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Help me pick my first bike

Old 04-18-20, 05:01 PM
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Davethesave50
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Help me pick my first bike

So Iím 52 in good health I live in White House Tennessee I have a lot of open roads and trails so I want to start exploring Tennessee on my bike I donít wanna spend more than $400 on a bike and Iím not gonna go off roading with it I need good suggestions hereís a couple that Iíve looked at let me know if you have any thoughts on any of these bikes. Upland x90 26 inch and. Vilano 2.0 mtb 21 speed, last one is the Trek 820. Any other suggestions let me know. Im open

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Old 04-18-20, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Davethesave50 View Post
Any other suggestions let me know. Im open

Dave...IMO what you need to do is borrow a friend's bike and just start riding. Figure out what you want and don't want for YOUR bike. You may find that you aren't really into cycling that much after all. Or, you may discover that for all the things you want in a bike you'll have to spend much more than your $400 limit...which BTW isn't going to get you the highest quality bike. But, if you discover that you do want to ride, but just not so much...maybe a <$400 is for you. Asking us to pick a bike for you is like asking us to pick a car for you to drive. If you wanted an SUV and we told you sedan... Well, you get my point. Just borrow a bike a do some riding first. Then think about what you want/don't want on your own bike. Good luck.

Dan
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Old 04-18-20, 09:58 PM
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For $400.00 or much less, you can get a very good Japanese (made in Japan) road bike from the 1980's. These typically have drop handlebars (racing type) but can be replaced with more comfortable riser bars.

1980's era Japan made road bikes are high quality, and reliable, regardless of the original price-point. They are also very easy to restore and maintain, which is not the case for current made bikes which can be complicated and expensive to repair.
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Old 04-18-20, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_ View Post
Dave...IMO what you need to do is borrow a friend's bike and just start riding. Figure out what you want and don't want for YOUR bike. You may find that you aren't really into cycling that much after all. Or, you may discover that for all the things you want in a bike you'll have to spend much more than your $400 limit...which BTW isn't going to get you the highest quality bike. But, if you discover that you do want to ride, but just not so much...maybe a <$400 is for you. Asking us to pick a bike for you is like asking us to pick a car for you to drive. If you wanted an SUV and we told you sedan... Well, you get my point. Just borrow a bike a do some riding first. Then think about what you want/don't want on your own bike. Good luck.

Dan
​​​​​​Very well said, Dan.
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Old 04-18-20, 11:59 PM
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How far do you think you might ride/

I assume you live in either hilly or mountainous terrain?

Do you own a bike? Have you ever owned a bike?

What is your general fitness level?

Are you interested in going fast, going long, or both? Would you see yourself carrying much gear, or minimal gear?

Have you visited any local bike shops?

I would probably suggest going to the web pages of Giant, Fuji, Trek, Specialized, and Cannondale and seeing what is generally on the market. I would also suggest going to BikesDirect. When you start to understand component groups and bike prices generally, you might be able to refine your search..

Also, go to as many local shops as you can --- but Leave Your Money at Home. Get as many test rides of as many different makes and models as possible. This will help you narrow your search and will also help you learn what frame sizes fit you best.

Finally .... you really need to decide how appealing cycling seems, and how and why if possible.

There are a few seemingly (I have not done serious scientific research it is all anecdotal) scenarios:

A.) Someone gets all hyped to go riding, buys a lot of bike, and parks it in his/her garage because it turns out that s/he doesn't like cycling that much. This is the best scenario, because three years later that person sells the bike for a third of its initial price, and someone who wants to ride gets a super deal.

The second is that someone buys junk, likes riding, and has to spend a decent chunk of money later on to get a bike worth riding. often it works out that the person also go the wrong type of bike for the sort of riding s/he actually wanted to a do--which often turns out to be very different that what the person imagined.

This is not a great scenario because sometimes the person spent a couple of a few hundred dollars only to find that the money was wasted on a bike which was not good enough, not the right type, and which has next to zero resale value.

This scenario has an upside, though---if the person rides the crappy bike enough to realize what /she really wants to do with a bike, that person can then go and buy a decent, low-cost (not K-Mart cheap, but reasonable) bike which will last for a decade or several.

Used bikes can be great deals--or total money pits. If you don't know enough to be sure one way or ... well, roll the dice, I guess. But you will Not be happy when the bike which seemed so great when you bought it, starts making odd noises and stops working---and less pleased when you take it to a shop and the repair bill is more than the sale price.

