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Bike recommendation

  1. Jun 11, 2008 #1
    So I am heading out to Arizona for grad school and my primary mode of transportation around campus will be by bicycle. I don't know jack about bikes. I am looking for something practical for a means of transportation, but I want something reasonably capable for riding trails also. I was planning on getting a mountain bike. I was hoping to spend no more than 200 bucks. Is this feasible? I don't need anything uber high end. Can someone give me some options? I was looking at the Trek mountain bikes.

    Also, I'd prefer to get something new that I could get at a bike shop when I get there.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 11, 2008 #2
    I honestly dont think you will be able to find a good new bike under $600 bucks (That would be the low end as far as bikes go). For your situation, I would say NOT to buy a road bike. Since you will be hauling things, I would get something with a more comfortable riding position thats upright.

    For $200 bucks, your talking about a bike from sears or Toys-R-us, if its new.

    Edit: Looks like I was wrong on the mountian bikes. There a lot cheaper than road bikes. Here is one new for $199.99


    Seems like a new mountain bike will run you the cheapest at 350 bucks-ish.

    Last edited: Jun 11, 2008
  4. Jun 11, 2008 #3
    yeah, I thought mountain bikes were reasonably cheap (compared to road bikes). I am definitely not getting a road bike. I think Trek's lowest end m-bike is 200 bucks. Even Trek's low end bike is much better than a Sears bike.

    I will check out the bike in that link too. I definitely don't want to spend more than 200 though. If I have to buy a used bike on Craig's list then I will. Like you mentioned, I need something that's comfortable to ride reasonably long distances, reliability, stability (for transporting things...I will usually have at least a back pack) and reasonable durability.

    Last edited: Jun 11, 2008
  5. Jun 11, 2008 #4
    This is way off topic, but what college are you going to attend (I'm moving to Arizona in a few days, myself!)?
  6. Jun 11, 2008 #5
    Arizona State
  7. Jun 11, 2008 #6

    Sorry, I go to UofA :tongue2:

    Which college are YOU going to attend???

    As a bike I use for getting around campus and doing very light trails, I bought a GT Agressor. I think it was around 240 but I dont really remember. Just make sure you get a decent lock.
  8. Jun 11, 2008 #7
    You can look for used bikes, there's a lot of great ones out there.
  9. Jun 12, 2008 #8
    Either ASU, or NAU. I still have a year left of high school.:zzz:
  10. Jun 12, 2008 #9
    What's with all the hate towards UA in this thread? If you're looking at physics, math, or engineering, I'd highly recommend it above ASU and NAU.
  11. Jun 12, 2008 #10

    Chi Meson

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    If you are going to use the bike as a primary mode of transportation, you really want something WAY beyond the "$200 new" category. You will hate a cheap bike quickly if you use it a lot.

    A used bike is a good way to get "better for less" but it might not come in the right size for you. You must be patient! Try to find a bike store that sells rebuilt bikes. There must be one in a college town. I would recommend a mountain bike over a "hybrid." Replace the tires with ones that are not so knobby. You also should have a rack, and a pannier (bag) that doubles as a backpack.

    More than the frame, the components on the bike are of greatest importance. This is where the "cheap new" bike will let you down in the first month.
  12. Jun 12, 2008 #11


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    As Chi Meson wrote - run away from cheap bikes, they are waste of money. I suppose it is better to buy second hand bike for the same price. At least that's how it works here, but I doubt there will be a huge difference.

    However, when it comes to the model selection I disagree with Chi. I would go for something like touring bike - perfect for commuting on the campus and trips, usually strong enough for occasional dirt track. Most likely it already comes with luggage rack, which is a must. (How many beers can you put into pockets when you ride? :wink:) Again, no idea how it looks in US and expecially in the area of the campus, but I am making several thousands kilometer a year on bike, mostly in Warsaw outskirts, selecting tracks that are fifty/fifty tarmack and gravel. Touring bike with correct tyres (not cut too deeply, but not too slick as well) is perfect for that.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2008
  13. Jun 12, 2008 #12


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    For quite a lot of years I used to use really cheap bikes. Aside from the general quality not being great, I found they wouldn't last long and would have to be replaced fairly regularly. I paid about £200 ($380ish) for my last one and it's been worth the money. It's not top quality but it's a decent bike by a decent manufacturer. I can't remember how long I've had it's lasted me a lot longer than any others I've had.

    Big superstores will probably not offer any repair service, so you'd do better going to a specialist shop that will do. I've known some places that will only repair a bike they've sold (or another shop in their chain has sold)
  14. Jun 12, 2008 #13

    Chi Meson

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    Regarding the (minor) disagreement between Borek and I, I think the choice will be determined by riding style and what your route is. I commute 5 miles (each way) on my modified mountain frame. I go over dirt, I jump curbs, and dodge cars the whole way. For me it's a no-brainer which type of frame to use. But if you stay on pavement and ride a more reasonable route, and especially if you a putting on more miles, then a touring frame would be better for you.

    But keep this in mind: you can "tour" on a mountain frame, but you can't "mountain bike" on a touring frame."

    "Hybrids" would be a third choice.

    And regarding Mathyaouw's post, I agree 100%. Do not buy any bike at a store that sells diapers.

    The closest thing to a "superstore" (AKA "Big Box" stores) that can sell you a decent bike would be an "outdoors" store, like REI, or Campmore. My mountain frame is actually a classic 1992 REI "Ponderosa."
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2008
  15. Jun 12, 2008 #14


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    I recently bought an old (1994) Orange Clockwork off Ebay for £40. Having spent a few hours stripping and cleaning, and another £30 or so replacing cables, brake pads etc, I have an absolutely fantastic old-school, lightweight mountain bike, which will be far more robust than any bike which can be bought for less than about £300 new. With semi-slick tyres, a good short-travel suspension fork, and a long stem/riser bar, this is the ultimate machine for commuting and long light trail riding.
  16. Jun 12, 2008 #15


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    If you do buy a mountain bike, swap the knobbly tires for smooth ones ( whatever Schwalbe Marathon you can find cheapest online) it makes a huge difference if you are mostly on roads.
    Don't buy anything with suspension under $600 and don't buy rear suspension EVER - unless you know enough about bikes to ignore the advice here ;-)

    Echoing what people have said, a used / ex-rental brand name bike is better than a superstore $200 model.

    ps. I don't know the best place to buy in the US- but in the UK it's these guys www.edinburghbicycle.com
  17. Jun 12, 2008 #16
    um, ASU is ranked higher than UA in most engineering fields according to US News. ASU is pretty good for engineering. Let's not go there though. This thread was about bikes. :rolleyes:

    I'm not sure about math or physics. I know UA rocks for optical science (possibly the best in the country). I was originally going to apply to UA but the prof I originally wanted to work who was at UA moved to ASU.
  18. Jun 12, 2008 #17
    Great, thanks for the advice guys. I will consider spending a little more (definitely don't want to spend more than 350 though) and I will look into getting a used bike.
  19. Jun 12, 2008 #18


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    One more note: don't forget about fenders. Many mountaine bikes don't have them, or they have only very short ones. Whenever roads are wet that means disaster. You don't want to came to lecture looking as if you have just won mudwrestling championships ;)
  20. Jun 12, 2008 #19
    I dont think it rains much in arizona!
  21. Jun 12, 2008 #20


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    If you're going to be in your office/lab late into the night, make sure you get a bike with a quick-release seat, so you can detach it and take it in with you. This will make your bike less appealing to bike thieves.
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