and day.




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Old 06-22-17, 01:20 AM
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You'll do better at the bike shop
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Old 02-01-18, 11:49 PM
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Originally Posted by jonstifler View Post
You'll do better at the bike shop
I completely agree with this
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Old 02-12-18, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mfhorn View Post
Other than a helmet, reflector and at least some kind of light in front so people can see me if I'm riding at night, what would you suggest to start out with? I'm not going to be going very far for a long time. With the shape I'm in, a mile or two will be plenty for a while.
Nothing. That's the beauty of bicycles ... you don't need a lot to get started.

If you ride your 1-2 miles regularly, you will be doing 10 milers sooner than you think.
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Old 02-13-18, 12:57 PM
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This thread dates back 10 months and the thread starter never returned to tell us what bike was purchased. I would agree that bike shops MAY be a better place to buy a used bike but the shop the OP chose might be an exception. If you look at the second bike in the list (Mongoose Ledge 2.1) you might be surprised to find out that it is sold today by WalMart for $161 brand new. The bike shop was asking $129 for a used bike that no longer has the factory warranty as subsequent owners do not get that transferred. The Schwinn Sierra is sold by outfits like Performance and L L Bean so it was an entry level bike but not a mass merchandiser bike. The Diamondback bike could date back into the mid 80s. Being old is not a negative but it is also not a positive. If you are going to buy a used bike it helps a lot to be able to recognize quality frames and components so you don't buy junk.

I used to go to our local police auctions where you were not allowed to inspect the bike in advance of it being put up for bid. I saw a lot of buyers bid based upon a brand name they were familiar with but without regard to the quality of the bike. They could have bought the same bike in a local thrift store for much less and at least had the chance to see if it would fit. Good bikes with less familiar names often sold for bargain prices at the same auction.
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