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What kind of bike should I buy?


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I've decided to buy a bike for riding on bike paths and through residential/ downtown roads. I might eventually want to ride it to work on the street if I get comfortable, but that will be a while if it happens.

I haven't had a bike since probably middle school and last time I tried to ride one I borrowed I had a ton of trouble staying steady. I was never amazing on a bike but I used to be at least comfortable on fairly level ground and I'd like to be so again.

So my question to you is what kind of bike should I look for? I am thinking maybe a hybrid but I don't really know much about my options. I'm looking to buy something on the low end of a bike price range, like maybe a few hundred. I'll definitely look at used options too once I know what kind I'm looking for and I get fitted at a bike store.

Gargoyle Ranger | Level 46

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My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

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A hybrid or city bike sounds exactly like what you're looking for. You can definitely get something nice for a few hundred dollars.

I haven't worked in a shop for many years, so my hybrid information is way out of date, but... I really like the Bianchi Milano, it has an internally geared hub instead of dérailleurs so it's easy to shift and maintain, it's fun to ride, and it looks spiffy. If my wife would let me buy more bikes I'd get one as a "dad" bike. I think they run $5 or $600 these days. At a lower price point, I can't make any specific recommendations, but I used to be impressed with the hybrids that Specialized and Marin made. Raleigh is making nice bikes these days too.

Have fun.

“We might as well start where we are, use what we have and do what we can." – Caitlin Rivers

Sloth: The Man with the Hammer battle log

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A quick overview of bike styles.

If you're looking to bike for leisure instead of for a workout, a fixed-gear bike might be a good option. They only have the one gear so you won't win any road races, but they're good for casually tooling around, and craigslist usually has a big pool of used ones for relatively cheap. Plus some of them look pretty cool with the fenders and basket. :D

Another deciding factor might be if your bike paths are decently paved. I have a road bike (Mercier, bought used for $300) and my bf has a hybrid (Diamondback, bought new at, what, $400-something?). Both good bikes, but I can't join him on the dirt paths, and badly pitted paved trails get dodgy. On the other hand, I feel like the Flash on good pavement in comparison.

Hope you find one you fall in love with!

Wood Elf Ranger

LEVEL 1, It don't mean a thing if I don't hear that ding: My Epic Quest

 

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Hmmm. The bike path near me is well paved with asphalt or concrete in different parts, but I don't like the idea of being limited to only paved roads in case I try to ride somewhere different in the future. I don't need to go super fast either. 

 

Thanks! That pretty much solidifies my desire to get a hybrid. Are there any other aspects of the bike I should consider? Someone mentioned I should use toe clips. 

Gargoyle Ranger | Level 46

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My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

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No. You don't need toe clips. If you feel you want a more stable platform and a more secure grip, I'd start with swapping out the stock pedals for some decent platform pedals (BMX style) and wearing skate shoes. I switched to that combo, even for the mountain bike I race, and I'm super happy with it.

The seat will decide if you enjoy your bike or not. Make sure you're happy with it before you leave the shop.

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“We might as well start where we are, use what we have and do what we can." – Caitlin Rivers

Sloth: The Man with the Hammer battle log

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I'd really suggest finding a local bike shop!  I'd advise staying away from chain stores (Target, Walmart, Dick's Sporting Goods) I've seen bikes put together incorrectly; read unsafe to ride.  The people who work at the local shop love bikes and want you to love your bike!  I Agree with Shcrodinger you're probably going to end up liking a hybrid bicycle, but go ride a few see what you like, ride a few different styles, some with fat tires, some with skinny tires, some where you're leaning over a little, some where you're more up right!  I'd say unless you really know what you're looking for I'd stay away from used, some people are just quick to make a sale instead of if the bike is actually the right fit for you.  Also a plus for when you buy a new bike from a shop you'll get a free tune up in 60-90 days, and usually a discount on gear when you buy the bike.  

 

Other things you might want to consider is if you want room for fenders if you're going to be riding through wet or muddy areas, maybe a rear rack if you want to carry things not in a backpack, rear blinking light if you're going to be riding at dawn/dusk on the street. 

 

Finally: Please wear a helmet! 

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If you're bored with life, if you don't get up every morning with a burning desire to do things - you don't have enough goals. - Lou Holtz

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Natoney, please call me Sloth.  I agree with everything you wrote.  If you go to Target you might find a bike for $200, whereas at a bike shop they will likely start at $329.  But for that $130 you will get something that rides smoother, is more durable, and most importantly can be easily repaired when needed.

“We might as well start where we are, use what we have and do what we can." – Caitlin Rivers

Sloth: The Man with the Hammer battle log

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Ok, so I went to the first local bike shop on my list and struck out. They didn't offer very professional advice on the fit, and all of their bikes started at 500+. Their used bikes were all department store bikes as far as I could tell.

 

On the bright side, I got to practice riding a little. I'm sooo wobbly on a bike. As in, if I could make the pedals turn three times without stopping I felt accomplished. It kind of makes me nervous that I'll have trouble re-learning how to ride! But it also makes testing the bikes sort of challenging.

