Starter bikes

Bicycles for campers, rvers, or just riding around where ever you are

Starter bikes

Postby jstrubberg » Thu Oct 01, 2015 7:55 am

My wife and I are shopping for a pair of bikes. My budget is under $400 each, and we will be riding street and gravel bike trails. Neither of us are interested in anything more hardcore than that.

I'm thinking hybrid, but I don't know enough about bikes to know what will last and what's box store junk.

Diamondback?
Schwinn?
???
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Re: Starter bikes

Postby ryuandwings » Thu Oct 01, 2015 9:06 am

We really like our Downtube folding bikes. Our are 9FS Full suspension model. http://www.downtube.com/Default.asp
They are not as light as some of the folding bikes, but they are very affordable. I think we paid for ours close to $400 on sale back in 2008 or so.
These are solid bikes and still going strong.

We like the folding feature because once folded, we could fit two in the trunk and not have to use the bike rack.
I don't have photo of just bike and this is only thing I could find.

Image
Orange one is my wife's and black on with green child seat is mine.
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Re: Starter bikes

Postby TimC » Thu Oct 01, 2015 10:47 am

The Jamis Hudson line is a nice all around model. Not too heavy, wider, higher pressure tires for gravel. My in-laws have two and love them. They ride almost everyday and take them to Arizona for their three month stay. Father in-law is 80 and mother in law is 79.
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Re: Starter bikes

Postby kudzu » Fri Oct 02, 2015 1:25 am

What kind of hills will you be doing. You'll want a minimum of 9 speeds & for hilly areas you'll likely want more. For some reason most brands these days offer models that jump from 7-spd to 27-spd with precious little in between. Your price of $400/bike won't get you much these days if buying new. You might want to keep an eye out for some good used bikes while you're shopping. Avoid Schwinn! Sadly, those are bottom of the barrel these days. The same can be said for most of the Walmart-ish bike brands. Diamondback, Fuji & Nishiki are on my don't buy list also. Jamis, as someone has already mentioned, as well as Raleigh, Giant & Specialized may all be better choices, especially if you have a good local bike shop who sells these. You could also look KHS. A local dealer sells these but I don't know much about them.

A flat bar road bike would work well for your purposes. The handlebars are flat so you're not hunched over when riding. These are usually designed to handle city streets, both smooth & rough, plus gravel & some dirt. While not meant for hardcore mountain biking, with a tire change you could have fun on the less strenuous trails. The real limitation for rougher trails is the width of the tires these can accept. Different manufacturers call these different things, including hybrid. (Avoid hybrids with knobby tires & shocks. You don't need a fake off-road bike.) You might find these listed as Street, Urban, Alternative Road or whatever else their marketing departments can dream up. These bikes usually have wider tires than traditional road bikes but not as wide as mountain bikes. Some have seats more like road bikes, but most dealers will work with you to swap out some components like seats. Usually you have to buy the new seat but at a discount & the dealer installs it.

Just going through things online & thinking back to our recent shopping for BF, here are some options:
- Jamis Allegro Femme (Femme meaning womens' bike.) http://jamisbikes.com/usa/allegrofemme.html It's another 27-speed, but is an aluminum frame. It's componentry may be down a notch from the Coda but that may not matter to your wife.
- Specialized Crossroads http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/multi-use/crossroads/crossroads Has 21 speeds.
- Giant Escape 3 http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bikes/model/escape.3/22180/83981/ Has 21 speeds.
- Jamis Coda Sport http://jamisbikes.com/usa/codaseries.html This one would be my top pick. Though these start at about $500. It's a 27-speed with a CroMoly frame. CroMoly frames just feel more comfortable to me than super stiff aluminum frames, especially on rougher roads & gravel paths.
- Giant Escape 2 is $450. http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bikes/model/escape.2/22180/83980/ Has 24 speeds & upgraded components from Escape 3.
- Raleigh Cadent 1 http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes-open-road-endurance-and-fitness-cadent-1 It's just a 7 speed so no fun in hilly areas.
- Raleigh Cadent 2 is about $500. http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes-open-road-endurance-and-fitness-cadent-2 It's a 27-speed. It also has disc brakes.
- KHS Urban Xcape is $500. http://khsbicycles.com/bikes/urban-xcape-15/ It's a 24-speed.
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Re: Starter bikes

Postby Jdw2717 » Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:37 am

I agree with buying from a local bike shop that sells quality brands. They will be a little more expensive but you will get a better bike. Better quality means less maintenance, less rust, less breakdowns, less weight. Most entry level models for Trek, Giant, Jamis, Cannondale, Specialized, etc. start in the upper $400 range (at least around here). Plus you are at the end of the year so you may find some really good sales. Also, don't forget craigslist once you find a model/brand that you like. I bought my Trek road bike on Craigslist for $600. It was currently selling in the $1000 range at the time. A lot of people buy bikes and then never use them and that is where you can get the deals.

