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Help a poor boy find a decent starter bike, it's good for your karma!

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Help a poor boy find a decent starter bike, it's good for your karma!

Old 03-18-12, 10:01 PM
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Crepes
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Help a poor boy find a decent starter bike, it's good for your karma!

Ok, maybe not TOO poor, I can afford a decent bike I hope, but I do know very little about what I'm getting into (for reference, here's what I ride now, heh - https://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-Me...d-Bike/8399247). I'd like to order something off of bikesdirect, as I know I can't afford anything at my LBS (but I've heard I should check them out there to do a test run and whatnot). I would like to try to find something around the Sora-level prices (https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/road_bikes.htm), around $400. If it's absolutely necessary, I might be able to do $600 for something like this - https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...d_record_x.htm - But I'm moving soon and have little income as it is, I don't know if I can afford it.

Truthfully, I don't know exactly what I'm looking for. I know my current bike is a bit on the heavy side. Shifting, while better than any bike I've ever had, isn't that great. Otherwise I like my bike, maybe just because I've never had anything better. I've been looking over the forums, but I don't want to jump into a big purchase like this without being certain of it. Thanks for the help

PS - I have 0 experience in working on, repairing, constructing, or otherwise tinkering with bikes.

Last edited by Crepes; 03-18-12 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 03-18-12, 10:12 PM
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If you don't know what you are looking for and you can't work on your own bike you don't want to buy online. As I understand it, bikes come with "some assembly required" which you can pay an LBS to do but you won't get fitting advice or the customary free tune ups and adjustments. Any money you save online will be lost paying for these things. You can find a bike at a bike shop in your price range. I'd start there.
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Old 03-18-12, 10:15 PM
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If you are not ready or prepared to build a bike, even though it is just partial assembly required, DO NOT buy from bikes direct. This is what LBS and CL are for. Where are you located? Performance has some nice fujis that will fit your 600 dollar price range. And they are assembled for you.
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Old 03-18-12, 10:16 PM
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To Bike Forums, Crepes!

We will try to answer all of your cycling questions to the best of our abilities.

So will you be climbing any hills when you cycle?

What will be your primary use for this bicycle?...ie..Commuting, Recreation, Exercise,
etc..

What type of handlebars do you prefer?

TIA

- Slim
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Old 03-18-12, 10:17 PM
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with $400 i would sit tight and keep checking craigslist for a deal. sora will probably shift better than what you have right now, but im sure any bike you get at $400 will still be heavy.
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Old 03-18-12, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by bikerjp View Post
If you don't know what you are looking for and you can't work on your own bike you don't want to buy online. As I understand it, bikes come with "some assembly required" which you can pay an LBS to do but you won't get fitting advice or the customary free tune ups and adjustments. Any money you save online will be lost paying for these things. You can find a bike at a bike shop in your price range. I'd start there.
Originally Posted by X-LinkedRider View Post
If you are not ready or prepared to build a bike, even though it is just partial assembly required, DO NOT buy from bikes direct. This is what LBS and CL are for. Where are you located? Performance has some nice fujis that will fit your 600 dollar price range. And they are assembled for you.
These two are probably true. I should mess around with my current bike a little, learn how it works a little more intricately and read up on tuning and swapping parts before thinking of ordering online. It serves its purpose right now and rides well enough for me to get some exercise in, I shouldn't be hasty. Also, like I said, I am moving soon. Right now I live in Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, there is only one LBS around. Will be in Pittsburgh by June, so I'm sure I can find a lot there.

Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
To Bike Forums, Crepes!

We will try to answer all of your cycling questions to the best of our abilities.

So will you be climbing any hills when you cycle?

What will be your primary use for this bicycle?...ie..Commuting, Recreation, Exercise,
etc..

What type of handlebars do you prefer?

