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Newbie Needs Help on Choosing the Right Bike

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Newbie Needs Help on Choosing the Right Bike

Old 02-07-12, 05:22 AM
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Tohtruck
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Newbie Needs Help on Choosing the Right Bike

Hello all, I'm a newbie. I really know nothing about bikes.

I am looking for something to primarily ride around New York City with. Basically my ultimate goal is to eliminate public transportation as much as possible. With that said, I don't want anything too complicated, and I doubt I will need anything too exotic or high-end. I don't need an incredibly fast bike for speed either.

I am looking for something entry-level. I am thinking a hybrid bike, maybe a road bike. Although I would probably be more comfortable riding a bit more upright, and I would like to be open to the possibility of riding off-road on rare occasions.

After talking a buddy of mine about it. He suggested I get a very simple single-speed or fixed gear road bike.

In terms of my cycling experience. I have an old S&M BMX bike that I used to use for cruising around and a short stint as a delivery boy when I was a college student (it was also the bike that actually learned how to ride on).

The bottom line is that I don't want to buy complete crap. And I want to keep my budget around $500, so I'd like to get the most bang for my buck. But also, since I'm not an experienced cyclist, so I wouldn't know a good ride from a bad one.

I checked around the local bike shops (still have more shops to check out). Here's what some of the employees suggested to me:

Fat Cycles (I actually couldn't even find a website or any info on the internet about this brand) for $420

Pure Fix for $420

Redline 925 (they didn't have it at the shop but suggested I look into it)

KHS Urban Soul for $400

Felt Brougham for $550

Right now, I am leaning towards the Felt Brougham. But I would like to hear some input and suggestions, since I know nothing about bikes.

I am open to buying over the internet. But I realize I would actually rather like to be able to test ride a potential bike before I consider buying it.
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Old 02-07-12, 08:12 AM
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https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/.../kilott_wt.htm

Sounds like most of your already listed options are good too, though. Go with what looks the best to you. Offroading might need bigger tires, that's why I said the Kilo WT.

Last edited by GMJ; 02-07-12 at 09:30 AM. Reason: "what"
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Old 02-07-12, 08:52 AM
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Of those the Redline would probably be a good choice. If you're going to be using it for commuting (regardless of weather) the 925 comes with fenders and has space for wider tires and a rack if you need.
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Old 02-07-12, 06:15 PM
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Where are you in NYC? Lots of good shops that can build something for you. I wouldn't buy online for a first bike. Ssfg is great in NYC.
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Old 02-07-12, 06:40 PM
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https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...eed-Start-Here!
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Old 02-07-12, 09:59 PM
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Thanks so much for the replies everyone.

Yeah, I don't want to buy off the internet. I was considering it at one point. But I realize I don't want to order something that I don't get to test drive first. So i am going to narrow it down to what I can buy from the stores around me.

I still have many stores to check out. So far I have only checked out Bikes By George (whom, according to the bike shops I checked out and talked to afterwards, was basically about to rip me off by selling me an Origin8 for $495); Landmark Vintage, they only sold vintage bikes but the guy there was super helpful nonetheless and helped point me in the right direction; Busy Bee Bikes, very helpful and extremely informative, and I am considering getting the KHS Urban Soul from there; and NYC Velo, also very helpful and informative, right now I am leaning strongly towards getting the Felt Brougham from there.

sharmaji, I live in the East Village. I plan on checking out some more stores tomorrow. I'll probably go to Sid's, Bicycle Habitat, and some others. Can you guys recommend some other good bike shops that are trusted and have good reputations?

Thanks
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Old 02-08-12, 02:17 AM
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don't forget recycle-a-bicycle.
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Old 02-08-12, 03:04 AM
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Yeah definitely don't buy an origin8 for 5 bills. Those shops are all great, a buddy of mine rides on the sids team, velo knows their ****, and habitat is a solid shop Check 718 Cyclery and red lantern in Brooklyn as well; both deal largely with fgss. B's in greenpoint is another good fgss spot.
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Old 02-08-12, 03:45 AM
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Thanks for the replies!

I hadn't even realized how many bike shops there are in NYC. Does anyone know of that bike dude that basically sets up shop at the Flea Market on Ave. A (and I think 11 st.?) in Manhattan? A buddy of mine bought his bike from him and says I should check that dude out and I could get a good deal from him.

