Author Topic: How much bike do I need?  (Read 4308 times)

NorCal

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How much bike do I need?
« on: May 18, 2015, 05:57:58 PM »
I currently have a cheap bike I got for nearly nothing in grad school.  I don't normally bike a lot, but I'm probably going to end up being unemployed for a (hopefully) short period here soon.  I'd like to pick up biking for the exercise and some errands while I have the time to do so.  However, I expect my biking to go back to only occasional (every few months) use once I eventually get a new job.

Last time I rode my current bike, I managed to bend the wheel so bad it hits the frame.  It also needs some serious maintenance on just about everything else.  To top it off, the bike frame is too large for me, it's heavy, and I live on a hill.

I'm thinking I should get a new bike. 

Given that I plan to use it intensely for a few months, but occasionally thereafter, what should I be looking for?  I obviously don't need the $1,000+ road bikes.  But it would be good to get something light enough that I can actually make it to my house on the hill.  I don't have enough knowledge of bikes to effectively use Craigslist.

Syonyk

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Re: How much bike do I need?
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2015, 06:09:57 PM »
If you can swing it, spend the $500 or so on a decent low end commuter bike from a proper bike shop.  That's going to be a decent enough bicycle that you're not going to be dealing with crap for frame and components, and not absurdly expensive.

Below that, you start to get things chosen for cost as opposed to for any actual quality.

If you got a bike for nearly free, it's almost certainly cheap junk, and will be dreadfully inefficient to move around on, and keep breaking things as you use it.

Alternately, learn to repair bikes, but that's not a trivial solution.

NorCal

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Re: How much bike do I need?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2015, 10:32:29 AM »
Much appreciated.  That's the direction I was leaning, but good to hear it confirmed.

I did take another look at my old bike last night.  After a bit of internet research it looks like it actually has some quality components, but has just been horribly maintained.  I'll probably take it into a shop for a quote on full repair & refurb.  Cost will determine whether it's a fix or buy decision.

Learner

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Re: How much bike do I need?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2015, 11:14:16 AM »

GuitarStv

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Re: How much bike do I need?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2015, 11:34:23 AM »
If the bike is half decent, it's worth learning to fix things on your own.  There's a little learning curve, but this skill just gets pays off more with time and will save you a boatload of money.  Having an older and somewhat beaten up bike is a great way to learn.

When you do decide that you want a nicer bike you'll know how to take care of it.

Jeremy E.

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Re: How much bike do I need?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2015, 12:14:28 PM »
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/fantom_cross_cx2.htm
This would probably work pretty well for you.

Syonyk

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Re: How much bike do I need?
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2015, 12:27:24 PM »
If the bike is half decent, it's worth learning to fix things on your own.  There's a little learning curve, but this skill just gets pays off more with time and will save you a boatload of money.  Having an older and somewhat beaten up bike is a great way to learn.

Yeah, it really depends on what the bike is.

If it's a solid frame and decent quality components that was obtained cheaply because it was taking up space and had two flat tires, that's one thing - maintaining that yourself is quite reasonable, and it'll be a good bike after some work.

If it's a $150 Walmart mountain bike, no matter what you do, it's still going to be crap, and if you do manage to get it to behave properly, it'll probably break in two shortly afterwards.

Rheagar

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Re: How much bike do I need?
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2015, 01:22:44 PM »
Something like a Trek 7.2 FX sounds like it would be good for you. It's ~500 bucks and a good multi-purpose hybrid bike. Decent components, fast, sturdy. Good for commuting, errands, or fun rides. There are similar bikes out there but when I was shopping I found the 7.2 FX to be the best bang for the buck. I put a rack and a bag on mine and I use it all the time. Loving it so far!

DrJD

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Re: How much bike do I need?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2015, 04:17:13 AM »
I have the Trek 7.4 which was around $700 but feels like a bit much for OP.  However, I totally second this suggestion as I recently rode my brothers 7.2 and it was a great bike for the price. 

NorCal

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Re: How much bike do I need?
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2015, 11:22:32 AM »
Thank you for the excellent suggestions!  I now at least feel confident enough to walk into a bike store and have a baseline of what I'm asking for.

With the links above, I researched my existing bike a bit more.  It's a "Jamis Citizen", at least a decade old.  It seems to have decent, but not great components based on the sites provided.  It's also a bit heavy for the hill I live on. 

I'll get a quote to fix and service the bike.  If it's a significant hit, I'll look at some of the suggestions provided.

klystomane

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Re: How much bike do I need?
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2015, 02:24:42 PM »