Need help choosing a bicycle - Fuelly Forums

Android Users - Coming Soon! - Migrating from aCar 4.8 to 5.0

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 01-27-2010, 08:33 AM   #1
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 618
Country: United States
Need help choosing a bicycle

I'm wanting to buy myself a bicycle.

My commute to work is 6.5 miles one way, only has sidewalk about 3 of those miles. Speed limit is 50mph the other 3.5 miles but there is a large shoulder area w/ gravel.

I really enjoy hiking and the outdoors. A mountain bike sounds like a lot of fun! (though I'd then need to buy a bike rack, which just seems like a lot of money wasted)

I'd like to bike back and forth to work also though...

Which bike do I choose? A road/touring bike, or a mountain bike??

How many gears should I have?

I'm 6'1" and 200lbs, is there a certain size bike I should look for, or get whatever is comfortable?


Thank you!
__________________

__________________
John
'09 Saturn Aura 2.4L
'94 Chevy Camaro Z28 (5.7L 6sp)
'96 Chevy C1500 (5.0L 5sp)
'08 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom
'01 KTM Duke 2
Project84 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2010, 09:39 AM   #2
Registered Member
 
theholycow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6,624
Country: United States
Send a message via ICQ to theholycow Send a message via AIM to theholycow Send a message via MSN to theholycow Send a message via Yahoo to theholycow
For a 6.5 mile ride, it doesn't really matter. Any bike will do.

Humans have a very narrow powerband. More gears = closer spacing. As with cars, when you get more gears you generally get something that's intended for someone sporty rather than utilitarian/efficiency use. Unlike cars, that means taller gears instead of shorter. Road bikes tend to come with cassettes that look like corncobs, with a one tooth difference from one gear to the next. Luckily, it's easy and inexpensive to change.

Forget the road/touring vs. mountain issue. Instead, go for these priorities:
- Comfort
- Proper fit
- Budget

You don't need a rack for a mountain bike, they're tough and you can just throw it in your trunk with half of it hanging out over the road if you want. A road bike won't get broken doing that but it'd be a damn shame (and you could risk throwing a wheel out of true if you're rough loading it).

To be honest, I'd look for a beater at a yard sale or even roadside on trash day. An old Schwinn road bike (aka "Ten Speed") may do well. You don't have to worry about leaving a beater outside, securing it and protecting it from weather.

If you're going to buy a new bike or an expensive used one, fit is the #1 most important consideration. Read bicycling sites and forums to learn about proper fit. Don't go for an aggressive sport fit, and don't get an aggressively bike made for downhilling or time trials/triathalon. Buy from a local bike shop with good service.

What does your budget look like? Have you looked at any bikes yet?
__________________

__________________
This sig may return, some day.
theholycow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2010, 03:04 PM   #3
Registered Member
 
Fuel Miser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 156
Country: United States
Great advice thc, I agree.
A few other thoughts from a lifelong cyclist: Gravel? 200lbs? Forget skinny tires. By far the two most popular wheel/tire sizes are 26" (fairly self explanatory, it's the wheel diameter) and 700c (you probably have neither the time nor interest) about 28" diameter. Among 26" choices you'll want at least a 1.5" tire width. 700c? 32c tire width minimum, preferably 38 or 40c.
I can't say enough about the exercise, social, environmental and economic benefits of riding a bike, not to mention the sheer joy. The fun is free, ensuring your safety takes just a bit of doing. Don't forget to budget for a helmet, consider it mandatory. If you can't afford a bike and a helmet buy the helmet first. Lights are an absolute necessity if you'll be commuting during low light hours. No, they won't provide much benefit in seeing road hazards but they'll make you more easily seen. Consider a day glow/reflective vest as well. Studies show motorists react much more effectively to a human form than to random reflective shapes. Safety is paramount on two wheels, make it your first consideration. Get very, very comfortable with your bike before venturing anywhere near traffic. Practice braking and swerving; try not to enjoy it so much, you look like a ten year old! Repeat the following, as I do, each and every time you mount your bike:
"Half of them don't see me and the other half are trying to kill me."
Thank heavens it's not true but some days it will feel like it is. It'll go a long way to keeping you safe.
__________________
[QUOTE=Project84;147125I'm not "rich" by any means but I do have one advantage if you will... I'm a maintenance man.[/QUOTE]
Fuel Miser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2010, 03:36 PM   #4
Registered Member
 
theholycow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6,624
Country: United States
Send a message via ICQ to theholycow Send a message via AIM to theholycow Send a message via MSN to theholycow Send a message via Yahoo to theholycow
Good points. I didn't notice the bit about gravel.

