Author Topic: First time bike buyer  (Read 2592 times)

cube.37

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First time bike buyer
« on: August 23, 2015, 10:12:39 AM »
Hi everyone. I've been reading MMM and the forum for at least half a year now, and have been thinking about buying a bike. I live in Boston and take the bus to work, so I haven't needed it for commuting. However, just a week or two back, I signed up for a gym so I could start swimming again for my workouts (I know the gym membership isn't so frugal, but unfortunately I despise running, so need the swimming pool if I want to enjoy working out and stay motivated). The gym is a good 15 minute jog, and as I said before, I don't enjoy running, so I am looking for a bike to get there and back. I also think that since I'm getting a bike anyways, I might as well get a bike I could use a few years down the road to commute (if I ever move or change jobs).

Unfortunately, I don't know bikes at all...I've ridden bikes and am very comfortable on a bike (went on a bike trek, but the friend selected everything). I read through the (http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2012/01/buying-bikes-from-craigslist.html) post, and still can't decide what to get on craigslist. Since I live in boston, I won't be doing anything off-road, only riding on smooth roads, but will probably come across some snow/ice every year. Therefore, I'd probably be looking for something that has great work-effort efficiency on smooth roads, but can decently handle the snow. I'm also about 5'7".

Would anybody on this forum have any idea if either of these are decent finds? Obviously you can't know everything just looking at pictures, but maybe you can catch onto something that I wouldn't imagine looking at.

http://boston.craigslist.org/nwb/bik/5161415137.html
http://boston.craigslist.org/nwb/bik/5152698757.html

Thanks for any help/advice anyone can give!



Thegoblinchief

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Re: First time bike buyer
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2015, 04:22:27 PM »
Bridgestones have a definite fan base and that's actually a decent price for one if it checks out.

Other specific models to look for would be Trek FX, Giant Escape, Specialized Sirrus. Jamis makes good hybrids as well.

Emg03063

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Re: First time bike buyer
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2015, 07:30:09 PM »
Do you really even need to buy?  Is there a reason a hubway membership wouldn't address your commute to the gym?

TonyV.

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Re: First time bike buyer
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2015, 06:49:39 AM »
There area a lot of good bicycles out there on craigslist. Some times it takes a little patience to find the right one. GT makes a very solid bike and you can pick up a good used one for around $100-$125. Since, you will not be going off road, stay away from full suspension bikes, they'll be unnecessarily  more expensive. If the roads you ride on are well maintained then you won't even need front suspension, which will generally lower the cost even more. Just be sure to check out the nikes before you buy. Ride it around, make sure it shifts smoothly between all the gears and the brakes work as they should. But keep in mind, any bike shop can tune it up for you very easily for a usually small charge. (around $20-$30 maybe?) So if you find a great deal on a bike, but it doesn't shift PERFECT, buy it and then just have it adjusted. Or better yet, like someone has mentioned, meet the seller at a bike shop to have them check it out for you if you're not comfortable doing it yourself. Hope this helps. :)

Thegoblinchief

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Re: First time bike buyer
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2015, 06:56:04 AM »
Tuneups here are closer to $70. I'd recommend calling the nearest few shops, that way you have a price to negotiate discounts if the bike isn't working 100% correctly.

TonyV.

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Re: First time bike buyer
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2015, 07:01:57 AM »
I have a feeling the cost of a tune-up varies by your area and certain shops. Other great resources i use are bikepedia.com and bicyclebluebook.com. There, you can look up the year, make and model of the bike you're looking at and it will give you some reviews, all the stats about it and the value of it. (NEW and used in various conditions just like Kelly Blue Book).

PizzaHawk

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Re: First time bike buyer
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2015, 07:59:18 AM »
You may also want to look at bikes that fall more into the "cyclocross" category- essentially road bikes that are meant to be capable of rougher terrain. They're built on a road bike frame, but accomodate wider tires so you can ride on dirt, snow, etc. Should be an easier ride than the hybrid style on the roads for the months you don't have snow, but still very much snow capable.

GuitarStv

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Re: First time bike buyer
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2015, 09:10:50 AM »
"great work-effort efficiency on smooth roads, but can decently handle the snow."

I agree with other posters . . . a cyclocross bike fits that criteria.  They're a kind of beefed up road bike designed tough for off-roading (wider tires, room for fenders, sometimes disk brakes), that will work well on the road too.


Road bikes with drop handlebars are more efficient on the road because of the position that you sit.  Your bars are low, your butt is up.  Your back is closer to parallel to the road, so you create less drag.  The bars are narrower than flat bars, so your arms create less drag.  They're also lighter.  If you want to go quickly, this is your ideal choice.  Potential issues with road bikes:
- Sometimes you can't fit fenders / rack / wider tires. . . fenders and rack are very important on a commuter bike.  Wider tires feel more stable and are
- Road bikes are different to ride . . . you need more flexibility to get into an aerodynamic position and they are not as forgiving of bad technique (fail to lift your ass when going over a bump and you'll feel it more).
- The integrated brake levers that are sold with most road bikes are nearly impossible to work while wearing warm winter gloves/mitts.  There just isn't enough room for all the insulation and they get stuck when you're pushing the little levers.  When it gets below about -8C (with driving winds) I need heavier gloves than can be used with the levers (and I'm pretty warm in the hands compared to most people).

A winter bike is a little bit of a different can of worms.  If they salt the roads heavily in Boston, your winter bike needs to have inexpensive components . . . because they'll all get eaten up by salt.  I'm pretty good about bike maintenance in the winter, and wouldn't expect a derailleur to last much more than 6 years on the outside.  If you don't carefully grease everything and keep up with lube, your bike might be toast after a single winter.  At the least expect to replace cables, cable housings, and chain each winter . . . your cassette might last two winters.  An aluminum frame is nice to have for the salt because you don't have to worry as much about rust.  Some people like studded tires for winter use, but I find they slow you down too much (11 mile commute each way) . . . so have just learned to handle my bike differently in snow.

You can get a bike that will do both, or run a separate winter bike than you would use in the summer (side benefit is that if one bike goes out of commission or you're trying to learn how to repair it you have a backup to use).  Right now you just want to go to a close by gym year round, so my advice would be to get any cheap bike that seems to fit you OK.  If by the end of next summer you enjoy it a lot and want to do long rides, pick up a fancier bike for spring/summer/fall use and relegate the cheap bike to winter duties.

robartsd

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Re: First time bike buyer
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2015, 11:02:13 AM »
I have a feeling the cost of a tune-up varies by your area and certain shops.
I imagine that different shops have different ideas about what is included in a "tune-up", so be sure to ask.

BikeFanatic

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Re: First time bike buyer
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2015, 11:17:51 AM »
Now is the end of the season and a good time to buy new.
REI IN FENWAY,  usually have a bike sale this weekend or next weekend.  I got a Novara,  rei brand for 20%off.
Also bikes not bombs in Jamaica plain sell used and used rebuilt.  Both places you can try out a bunch of bikes with no pressure to buy. Good luck.