Calorie Counter

Message Boards Fitness and Exercise
You are currently viewing the message boards in:

Bike recommendations?

gradchica27gradchica27 Member Posts: 714 Member Member Posts: 714 Member
For someone interested in riding for about 30-60 minutes a go, sometimes (increasingly) for fitness, sometimes with the family for pleasure, usually flat pavement, sometimes gravel or hard packed dirt.

I’m bewildered by all the possibilities of bike types and categories and am hesitant to walk in to a bike shop for “real” cyclists both bc I don’t know where to start and I don’t want to drop $1000.

All I know is my girl’s sale special from Walmart I got in grad school is not cutting it for comfort or speed. I need something better. I don’t want to totally cheap out and waste $ on something I’ll be annoyed with in a month, but I don’t want to go the opposite direction and splurge on something I don’t need for an activity I’m not sure I’ll increase doing *that* much (it’s that catch 22 of I dislike biking for very long bc my bike is uncomfortable and inefficient, so I don’t know if I’ll use the new one constantly or the same amount as I do now).

Can anyone point me in the right direction on what to look for/type of bike:etc?
«134

Replies

  • chris89topherchris89topher Member Posts: 242 Member Member Posts: 242 Member
    I have a SixThreeZero "Around the Block". It's a beach cruiser and I love it!

    https://www.sixthreezero.com/
  • deannalfisherdeannalfisher Member, Premium Posts: 5,602 Member Member, Premium Posts: 5,602 Member
    I took a quick look at my LBS website (local bike shop) - based on your description - maybe a flat handle bar hybrid could work - trek is the brand I ride so familiar with -

    https://www.bikedoctorwaldorf.com/product/trek-fx-2-disc-womens-363116-1.htm

    https://www.bikedoctorwaldorf.com/product/trek-marlin-6-womens-364566-1.htm

    They only had a few bikes under the $1000 - but that is new
  • MikePfirrmanMikePfirrman Member Posts: 1,880 Member Member Posts: 1,880 Member
    I bought two Giant Hybrids from a shop in Tucson. I believe Giant is one of the largest makers of bikes in the world. Their female hybrid is called Liv I think. We love them. Were like 330 or so each. Maybe a bit more.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 16,527 Member Member, Premium Posts: 16,527 Member
    I like my lowish-end Trek hybrid, for a similar set of uses, though not having many hills around here, and not doing much true off-road (just gravel and the like) the gearing I got is a little on the easy side for someone with decent leg strength IMO.

    The people at my local "real" bike shop were super nice and helpful when I bought it, BTW. I don't know what your real price point is, but there are quite a few well under $1000 even now. If you visit a shop, what's the worst that could happen? They might be super helpful (as I found), but if they're snooty jerks, that's their problem, you leave, no sale, right? ;)

    One possibility to consider, especially if you have any friends who are bike-knowledgeable, though it's a little fraught: I live near a major univeristy. People abandon bikes, even good ones, and lots of them. This university actually repairs the bikes if necessary, then sells them through their salvage operation. Sometime there are really good deals, but it's a little bit "luck of the draw". There are also police agencies that sell off unclaimed bikes in some areas, I believe. For either of these, you want that bike-knowledgeable buddy with you to help evaluate condition and price appropriateness.
  • MuttiNMMuttiNM Member Posts: 138 Member Member Posts: 138 Member
    Another vote here for stopping in your local bike shop. I just got on a bike again for the first time in over 40 years. My LBS was very helpful and super friendly. I purchased a Specialized Roll Sport Low-Entry. (They also have a version with a top tube if you don't want or need the low-entry.) I love the bike! I use it for similar rides as you described. I've had it on several types of trails: paved, crushed limestone, and hard-pack dirt. It also handled well through a couple sandy patches as well as a section filled in with large gravel. I also went on one trail that had an almost mile long boardwalk and the ride was very smooth. I've found it very comfortable so far.

    I would maybe take a look at Bikes Direct that NorthCascades mentioned. Like he said, use some caution but if you look at the bikes that have the better components, I think you could get a decent bike in your price range. My son got his road bike through them. He didn't get the cheapest but it was under $500. He's had it a few years now and just road it across the country in Feb. and March following the ACA's Southern Tier route so it's served him well.
  • yirarayirara Member Posts: 5,359 Member Member Posts: 5,359 Member
    I would, if possible avoid a bike with shock absorbers. Useful shock absorbers cost from about $300 upwards, and if you buy a bike for say $700, then the rest of the bike would be costing $400. Which of course is not true. More likely the absorbers are completely rubbish, only swallow energy when cycling and only make the bike heavier. Also have a look at the specs of the gear shifting parts. Altus and Turney are the lowest of the low. If it's a part that could easily be replaced with a better one once it breaks then that's not so much of a problem. But quite often the parts that are more difficult to replace are used there. Plus they make shifting gears less smooth to start with.
  • amorfati601070amorfati601070 Member Posts: 1,942 Member Member Posts: 1,942 Member
    Go to the Local Bike Shop, usually they will let you take some out for a short test ride so you can get a rough feel for each kind of bike. For fitness riding and longer rides your probably gonna look for a flat-bar road bike or gravel/cx bike with disc brakes. The Gravel/CX option is good because if you just throw some slick tread tyres on their u pretty much got a just a plain old road bike for endurance riding. They will probably talk about how agressive the frame geometry is... it just means how bent over you are on the bike (talking road bikes). If you do go down the road bike/cx/gravel route make sure u get the right size. Some manufacturers have calculators on their websites but definitely try out some sizes...we all have different body proportions (long legs etc).

