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Newbie Bike Questions

Old 11-10-18, 05:12 PM
  #1  
Freestylexgp
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Newbie Bike Questions

So I just bought a cheap diamond back mountain bike (diamondback ascent ex not sure year) for $30 and my most expensive bike was when I was a kid was a chrome mongoose BMX bike. I used to ride bikes all day around my neighborhoods and around town and I want to get back into it so I can commute to work and be more healthy. Anyways, the bike rides really rough compared to others I've had and looks to compared to everyone else who cycles by me. I've never owned that good of a bike but sometimes I can give it my all on my bike and watch some old man sail past me on what seems to me just an overall better/efficient bike. What I want to know is how I can achieve that myself, I assume some of these people are dropping thousands and I don't have near that. Is there any possible way?

I'll probably resell the bike I bought for more and buy a new one but like I said my budget is low. Would anyone be able to help me look around San Diego craigslist for a bike that would ride smoother/more efficiently than all the bad ones I've ever had? My price range is only ~$100 but just looks for the best I can get for it. Also, I ride on the sidewalk mostly as I've haven't ever ridden in the street and some curbs with this bike, even when compared to my old kid bikes, makes my whole body feel pain when going down them.

Not directly related but the diamond back bike I have seems to have too low of handle bars compared to the seat for my liking but when I try and adjust it, it just pulls up the front breaks and locks them. Is this bike not ever supposed to have higher handlebars? Do people who commute to work on road bikes usually have front or back breaks or both? (mine has both)
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Old 11-10-18, 06:30 PM
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There are any number of books or blogs about getting started on a bike.
Roadbikerider.com has an article this week called Road Bike 101 or something like that, which goes through the basics and then some, and has tips about choosing anbd buying a bike.
If there is a bike coop near you, that would also be a good place to start.

If you have knobby tires on your bike, changing to smooth tires would be a start.
The old man that sails past you may ride 3,000+ miles a year for the last 20 years; don't expect to jump on and slay it (unless you are already an endurance athlete in another sport, and maybe not even then).

Last edited by MikeWMass; 11-10-18 at 06:31 PM. Reason: grammatical error
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Old 11-10-18, 09:53 PM
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Go to Walmart and get something like a Roadmaster or a Schwinn with 700 x 32c tires on it. Run the tires at maximum pressure to get a good roll out of them. A new bike at Walmart can be had for $100 to $150. Your average speed on a bike like this will be 10 to 13mph. These type of bikes are called Hybrids. Stay away from big knobby tires. Search online for Walmart Bikes. That Schwinn(see link below) is a decent bike but a bit over your budget.

This is an example of what you want.... https://www.walmart.com/ip/26-Roadmaster-Granite-Peak-Men-s-Mountain-Bike-Black/55376950?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=0&adid=22222222227073604250&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=18518390 4717&wl4=pla-481169132832&wl5=9005508&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=8175035&wl11=online&wl12=55376950&wl13=&veh=sem &gclid=Cj0KCQiAoJrfBRC0ARIsANqkS_7meOB6McgVN-JMPESQEGG709pBk0dkR2x9l2KxDb9WgWaiVKAKaTAaAtXMEALw_wcB

https://www.walmart.com/ip/700C-Mongoose-Hotshot-Men-s-Bike-Black-Orange/143302742?athcpid=143302742&athpgid=athenaItemPage&athcgid=null&athznid=PWVUB&athieid=v0&athstid=CS0 20&athguid=c0166930-32e-16700e761b0aa6&athena=true

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Schwinn-700c-Men-s-Pathway-Multi-Use-Bike/53012856?athcpid=53012856&athpgid=athenaItemPage&athcgid=null&athznid=PWVAV&athieid=v0&athstid=CS020 &athguid=3245afff-de9-16700e8ddd3645&athena=true

