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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Jtrey17 on July 10, 2016, 02:05:31 PM

Title: I'm new to biking, are bikes from REI a good place to start?
Post by: Jtrey17 on July 10, 2016, 02:05:31 PM
Hello MMMers,

I am completely new to biking and am wondering which bike to best to start with. Does anyone have opinion on the bikes available from REI? I'm looking for a bike to ride around the city, not off-roading. I do have a bike that I got for free as a longevity prize from my employer. It's a Pacific, or Pacifica, or something like that. I hate it. It's the most uncomfortable bike I've ever ridden. I mention this to give some insight that a garage sale of craigslist bike might not be comfortable enough for me. I'm just starting though so I really don't know and would appreciate your input!
Title: Re: I'm new to biking, are bikes from REI a good place to start?
Post by: BikeFanatic on July 10, 2016, 02:55:20 PM
Rei has some good bikes, I have bought 3 from them, I bought the REI brand Novara.
Their brand Novara, I have the novara portal, the women's specific road  bike ( can't think of the name) and another Novara a kind of upright mountain bike/hybrid bike. They are all excellent bikes Some cheap bikes the bottom bracket may fail right away or they have any number of fatal flaws, so stay away from the pacifica /walmart type  bikes.
  I further recommend REI because they sell you a bike then they do assembly, and they then do a tune up at 30 days. After that tune up you should be problem free for a year to 3 years. And if you are not they will fix it up for you.
Price wise they compete  with the specialized brand, and they have a sale in late August every year for 20 percent off. If you can wait it out.
I have bought one of them used but bought the other two new and am extremely satisfied, nothing like a new bike. I know many recomend used, but a great road bike for 600 dollars is not alot of money if you are going to ride every week.
Good luck.


Title: Re: I'm new to biking, are bikes from REI a good place to start?
Post by: Systems101 on July 10, 2016, 08:28:15 PM
I am completely new to biking and am wondering which bike to best to start with.

A used one.  (and I'm not just trying to be snarky - there's a reason for this)

I hate it. It's the most uncomfortable bike I've ever ridden.

You should think about WHY it's uncomfortable.  Is is the correct size frame?  Is it because the seat is uncomfortable?  Do you get pains in your arms? elbows? wrists? knees?  Are you carrying things in a backpack instead of having weight supported by the bike while you are riding? (get saddlebags).  Those answers will start to tell you what is not properly adjusted.  The reason to get a used bike is to understand these things.

The other question is: What city and how?  Riding the greenway of Anchorage, Alaska is a whole lot different from the roads of San Francisco.  Are you looking at a road bike or a hybrid?  Is the bike you have the same style (same seat shape, handlebars,  et al?).  If you are changing a lot of variables, I would recommend getting a used bike closer to what you think you want.  If what you're thinking is already close to the uncomfortable one you have, then you can decide if new is worth it (and also if new will solve your issues with the bike)



Title: Re: I'm new to biking, are bikes from REI a good place to start?
Post by: NorCal on July 10, 2016, 09:13:38 PM
I started biking a bit more last summer and started with a basic REI Novarra bike.  I've been happy with it.  I test rode a couple more expensive ones at REI too.  Think very carefully about your budget and how often you'll be riding before you visit.  You can absolutely tell a difference between the various prices ranges (mostly in weight and shifting), but there's a difference of hundreds of dollars for a slightly lighter bike with better shifters.

I ended up with a ~$500 Novarra bike and have been very happy with it.  I tow a kid trailer on occasion and make the ~15 mile trek to work on it maybe 1-2 times a month.

REI will usually discount a few bike models during their semi-frequent sales, so keep an eye on it.  I think they have a Labor Day sale.
Title: Re: I'm new to biking, are bikes from REI a good place to start?
Post by: Choices on July 10, 2016, 09:40:35 PM
If you're just getting started, you might consider checking out a used bike co-op. Are you near a college town? If so, there should be tons to choose from. Employees are usually friendly and knowledgable and will let you try as many as you want.

Also, as mentioned by Systems101, your current bike might be uncomfortable because it isn't adjusted properly or just needs a different seat. The coop should be able to help with this too.

If you eventually get really into biking and know exactly what you want next, that's the time to upgrade.
Title: Re: I'm new to biking, are bikes from REI a good place to start?
Post by: Jack on July 11, 2016, 05:34:50 AM
I mention this to give some insight that a garage sale of craigslist bike might not be comfortable enough for me.

