Author Topic: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!  (Read 664 times)

Atlguy49

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Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« on: November 22, 2017, 10:45:24 AM »
OK, I was already thinking about this before reading MMM article on it, and now I'm seriously shopping for a hybrid bike.  The last forum I saw on here was back in 2015, so thought I'd throw this out again.  With so many choices out there, I'm confused as to what to get.  My budget is $400-$600, as that seems to be a good price point for a decent bike I'll be happy with.  I've looked at Fuji, Specialized, Trek, Marin, Jamis Coda (which I'm leaning towards), and others.  Just can't decide.  I do want one where I can adjust the handlebars and one friend keeps telling me no more than 2 front gear shifts, not 3.  Not sure why.  Oh, and he recommends not getting disc brakes because says you don't need them.  Lastly, he said no suspension, but I have a bad back, so I'm questioning that.  I will primarily ride on paved trails, but MAY do some light off road stuff eventually.  Thoughts?

nereo

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2017, 04:26:25 PM »
OK - what are you primarily using the bike for? How far will your typical ride be? Are there a lot of hills?  How much do you prioritize comfort over speed and efficiency?

The answer to those questions will shape what kind of bike we’d recommend.

To address a few things in your post, 2 front gears is marginally lighter, marginally cheaper and reduces the ‘travel’ of the front deraileur (theoretically marginally better in the repair department... but i doubt it plays out in real life).  IN contrast, 3 front gears gives you some very low gears, useful if you have to climb steep, long hills, particularly if you are carrying a load.  They are jokingly referred to as ‘granny gears’.

Regarding disc breaks - here I’d definitely disagree with your friend.  Disc brakes are the bomb.  A few years ago a bike with disc brakes cost several hundred$ more.... now it’s more like $60-100.  Disc brakes 1) give you MUCH better stopping power 2) work MUCH better in wet weather and 3) need MUCH less adjustment and maintenance than rim breaks.  This is one area where I’d the premium is absolutely worth it.

Finally - whatever you do - avoid “Bicycle Shaped Objects” (BSOs) - those things that are sold at big-box stores like Target and Walmart.  They are crap quality, very difficult (if not impossible) to adjust properly and often dangerous to ride.
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ACyclist

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2017, 05:25:56 PM »
Giant has some really decent entry level bikes.  I ride a seek1 sometimes to work, when I am not on my other bikes.  It's a very reliable machine.

You can get an entry level roam 2 disc for that price range.  It does have a triple ring though.  The manufacturers are leaning towards 2x or 1x systems, but it will cost you more if you want at least a 2x system.  Honestly, for a commuter, a triple is fine.  I run a triple with 9 speed.  Chains are cheap and it is very reliable.

I sell Giant, Specialized and Santa Cruz. 

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/bikes-roam-disc

You could get a 2x system in a Specialized Ariel, but it is going to set you back about 800 bucks.

See if you can find something from 2017.  Shops like to blow out last year's bikes for less.  You can try that.  Call around. Compare prices.

The handlebar adjustment thing isn't worth it.  Just buy whatever bike you like and swap on a different stem to make it perfect for you.

Atlguy49

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2017, 06:46:51 AM »
OK - what are you primarily using the bike for? How far will your typical ride be? Are there a lot of hills?  How much do you prioritize comfort over speed and efficiency?

The answer to those questions will shape what kind of bike we’d recommend.

To address a few things in your post, 2 front gears is marginally lighter, marginally cheaper and reduces the ‘travel’ of the front deraileur (theoretically marginally better in the repair department... but i doubt it plays out in real life).  IN contrast, 3 front gears gives you some very low gears, useful if you have to climb steep, long hills, particularly if you are carrying a load.  They are jokingly referred to as ‘granny gears’.

Regarding disc breaks - here I’d definitely disagree with your friend.  Disc brakes are the bomb.  A few years ago a bike with disc brakes cost several hundred$ more.... now it’s more like $60-100.  Disc brakes 1) give you MUCH better stopping power 2) work MUCH better in wet weather and 3) need MUCH less adjustment and maintenance than rim breaks.  This is one area where I’d the premium is absolutely worth it.

Finally - whatever you do - avoid “Bicycle Shaped Objects” (BSOs) - those things that are sold at big-box stores like Target and Walmart.  They are crap quality, very difficult (if not impossible) to adjust properly and often dangerous to ride.