Last edited by BirdsBikeBinocs; 11-10-18 at 10:42 PM.
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Old 11-10-18, 10:54 PM
  #4  
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@BirdsBikeBinocs Correction, this type of bikes is called BSO - Bicycle Shaped Object. It is because they are not real bikes though have a similar shape.
@Freestylexgp For $100 your only chance is to find something used. And you'll need to search hard to find something decent at this price point. And prepare to invest more to put it in decent shape. Cheapest new bikes usually start at about $300-$400. And they are sold at bike shops. And they will be very entry level bikes. But not BSO.
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Old 11-11-18, 03:39 PM
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I'm not from San Diego, but most cities have a community bike project that helps folks fix up bikes. It's possible they have frames and parts and could help you put together a decent used road bike.
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Old 11-11-18, 04:47 PM
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Freestylexgop,
Your Diamondback sounds like one of their MTB’s from the early 90’s when Diamondback actually made some nice bikes. It’s a chromoly frame (not as light as some of the frames today), probably has Shimano Exage drivetrain with SIS or Rapidfire shifters. The “slowness” is related to the knobbies and 26” wheels. You might consider trying different tires like Continentals or Schwalbe Marathons.
In terms of the hunched over ride, that’s typical of an 80-90’s MTB with a horizontal toptube. It’s a different geometry than hybrids. Maybe your independent bike dealer can suggest a fix for the hunched over ride but it would probably cost you way more than its worth.
If the frame is in good shape, $30 is a good deal.
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Old 11-11-18, 04:56 PM
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You are going to need at least 300 bucks. star by looking for a cannondale caad or a trek road bike , i bought a trek 1.2 last year and it was a beast for 250 .

If you cant find one of those move on to a racing style 80s road bike thats not super heavy and has some decent wheels and tires .

You will need to make a bike leap to clipless peddles so grab some spd shoes and cleats to start.

Move on to more earo friendly clothes .


Its a slow prosses you just adapt over time . most of us start on cheap baby bikes . the sooner your upgrade your understanding of what you need to increase your speed and efficiency you will be right on your way .
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Old 11-11-18, 06:13 PM
  #8  
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Gotta tell you, you're going to go a bit faster and a whole lot more comfortable if you start riding in the street. Bouncing up and down curbs is not doing yourself any favors, and you'll never get to build up momentum. It's also probably more dangerous than staying in the street making yourself more visible to cars before you get to the intersection, and you're way more likely to get hit by a car pulling out of a driveway if you're on the sidewalk.

Ignore everything in Teamprovicycle's post. He's talking about kitting you out for racing, and you're just trying to get used to some light commuting. I ride platform pedals, and I cruise in the low 20s, so that stuff about needing expensive spd shoes to gain speed at your level is complete nonsense, likewise with the expensive aero clothes.
I agree with the other posters that $100 is really unlikely to be enough to buy a better bike, and that the money would probably be better invested in smoother tires. But seriously, get off of the sidewalk. If nothing else, you'll lose two to four jarring bumps per block, but I think the confidence you'll gain knowing you can handle your bike on the street is probably about a 2 mph boost right there.
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Old 11-12-18, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Freestylexgp View Post
Not directly related but the diamond back bike I have seems to have too low of handle bars compared to the seat for my liking but when I try and adjust it, it just pulls up the front breaks and locks them. Is this bike not ever supposed to have higher handlebars? Do people who commute to work on road bikes usually have front or back breaks or both? (mine has both)

Can you adjust the brake cables when you raise the handlebars?

I also like to have bar ends on flat bar bikes to let me move my hands around.
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Old 11-12-18, 11:29 AM
  #10  
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$100 means either stumbling into something good (can be done, but not reliably or predictably), or picking something that can mostly be fixed with common tools and putting a lot of elbow grease into it while only replacing the most basic of consumables.

Secondly, WRT your link, search the BIKE section (not all of CL witht he search "bike"), and up your limit. Most of CL is priced with the expectation of barganing. Look at this: https://sandiego.craigslist.org/sear...&max_price=130

Third, what size are you, and what are you realistically looking to do with the bike to help guide you towards something relevant. If you're slowly riding on sidewalks only, that is different than what I'd recommend for weekend group rides.

Without knowing two and three, some ideas:
https://sandiego.craigslist.org/ssd/...746660618.html
https://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/...742652563.html
https://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/...721874635.html
https://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/...744833296.html
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Old 11-12-18, 11:56 AM
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What happened with the bike you were going to buy more than 2 years ago?
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Old 11-12-18, 11:58 AM
  #12  
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I'm the 80 y.o. man riding 3000 miles annually. I began about 8 years ago with a bike from a consignment store that cost me $80. It was in inexpensive bike when new, heavy, but still ran fine after 20 years. I kept it for some hundreds of miles and eventually determined it was too big for me. The new bike currently has 24,000 miles which I find astonishing. But that is what happens when ride on a bike that fits well, you end up riding often.