For that kind of mixed riding, you'll want an inverted tread tire. They have tread cut in (like an automotive tire) instead of sticking out.


You'll want a bike with 26 inch tires. I don't know if they make that kind of tire for 700c wheels anyway. It will be a mountain bike or a cruiser. Try to find tires that accept a decent amount of pressure. I have 26 inch inverted tread tires good for 90psi. Rolling resistance and aerodynamic drag are a lot more important when you've got so little torque.

It's not impossible to use a skinny slick tire and a road bike on gravel. If the gravel is pretty smooth it's not even as bad as most people say. I still wouldn't recommend planning on it.

Try to find a rigid bike - no suspension. Or, at least, a hardtail.

Also, do not ride on the sidewalk. It's rude, dangerous, and in most places illegal. It's dangerous because nobody expects or looks for a 10-20mph sidewalk user, and because of the visibility angle for driveways/crossroads. Sidewalk users are expected to be able to stop immediately.
__________________
This sig may return, some day.
theholycow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2010, 06:41 PM   #5
Registered Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 618
Country: United States
Not planning any sidewalk riding.

The commute is 13 miles round trip, I said 6.5 one way.


Also, find a bike w/ no suspension?? Why does that matter one way or the other? The reason I stopped riding a bike as a kid and switched to skateboards was because the seat hurt my butt! Wouldn't a nice seat on a bike w/ a shock/spring help?

Also, if I had to guess, lets just say I'll be riding 5% trails, 95% streets.
__________________
John
'09 Saturn Aura 2.4L
'94 Chevy Camaro Z28 (5.7L 6sp)
'96 Chevy C1500 (5.0L 5sp)
'08 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom
'01 KTM Duke 2
Project84 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2010, 06:42 PM   #6
Registered Member
 
IndyFetch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 627
Country: United States
Location: Indianapolis
Look on Craigs List. I needed to find a bike this past summer. I found a Trek road bike I really liked, but it was $469 with no kick stand or water bottle holder. It was $509 with those accessories. I looked for one week on Craigslist and found one just like it that was 6 months old. The owner bought it to commute back and forth to work on since he was living downtown. He finally broke down and bought a $500 car. He sold me the bike, which looked as though it has never been ridden, for $250. It had a water bottle holder, kick stand, new helmet, and a bell (which I put on our new tandem).

The tandem is a story in itself. I found it on Craigslist, too. An older couple bought it new for $500+ 2 years ago. Just after buying it, the wife fell ill and died. The bike was ridden one time before it was parked. Their son sold it for the dad last summer. I bought it for $200. It is a Kent cruiser-style Tandem with all Schimano running gear. Huge whitewalls and springer seats. It looks like a 1960s-era bike, only without the fenders. My wife and I rode it in the Indy Nite Ride, and the only tandem that could keep up with us was a speed bike tandem (I did not even know they made them) with two cycling enthusiasts.

If I bought these bikes new, I would've spent over $1,000. I compromised on the color of the road bike (I got red, I wanted blue) and saved over $550.
IndyFetch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2010, 06:53 PM   #7
Registered Member
 
theholycow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6,624
Country: United States
Send a message via ICQ to theholycow Send a message via AIM to theholycow Send a message via MSN to theholycow Send a message via Yahoo to theholycow
If you ride on a regular basis and use a correct position, your butt won't hurt for long. If necessary, a suspension seatpost for comfort would be more optimal than a full suspension bike.

Suspension is heavy and expensive. Low-end suspension eats up your pedaling energy with pedal bob and such (in addition to being even heavier than the expensive stuff).