TIA

- Slim
Thanks for the welcome. Glad to see everyone is so helpful! Exercise, mainly. I'm a slim guy, but not in shape for sure. I'd like to just be healthier in general, and I much prefer biking to running. As for the trails, I'm not sure what I'll be able to find when I move to Pittsburgh, I'm sure some of everything. I will be staying on bike trails though. Right now my trail has no steep hills, but isn't perfectly flat the entire way either. Hopefully I can find something similar.

As for handlebars, I'm not sure. The only difference I know of are the straight or curved bars. I've never tried the curved ones, and would like to, as I don't like having my hands horizontal for a long period. Feels unnatural.

Originally Posted by Specialized2k10 View Post
with $400 i would sit tight and keep checking craigslist for a deal. sora will probably shift better than what you have right now, but im sure any bike you get at $400 will still be heavy.
I suppose I should wait. I'm just excited to try something new I guess.

By the way, thanks to everyone
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Old 03-18-12, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Crepes View Post
These two are probably true. I should mess around with my current bike a little, learn how it works a little more intricately and read up on tuning and swapping parts before thinking of ordering online. It serves its purpose right now and rides well enough for me to get some exercise in, I shouldn't be hasty. Also, like I said, I am moving soon. Right now I live in Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, there is only one LBS around. Will be in Pittsburgh by June, so I'm sure I can find a lot there.



Thanks for the welcome. Glad to see everyone is so helpful! Exercise, mainly. I'm a slim guy, but not in shape for sure. I'd like to just be healthier in general, and I much prefer biking to running. As for the trails, I'm not sure what I'll be able to find when I move to Pittsburgh, I'm sure some of everything. I will be staying on bike trails though. Right now my trail has no steep hills, but isn't perfectly flat the entire way either. Hopefully I can find something similar.

As for handlebars, I'm not sure. The only difference I know of are the straight or curved bars. I've never tried the curved ones, and would like to, as I don't like having my hands horizontal for a long period. Feels unnatural.



I suppose I should wait. I'm just excited to try something new I guess.

By the way, thanks to everyone
Yes, you are what like an hour from Cumberland MD? There is a FANTASTIC bike shop called Cumberland Trail Connection right along the C&O canal rail trail in Cumberland. Call and ask for Hutch, he is the owner. He might even help you find something.
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Old 03-18-12, 10:52 PM
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If you don't experience too many hills, I'd recommend looking into getting a single-speed/fixed gear. Single-speeds allow you to coast (along with the necessity for a front and rear brake) while fixed gear bikes do NOT allow you to coast (and therefore only a front brake is necessary, as you can use your legs to slow the rear wheel down by back pedaling).

I've been riding fixed for over half a year and I highly recommend it. Low cost, low maintenance.

Here's a good start (take a look at the Mercier Kilo TT and any of the Windsor models; all highly recommended [they vary in frame material and tire clearance. If you have crap roads, look for something that will accept tires upwards of 32mm+]. I have a Kilo TT): https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/trackbikes.htm

And here: https://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...amp-Fixed-Gear

The main appeal is low maintenance, as you only have 1 gear to deal with.
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Old 03-19-12, 01:02 AM
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Crepes, do you have any bike nerdish friends who can help you assemble a new bike? Maybe for a pizza and beer or some other form of payment they will have tools and time to help with minimal assembly. If not, I think trying to find a bike on Craigslist might be the best option.
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Old 03-19-12, 01:20 AM
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Save your money and watch craigslist every day. Also, forget about the components and make sure the bike fits. Fit is all that matters in your price range, the rest is details.
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Old 03-19-12, 01:27 AM
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Old 03-19-12, 03:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Pinkbullet3 View Post
If you don't experience too many hills, I'd recommend looking into getting a single-speed/fixed gear. Single-speeds allow you to coast (along with the necessity for a front and rear brake) while fixed gear bikes do NOT allow you to coast (and therefore only a front brake is necessary, as you can use your legs to slow the rear wheel down by back pedaling).

I've been riding fixed for over half a year and I highly recommend it. Low cost, low maintenance.

