Looking to get a bike

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Keith Mickunas, Jul 18, 2004.

  1. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    So once again I have decided to turn to the HTF After Hours Lounge for some buying advice. I've been wanting to get a bicycle for a while now, and I've decided to do some research but frankly I don't know where to start. I'm looking mainly for something to ride around the neighborhood on just for some excercise. I don't need anything exotic, but I'd like something good and reliable, and preferrably light weight.

    I'm thinking an inexpensive mountain bike might be the way to go. I'll mostly be on the street, but if I have the opportunity to hit a simple trail, I'll go for it. Nothing dangerous or exciting though. So I figure I don't need anything with a fancy suspension or the like.

    So anyways, where do I start? Any sites I can do some research at? Any brands to look for or to avoid? And any cool gadgets that are a must have? All my prior bike knowledge comes from BMX bikes back in the 80's so I really don't know what's out there right now.
     
  2. Lars Larsen

    Lars Larsen Stunt Coordinator

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    One word of advice: Since you are mainly going for some casual exercise, I would definitly go for an internal gear shifter! Much less maintenance!
    The frame should obviously be made of aluminum for light weight (or Carbon, if you're loaded [​IMG] )
    Also I would go for disc brakes. They offer you much better control, and are very reliable in any type of weather.

    When I needed a new bike, I went to my local bike shop and found a bike that the owner had put together himself. It was built around a nice rigid aluminum frame and Shimano Nexus brakes/7 speed internal gear. I went for a spin and fell in love with it immediately. It seemed to have a lot of "momentum" (kept it's speed very well) and had great handling. It's the best and most reliable bike I have ever had and it's a joy to ride! I have had it for five years now, and it ranks as one of my top 3 purchases ever (in terms of value for money)! Point of the story: Don't necessarily go for a particular brand. Go to your dealer and see what he's got and try several out before you decide.
     
  3. BradleyS.

    BradleyS. Stunt Coordinator

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    If your looking for a casual bike to just ride around there is no need for disc brakes. Bikes that come with disc brakes are most often over $600. I recommend trek mountain bikes. My dad has a 4500 and its great. Has smooth front suspension and great brakes, it shifts smoothly and is fairly lightweight. Specialized,gary fisher, and gt are other good brands. As always, i would recommend staying away from stores like wal-mart,academy,toys-r-us and so on, they tend to carry lower end bikes with prices that arent that great for what you get. Oh I see you are from wylie. Is this the same Wylie that is located by abilene?
     
  4. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Well I just got back from a bike store. I took a look at a bunch of Trek's and test road one, I think it was the 3700. My initial thought is to possibly go with something like the 4900.

    What's an internal gear shifter? I'm not to familiar with the terminology on shifters. The one I road was a lower end bike, and it tended to feel jerky when it shifted. But then I've barely ever ridden a multi-gear bike before, so it could have been me or it may have needed adjusted. The guy did tell me that the bikes that were just slightly more expensive had better shifters.

    Based on what I've seen, I'll probably stick to the $500 to $600 range. In addition to the mountain bikes, the salesman also recommend Trek's hybrids and comfort bikes. They both had shock absorbibing seat stems. That's kind of spiffy. Most everything I looked at had front suspension, which surprised me.

    I'm in the Wylie that's near Dallas, not Abilene.
     
  5. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    No need for an internal gear shifter nor disc brakes. An internal gear shifter, like the nexus, sits in an oil bath which will require changing. Most external derailleur bikes are almost maintenance free, at least for simple performance. Anything that needs to be run at peak performance will need to be maintained but I do nothing as much as clean them on my derailleurs on my commuter bike. I go through cables and der. pulleys like butter but as far as the derailleur itself, nothing. What is really good about the internal hub shifters like the Nexus is that it will run smoother for a longer time because it is internalized. Check out the line of "city bikes" from trek, the L series I think, the ones that come with an internal hub. Nice bikes, would be good for you, but might be out of your price range.

    You would do fine with an entry level mountain bike, $600 is an excellent range to start with.

    Do a search hear on After Hours, there are a bunch of threads on this...

