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WHAT bike is the best deal?

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WHAT bike is the best deal?

Old 11-27-12, 11:13 PM
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Rondack
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WHAT bike is the best deal?

My wife & I, living in hill country, need two bikes, each of which we plan to pair with a couple of big & sturdy baskets, so we can buy food in our village, 5 miles away, if our car dies. The short-term "Consumer Reports" we took out - and canceled - yesterday offered just five snazy, 24-gear, 500-$$-plus jobs that don't fit our budget or needs. Would sure appreciate your recommendations.
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Old 11-27-12, 11:32 PM
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Have you looked at a Giant Escape? They have a full range of models with different prices. Here is a photo of mine.

The bike itself was somewhere in the $400 range and by the time I got done with modifications, accessories, and trailer I'm into it for about $1200. Obviously if you keep the bike stock you won't spend that much.
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Old 11-28-12, 06:11 AM
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Lots of options out there, used might be the way to go. If you can lay hands on a couple of QUALITY moutain bikes without suspension from the late 80's early 90's, then accessorize with racks, fenders, lights and road tires you will come out way ahead of the game. Five miles really isn't all that far, but the hills can make it seem a lot longer.

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Old 11-28-12, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Lots of options out there, used might be the way to go. If you can lay hands on a couple of QUALITY moutain bikes without suspension from the late 80's early 90's, then accessorize with racks, fenders, lights and road tires you will come out way ahead of the game. Five miles really isn't all that far, but the hills can make it seem a lot longer.

Aaron

I totally agree. If you have a little time to look around these older mountain bikes made over make perfect all around work and play bikes. They are extra good if you live in a hilly area as they were designed with good low gearing and the frames and wheel sets are tough made to take the abuse of trail riding and will hold up well hauling some cargo.

As mentioned above you might need new street tires, better rolling resistance. Maybe lights, fenders, racks and baskets.
Here is mine I spent $10 on the bike at a yard sale and put another $100 to $150 getting it how I want it. I like a rear mounted wire basket and I have a soft side cooler that just fits the basket. The sturdy wire basket makes it easy to tie, bungee or use clip rings to hook other bags to it. Takes a little experimenting to know your limits as to how much to carry and how to attach it.



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Old 11-28-12, 02:16 PM
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Congratulations on the gem you found for so little! We're here by choice, love our hills & mountains, fresh air, additives-free water, virtual absence of two-legged predators, etc. "Something for nothing" certainly isn't our motto, but living in the lowest-population-density county east of the Mississippi also means fairly few yard sales, even fewer bikes. May be a dumb question, but other than via this thread....HOW do I best "mine" the Forum to find the "QUALITY mountain bikes without suspension from the late 80's early 90's" wahoonc recommends? Ditto for maybe finding right here the "racks, fenders, lights and road tires" we naturally realize we also need?

Last edited by Rondack; 11-28-12 at 02:18 PM. Reason: Had inadvertently forgotten my opener.
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Old 11-28-12, 02:19 PM
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As I'm telling Bud (above), too, we're here by choice, love our hills & mountains, fresh air, additives-free water, virtual absence of two-legged predators, etc. "Something for nothing" certainly isn't our motto, but living in the lowest-population-density county east of the Mississippi also means fairly few yard sales, even fewer bikes. May be a dumb question, but other than via this thread....HOW do I best "mine" the Forum to find the "QUALITY mountain bikes without suspension from the late 80's early 90's" you recommend? Ditto for maybe finding right here the "racks, fenders, lights and road tires" we naturally realize we also need?

Last edited by Rondack; 11-28-12 at 02:21 PM. Reason: Had put "(below)" in after my "telling Bud" because I thought each of my replies would show up right below the relevant item.
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Old 11-28-12, 05:43 PM
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Old 11-29-12, 07:49 AM
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The bike that's the best deal is the one that best fits your needs, and there are many, many options.

As someone who doesn't know anything about bikes, the best thing for you to do is get to a bike shop. You can see, ride, and evaluate different types of bikes, get all of your questions answered, have your needs addressed, and roll out with a bike ready-to-ride.