Gargoyle Ranger | Level 46

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My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

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I have now been to four bike shops ,although one was out of business and one only did repair, so only 2/4 actually sell bikes. I found exactly ONE hybrid at the second shop in my size (I'm 5'2"). It's a Raleigh Route 3.0 and I admit I quite liked it. It's a little flashy for something to ride to the grocery store and leave outside while I shop, so I'm a bit nervous about that aspect. I'm definitely going to look around more first.

Gargoyle Ranger | Level 46

2021 challenges:  46 (current)

2015-2020 challenges: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 |15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 || 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 || 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 || 43 | 44 | 45

 

My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

Link to post

I have now been to four bike shops ,although one was out of business and one only did repair, so only 2/4 actually sell bikes. I found exactly ONE hybrid at the second shop in my size (I'm 5'2"). It's a Raleigh Route 3.0 and I admit I quite liked it. It's a little flashy for something to ride to the grocery store and leave outside while I shop, so I'm a bit nervous about that aspect. I'm definitely going to look around more first.

Sounds like a good option. I'm also looking for a bike now, and decided to go for a hybrid. I will also get fenders, rare rack, rear lights. Great advice from Newbie. Tell us what you'll buy in the end.

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NeverThatBored if they have Raleigh bikes check to see if they have the Alysa 1 or 2 (or 8 which has an internal hub as Sloth suggested).  

 

Unless you're in an urban area with a high bike theft rate a simple bike lock should keep most bicycles safe.

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If you're bored with life, if you don't get up every morning with a burning desire to do things - you don't have enough goals. - Lou Holtz

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Hmm, thanks for the tip! I'll ask them about the Alyssa 1, 2, or 8. It looks like those are road bikes and I'm looking for a hybrid, but it wouldn't hurt to try them.

 

I'm also going to be going home to my parents' for vacation next week, and my dad used to be a cyclist so he'll take me to try out some bikes there. It's all the way across the country so I don't know how that'll work, but we'll see how it goes!

 

Thanks for the reassurance about the bike lock too. :) 

Gargoyle Ranger | Level 46

2021 challenges:  46 (current)

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My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

Link to post

A Huffy!  WITH PEGS!  And hopefully painted flames.

 

I don't speak bike! What are these things of which you speak? :P

Gargoyle Ranger | Level 46

2021 challenges:  46 (current)

2015-2020 challenges: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 |15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 || 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 || 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 || 43 | 44 | 45

 

My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

Link to post

Sorry kind of late to the party again, the only reason I suggested the Alysa vs Route is because you loose a lot of power and (in my opinion) don't gain that much comfort from the front shock of the Route.

 

The geometry of the frames and the aluminum they use now give a very smooth ride!

 

But again, buy what you're going to use, then use the heck out of it!

 

Just know that when you get bitten by the bicycle bug it bites hard!  I have had at the most four at once (they were all different) now I'm down to two!

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If you're bored with life, if you don't get up every morning with a burning desire to do things - you don't have enough goals. - Lou Holtz

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Thanks! :) 

 

I tried another bike (I don't remember what kind) yesterday and wasn't in love with it. It was pricey and I'm traveling so transport would have been hard. I at least confirmed that I ride a 15 inch frame though! 

 

I'm going to try to rent a bike tomorrow and get in some practice to feel more stable again. 

Gargoyle Ranger | Level 46

2021 challenges:  46 (current)

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My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

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I'd look into lower-end bikes from a higher-end company.  Chances are, you're getting the same frame as their higher-end model from the same line, but with cheaper components that you'll be able to upgrade as you need to down the road.

 

Used bikes, especially if you know a good bike mechanic, can also be a great value.

PR's

5k - 21:29

10k - 47:26 43:29

21.1 - 2:05:26 1:44:21

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I ended up buying a Raleigh Route 4.0! I'm pretty happy with it~

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Gargoyle Ranger | Level 46

2021 challenges:  46 (current)

2015-2020 challenges: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 |15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 || 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 || 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 || 43 | 44 | 45

 

My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

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Thank you for all the advice!

Gargoyle Ranger | Level 46

2021 challenges:  46 (current)

2015-2020 challenges: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 |15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 || 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 || 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 || 43 | 44 | 45

 

My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

Link to post

Totally late to the party, but I love my Hybrid. I'm a very casual rider (normally have one of those super fashionable kiddie trailers attached to it), and I've found it really, really easy to navigate. I love that the frame is so light- it gives me confidence that I could carry it home if I needed to. 

 

Happy riding! 

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WarriorAmy
{Insert motivational script here}
STR - 4|DEX - 2|STA - 6|CON - 4 |WIS - 6|CHA- 5
 

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Thanks! I took it out for a ride after I bought it and had a lot of fun, though I need some practice going in a straight line and some practice to get over my nerves about hills. I'm hoping eventually I'll feel up for riding around town. 

 

Carrying it up three flights of stairs to my apartment was less fun, so I'll have to be careful not to let that deter me from riding. 

Gargoyle Ranger | Level 46

2021 challenges:  46 (current)

2015-2020 challenges: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 |15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 || 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 || 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 || 43 | 44 | 45

 

My epic quest | MEATBALL WARS

You don't get better at anything unless you start doing it.

Being alive is heckn swell. 

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