Author Topic: Advice about buying a bike  (Read 5116 times)

poorboyrichman

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Advice about buying a bike
« on: July 24, 2014, 01:41:21 PM »
Help please!

I have been growing my 'handlebar' moustache lately and have been successfully commuting to and from work by bike and have even found time to go out on leisurely rides into the country side (one 60 mile road trip, and  a series of smaller rides around my area). If I keep this up I will cut my fuel consumption down to 10% of its former levels. I still need to drive to visit my girlfriend as turning up sweaty and stinking isn't going to do my love life any favours and need to get my smart clothes into work uncreased at least one day a week - any advice on these as side notes?)

Well the cycling bug has well and truly bitten me. The bike I am riding is in a terrible state and needs fixing up, parts are loose, the frame is technically too small and I think its hurting my right knee. I really really want to buy a new bike. I'm thinking of spending 549 (approx 900 USD) on this... (http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/bbd/road-track-bike/ribble-7005-audax-winter-training?part=BB14AW7005&sub=conf_BBRW&bike=1) it's totally practical and will be just as good to ride all winter long, assuming I can hack the wind and the rain...

To me this seems a reasonable amount to spend on a bike for commuting and leisure, but I'm worried by buying this I am slipping into old consumer habits of buying too much new stuff. I still have approx 2k of debt and I really need talking out of buying this as I know I shouldn't be prioritising new purchases over debt... but the complainypants in me is panicking because the summer is almost over and I really want a new toy.

Someone talk some sense into me...

FYI - my bike is 8 years old, the seat post is knackered and constantly slips to the lowest position so it feels like I'm riding a BMX home, the gears are poorly indexed, or just beyond repair, oh and did I mention, its technically too small.........

I'm torn. :(

Update: Yes, I forgot to mention I have tried going down the used bike route but I'm 6"2 and haven't been able to find anything of both the correct size and of sufficient quality to justify the risk of ending up with a heap of junk!
« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 02:40:35 PM by poorboyrichman »

Fleacircus

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Re: Advice about buying a bike
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2014, 02:43:15 PM »
What makes that bike an especially good choice for winter biking?

Maybe you should buy good quality, used compromise bike -- one that fits you and is mechanically sound.  You could save the fancy bike as a reward for paying off the last of your debt.

poorboyrichman

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Re: Advice about buying a bike
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2014, 02:56:26 PM »
Its a sporty bike which will suit me for weekend runs in the sun, but has mudguards and fits panniers too. I have thought about going really cheap, but suspect I would only want to replace it in the near future anyway with something worthy.

The used route is harder as good quality bikes are harder to come by and in my size too is a pain, there's lots of the crappy supermarket quality bikes that wear out quickly and can be unreliable (or just plain heavy), and some nicer vintage stuff, but as I will be using this mostly for commuting I need something to tackle the local hills and shoddy winter weather.

Though I do like the idea of using it as a reward to get out of debt, it would really encourage me to pay it off fast. Pause for thought...
« Last Edit: July 24, 2014, 02:58:13 PM by poorboyrichman »

MoneyCat

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Re: Advice about buying a bike
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2014, 02:56:45 PM »
A lot of people on this board spent hundreds of dollars to get a top-quality bicycle either from a bike shop or Craigslist.  I just bought a cheapo Next 7-gear bicycle from Walmart.com for $90 brand new and they even delivered it to my house for free.  It has worked just fine for my regular needs for three years now.

nicoli20

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Re: Advice about buying a bike
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2014, 03:00:33 PM »
Have you thought about building your own? I have built a few bikes and it can be done cheap. I normally buy most of my components on Nashbar.com and then get help at the LBS (local bike shop) when needed.


poorboyrichman

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Re: Advice about buying a bike
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2014, 03:04:13 PM »
I have been to my LBS and they only seemed interested in selling me a bike at 1000-1200 but that's substantially over my budget (and silly money) so I walked out.

nicoli20

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Re: Advice about buying a bike
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2014, 08:21:51 AM »
Yeah... that is not cool. I think you would be fine with that bike.

Here is another site that you might like.

http://www.probikekit.com/frames-forks.list

I have a bunch of bikes and they are a great investment in your health and mobility. An overall win in my book.

PindyStache

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Re: Advice about buying a bike
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2014, 03:04:02 PM »
That is a lot of dough to drop on a new bike. I would say do the math on resulting savings of fix old bike vs. buy not-quite-as-good used bike vs. buy this new bike. Hard to make a comparison if not apples to apples.

Everything but the too-small frame should be fairly easy to fix on your current bike. How big is the frame (or maybe you measure them differently over on the other side of the pond?).

My instinct would be to recommend getting a functional used bike now. 58cm frames should be fairly common and will probably fit I'd guess. When you begin rolling in riches and socking away savings you could revisit this and if you still find something in your cycling lacking get the new one, now with a functional back-up bike.

Also, I appreciate how you define winter cycling! Round these parts, fenders like that would be a recipe for packing in snow and ice to freeze your wheel, and those pretty components would be grinding on salt and grit. :)

kallinan

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Re: Advice about buying a bike
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2014, 03:34:44 PM »
As someone who bikes 700+ miles per year, I can't really recommend putting money into a bike frame that's too small for you.  And I can't recommend a WalMart bike for heavy usage.  The local bike shop price is ridiculous... the Ribble is interesting but still pricy.  I'd keep looking - you can usually get a decent starter road bike (at least in the States) for <$700 or a hybrid bike for <$400.  Some tips - ask for last year's models.  Especially after the new year's stock rolls in, they're often desperate to get rid of the old.  Also, sales are slow in winter so small shops are often desperate for a sale.

