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Looking to buy my first bike

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Looking to buy my first bike

Old 05-25-13, 07:50 PM
  #1  
penduboy
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Looking to buy my first bike

At last i decided to buy a bike. I am totally new to this and want some expert advise here. I don't want to spend too much on my first bike....but if I like this hobby, I will upgrade and buy a decent bike later on but for the time being, I just need a starter bike.

I am looking for a bike to commute to my work which is about 6 blocks from my home and on weekend ride with my daughter in trails near my house.

Please help.

thanks, Pendu
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Old 05-25-13, 08:11 PM
  #2  
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The easiest is to figure out your budget and then go to your LBS for some advice. They'll probably try to sell you some sort of hybrid/commuter type bike which seems about right for your purposes. Just get something with cushy tires and saddle for your commute and the weekend and a good pump. You need to keep those tires inflated to the proper PSI.
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Old 05-26-13, 05:07 AM
  #3  
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Yard sales and careful craigslist hunting. Read up in the C&V section and find a decent light weight bike from the 70s, 80s, 90s really cheap at a yard sale. Plan on spending an additional $100-$200 depending on labor/parts for a full tune up and such at your LBS if you can't to the work yourself. But if your a patient you can end up with a very nice bike for around $150.
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Old 05-26-13, 12:32 PM
  #4  
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Originally Posted by BruceHankins View Post
Yard sales and careful craigslist hunting. Read up in the C&V section and find a decent light weight bike from the 70s, 80s, 90s really cheap at a yard sale. Plan on spending an additional $100-$200 depending on labor/parts for a full tune up and such at your LBS if you can't to the work yourself. But if your a patient you can end up with a very nice bike for around $150.
This is good advice, although it can be hard for beginners to separate quality bikes from junky ones (and by junky, I mean bikes that were junky when new). This what I tell people to look for:

- A sticker on the frame telling what it is made of. It may include the tubing manufacturer, but even if it just says CrMo 4130 or Chromolly, etc. (which are steel) that's good to know. I'm not as familiar with alloy frames and what's good and what's not. If it says it has butted or double-butted tubes, that's good. (Butting means that the tubes are made with thicker and thinner sections over their length, which provides for a lighter frame that is still strong enough where it matters. I've seen 1970s frames marked "Hi-Ten" or "tensile steel," which at the time may have been a good step above junk, but substantially heavier than CrMo.

- Alloy components and *especially* alloy wheels, which are usually recognizable because they're not rusty nor have a bright sheen like steel parts do.

- For older road style bikes, downtube shifters and bar-end shifters rather than stem or thumb shifters are a clue that it's a decent bike. For newer road bikes, integrated brake lever/shifters (also known as STI or brifters) indicate it's a decent bike.

- Brakes on junky bikes often have stamped steel arms rather than beefier forged arms.

Maybe there is a sticky somewhere with this info. There are probably some other clues I'm not remembering right now.

Last edited by Spld cyclist; 05-27-13 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 05-26-13, 03:11 PM
  #5  
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I'd say If you had a background or had a friend who did , then garage sales may be OK.

Complete Novice , you can also just take someones Junk off their hands ..

Bike Shop will do the show and tell and let you testride Bikes that everything works on them..
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Old 05-27-13, 12:25 PM
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Wow! already great advise here. I like the idea of buying a used bike from Garage sale or CL but I have 0 experience with the bikes. Although you guys provided some great tips here as to what to look for when buying used, but i am sure it will be hard for me to buy a good used bike.

Any advise of buying a good new bike around $300. I am looking at bikes at Costco and they normally sell them for around $250.

Thanks, Pendu
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Old 05-27-13, 01:00 PM
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Go to your LBS and get sized then shop bikesdirect.com better quality than Costco but you NEED TO KNOW YOUR SIZE! Also go and talk to your LBS about used bikes. A lot of the regulars are looking to unload a bike when upgrading and while the LBS might not take it on trade because of resale effort they might if they have a buyer lined up. CoOps are also a good place for info and sometimes used bikes.
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Old 05-27-13, 02:42 PM
  #8  
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Pendboy wrote:
I don't want to spend too much on my first bike....but if I like this hobby, I will upgrade and buy a decent bike later on but for the time being, I just need a starter bike.
Why waste good money an a piece of crap bike when you can put it towards a good one?