For a downhill bike, or for gnarly trail riding, rear suspension makes sense. For less gnarly trail riding, hardtail makes sense. For road and smooth trail riding, the efficiency of a rigid bike can't be beat, which is why you never see suspension on road bikes. Bicyclists have to hypermile all the time.
__________________
This sig may return, some day.
theholycow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-27-2010, 06:56 PM   #8
Registered Member
 
cat0020's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 278
Country: United States
Quote:
Originally Posted by Project84 View Post
Not planning any sidewalk riding.

The commute is 13 miles round trip, I said 6.5 one way.

Also, find a bike w/ no suspension?? Why does that matter one way or the other? The reason I stopped riding a bike as a kid and switched to skateboards was because the seat hurt my butt! Wouldn't a nice seat on a bike w/ a shock/spring help?

Also, if I had to guess, lets just say I'll be riding 5% trails, 95% streets.
Yeah, most people stop riding bicycles because that seat is not comfortable.
Having suspension may increase comfort, but also increase weight and possible maintenance intervaul and cost.
Having fatter (wider) tires would increase comfort level, so does wearing padded bicycle shorts, wider seat..
200 lb. may be your main deterant to stay on a bike, but keep riding, that weight should get reduced pretty quickly.
If you want ultimate comfort, go for a recumbent bike, may not be cheap, but may allow you to commute for more comfort, less back/arm/neck stain.
Don't know how much you have in mind to spend for our bike, but a decent bike that is reliable and capable for your purpose should be around $400-600 at your local bicycle store. Ask them since they are the experts at selling bikes.
__________________
Master your environment and you will survive just fine.
Chances favor the prepared mind.
cat0020 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2010, 06:01 AM   #9
Registered Member
 
Fuel Miser's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 156
Country: United States
I strongly agree, for the riding you've described a suspension bike would not be a good choice. In addition to the increased weight and decreased efficiency you'll find serious reliability issues with an inexpensive suspension bike. Entry level prices for a worthwhile one will be over $700. The popularity of these bikes is more reflective of marketing and lack of choice than it is of their desirability. In any big-box store, where the grand majority of bicycles are purchased, they'll be your only choice outside of a "beach cruiser" which is likely to be a single speed with a single coaster brake. Certainly not what you'd want for riding on roads designed for automobiles.
Reagarding seat comfort, one could write volumes. Some longtime cyclists own several seats, swithing to and fro and not particularly liking any. Some own several bikes but only one seat which the bikes "share". Some are on lifelong searches for the perfect seat. Sorry, suspension is not likely to offer any benefit in this area. One instinctively raises one's weight from the seat and shifts it onto the pedals when striking any sizable road imperfections. Riding surface is simply not a major factor in seat comfort. Those who ride indoors on "rollers" (think of a treadmill), a perfectly smooth surface, still have saddle soreness on or after long "rides". Regardless of where or what you ride, you can bet your rear won't be happy at first. Sitting on a bike is not a natural position for the human body. Work with a reputable bike shop, start with short distances away from traffic and on smooth surfaces and you'll be a dedicated, happy rider before long. Your biggest issue is likely to be finding the time to ride as much as you'd like.
__________________
[QUOTE=Project84;147125I'm not "rich" by any means but I do have one advantage if you will... I'm a maintenance man.[/QUOTE]
Fuel Miser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-28-2010, 07:50 AM   #10
Registered Member
 
theholycow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 6,624
Country: United States
Send a message via ICQ to theholycow Send a message via AIM to theholycow Send a message via MSN to theholycow Send a message via Yahoo to theholycow
When I was hugely into cycling, I had one saddle that I liked and I bought more of the same model for my other bikes.

It does take a lot of trial-and-error to find the perfect saddle, and what's right changes as you ride more, your riding conditions change, etc...requiring you to start over again.
__________________

__________________
This sig may return, some day.
theholycow is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Another GM brand bites the dust (next week) jadziasman Automotive News, Articles and Products 22 04-30-2009 12:45 PM
ULSD vs LSD GasSavers_SD26 Diesels 10 11-15-2008 04:33 PM
It's catching on in Europe, too! bkrell General Fuel Topics 0 05-27-2008 09:12 PM
Visual representation of airflow behind car landspeed Aerodynamics 6 12-04-2006 02:58 PM
Mitsu... tomauto Electric and Solar powered 0 10-10-2006 09:26 PM

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:02 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.