Author Topic: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]  (Read 6937 times)

EnjoyIt

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Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« on: February 21, 2016, 10:39:47 AM »
Mustachians,

This help starts with a confession.  The only bike riding I do is at the gym.  I drive 6.4 miles each way to get to the gym to ride a bike for 30 minutes.  Over the last year I have tried buying a bike and get paralyzed by all the different choices.  This has got to stop and I need help.  Please help me understand what kind of bike I want.

My plan is to basically ride to places such as the grocery store 2 miles away, Lowes, 3 miles away, and also we have some paved trails and I want to exercise the dogs.  I have no interest in doing marathons, or going crazy with this thing.  What should I be looking for in a bike? 

1) Do I go for a road/mountain/hybrid bike? 
2) Do I go with fancy disc brakes or regular pads?
3) Do I want shock absorber? 

I don't mind spending some money if what I buy I will use for many years.  I also don't want to drop a bunch of cash just to have the damn thing sit in my garage or need to buy something different since I bought the wrong bike.

Please help.

Jack

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2016, 10:53:41 AM »
  • You want a road bike or hybrid bike. A hybrid bike is better if you want a more relaxed, upright experience; a road bike is better if you like riding fast or end up "going crazy." For you, the difference probably won't matter that much -- get whichever you find a better deal on. EDIT: You do want to make sure that whatever bike you get has rack eyelet braze-ons, which some of the more "racy" road bikes won't have.
  • Regular pads are fine. Disc brakes are only really important for things like slowing a heavy bike (like a tandem, cargo bike or bike with trailer) on very long/steep descents, or riding through mud.
  • No, you don't want a shock absorber.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2016, 11:47:50 AM by Jack »

Kwill

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2016, 11:34:08 AM »
If you just get a bike, any bike, and ride it for awhile you'll get a better sense of what you want. I think. I just bought a used hybrid bike yesterday, and it seems like the right sort of thing for what you're talking about. I didn't get a basket or anything, though, and I regretted it by yesterday evening when I went grocery shopping. I only got a pizza, a pint of milk, and a carton of mixed berries, but it was hard to get them into my little backpack.

spokey doke

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2016, 11:52:02 AM »
^^^ riding some bikes will tell you what works and what doesn't for you.  Road, hybrid, mountain will all work, but you don't need suspension (and on cheaper town bikes, the suspension systems tend to be really really bad.  Either brake system will work too, although chepaer disk brakes are also a potential headache.  I would advise against some of the comfort/townie/cruiser bikes, unless you plan on only riding very slowly, as they are so upright that their handling tends to stink for any quick maneuvering (IMO) and they aren't the most efficient.

You should think about getting fenders and a rack or basket (perhaps even a trailer), so you can use it if its wet out, and haul some groceries

Go have fun demoing bikes at some bike shops and get a feel for the differences yourself.

rafiki

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2016, 02:15:29 PM »
I think you should buy a bike that reflects the majority of how you will use it.

If will be riding trails all day, then buy a mountain bike.

If you will mostly be on paved roads / sidewalks for short urban style riding, I would go with a "hybrid" or commuter style bicycle. This is basically a road bike with mountain bike handlebars and shifters.  It allows for a more relaxed "heads up" style of riding. It is beneficial if you are navigating streets. However, many of these bikes are geared like road bikes and come with road bike tires so you can get going quickly on them.

If you won't be riding more than 10 miles at a time on flat surfaces I don't think it really matters what you get - I rode a mountain bike exclusively for several years while living in New Orleans. It was great to have a bike like that for the city because the streets were full of potholes.

Disc brakes are a nice feature to have, but unless you are commuting, riding in the rain regularly, or mountain biking, regular linear brakes are fine and likely are not worth the price premium.

I was recently looking at a nice hybrid bike with disc brakes. The one I wanted (Cannodale Synapse 2) was $1,100 plus tax at the bike store. Not very Mustachian, but a sweet bike.

I ended up finding a similar bike that was a few years old on Craigslist for $300. I ended up not getting a bike with disc brakes, but saved $800. Was worth it to me. Bikes like this are fun for tooling around the neighborhood, going to the grocery store, etc., but I also have been taking longer rides on the weekend (25 miles) with a small group and am able to keep up.


GhostSaver

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2016, 02:41:58 PM »
To answer your question in brief:

If I were you, I would want something built and advertised as a commuter bike. This kind of bike will typically have a somewhat relaxed road bike style frame, higher-volume road bike style tires, places to attach a rack or racks, and fenders. It might have rim brakes or it might have disc brakes. It might be single speed, it might have an internally-geared 3 speed hub, or it might have a drive train with 2 or 3 chai rings and 7-10 gears on the back. The frame will probably be nice chromoly steel or aluminum. I wouldn't care a lot about whether it has drop bars or flat bars. If you hate the layout of the cockpit, you can always swap it out for reactively short money.