The #1 reason people stop riding bikes is because that particular bike is uncomfortable and therefore no fun to ride.
From years of experience I can tell you that "you get what you pay for".

If you go out and buy a Walmart type bike for cheap, you will most likely be very disappointed.

After many years of searching for the "perfect bike" I came upon the Electra Townie. It is a crank-forward bike designed with comfort in mind. (Crank forward means the crank and pedals are set further forward than what you see on conventional diamond frame bikes. This allows for a more relaxed, upright riding position that takes away the weight and strain on wrists, neck and back).
It's basically a beach cruiser type design. You can get it with gears between single speed up to 21 speeds. Some have a front suspension fork.
If you live only 6 blocks from work and have flat terrain or very mild hills this bike will work great for you.
The trails you speak of, are they paved? If not, this bike will also work well on chip-seal or compacted gravel. A change of tires might be in order for this.

You can find good used Townies on CL for $300 on up.

http://www.electrabike.com/Bikes/tow...es-mens-181199

Good luck, and remember to test ride every bike thoroughly before buying.

Some threads to read:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...tra%27s+Townie

This thread has been going for 10 years. Lots' of info/input and pics on the Townie:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...tra%27s+Townie

My Pimped-out Townie with disc brakes & bullhorn handlebars.
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Old 05-27-13, 02:55 PM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by penduboy View Post
Any advise of buying a good new bike around $300. I am looking at bikes at Costco and they normally sell them for around $250.
Do yourself a favor and don't buy a bike at Costco or Target or Walmart. Buy groceries, appliances and housewares at these stores. Buy a bicycle at a bicycle shop.
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Old 05-27-13, 03:40 PM
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thanks trestlehed, I will definitely look into Elctra Townie....looks cool. i also appreciate the links you provided. There are no hills from my home to my work and the most of the trails in my area use compacted gravel.

Could you please tell me where can I buy Elctra Townie...is it available at most bicycle shops?

Thanks, Pendu
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Old 05-27-13, 03:41 PM
  #11  
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Thanks GeorgePaul, that is what I want to learn.....I will take your advise and will look for a new or used bike from a bicycle store.
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Old 05-27-13, 06:10 PM
  #12  
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Here is a link for bike shops that sell Electra bikes.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

http://shops.electrabike.com/
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Old 05-27-13, 09:52 PM
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thanks for the link. these electra bikes are quite stylish....there are some available on my local CL for really good price but sadly most of these are ladies.
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Old 05-28-13, 06:32 PM
  #14  
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+1 to asking someone who is knowledgeable help you. Try contacting the local bike club and look for a tourist cyclist rather than someone who is a racer. That person could scan the local CL bike listings and give you some pointers. You didn't specify a road bike, a mountain bike, or an urban bike. I'd be open on that. If you buy a mountain bike, you can always change the tires from knobby off-road to road tires. Road bikes usually have a higher gear range and are easier to pedal due to the narrower tires for the same weight bike.

There's some incredible bargains at thrift stores and garage sales. I could have picked up a Giant Sedona bike last week for $30 at the local Goodwill. The tires were flat but the bike was in excellent shape otherwise. It was a mixed frame (ladies) style and I didn't know anyone who could use it so I left it there.
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Old 05-28-13, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
I'd say If you had a background or had a friend who did , then garage sales may be OK.

Complete Novice , you can also just take someones Junk off their hands ..

Bike Shop will do the show and tell and let you testride Bikes that everything works on them..
He's utterly right OP, my first garage sale buy was a 50 dollar wrecked peugeot, however the 10 dollar parts bike I picked up at the dump for fixing it up turned out to be one of my most prized possessions.
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Old 06-03-13, 10:41 AM
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Thanks everyone for their great advice....i managed to buy a Trek 3 series mountain bike from my local CL. Bike is in almost brand new condition. I just washed it and degreased the chain and then put new bike lube on it. It runs great and gear shifting is smooth, even the tires have 95% of life. I love riding a bike after 25 years of gap.

In future, I am looking forward to get more help on this great forum.

Thanks again, Pendu
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