I realize, that I should probably also keep in mind that if/when I do buy my bike, if an issue were to come up that it would make sense to buy from a store that will be conveniently accessible and will offer a good policy on repairs and tune-ups. (I Live in Manhattan) So, as tempted as I am to check out the shops in BK, I figured I should probably stick to the stores in Manhattan, being that it would just be easier to take my bike in for any issues should they arise.

With that said, I think that is also one of my concerns regarding potentially buying from the dude at the flea market. I think he's only there on weekends, and I don;t know if he's a good mechanic or not (I didn't even realize that there's such a thing as good bike mechanics and bad ones, I figured dudes just fix bikes or don't know how to).

Thanks again for the replies.

Some of the other suggestions that came up are:

The Torker Graduate

Jamis Coda Sport

Trek Earl

Any opinions on those bikes?
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Old 02-08-12, 03:02 PM
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Mercier Kilo tt or Windsor the hour from bikesdirect.com. If your budget is around $450 that will leave you some wiggle room to upgrade handlebars,seat and pedals/cages. Kilo WT would be good too if your looking to run tires from 700x28-38's. I own a surly steamroller and it's basically the same type bike as the Kilo WT and its friggin great when it snows here and I can throw on some studded tires and fly threw the snow. Then in the summer the 25's go back on very versatile. I live on the eastcoast too and its good to have a bike that forms to whatever kind of riding you want to do.

Last edited by Philasteve; 02-08-12 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 02-08-12, 03:58 PM
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Don't buy from an online vendor if you're not comfortable wrenching your own bike. Seriously. Go find a bike shop, talk with the cats there, try to build up any relationship with them that begins with you spending money for their services. Learn what you like, don't like, recommendations and other things from people in real life. Then, and only then, if you feel like you might have it under control, go ahead and buy a bike online with the knowledge that if you get in over your head you aren't approaching a bike shop saying "Hi, I wanted to squeeze you out of business - fix this."

I have a lot of respect for those people who are offering great services, parts or even complete bikes online, but its just sad going in and talking with my friends at the LBS and watching them charge $85+ to build a BD bike for someone who would have gotten a better deal and camaraderie from going in initially and working with the local shop
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Old 02-08-12, 04:02 PM
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@Philasteve...as a fellow steamroller owner i am almost dumbfounded that you are shilling bikedirect to the op, who has acknowledged that he is a complete beginner about bikes.
he is in an area where he can find any number of nice bikes at decent prices from very good local stores & you try to sell him a kilo??? that he has no idea how to pick the right size or build?
shame on you...
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Old 02-08-12, 10:26 PM
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Yeah, I don't know anything.

Really, I don't know ANYTHING. I started looking around and checking out the different bike shops and I'm only finding that I really really don't know anything about bikes. I'm starting to get more and more confused the more I look around it almost feels like.

So yeah, I'm not going to buy a bike over the internet. I'm going to go ahead and buy one from one of the local bike shops. I wouldn't be able to tell what I want and what's good just by reading the descriptions. Also, I wouldn't know what the right size bike for me is.

But yeah, I think I've basically decided that I'll get a single speed urban bike (I hadn't even realized how many different bike categories there are).

After looking around and checking out the different stores (I'm probably going to check out just a few more stores), these are the choices that I've come up with that I am strongly considering:

Phat Cycles (I think it's the Phixie, the guys at the shop actually didn't tell me a model name other than Phat Cycle) for $420

Pure Fix for $420 (the guys at the bike shop said it that it's not much different than the Phat Cycle bike so i could get either one)

Felt Brougham for $597 (that's with the tax included) - this is the one I am most strongly leaning towards at the moment, but I still have to test ride it.

Raleigh Misceo for $499.99

The Phat Cycle bike was actually the only bike I got to test ride as it started snowing today. It felt fine and I enjoyed riding it. But I don't know anything about the quality of the bike.

I'm a short dude, and I have short legs. I measured my inseam using that book method and found that I have a 28" or 29" inseam. However, when seated upright on the bike seat I found that I could just barely touch the floor with my toes. Does that sound about right? The guys at the shop said they could cut down the saddle on the Phat Cycle a bit to make it a bit lower. Again, this is coming from a dude who only has experience riding BMX bikes where I can touch the floor with my whole foot while sitting upright on the saddle. I don't know how exactly it's supposed to work with other bikes. But it actually felt fine once I started going.