Great advice! Thank you! First off, I'm getting this strictly for fitness, not to commute to work.  My commute is short, but I wear a suit everyday and the weather here is awful.  No, I don't live in Atlanta, but consider it home.  I'm in Oklahoma City, hence my weather comment.  Also, I think I agree with you on disc brakes based on the price points I've seen.

Typical ride to start will be probably 10-15 miles and work my way up from there.  No, I don't see myself riding much beyond 20 miles, but depends on how much I enjoy it.  Living in Oklahoma (for now) it will almost always be flat surfaces, with mild hills.  Because I have a bad back, comfort is important, but if I ride with a couple of guys who are really into it, well, I will want some speed.  So thats a tough one.

I'm only shopping t specialty mom and pop bike shops, so no worries on BSOs (a term I've never heard, and hilarious).

I will only be carrying the basics such as water, energy bar, tire repair kit, etc, so I doubt I'd need the granny gear

Acyclist, I will look at Giant as well.  Thanks for that recommendation and advice on the handlebar adjustment.

sixup

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2017, 09:33:12 AM »
I built an ebike with this bike: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/elite_adventure.htm

I commute 20 miles a day with it, and really like it. The stock tires are shit but would probably be fine for non motorized riding.

I don't consider myself a cyclist, and the ebike surely means it's easier to deal with maybe less than optimal gear? But the bike itself seems pretty good quality for the price to me.

nereo

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2017, 11:01:25 AM »
I built an ebike with this bike: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/elite_adventure.htm

I commute 20 miles a day with it, and really like it. The stock tires are shit but would probably be fine for non motorized riding.

I don't consider myself a cyclist, and the ebike surely means it's easier to deal with maybe less than optimal gear? But the bike itself seems pretty good quality for the price to me.
Interesting, but given that the OP is looking for a bike "for fitness" I'm not sure this solution would be in his/her best interest.

OP - from what you've described I'd steer more towards the more road-friendly end of the spectrum and worry less about trail capabilities.  You don't want a dedicated road bike per-se, but a heavier, more robust true hybrid bicycle is also going to be less efficient (read: slower) and less fun for most surface street riding.

Given your 'bad back' you might want to concentrate on T-bar style handlebars and a more relaxed geometry that will give you a more natural riding position (albeit one that's far more vulnerable to wind resistance).

Since you are committed to supporting local mom&pop bike stores (no arguments there) what I recommend is that you go in and test ride a half dozen bikes and find out what you like and what fits you.  Tell them what you've told us and any decent bike employee should be able to suggest several different frames to try.  Make sure they'll fit the bike to you, which normally involves you riding on a bike trainer while they measure and adjust the posts to best fit your body.  Sometimes they'll recommend swapping out the stem or other parts to match a particular frame to your body.  $400-600 is still going to be pretty entry-level, but ask if they have used or last-year's models.

Alternatively you could get a feel for what you like by visiting bike shops and then going on craigslist and searching for older models. You can cut the costs roughly by 30-50% (plus no taxes), so for ~$500 you could get a bike that retails for $800+ new... but of course that puts out the mom&pop shop.  . So be aware of that and consider buying other things (tubes, jerseys, tires) from them to support them. There are TONS of great bikes on craigslist around the $500 mark, many of them barely ridden... you just have to know what you are looking for.
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Atlguy49

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2017, 11:34:57 AM »
Nereo, I'm going to a local shop tomorrow to seriously consider buying a $650 retail bike for 30% off black Friday sale.  Although its not a brand I know, its supposedly popular on the west coast for whatever reason.  Its a Jamis Coda Comp.  Might not be the best, but for $450, I may take a chance. 

However, I will look at Craigslist, because I'm not necessarily committed to mom and pops, BUT I do like they do the tuneups for free for life and adjust the bike.  I just won't buy from Target or Walmart.

FINate

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2017, 11:35:43 AM »
Lots of good advice here. Agree, disc brakes are worth the extra. I would not worry about 2x vs 3x chainrings, certainly would not let this be a deciding factor. The weight difference is very marginal -- don't be a weight weenie -- can spend huge $$$ shaving ounces when the goal is to get exercise (not racing, going for time).

