View Full Version : Quality Bicycle?

May 03, 2004, 16:59
Does anyone here ride bicycles?

I want to start riding to work and am wondering if anyone has brand preferences or recommendations? Are there good quality bicycles for a low low price? I'm thinking up to $200.

I'll mostly ride on roads up and down hills, and the roads may be wet at times.

Any suggestions?

May 03, 2004, 18:10
Hey Raminator-
I do a little bit of both, mountain and road biking. You'll have a hard (read damn near impossible) time buying anything but a Discount store (Target/Kmart/Toys R US/etc) bike for less than $200. They all seem to have ther own brands, no real main stream companies.

If you do decide to go with something from a "Bike" store, two brands I highly recommend are Trek and Cannondale. Both are US made and I have had nothing but great experiences with both companies.

Go to the Discount stores and check out what they have. Then go to a real bike shop and look at their low end bikes, You'll see a big difference. Besides, buying form a shop gives you more than a better bike, most shops include free tuneups for period of time and of course the support you would not get from Target.

It all depends on what you want to do with it and how much you think you'll ride it, and how much you are wiling to spend of course.

Just a few thoughts,

Cannondale SR800 (road)
Trek 6500 (dirt)

May 03, 2004, 18:14
Oh, a few other things-
For your purpose, I think a mountain bike will suit you the best. They have a more comfortable riding position, the tires are wider and run on lower pressure (better ride). If you decide the nobbies (2.25") have too much rolling resistance, you can get narrower (1.4") tires that run at higher pressures with a semi slick tread - generally known as a city type tire.


May 03, 2004, 18:56
I ride a mountain bike on the weekends & I ride the same bike to work during the week. Get a mountain bike, not a road bike. Like previously stated, big tires, upright ride & they have at least a suspension fork & some are full suspension. Up or down curbs, ripples in the asphalt, etc. are not a problem.

Your only problem is limiting yourself to $200.00. My wheels cost that much.:-) If you want quality & the performance, durability, maintainability, & light weight that quality brings. You have to pay for it.

Like stated earlier. Go to a real bike shop & look around. They might even let you test ride (parking lot only) different models.

Mountain bike magazines are also a good source of information.

May 03, 2004, 19:23
Mine cost me $1400. Rocky mountain frame, Bomber front suspension, ritchey(correct my spelling on this one) front and rear brakes and combo pedals. Last but not least shimano gears. Not a bike person, but i love it everytime i ride it. except my seat:sad:

May 03, 2004, 20:29
I just got a nice hybrid. Made by Giant, sadly I didn't realize till much later it was built in China.:( But it is a nice ride for city streets.:) Mountain bike frame, 700mm tires that are wider than typical road tires, but not nearly as wide as knobbie mountain tires, so you do not bog down on city streets. Seat and front fork suspension.

Downside is cost was around $300 after sales tax. But from my comparison shopping, that is about the sweet spot for new bikes of this type and style. 21 Gears, Shimano deraileurs, grip shift, etc.

Also ask around. You would not believe the kind of bikes people have stowed away that they have not used in a year or two.:uhoh: Right after I bought my bike, two or three friends came out of the woodwork and said, "Oh yeah, I got this Rock Hopper gathering dust in my garage..." :mad: or "My cousin has got a bike for sale, cheap." :mad: A good way to go is to find a good used frame, and build it up from there. You can usually find a good quality bike used with everything you need, get tires for street like the 700mm, tuned up and running for about $250.

My only advice is avoid, full suspension frames. If you are riding mostly street and riding up hills, you lose like 20% when you are really pushing up a hill because of the suspension.:confused: Although they are a great ride down a street with lots of tree roots that are humping under the asphalt.

Just my two cents, since I have been using the bus and bike to commute back and forth from work here in LA for the last three months.

May 04, 2004, 14:03
I ride 5000-6000 miles a year. My commute to work is 19 miles ... each way. I have three road bikes that each cost $3000-$5000. Yeah, my stuff is high end. I have wheel sets that are $800.

You don't need to spend this much though. I have a friend who rode 10,000 miles last year on a $700 bike he got from Performance. If you're really planning on riding the thing more than a couple hundred miles a year, spend some money. A $200 bike is going to fall apart.

My advice is to look for something used. If you're riding to work on the road, get a road bike. You can go a lot faster and its more enjoyable. A mountian bike is great for the dirt, but not great for the road. They're ultimately less comfortable on the road than a road bike (less aero position, hands stuck in a single position). Hybrids can ride on or off road, but excel at neither.

Find out what size you need. One rule of thumb is to take your shoes off and measure from the ground to your crotch. Multiply this by .667 and convert it to centimeters (multiply by 2.54). This gives you a rough idea of the size road frame you need. Now go to a real bike shop (not K-Mart) and test ride a couple. When you're pretty certian you know your size, look for a used one on-line. I'd suggest road bike review:


A friend of mine got a Lemond there for $1200 that looked practically unridden. It was a year old and probably originally sold for $2500. You don't need to spend this kind of money, but $200-$300 isn't going to buy you very much.

e-mail me if you want.