Seriously, unless hundreds of dollars is chump change to you ... Do the research. The perfect bike in the wrong size s an unrideable bike. The wrong type off bike in the right size won't get ridden. Look at what is out there online, and if any shops are open where you live, visit all of them, and ride every bike below $1000.

Also, ask at every shop if they have any leftover 2019 or 2018 models in your size. Sometimes you can get really good deals because the shops want to move old merchandise./

This serves another purpose. Unless you already know or want to learn bike mechanics (it is pretty easy and the tools are cheap) you will eventually need to take the bike to the shop. if you know which shops employ good people and which .... are different, then you will know where to go if you need to. And maybe, after a lot of thought and a lot of research, you might find that he best shop has a decent deal on a bike you like.
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Old 04-19-20, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
For $400.00 or much less, you can get a very good Japanese (made in Japan) road bike from the 1980's. These typically have drop handlebars (racing type) but can be replaced with more comfortable riser bars.

1980's era Japan made road bikes are high quality, and reliable, regardless of the original price-point. They are also very easy to restore and maintain, which is not the case for current made bikes which can be complicated and expensive to repair.
yeah, they are very easy to restore and maintain ... if you know the different parts standards, have the specialized tools, if you even know where to look for what you need .... if you even know what you need.

How can a person who couldn't find a wheel bearing know if the wheel bearings needed to be repacked? How could a person who didn't know what a bottom bracket was, figure out which of the many different standards and sizes he needed? (For instance, does his bike need a JIS or a BSA BB ... French? Italian? .... is it a cottered crank with exposed loose bearings in a race or a cotterless, bolted crank with sealed bearings? And if he got a Raleigh---they have their own propriety BB thread pitch and diameter which is just close enough to BSA that you can ruin the BB shell if you don't get a Raleigh BB---which of course Raleigh hasn't made in 30 years. And he doesn't even know what the heck a BB is.)

You have to think like a person who has never ridden a bike, when giving advice to a person who has never ridden a bike

This guy doesn't want to learn to restore old bikes ... he wants to ride bikes. And while restoring a bike is fun and easy for you---and is also something you love to do----most people just want to ride a bike, and he would have to learn everything you learned---and I know a lot gets learned through trial and error----before he would even get to see if he liked riding a bike.