Here's a good start (take a look at the Mercier Kilo TT and any of the Windsor models; all highly recommended [they vary in frame material and tire clearance. If you have crap roads, look for something that will accept tires upwards of 32mm+]. I have a Kilo TT): https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/trackbikes.htm

And here: https://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...amp-Fixed-Gear

The main appeal is low maintenance, as you only have 1 gear to deal with.

With all due respect, this is not good advice.

The OP made no referance to wanting any sort of single-speed or fixed gear bike. The fact he is savvy enough to use the phrase 'sora level' means I would expect him to be savvy enough to know if he'd want a fixie.

Also, he took the time to mention he isn't mechanically inclined, so it's not a great idea to advise him to buy something that's going to need to be built up by him (or require him to pay to get it done.)

Going to your local bike shop (And the one reccomended sounds great,) stating your budget and your desire for a road bike, will get you what you want. Also, you're going to have MUCH better options on the $600 end of things than the $400. $600 is just getting into some solid bikes. Have fun!
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Old 03-19-12, 03:10 AM
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Originally Posted by bikerjp View Post
If you don't know what you are looking for and you can't work on your own bike you don't want to buy online. As I understand it, bikes come with "some assembly required" which you can pay an LBS to do but you won't get fitting advice or the customary free tune ups and adjustments. Any money you save online will be lost paying for these things. You can find a bike at a bike shop in your price range. I'd start there.
Originally Posted by X-LinkedRider View Post
If you are not ready or prepared to build a bike, even though it is just partial assembly required, DO NOT buy from bikes direct. This is what LBS and CL are for. Where are you located? Performance has some nice fujis that will fit your 600 dollar price range. And they are assembled for you.
Very true. My LBS does pretty well out of people who go and look at a bike there and then buy online to save a bit of money. If you buy the bike from him you get the first tune-up included in the price, warranty coverage and the like. If you don't you get none of those things. So the guy who thought he was clever by saving a bit of cash online then has to pay the LBS to tune the bike once the cables start to extend a little. If there are warranty issues, good luck chasing an internet supplier who can endlessly dodge the issue claiming it's fair wear and tear, or expects you to ship the bike back to them at your expense so they can investigate it. My LBS does well out of another local-ish bike shop (which is a very well known name) because apparently people who buy bikes from them end up paying for issues to be fixed rather than jumping through endless hoops to get the well known company to honour their promises.

Buying used can be a way to get a great bike at a great price. But even there it can be a false economy - if your new bike needs new chainrings, new chain, new cassette, new handlebar tape and new tyres you can very easily rack up the total price until it's not much less than buying a new one. And if you're not a bit handy with a spanner you'll end up paying someone else to do all that work for you.
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Old 03-19-12, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Pinkbullet3 View Post
If you don't experience too many hills, I'd recommend looking into getting a single-speed/fixed gear. Single-speeds allow you to coast (along with the necessity for a front and rear brake) while fixed gear bikes do NOT allow you to coast (and therefore only a front brake is necessary, as you can use your legs to slow the rear wheel down by back pedaling).
Apparently you have never been to the "Mountain State" Lol, West Virginia is nothing but mountains, not even hills.
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Old 03-19-12, 08:57 AM
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I would suggest that you locate a bicycle co-op and volunteer there as often as possible, until you've acquired enough time to earn membership. Once you've earned membership, let it be known that you're without a bicycle and that you direly need one. They will see to it that you get a suitable bicycle frame. You will then purchase and pilfer the appropriate components and install them onto your bicycle frame. In the end, you would have learned a great deal about bicycle mechanics, and would will be the proud owner of a 'new' bicycle!
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Old 03-19-12, 09:09 AM
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Once again, Bicycle Co-Op doesn't exist in West Virginia, not even in that Wheeling Panhandle. Your closest would either be MD, OH, or PA. Lol.
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Old 03-19-12, 10:32 AM
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Have a break at work, maybe i can get a few details and comments in.