May 04, 2004, 15:00
PMF has the right of it. I am in much the same boat as he is. Large amounts of money spent on three bikes.
My advice, if you ride more than 5 miles to work get a road bike. You will not be pleased riding a mountain bike all that way.
Less than 5 miles I would say get a mountain bike. I ride 2.5 miles to work but it is very flat so I use a single speed mountain type bike. (purists forgive me I am trying to make it simple) If you have hills and such buy one with gears.
Brand? I have broken 4 Cannondales. I hate um. Trek's, well they would work I reckon. Specialized makes dandy bikes you might want to take a look there. There are many other brands that i am sure would fit the bill.
Make sure it fits you! talk to the guys at the shop and let them guide you.
Last bit of advice, I am sure pmf will agree, spare no expense on your ass. Buy the seat that you like best! Stay away from the gel foo foo seats or the real wide springy ones. They will chaf you and you will hate the whole experience. With a real seat your butt will grow some callus' (sp?) after awhile so it won't hurt for long. Good luck.

May 05, 2004, 08:50
buy used.
like anything else health/excercise related, there are a lot of people out there that buy a high end bike with every intention of riding it daily/weekly/whatever, only to find it sits in the garage collecting dust.

If you have a local buddy that is into it, he can advise you when a good deal shows up.

If you can shop a while, you will save a lot.
In a hurry? You will pay a premium.

My GT Zaskar mountain bike cost me less than half of what a new one would have.
It is lighter than my 5 year old's bike with training wheels.

good luck.

May 05, 2004, 09:30
I'm convinced that kids bikes are made of lead filled plumbing pipes. Everytime I pass a rack of kids bikes at a dept store, I go lift a few for the hell of it. Saying your mtn bike is lighter than your kid's bike isn't saying a hell of a lot. A decent road bike should weigh about half of what your typical five year old kid's bike weighs.

Weight isn't the end all measure of how good a road bike is. Lots of aluminium bikes can get down to 15 lbs, but the ride is horrible IMO. Carbon or titanium are the best materials IMO. Relatively light and have a nice ride. Expensive though.

Light, comfortable and cheap .... in bikes, you can only have two out of three.

May 05, 2004, 10:45
DON'T buy from a department store. bikes are put together by goons...and you will need to pay reputable shop $25.00-$50.00 to make it safe and functional.

Expect to pay $350.00 for a solid hybrid bicycle. You definitely get what you pay for.

Shop a couple bike shops. Buy from the LBS (local bike shop) that treats you with respect and answers your questions. Look for a bike shop that is clean and presents itself in a respectable manner. Ask what ype of warranties are offered by the shop. Some LBS's offer free of dis****ed tune-ups. That shop will also square you away if you damge something or need help. By paying the premium, you get not only a good quality ride, but quality service as well.

LBS will also help you decide which type of bike suits your particualr interests...hybrid/"comfort," mountain. Ask lots of queestions and do your homework...a good salesperson should also ask many questions as well, and be enthusiastic. If the initial person who talks to you is a dud, ask to speak with a manager. Often times people with experience will be busy, and the kid building bikes for the floor will fill in the gaps.

I have been around bicycles...mostly mountain bikes. I have worked in shops and off since 8th grade (12 years ago)....mostly because I enjoyed it! Plus, employee discounts helped me afford my addiction...my current ride is worth about 3 G's. I even worked in a bike shop part time when active duty in the Army! I also raced for a Trek "grassroots" mountain bike team. Cycling is AWSOME! No impact, and you will work muscles that you never knew exsted. At first, cycling will kick your ass until you get used to it...but when you do, cycling is a BLAST! :biggrin: You will get the best work-out because you are enjoying yourself, and the physical work-out. Cycling community also kicks ass as well!

May 05, 2004, 23:02
Check out www.MTBR.com !!!

May 06, 2004, 10:40
Check your local pawn shop. Last year I walked into one and rode out on a Cannondale mtn. bike for 80 bucks. If you're going out for a night of hard drinking a bike is safer than a car because the cops are a little reluctant to give you a DUI on a bike, they might run you in for public drunk, and you'll see the rest of your family and friends in the tank, but your car ins. doesn't go up.

May 07, 2004, 08:21
Originally posted by KEMOSABE
If you're going out for a night of hard drinking a bike is safer than a car because the cops are a little reluctant to give you a DUI on a bike, they might run you in for public drunk, and you'll see the rest of your family and friends in the tank, but your car ins. doesn't go up.

That is the BEST reason I have ever heard to ride a bike to the bar! Something to think about...I have a local watering hole about 1 mile from my house. Just a little too far to walk and I do not like to Drink & Drive; hmmm, now I have another option.