Last edited by Maelochs; 04-19-20 at 12:09 AM.
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Old 04-19-20, 01:03 AM
  #7  
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Dan (ForceD) gave great advice.
There is no shame in starting with some beater, or cheapie, or borrowed bicycle.
You'll find your own compass and you'll get a definite reference point for the things you really don't like and what you like.
So many well meaning folks often chime in suggesting this particular lightweight road bike or that particular lightweight road bike....
......You Have To Remember That They Are Passionate and Enthusiastic and often they are Very Seasoned and So Trained That They Could Be Counted As The Highest Level Amateur Cyclists........
You have to remember that the gearing, set-up, and overall equipment that these enthusiasts may suggest might only be realistically applicable for someone currently with a moderate level of expertise or greater in road cycling as well as better than average physical fitness. No disrespect to anyone but for example someone that has never played any musical instrument, gets a guitar...................well there is little chance of them playing an open mic or a gig in a bar within two months even under the best circumstances............................... Yes, to better aid yourself(or anyone...etc) to learn to play a guitar, one needs one that is "decent enough & playable--without serious faults". What does this mean? It simply means that the instrument has to have the action such that its possible for the newbie to fret chords within at least the first five frets......better if the action is uniform enough through the first twelve frets allowing making chords beyond the fifth fret..... You cannot have something with a back bowed neck or warped twisted neck or anything that causes the fretboard to be unplayable... It makes no difference if what the newbie begins learning on a $50 Chinese no-name or a $6000 Fender, Gibson, or Martin. You only need something decent enough to begin. Yes, there are sound and tonal differences in the quality level of musical instruments. A beginner (newbie) is going to make the same horrific, barely musical sounds as he/she learns such that it makes zero difference, only that whatever make/brand of guitar is decent enough & playable without serious faults. Think of your bicycle journey with that same perspective.
Unlike with a musical instrument, you'll learn what you like and dislike in a particular bicycle in probably 3 weeks to a month, possibly sooner than that if you ride a lot.
Whatever bicycle that you do begin with, you need to make certain that the tires are not too old and that the brakes function like new. I say never leave home without wearing a bicycle helmet while riding your bicycle anywhere. Any brand new bicycle helmet from Walmart / Target that fits your head size is adequate. Do not buy a used or old helmet! You need not spend anymore than what a brand new bicycle helmet from Walmart costs. They all meet minimum standards which exceed the ancient standards for really old bike helmets. Wear a helmet, a new one....... if you prefer something snazzy or expensive from somewhere else like your local bike shop or some national online bike parts seller, then do buy that new helmet that you like the best regardless of the cost......just make sure that you wear one.
Some folks don't share my enthusiasm for helmet wearing and just don't wear one. Ultimately it is your choice.
Your first bike whether its something borrowed, or a free or low cost beater isn't gonna define you. It simply is gonna give you input and essential hands on knowledge of what you realistically will want in chosing the bike that is totally what you want................................as you'll learn this becomes fun and addictive in a good way and you'll likely have fun with each successive one.
Read up and learn about gearing because that is vitally important to maximum enjoyment for how and where you will ride. As I mentioned earlier, someone that is a Triathlon winner or as good as you'd expect from someone not named Lance, is gonna have gearing that is close-ratio for someone that is a super-athlete. Those folks don't generally need the hill climbing gears that normal fit mortals need.
Some folks get carried away and get the equipment of their heroes only to find that it is somewhat ill-suited to them at this point in time.
It happens in every sport and hobby. Clubs with specs exactly like Tiger's and a Strat with the exact specs of EC's 'Blackie' or 'Brownie".......
They might be biting off more than they can chew. Maybe not, because unlike bicycling, there are a large number of folks who just buy new stuff and never really use it. Tiger's replica set and EC's tribute axe can become simply display home furnishings in the corner of a room or mounted on the wall to impress friends/neighbors/and family members. A bicycle is easy enough to ride and enjoy. The are no laws against owning more than one, although realistically your wife might have some number in mind that you probably want to either respect or tactfully negotiate.
Have fun! Ride On!
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Old 04-19-20, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
yeah, they are very easy to restore and maintain ... if you know the different parts standards, have the specialized tools, if you even know where to look for what you need .... if you even know what you need.

How can a person who couldn't find a wheel bearing know if the wheel bearings needed to be repacked? How could a person who didn't know what a bottom bracket was, figure out which of the many different standards and sizes he needed? (For instance, does his bike need a JIS or a BSA BB ... French? Italian? .... is it a cottered crank with exposed loose bearings in a race or a cotterless, bolted crank with sealed bearings? And if he got a Raleigh---they have their own propriety BB thread pitch and diameter which is just close enough to BSA that you can ruin the BB shell if you don't get a Raleigh BB---which of course Raleigh hasn't made in 30 years. And he doesn't even know what the heck a BB is.)

You have to think like a person who has never ridden a bike, when giving advice to a person who has never ridden a bike

This guy doesn't want to learn to restore old bikes ... he wants to ride bikes. And while restoring a bike is fun and easy for you---and is also something you love to do----most people just want to ride a bike, and he would have to learn everything you learned---and I know a lot gets learned through trial and error----before he would even get to see if he liked riding a bike.
How foolish of me. Maybe you can contact the moderator and have my irresponsible post deleted.

Last edited by branko_76; 04-19-20 at 02:51 AM.
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Old 04-19-20, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Davethesave50 View Post
So Iím 52 in good health I live in White House Tennessee I have a lot of open roads and trails so I want to start exploring Tennessee on my bike I donít wanna spend more than $400 on a bike and Iím not gonna go off roading with it.......Any other suggestions let me know. Im open
Hmmmmm, as I read and understand your post road riding will be your intended purpose.......your budget, well there is only one option in my mind, cruise the used market of Craigslist or other such market place for a several year old bike in great shape.

I have a 2012 Trek Malone 3.1 full carbon I picked up last year after a several year hiatus from road riding with SRAM APEX and Rival mix in excellent condition for $400 actually. Looks almost brand new and I even went through the bike because I wrench them too and went with SRAM Force and Red componentry to make it a true upgraded roadie and even Fulcrum 4 racing wheels over the stock wheels for an economical up-fit.

You can find decent bikes on CL but it is seasonal for the best deals......mainly late fall and through the winter unless someone is bent on a new bike mid-season and wants to unload their bike quick.

