Please help me to choose a bike

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:34 am

Maybe waste $50 buying an ill-fitting crap bike in order to learn what's wrong and right. Then know, adjust, and buy again.
...so I agree, buy a cheapo used bike on CL and take it for a tune up at your local bike shop.
I have to disagree with this idea. I think there are a few possible pitfalls:
1. For someone who doesn't know anything about bikes it is very likely they are going to buy a used piece of junk that has a lot of problems.
2. Where I'm at, the $50 - $100 used bike plus basic shop tune up will cost as much as a new bottom of the line hybrid from Target, which is a better bike than anything you are likely to get for $50 - $100 used, even after a tune up. If the bike needs any major parts it can get worse.
3. Putting a new cyclist through the process of navigating buying a used bike, getting it repaired at a shop without ending up with a fortune in it, and then having the cyclist find out that riding the bike sucks because it is still a 1970s 10 speed Schwinn tank that doesn't fit them and has an uncomfortable seat, aggressive geometry, etc. sounds like a way to turn someone off from cycling forever. It will work for the most determined but many will give up.

For the purposes of the OP I'd recommend finding someone to borrow a bike from. Friends, coworkers, neighbors probably have a bike that is gathering dust that could be borrowed just to relearn how to ride.

suomalainen
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by suomalainen » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:06 am

She already has a crappy bike.
Clarice wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:50 pm
I have a trashy bike. I want a good one.
If you know what you want and you'll get enjoyment out of it, buy the nice bike. Since your preferences will really narrow your search, you might get lucky and find one on CL or even ebay (friend of mine bought a nice racing bike used on ebay), but you might have to look for a while before a suitable one comes listed. Money, of course, can be exchanged for patience. Also, bike shops will have bike swaps from time to time. In the spring is when my local bike shops host theirs.

Never had internal gears myself, but I've had friends who had them for commuting purposes and loved them. One even rode one 100 miles.

Clarice
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by Clarice » Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:03 pm

Any thoughts on this one? It looks to me that it is a hybrid with flat handle bars, relaxed geometry, and medium-sized tires. All internal hub bikes that I found were either too big or unreasonably expensive, so I am giving up on this one for now.

Once again, I am a marginal biker. For starters, I have to overcome barriers to entry presented by my old bike. Last Sunday, the pedals kept stalling; the chain came off twice; the gears didn't shift; the bike produced a screechy noise that added to my overall nervousness. When the chain came off I panicked. Strangers stopped and helped me (twice!). At the moment, I am full of resolve to re-learn the skill. I don't want to lose the momentum. I know next to nothing about biking. :cry: OTOH, I get paid for knowing a whole lot about swallowing disorders, memory impairment following traumatic brain injury, and speech impediments after a stroke. :lol: My best option at this point is to pay...

https://www.rei.com/product/121700/co-o ... rough-bike

jacob
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by jacob » Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:21 pm

In this price range, the groupsets will be cheap (entry-level, prone to chain drops), so I recommend not going for 3x8 gears but rather 1x7 like this one:
https://www.rei.com/product/100808/electra-loft-7d-bike (which solves the drop problem). You lose the disc brakes in favor of caliper brakes. Do you plan to ride in rain/snow? If not, it's not a loss. Also, this one has 35mm tires. The other one has 40mm which is approaching thin MTB tires. (Thinner = faster/less effort). Tire width is something you can change later.

prognastat
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by prognastat » Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:30 pm

@jacob

Also having the chain guard and mudguards are nice. Helps you keep your clothes cleaner when using it for commuting purposes.

suomalainen
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by suomalainen » Tue Jul 17, 2018 7:15 pm

I am partial to the 1x also (have that setup on my mountain bike) for the simplicity. Lots of good advice throughout. My meta-advice is parse through the advice and focus on the pieces that seem most important/relevant to you. Then try them out, especially if going new from a brickandmortar you can try out a bunch at the same time.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by Hristo Botev » Wed Jul 18, 2018 12:45 pm

Is it at all possible to borrow an unused bike from a friend to use as you get back into riding a bike, before you invest money in a bike without knowing exactly what you want? The problem is that even entry-level bike shop bikes can run $300-400, and those bikes aren't worth $300-400. And buying quality used bikes on CL or elsewhere requires some expertise on what is and is not a good deal, and of course you need to know what size bike will fit you so that you can jump on the right CL deal.

I'll tell you my path to getting reintroduced to biking (which I do for commuting and not for exercise/sport), in the event that it might provide you some anecdotal assistance. I have a bike-nerd friend who kept an eye on CL for me and identified for me a $130 steel Schwinn from the 80s (your standard 10-speed road bike), back when Schwinns were making good quality steel frames out of Japan (I never would have known the difference between an early 80s Schwinn, a late 80s or 90s Schwinn, or a Schwinn today, but he did). I rode that bike every day for about 2 years before I knew what I really wanted and invested some real money in a Surly Cross-Check. And funny enough, now that I have a shorter work commute, my Schwinn has become my everyday commuter again because I had converted it to a "townie"; which is to say I put upright handlebars on it and a big basket in the front.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by Hristo Botev » Wed Jul 18, 2018 1:18 pm

wheatstate wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:21 pm
All this advice is good. If it seems like too many details, I would connect with local cyclists.
It is easier to give advice when someone is shopping for a bike, than after that person bought a less than ideal bike.