    Most likely avoid any mountain bike (unless you're serious about going off road) or hybrid, especially at that price the spring-coil forks are usually just rubbish and add weight...not to mention those fat-*kitten* tyres..

    For around $1K u might be able to pick up something with an alloy frame, carbon fork. Then there is second hand but try to support your local bike guys if you can!

    Just my $0.02
  • JustSomeEmJustSomeEm Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium Posts: 18,296 MFP Moderator Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium Posts: 18,296 MFP Moderator
    +1 for the head to your local bike store recommendation, help selecting a bike AND a professional fitting. They are knowledgeable and helpful. And if you're going to be spending an hour on a bike, a professional fit will make sure you're more comfortable. A badly fit bike can make time spent on the road (or trail or whatever) hellish and not fun.

    My first 'adult' bike was a hybrid which was super fun. My second bike was a mountain bike for riding on trails - also super fun, but very very heavy. You can take a mountain bike on the road, but it's lots of work and not nearly as much fun as... my third bike. My third bike is a gravel road bike. These things are amazeballs fun on the roads. You get great exercise and get the pleasure of going FAST(er) which is super motivating. I agree with @NorthCascades that the type of riding you describe makes me think you should get a gravel road bike.
  • MikePfirrmanMikePfirrman Member Posts: 1,880 Member Member Posts: 1,880 Member
    Just wanted to add, if it's like in my area, one shop carries Trek, one carries Giant (Trek and Giant were the most reasonable brands I found) and another carried Specialized. These three brands, in particular, are quality brands that have nice hybrids (listening to you, I think you're going to settle on a hybrid -- great for fun, fitness and an occasional gravel road ride but NOT for serious trails and it's super comfy). But there isn't one bike shop that carries all three. They each only have one of the three big brands typically.

    Also see if you can find a bike shop that specializes in rebuilding bikes. There's a guy in Tucson that everyone knows. He finds quality frames and rebuilds them with high quality components. You tell him what you want, he'll build you a bike that's equal in quality to a new one for half the price.
    edited May 30
  • OnedaywriterOnedaywriter Member Posts: 192 Member Member Posts: 192 Member
    I recommend used equipment in your case. In the 80’s I used to ride but then stopped for whatever reasons. In 2000 I started riding again and still had my old bike. I rode about 4000 miles on a 18 year old bike and bought a new bike two years later.
    Tips:
    - unless you live near trails buy a road bike or hybrid. Mountain bikes are great for trails but not so great for roads
    - be sure you buy a suitable frame size for your height. There are lots of charts online.
    - Allow about $75 for a tuneup at a local bike shop and get it done. They will check, clean and lube everything that needs
    - Check Craigslist, Facebook messenger and ask at local shops. Many people like to upgrade bikes and the shop may know who has something they no longer want. Some shops even stock used bikes or have them in consignment.
    - in my area (central NJ) we have the Trenton Bike Exchange. They rehab, restore etc older donated bikes and sell them with proceeds going to boys and girls clubs. These places have popped up in many locations. This is the absolute best place as you will get a bike that you know is mechanically sound at a fraction of new price with the $ you spend going to a great cause.They can also guide you and make adjustments so the bike fits you (seat position etc)

    Good luck! Enjoy.
  • nighthawk584nighthawk584 Member Posts: 1,950 Member Member Posts: 1,950 Member
    I love Trek bikes. I'm using a trek I bought 20 years ago EVERY DAY on trails. I've wrecked it twice HARD and it still going strong. ME, not so much HAHA
  • Duck_PuddleDuck_Puddle Member, Premium Posts: 3,113 Member Member, Premium Posts: 3,113 Member
    I have a hybrid that I use for rides on surfaces like you describe. I also have a road bike for pavement when I’m looking to do something more fitness oriented. All riding is fitness oriented, but hybrid bikes are heavy and I don’t find it as easy to do a “workout” vs on the road bike. But I find the hyrbrid more comfortable for riding around when I want to be looking at things and/or terrain may be semi-sketchy.

    I am short (with short legs & arms)/small and need a very small bike frame. I was fortunate to get both of mine on clearance at a local bike shop because nobody really fit the frame (or nobody that was shopping there for bikes really fit the frame so they were just sitting there being not sold).

    I also started with a Walmart bike. Whatever you choose will be a big step up.
  • moonangel12moonangel12 Member, Premium Posts: 854 Member Member, Premium Posts: 854 Member
    All good advice so far... much of which I learned over the course of the last couple of weeks by researching and talking to multiple people so a great time saver to read this thread! My dad cautioned me about the used carbon fiber bikes... bikes direct was also intriguing, but I have read mixed reviews.

