Author Topic: I need a bike!  (Read 4173 times)

AngelaM

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I need a bike!
« on: August 08, 2012, 10:09:57 AM »
I've only ever owned a mountain bike, and I hate the one that I currently have (and therefore almost never ride it).

I want to buy a commuter bike or a hybrid (are they the same thing?) but I'm absolutely clueless what to get. I'll mostly be using it on roads, but there are some hard-packed dirt trails that I want to be able to go on too... so I don't want the skinny road tires.

I want to spend under $500.

I'm looking at these (leaning towards the first one)... any thoughts?

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_529164_-1___202618#ReviewHeader

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_534591_-1___202396

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_522807_-1___202396

Daley

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Re: I need a bike!
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2012, 10:44:00 AM »
Bakari's likely going to present some excellent advice here, as are a few others, but I want to get this question out in the open now:

Why do you hate your mountain bike?

Is it too heavy? Too big? Too small? Is it a department store bike? If you've got a good frame and the problem just comes down to saddle, handlebars and tires, you can refit your current bike for far less than it would cost for a whole new one. Less wasteful, too. There's excellent hybrid slicks for MTBs available like the Kenda K838's. The rest could easily be fixed with a trip down to your local bike shop for advice, guidance, and assistance with the needed adjustments and changes.

AngelaM

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Re: I need a bike!
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2012, 11:38:35 AM »
I think it's just a terrible bike. I'm not sure exactly what it is... but I got it on sale at Sports Authority over 5 years ago. I thought I was just out of shape... until I switched bikes with a friend one day (also a mountain bike) and it was so much easier! My bike requires about twice the effort that my friends does. It's very heavy, and there's been something wrong with the gears for a while so it will randomly jump gears when I'm pedaling (probably an easy fix, but I hate the bike so much I haven't wanted to put any money into it)

James

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Re: I need a bike!
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2012, 12:02:07 PM »
I think it's just a terrible bike. I'm not sure exactly what it is... but I got it on sale at Sports Authority over 5 years ago. I thought I was just out of shape... until I switched bikes with a friend one day (also a mountain bike) and it was so much easier! My bike requires about twice the effort that my friends does. It's very heavy, and there's been something wrong with the gears for a while so it will randomly jump gears when I'm pedaling (probably an easy fix, but I hate the bike so much I haven't wanted to put any money into it)


I was thinking the same thing as I.P. Daley, but this clarifies things a bit.  I think you are taking the absolutely right step in figuring this out, you should have a bike you are comfortable riding and works well for the situations you ride in.


Have you checked craigs list for your area?  I don't know if you are in an area where craigs list is an option, but most major cities have quite a few bikes listed.  Might also want to check for used bikes at bike shops in town.  I think asking here is great, I just got a $600 new bike a couple years ago by going to a shop and I'm not real happy with it, getting good advice from people you know and trust gets you a lot further sometimes.

AngelaM

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Re: I need a bike!
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2012, 12:08:14 PM »
Knowing absolutely nothing about bikes, craigslist intimidates me. I won't know if I'm getting a good deal and if a bike I get needs a lot of work, I could end up spending a lot on repairs since I don't know how to do them myself (yet... but I plan to work on this!)

For my first real attempt at biking more, I think I'd rather get something new so I know it won't have issues right off the bat and I can just jump on and get started.

grantmeaname

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Re: I need a bike!
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2012, 12:10:53 PM »
Even Nashbar bikes require assembly when they arrive, and not everything is going to be adjusted correctly out of the box. You'll have to learn some maintenance either way (or pay for it, eww).

Bakari's got a great post on buying from craigslist if I've convinced you to at least consider it.

ThatGuyFromCanada

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Re: I need a bike!
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2012, 03:13:07 PM »
I recently started commuting big-time on my bike (55km round trip daily) and switched from a mountain bike (Specialized Rockhopper) to a road bike (Cannodale Synapse 6) and the difference was amazing! My commute time dropped by 20% overnight and I wasn't exhausted from the ride anymore.

What you need really depends on how you're going to ride it.... from what you've said I'd say avoid suspension (it steals energy) and look for commuter tires that are primarily slick with some bigger tread on the sides. Also, I can't say enough about finding a good bike store near you and spending some time there. Talk with someone knowledgeable, sit on the bikes and take one or two for a test ride.

Bakari

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Re: I need a bike!
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2012, 10:38:18 PM »
Grant already posted the link to my "buying bikes for commuting off craigslist" post for me!
http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2012/01/buying-bikes-from-craigslist.html

And everyone covered just about everything.

I just wanted to answer one of your questions: no, a commuter bike and a hybrid are not the same thing.

A hybrid is specifically a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike.  It has flat handlebars, usually much more upright than a normal road or mountain bike, moderately wide, smooth, 700C wheels (road bike standard size), wide range of gears.  It is decent on the road, ok for very mild off-road, but not nearly as good as a mountain bike off road or as fast as a road bike on road.

A commuter bike could be lots of different things.  It isn't an official class of bike.  Something sold specifically as a commuter probably comes standard with racks and fenders, perhaps internal gears or a built in headlight or a step-through frame - but you will pay a premium for it over just getting a regular bike and adding your own racks, fenders and lights.  Many (but not all) commuter bikes will be hybrids.  Many hybrids would make a good commuter bike.  But ultimately, a commuter bike is just something that someone uses to commute.  Its like a "family car". 

I found I was able to do my commute substantially faster on my racing bike than my touring bike, and they were both road bikes.