Author Topic: Help Me Find a Bike!  (Read 1551 times)

Babalu

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Help Me Find a Bike!
« on: April 01, 2018, 05:47:32 PM »
Hi all,

New Mustachian here.  I need help finding a bike - there are so many options and types out there.  For now, I will be using it for grocery shopping, trips to downtown, etc before I tackle the commute.

I'm female, a little overweight, and very out of shape.  I'm looking for a "starter" bike that will cost under $200 used.  I have no idea where to begin.

frompa

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Re: Help Me Find a Bike!
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2018, 06:09:55 PM »
Hi Babalu -- Probably one of the most important things about getting a bike is getting one that fits you. If you have bicycle advocacy group or bike co-op in your area, go there and ask for help.  Absent that, ask around for a bike shop with a good reputation and go there to window shop and get fitted.  Once you figure out what size you need, you can focus in on what TYPE of bike is most suited to your needs.  Something with a bike rack or on which you can install a bike rack is a great idea.  Going used is a great way to break in to bicycle ownership.  Don't worry about being overweight or out of shape -- once you get moving, these issues sort of take care of themselves, as long as you are prepared for slow going and feeling a little out of it, at first.  Your butt and your muscles will accommodate pretty quickly if you keep at it.  I wish you  luck.  I find getting around by bike is one of the things that always makes me smile like a little kid, even though I've been doing it for years. 

GuitarStv

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Re: Help Me Find a Bike!
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2018, 07:18:15 PM »
When you're just getting started cycling, just about any type of bike will be fine.  A more upright position, wide handlebars, and wide tires will tend to make for a slow, reliable steering bicycle.  I started out with an ancient mountain bike two sizes too small that was free from a relative . . . but riding it around for six months on a near daily basis really helped me figure out exactly what kind of decent bike I wanted to spend money on.

Mikila

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Re: Help Me Find a Bike!
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2018, 03:03:32 PM »
Try out a hybrid.  In February I bought a Giant hybrid and I love it.  Although I hadn't cycled in 15 years, it all came back.  I've since replaced 20-30 miles with a week of car errands with my bike and I have no regrets.    My butt was sore at first but I got used to it- you will, too, and it goes away.

JJsfr

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Re: Help Me Find a Bike!
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2018, 10:21:02 PM »
I agree with guitar stv. Just about any bike you can throw your leg over is all you need to get started. If something hurts (other than your quads), you'll know how to address it later on.

Trying2bFrugal

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Re: Help Me Find a Bike!
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2018, 07:36:44 AM »
Welcome to biking.  I myself just got into biking last month. Inspired wife who is overweight and never ridden bikes in past. We got her hybrid. I looked at craigslist and bought a old Bianchi, did an overhaul total cost came around 200.

Like others said,  I would advise you to visit a local bike shop and do sizing. Some bike shops near colleges, universities sell ready to ride used cycles. Try them and get a one you are comfortable.  With in a month my wife likes bike riding and asks my road bike as it tend to go fast in relatively low effort.

Also dont pay attention to seating comfort when you try bikes. You always can get cushioned seats and fit saddle. (My wife wasn't comfortable on slim saddles)

Just Joe

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Re: Help Me Find a Bike!
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2018, 08:47:32 AM »
Pay attention to the frame size if you buy a bike. I think my frame is a little small for my size.

LBS basically asked me (years ago now) whether I was comfortable sitting on the bike I ultimately purchased.

The new bike was so much better than the bike I was replacing that it did feel comfortable for the 5 minutes I sat on it.

LBS did not bring out any other sizes for me to sit on. Be pickier than the shop.

Since then I've adapted the bike a little and it works fine. Next time I'll buy the next size up or two sizes up.

Need more length in the "cockpit" i.e. distance between the seat post and handlebars. I've sat on the right size and the difference is noticeable.

One of these days I'll move all my bike parts to a better sized frame.

GuitarStv

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Re: Help Me Find a Bike!
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2018, 09:12:36 AM »
Pay attention to the frame size if you buy a bike. I think my frame is a little small for my size.

LBS basically asked me (years ago now) whether I was comfortable sitting on the bike I ultimately purchased.

The new bike was so much better than the bike I was replacing that it did feel comfortable for the 5 minutes I sat on it.

LBS did not bring out any other sizes for me to sit on. Be pickier than the shop.

Since then I've adapted the bike a little and it works fine. Next time I'll buy the next size up or two sizes up.

Need more length in the "cockpit" i.e. distance between the seat post and handlebars. I've sat on the right size and the difference is noticeable.