    I am eyeing a gravel bike, but both the price tag and lack of availability are hindrances right now. The LBS I talked to last week had TWELVE in stock, and only one my size but a road bike which isn’t quite what I am looking for. (Side note, no new stock of bikes in sight, and the same for kayaks which he also sells... he has ZERO of them in stock).

    I have a Cannondale MTB from the mid 90’s that I am currently getting a quote on to rebuild to better suit my needs. I have no idea what numbers he is going to give me next week! Eeek! Trigger shifters are #1 on the list, maybe thinner/smoother tires for road riding, different handlebars, several other things. He actually seemed a bit excited talking through all the options (on the phone he wasn’t sure, but as soon as he saw it he said “oh yeah, we can definitely work with this.”)

    Check for used bikes - I second the college town idea because my parents live in a bike friendly college town in Idaho and you can find really nice bikes dirt cheap at places like Goodwill. Pawn shops, Craigslist, OfferUp, Facebook, etc.
  • moonangel12moonangel12 Member, Premium Posts: 854 Member Member, Premium Posts: 854 Member
    @NorthCascades I think your photos would
    motivate just about anyone to take up bike riding! I love seeing them!
  • ahimes39ahimes39 Member Posts: 107 Member Member Posts: 107 Member
    For someone interested in riding for about 30-60 minutes a go, sometimes (increasingly) for fitness, sometimes with the family for pleasure, usually flat pavement, sometimes gravel or hard packed dirt. I’m bewildered by all the possibilities of bike types and categories and am hesitant to walk in to a bike shop for “real” cyclists both bc I don’t know where to start and I don’t want to drop $1000.

    I could have written this post. Thanks so much--I need direction as well. I'd like to spend $300-400 on a decent bike on sale (so one worth maybe $600-700 if possible), but not spend $1000. My job is between 2 and 3 miles from my house, a perfect bike commute with the exception of crossing a major highway and the ride involving a lot of uphill on the way back. I would love to be out biking right now and leave the car in the garage! That commute probably sounds like nothing for you guys who bike 30 or 40 miles at a time, but I haven't biked in 3 or 4 years so it is a big deal to me. And I've been over-thinking the bike issue for several months now, putting off getting one because the internet's advice is all over the place.
  • sgt1372sgt1372 Member Posts: 3,638 Member Member Posts: 3,638 Member
    I use to own a really great Peugeot road bike in the 80's and wish that I never sold it. Have ridden a bicycle much since.

    Motorcycles were my 2 main wheel vehicle of choice for over 50 yrs. Traveled all over the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe on one over the years

    However, I just bought a new 3spd folding bike for just $269 from Green Zone Bikes in Houston for alternative transportation; mainly between car shops and my house. Was think about buying a 7spd eBike from them but couldn't justify the 3x higher cost.

    These bikes are fine for flats and a little dirt/gravel and they are extremely easy and convenient to transport. Something to consider if you are not a SERIOUS bicyclist, which I'm not.
    edited May 31
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 9,880 Member Member Posts: 9,880 Member
    ahimes39 wrote: »
    For someone interested in riding for about 30-60 minutes a go, sometimes (increasingly) for fitness, sometimes with the family for pleasure, usually flat pavement, sometimes gravel or hard packed dirt. I’m bewildered by all the possibilities of bike types and categories and am hesitant to walk in to a bike shop for “real” cyclists both bc I don’t know where to start and I don’t want to drop $1000.

    I could have written this post. Thanks so much--I need direction as well. I'd like to spend $300-400 on a decent bike on sale (so one worth maybe $600-700 if possible), but not spend $1000. My job is between 2 and 3 miles from my house, a perfect bike commute with the exception of crossing a major highway and the ride involving a lot of uphill on the way back. I would love to be out biking right now and leave the car in the garage! That commute probably sounds like nothing for you guys who bike 30 or 40 miles at a time, but I haven't biked in 3 or 4 years so it is a big deal to me. And I've been over-thinking the bike issue for several months now, putting off getting one because the internet's advice is all over the place.

    $300-400 is not an easy price point to hit with a bike. As a commuter you don't need the top of the line, but you need something of enough quality to be reliable and not give you mechanical difficulty so you can arrive at work on time. It's also hard to find sales right now because it's very much a buyer's market.

    I would call local bike shops to see if they have anything in your range. I'd also consider used. Finally, and as a last resort, I'd consider bikes direct and similar places. I'd also watch enough YouTube to learn to do basic maintenance for reliability and budget reasons.

    Here's an example of something near your price, it's an upright bike which makes you a little more visible in traffic, and has disc braking which is useful if you'll be commuting in the rain. The gearing goes down to almost 1:1 which is good for hills. I'm not recommending this, just using it as an example. PS - ignore the list prices on this site.

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/gravity/liberty_fb-xiv.htm

    If you commute by bike, check with your car insurance company to see if you can get a discount by having your car classified as a pleasure vehicle.
    edited May 31
Sign In or Register to comment.