Good luck.
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Old 04-19-20, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
How foolish of me. Maybe you can contact the moderator and have my irresponsible post deleted.
I appreciate quality sarcasm. You have brightened my morning and I thank you.
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Old 04-19-20, 07:56 AM
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I may be uniquely positioned to answer this question. I just started riding my first bike literally a week ago at 33 years old (hence my username). The pandemic is a great time to learn since fewer people are on the road! Personally, I'd suggest a cheap hybrid-style bike of some sort, since they are fairly versatile while still feeling enjoyable to ride. I grabbed a Trek FX1 with disc breaks and seriously love riding the thing. It feels like a dream and goes way faster than I thought it would.

Although I don't have much frame of reference, all the bike enthusiasts I've spoken to have told me that I've chosen an excellent first bike, and it certainly feels like it when I ride. It starts at $439.

But that doesn't mean it's the right bike for you. My basic, novice advice would be, go for one that you don't mind beating up a bit since you're going to inadvertently mistreat it. And go for one that lets you shift gears since you don't want to contend with hills on a single speed bike.
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Old 04-19-20, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Davethesave50 View Post
So Iím 52 in good health I live in White House Tennessee I have a lot of open roads and trails so I want to start exploring Tennessee on my bike I donít wanna spend more than $400 on a bike and Iím not gonna go off roading with it I need good suggestions hereís a couple that Iíve looked at let me know if you have any thoughts on any of these bikes. Upland x90 26 inch and. Vilano 2.0 mtb 21 speed, last one is the Trek 820. Any other suggestions let me know. Im open
None of those 3 sounds like the right bike for your needs as they are mountain bikes, and in the case of the Vilano and Upland bikes, questionable quality. You probably want either a flat bar hybrid or a road bike with drop bars. Now which bike is up to you. I am lamenting the creeping up of new bike prices. My suggestion a few years ago would have been the Giant Escape 2, which sold for around $400, more or less, but like the other big bike brands, Giant has added hydraulic disc brakes to the Escape 2, and bumped up the price of that bike to almost $600. , And that seems to be the price point of a lot of hybrids one step above entry level. Trek FX 2, Specialized Sirrus, Kona Dew Plus, Jamis Coda Sport. All offer good value and good performance. My only hesitation is, for only a few hundred more, you can get into an actual road bike or gravel bike with drop bars, which if you ride a lot is better.

If you are experiencing sticker shock on new bike prices, then maybe look for a used bike. It doesn't need to look pretty, but should be functional. $400 should get you a nice used bike that is 2 to 5 years old, or maybe a little older but fully refurbished and ready to ride. Or you could get something cheap and fix it up, like an older bike. 90s Trek hybrids are pretty nice, especially if you can find American made ones. They mostly came with model numbers starting with 7, like the 720, 730, or 750. I used to have a 1997 Bianchi Advantage hybrid which was very nice. If you could find one of those for $200 or less in clean ready to ride condition, it would easily be as nice or nicer and a new entry level ($400 to $500) hybrid.

Remember to budget another $100 to $150 or so for helmet, floor and frame pump, spare tube, tire levers, seatbag, and lock. Now, the good news is, once you have that stuff, you are pretty much set for years, other than minor upkeep.
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Old 04-19-20, 10:52 PM
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Thanks

Hybrid sounds like what i am looking for. Any thoughts on Motobecane Strada express?
Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
None of those 3 sounds like the right bike for your needs as they are mountain bikes, and in the case of the Vilano and Upland bikes, questionable quality. You probably want either a flat bar hybrid or a road bike with drop bars. Now which bike is up to you. I am lamenting the creeping up of new bike prices. My suggestion a few years ago would have been the Giant Escape 2, which sold for around $400, more or less, but like the other big bike brands, Giant has added hydraulic disc brakes to the Escape 2, and bumped up the price of that bike to almost $600. , And that seems to be the price point of a lot of hybrids one step above entry level. Trek FX 2, Specialized Sirrus, Kona Dew Plus, Jamis Coda Sport. All offer good value and good performance. My only hesitation is, for only a few hundred more, you can get into an actual road bike or gravel bike with drop bars, which if you ride a lot is better.