My recommendation is you spend some time reading posts here and dedicate some time to shop. In addition to Walmart, check out consignment stores and Craig List. Some bike shops will also have some used bikes. Get a good idea of what is available and what it might cost. Then ride and then ride some more. The more you ride the faster you will get. Good luck.
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Old 11-12-18, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
$100 means either stumbling into something good (can be done, but not reliably or predictably), or picking something that can mostly be fixed with common tools and putting a lot of elbow grease into it while only replacing the most basic of consumables.

Secondly, WRT your link, search the BIKE section (not all of CL witht he search "bike"), and up your limit. Most of CL is priced with the expectation of barganing. Look at this: https://sandiego.craigslist.org/sear...&max_price=130

Third, what size are you, and what are you realistically looking to do with the bike to help guide you towards something relevant. If you're slowly riding on sidewalks only, that is different than what I'd recommend for weekend group rides.

Without knowing two and three, some ideas:
https://sandiego.craigslist.org/ssd/...746660618.html
https://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/...742652563.html
https://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/...721874635.html
https://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/...744833296.html

Nice job--I'd probably suggest this person stay away from down tube shifters though. OP sounds pretty nervous about their bike handling skills already.
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Old 11-12-18, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by berner View Post
I'm the 80 y.o. man riding 3000 miles annually. I began about 8 years ago with a bike from a consignment store that cost me $80. It was in inexpensive bike when new, heavy, but still ran fine after 20 years. I kept it for some hundreds of miles and eventually determined it was too big for me. The new bike currently has 24,000 miles which I find astonishing. But that is what happens when ride on a bike that fits well, you end up riding often.

My recommendation is you spend some time reading posts here and dedicate some time to shop. In addition to Walmart, check out consignment stores and Craig List. Some bike shops will also have some used bikes. Get a good idea of what is available and what it might cost. Then ride and then ride some more. The more you ride the faster you will get. Good luck.
Total respect! That's a lot of riding for someone STARTING in their 70s.

Reading between the lines and the OP's history of threads going way back about how they're about to get started, I sense that this is a person who is really nervous about riding. As someone who came to it at your age, do you have any advice how OP could work on that anxiety?

I'm not the only one who thinks an adult confining their riding to sidewalks is pretty unusual, right?
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Old 11-13-18, 02:06 PM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Bothrops View Post
Freestylexgop,
Your Diamondback sounds like one of their MTB’s from the early 90’s when Diamondback actually made some nice bikes. It’s a chromoly frame (not as light as some of the frames today), probably has Shimano Exage drivetrain with SIS or Rapidfire shifters. The “slowness” is related to the knobbies and 26” wheels. You might consider trying different tires like Continentals or Schwalbe Marathons.
In terms of the hunched over ride, that’s typical of an 80-90’s MTB with a horizontal toptube. It’s a different geometry than hybrids. Maybe your independent bike dealer can suggest a fix for the hunched over ride but it would probably cost you way more than its worth.
If the frame is in good shape, $30 is a good deal.
THIS.
Just get some new, lighter, thinner, smoother tires, and make sure everything on the bike is working smoothly (e.g. that you can use all gears, so you can keep your pace up like the folks flying by you).
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Old 11-13-18, 02:14 PM
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Better equipment helps, but not as much as most people expect. Better performance is mostly in the motor.
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Old 11-14-18, 10:05 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
Better equipment helps, but not as much as most people expect. Better performance is mostly in the motor.
This!

The small marginal differences you get from equipment changes are all the more reason that $100 needs to be spent very strategically to notice a difference. Mostly, you're just trying to reduce the amount your motor has to fight the machine.
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Old 11-15-18, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by teasel View Post
I'm not from San Diego, but most cities have a community bike project that helps folks fix up bikes. It's possible they have frames and parts and could help you put together a decent used road bike.
A much better option than Walmart... I'm sorry, that place makes me want to barf! We have a community bike project in Reno, and the staff is incredibly friendly and helpful with whatever you are looking for even if it's an odd sized thing or part for an older bike. A quick search came up with Bikes Del Pueblo in San Diego: they could perhaps even help you set up your existing bike more for riding on the road and swap out things like stem or handlebars to make the fit better, all very cheaply since their parts stock most likely comes from donations. They could also probably set you up with some better tires for riding on pavement.
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Old 11-15-18, 05:13 PM
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I want to buy a bike TVS Zest, I think it's a great and inexpensive option. This will allow me to conveniently get to work. Do you think it's a good option?

Last edited by Gaarg; 11-30-18 at 12:44 PM.
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