A garage sale or Craigslist bike could very well have originally come from REI. What's the difference (other than about $400)? Sure, you have to be careful not to accidentally buy a Wal-Mart BSO, but you could always just limit your search to the well-known quality brands (Trek, Specialized, Fuji, Giant) and REI's store brand, Novara.
Title: Re: I'm new to biking, are bikes from REI a good place to start?
Post by: honeybbq on July 11, 2016, 09:20:01 AM
I have my racing/road bike from REI, I bought a Cannondale.

I went to several local bike shops and was unimpressed with the customer service, so I ended up going to REI. The sales guy probably spent about an hour with me, I test rode several models, he helped me get all the accessories I needed (spare tube, pump, CO2, etc). You get a free tune up in the first year as well.

You won't get a fancy top of the line bike there, but you can get a solid bike that does that job.

Also, you need to make sure the bike fits well. It's a lot more than just adjusting the seat height. REI will do a very rudimentary bike fit, but since I was racing mine I found someone to give me a proper bike fit as well. Now I can ride for 4-5 hours without a problem caused by the bike.

Title: Re: I'm new to biking, are bikes from REI a good place to start?
Post by: JJsfr on July 11, 2016, 12:10:10 PM
Go into REI and plan on spending 3-4 hours there test riding bikes. Find your frame size. Figure out which styles and brands of bikes you like.

After you have done this, then go to their garage sale and see if they have a bike that meets your requirements. If not, start scanning craigslist, or put up the $$ to buy one new. You can always return it within a year if you don't like it/find something cheaper.





Title: Re: I'm new to biking, are bikes from REI a good place to start?
Post by: frugaliknowit on July 11, 2016, 01:39:30 PM
The Key to finding a bike that works for you isn't about the store, it's about test riding.  I don't mean in a parking lot.  Spend 30 minutes or more on it.  The bike is an extension of the body.  Everyone's skill level, body and various strengths and weaknesses is different.
Title: Re: I'm new to biking, are bikes from REI a good place to start?
Post by: PGSD on July 11, 2016, 02:14:29 PM
You should think about WHY it's uncomfortable.  Is is the correct size frame?  Is it because the seat is uncomfortable?  Do you get pains in your arms? elbows? wrists? knees?  Are you carrying things in a backpack instead of having weight supported by the bike while you are riding? (get saddlebags).  Those answers will start to tell you what is not properly adjusted.  The reason to get a used bike is to understand these things.

The other question is: What city and how?  Riding the greenway of Anchorage, Alaska is a whole lot different from the roads of San Francisco.  Are you looking at a road bike or a hybrid?  Is the bike you have the same style (same seat shape, handlebars,  et al?).  If you are changing a lot of variables, I would recommend getting a used bike closer to what you think you want.  If what you're thinking is already close to the uncomfortable one you have, then you can decide if new is worth it (and also if new will solve your issues with the bike)
[/quote]


Still learning this side, credit on the above to the prev poster...
I bike quite a bit (road bike, long distance) and the above comment nailed it. Also realize your body will need time to adapt to biking (minor sore legs, butt... the first few rides after not riding for several months is normal). Either pay or learn how to set the bike up for you, assuming it's the correct size, learn how to fix a flat (and carry to tools to do so), and get riding! 
Title: Re: I'm new to biking, are bikes from REI a good place to start?
Post by: mskyle on July 11, 2016, 02:50:35 PM
I think REI is a pretty good place to shop for a bike. A local bike store could be better or worse. I also think it's quite difficult to assess how much you like a bike if you are trying out bikes with unfamiliar geometries - your first road bike will feel awkward if you've been riding a cruiser; your first mountain bike will feel awkward if you're used to a road bike... basically just don't plan to spend much on your first bike of any given style, because chances are it won't be quite right. REI's return policy is really great, but a lot of bike shops will let you trade in your bike if you buy another bike from them.

I think shopping for a used bike is really time-consuming and difficult unless you have a very specific, very common bike geometry in mind. It's fine if you're an average-proportioned, 5'10" man looking for a road bike or mountain bike, but if you're looking for something rarer or, worse, you don't know *what* you're looking for, it's a huge pain in the ass to make appointments to meet up with people, and have them flake out, and then you ride the bike and it's an obvious bad fit... much easier to just test-ride 15 bikes at the bike shop! Whether it's then worth it in terms of time and karma to try to track the same bike down on the used market is up to you.