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Help getting the right bike for long ride

Old 04-08-12, 04:59 PM
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PStephens
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Help getting the right bike for long ride

I need some help from some knowledgeable bike riders. The only thing I know right now about bikes is how to ride them pretty much. Instead of just trying to figure this all out on my own and end up being a fool, I think it's best to get some advice.

I haven't owned a bike in years. But, (probably sounds stupid for someone inexperienced like me) I'm looking to bike from New York to Kansas. I know I gotta train for a ride like that, but the first step, to me, seems like it should be to get the bike first.

I want to know what kind of bike I would need for that kind of ride. From what I've read, I guess you'd call it a loaded tour because I would be carrying stuff. But what I really want to know is if I can get away with a bike between $400-500 instead of the ones in the thousands.

I was looking at a hybrid bike (https://www.dickssportinggoods.com/pr...uctId=12088868) at Dick's but the guy there didn't really seem like he totally knew what he was talking about. What's the reason people may not recommend a cheaper bike like that? Is it a comfort issue or will the bike break?
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Old 04-08-12, 05:10 PM
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I was just looking at that in another tab. But that would require me to put it together myself, right? Is that too difficult?
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Old 04-08-12, 05:15 PM
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Touring cross country requires that you have some mechanic knowledge to keep your bike running smoothly.
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Old 04-08-12, 05:17 PM
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I don't know the particular model, but typically, cheap bikes are heavier, and have cheaper components, than their more expensive counterparts. They shouldn't break, but their components may wear more quickly, and operate a little less smoothly.

The most important thing is to get a bike that fits you, and on which you can be comfortable for long rides. That isn't just a matter of money, though a new touring bike is likely to cost more than $500. One can always buy a used bike, of course, but you need to know what you're looking for.

I think the best thing you can do is go to a decent bike store (it sounds as if Dick's sporting goods may not be it) and talk to them about what you are planning. Even if you don't end up buying one of their bikes, at least you'll come away knowing what size you need and with some idea of what is available.
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Old 04-08-12, 05:19 PM
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Hmm... Maybe I should look to buy online then to learn

I'm pretty sure I need a 19" frame. And there is a bike shop, but I think I get nervous thinking they'll just lead me to some bike I can't afford.
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Old 04-08-12, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by PStephens View Post
Hmm... Maybe I should look to buy online then to learn

I'm pretty sure I need a 19" frame. And there is a bike shop, but I think I get nervous thinking they'll just lead me to some bike I can't afford.
You shouldn't "buy online to learn". You won't really know what you're buying. And if you think you need a 19" frame, you are probably talking mountain bike/hybrid sizing, not road/touring bike sizing. Are you confident that you want a hybrid rather than a touring bike?

The guys in the bike shop can't make you buy anything, let alone something you can't afford. And they have information you need...
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Old 04-08-12, 05:34 PM
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The truth is you can tour on any bike. It's just going to be a lot easier and hold together longer doing it on a name brand bike designed for loaded touring. One of the cheaper alternatives might be getting a Windsor Tourist form BikesDirect. You would have to assemble it, or pay your local bike shop to do it. You would also be taking a very big gamble on getting a bike that fit with no knowledge on what size you need.

I would suggest if there is anyway possible, to go ahead and pay the extra bucks to get a touring bike from your local bike shop and then you'll know it will fit. Something like a Surly Long hall trucker, Trek 520 or Jamis Aurora. Unlike a bike from Dick's they will retain there value so you could get most of the cost back by selling it after your trip, or will hold together if you continue to ride.
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Old 04-08-12, 05:38 PM
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Is the $400-$500 your total budget? Have you let some allowance for panniers, racks, supplies?

If you mention (roughly) where you live, someone may be able to point you to local resources -- a good bike shop, etc.
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Old 04-08-12, 05:41 PM
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But the thing is I'm young and am going off the money I make at my $7.75/hr job plus from stuff I sell. I can't afford to pay too much extra bucks and still have money for the gear as well as for the trip itself. (So no, that's not my whole budget)

