What bike is right for me?

Discussion in 'Lifestyle, Health, Fitness & Food' started by Mike, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. Mike

    Mike The Traveler Contributor

    Messages:
    2,371
    Likes Received:
    328
    Joined:
    May 18, 2013
    Location:
    OH
    I've started biking more and more thanks to my crazy wife and I'm considering getting a better bike. Right now I use some $150 mongoose mountain bike for everything (on and off road). It's okay, but it has it's problems and I'd like to get something better. Most of our riding is done on roads and streets but we still ride trails every now and again. I'd say its like 80% road / 20% trails.

    I'd like to make my rides as comfortable and efficient as possible. I'm thinking a hybrid bike might be what I want, but I'm also considering a road bike and then just using the mountain bike for trails. I know next to nothing about who makes the good stuff and what does what.

    Budget-wise I don't want to go too crazy because it's just a recreational thing and I'll be buying a second new bike for her as well. $400-$500 is where I'd like to stay if possible. So please educate me bikers.
     
  2. Mik3D23

    Mik3D23 things

    Messages:
    850
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Location:
    Honesdale, PA
    When you say trail what type of trail are you talking? Full on singletrack mountain biking? Or easier-going rails to trails and dirt paths?

    If the latter, a hybrid bike with a lockout fork would probably do you nicely. You sacrifice a bit of the efficiency of a road bike but gain a lot of comfort and adaptability from the larger volume tires, mountain bike style geometry frame, and flat bars.


    Do you have any local bike shops near you? If so, what brands do they carry? If you have never tried a road bike, I would try riding one at a shop and see if its something you think you could even get into or not.

    Example of a good hybrid bike in your price range: (insert Trek/Specialized/etc wherever, they all pretty much make bikes like this)
    Roam 3 (2015) | Giant Bicycles | United States
     
  3. Mik3D23

    Mik3D23 things

    Messages:
    850
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Location:
    Honesdale, PA
    Also, if you want a lighter bike than that and you don't like a full on road bike, they have hybrids made for mostly road as well. Lighter, thinner tires, no suspension, and flat bars.

    Ex: Escape 3 (2015) | Giant Bicycles | United States
     
  4. Mike

    Mike The Traveler Contributor

    Messages:
    2,371
    Likes Received:
    328
    Joined:
    May 18, 2013
    Location:
    OH
    Mostly easier going trails. Similar to what you find at camp grounds or state parks that have trails. Mostly dirt and some gravel.

    I guess I am leaning more towards hybrid then, but I still may try a road bike just to compare.

    There is one local cycle shop, but I have no clue what they carry. I'll have to take a trip there and see. I've never used a pure road bike before so that's a good idea for me to experience one and see if I like it at all.

    You mentioned the lockout fork, any other parts or features you think would be a good idea to look for in a hybrid to help increase efficiency and comfort? The reason I'm so focused on efficiency is because my bike now is terrible when it comes to that. It's heavy and the gear ratios are all wrong. I feel like I have to do twice the pedaling to get half the distance on any given setting compared to other bikes I've used.

    Distance is the main focus I would say as our current rides can span 15-20+ miles.
     
  5. Mik3D23

    Mik3D23 things

    Messages:
    850
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2012
    Location:
    Honesdale, PA
    If you see yourself getting more serious about it a full road bike might be the way to go. But pricewise they usually start between $600-700 and obviously can't ride on dirt trails or gravel.

    A bike similar to either one of the ones I linked will feel like night and day compare to a mongoose. They have 700C wheels with probably smoother tires, better drivetrains, and just all around better and lighter parts.

