What type of bike to get? How much should I spend?

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Matt3121
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Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 7:45 pm

What type of bike to get? How much should I spend?

Post by Matt3121 »

Hey everyone,

Context: Here's my situation. I'm 38yo male, 235lbs, 5'9. I'm fat! Long story 5 years ago I got pretty sick and got fat in the process. Still sick but better somewhat (due to ERE and focusing on my diet). It's challenging because I have a bacterial infection that affects my muscles a lot, and actually any strenuous activity would make them seize up, so in reality I couldn't exercise much at all.

I have tendentious in both knees due to basketball so I won't be riding this thing like 4 hours a day or anything. But I do think I'll ride it daily for like an hour probably. I love to get out of the house and biking seems like a good way to go. Plus I think I could drive places, park my car and ride around.

So I'm just not sure what my best options are. Should I get a road bike? Some have 24 gears. Is that overkill? Seems like I'd be shifting constantly.
(https://www.amazon.com/Vilano-Diverse-P ... ds&sr=1-25).

Also how much should I spend?

Any general information would be greatly appreciated. I live in a smallish town so I'll likely just be on backroads mostly. Not in any crazy traffic.

Thanks ahead of time

basuragomi
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Re: What type of bike to get? How much should I spend?

Post by basuragomi »

Used 26" "mountain" or hybrid bike without shocks or suspension. Steel diamond frame, rim brakes, freewheel, basic platform pedals, square taper cranks, rear derailleur with or without indexed shifters. It is the most common bike you can get and easy to maintain as parts are in abundance. 26" tires are more resistant to road debris than typical 700c/road tires.

You are the right height that most adult bikes will likely fit you. You're not riding crazy distances and are not relying on the bike to transport things. Go with something that is fault-tolerant, easy to repair and cheap enough that you won't feel too bad about wrecking/losing/scrapping the whole thing. Make sure that it is comfortable and easy to ride.

You will likely use a maximum of 3 gears, even if you have "24" on a road bike. In reality most of the gear combinations on road bikes are not feasible and are just a waste of material. The vast majority of your performance on a bike comes from your physical conditioning, the bike is only a small part. Get something that is comfortable and easy to ride.

I wouldn't spend more than C$50 on a working/repairable example of this kind of bike. They are so common a deal will pop up eventually. Garage sales and police auctions are probably your best bet, as people selling bikes on Craigslist tend to be really into them and ask for absurd prices.

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Alphaville
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Re: What type of bike to get? How much should I spend?

Post by Alphaville »

Since you’re out of shape look for an upright bicycle that will let you sit comfortably above all. If you can’t stay on the bike everything else is pointless.

The problem with a lot of bicycles from road to mountain types is that they make you sit bent forward, which causes your multifidus muscle to overwork to keep your spine stable. This ends up in paralysis. Look at the geometry of that Vilano: you’re going to be hunched forward, with your weight pushing against a flat bar, which is going to give you both back pain and wrist pain. Personally I think flat bars suck—they push your wrists outward. Ok for twitchy mountain bike rides but not much else.

The reason physical therapy offices are filled with recumbent bikes is because everyone can use them. While a city bike is not exactly recumbent (that’s a whole different type of bike once you get away from stationary) they do allow for an upright position that people of all ages can use. Also, you don’t need special clothes.

If I were buying from scratch I’d get a type A Detroit bike. Wait, no, maybe I’d get a Linus roadster with 3 simple gears but that’s just me: https://linusbike.com/products/roadster-sport

If you have mobility problems, getting on/off the bike, the Detroit Type B is a step through for easy mount/dismount. No, a stepthrough is not a “girl bike,” that’s some sexist bullshit from times of yore. My semi-cargo bike is a converted beach cruiser (step through).

Since you’re just getting started, you shouldn’t commit to an expensive bike, but you shouldn’t go so cheap either that it hurts you and you end up quitting or worse—injured.

The Detroit bikes in aluminum are a great entry level bike and the geometry is just right.

https://detroitbikes.com/products/a-type-1

https://detroitbikes.com/products/b-type-1

Later if you love it you can get into steel frames that give you a smoother ride but cost more.

Get the right size and adjust your stem to let you sit upright.

To prevent knee pain, getting the right saddle height is essential. If your saddle is too low it will put pressure on your patella.

Here’s some info on bike ergonomics from a different perspective than the usual motocross fashion we must endure these days:

https://gokhalemethod.com/blog/64161

Electra bikes (owned by Trek) are also okay for ergonomics, I think the Loft will let you go farther than the Townie, and you can get a test ride at REI or whatever. The Townie is more comfortable (it’s way comfortable) but the geometry is not very efficient so you won’t be able to go very far in it.

https://www.electrabike.com/bikes

Buying used of course will be much cheaper if you can find the right fit. But getting the right fit is your prime directive.

ETA: found this one cheaper and they sell them on Amazon. Notice the upright geometry, plus the downward sloping top tube while not a step through is more rider friendly.
https://sixthreezero.com/collections/me ... id-bicycle

Components are cheap and you’ll need upgrades as you go but that’s the case with all cheap bikes. When dealing with sweepback handlebars I recommend setting the grips with a downward angle not popping up like the picture. Easier on the wrists.