May 07, 2004, 17:07
Originally posted by 19kilo

That is the BEST reason I have ever heard to ride a bike to the bar! Something to think about...I have a local watering hole about 1 mile from my house. Just a little too far to walk and I do not like to Drink & Drive; hmmm, now I have another option.

Your bike is more likely to be stolen than your car. Ever ride a bike really drunk? It ain't that easy.
I once was of a like mind. After a party I hopped on my trusty bike and started to ride home. A couple of people I knew were leaving the party as well. They offered to toss my bike and me in the back of their truck and take me home. (about 1.5 miles) I, being really drunk took them up on their kind offer. Right around the corner was a police car waiting for us. Turns out the driver had no license and the passenger in front was to drunk to drive the truck. (the policeman was being very nice to us) I start to get out and leave knowing in my drunken mind that this was going to turn out bad. The cop stops me and says, "Do you have a license?" I say yes and start to pull it out for him. He stops me and says you will have to drive these boys home.:eek: Not wanting to anger the nice policeman I say of couse officer. I then drove them to my house and got out with my bike. I wished them luck and sent them home.
I say all of this to illistrate a point: As soon as you think you have it all covered Murphy will throw a curve at you. Be careful out there.

Sorry for the highjack fellows carry on please.

May 07, 2004, 17:26
Originally posted by 19kilo

That is the BEST reason I have ever heard to ride a bike to the bar! Something to think about...I have a local watering hole about 1 mile from my house. Just a little too far to walk and I do not like to Drink & Drive; hmmm, now I have another option.


Most state laws for DUI or DWI driving ALSO include a bicycle. If it's operated on a public road you still have to obey all vehicle laws. i.e. stop signs and traffic lights.

Leave the bike at home and just call a taxi when you want to drink.

Road rash sucks!!

May 07, 2004, 17:39
Years ago when I was in Japan, my friends & I would ride bikes to the local bars. Many hours later we would have a race back to the barracks. Riding a bike as fast as you can while drunk. Talk about an adrenalin filled thrill ride! I would never do it today. If you choose to ride while drunk, ride slowly & carefully.

BTW, we where told that DUI's could still be given for riding a bike while drunk. I don't know if this is true in the US. But I truly believe that the JPD would gladly ticket you. You might want to ask the local police before you ride.

May 07, 2004, 19:32
My seat cost more than $200.00, 2.50 each for titanum spokes, can`t picture a 200.00 bike

May 10, 2004, 15:45
How about this one ?
Maybe just a bit more money than you had in mind but should be a good rugged commuter bike.

Swiss Courier Bicycle (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=4081&item=2242741497&rd=1)

May 14, 2004, 15:17
$179.00 for shipping?!!! Seller is smoking something serious! I have shipped a couple bikes in the past, and also bought one online....most I paid for shipping w/ insurance was around $40.00.

45 pound bike...NOTHING sounds enjoyable about that! Would be a cool collectors item though...but these bikes can be found much cheaper...minus $179.00 shipping fee (JEEZ?!).

Again, check out a bike shop. If you win a bike off of ebay, count on $30.00 or so for shipping, and then consider cost of assembly (around $50.00)...yes, DO have someone with experience assemble the bike! Don't attempt it yourself.

Then you don't have any type of warranty, or service program...so if something goes wrong or needs adjustmennt (it will), you will end up digging intoo your wallet again.

May 14, 2004, 15:52
After my wife asked me to find accomodations else where, I found an apartment about 3 miles from work. Was going to buy a GT mountain bike from a local sporting goods store. $299.00 plus tax. Found the same bike online for $180. Remember, you get what you pay for. I used to ride alot in my younger days. I hope to buy a road bike this summer. Spend a little extra for a ggod seat. You can buy higher pressure road tire for MTBs. It REALLY makes a difference. Buy a rack and a bag. Dont wear a back-pack. That sucks. Get a helmet!!! I was on a ride once. About 45 miles from home. Some A-hole hit me with his dually towing mirror. He left. I ate gravel but had a helmet on. They look goofy but helmets have come a long way since the leather "hair-net" days. Cycling is great exercise...and chicks will dig you in spandex:bow:


June 02, 2004, 21:20
I have a Walmart"CHI-COM" SCHWINN Crusier frame- A little more upright. It has a springer front end and "Shimano gears", with flip off wheels and seat, center pull brakes, for $139.00.

Maybe "Forced Labor" can have an upside.:)

June 03, 2004, 08:00
I'm not a big bike fan (ones powered by me:) ) but when I bought one I went with a Specialized Hard Rock and have been happy. It will cost you at least three times your $200 budget though.

June 03, 2004, 08:33
I have a Cannondale and really like it. They are reasonably priced and well made. Excellent bikes!