Fixie isn't my cup of tea, I don't believe. I like being able to shift. No-hills is not an option in this area

I have one friend who has assembled a bike (the same bike I mentioned that I currently ride in my original post) and also I know my dad knows an avid biker who has most definitely put together several bikes. I'm not sure how close they are now, but I might be able to work something out there.

Cumberland is 2.5hrs away from Wheeling. There is one LBS, a small one, only a few minutes from my house, so I will start there. Cumberland will be a bit closer once I'm in PA.

I feel like I could handle the assembling of the bike. It's not that I've never worked with tools whatsoever, just haven't worked on bikes. And I don't know what all is involved, so I guess that assessment of myself isn't worth much. I guess I don't want to mess something up. This is a big investment for me, heh. Will probably go after work to see what my LBS has to offer.
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Old 03-19-12, 10:40 AM
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Good luck Crepes, keep us posted. You are in a rough area for riding. It's beautiful, but not easy. Every time I ride through West Virginia, people look at me like "WTF is this guy dong riding a bike. Doesn't he know we have some hills here."
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Old 03-19-12, 10:47 AM
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Might ask at your lbs. I know mine is going to have a used bike sale in another week or two where they pull all of their used bikes (tuned up with a 30 day warranty) out of their basement and try to sell them. With that you'd know you'd get a bike in good working order that will fit you.
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Old 03-19-12, 12:01 PM
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If you can find it in yourself to tinker around a little bit with mechanics and read up on parktool.com, this maybe your best bet:

https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/.../liberty_x.htm

Otherwise, look around for Fuji's in your price range.
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Old 03-19-12, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by X-LinkedRider View Post
Once again, Bicycle Co-Op doesn't exist in West Virginia, not even in that Wheeling Panhandle. Your closest would either be MD, OH, or PA. Lol.
What do you mean, "once again"?

I don't see anything within this thread about any co-op...

- Slim
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Old 03-19-12, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
What do you mean, "once again"?

I don't see anything within this thread about any co-op...

- Slim
The once again was referring to his locale. there is nothing like a bike co-op anywhere near his area.
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Old 03-19-12, 03:42 PM
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You have a bike. Yeah, it's not great, but that's ok for now. Bikes are not that complex. Go tinker with the bike you have and learn how it works. Other than setting up the frame you don't need a lot of specialized tools....yeah, they help, but you can get by with some basics. Decent set of metric allen wrenches, couple screwdrivers, a set of narrowish metric wrenches, and you can go tinker with it to your heart's content. Read the Park tool website for some good info on what and how to make adjustments.

With an hour of reading and tweaking, you can get your bike shifting smoothly. Then ride it until you figure out what you want next. By the time you really know what you want, you'll have a free education courtesy of fiddling with your existing bike.
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Old 03-19-12, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
With an hour of reading and tweaking, you can get your bike shifting smoothly. Then ride it until you figure out what you want next. By the time you really know what you want, you'll have a free education courtesy of fiddling with your existing bike.
Good point... if you fiddle with a cheap bike you're less likely to worry about breaking it than if you fiddle with an expensive bike.

When I first bought my bike (the first bike I'd owned as an adult and the first I'd ridden in nearly 20 years) I was afraid to do anything with it at all in case I overtightened something, or didn't tighten it enough, or something pinged and fired springs and ball bearings all over my kitchen etc. Eventually I figured that was a silly fear and as things needed doing I took a look at them to see if I could do them myself.

I'm lucky in that my LBS is a 5-minute walk away so if I break something or run out of talent I can take it there in whatever state and they'll put it all back together again for me. That said if you don't have a handy LBS it means you have to get it right before you ride again. When I changed my cassette and had to adjust the rear derailleur to stop the chain skipping what kept me going was that if I paid the LBS to fix it for me I'd not only lose the benefits from buying the parts online but I'd also be no further forward in my understanding of how to do the job. In the end it took me nearly two hours but by the time it was done it shifted perfectly.
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