But really the Detroit bike while a little pricier is better thought out.

Matt3121
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Re: What type of bike to get? How much should I spend?

Post by Matt3121 »

Good info here guys.

Yeah I guess something where I don't have to bend over too far would be good. I'm looking more for just sitting up at this point.

@Alphaville - Those Detroit bikes look great but at 450 it's more than I want to spend. I want to spend maybe like 100 or 150. I'll upgrade the bike if I really stick with it.

Craigslist does seem to have some fairly high priced bikes (200 bucks for a 20 year old road bike).

I'm thinking maybe something like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Roadmaster-Inche ... ion&sr=1-2

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Alphaville
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Re: What type of bike to get? How much should I spend?

Post by Alphaville »

If you just want to exercise and not necessarily ride, for weight loss, you could do no better than picking up a used recumbent exercise bike somewhere. You could even sit in front of the tv and watch the news, or listen to podcasts, etc.

Before ditching my car and using a bike for transportstion I used to pedal on a ratty old Schwinn DX 900 I got from a neighbor’s yard sale for $40. Not a recumbent model, but useful for me to get in shape.

For a new exercise bike.... this looks cheap and decent maybe... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002KV1MJU

Put it in the middle of your living room and adopt it as furniture. Pace yourself, avoid injuries, you will ride more that way.

The problem of buying too cheap a new bike for riding around is that you’re going to get utter crap, and your money will be flushed down the drain and could even be unsafe: pedals ripping off the cranks, saddles coming off the post, soft metal nuts stripping into a shiny paste, garbage noisy failing brakes, worn out/broken drivetrains, tires that need daily patching... They’re cheap toys and they’re priced accordingly. Avoid such nightmares.

Buying used good quality is better, but you might still need money for upgrades and fixes and customizations.

As for Craigslist: depends on what road bike we’re talking for $200. Your best resource would be using Bicycle Blue Book to make a counter offer: https://www.bicyclebluebook.com/

My 20+ year old hybrid bike is priced at something like $70 on it. At this point I could not sell it for that because the saddle alone is worth more than that :lol: Plus many other upgrades I’ve made that... yeah. But the frame is good Reynolds 525 steel, and I‘d be a fool to part with it. That was a pricey ride in its day and there’s no need to discard it. Beats a bunch of new stuff actually.

But again, a road bike is going to put you in that hunched forward position that will deliver you to a world of pain and chiropractor visits. Too soon for it, and you won’t use it. It will hang for 20 years in the garage.

Anyway, tl;dr: consider the recumbent indoor bike as your new daily fitness companion, and then learn a bit and save your money for a future vehicle that won’t hurt you and abandon you in your hour of need. :mrgreen:
Last edited by Alphaville on Sat Mar 07, 2020 11:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Alphaville
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Re: What type of bike to get? How much should I spend?

Post by Alphaville »

While you’re getting in shape on your recumbent you could read this website and absorb some of the wisdom of the late Sheldon Brown:

https://sheldonbrown.com/beginners.html

Priceless stuff. Take your time and don’t rush a purchase.

Matt3121
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Re: What type of bike to get? How much should I spend?

Post by Matt3121 »

@alphaville I definitely don't want a recumbent bike as I hate to be home in general. I am out of the house as much as possible and this is part of why I'm motivated to get a bike. Gives me more of a chance to be outdoors. I'll check out that bike pricing guide though. That seems good!

Thanks

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Alphaville
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Re: What type of bike to get? How much should I spend?

Post by Alphaville »

Oh no indoor, I see.

Here’s another idea then, from something I had forgotten.

Many bike shops offer rentals, and will discount the rental fee from the purchase of a bicycle. They also sell the old rentals at significant savings (much like car rental companies).

Check your local shops, ask for test rides. Even if you end up buying nothing, you’ll get the chance to figure the type of bike geometry you prefer. For a 1h test you’ll be asked to leave some kind of collateral (eg id/cc).

And you can then maybe rent for a day, if you want to test longer.

If you like the outdoors best, then you’ll likely end up with a mountain or gravel type bike for trails & etc. Doesn’t have to be superhardcore, no shocks needed, etc. Gravel bike prolly sweet spot for street/trails.

Just make sure it’s a good fit for you though—not on the day of the test ride but the next day, when the pain settles in :mrgreen:

Alright! Best wishes.

Matt3121
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Re: What type of bike to get? How much should I spend?

Post by Matt3121 »

@alphaville

Thanks a bunch!

wheatstate
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Re: What type of bike to get? How much should I spend?

Post by wheatstate »

Connect with the local bike club. Go to a ride meet local people. See their bikes and ask what they started riding.
See if you there is a bike co-op in your area. These groups collect bikes, fix them then sell or donate to community.
This is a great place to test and understand different bikes. A poor condition CL bike can be a fortune to fix at a bike shop or frustrating to ride as is.

It is really easy to buy the wrong bike off the internet.

Tons of good advice here. I agree with buying a mtb hardtail (full suspension will be junk in your price range). 2.0"-2.5" wide tires will be your friend. 26" or 29" rims. 26" will be cheaper because they are older bikes. 29" roll well. I have trouble going back to the smaller size.

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