If rational decisions aren't your thing, and you feel you can get-- or save-- something out of going it alone, you could do worse than to consider this Motobecane Cafe Latte from www.bikesdirect.com:

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

The only thing that gives me pause about this recommendation is that you'll need to choose the right sizes and then do some assembly and adjustment. It's nothing particularly difficult, and with the aid of the handy-dandy internet any moderately able and intelligent person with basic tools should be able to pull it off with a little bit of time and effort.

Short of buying used, you're going to have a hard time spending much less than the Cafe Latte's $400 price tag to get a bike that's as suited to low maintenance, low interval use, moderate length riding and hauling over hilly terrain. In my opinion, anyway.
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Old 11-29-12, 09:52 AM
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In this case, I would actually opt for a trailer instead of a bunch of baskets. As you load your bikes with more and more "cargo", it changes the dynamics of the bike...not necessarily a bad thing, but it changes things. With a trailer, your pull load increases but otherwise it tends to handle more the same and you can certainly haul a lot more. Most kid trailers converted to cargo use are good to haul 100 lbs.

In regards to bikes, you didn't speak of money...it varies greatly. Some folks on the forums think spending under $400 for a bike means you are buying junk. I don't agree. Some of my best cargo hauling bikes were free (note also used), although they did require some maintenance/repair to be what I wanted them to be. If money isn't an issue, then go to a bike shop and buy what they recommend and what fits. If money is an issue, then hit the used market. The nice thing about used bikes is that if you end up not liking the bike, very often you can sell it for what you bought it for. The internet can teach you basic maintenance, and that's about all you need.

Personal curiosity makes me wonder what state you are in? I'm from Maine and finding used bikes was a pain in the butt.
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Old 11-29-12, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Rondack View Post
My wife & I, living in hill country, need two bikes, each of which we plan to pair with a couple of big & sturdy baskets, so we can buy food in our village, 5 miles away, if our car dies. The short-term "Consumer Reports" we took out - and canceled - yesterday offered just five snazy, 24-gear, 500-$$-plus jobs that don't fit our budget or needs. Would sure appreciate your recommendations.

First law of poverty......never buy anything new. Used is always cheaper and ,at times, better.
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Old 11-29-12, 05:41 PM
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If $500 is out of range, then you should probably be shopping for a sub-$200 bike. If you are going to turn a regular bike into a utility bike, you'll probably want to add front/rear racks and panniers, or a trailer. A backpack will only hold so much, and it's generally preferable to offload the weight of items onto the bike or trailer instead of carrying it yourself. You can certainly save $$ by coming up with DIY solutions, but be looking ahead to more than just the bike itself if utility riding is the plan.
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Old 11-30-12, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Rondack View Post
As I'm telling Bud (above), too, we're here by choice, love our hills & mountains, fresh air, additives-free water, virtual absence of two-legged predators, etc. "Something for nothing" certainly isn't our motto, but living in the lowest-population-density county east of the Mississippi also means fairly few yard sales, even fewer bikes. May be a dumb question, but other than via this thread....HOW do I best "mine" the Forum to find the "QUALITY mountain bikes without suspension from the late 80's early 90's" you recommend? Ditto for maybe finding right here the "racks, fenders, lights and road tires" we naturally realize we also need?
Search function on the forum seldom works. Usually a Google Search using Bike Forums and the search term is the best bet. There is a Commuting Forum, Living Car Free Forum, Utility Forum and Touring Forum. All will have a lot of information in them.

Look for name brands like Giant, Specialized, Haro, and possibly Mongoose and Schwinn, but you have to be careful with Mongoose/Schwinn they sold out and became Wallymart brands and the quality tanked. Everything else can be ordered via the internet. Just keep asking for reccomendations.

Fenders: I like Planet Bike, SKS or Zefal.

Tires: I typically buy the Forte City Gotham from Performance Bikes, I wait for them to go on sale then buy a couple of sets. Schwalbe and Panaracer are more expensive.

Lights: Planet Bike makes decent ones along with just about everybody else.

Racks: I use anything and everything, Jandd, Blackburn, Pletscher, Specialized, Sunlite, Wald.

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ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

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RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 11-30-12, 08:40 PM
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Einstein I'm not, ..