And I know where a bike shop is near me. I guess I'll go in and see what they say. Maybe I'll just have to work harder for more money, like selling my car... (which still wouldn't make me that much - not sure how much longer it's gonna last).
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Old 04-08-12, 05:44 PM
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Is there a bike co-op where you live? Might be your best bet.
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Old 04-08-12, 05:46 PM
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I'm not sure. I live in the Syracuse area in New York.
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Old 04-08-12, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by PStephens View Post
Maybe I'll just have to work harder for more money, like selling my car... (which still wouldn't make me that much - not sure how much longer it's gonna last).
If I was a young man low on funds, you can bet I'd ditch my car and get around on a touring type bike. No expense for gas, insurance and maintenance cost would be way less. Car free, for sure!
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Old 04-08-12, 05:55 PM
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Yeah, that's probably a good idea. I wonder how much I'd accumulate just from not having to pay the insurance..
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Old 04-08-12, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by PStephens View Post
I'm not sure. I live in the Syracuse area in New York.
You've got several decent bike shops right there in Syracuse. Syracuse bikes and Advance cyclery are within a half mile each other. If nothing else they could fit you up and tell you what size bike you need. There's nothing wrong with touring on a hybrid, they work just fine. Some of those bikes at Dicks are actually not half bad nowadays. I'd go to a bike shop first and ask all the questions you want. I'd recommend Syracuse Bikes first for questions and bike fit, but not neccessarily to buy from. Before you let one of the salesmen there talk you into one of their bikes you might want to ask here on the forums first. The guys at Advance cyclery can be a little cranky. If you can make it to the Bike Loft they are good people but a relatively small operation.
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Old 04-08-12, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
You've got several decent bike shops right there in Syracuse. Syracuse bikes and Advance cyclery are within a half mile each other. If nothing else they could fit you up and tell you what size bike you need. There's nothing wrong with touring on a hybrid, they work just fine. Some of those bikes at Dicks are actually not half bad nowadays. I'd go to a bike shop first and ask all the questions you want. I'd recommend Syracuse Bikes first for questions and bike fit, but not neccessarily to buy from. Before you let one of the salesmen there talk you into one of their bikes you might want to ask here on the forums first. The guys at Advance cyclery can be a little cranky. If you can make it to the Bike Loft they are good people but a relatively small operation.
I live right down the road from the Bike Loft so I'll have to go in.
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Old 04-09-12, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by PStephens View Post
I'm young and am going off the money I make at my $7.75/hr job


Can you pick up another job ... preferably something that pays a little bit more? Even something part-time to supplement your current income.
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Old 04-09-12, 07:21 AM
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Don't forget the used bike market. After finding your size check out Craig's List.
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Old 04-09-12, 07:40 AM
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Don't fear a good LBS. You are not obligated to buy. Sure, you might feel some pressure; but, you are in the driver's seat. You can learn a lot by checking out and trying different bikes, reading, and, as you know, interacting with the good folks here. It takes some time to get confident enough to know what you want. But, it doesn't take forever. In the end, you might find that Dick's offers a decent bike. But, you might also be surprised to find something at a similar price point, and perhaps better build quality, at a nearby LBS. Also, don't forget about craigslist and eBay (although, you should have a sense of your size and be comfortable with those shopping venues).
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Old 04-09-12, 07:44 AM
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The low gear on that bike is a 28x28. You might want something lower. I wouldn't buy it if it is not possible to swap out the small chainring for something smaller, like a 24 or 22, and/or to add lager cogs, like a 30 and 34.
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Old 04-09-12, 08:25 AM
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I guess I'm kind of taking up the job right now of selling stuff online. I don't know how much that'll get me but a guy I know does that for his whole income and he seems like he can at least take care of himself. He knew a guy that walked (not biked) from New York to California.

If I can get there with my stuff and not die in the process, I think that's the minimum I'm going for. I'm gonna check out some thrift stores and see if I don't get lucky.
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Old 04-09-12, 08:25 AM
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the Diamond Back could work fine but it probably has been assembled with little attention whereas a bike at a bike shop has. What you're saving in price now may come back to bite you in maintenance issues like a rear wheel that needed some tuning up or early replacement. Your understanding how to maintain the bike will matter more than the price you're getting.

So first step isn't getting the bike. First step is educating yourself about what is a good fit/posture on a bike, then a realistic assessment of the bikes intended use. New bikes in the low price range pretty much all have straight bars and will need another $30 or so in bar ends and tape. Most drop bar bikes are racing bikes and a smaller number cyclocross bikes, prices upwards of $1000, there are a few dedicated dedicated touring bikes but not many bike shops carry them. Lowest cost rack and panniers is about $75 with $150+average.

A bike that can take 32mm tires is a good basic touring size for carrying weight with larger tires appropriate for heavier riders and heavy loads. A light bike that rides nicely unloaded may not be that great for carrying a load so that's where you're going to rely on others opinions if you can't test ride a loaded bike.
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Old 04-11-12, 09:34 PM
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This bike is pretty dang cheap: https://www.ebay.com/itm/56cm-mens-ro...#ht_500wt_1055

What is your opinion of this bike from the specs?
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Old 04-11-12, 09:52 PM
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'richard's' sporting goods is likely not as compromised as a department store bike .
but if you have access to a proper bike shop. there is a better depth of knowledge there.

have any idea about getting a proper frame size, match?
easier to do live in person in a bike shop.
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Old 04-11-12, 09:54 PM
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I used an online calculator and measured myself and got 56-57cm. I'm 6 feet and my leg length was about 33 inches.
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Old 04-11-12, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by PStephens View Post
This bike is pretty dang cheap: https://www.ebay.com/itm/56cm-mens-ro...#ht_500wt_1055

What is your opinion of this bike from the specs?

it's very cheap, and not a touring bike.
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