So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bikes

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So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bikes

Postby bucketface » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:51 pm

Essentially I'm tossing up between a Malvern Star Sprint 1.0, a Reid Aquila or City 1 hybrid, or a used Avanti Discovery 2 off Gumtree. Apparently Malvern Star isn't "cool" and Reid as a brand puts me off a little with their rampant astroturfing but I did visit their warehouse and their bikes actually felt the nicest of the bunch.

I've been riding a crappy steel upright for the last year that I got for free (good price) but it's becoming a bit of a death trap and I'd like a bike that weighs less than I do. As you might expect from someone who'd ride a crappy steel upright for a year straight I'm not much of a bike snob and don't know much, though I'm definitely planning to learn a bit of bike maintenance with this new one. Aaanyway...

http://www.reidcycles.com.au/bicycles/r ... -bike.html
http://www.reidcycles.com.au/bicycles/h ... -bike.html
http://www.malvernstar.com.au/range/bike-3033.aspx

I don't know if any of these stand out as a better deal... I've been looking up parts and it all still means nothing to me.

The Avanti I saw looked like it had barely been ridden and felt alright but shifting was a bit sticky (dried up grease?) and after a few shifts the chain came off! It's been sitting in a garage for 2 years on flat tyres so maybe the inner tubes need changing too. Aside from that everything seemed ok, wheels were true, crankset was in good condition, brakes aligned etc. I checked online and apparently the chain issue just requires a little fiddling with the limit screw but I don't really know anything so what do you think? I know it's a "better" bike than the others but I don't want to unwittingly pick up a secondhand bag o' issues. The other thing is the whole setup feels kinda heavy, I know the suspension adds weight but the Reid hybrid felt way lighter. I can't seem to find a weight online so I don't know if I'm just imagining it or what.

Anyway I'd appreciate some input on this!
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by BNA » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:07 pm

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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby Marx » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:07 pm

Hard price bracket.
Apart from the helmet, would you look at buying any other riding gear as well?
Would you be parking it outdoors a lot?

2nd hand at this price might cost more in the first 3 months than any saving you might make on higher spec components it may have.
It's not your first bike either, so I thought there may be more motivation for you to look at dropping more bananas into a new bike than $400.
Department stores are not a good price guide for bicycles.
If there is a good buy in this price bracket, it wont be off the shelf or advertised RRP stock price, it'll be a one-off discounted floor stock bike in a bike shop somewhere.
Did you look at Bicycle Exchange?
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby bucketface » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:46 pm

I recently moved from inner city to the suburbs, so my riding routine is getting a little upheaved. I'd still like to ride as much as I can, but HOW much that is remains to be seen. Even if I end up spending more on a better bike later I'd still feel better starting off with a cheaper one. Also, I do consider this my first bike, or at least my first "real" bike. I'll definitely be leaving it outdoors a lot, which isn't to say I'm going to intentionally leave it in the rain but I don't want to have to baby my bike! I know most people on this forum are a bit more serious than me and I also have a few friends with "nice" bikes, but it seems like a double edged sword to me. I mean, on one hand, you get to ride a really nice bike, but on the other, you have to constantly try to protect $1500+ worth of gear. And god help you if it gets busted up or stolen.

I already have pretty much all the gear I want.
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby briztoon » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:59 pm

LOL, $1500 is at the very low end for many here. That may have been the price for many peoples "first" bike, and they're not worried about protecting the gear on it.

OK I know this sounds snobbish, I don't mean it to be, but $400 doesn't buy you a lot of bike. Unless you really know what you are doing and can build a second hand from scratch and know how to hunt for deals on componentry.

It's not in your budget, but I would have pointed you in this direction.
http://www.bikeexchange.com.au/bicycles ... /102075653

As suggested search on Bike Exchange for any hot deals going. But make sure the bike is available in your size. I don't recommend buying a bike that's almost your frame size (one size larger or smaller) because it represents a good deal as you may end up hurting yourself and/or doing some damage to yourself.
http://www.bikeexchange.com.au/bikes/li ... omens%5D=1
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby bucketface » Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:49 pm

I don't WANT "a lot of bike", I want a $400 bike that can get me into the city. This forum: "That's not cheap, you'll have to go 4x more expensive to even scratch the surface of cheap. Haw haw haw." If everyone here can lose $1500 without blinking then clearly I'm not even in the correct socioeconomic bracket to post here. You know what, forget it. I hope the weather is nice on your yacht.
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby maninlycra » Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:17 am

Don't be made mate, they guy was just trying to help.

If it helps, I bought my first road bike 2nd hand for $300.00 it was an Avanti with SORA components and only a year old.
Search and you shall find :)
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby ZepinAtor » Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:50 am

bucketface wrote:I don't WANT "a lot of bike", I want a $400 bike that can get me into the city. This forum: "That's not cheap, you'll have to go 4x more expensive to even scratch the surface of cheap. Haw haw haw." If everyone here can lose $1500 without blinking then clearly I'm not even in the correct socioeconomic bracket to post here. You know what, forget it. I hope the weather is nice on your yacht.


