PDA

View Full Version : What kind of bike should I buy?


tgreen
September 24th 03, 09:03 PM
Hi -

I am looking to purchase a bike and I don't know where to start. I
don't do a lot of exercise right now, because I really don't like
going to the gym. However, I know I need to get in shape and I do
like spending time outdoors. I think getting a bike will be a good
option b/c it will combine something I like (being outdoors) with
something I don't like (exercising). What factors should weigh into
my decision? And, among these factors, how should I evaluate each one
to find the best option for me.

Robert Haston
September 25th 03, 03:39 AM
A good quality used bike. I guess people are accustomed to "disposable"
WAL-MART bikes, so they will sell a bike a few years old that hasn't really
been ridden - for less than half what they paid new.

Most people are buying mountain bikes or bikes similar in dimensions. You
can go pretty fast on a mountain bike on the road if you put high pressure
smooth tires on it. As to suspension, front only.

The right sized MTB should have about 2-3 inches of clearance when you stand
flat footed. This means the frame will be about 12 inches less than your
inseam. A road bike should clear by about an inch, or about your inseam
minus 10 inches.

Read up on bike safety. Many people think this means put on a helmet and
you are set. John Forester's "Effective Cycling" is one good book. Get a
good light set if you ride at night.

I've commuted by bike for 15 years. I agree about not being able to
exercise unless you are doing something besides sweating.



"tgreen" > wrote in message
om...
> Hi -
>
> I am looking to purchase a bike and I don't know where to start. I
> don't do a lot of exercise right now, because I really don't like
> going to the gym. However, I know I need to get in shape and I do
> like spending time outdoors. I think getting a bike will be a good
> option b/c it will combine something I like (being outdoors) with
> something I don't like (exercising). What factors should weigh into
> my decision? And, among these factors, how should I evaluate each one
> to find the best option for me.

jgerard
September 25th 03, 06:57 AM
Tgreen [/i]
Hi -

I am looking to purchase a bike and I don't know where to start. I don't do a lot of exercise right
now, because I really don't like going to the gym. However, I know I need to get in shape and I do
like spending time outdoors. I think getting a bike will be a good option b/c it will combine
something I like (being outdoors) with something I don't like (exercising). What factors should
weigh into my decision? And, among these factors, how should I evaluate each one to find the best
option for me. [/QUOTE]
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Tgreen wrote:[i]
> Hi -
> I am looking to purchase a bike and I don't know where to start. I
> don't do a lot of exercise right now, because I really don't like going
> to the gym. However, I know I need to get in shape and I do like
> spending time outdoors. I think getting a bike will be a good option
> b/c it will combine something I like (being outdoors) with something I
> don't like (exercising). What factors should weigh into my decision?
> And, among these factors, how should I evaluate each one to find the
> best option for me.

I guess your question depends on what you want to do. I'm going to
assume you want to ride around town, country, maybe do a few trails, and
that you are not going to be doing a lot of downhill trail riding.

My disorganised thoughts are as follows. These are the things I wish I'd
have known, but they're not comprehensive (perhaps others will fill in
what I leave out) :-)

- Make sure you buy a big enough frame (a bike shop will help you on
this one).

- Get a bike without suspension, or if you do, make sure you can either
lock it so it doesn't move or tighten it up really hard. Suspension is
a real pain in the ass for normal riding. The reason I say this, is
that if you have a lot of travel, the motion of peddling bounces you
up and down, and just wastes a lot of energy.

- Check out the brakes. A lot of bikes sold in places like walmart have
old style caliper brakes (sidepull), which, in my opinion stink to
ride with, and stink to maintain. If you can, get V-brakes, but I ride
with canti-levers and they work well. I'd say that if you're not doing
downhill, disk brakes are an expensive overkill.