I would suggest a Mountian bike with front shocks. I have ridden bikes with front shocks and without. Your wrists will appreciate the shocks. Trust me on this. You do not need rear suspension unless you are doing some hardcore trail riding. Mountain bikes usually come with knobby tires but the nice thing about the small bike shops is that they will put whatever kind of tire you like on the bike. Most camp grounds have a lot of gravel so the knobby tires will be more stable on that terrain. Just let them know what you want as far as ride quality. Plus, they are very willing to let you test ride the bikes you are looking at. Can you tell I love to ride? :lol: good luck :thumbsup:
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Re: Starter bikes

Postby kudzu » Fri Oct 02, 2015 11:05 am

Suspension is, I think, a personal preference thing. While don't want it, others really love it. When the terrain is smoother I think the suspension wastes energy, but you can lock the suspension when not needed to avoid that problem. There is still the disadvantage of added weight but if you do enough riding on rough surfaces & find suspension makes the rides more comfortable & enjoyable then a little added weight is likely worth it.

Some knobbies ride better on smooth roads than others. There are tread designs that have almost continuous coverage on a thin strip in the middle. It really helps. I currently have something like this on my recumbent trike. It works quite well for our mixed riding. A good bike shop could help you pick the right tires.
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Re: Starter bikes

Postby friz » Sun Oct 11, 2015 10:47 pm

My call would be a pair of Trek 820's if you want gears in an MTB package. A pair of Electra Cruisers for no gears and coaster brake simplicity. Both can be done in your budget.
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Re: Starter bikes

Postby jstrubberg » Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:47 pm

We went with a couple of diamondback comfort bikes and stayed well within our budget. I'm not completely happy with a few of the components on the bikes, but for the most part I think they met our needs as we see them now.

Man it's nice to get out again! We've done one pavement ride through our town and laps around the city park, and one ride down a nearby state park trail (gravel). So far, so good.


Thanks for all the suggestions, folks.
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Re: Starter bikes

Postby Jdw2717 » Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:44 pm

Congratulations !

My first two bikes were Diamondbacks and were good bikes. I went with a Trek because I couldn't find a Diamondback road bike at the time. If you are unhappy with some of the components you should be able to upgrade them down the road. Have fun and get out there and ride. :thumbsup:
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Re: Starter bikes

Postby Fenlason » Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:09 pm

I am NOT knocking anyone's choices of bikes.. but so people know.. the Diamondback of today.. is not the same company as it once was. Many companies.. Schwinn, and Mongoose to name others.. have gone through bankruptcy. Assets were sold off.. One of the assets was the name. In many cases what was a bike shop bike.. as become either a box store bike.. or mail order bike.

In some cases {Cannondale} the new owners still care about making a quality product.. and not just try and profit for the name.
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Re: Starter bikes

Postby kudzu » Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:42 pm

jstrubberg wrote:We went with a couple of diamondback comfort bikes and stayed well within our budget. I'm not completely happy with a few of the components on the bikes, but for the most part I think they met our needs as we see them now.


Glad you're riding again & hope the bikes continue to serve your needs for a long time. To quote a bike person on a different board, "The best bike is the one you'll ride."
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Re: Starter bikes

Postby Fenlason » Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:35 am

[quote="kudzu"][quote="jstrubberg"]We went with a couple of diamondback comfort bikes and stayed well within our budget. I'm not completely happy with a few of the components on the bikes, but for the most part I think they met our needs as we see them now.
Glad you're riding again & hope the bikes continue to serve your needs for a long time. To quote a bike person on a different board, "The best bike is the one you'll ride."


:thumbsup:
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Re: Starter bikes

Postby logman7777 » Sun Mar 13, 2016 3:48 pm

Did Nishiki get bought out too?

My 30 year old 12 speed Sport works flawlessly needing only fresh grease tires and brakepads every couple of years.
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Re: Starter bikes

Postby Fenlason » Sun Mar 13, 2016 7:05 pm

logman7777 wrote:Did Nishiki get bought out too?

My 30 year old 12 speed Sport works flawlessly needing only fresh grease tires and brakepads every couple of years.


Yes and no.. Nishiki has gone through a variety of "lives". Nishiki was basically formed by West Coast Cycles.. they wanted to spec bikes for the American market.. but farmed out their manufacturing. First Japan.. then else ware. The name got retired some years ago.. and then semi recently Dicks Sporting goods paid to market bikes under that name.

So really only Nishiki in name.
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Re: Starter bikes

Postby rowerwet » Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:30 am

What about Bridgestone?
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