Any cyclists here?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by LethalWolfe, Dec 31, 2005.

  1. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I've started looking for a bike recently, but I really don't know anything about them (the last bike I got was from Target and I was in 8th grade). I want something for casual urban ridding (I live in Los Angeles) and the occasional dirt trail (not hardcore down hill or anything, just something like a groomed trail thru a state park or something). I'm looking to spend around $350.

    At first I was looking at hybrid bikes, but I've had a couple of people tell me that the hybrids are basically road bikes w/straight handle bars (meaning they less durable than mountain bikes). I'm not looking to intentionally beat on my bike, but I do want something that can take abuse.

    I've started looking at mountain bikes but swapping out the off-road tires for on-road tires. I took 5 or 6 bikes for a test ride the other day. A trek hybrid (7300 I think), a Raleigh hybrid (not sure of the model), a couple of Gary Fisher mtn bikes (Advance and Wahoo) and a Gary Fisher hybrid (Tiburon). Of the lot I think I liked the Wahoo the best (it was the '06 model).

    Any advice, experience, and/or suggestions?

  2. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    I've a 2000 Kona Lava Dome mountain bike and a 1999 Diamond Back Sherwood hybrid.

    The Lava Dome is faster on the road than the hybrid but of course, it should be since it was about twice as much money--$550 instead of $275 or thereabouts. I'm not an expert, but the steering and overall precision of the Kona bike is so much better than anything else I've ridden that I'd recommend the brand other pretty much anything else.
  3. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus


    Mar 10, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    Still got my Trek 7100 FX. A very nice hybrid bike that's excellent when you want something that handles well on bot regular roads and the occasional rugged nature path. Not a true offroader, but nice for gravel and dirt roads. Never really had any problems with it. :)
  4. bgd macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2005
  5. 20rogersc macrumors 65816


    Jun 28, 2005
    Brighton, UK
    Would recomend any from the Specialized Hardrock range.

  6. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    this may sound wierd but i'd try to get a girls bike for the following reasons:

    1) they are easier to get on/off
    2) they are less likely to get stolen
    3) lighter

    unless you have some macho love for that bar at the top their is no reason to get a guy's bike, they are normally the same size anyway.
  7. Lau Guest

    I have the same bike! Think it's the model from the year before though. It's a beauty. I didn't bother with the front suspension though, and it's been fine.

    I was worried about going from mountain bikes to a hybrid, but it's hard as nails. If anything, I wish I'd gone for a road bike, as the hybrid is still a bit mountain bikey on the road, and I'm sure a road bike would be sturdy enough for the city and park trails.
  8. iSaint macrumors 603


    May 26, 2004
    South Mississippi y'all, near the water!
    I have a Trek 350 (or something) that's a low-end mountain bike. I don't do a lot of heavy off-road riding, but mostly gravel roads, some mud pits, etc. It was right around $300 a few years ago and it's still holding up fine. Most of my friends are getting road bikes, but I enjoy the off-road riding more.

    When I made my purchase, I rode several bikes before I made my decision. Sounds like you were able to do the same.
  9. hob macrumors 68020


    Oct 4, 2003
    London, UK
    Anything with suspension! Seriously! I don't know that much about bikes, but I've been riding a lot recently at University and if I borrow my mates bike, I always try and get the one with suspension. I doubt it's a hybrid, probably a pure off-roader, but on the road it's incredible. You can hit the curb and not even blink!
  10. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Feb 12, 2005
    I second Specialized. I've ridden the **** out of my Hard Rock for five years without any problems.

    I've got a few friends with some high-end Giants -- they're very good at a great price.
  11. hmmfe macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2003
    Many of the more popular brands are making "Urban Bikes" these days.

    Trek SU100/200, Cannondale Bad Boy, Marin Muirwoods and Kona Dew are examples. You could start there to get a feel for what is out there.

    You could go in a few directions... Get a basic hardtail and slap some street slicks on them or get a street frame and get a slightly wider tire with some tread. I have an old steel framed street bike that I've added 700x28c tires and a flatbar to - it is my commuter/winter bike and works very well. I also have an old Trek 830 hardtail that has some MTB slicks (WTB Slickasaurus) and other additions. I use this mostly for a hard-pack trail that is near my house.

    Unless you want to spend some time messing around and spending more money, I'd consider something off-the-shelf.

    The biggest issue is your budget. For around $350.00 you are not going to get very good components, but will get a decent frame (maybe not as efficient or light as others but more than durable enough for your uses).

    I think my best advise, absent more information on the types/amount of riding you are going to do, is to get a basic hardtail and slap some slicks on it. I am not going to get into the pluses and minuses of each brand since at the low-end there is not much difference and chances are the frame is made at the same factory in China. But here is a short shopping list that I'd consider in no special order...