    Jay
     
  6. Vincent_S

    Vincent_S Second Unit

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    I live in Austin and have a Cannondale M500 I haven't used in over a year. Would sell it for WAY less than $600. If your interested shoot me an email at let2674@netzero.net
     
  7. Lars Larsen

    Lars Larsen Stunt Coordinator

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    "If your looking for a casual bike to just ride around there is no need for disc brakes"

    Agreed. But if you can strike a good deal, it would be a nice feature. Disc brakes are beginning to make their way down to the lower end bikes and I'd rather spend my money on disc brakes than some fancy suspension which adds weight and requires lubrication. Just my opinion.

    "An internal gear shifter, like the nexus, sits in an oil bath which will require changing."

    I find that very hard to believe. I have ridden thousands of miles with my Nexus and all I have ever done is tightening the gear cable once a year or so. I have never changed any oil on any of the internal gears I have used over the years. Neither have I ever heard of anyone who has done that.

    One of the advantages of internal gears is that all the lubrication is internal so it doesn't contract dirt and sand like those greasy derailleurs which are out there in the open and will soon start to grind sand unless they are cleaned ever so often. I have tried both.
     
  8. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/nexus-mech.html,

    I guess "Oil bath" is not really the correct term, but one can be very anal about maintenance. I kind of practice both, although on my commuter, I'm always playing with seeing how little I can work on it yet remain rideable! Kind of like my hubs which I like to take apart and regrease every now and then, I would be the type who would want to regrease an internal hub. Probably don't have to, but I'm kind of weird that way. Some of my bikes remain fairly spotless while others get beaten into the ground.

    Has Europe really caught on to the Nexus-Shimano system? I have finally seen some bikes over here with it but a couple years ago, I think a nexus hub purchases here would run you like $800+!

    Jay
     
  9. Lars Larsen

    Lars Larsen Stunt Coordinator

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    Jay,

    I don't know if the Nexus system has "caught on" as such. But consumer oriented bikes, at least in Scandinavia, have long been equipped with internal gears, mostly. The high quality of Nexus just makes it that much more appealing. It seems that the Nexus brand is rapidly becoming the de-facto standard used by european bicycle makers for the consumer market.
    I paid an equivalent of just over $600 in 2001 for my Nexus equipped bike (I guess it's only 3 years old then), and prices over here seem to have somewhat stabilized around the 600 dollar mark (for a good all-round bike). If you go lower than that you will most likely have to settle for a steel frame. That's the situation over here.
     
  10. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Settle? All my frames for my bikes are steel. [​IMG]
    My only AL bike is a full suspension Santa Cruz.

    I do own a full carbon fiber and a full Ti road bike, but my commuter is a Tange Prestige steel and my commuter road bike is a Reynolds 853.

    Back to the original topic:

    So anyways, where do I start? Any sites I can do some research at? Any brands to look for or to avoid? And any cool gadgets that are a must have?

    www.bikeforums.net is a big resource and forum much like the HTF

    Cool gadgets? Helmet, bike shorts, LEDs for vision. small bike light for night riding. bike shoes,etc...

    Make sure you get a chance to ride the bike, especially if it's your first one. Once you have a lot of miles, you can sort of have a general feel for what fits you, but it is important for you to get a proper fit, especially with your first bike. It should be comfy and easy to control, it should have eyelets for racks and fenders, don't assume all bikes have them, it should be built well by a good bikeshop.

    Jay
     
  11. Tony_Woods

    Tony_Woods Stunt Coordinator

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    Recently I baught a Gary Fisher Zebrano for less than $500 and I am quite happy with it. It is a hybrid, meaning that it is similar to mountain bikes, but with a little skinnier tires and a more upright seating position for more commuting comfort.

    As far as the disc brake debate goes...well disc brakes on a $600 bike aren't going to be that much better than traditional brakes. Bikes with disc brakes in that price range are most likely cable operated disc brakes, which negates one of the main advantages of them, modulation. High end bikes that have disc brakes are hyraulic units, similar to car brakes. Any disc brake system will be better in the mud/slush/etc though, which was a moot point for me. I just plan on riding spring-fall in nice weather.
     
  12. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Thanks for all the input guys. I've been pretty busy wtih work so I haven't done any more research. I think the Trek might be a good match, but I need to check out a few more first.
     

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