Author Topic: Buying bikes  (Read 5923 times)

bungalow10

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Buying bikes
« on: February 04, 2015, 11:15:48 AM »
DH and I want to buy bikes.

We won't use them for commuting, they will be for family fun.  Maybe some recreational, organized rides, probably a lot of family rides.  Most likely will take them camping with us.

We live in Wisconsin, plan to ride on bike trails, mostly paved.  Kids are 7, 5, and 2 years old.  We love to hike and I imagine biking will be a fun addition to our repetoire of outdoor activities. 

What's the best strategy here?  My thoughts are ranging from "buy used and cheap" to "get professionally fitted and buy a $1000 bike that I'll use for the next 25 years".  Is there a middle ground?  A place we should shop for good value?  We have the money for good bikes, but obviously would prefer to spend less if we can get by for less.

nereo

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2015, 11:44:04 AM »

What's the best strategy here?  My thoughts are ranging from "buy used and cheap" to "get professionally fitted and buy a $1000 bike that I'll use for the next 25 years".  Is there a middle ground?  A place we should shop for good value?  We have the money for good bikes, but obviously would prefer to spend less if we can get by for less.
Definitely look into buy used bikes. Unlike cars with complex engines, bikes are pretty simple and hold up for decades.  And people are constantly selling off their bikes because kids have grown, they are cluttering the garage, they upgraded to a $4k road bike, they got fat, etc. etc. etc.
Also, since you aren't looking at hard-core cycling or long-distance commuting, the kind of bikes you are looking for will be very easy to find.
Search Craigslist, your local swap-meets, etc.  If what you want to do is go out on family rides you don't need anything fancy/expensive. 

purplepants

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2015, 11:56:25 AM »
Used and cheap are a good start, especially for kids who will grow to need larger bikes. 

If bike riding becomes a thing you do now and then for family fun, the used bikes will fit the bill. 

If it becomes an all out family passion where you enthusiastically go for bike rides every weekend, then you'll know that you'll get good value out of the $1,000 bikes and it's worth upgrading.

I'm all for testing the water as cheaply as possible.  If you find you want to dive in later, you can spend the $.

nereo

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2015, 12:10:04 PM »
I'm all for testing the water as cheaply as possible.  If you find you want to dive in later, you can spend the $.
Plus... unlike cars, if you buy a used bike for $100 on Craigslist, you can usually sell it two years later for.... $100!  Seriously, as long as you take basic care of your bike and buy used, the depreciation is practically $0.

FreeWheel

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2015, 07:50:04 PM »
If you are new to riding there is no way to know what "$1000 bike" you'd want to keep (and actually use) for 25 years. So yes, I agree with the other posters, just get something inexpensive and start riding. The more you ride, the more you'll discover what works best for you, and THEN you'll know what your next, more fancy pants bike should be.

With CL you need to learn how to properly inspect a bikes condition, and it can take quite a while to find a good deal. (Or three or four good deals if you're outfitting the entire family) In my area, people often ask ridiculous amounts for used bikes on CL, even junky ones. Don't get me wrong, there are good deals, but it may take a lot of time and effort to find 'em.

So, lower end bike store bikes can be a good option in my opinion, especially if you buy last years model on discount. Some shops even sell used bikes, that they have reconditioned and tuned. You start off with a quality product, and have dealer support. The only thing they can't do for you is pedal the bikes!
« Last Edit: February 04, 2015, 07:52:43 PM by FreeWheel »

bungalow10

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2015, 07:47:02 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions.  Any idea how to make an educated guess on the size and type of bike for DH and for me?  I'm short (5'3") and find many bikes uncomfortable. 

Also, any brands or features we should look for?  Avoid?

duck-duck

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2015, 07:49:59 AM »
Try to find a shop that sells good used bikes. I think it's the best of both worlds for someone getting into biking. You do have to pay a bit more than craigslist, but if it is a good shop, they've filtered through the garbage department store bikes, done any necessary repairs and can help with fitting.

We recently got my wife her first road bike used for $450 and are very happy with this bike. A newer frame (that cost $400 alone) with a mix-match of good, but older components and perfectly tuned and fitted for her.

nereo

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2015, 10:04:44 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions.  Any idea how to make an educated guess on the size and type of bike for DH and for me?  I'm short (5'3") and find many bikes uncomfortable. 

If you are starting from square 1 and have no idea what kind or size bike you would like, I'd suggest going to a good cycling shop and having them test-fit you and test-ride several different bikes.  A good bike shop won't try to 'up-sell' someone who just wants to go on casual rides something that costs thousands of dollars (Although disreputable ones will).  They also won't mind if you don't buy something right that day.
If you find a good bike on craigslist, take it to the shop and get it tuned up.

For internet knowledge about bike fit and pain, Sheldon Brown's website is a massive and messy trove of bike knowledge, and he covers everything form the basics to the complex (and rather esoteric) debates on different cassette types.
http://sheldonbrown.com/pain.html

SantaFeSteve

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2015, 10:08:37 AM »
Try to find a shop that sells good used bikes. I think it's the best of both worlds for someone getting into biking. You do have to pay a bit more than craigslist, but if it is a good shop, they've filtered through the garbage department store bikes, done any necessary repairs and can help with fitting.

+1 for this.

darkadams00

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2015, 09:06:52 PM »
We won't use them for commuting, they will be for family fun.  Maybe some recreational, organized rides, probably a lot of family rides.  Most likely will take them camping with us.

We ...plan to ride on bike trails, mostly paved.  Kids are 7, 5, and 2 years old. 