Shop used and make sure to buy something that fits your inseam. If you see a model that looks promising, post it up here and ask for advice.

EnjoyIt

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2016, 02:44:58 PM »
Another issue I find is size. I am 6'2" with 34" legs. When I google how to size a frame, there is soooo much information I find myself learning nothing.

How do I understand frame size as well as tire size?

My understanding is that I need a smaller frame if I go with 29" wheels as opposed to 24"


Ghostsaver,
Thanks for the response, but please understand I am a complete bike newbie. Many of the terms you used went right over my head.

Kwill

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2016, 02:50:18 PM »
Maybe it would help to go to a bike shop with used bicycles instead of buying online. That way you could have someone talk you through it and make sure everything is the right height.

JJsfr

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2016, 03:10:34 PM »
Maybe it would help to go to a bike shop with used bicycles instead of buying online. That way you could have someone talk you through it and make sure everything is the right height.

Second for going to a bike shop. Just be careful about them really pushing you into a bike that day. REI is a good place to go to get some test rides in on a several different bike styles.

As far as bike size goes, you'll probably be looking at the XL (60-63 cm eff. top tube) frame sizes. Throw your leg over the top and if you have a couple of inches of clearance between the top tube and your crotch you're in the right ball park.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2016, 03:12:37 PM by JJsfr »

GuitarStv

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2016, 03:49:25 PM »
Another issue I find is size. I am 6'2" with 34" legs. When I google how to size a frame, there is soooo much information I find myself learning nothing.

How do I understand frame size as well as tire size?

My understanding is that I need a smaller frame if I go with 29" wheels as opposed to 24"


Ghostsaver,
Thanks for the response, but please understand I am a complete bike newbie. Many of the terms you used went right over my head.

Bike sizing is almost entirely dependant on your torso length.  Longer/shorter legs can be accommodated by altering the saddle height quite easily.  Longer/shorter arms can be accommodated by adjusting the stem to move your handlebars back and forth.  If the distance between the saddle and the stem (effective top tube length) of the bike is too long for your torso though, you can't really fix it . . . You will be too stretched out and get back pain.  If the effective top tube length is too short for your torso, you won't be able to get a long enough stem to stretch out enough (and you'll make the bike too font heavy if you try).

Don't get super hung up on sizing.  The first bike you buy will not be your forever bike.  You will change the style of riding you do over time, change how you use the bike as your skills improve, and value different things about bikes as time goes by.  Just get something that seems reasonably well made and reasonably comfortable.  (My first 'adult' bike was a crappy mountain bike that was too small for me.  It worked fine for doing under 10 mile rides.  My next bike was a hybrid bike with fender mounts, and rear rack.  It works great as a commuter/grocery getter, and I use it ifor winter cycling now.  My next bike was a road bike designed for touring, I like to do 70-80 km rides with it and use it for commuting in the summer.  If I get another bike it'll be a lightweight bit of carbon fiber with no attachment points for racks.  Point being, your tastes will probably dramatically change!  Just get riding first.)

Jack

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2016, 04:05:15 PM »
Another issue I find is size. I am 6'2" with 34" legs. When I google how to size a frame, there is soooo much information I find myself learning nothing.

How do I understand frame size as well as tire size?

My understanding is that I need a smaller frame if I go with 29" wheels as opposed to 24"

Although 24" and 29" wheels exist, the vast majority of adult bikes use either 26" (i.e., the fat tires typically found on beach cruisers and mountain bikes) or 700c (i.e., the skinny typically found on hybrid and road bikes). Either 26" or 700c is fine for your purposes, so don't worry about it.

Frame fit is important, but I wouldn't be overly worried about it -- it's probably easier for you to deal with an "average-size" frame that's a little too small than it is for a short person to deal with one that's a little too big. (By the way, in addition to getting a longer handlebar stem as GuitarStv mentions, you can also slide the saddle a little farther back on its mounting rails if you need to.)

The other thing to keep in mind is that if you buy a cheap used bike off Craigslist and it turns out not to be a good fit (either literally in terms of size, or figuratively in terms of riding style), you can always just re-sell it again for about the same price. So don't over-think it.