    I think you probably just need to decide whether you want the bike for road and trail, or for road and then use your other bike for the little bit of trail you do. 15-20 miles in you really notice differences between the suspension hybrid compared to the rigid/lighter one, and then a drop bar road bike you'll notice even more
     
  6. xzyryabx

    xzyryabx SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    530
    Likes Received:
    102
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2013
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    I'm in a bike buying/selling craze at the moment...so hopefully i can give you some good advice!
    First of all....with your budget, I would suggest you buy used.
    Why? You can get a better bike for the money...and you can try out a bike, see if you like it after a few rides and if not yu can resell it w/o losing a ton of money. I strongly suggest craigslist, the prices on ebay are insane and you it's a hassle waiting a week for the week, having to assemble it, etc....same concept as with guitars, you might not like a brands neck so why spend 5k on a custom order only to get it and realize you don't like the neck/wood combo whatever.
    For your riding, you want something with a front suspension, and one that you can lock out (i.e. stop the shock (suspension) from acting like a shock on roads, then allow you to unlock it to activate the dampening effect of the shock when on the trails). Don't buy a full suspension bike...they are better on trails, especially harder ones, but will be much less efficient on roads and will tire you out more.
    Go for brands like mongoose, trek, giant for cheaper front-suspension bikes...a 5 year old trek 6000 comes to mind because I have one (selling it only bc I only ride full suspension bikes, it's 5 years old and in mint condition and I'm aiming for $400).
    And don't over think it since you're new to this....at this point YOU will be the main hurdle until you get your stamina, cardio, and leg/back strength up.
    It's an amazing sport and I hope you really get into it!
    We started discovering these really tough trails in our area and met a 65 year old man, that only started riding at 45, and this guy out-rides us all day long...he is my current motivation when I think .... this!
    There's a lot more to it but don't overthink it, just get a bike in your budget and ride!
    PS. watch out, its addictive, and once you get serious about it, it's not the cheapest sport out there.
     
  7. Mike

    Mike The Traveler Contributor

    Messages:
    2,371
    Likes Received:
    328
    Joined:
    May 18, 2013
    Location:
    OH
    I have been looking used as well and am not having very good luck finding any good deals locally at the moment. Right now there seems to be all of 5 hybrids on CL and everyone wants way too much for them according to the price cross referencing I've done. It's to the point where a reasonable offer would be low balling them. For example there's some Diamond Edgewood's for $250 and new I found them for $300. I will definitely keep looking though.
     
  8. Surveyor 777

    Surveyor 777 I measure things

    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    25
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    All of the above is good advice. I'm bike-crazy right now myself. Bought a Trek Marlin 5 mountain bike back in April (I think, maybe March) and I absolutely love it. It was $490 so it's right in your price range.

    Before I bought it I was debating this one or a Trek hybrid. I almost bought the hybrid. Either way I think I would have been happy.

    The pro's for the hybrid: it had a front suspension lock-out and more road-friendly tires. The con's: only one, really - it was about $130 more. I really knew nothing about bikes at the time & couldn't justify the extra money.

    Like I said, I love my mountain bike (MTB). I ride mostly (like 90%) on the road, simply because I don't often have the time to ride to the MTB trails by me or if I do, they're closed due to too much rain or whatever.

    If I KNEW I was going to stick to the road more I would go for a bike that has skinnier, more road-friendly tires - so it doesn't take as much effort to ride. But conversely I get in better shape by using mine. I do plan to get on the trails more, and that's where I'm glad I got this bike.

    Whatever you get, you will definitely notice the difference in the ride, in the quality of the parts - just the whole experience. I went from a Murray full-rigid MTB that I bought 20 years ago (for about $120) to this Trek (which actually is one of their low-end models) and it is a night-and-day difference. It is way more fun riding this around. I WANT to ride more, I enjoy my riding time more and I'm getting in better shape all the time.

    But I have to warn you that this is addicting. You will no longer spend money on guitars & gear - it will go to biking & accessories. I was saving for a new 7-string but guess where that money is going - to buy a fat bike. I'm just waiting (literally, any time now) for my local bike shop to call me about availability - then I'll be giving them the money that's burning a hole in my pocket for another bike. Once I get it I'll change the grips (which I already ordered, probably the saddle, maybe the pedals, etc....

    Get something you like & have fun. If you keep it a while & find you don't like it, then you'll know WHAT you don't like so when you upgrade you'll get what you want.
     

Share This Page