Do not go for suspension, front or rear. Not only does it add to the initial cost of the bike, but also adds to ongoing maintenance cost. Most shocks need to be serviced about every 30-100 hrs of riding. Fluids and seals need replacing, and periodically a complete overhaul is required. It's not worth it, even if you are going to ride on the occasional dirt/gravel road. Unless you're bombing down really rough/rutted trails and/or going off jumps/drops then suspension is a total waste. Your legs are your suspension - get up out of your saddle and let your legs absorb bumps.

RE the bad back: The number one thing you can do is make sure the bike fits correctly. Get the stem and bars adjusted, along with saddle height. Riding for an hour or more at a time with poor fit is guaranteed to be painful.

Finally, work on your core strength. It makes a big difference while riding. Things like holding a plank, ab exercises, deadlifts, and such. Focus on form over heavy. Check with your medical provider for their recommendations for your specific situation.

GuitarStv

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2017, 11:39:00 AM »
I think you would do well with a flat bar road bike . . . it'll be a tad lighter and faster than a true hybrid, but you'll be much more upright than on a traditional road bike which is easier on the back.  The main disadvantages of flat bar road bikes is simply that they've only got a single hand position.  This sucks if you're doing a long multi-hour ride because you're hands will get sore.  You could always throw a butterfly/trekking bar on it in the future for 15 - 20$ to get a whole bunch of hand positions if that becomes a problem.

You don't want a suspension, it's just annoying added weight for no benefit.  Disk brakes are nice, but honestly not an essential feature on a bike . . . v-brakes will still give you loads of stopping power rain or shine.

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2017, 11:53:44 AM »
OK - what are you primarily using the bike for? How far will your typical ride be? Are there a lot of hills?  How much do you prioritize comfort over speed and efficiency?

The answer to those questions will shape what kind of bike we’d recommend.

To address a few things in your post, 2 front gears is marginally lighter, marginally cheaper and reduces the ‘travel’ of the front deraileur (theoretically marginally better in the repair department... but i doubt it plays out in real life).  IN contrast, 3 front gears gives you some very low gears, useful if you have to climb steep, long hills, particularly if you are carrying a load.  They are jokingly referred to as ‘granny gears’.

Regarding disc breaks - here I’d definitely disagree with your friend.  Disc brakes are the bomb.  A few years ago a bike with disc brakes cost several hundred$ more.... now it’s more like $60-100.  Disc brakes 1) give you MUCH better stopping power 2) work MUCH better in wet weather and 3) need MUCH less adjustment and maintenance than rim breaks.  This is one area where I’d the premium is absolutely worth it.

Finally - whatever you do - avoid “Bicycle Shaped Objects” (BSOs) - those things that are sold at big-box stores like Target and Walmart.  They are crap quality, very difficult (if not impossible) to adjust properly and often dangerous to ride.

I'd add that unless you are going to travel offload (rough stuff) you do not need suspension. At that price range it will be heavy, not work as intended, and waste your pedal effort (possibly keeping you from riding as much because you might not enjoy it enough). Look to a suspension seat post if you really must. However, larger volume tires will solve a lot of the problems/harsh ride (35 mm up maybe to 40or 45).

And yes, disks are awesome (saves the rims too).

Add Kona and Raleigh to your list. Jamis bikes are good values too.

A little above your range, but worth the price. You might ask the local shop if they can cut you a slight deal, even though they don't have much wiggle room.

http://2017.konaworld.com/dew_plus.cfm
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 08:11:29 PM by Rollin »
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nereo

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2017, 12:24:25 PM »
Nereo, I'm going to a local shop tomorrow to seriously consider buying a $650 retail bike for 30% off black Friday sale.  Although its not a brand I know, its supposedly popular on the west coast for whatever reason.  Its a Jamis Coda Comp.  Might not be the best, but for $450, I may take a chance. 

However, I will look at Craigslist, because I'm not necessarily committed to mom and pops, BUT I do like they do the tuneups for free for life and adjust the bike.  I just won't buy from Target or Walmart.

I had a Jamis bike in California and liked it.  Can't comment on that specific model, but it's a fine brand with a good reputation. From what I can see online it ticks all the boxes for you

If the bike store will offer up a full fit and adjustment with their sale (plus a servicing) I'd say go for it. Just to be sure though test-ride a few other models to make sure the fit is good for you. Ultimately fit trumps everything; a bike that's the wrong size and shape for your body will never be comfortable.
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newton

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2017, 02:43:01 PM »
I'm a Trek Guy.  Have a road and 2 hybrids.  The oldest hybrid is a 7.2FX.  You should be able to find a used one for not much at all.