Ghostsaver,
Thanks for the response, but please understand I am a complete bike newbie. Many of the terms you used went right over my head.

http://sheldonbrown.com/glossary.html

EnjoyIt

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2016, 04:49:20 PM »
Thank you all for the advice.  Basically What I get is to go to a shop and try out a bunch of different bikes and see what feels comfortable.  Then go on Craigslist and look for something similar.  Basically not to overthink it and just buy something relatively comfortable.  Seams like based on my riding idea I should go with hybrid or mountain bike since I have absolutely no interest in lng distance rides at this time.

Am I getting this right?

Jack,
thanks for the link.

JJsfr

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2016, 06:33:06 PM »
You've got it.


Jack

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2016, 06:59:47 PM »
If you end up at a mom-and-pop bike shop, you might want to plan to have them do a tune-up on the Craigslist bike or buy accessories there or something, because using up their salespeople's time when you don't plan to buy a bike there starts to transition away from "frugal" towards "cheap." I wouldn't feel as much of an obligation at corporate places like REI or Performance Bike, though.

If you go mountain bike, go old mountain bike, from the early '90s before they had suspension forks.

EnjoyIt

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2016, 07:23:42 PM »
If you end up at a mom-and-pop bike shop, you might want to plan to have them do a tune-up on the Craigslist bike or buy accessories there or something, because using up their salespeople's time when you don't plan to buy a bike there starts to transition away from "frugal" towards "cheap." I wouldn't feel as much of an obligation at corporate places like REI or Performance Bike, though.

If you go mountain bike, go old mountain bike, from the early '90s before they had suspension forks.

I thought about going to a large shop to see all the variety.  I do not know of any mom and pop type of shops in my area.  Though I promise to buy parts and tunes from them if I do go there. 

Larabeth

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2016, 07:28:12 PM »
I'd go with whatever is most comfortable for you.  I had a $80 mountain bike that I road through downtown for about two years while I lived there (my calves were ROCK SOLID, hahaha).  It was the best thing ever and I was devastated when it got stolen.

Now I have an electric bike and live further out.

CATman

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2016, 11:20:05 PM »
Another issue I find is size. I am 6'2" with 34" legs. When I google how to size a frame, there is soooo much information I find myself learning nothing.

How do I understand frame size as well as tire size?

My understanding is that I need a smaller frame if I go with 29" wheels as opposed to 24"


Ghostsaver,
Thanks for the response, but please understand I am a complete bike newbie. Many of the terms you used went right over my head.

We're exactly the same size and I've been through the exact scenario you're going through now. Fortunately I've had a number of bikes in the past so I had an idea of what I did and didn't like. I had a mountain bike with a rigid rear (no rear suspension, but front suspension) and a fixed gear single speed bike with very aggressive geometry (think more hunched over versus upright riding position). Based on that I knew I wanted something in the "hybrid" bike category. Something I could mount racks and fenders too, but would also keep me fairly upright as it would be more comfortable for me as I am taller.

I ended up getting a Specialized Sirrus in the XL frame size and it fits/rides wonderfully. The best thing you can do is find a local bike shop or two and ask them what they recommend based on what you're looking for. Most of the employees are avid riders and can give you a pretty good idea of what you might like. They'll probably also have some demo bikes you can try out so you can get a feel for what you're comfortable with.

ooeei

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2016, 07:08:39 AM »
Just go to a bike shop and get something in the $400-500 range.  I believe there's an MMM article where he talks about just getting one from a bike shop for your first bike, to prevent exactly what you're dealing with.  When you first get a bike, you should get one that fits and that you can take to the seller to fix if something goes wrong.  Actually riding the bike should be your focus, not looking at 100 bikes on craigslist and trying to decide if the risk is worth it.

If you get something used off craigslist and it only costs $200, but isn't fit right for you, or the gears are messed up but you don't really know how to fix it (and are expensive to fix at a shop because the bike originally retailed for $1000, so has expensive parts), it's going to be such a pain you'll probably just quit riding because you'll put off fixing it. 

Get a good bike from a local shop who has a warranty or free tune-ups, I got the cheapest one at a local shop, $400 Giant brand hybrid with regular brakes.  I'm also 6'2" with 34" legs. I just hopped on one that my toes comfortably touched the ground while on the seat.  Not too complicated.  I used their free tune-up service twice before I got good at the gearing adjustments (had free tune ups for a year). Once you've gotten used to biking and enjoy it, and have learned how to fix your bike and what you'd want in another one, look into getting a better bike if you want.  Now if you have problems with the new higher end bike, you've still got your reliable one that you know how to fix and can use in a pinch. 