See if there is a beginner ride or a woman's ride. Show up, see bikes, ask questions. Many have a food event after that you could join.
Volunteer at a local organized ride that is a casual and short distance, in order to meet people and see bikes.
This is great advice. You really can't figure out what you want until you actually start riding and figure out what you don't want.

Clarice
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by Clarice » Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:14 pm

Thanks again, everybody! :D If it's not for you, guys, I wouldn't be able to tell a hybrid from a tricycle. IRL my quest has narrowed down to the following actions: making it to REI by 8 pm and having time to test-ride one hybrid of suitable size per night before the bike shop closes. That's what I am doing for now. :D

shade-tree
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by shade-tree » Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:07 pm

I know you've gotten a lot of advice already, but I wanted to share my experience as a very short woman. I bought a bike from a local shop who asked what I wanted to do and did some fitting for me to make sure I'd enjoy riding it so I would actually ride it. After finding a light, right-priced frame they found one that fit correctly for me, they put on narrower handlebars to match my shoulder width, a different seat and some other pedals and customization for my ability level. I have had this bike for 10+ years, riding a few hundred to over a thousand miles per year for recreation, and have been very happy and comfortable on it.

jacob
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by jacob » Thu Jul 19, 2018 4:49 pm

BTW, note that sizing by "height" is somewhat of a misnomer. The real variable is torso length because the top bar is the only thing that can't be adjusted when doing the fit. The saddle goes up and down so leg length is easy to adjust for. So two equally tall people would fit different frames if one had really long legs and the other had really short legs.

Clarice
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by Clarice » Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:49 pm

@shade-tree:

Thank you for your story, very encouraging.

@jacob:

That's a very timely comment. Yesterday tried 2 sizes:
XS - felt very good as far as reaching the handles, but the legs felt crumpled.
S - a bit too stretched to reach the handles, but the legs felt perfect.
Which one?

jacob
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by jacob » Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:59 pm

XS, then raise the saddle and try again.

A good starting point for saddle height: Stand right next to the saddle. It should hit you between the top of the femur and where you feel the bone at the top of your hip. Dunno the physiological terms but basically the middle point between where you can feel the two bones = the top of the saddle.

The end point is best established when you're on the saddle. It now relates to how it's most comfortable to push power downwards. After you buy it and ride it for a while (a couple of weeks), try moving the saddle up or down by a couple of mm. See if that feels better. Keep tweaking it.

Clarice
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by Clarice » Sat Jul 21, 2018 4:44 pm

Ladies and Gents,
Thank you for this enlightening discussion.
I've got a bike (dear gods of frugality, please forgive me as I have sinned)! :twisted: :lol: :twisted: :lol: :twisted:
https://www.rei.com/product/125929/ghos ... -bike-2018

OTCW
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by OTCW » Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:09 pm

Enjoy it.

Clarice
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by Clarice » Sat Jul 21, 2018 10:41 pm

@OTCW:

Thank you! I know that in this bike I got a lot of things that I don't need, like suspension fork and too many gears; but I tried it and felt comfortable, not scared out of my wits; and that was the consideration that moved the needle.

Loner
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by Loner » Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:34 pm

Nice bike. Well maintained, that'll last for ages. Safe riding :-D

vexed87
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by vexed87 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:36 am

I was guilty of a similar sin once (ok, twice ;)) In the grand scheme of life, there's worse ways to spend your money and nothing quite motivates you to get out riding than having a smooth-running and well-equipped bike.

Enjoy! :D

Learn to maintain your bike as things go wrong over time, and they always do. That means next time you are in the market you can get a fixer upper for cents on the dollar. So the sin absolves itself in the end... if you can be disciplined!

Clarice
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by Clarice » Sat Jul 28, 2018 2:36 pm

vexed87 wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:36 am
I was guilty of a similar sin once (ok, twice ;)) In the grand scheme of life, there's worse ways to spend your money and nothing quite motivates you to get out riding than having a smooth-running and well-equipped bike.

Enjoy! :D

Learn to maintain your bike as things go wrong over time, and they always do. That means next time you are in the market you can get a fixer upper for cents on the dollar. So the sin absolves itself in the end... if you can be disciplined!
Well, my sins haven't stopped there:
+ $200 hitch
+ $100 installation
+ $300 rack
:twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
This morning I took my new bike for a spin for the third time. I drove to my favorite route - only instead of walking I rode 12 miles. I NEVER noticed how hilly this route was until I rode it on a bike. It was very hard for me to remember, for example, that when the red marker is all the way to the right it was easy to spin the wheels and the opposite. :roll: I didn't even touch the gears on the left. It is in the middle position. :| I have a long, LONG way to go. :(
I would love to learn to maintain a bike. Right now, I look at the bike somewhat blindly - no frame of reference. :shock: I would notice a missing wheel or a nail in the tire, but that's about it; looking for practical solutions to this problem. Any advice? :geek:

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C40
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Re: Please help me to choose a bike

Post by C40 » Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:36 pm

Always remember rule #1 of bicycling: Don't fall down and hit your head.

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