But honestly?  If you're still $2k in debt?  I'd just keep trolling Craiglist and, yes, even Ebay until you find something.  That's still probably your best option.

cbgg

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Re: Advice about buying a bike
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2014, 04:10:59 PM »
Thoughts:

1) I don't think the bike you've chosen is a good one for commuting.  This is a winter training bike for a road racer. I 'd look for something intended as a commuter of hybrid.  Luckily, they tend to be inexpensive.

2) If your bike is really too small, you'll probably need a new one eventually.  However, a lot of the items you've mentioned are maintenance issues that may be able to be fixed with a tuneup and a few new parts.  Have you taken it to a bike shop or coop for work?  Might not want to invest much if you ultimately need to get rid of the bike, but if it's not too spendy it could be an interim fix and you might make up the costs in re-sale later.

Beric01

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Re: Advice about buying a bike
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2014, 04:51:24 PM »
Thoughts:

1) I don't think the bike you've chosen is a good one for commuting.  This is a winter training bike for a road racer. I 'd look for something intended as a commuter of hybrid.  Luckily, they tend to be inexpensive.

2) If your bike is really too small, you'll probably need a new one eventually.  However, a lot of the items you've mentioned are maintenance issues that may be able to be fixed with a tuneup and a few new parts.  Have you taken it to a bike shop or coop for work?  Might not want to invest much if you ultimately need to get rid of the bike, but if it's not too spendy it could be an interim fix and you might make up the costs in re-sale later.

Fully agree with both of these points.

A hybrid works really well and is relatively affordable. It's not a pure "road bike", so the tires have some grip and it can handle weather better. And it's not as clunky as a mountain bike.

poorboyrichman

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Re: Advice about buying a bike
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2014, 01:31:37 PM »
Thanks for the tips guys. The bike I have isn't in that bad shape now that I spent a few hours working on it. I have worked out most of the kinks, gear shifting is now buttery smooth. The seat post needed a new clamp and now it's actually raised I think I can get away with it being on the smaller side, at least until I'm debt free. I will then treat myself to a new bike if I'm still riding regularly. My priority now is to get rich, not into more debt (and buying this would surely send my balance moving in the wrong direction!).

It doesn't snow THAT much here in England, when it does, I could just crack out this hybrid and put some knobbly tyres on it. I want the road bike because of the leisure riding that I do. Road bikes are not as practical for the commute, but they can get me about faster. The reason for opting for the winter training bike is keep dry in the winter (hence fenders).

Now that the bike is fixed up, it should definitely keep me going a fair bit longer, I think I will definitely explore some cheaper options.


Rekon

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Re: Advice about buying a bike
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2014, 10:00:26 PM »
I think a used Cyclocross bike would suit you well. 

Nudelkopf

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Re: Advice about buying a bike
« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2014, 04:35:33 AM »
I bought a 'flat bar road bike' for ~1000 USD... And I love it... And I would recommend to everyone to get an awesome bike that you love and want to ride every day. Life's too awesome to be stuck on a crappy bike.

Rekon

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Re: Advice about buying a bike
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2014, 07:47:03 PM »
I bought a 'flat bar road bike' for ~1000 USD... And I love it... And I would recommend to everyone to get an awesome bike that you love and want to ride every day. Life's too awesome to be stuck on a crappy bike.

I agree 100%.  I bought a used 2011 Cannondale CAAD10 for $700.  I initially thought.. shit! that's a lot for a bicycle!!  But I ride it everyday to work and I love it!! :)

poorboyrichman

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Re: Advice about buying a bike
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2014, 02:27:06 PM »
Life's too awesome to be stuck on a crappy bike! Yes! But for now it will do because I will really push to pay off that debt! I really want a nice bike :)

ecmcn

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Re: Advice about buying a bike
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2014, 05:43:37 PM »
I biked to work (in rainy Seattle) almost every day for 17 years on a $350 REI Novara hybrid. Not that that's the best bike for your situation, but it shows you don't have to pay a lot for a bike that will go and go. I did a lot of the maintenance myself but also had it professionally tuned every year or two for about $100 a pop.

Caveat: One of the forks broke right after I got a bonus at work, and in a bout of antimustachianism I assembled my ideal all-weather, low-maintenance, commuter bike: hydraulic disk brakes, internal gear hub in the rear, dynamo hub up front (to power the lights), etc. I have some regret about the $2000 spent but my bike has been my main transportation for a long time and I figured this one will get me through the rest of my life. If not, well, I fixed the fork on the Novara for $70 so I have a backup.

laufen

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Re: Advice about buying a bike
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2014, 05:07:40 AM »
I'm in a similar position to the OP-
I bought my current bike 4 years ago and have ridden it to work every day since, all around town, and haul the kids with it (in a bike trailer).  Rain or shine, but I walk when the ice is thick. The frame is 2 sizes to small for me and I have everything jacked up as far as it will go to fit me. I really want to replace it with one that is my size. Even though I live in a bike-friendly European city, I'm having a hard time finding a women's large used bike (yes I am female). My previous (used) bike was a too large men's frame, but now having ridden a women's I really prefer it.
Fortunately, I think I can get around Euro 250 for my current bike to put towards a different one. I'm leaning towards new.