Relax bucketface :wink: $400 is a lot to some people for a bike. Each to their own I guess. My first "real" bike after a few junkers was several thousand dollars 20 years ago & from there things have escalated somewhat, but lets not go there...................

As for the 3 bikes you've provided links to none really stand out. I'd have to see them in person & check out the build quality & feel. From my perspective they'd all feel heavy & somewhat clunky as do most cheap bikes or BSO (known on here as a Bike Shaped Object)

The problem with bikes in the sub $500 range is that they're ok for low km commuters, but beyond that they deteriorate fairly quickly if ridden hard. When taken to your local bike shop for repair in 6 months time the bill will be half the cost of the bike. So there's your double edge sword for you. Spend less now, ride a crappy bike & not have to worry about it being left out in the weather then repair or replace in 6-12 months or spend a little more & enjoy a smoother more responsive ride, but take more care with it ? It's your choice really & you have to weigh up your options.
Last edited by ZepinAtor on Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby briztoon » Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:51 am

Sorry bucketface, I didn't communicate my message very well. I certainly wasn't trying to ridicule you.

Unless you are familiar with bike frames and building a bike and know how to source parts on the cheap, $400 will not buy you a good bike. And by that I mean you'll basically be throwing your money away on something that won't last. (I am basing my limited knowledge on reading many hours worth of discussions on here)

I have seen discussions on fixies, where you might find something in your budget, but I do not know if this style of bike will suit your needs.

The sad fact is that decent to good road bicycles are expensive these days. Are the prices "fair"? Well for a vehicle without a motor and not many moving parts, they sure are a lot of money. But it's not like there are quality cheaper alternatives out there.

In 1984 when I was 12 I spent a whole year saving up for a road bike for Christmas, I put in half and my parents put in half. So I got a bike for $250, and it was bought from a store where the owner went to Church with my family and we got bit of a discount. I walked in to the same store 3 years ago to buy my second road bike. I told this story to the store manager as the owner doesn't work there too often these days, and he said at todays prices I'd be looking at a Thousand dollar bike. I almost chocked, but then I started looking at all the prices on the bikes in the store.

I went home and started doing some research, and spent a lot of time on here asking a lot of questions. Now I'm by no means any type of expert, and am happy for people to prove me wrong and find you a decent bike for $400. But I quickly realised that if I wanted (what I class) a decent road bike, I was going to have to spend (for me) some serious coin. But I am in a lucky situation. I do not have a family to look after, have a relatively low cost lifestyle, and I work two jobs, so I can save a decent amount (for me) in a relatively short period of time. I certainly don't have the income to afford a yacht, or anything other than a tinny.

Again, sorry if I made you feel unwelcome. I was more trying to get the reality (as I perceive it) of the bike market across to you.
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby bychosis » Sat Aug 24, 2013 6:27 am

I haven't looked at $400 bikes and can't tell off the net wether they are any good or not. I would think that $400 is an entry level bike, rather than a piece of junk.

If you want best bang for buck I would suggest second hand, but as your knowledge is limited in what to look for try and task one of your mates with $1500 bikes to find you a good deal on a second hand bike. Any bike nut worth their salt will relish the task of finding a deal for you.
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby Marx » Sat Aug 24, 2013 8:12 am

For fear of going off topic & not helping anyone at all (perhaps making things worse), I would like to say that I reckon the prevalence of department stores bike below $500 creates the impression in the general community that as 'bicycles' can be bought from $150+, then anything under $500 (nearly 4 times that) should be able to get you a good entry level bicycle.

Truth is bicycles do not have to be made to any sort of quality, like cars or any other powered device. As long as they 'look' like bikes you see 'the pros use', its OK if the brakes dont work, the pedals seize, or if the steering binds after a handful of rides.
Sure some people have 'raced' Huffys [literally] right out of the box, but that was more of a joke/dare like train surfing or shopping trolley racing.

On topic:

for $400, it may be best to stick to new, as most 2nd hand bikes in this price range are usually 'put together to sell' by the seller with whatever left over parts they might not really want - taking off all the good stuff for their 'next bike'. So you'll get it home & may have to replace a bottom bracket or the rear wheel bearings. As well as dealing with some component combinations that might not really work well together.

Keeping a bike outdoor is OK, but it can really age a bike extremely quickly. Things that may rust - will, the Aussie sun can add a decade onto a new bike over one summer (rubbers perish, tyres deflate, saddles age etc). You'l need to lube/service things more often.