If you are experiencing sticker shock on new bike prices, then maybe look for a used bike. It doesn't need to look pretty, but should be functional. $400 should get you a nice used bike that is 2 to 5 years old, or maybe a little older but fully refurbished and ready to ride. Or you could get something cheap and fix it up, like an older bike. 90s Trek hybrids are pretty nice, especially if you can find American made ones. They mostly came with model numbers starting with 7, like the 720, 730, or 750. I used to have a 1997 Bianchi Advantage hybrid which was very nice. If you could find one of those for $200 or less in clean ready to ride condition, it would easily be as nice or nicer and a new entry level ($400 to $500) hybrid.

Remember to budget another $100 to $150 or so for helmet, floor and frame pump, spare tube, tire levers, seatbag, and lock. Now, the good news is, once you have that stuff, you are pretty much set for years, other than minor upkeep.
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Old 04-20-20, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Davethesave50 View Post
Hybrid sounds like what i am looking for. Any thoughts on Motobecane Strada express?
Never heard of it, or seen one in person. IMO, you get what you pay for. Maybe somebody else can help you. Until I see one or get a recommendation from somebody I trust, I would steer clear and stick with brands you can actually get at a bike shop.
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Old 04-20-20, 08:40 AM
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It got rated well by users but i take that w a grain of salt i will continue to research over the next month. Have you ever shopped www.bikesdirect.com they have a hybrid section with many options thats where i have been looking. Its confusing as to what is quality and important and just fluffy names added to a description
Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
Never heard of it, or seen one in person. IMO, you get what you pay for. Maybe somebody else can help you. Until I see one or get a recommendation from somebody I trust, I would steer clear and stick with brands you can actually get at a bike shop.
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Old 04-20-20, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Davethesave50 View Post
It got rated well by users but i take that w a grain of salt i will continue to research over the next month. Have you ever shopped www.bikesdirect.com they have a hybrid section with many options thats where i have been looking. Its confusing as to what is quality and important and just fluffy names added to a description
Since I have never done business with Bikes Direct, I cannot recommend them. IMO, a bike is something that I prefer to buy from a bike shop or individual since fit, and quality is hard to gauge from a website. Additionally, some of the money you save is a false economy since you have to either pay someone to assemble the bike or do it yourself. And if there is a problem, you have to disassemble the bike and mail it back, which is, IMO a hassle. Especially since often times, it is in the first weeks of owning a bike that minor problems come up. Much easier to take it back to a local shop than to box it up and send it back.
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Old 04-20-20, 12:23 PM
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The most important thing...

...is that the bike fit. At 52, a poor fitting bike will reduce your enjoyment quickly. Iím 56, so not being ageist with you. A bike that fits well is a joy. One that doesnít is a drag.
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Old 04-20-20, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Davethesave50 View Post
So Iím 52 in good health I live in White House Tennessee I have a lot of open roads and trails so I want to start exploring Tennessee on my bike I donít wanna spend more than $400 on a bike and Iím not gonna go off roading with it I need good suggestions hereís a couple that Iíve looked at let me know if you have any thoughts on any of these bikes. Upland x90 26 inch and. Vilano 2.0 mtb 21 speed, last one is the Trek 820. Any other suggestions let me know. Im open
I read your price limit. If you want a fun bike that you can go against the wind with, climb hills with ease, easy on the joints, get the Aventon 500 or the Aventon 350. I have the 500 and love it. They run about $1500.00 and the 350 is about $1.200.00. They both have a battery pedal assist mode if you do not want to use your own horsepower. The push of a button turns the power off and on. Takes 3 hours to fully charge. Can drive 30 miles on one charge.
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Old 04-20-20, 04:36 PM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by Davethesave50 View Post
It got rated well by users but i take that w a grain of salt i will continue to research over the next month. Have you ever shopped www.bikesdirect.com they have a hybrid section with many options thats where i have been looking. Its confusing as to what is quality and important and just fluffy names added to a description
I've owned two bikes from Bikes Direct and never had a problem with either of them. I bought one used and the other I ordered directly from them. The bike arrived fast and was very easy to assemble myself. I ended up riding the one bike from them for 8 years (on and off) with no issues.

While I love the idea of supporting local bike shops, Bikes Direct offers quality bikes at a nice price-point from my experience.
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Old 04-20-20, 09:39 PM
  #20  
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Hybrids

[QU Do you think you could go on the website and look at the hybrids and have a recommendation for me not really sure whatís important features and whatís not. thanks Dave
OTE=bran1986;21429945]I've owned two bikes from Bikes Direct and never had a problem with either of them. I bought one used and the other I ordered directly from them. The bike arrived fast and was very easy to assemble myself. I ended up riding the one bike from them for 8 years (on and off) with no issues.