So among those options above, which one should I go with? Keep in mind this is primarily going to be used for riding around the city, getting to places, and running errands... nothing crazy. In the events that I have to get somewhere quick at a certain time or if I have to transport a bunch of stuff that won't fit in my backpack then I'll opt for public transportation. But I also wouldn't mind being able to go off road. But would rather have a better quality bike for city street purposes than a not so great bike that is versatile for street and off-road.

I'm assuming the components will factor into which of the above is the best choice. But I don't know anything about any of the components that come stock with these bikes.

One of the dudes at one of the stores was telling me that for the most part, almost all bikes at various certain price ranges (under $1,000) will be similar in terms of quality. In other words, one brand of bike that goes for $600 will be similar in quality to another brand of bike that also goes for $600. Is that true? And if so, what should be the deciding factor?

Thanks so much for the replies guys, everyone has been extremely helpful.
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Old 02-08-12, 10:55 PM
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You have a lot of questions that, unfortunately can probably be better answer through taking the start here thread and cross posting to the commuter forums.

The price point statement is valid to some degree. The Raleigh is geared, at least on their website. So you lose quality elsewhere to get a crappy DR. Frame material pays into cost as well. So while you can make a blanket statement to some degree, there are a lot more variables to take into consideration. Felt makes a nice bike, I have no knowledge phat cycles.
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Old 02-09-12, 01:59 AM
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+1 Kilo WT or Surly Steamroller.
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Old 02-09-12, 02:33 AM
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Really all I can say is that you seem to be going about this hunt in a very good manner. You don't know everything, but you certainly seem to know how to find out- so don't worry about that.

You cover a good spread from terrible to great in terms of quality, value, and longevity or "how long you will continue to like or love the bike."

The felt brougham is a great bike and I would actually suggest you test ride it, or test ride it again, if you're still considering other bikes.

The felt will be a much much better quality bike and you will love it for much longer than any of the cheaper fad fixies like the phat or phly or whatever, just because it is better quality and it's a name brand. not to mention, it holds higher resale value for longer.

The kilo WT or steamroller are even better because they're not as 'stylish' and instead they are simply great bikes. the kilo wt is a good value, too... perhaps the best of the bunch.

However, don't sell yourself short on the raleigh.

The Misceo, unless i'm mistaken, isn't offered as a singlespeed. It's also a totally different class of bike, and is going to offer a different fit, ride, and feel as any of the others.

to start, it's aluminum. that won't make it lighter with all the gears, suspension, brakes, mtb geometry and tubing... but it is a hybrid with large tires which will make it comfy despite the aluminum's tendancy to 'buzz' and ride harsher. the gears and flatbar indexed shifting will make it faster in more adverse conditions and sustaining lots of stopping and starting getting up to high speeds, as for city commuting, or it will make you less stressed as your muscles(motor) adjust to the new activity and optimising your performance.

That, and the mechanical disc brakes aren't hydro stopping monsters, but they WILL stop you much faster and better especially in rain or puddles or snow or dirt than any of the other bikes.

and it does all of this at a lower price point. that's why bike companies sell more hybrid commuters like the raleigh than singlespeeds for freaks and geeks like yours truly... it's just in general a more capable and more utilitarian bike that they can mass produce and price at a great value.

also check out the furley... raleigh's cross disc offering that gives you steel and singlespeed. honestly the only thing i'd consider out of this thread aside from the raleighs would be the Kilo WT.

The cheaper brightly colored fixie fad brands are not going to give you the quality or value of the higher priced offerings from the likes of felt and raleigh.

and this is totally not about the brands, because i haven't owned a felt nor a raleigh in my life... i just have ridden then and inspected their quality from my friends who swear by them.


and if you want a bike that's going to kick ass and outlive any of the other bikes because of the features and capabilities it offers, this may be the best value in the long term:
https://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/steel-road/furley-12/

Last edited by cc700; 02-09-12 at 02:38 AM.
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Old 02-09-12, 03:07 AM
  #17  
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**** yeah Furley. Eccentric bb and disc brakes ftw.