    Specialized Hardrock Sport
    Kona Hula
    Marin Bolinas Ridge
    Trek 4300
    Fisher Wahoo
    Giant Yukon/Iguana
    Schwinn Mesa
    Ibex Alpine 450

    As you have already done, I'd test ride as many as you can. Frame geometry is important to the feel of the bike and is an individual preference thing. The only cautionary note is that in your price range, derailleurs and brakes tend to be bad. If you are a once a week rider and ride short distances this should not be an issue. Not really anything you can do about it other than pay more now or upgrade later (which is more expensive in the long run).

    Hope this helps.
  12. dops7107 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 19, 2005
    Perth, Oztrailya
    I have a Ridgeback Velocity, about £300 here in the UK (not sure if they are available in North America). Anyhow, it's a hybrid kitted up with some pretty skinny wheels and decent chainset. Living in Oxford I'm all too concerned about theft, so I didn't want to spend any more. Friends also tried to persuade me into getting a MTB instead, because of their durability, but my previous bike was one and it was quite hard work to cycle. I commute to work by bike so I wanted something smooth and fast - plus decent full-length mudguards, which look a bit stupid on a kick-ass MTB.

    Basically I'm well pleased with it. Had it about 2 months. Get a decent lock and consider changing the quick-release spindles on the wheels (AKA "quick-steal") for locking ones. Who really needs to change their wheel *that* fast anyway? I've never quite understood it on day-to-day bikes. :confused:
  13. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    forget that yuppie bike stuff

    get some air...bmx all the way ;)
  14. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    May 7, 2004
    Sod off
    My cycling knowledge is current as of 1999, when I bought a Trek 430 cro-moly framed hardtail. I've put a ton of miles under that thing and it is still going strong....but now that steel hardtails are nearly extinct I'd have to go aluminum for my next bike.

    I never liked the hybrid bikes - personally I think that a hardtail or softtail (pivotless) mountain bike is the best all-rounder, and a cheap road bike can fill in the gap for all-out road riding.
  15. maya macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2004
    somewhere between here and there.
    I use a "Big Giant" bicycle and only cycle during the summer months. :)

    If I can find a link or picture, I shall post it. ;)
  16. minitrialer macrumors member

    Oct 21, 2005
    I ride trials and XC i would recommend a Scott, I work in a bike shop and scott have got some excellent new ranges this year, worth a look. I can't remember the website off hand, but just google it.
  17. LethalWolfe thread starter macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Cool, thanks for all the good advice so far guys. :)

    A couple of things that keep going 'round an 'round in my head:
    1. I'm worried about over or under buying. By that I mean, I worry about buying too much bike (i.e. a mtn bike when a hybrid would suite me just fine) or not buying enough bike (i.e. getting a hybrid but realizing a year or two later I want more out of my bike). I'm looking at bikes in the same price range so "expensive" vs "cheap" doesn't factor in really. Primarily I'm going to be on on the street but if typical street performance between a hybrid and a mtn bike w/slicks isn't drastically different would a mtn bike be the better choice?

    2. hmmfe mentioned geometry and I think enjoy the ridding position I get from a mtb bike more than a hybrid. A hybrid (at least the ones I've tried out) sit you upright a bit more (a bit more relaxed) but I feel like I'm less in control of the bike (higher center of gravity maybe?) as opposed to when I'm sitting on a mtn bike and am leaning forward more.

    I realize my budget is low, but I'm hopping to get a decent all around bike w/a good frame so that if I like ridding and feel the need to upgrade components I can. That is one reason I'm looking at the Wahoo is in reviews I've read it's been a good "cheapie" bike to get and then upgrade parts down the road 'cause the frame is solid.

    Again, thanks for the help guys.

  18. hmmfe macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2003
    I think you are on the right track with getting a hardtail vs. a hybrid. The only downside to a MTB for mostly street riding is that they are less efficient at transfering energy from the pedal to the back wheel and are slightly heavier. What this means is that you'll get passed by a rider of equal skill and condition that is ridiing a road bike or even some of the hybrids that have a more street slant to them.

    I just recently went through your same dilemna when building up a commuter bike. I was not sure if I wanted to start with a roadie or a mountain bike frame. I ended up with a road frame as mentioned previously and I'm glad I did.

    If you think you'll be doing some XC riding on trails that are loose, the I would not even consider anything but a MTB. If you'll be spending most of your time on paved and hard packed trails, just switch the tires and you are good to go. Just don't expect to be passing many people under 50 :)

    edit: to add...

    Upgrading later is much more expensive. If you are already planning on an upgrade, I'd just save a bit more and get the next model up. If you are undecided, then the upgrade later approach is a good one.
  19. LethalWolfe thread starter macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    W/the budget I have I think I would be happier w/a MTB+slicks that performs good on the road and is a capable XC bike over a hybrid that is very good on the road but wouldn't be good XC. I say this because if I get into biking it I think I'm more inclined to go off-roading than touring. And w/a hybrid I feel a bit like I might be trapped. Like if I really want to start touring I'd need to buy a road bike and if I wanted to go XC I'd need to buy a MTB. Of course I might end up just tooling around town twice a month in which case a hybrid would be good.