One of these days I'll move all my bike parts to a better sized frame.

It's usually possible to make a too small bike very well.  GuitarStv's free guide to quickly setting up a bike:

Put your heel on both pedals and spin.  Adjust the saddle height until your leg is nearly straight when at the furthest position away from you.  As long as you've got enough seatpost height to do this you're half way there.

At this point it's a good idea to adjust the fore-aft saddle position.  I like to do this by sliding it pretty far forward, then going for a ride.  If I can't balance on the saddle with my hands off the bars for a few seconds, I slide the saddle back.  Eventually you get to a good point where you can balance with your hands off the bars.  Then you re-adjust the seat post height as above (moving the saddle can throw this off a little bit).

If the bars feel too close to you there are several things you can try.  The easiest is to drop the bars a little bit lower by removing the shims under them.  As your bars get lower than your saddle, the reach to the bars increases.  If that isn't enough for you, you can just buy a new (longer) stem to push the bars further forward.  Most bikes come with a 70 - 120 mm stem, but you can get really big ones (170 mm) so there's typically a ton of room to adjust this.


That should get you into the right ballpark in relatively short order.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Help Me Find a Bike!
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2018, 10:29:45 AM »
@GuitarStv , nice post. Could you please give descriptions of the parts you are talking about. What is bars?

GuitarStv

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Re: Help Me Find a Bike!
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2018, 10:44:16 AM »
@GuitarStv , nice post. Could you please give descriptions of the parts you are talking about. What is bars?



Bars - handlebars.  They attach to the stem, which attaches to the fork.

Saddle height is adjusted by loosening the seatpost clamp.

Saddle fore-aft position is adjusted usually by loosening the bolt under the saddle and then sliding the saddle forward or back.

Spacers to change handlebar height are located above the headset.  You have to unscrew the cap above the stem, then unscrew the bolts on the stem to remove these.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2018, 10:53:02 AM by GuitarStv »

frugaliknowit

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Re: Help Me Find a Bike!
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2018, 11:31:41 AM »
Hi Babalu -- Probably one of the most important things about getting a bike is getting one that fits you. If you have bicycle advocacy group or bike co-op in your area, go there and ask for help.  Absent that, ask around for a bike shop with a good reputation and go there to window shop and get fitted.  Once you figure out what size you need, you can focus in on what TYPE of bike is most suited to your needs.  Something with a bike rack or on which you can install a bike rack is a great idea.  Going used is a great way to break in to bicycle ownership.  Don't worry about being overweight or out of shape -- once you get moving, these issues sort of take care of themselves, as long as you are prepared for slow going and feeling a little out of it, at first.  Your butt and your muscles will accommodate pretty quickly if you keep at it.  I wish you  luck.  I find getting around by bike is one of the things that always makes me smile like a little kid, even though I've been doing it for years.

+1

My $.02:  The only way you will find out what type of bike to buy is by riding some.  Go to your local bikeshops and test ride all that you can possibly test ride.  At a minimum, you will learn what frame size is best for you and what type of bike you would like (hybrid, mountain, or road).  Then, once educated, you can shop used, if you want.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Help Me Find a Bike!
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2018, 03:35:50 PM »
Thanks @GuitarStv , real nice.

Now all I need is a maintenance manual (what to do in spring before riding) ;-)

GuitarStv

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Re: Help Me Find a Bike!
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2018, 05:50:38 PM »
Thanks @GuitarStv , real nice.

Now all I need is a maintenance manual (what to do in spring before riding) ;-)


Assuming that you're adjusting your derailleur so that it's shifting properly (https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/front-derailleur-adjustment, https://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/rear-derailleur-adjustment), adjusting the brake pads so they're not rubbing (varies based on V-brake, cantilever, or disc), and keeping the wheels true (http://www.sheldonbrown.com/tooltips/truing.html) . . .this video should cover most of the other stuff worth checking out in the spring:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYaeVDnSK2c

Just Joe

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Re: Help Me Find a Bike!
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2018, 09:00:37 AM »
Great details GuitarStv. I had the best ride to work this morn. Everything just came together.

Babalu

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Re: Help Me Find a Bike!
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2018, 08:17:36 AM »
Thanks everyone!  I happened upon a used Specialized Expedition Sport at an estate sale yesterday and picked it up for $50.  Any idea what I should spend at a repair shop for a tune up?  I didn't see any signs of rust, it just looked like it hadn't been ridden in a while (flat tires, dirty).