While I love the idea of supporting local bike shops, Bikes Direct offers quality bikes at a nice price-point from my experience.[/QUOTE]
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Old 04-20-20, 09:42 PM
  #21  
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To me having a "Throttle" iin addition to peddle assist is a very important feature. Trek does not have this. I think you should go to U Tube and search for E bikes and look at the reviews.
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Old 04-21-20, 07:59 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Davethesave50 View Post
It got rated well by users but i take that w a grain of salt i will continue to research over the next month. Have you ever shopped www.bikesdirect.com they have a hybrid section with many options thats where i have been looking. Its confusing as to what is quality and important and just fluffy names added to a description
I have a great amount of experience with BikesDirect. I was part of a cross-country charity ride calling attention to children orphaned by persecution of Falun Dafa by the Communist Chinese Party---we bought two dozen BD bikes, set them up in a couple hours, and road from LA to Washington DC without and mechanical failures.

I still own one of the bikes and it still works.

We had to adjust the brakes and shifters on every bike, but most of the assembly was done by people who had never ridden a bike, let alone assembled one---it was that easy. We also had trouble with the wheels going out of true after several hundred miles---while the wheels are decent and decently assembled, they are not stress-tested i am told, and many of the wheels needed to be trued, after which they worked fine for another couple thousand miles.

BikesDirect sells bikes for less because they don't advertise and don't do Resaerch and development---they use off-the-shelf stuff. The frames, while well made--in fact, mostly made in exactly the same factories as every other bike frame---are not cutting-edge. You are basically getting a solid, well-made frame with proven design and construction, and mostly the same Shimano or SRAM parts every other bike has. BD does tend to favor FSA chain sets (not a problem on any bike I have owned) and lower-end Bontrager cockpit parts---I think they bought a boatload of Bontrager stuff about as decade back .... so the cockpit parts are decent, but not particularly light. Reliable is good, though. BD also favors Tektro brakes---I assume they bought in bulk or signed a contract for less than Shimano wanted to charge. Some Tektro stuff ---low-end stuff---might be a little flexy, according to some folks, but low-end stuff is not high-end. All serviceable, and unless you are competing, everything works just fine.

Generally you can get a bike as good as what a bike shop would sell you fir a good bit less. I am not sure I would spend $2K or more for a BD bike---if I were spending that much I might want the very latest frame technology. For anything up to about a thousand dolalrs, I would go to BD and at least look .... I have also considered going to BikeIsland, the BikesDirect scratch-and-dent site, to buy a whole bike just for the drive train, planning to toss the unneeded parts.

Last edited by Maelochs; 04-21-20 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 04-21-20, 08:14 AM
  #23  
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https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...atbar-road.htm

Strada express 24: Aluminum frame, steel fork, threaded BB, 8-speed Shimano with a freehub and cassette, not a freewheel. Shimano hydro disc brakes. Kalloy cockpit parts.

Rack mounts for three water bottles, front and rear racks.

To me this looks like a solid, inexpensive, do-everything slowly bike. I bet it weighs 30 pounds …. But so what? That only matters when trying to carry the bike up stairs.

I did thousands of miles of commuting and touring on a Bridgestone MB4 which weighed 30 pounds. The weight was never an issue because the gearing compensated, and I could haul tons of gear and distance, or bash over roots (painfully) on forest trails.

This bike is less refined, but for someone who just want to ride a bike …. This is a bike. Everything one needs, and all of it decent quality---and only $400.

For me, this is exactly the sort of customer who can benefit from BD, and exactly the sort of bike at which BD excels. I wouldn’t necessarily buy a BD bike if I wanted to race …. But as far as riding, absolutely.

I am sure some of you people recall the late and much lamented Inpd, who rode a BD Dawes Lightning all up and down Northern California, putting thousands of miles on that bike ----about a $600-$700 bike. I wnet cross country with 24 BD Dawes , the $500 version, and never had any problems---and since I was one of two mechanics, I would have known if anything wasn’t working.

Just an opinion, but to me the bike in question, the Strada 24, is perfect for low-stress riding over all terrain. It has 42mm ties, so it can handle some sand, any kind of gravel or any other trail material, and can handle any kind of pavement with comfort. The tires can be swapped between slicks and knobbies depending for added efficiency or traction. The bike has mounts for every kind of rack, so commuting or utility riding would be easy. It has enough gears (48-38-28x11-34) to handle all kinds of terrain and still get down the road quickly (how many people are honestly going to spin out a 48x11?)