ManlyFather

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2017, 10:46:44 AM »
Get the Diamondback Insight 2:

https://www.diamondback.com/insight-2

It has all the features you listed, and it's under $350.  I have it, and have used it for 2 years solid.  It's a great bike.

If you want to get rid of more of that pesky excess money, choose any bike that costs more.  Otherwise, this one is wonderful and I highly recommend it.

Atlguy49

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2017, 12:20:31 PM »
Get the Diamondback Insight 2:

https://www.diamondback.com/insight-2

It has all the features you listed, and it's under $350.  I have it, and have used it for 2 years solid.  It's a great bike.

If you want to get rid of more of that pesky excess money, choose any bike that costs more.  Otherwise, this one is wonderful and I highly recommend it.

Ah, thanks for this rec! Unfortunately, or fortunately, I bought the Jamis yesterday morning during a 3 hour sale.  Decent ride, but seemed slow.  Of course that could be me not knowing all the gears yet and all the wind I rode in.  It was 30% off of $650, so a good deal as well.  All the accessories and clothing are whats going to break the bank now.  I got a lot of that stuff on sale yesterday, at 40% off, but it was still overpriced.

FINate

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2017, 12:33:21 PM »
Headwinds can really slow down a bike, almost like climbing on the flats. Your legs just don't put out that much power relative to the wind resistance. With headwinds I've learned to just take it slow -- drag is a function of velocity squared so going slower has an outside increase in efficiency.

Also, check your tire pressures.

GuitarStv

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2017, 01:05:03 PM »
If it's the Jamis Coda Comp that you mentioned earlier, that sounds like exactly the kind of bike you were looking for for an OK price.


I second the idea of checking the tire pressure, but don't just inflate it to the highest value on the sidewall . . . There's a better way:  http://www.dorkypantsr.us/bike-tire-pressure-calculator.html .

Regarding wind, your bike comes standard with a 580cm wide handlebar, which will put your arms very wide out to the sides.  This means that you'll scoop more wind and have to work harder than if you could put your hands closer together.  There are a variety of ways you can deal with this if it keeps bugging you in the future:
- Take off the grips, cut a few cm off each side of the bar, move the shifters/brakes closer towards the stem and then put the grips back on (free)
- Replace the flat bar with a butterfly/trekking bar so you have alternate grip points all over the place and can rest your forearms to get a pretty low position (13$ - http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_175533_-1)
- Aero bar clip-on extensions (tend to be expensive)
« Last Edit: November 25, 2017, 01:16:39 PM by GuitarStv »

nereo

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2017, 01:09:10 PM »
Get the Diamondback Insight 2:

https://www.diamondback.com/insight-2

It has all the features you listed, and it's under $350.  I have it, and have used it for 2 years solid.  It's a great bike.

If you want to get rid of more of that pesky excess money, choose any bike that costs more.  Otherwise, this one is wonderful and I highly recommend it.

Ah, thanks for this rec! Unfortunately, or fortunately, I bought the Jamis yesterday morning during a 3 hour sale.  Decent ride, but seemed slow.  Of course that could be me not knowing all the gears yet and all the wind I rode in.  It was 30% off of $650, so a good deal as well.  All the accessories and clothing are whats going to break the bank now.  I got a lot of that stuff on sale yesterday, at 40% off, but it was still overpriced.

Accessories and clothing are where shops make some of their biggest profit margins, and most of it is unnecessary.  You don't need an $80 cycling jersey to go out riding all day - any clothing which wicks moisture off your skin works well.  Most of the time when I go out riding I wear the same base layers I'd wear hiking (of the appropriate thickness/warmth).  1/4 zip synthetic tops on clearance are brilliant. Cycling shorts and socks you can order online fairly cheap.  For some reason if you decide NOT to be a giant billboard you pay less for solid-color clothes.  Never udnerstood why cyclists without corporate endorsements pay to advertise for corporations in the form of bike jerseys.

As for other accessories - check to see if there's a bike coop nearby (if you have a local college that's where I'd start).  Mine sells accessories from deconstructed bikes for almost nothing - $1 for a water bottle cage, $8 for fenders, $3 for platform pedals, etc.