This list of use cases implies occasional use in good weather at slow speeds in areas separated from cars. Special cycling gear, clothes, and accessories are not required. Furthermore, there are only a few use cases to buy a $1000 bike--1) competitive racing/high mileage fitness training (fast road bikes), 2) extended touring (touring bikes), and 3) aggressive riding on rough terrain (mountain bikes). There are bikes < $1000 that will do these as well, but the quality of a higher end bike could show up here.

Utility/transport riding (which I do several days each week) and casual "day at the park/campground" riding absolutely do not require expensive bikes. For the uses listed by the OP, I could outfit two adults and three kids with solid bikes off Craigslist for about $1000, probably a bit less depending on the market.

Simple rules of thumb for "family biking"--no drop bars for the parents, no gears for the kids, few (3-7) or no gears for the parents, platform-style pedals, quality used bikes with repairable/replaceable parts (originated at bike shop, bought off CL) instead of crappy new bikes with non-repairable/non-replaceable parts (bought at big box store). A quality used kids' Trek is better than a new Next for the same price. I can exchange parts on the Trek. The parts on the Next are not meant to be replaced, and regular bike parts often won't fit.

 

bungalow10

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2015, 07:32:49 AM »
Thanks, everyone!

Our kids have bikes.  We did buy our son (7 year old) a used Trek with a lot of upgrades for $90 last year.  Daughter (5 yo) has a $20 garage sale Target bike that was literally never ridden.  We'll upgrade her if we need to.

I'm searching CL - NOTHING is $1000.  Maybe it is where I live, but, wow, even a needs-work bike is $200.  I'm going to scope out some resale shops.  I'm a little worried because we bought my oldest's first bike at a charity resale shop, he was FOUR, and it was $140.  I think the used bike market is strong here. 

so.mpls

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2015, 07:48:07 AM »
Here's a good resource for estimating what frame size you'll need: http://www.competitivecyclist.com/Store/catalog/fitCalculatorBike.jsp#measures

Do you mind sharing where you're from?  Someone might happen to know a good used shop if you're in a major city.  I also live in a bike crazy city so demand for used bikes is through the roof here.  Searching ebay by zip code can be a good alternative to CL because far less people will be searching that.

One good thing about living in a high demand area; you'll have an easy time reselling the bike for about what you paid if/when you decide to upgrade or get rid of it.

bungalow10

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2015, 08:42:27 AM »
I'm near Madison, WI. 

Thanks for the link.  I think I need a 14" or 15" frame, but I'll measure to find out.

FreeWheel

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2015, 01:47:48 PM »
wow, even a needs-work bike is $200. 

Same in my area.

So you could buy a $200 "needs work" bike, take it to the shop and drop $100 more on parts and tune-up. OR, just buy a discounted new hybrid or cruiser from the shop for around $300 and be ready to ride, warranty and all.

Time is money. So is driving around looking for that great deal.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2015, 02:43:45 PM »
If that's how much used bikes are there, it might be worth considering new.

Once the kids grow out and upsize, you should be able to sell on CL and get most of it back :)

Bicycle_B

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2015, 07:06:49 PM »
Here's a recommendation from Mr. MMM himself on an alternative in case your local market for used bikes is too strong:  Buy new from Bike Nashbar

(from the MMM Recommends section:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/mmm-recommends )

FreeWheel

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2015, 08:54:01 PM »
Here's a recommendation from Mr. MMM himself on an alternative in case your local market for used bikes is too strong:  Buy new from Bike Nashbar

(from the MMM Recommends section:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/mmm-recommends )

Yep. Bikes Direct can be a great option too. Here's a decent hybrid for only $250... shipping included!

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/dawes/eclipse-city-bikes.htm

BCBiker

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2015, 10:30:20 PM »
I'm all for testing the water as cheaply as possible.  If you find you want to dive in later, you can spend the $.
Plus... unlike cars, if you buy a used bike for $100 on Craigslist, you can usually sell it two years later for.... $100!  Seriously, as long as you take basic care of your bike and buy used, the depreciation is practically $0.
yep

bungalow10

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2015, 08:11:25 AM »
Here's a recommendation from Mr. MMM himself on an alternative in case your local market for used bikes is too strong:  Buy new from Bike Nashbar

(from the MMM Recommends section:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/mmm-recommends )

thank you!  There's a bike on there that I'm interested in...

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_565110_-1___205624

anyone have any thoughts on the Diamondback Clarity for $299?  Seems like a decent deal for a decent bike -and they have a 14" in stock!

FreeWheel

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2015, 10:07:39 AM »

thank you!  There's a bike on there that I'm interested in...

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_565110_-1___205624

anyone have any thoughts on the Diamondback Clarity for $299?  Seems like a decent deal for a decent bike -and they have a 14" in stock!

Nice quality for the price. Honestly, once you step up to non-department store bikes, the quality and value between manufactures is very tight... Although there are differences in fit, which is why it's nice to be able to test ride 'em first.

How did you determine 14" to be the correct size for you?

bungalow10

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Re: Buying bikes
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2015, 10:13:15 AM »

thank you!  There's a bike on there that I'm interested in...

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_565110_-1___205624

anyone have any thoughts on the Diamondback Clarity for $299?  Seems like a decent deal for a decent bike -and they have a 14" in stock!

Nice quality for the price. Honestly, once you step up to non-department store bikes, the quality and value between manufactures is very tight... Although there are differences in fit, which is why it's nice to be able to test ride 'em first.

How did you determine 14" to be the correct size for you?

My height (5'3") and the Diamondback website. 

http://www.diamondback.com/bikes-pavement-performance-hybrid-womens-clarity-1