This is sort of the new version of the bike I would suggest to most beginners---a mid-‘80s to mid-‘90s rigid MTB. Taker it anywhere, do anything with it, bash it and beat it, and just ride it. After a few seasons on a bike like this, a rider should have a really clear idea about buying a next bike----or staying with this one.
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Old 04-21-20, 09:22 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I have a great amount of experience with BikesDirect. I was part of a cross-country charity ride calling attention to children orphaned by persecution of Falun Dafa by the Communist Chinese Party---we bought two dozen BD bikes, set them up in a couple hours, and road from LA to Washington DC without and mechanical failures.

I still own one of the bikes and it still works.

We had to adjust the brakes and shifters on every bike, but most of the assembly was done by people who had never ridden a bike, let alone assembled one---it was that easy. We also had trouble with the wheels going out of true after several hundred miles---while the wheels are decent and decently assembled, they are not stress-tested i am told, and many of the wheels needed to be trued, after which they worked fine for another couple thousand miles.

BikesDirect sells bikes for less because they don't advertise and don't do Resaerch and development---they use off-the-shelf stuff. The frames, while well made--in fact, mostly made in exactly the same factories as every other bike frame---are not cutting-edge. You are basically getting a solid, well-made frame with proven design and construction, and mostly the same Shimano or SRAM parts every other bike has. BD does tend to favor FSA chain sets (not a problem on any bike I have owned) and lower-end Bontrager cockpit parts---I think they bought a boatload of Bontrager stuff about as decade back .... so the cockpit parts are decent, but not particularly light. Reliable is good, though. BD also favors Tektro brakes---I assume they bought in bulk or signed a contract for less than Shimano wanted to charge. Some Tektro stuff ---low-end stuff---might be a little flexy, according to some folks, but low-end stuff is not high-end. All serviceable, and unless you are competing, everything works just fine.

Generally you can get a bike as good as what a bike shop would sell you fir a good bit less. I am not sure I would spend $2K or more for a BD bike---if I were spending that much I might want the very latest frame technology. For anything up to about a thousand dolalrs, I would go to BD and at least look .... I have also considered going to BikeIsland, the BikesDirect scratch-and-dent site, to buy a whole bike just for the drive train, planning to toss the unneeded parts.
On paper, this seems like a reasonable choice for someone who is handy with a wrench and knows bikes, and is looking to save a few bucks and doesn't care about parking lot bragging rights. Maybe an road enthusiast looking for a mountain bike, or a mountain biker looking for an inexpensive road bike just to change things up. My only concern is, sizing, and assembly. On sizing, I guess you have to take their word for it then if there is a minor issue, work with a local mechanic or bike shop to fine tune the sizing. And the same for assembly, if OP isn't all that comfortable assembling and adjusting wheels, brakes and shifters. I can do some basic maintenance, but I know what I don't know and still take my bikes to a shop or lately, an independant local mechanic for bigger jobs. So there is that added expense if OP goes the Bikes Direct route.
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Old 04-21-20, 10:06 AM
  #25  
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Personally I don't want to recommend anything or anyone. But a visit to a local bike shop or two is a good idea. If for no other reason you can find out about good places to ride locally and if there are groups of people that are new to cycling that ride in a group that you could join. All of the bike shops around here have organized rides for those of all abilities.Another thing is you could find out from them what size frame you need. Size matters and what fits you for a road bike will probably not be a good fit mountain bike.


I think it is difficult for someone trying to get started to figure out what kind or riding they want to do. As others have said a mountain bike is not the best choice for road. Others have tried to subtly state that inexpensive bikes with all kinds of neat things like disk brakes are of overall lower quality than V brakes even on bikes that cost more. Of the 3 bikes in the OP the Trek is the best hands down although it appears to be more stripped down with less goodies. It seems like buying a bicycle should be simple but it's not. Why? because it all depends on where you are going to ride it. When we were kids we didn't ride our bikes in places we now go to without giving it another thought.


Most of us on this forum are quite involved in cycling. It might seem like we are a bit snobbish but really experience being the great teacher it is has taught up that quality costs. As another poster has said you can get a great deal on a used bike but you really need to know what you are doing.
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