Riding a bike will save you money and improve your health over your lifetime.  Don't put it off because you're hoping to save $200.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 07:11:39 AM by ooeei »

GuitarStv

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2016, 07:18:44 AM »
If your feet both comfortably touch the ground while you're on the saddle, your saddle is probably too low.  A rule of thumb for saddle height adjustment is that you should almost have your leg fully locked at the bottom of the pedal stroke if you put both your heels on the pedal.

EnjoyIt

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2016, 01:00:58 PM »
Thank you all for your help. I finally did it.  I bought my bike on Saturday.

Trek 7.2 FX for $440.  Since then I have taken the bike to buy groceries, and I needed to take the car to get a tire balanced.  Road my bike back home instead of taking 2 cars. 

So far I think I have saved about 6.5 miles of driving and have gotten good exercise as well.  The thing is starting to pay for itself :)


Unfortunately I did not really think of some extra added expenses:
1) Helmet
2) Bike lock
3) Storage mount of some sort in the garage.  right now I just lean it against the wall, but probably should get some kind of on the wall device
4) Maybe a car mount sometime in the future.

A few more questions though:

Do I need a kickstand?
What do you all use for groceries?  Yesterday I just hung them on my handle bars.  Not that big of a deal for a 1.5 mile ride.

This is all so exciting.

GuitarStv

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2016, 01:15:20 PM »
You can get a hook from the hardware store for a couple bucks and then hang the bike from the rear tire off of the ceiling of the garage.  If there isn't enough room for that, use two hooks and hang the bike by both tires.

A kickstand can be nice to have sometimes.  Most of the time though, I find that you can lean the bike against a wall/pole/bench to lock up.

There are many solutions for groceries:
- Backpack (can be hard on your wrists if heavy)
- Panniers (requires a rack, can be expensive)
- Baskets (aesthetically challenging, often can't be easily removed when you're not getting groceries)
- Bike trailer (can be heavy, but tends to have a ton of storage capacity)

EnjoyIt

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2016, 01:52:28 PM »
Cool thanks for the advice.
I will not get a kickstand, I really like those panniers.  But damn they are pricey.  I will buy them after I log some more miles on the bike and find I really need the storage.  So far it is a novelty.  I hope I continue to stick with it well beyond this recent usage.

Uturn

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2016, 02:03:39 PM »
I had a mountain bike, from a "we carry everything" sports store, that I just hated.  HATED it.  But I forced myself to ride it.  After a couple of years of torture, I finally took it to a bike shop, a real bike shop.  I asked the guy why I hated the bike so much, and he immediately said it was too big for me.  I too was just looking for something for running errands and the occasional gravel trail.  Got a correct fitting hybrid and have never regretted it.  Best $400 ever spent.

ooeei

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2016, 02:05:40 PM »
Thank you all for your help. I finally did it.  I bought my bike on Saturday.

Trek 7.2 FX for $440.  Since then I have taken the bike to buy groceries, and I needed to take the car to get a tire balanced.  Road my bike back home instead of taking 2 cars. 

So far I think I have saved about 6.5 miles of driving and have gotten good exercise as well.  The thing is starting to pay for itself :)


Unfortunately I did not really think of some extra added expenses:
1) Helmet
2) Bike lock
3) Storage mount of some sort in the garage.  right now I just lean it against the wall, but probably should get some kind of on the wall device
4) Maybe a car mount sometime in the future.

A few more questions though:

Do I need a kickstand?
What do you all use for groceries?  Yesterday I just hung them on my handle bars.  Not that big of a deal for a 1.5 mile ride.

This is all so exciting.

I used a backpack for groceries with a slightly shorter distance than you have (but some moderate hills).  Wasn't ever a problem.  Granted, that was groceries for a single person who doesn't drink much milk.  I did get a watermelon once, that was a slower than normal ride.

JJsfr

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2016, 02:23:13 PM »
Thank you all for your help. I finally did it.  I bought my bike on Saturday.

Trek 7.2 FX for $440.  Since then I have taken the bike to buy groceries, and I needed to take the car to get a tire balanced.  Road my bike back home instead of taking 2 cars. 

So far I think I have saved about 6.5 miles of driving and have gotten good exercise as well.  The thing is starting to pay for itself :)


Unfortunately I did not really think of some extra added expenses:
1) Helmet
2) Bike lock
3) Storage mount of some sort in the garage.  right now I just lean it against the wall, but probably should get some kind of on the wall device
4) Maybe a car mount sometime in the future.

A few more questions though:

Do I need a kickstand?
What do you all use for groceries?  Yesterday I just hung them on my handle bars.  Not that big of a deal for a 1.5 mile ride.

This is all so exciting.

Congrats. Enjoy the wheels. That's a good bike.