- Check out the tyres. If you plan to ride mostly on pavement, don't get
super knobblies: they'll only slow you down. On the other hand, if you
get slicks (even the 1.5" slicks), you might kill yourself on the
gravel. There are a lot of touring tyres that work well and stay in
the middle giving you both options. I ride with really thin, hard
tyres, and its hard on the ass. If you get 2" wide tyres, they give
you a tiny bit of suspension, or if you don't mind, you can pump them
up real hard to go faster.

- And my most valuable advice is choose your saddle carefully. Everybody
is different, but I highly recommend a split saddle. These look like
they have a bit slit down the middle, and prevent, among other things,
a lot of pain (some medical research has shown that certain kinds of
saddles cause impotence: maybe true maybe not, but who's taking a
chance?). Some bike shops let you try a saddle for two weeks, and
exchange it if you don't like it. Wider saddles are good for short
trips, thinner for long trips. Make sure your sit bones don't roll of
it when you peddle.

Of course, this is what works best for me. Everybody is different.

Have fun riding. Joel






--
>--------------------------<
Posted via cyclingforums.com
http://www.cyclingforums.com

Traveller v.116
October 2nd 03, 03:50 PM
(tgreen) wrote in
om:

> Hi -
>
> I am looking to purchase a bike and I don't know where to start. I
> don't do a lot of exercise right now, because I really don't like
> going to the gym. However, I know I need to get in shape and I do
> like spending time outdoors. I think getting a bike will be a good
> option b/c it will combine something I like (being outdoors) with
> something I don't like (exercising). What factors should weigh into
> my decision? And, among these factors, how should I evaluate each one
> to find the best option for me.

Here's what I ride in the wild suburbs of Houston, TX.

A cromo cross-country (origionally rigid) MTB frame found in a dumpster. May
be an early Mongoose, still not sure. Lightweight, stiff, good bead welds.
Suspension forks. Helps to tame badly surfaced, potholed streets, manhole
covers, ect, and lets me go offroad on demand (like when some idiot with a
big engine, four wheels, and no brain tries to make me a hood ornament.)
Avoid rear suspension! Rear suspension adds unnessesary weight, and eats
nearly half your pedaling power; worse than useless on a street bomber.
Alloy rims (AVOID STEEL! Steel rims give the worse braking, and almost no
braking power when wet), with thick treaded semislicks, what MTBers call rock
tires, inflated to 60 PSI. Smooth and fast on the pavement, yet has the grip
on hardpack, grass, and gravel. The dense tread helps repel flat inducing
debris. I add Mr. Tuffy tire liners and thickwalled tubes, as well.
My saddle is a fairly wide split saddle that rides on springs. The only rear
suspension my big butt needs. :)
Toss in a gripshifter for the rear hub, and an oldskool thumbshifter for the
crank chainwheels, rear centerpull caliper brake (avoids rear tire skid and
the resulting worn spots and blowouts, not to mention rear braking control),
and front v-brake (the strongest brake up front, where most of the braking
effectiveness goes due to inertia. Funny, the front brake never locks, even
in a panic stop; the fork dives, though. The same brake on a rigid fork would
probably lock the wheel, ergo, suspension fork + v-brake = poor man's ABS.)

Yup, an MTB for the streets. Shut up, Mike V!

Scott Eiler
October 4th 03, 01:51 AM
In article >,
the robotic servitors of "Traveller v.116" >
rose up with the following chant:
(tgreen) wrote in
om:
>
>> Hi -
>>
>> I am looking to purchase a bike and I don't know where to start.
(snip)
>
>Here's what I ride in the wild suburbs of Houston, TX.
>
>A cromo cross-country (origionally rigid) MTB frame found in a dumpster.
>Suspension forks. Helps to tame badly surfaced, potholed streets, manhole
>covers, ect, and lets me go offroad on demand (like when some idiot with a
>big engine, four wheels, and no brain tries to make me a hood ornament.)
>Avoid rear suspension! Rear suspension adds unnessesary weight, and eats
>nearly half your pedaling power; worse than useless on a street bomber.
(and so on)

Perhaps a simpler answer is in order.