    But if I'm just tooling around 2x a month would I really notice the difference between a hybrid and a MTB? And if I wouldn't notice the difference why not get a MTB, and have the flexibility to go XC (which does sound like a lot of fun, and I have some friends I could ride with).

    But if there is something I'm missing/overlooking please lemme know. I'm basically a completely newb in regards to bikes.

    I have no upgrades in mind, but I've just read that the Wahoo has a good frame to add upgrades to. It sounds like it just gives me some growing room assuming I do really dig the bike down the line and do want to upgrade I have that option.

  20. hmmfe macrumors regular

    Feb 28, 2003
    I think you are right on target. Most hybrids are for those folks that will never do anything but paved trail riding for recreation or fitness. If you have any thoughts of more interesting riding, then a hybrid is not for you.

    Gary Fisher makes great bikes (as do a lot of other companies). Ride as many as you can and get the one you feel the best on. Also, ride a few different sizes. Sometimes, the bike that "should fit you" doesn't. With mountain bikes this is not as crucial but it's still worth a few extra minutes at the shop.

    Good luck!
  21. Plymouthbreezer macrumors 601


    Feb 27, 2005
    Well, I'll thrown in my two cents.

    I live in a large city, but own a mountain bike:

    Clicky to see...

    It's a great "low end" serious MTN bike. Now I use it as my main bike, which sees use mainly on city streets and sidewalks. Now I do occasionally ride on trails and paths, and naturally, it shines off road. But, it does great on road too. I love the full suspension, and I'll tell you why. In the real world, road bikes aren't comfortable to ride on real world streets. A hybrid bike will generally be much more limited, regardless of the tires you put on it in the future. I'd say go with a mountain bike (even something like this would suit you needs), front suspension a must. I do not feel like it's "harder" to ride a bike with shocks over a road bike. I think the most would be more happy with a comfortable ride over the slight effort gain required to ride MTN bikes on real world streets.

    Oh, and disc brakes do wonders... If you can afford them, they are well worth it.
  22. crdean1 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 14, 2005

    You will love your bike no matter what you get, but you do want a good frame component combo. I don't think you can overspend, I would just not recommend going into debt for the bike. So buy what you can afford. You will want to spend at least $500 - $600 for a good off-road bike that you won't have to take into the shop all the time.

    Also when you buy the bike, buy from a shop that will give you free service on the bike.

    There are several good models, I would take a look at Trek and Gary Fisher. They both make decent lower to mid grade bikes. You don't need rear suspension in LA (unless maybe you had an unlimited budget, but I think it just slows you down), as I don't in TX, but do make sure and get front suspension. I would not get a hybrid, they are horrible off road if you are going to do any serious riding.

    All that said, I love my Cannondale F3000 (XTR & Race Face groupo). It's a few years old, and I'm not sure what they go for now. Cannondale makes a great bike, and the frame has a great warranty. I have been very happy with it. I also put slicks on it and do 30+ mile rides with no problems. If you are going to use your bike for both, I would look into getting a bike with a front fork that locks out for the road.
  23. joetronic macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2004
    New Oxford, PA
    Check the LBS (Local Bike Shop) to see if they have anything used, or last years model. you could get a nice used MTB for around 300-400 range and have all name brand parts, not the cheap crap you'll get at wal-mart or target. the most important thing is that it fits you. a bike that doesn't fit doesn't get ridden.
  24. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    Your general physical shape and the amount you use the bike are going to be big factors in the success of your purchase. Every other week means that if you're in average or poor shape, a mtn bike is a bad choice. If you're in decent shape then you'll just have to work harder than your possibly fitter cycling partners.

    A mtn bike is definitely more versatile and has a cool factor to it that a hybrid doesn't but you may well regret it if you spend 90 percent of your time on the road.
  25. LethalWolfe thread starter macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Definitely getting front suspension (most of the models I've looked at have adjustable shocks) and I'm only looking at local shops (which in means there is about 1 every two mlies). I have been asking about free lifetime tune-ups too.

    I'm approaching the problem kinda like this. Assuming comparable quality bikes and the fact that I'll most likely be spending 70-80% of my time braving the streets and alley's of LA, let's say a road bike would be a 10/10 and a hybrid would be 9/10. If a MTB+slicks is a 8/10 I'm happy. If it's a 7/10 I'm less happy, but still leaning towards it. If a MTB+slicks is a 6/10 then I'll start thinking it's not such a good idea.

    Assuming the same price range of bike, is there a difference between gearing? I mean does a 24spd road bike have the same gearing that a 24spd MTB does?

    In regards to physical fitness, I'm trying to get back into shape. I started working out again recently and, if I can muster up the will power, will probably bike to the gym as it's only a few miles away.


Share This Page