Author Topic: Recommend a bike  (Read 1722 times)


  • Stubble
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Recommend a bike
« on: June 11, 2015, 08:31:26 AM »
I'm tall (6'4" with much of my height in my legs) and need a commuter bike. Commute is about 3.5 miles one way. I'm not into bike racing or anything like that, just need something to get me to and from work and maybe hitch one of those kid strollers to for trips to the park. Suggestions? What inch frame should I get? What make/model? I'd rather not spend over $400.


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Re: Recommend a bike
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2015, 02:35:54 PM »
Start looking on CL or equivalent used market in your area. Normally you'd be looking at a hybrid with a "21 inch" frame. Hybrids are sized by distance between center of crank to the top of the seat tube.

In my area, hybrids in those size frames can be found semi-regularly used. Models include Trek FX, Giant Escape, and Specialized Sirrus. $200-$400 is good price territory for used bikes.

Besides CL, many cities have bike co-ops that have very cheap used bikes, often Frankensteined together but still good parts. Some bike shops will carry both used and new bikes.

If you end up needing to buy new, I think the Giants will price out cheapest new of the major name brands. $400 is right at the bottom end of where bikes make the transition from junk that doesn't last to things worth actually spending $ on. Even among "bike shop" quality bikes, you ideally will want the step up from the bottom. For example, the Trek FX 7.1 has no mounts for fenders or racks (at least in the past) but stepping up to the 7.2 gets you those.

The advantage of used besides raw price is the ability to resell for what you paid if/when you want a different bike. Often biking for a year will teach you a lot about what you want in a bike. Pretty frequent for people to want or even need a different bike than the first one they got seriously into riding on.

In past, people have posted CL ads from their city to get feedback on whether a used bike looked promising.

Kiwi Mustache

  • Stubble
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Re: Recommend a bike
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2015, 05:21:08 PM »
I have one of these.

I have a rack and x2 30 litre panniers on the back and commute 7miles/11km to work one way. 14miles/22km return.

I considered getting a road or hybrid bike but trailed a few at the local bike store and found these the most comfortable.

I know quite a bit about bikes and have been road cycling for 5-6 years. I looked at saving a hundred dollars or so by buying 2nd hand but found that spending the bit of extra money on a new, reliable and non problematic bike the better option for low/mid range mountain bikes.


  • Bristles
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Re: Recommend a bike
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2015, 06:00:19 PM »
Don't buy a bike off craigslist unless you know what you're looking for.  Go to several different bike shops.  Have them size you for a frame (some will charge you for this, some will do it for free; don't pay too much for this, you're only looking at a 20 minute bike ride).  Once you know what type of bike you're roughly looking for, try renting or borrowing a bike.  Or buy one from a bike shop that allows you to return it w/in 30 days no questions asked.  Do that 3.5mi work trip with the test bike.  Figure out if you need lots of gears, or can get away with a cheap single or 3 speed. 

Now that you've figured out size, type, and gears, you're ready to actually buy one.  Unless your commute is really hilly, I suspect that you can get a cheap bike from the bike shop or online with minimal gearing.  Leave craigslist to people who are more experienced with bikes, and can identify problems with used bikes.

There are lots of places online with bikes in your price range.  Bikesdirect, Public bikes, etc.  You might also find some deals at a local bike shop or REI.  If you buy from a bike shop, make sure it comes w/ 6 months to a year's worth of free tuneups.  If you buy one online, pay attention as to whether you'll need to put it together.  Sometimes it's worth paying extra to have a bike assembled and tuned up for you.  Sometimes it's not.

Once you realize how awesome your commute is and how reliant you've become on the bike, learn how to fix it yourself.  Even if you don't actually do the work yourself, you'll at least know if a bike shop is feeding you a line of bullshit or not.

Also, find the bike shop where, when you bring in your bike and complain that it's making a weird noise, they spend 2 seconds tightening a loose bolt, don't charge you for it, and also don't make you feel like an idiot.  Those are the good ones.