As far as garage storage goes, the hook is the best/efficient system, but racks are easier but expensive. If you're worried about it rolling about, just flip it upside down and rest it on the handle bars/seat (if you have no lights that can get damaged).

Yes, it comes with some additional accessories that cost money, but you'll not think twice about having them if you continue to enjoy riding.

EnjoyIt

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2016, 03:01:52 PM »
. . . .  I did get a watermelon once, that was a slower than normal ride.

I almost fell over giggling thinking about carrying a large seeded watermelon home.

GuitarStv

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2016, 06:29:04 PM »
. . . .  I did get a watermelon once, that was a slower than normal ride.

I almost fell over giggling thinking about carrying a large seeded watermelon home.

I carried a 20 lb pumpkin home for Halloween in a basket lashed to my rear rack from the farmer's market five miles away.  It really takes some getting used to that weight up really high on the bike.  Especially when you stand to climb a hill and start swaying the bike under you as per normal . . .

mountains_o_mustaches

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2016, 06:31:26 PM »
Panniers are really pricey.  I went to an REI garage sale and snagged a pair for $80.  Check Craigslist, REI garage sale, and see if there are any local bike gear swaps near you.  I joined a cycling group that had beginner rides all the way up to advanced ones.  They ended up having a gear swap and I was able to snag some really nice stuff (like nice bike lights and a seat post bag) for free!  Good luck!!

You can get a hook from the hardware store for a couple bucks and then hang the bike from the rear tire off of the ceiling of the garage.  If there isn't enough room for that, use two hooks and hang the bike by both tires.

A kickstand can be nice to have sometimes.  Most of the time though, I find that you can lean the bike against a wall/pole/bench to lock up.

There are many solutions for groceries:
- Backpack (can be hard on your wrists if heavy)
- Panniers (requires a rack, can be expensive)
- Baskets (aesthetically challenging, often can't be easily removed when you're not getting groceries)
- Bike trailer (can be heavy, but tends to have a ton of storage capacity)

GuitarStv

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2016, 06:46:05 PM »
I picked up my panniers several years back when MEC was blowing out their fancy stuff.  Two 20 L rear and two 12 L front panniers for 100$!  Cheap bike stuff is all about playing the waiting game.

Carless

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2016, 07:07:33 PM »
My problem with panniers was that they tended to creep forwards until I started to clip them with my foot, so check that they won't do that.  I also worried they'd get stolen, so I'd take them off the bike every time which was annoying.  Traded those for a large fixed wire basket on the back, much better for me.  Between the backpack (for light things) the basket (for heavy things) and a rear hub mounted trailer (for cases where I go nuts) I'm pretty much set.

Jack

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #30 on: March 22, 2016, 11:27:01 AM »
For carrying relatively small amounts of groceries (up to about watermelon size), I use a  folding basket attached to my rear rack (only on one side; I have a pannier on the other). I also have a trailer for carrying a lot of groceries at once.

dogboyslim

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #31 on: March 22, 2016, 11:51:28 AM »
1) Do I go for a road/mountain/hybrid bike? 
2) Do I go with fancy disc brakes or regular pads?
3) Do I want shock absorber? 
I saw a few other comments that I'm essentially going to echo.  IMO:
1.  A touring bike (really relaxed road bike) or a hybrid bike are probably your best bet.  Hybrid's are less expensive as a rule.  I agree with others, get one that has rack mounts and buy a lightweight rack.
2.  You said you aren't going to go crazy.  Disc brakes are superior (in my experience riding disc and rim brakes) in wet, muddy and icy conditions.  If you aren't going to ride in those conditions, v-brakes that come on typical hybrid bikes are excellent, easy to adjust and easy to maintain.
3.  No.  These are only needed if you are really riding off-road.  If you want a smoother ride, just get a bike that can handle fat (slick) tires.  These will give you a better ride than the shocks.  This is especially true of the cheap shocks that come on the lower grade model bikes.

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #32 on: March 22, 2016, 01:28:16 PM »
OP, with the level of real-world cycling experience you have, it's going to be very hard to get one that will make you happy on your first try. I would very strongly suggest that you buy the shittiest bike you can find, and learn how to take care of it while riding it for a while. I mean like a $15 thrift-store or Craigslist special. I've had so much fun with bikes I bought that way... spend a few bucks fixing, get a sense of pride, learn how to adjust everything, and then sell it for the same $20 or whatever because I figured out what I wanted for the next one.

Jack

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Re: Indecision paralysis [BIKE]
« Reply #33 on: March 22, 2016, 01:34:36 PM »
To dogboyslim and zephyr911: OP already bought the bike (a Trek 7.2 FX). This thread is now about accessories.