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A beginner bike!

Old 06-10-12, 04:40 PM
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A beginner bike!

I'm going to hit up a few used bike stores and try to find a decent touring bike tomorrow. If you guys could give me a list of brand names or models to look for (or to avoid), I would be a million times thankful.

I have a pretty low budget right now, but I'm not going to start touring just yet. Mounts, lights, and whatnot aren't needed yet. The story is that I'm moving to help out my grandfather with a house he just bought in a couple days, and, well, it's a town with a population of 1,242 people. I generally just take a nice walk when I get bored, but the houses are so scare and land so abundant that my feet just wont cut it.

(oh, dirt roads.. dirt everywhere!)

A short description on what kind of tires it needs to have would be a wonderful help as well.
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Old 06-10-12, 04:45 PM
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Old rigid mountain bike with semi-slick (or small knobby) tires.
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Old 06-11-12, 05:16 PM
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Without knowing much more about your situation it's a bit like answering the question, "How long is a piece of string?"

If you are new to biking you might want to go used first to find out what you like/don't like. Chances are very good that your first bike will not be your last. The fit is #1, highest priority, most important and desperately vital.
As sonatageek said, a older non-suspension fork mountain bike might be a good place to start--especially with your soon-to-be location surrounded by dirt roads. A hybrid might also be a good choice. There are probably a TON of used mountain bikes or hybrids out there within a reasonable driving distance for you. That would be my suggestion as the best place to start.
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Old 06-11-12, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by sonatageek
Old rigid mountain bike with semi-slick (or small knobby) tires.
That was my first thought. Price should be right. I see old mountain bikes in decent condition for $100 or less. Usually pretty common models like the ubiquitous Trek 800. Bought one for my son 2 years ago. Paid a bit more because I bought it from a LBS, but it has held up to 2 years of abuse.
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Old 06-11-12, 07:35 PM
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a decent touring bike for dirt roads, and you have "used bike stores". No problem. Also get a floor pump, patch kit and two spare tubes. Get a bike that doesn't have wobbly wheels, brand really doesn't matter given your budget and criteria.
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Old 06-11-12, 08:34 PM
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Dirt roads vary. I'll be pretty cheery with hardpack dirt. Yes, it's a dirt/gravel mix, but it's a bit damp, and it's stayed a bit damp for months, so it's packed down to almost as hard as pavement. You can damn near ride this on 23mm slick tires. Dirt roads can also be a loose surface over hardpack, or really more of a compressed pea gravel, or sand or or or or...

For anything that's a flat out *road* (as opposed to loose sand or gravel) I'll pick the same basic tire I ride for everything else, a 1.5" slick tire with reflective white sidewalls. This isn't because 1.5" slicks are "the best" it's because they're the tire I ride most often, so I know what to expect. If I was expecting to routinely go through lots of gravel or sand (on the order of a couple hundred miles) I'd probably swap to something else. But I'm not sure what's the right tire for loose surfaces.

As far as bikes... my bike is what the manufacturer calls a town bike, everyone else calls a hybrid or granny bike, and what the designer probably calls "just a plain bike". Just the designer is Joe Breeze, one of the guys who originated mountain biking, and it's got a lot of the same features I see mentioned over and over and over again when people talk about "old" rigid mountain bikes. 26" wheels, 17" chainstays, fairly stable handling... It's honestly just a plain good bike for a broad range of uses. Just... not jumping over stuff necessarily. For me it is a stump puller and heavy cargo hauler and occasional dirt bike. It also tours, but as a car free person I regard touring as lighter duty than daily use. You don't necessarily need something that's my exact bike, or a purpose built touring bike. But a relatively stable bike that can handle some cargo and has decently low gears will do a LOT of different jobs.
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