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Atlguy49

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2017, 01:22:13 PM »
If it's the Jamis Coda Comp that you mentioned earlier, that sounds like exactly the kind of bike you were looking for for an OK price.


I second the idea of checking the tire pressure, but don't just inflate it to the highest value on the sidewall . . . There's a better way:  http://www.dorkypantsr.us/bike-tire-pressure-calculator.html .

Regarding wind, your bike comes standard with a 580cm wide handlebar, which will put your arms very wide out to the sides.  This means that you'll scoop more wind and have to work harder than if you could put your hands closer together.  There are a variety of ways you can deal with this if it keeps bugging you in the future:
- Take off the grips, cut a few cm off each side of the bar, move the shifters/brakes closer towards the stem and then put the grips back on (free)
- Replace the flat bar with a butterfly/trekking bar so you have alternate grip points all over the place and can rest your forearms to get a pretty low position (13$ - http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_175533_-1)
- Aero bar clip-on extensions (tend to be expensive)

I was thinking about the butterfly bars.  What about these? http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product2_10053_10052_546121_-1

So I bought a pump on sale and thought if I could check the pressure by just attaching the pump, but it didn't work.  I was already so frustrated with all the time it took me to get the speedometer attached correctly that I just went and rode.  Tires seem like they are almost max inflated, but no way to know for sure.

GuitarStv

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2017, 02:03:14 PM »
If it's the Jamis Coda Comp that you mentioned earlier, that sounds like exactly the kind of bike you were looking for for an OK price.


I second the idea of checking the tire pressure, but don't just inflate it to the highest value on the sidewall . . . There's a better way:  http://www.dorkypantsr.us/bike-tire-pressure-calculator.html .

Regarding wind, your bike comes standard with a 580cm wide handlebar, which will put your arms very wide out to the sides.  This means that you'll scoop more wind and have to work harder than if you could put your hands closer together.  There are a variety of ways you can deal with this if it keeps bugging you in the future:
- Take off the grips, cut a few cm off each side of the bar, move the shifters/brakes closer towards the stem and then put the grips back on (free)
- Replace the flat bar with a butterfly/trekking bar so you have alternate grip points all over the place and can rest your forearms to get a pretty low position (13$ - http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_175533_-1)
- Aero bar clip-on extensions (tend to be expensive)

I was thinking about the butterfly bars.  What about these? http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product2_10053_10052_546121_-1

So I bought a pump on sale and thought if I could check the pressure by just attaching the pump, but it didn't work.  I was already so frustrated with all the time it took me to get the speedometer attached correctly that I just went and rode.  Tires seem like they are almost max inflated, but no way to know for sure.

Yeah, those butterfly bars are pretty decent.  They're light and give plenty of hand positions.  The only down side is that if you're at the very end of the bars they can be a little flexy, so I wouldn't want to use them on any extreme/bumpy off road terrain.

Sometimes when you connect the pump the head doesn't attach correctly to the valve in the tires.  Let a little air out of the tires, re-attach the pump and pump it a couple times until you hear air pass into the tires.  The gauge should then read properly.

lhamo

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Re: Hybrid bike recommendation needed!
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2017, 02:50:57 PM »
Alternatively you could get a feel for what you like by visiting bike shops and then going on craigslist and searching for older models. You can cut the costs roughly by 30-50% (plus no taxes), so for ~$500 you could get a bike that retails for $800+ new... but of course that puts out the mom&pop shop.  . So be aware of that and consider buying other things (tubes, jerseys, tires) from them to support them. There are TONS of great bikes on craigslist around the $500 mark, many of them barely ridden... you just have to know what you are looking for.

This is EXACTLY what we did.   We went to three good local shops (one with a mix of new/used models, two with new models only), one crappy local shop (used only, overpriced and poor reputation for their tuneups -- and I think they sell mostly stolen bikes....), one crappy chain, and REI.   The good local shops were by far the most helpful, and if we hadn't found good options on CL we would have bought new from them.   We did find a lot of good CL options, though -- ended up with 4 bikes (a GT, a Trek, a Univega and another one I can't remember) for less than we would have paid for one new.

We already took one of the bikes to one of the local shops for some brake work, and we will buy our helmets and other accessories from them, too, to thank them for their service.
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