Originally posted by Chaadster: "Short of buying used, you're going to have a hard time spending much less than the Cafe Latte's $400 price tag to get a bike that's as suited to low maintenance, low interval use, moderate length riding and hauling over hilly terrain."

.. emotions I don't sneer at, but RATIONAL decisions in this case I value more: The search for RATIONAL benchmarks brought me here, of course, in the first place. I WILL hit a bike shop at our regional hub (~60 miles from here, one way), first chance I get, just didn't want to hear a pitch BEFORE I'd gotten guidance from folks NOT selling to me.

As for used vs. new....it's clear to us by now that to get the level of quality we need, used is the only way for us to go.

Last edited by Rondack; 11-30-12 at 08:42 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 11-30-12, 08:43 PM
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Originally posted by Rightshade: "First law of poverty......never buy anything new."
Amen, Brother!

Last edited by Rondack; 11-30-12 at 08:44 PM. Reason: left out quote I'm responding to
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Old 11-30-12, 08:46 PM
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Thank you, Wahoonc, for the very specific guideposts! WIll follow through, of course, then post final resolution.
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Old 12-01-12, 08:52 AM
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My target now IS the used market..

..and I thank you, Turbo231, for stressing that it should, even must be.

The Adirondacks is where we live.
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Old 12-01-12, 09:45 PM
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I suggest you do a crags-list search for your expanded area for Trek 800 series bikes (800, 810, 820, etc. . . ). Then also search for a bicycle trailer as well. It doesn't matter if the trailer was originally intended to haul kids or such it can haul cargo as well.

Find both for a reasonable price and put them together along with some various improvements such as street tread tires and fenders and lights and cargo racks and such and you should be good. You will even find some bikes that although they are not a Trek 800 series bike and are made by another company will be listed as being comparable to a Trek 800 series bike which has become sort of a catch all term for a name brand hard tail steel frame mountain bike that is cheap but has decent components.

You would be wise to use the phrase "Something like a Trek 800 series bike" to describe what you are looking for when you visit a local bike shop. You can elaborate and say you want a strong steel frame hard tail bike for hauling cargo that is reasonably priced but is still a name brand bike with decent components but that is basically what you are telling them when "Trek 800 series" comes out of your mouth.
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Old 12-02-12, 07:33 PM
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dont forget to put a small tool kit together, tire irons, spare tube and patch kit as well. breaking and having to walk sucks.
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Old 12-02-12, 11:44 PM
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A bike built out of parts in the Rubbish bin is also a really good Deal.
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Old 12-04-12, 01:46 PM
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Much obliged, Turbo1889!

Will try Craig's List and plug in "Trek 800 series (800, 810, 820, etc. . . ) or comparable bike," also look for a kid-or-whatever-hauling trailer, then search for "street tread tires," as well as fenders,, lights and cargo racks.

Realizing every specialty area has its shop talk, acronyms, etc., I'm particularly grateful for the "code" likely to trigger the very response I need from a bike shop professional. At minimum, it'll be clear that I've done some homework. For good measure, I WILL reinforce the "Trek 800 series" trigger by stressing I'm determined to get a "reasonably priced but decent-quality, strong, steel-frame, hard-tail bike for hauling cargo."
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Old 12-04-12, 01:57 PM
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Couldn't agree more, Ocsawdust....'specially if it's a li'l nippy (-4F here last Friday, just 6 shy of all-time min, after record lows in October, too).
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Old 12-04-12, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by iheartbacon View Post
Have you looked at a Giant Escape? They have a full range of models with different prices. Here is a photo of mine.

The bike itself was somewhere in the $400 range and by the time I got done with modifications, accessories, and trailer I'm into it for about $1200. Obviously if you keep the bike stock you won't spend that much.
Big plus one on the Giant Escape - Here's mine (I call it the Black Knight) set up for utility/urban use. It was $420 retail but just like iheartbacon I added a bunch of stuff that you may or may not want to.
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Old 12-06-12, 11:39 AM
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Thanks, Tractorlegs: Pretty impressive, but probably a bit out of my league.
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Old 12-09-12, 10:00 AM
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Trike?
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