For beginners, I (and most bike dealers) recommend a hybrid. That is to say,
medium-width tires and straight horizontal crossbar handles. I recommend this
because:

* Wider tires add weight to your bike and make it slower, without giving
benefit in most of the places you want to ride.

* Narrow tires lose some benefit on rough roads.

* Curved handles are pretty damned uncomfortable. I have a bike with such
handles, and I practically always ride as though they were straight handles.
If I had to do it over again, I'd never buy a bike with them... but that's
just me.

But by all means, ask your bike dealer. He knows better what works in your
neighborhood. I'm doing that right now too, because (as witness the "Broken
Glass" thread) I think I may not have the right bike for my neighborhood.

-------- Scott Eiler B{D> -------- http://www.eilertech.com/ --------

"It seemed an unlikely spot for a sensitive songwriter from Greenwich
Village... She ordered the 20-ounce steak."
-- Lin Brehmer, Chicago DJ, describing his meeting in a steakhouse
with Suzanne Vega.

Dr Engelbert Buxbaum
October 4th 03, 07:48 AM
tgreen wrote:

> Hi -
>
> I am looking to purchase a bike and I don't know where to start. I
> don't do a lot of exercise right now, because I really don't like
> going to the gym. However, I know I need to get in shape and I do
> like spending time outdoors. I think getting a bike will be a good
> option b/c it will combine something I like (being outdoors) with
> something I don't like (exercising). What factors should weigh into
> my decision? And, among these factors, how should I evaluate each one
> to find the best option for me.


Assuming you are not going into mountain biking (if you do, don't tell
this newsgroup as you'd start another flame war) what you need is a good
touring bike. Be prepared to fork out a considerable amount of money for
a quality bike (600-800 USD), but those last a lifetime and, in the end,
come cheaper than those 100 dollar discount thingies. Sometimes it is
possible to get good used bikes much cheaper at auctions, but take
somebody with you who knows bikes.

When buying a bike, make sure it fits you. If necessary, get an
oversized frame. The frame is the part of a bike where quality is most
difficult to spot for a lay person. Both the alloys used and the care
taken when welding influence the life expectancy. A good bike shop will
advice you on this, or may be you have a friend who can help you.

Make sure the bike is roadworthy (two independent brake systems, stand,
chain guard, front and back lights and reflectors, pedal reflectors,
spoke reflectors or reflecting tires). Here in Germany bikes without
these accessories are illegal, but in some other countries bikes are
sold 'naked' and you have to buy safety equipment separately.

Lights can be either dynamo or battery operated. Dynamo is better for
exercise, and you don't have to worry about empty bats. Realy good
dynamo systems store some energy so the lights don't go out when you
stop at a crossing. If you go for battery systems, you need to carry a
spare set with you at all times.

Gear shift is necessary unless you ride in totally flat terrain, but you
don't need many gears, 5-7 should serve you well. Get those systems
encapsulated in the hind weel hub, they are maintainance free.

A good lock (titanium steel) is a must (lock it or loose it). Anything
that can be cut with a bolt cutter will be (I am speaking from
experience).

Usefull is a small parcel with repair tools, tire patches, valves, spare
lamp and the like, and a good tire pump. Paniers are nice for shopping
and for picnics. Bike computers are useful for tour planning and not
that expensive anymore.

Schwalbe now manufactures tires with neoprene padding inside, they are
almost puncture proof. Well worth the slightly higher price, at least
for the hind weel.

Saddles are a very personal issue, they come in male and female
versions, each with hundreds of different combinations of material and
shape. Gel-filled saddles last longer. In a good bike shop, you can try
a saddle for a couple of days and return it if you have problems with
it.

Bring your bike back to the shop one month after you bought it, so they
can retighten any nuts that may have become loose. This service should
be free. After that, an annual inspection is a good idea.

Happy biking!

Google

Home - Home - Home - Home - Home