Can you put racks/fenders on that? This might be my next n+1 no bull****.
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Old 02-09-12, 03:16 AM
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basically any rack and any fender. my friend raced some cross with it and it has mad clearance and basically every mount you'd ever want. it's even got two eyelets on each seatstay for rack and fender while keeping them out of the way of the disc.
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Old 02-09-12, 03:28 AM
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That is so nasty.

https://www.thebikestand.com/raleigh-road.html

Retails for $820. That means I only have to rob 12 old women tonight. Can you ride this fixed?
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Old 02-09-12, 03:44 AM
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sure but reinstalling the disc caliper may prove frustrating
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Old 02-09-12, 04:26 AM
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Yeah unfortunately for your situation, the best shops for fgss are in bk. If you're close to velo- I think you said they're the ones who had the felt- then go for that, unless you see something at habitat that catches your fancy. I think SIDS had a bunch of pista's too?

I had a torker u district for the first year that I rode Ss in the city. Was a lot of fun and truth be told, the frame and fork are great, but the components are really low end.

At some point, you'll figure out what you do and do not like about the bike you buy. Until you get that knowledge, it's really more important that you get a good-fitting machine from a shop that will help you take care of it.
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Old 02-09-12, 05:09 AM
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Thanks again everyone for the helpful advice and information.

cc700, thanks for that post, that was extremely informative. So the Raleigh that they had is basically a whole other category of bike then?

Yeah, it seems to have some nice features. Most of which, I actually don't know much about. But nonetheless I guess I will have to strongly consider it in the front running. I will probably test ride it tomorrow. But again, I'm not sure how I feel about riding a gear bike. As great and functional as it seems, it almost seems like more bike than is necessary for my needs. A buddy of mine said I should stick with single speeds because there's less variables and things that could go wrong, which makes sense to me. Also, I've never ridden a bike that can shift gears, so I have no idea. But I do like the disc brake.

As for the Kilo WT and other Raleighs, unfortunately I did not see those bikes at any of the stores I went to. The ones I mentioned in this thread as the bikes I actually got to physically see at the stores that also happened to have my size in stock. And I'm not comfortably buying over the internet right now cause I won't have any idea what I'm getting.

The Surly Steamroller I will probably try and check out. I think Velo NYC (one of the shops I checked out) is a Surly dealer, maybe they just didn't mention it when I stopped by.

Can any comment on REI and their bikes? Some of the posters in another thread that I started in the Commuter forum suggested I check them out. Their warranty policy seems really great. I just don't like that most of their bikes (at least the ones that were suggested) don't have flat handlebars.

So yeah I would also like a bike with flat handlebars.

Yes, I am close to Velo, and at the very least, I definitely liked the look of the Felt Brougham they showed me (it was very simple all black).

Bicycle Habitat didn't really have anything in my budget that caught my eye. except for a cute girl working the front counter, who was probably out of my price point.

So let me pose this question, I realize they are two different bikes, but between the Raleigh Misceo and the Felt Brougham, what would you guys go for?
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Old 02-09-12, 05:12 AM
  #23  
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Don't look for a bike that comes with flatbars. If you really want ***** bars, buy them separate and throw them on there. Your choices for stock FB are very limited.

Novara (REI) seem to be decent bikes and money towards dividend is always cool. That's where I first found out about my bike. My LBS just happened to have one in my side to test ride.... If you want a specific bike, look into going to an official dealer. You'll pay more than if you bought online, but they can fit it to you and let you test ride.
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Old 02-09-12, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by markaitch View Post
@Philasteve...as a fellow steamroller owner i am almost dumbfounded that you are shilling bikedirect to the op, who has acknowledged that he is a complete beginner about bikes.
he is in an area where he can find any number of nice bikes at decent prices from very good local stores & you try to sell him a kilo??? that he has no idea how to pick the right size or build?
shame on you...
I suggested the Kilo WT and Surly SteamRoller just like everyone else has. Either way hes going to have to get sized at a bike shop and find out what size bike he rides, it's not really to hard to come home and compare top tube and seat tube lengths with the help of us to find a bike that will fit like the one he tryed in the stores.

Last edited by Philasteve; 02-09-12 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 02-09-12, 12:18 PM
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Yeah, but you did it while wearing Under Armor.
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