Single speed perhaps? If its flat where you are (and you're inner city anywhere), you'll fit right chaining a single speed to a street pole. Much simpler to buy, ride & maintain. Hills will kill you though.
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby am50em » Sat Aug 24, 2013 9:48 am

bucketface wrote:Essentially I'm tossing up between a Malvern Star Sprint 1.0, a Reid Aquila or City 1 hybrid, or a used Avanti Discovery 2 off Gumtree. Apparently Malvern Star isn't "cool" and Reid as a brand puts me off a little with their rampant astroturfing but I did visit their warehouse and their bikes actually felt the nicest of the bunch.
...
Anyway I'd appreciate some input on this!


The Malvern Star Sprint looks fine. I still ride a 12 year old Shogun Trailbreaker which still has original similar low end Shimano deraillers/Tektro brakes.
I commute/fitness ride over 6000km per year. A little maintenance and keeping bike out of the weather and it will last for years.
Replacement parts at this level are cheap and last well.
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby Mozzar » Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:32 am

If you want a great roadie and are around 155cm-170cm then I know of a second hand roadie that has been serviced regularly and work perfectly but is a bit more then you want to spend. The best price on this bike is $700 and can be found at Cycle Science 363 Springvale rd Glen Waverley Vic. The bike is a Shogun Ninja, full alloy frame with a carbon alloy fork and rebuilt wheels. It used to be my bike and i had no major problems with it, and rebuilt the standard wheels with alloy nipples. It's about 7 years old but still rides like a smooth bicycle. It comes with a full warranty and 1 year free servicing which most likely wont be needed much.
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby bychosis » Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:36 pm

Marx wrote:
for $400, it may be best to stick to new, as most 2nd hand bikes in this price range are usually 'put together to sell' by the seller with whatever left over parts they might not really want - taking off all the good stuff for their 'next bike'.


I would say there is probably just as many bike-shop-entry-level bikes ($800-1000) that were recommended to a new rider who then didn't follow through, or upgraded fairly soon, ie not ridden much then stored. The trick is telling the difference between two types.

While lots of cyclists do swap and change parts when upgrading there are also plenty that upgrade the whole bike at once. Upgraditis is a common affliction with cyclists.
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby lobstermash » Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:58 pm

If your budget's $400, get this fella from Cell. http://www.cellbikes.com.au/Cell-2013-S ... ateProgram

It's a very good bike for the money ($300) and will leave you some change to spend on accessories if you want (like some clipless pedals and shoes).
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby trailgumby » Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:10 pm

The Reid Aquila or Malvern Star Sprint 1.0 would be my pick of those three. STI shifters on the Aquila make life easier and safer in traffic.

However, whether the bike is up to the demands you are going to place on it I am not so sure. Much depends on your weight, the quality of the road surfaces, the distances you will be commuting, and how much attention you are prepared to pay to learning the ins and outs of tuning, maintenance and cleaning. Seven-speed rear ends are not known for quality or longevity, the price advantage is paid for with faster wear and extra tuning and maintenance.

If you are light (say 70kg or less), the roads are smooth, your commutes short/flat, and you clean the chain thoroughly especially after wet rides, it could well be fine and trouble free. Otherwise, you'll be learning quite a bit about bike maintenance along the way. That may not be a bad thing, just sayin'. If your the kind of rider who doesn't enjoy wrenching and just wants it to work in between 6-monthly visits to the bike mechanic then you are up for either more dollars up front, or some disappointment.

if you can up your budget a bit to at least encompass a 9-speed rear end in the specs you'll have a much more enjoyable and hassle free next 12 months.

But if it's those three bikes or nuthin', I'd take the Reid Aquila.

Hope this helps.

On briztoon's behalf, he's recovering from some pretty serious injuries presently and severe pain sometimes makes you a little less socially aware. He meant no harm.
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby mitzikatzi » Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:31 pm

I think Elvis may have left the building.

I would consider the Cell bike linked to.
Anaconda bikes are usually over priced IMHO but at 50% off they become a good deal.
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby trailgumby » Sat Aug 24, 2013 1:37 pm

Probably right re: Elvis. :|

That Sora equipped Cell bike's a cracking deal!
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby lobstermash » Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:54 pm

Isn't it! Sora hubs too
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby bucketface » Sun Aug 25, 2013 1:44 am

Elvis was taking a day off from the internet, your advice has been not wasted! Sorry I took things a bit personally. Felt like I was saying "I have $2000 to spend on a car, any pointers?" and getting "you know you'd get a much better car for $35k, right?" in response. Hah.

Anyway I'm pretty poor (student) but more importantly I haven't really committed to riding. When I lived in the city I rode all the time because I had no car and everything was 20 minutes away. I figured if I got a cheap bike and wanted to upgrade I could either hold off a little until I got $400 worth of riding out of it or sell it on Gumtree and only be out a couple hundred. A kind of insurance, if you will. I'm a super-utilitarian cyclist anyway.

Anyway thanks for the advice. @trailgumby, would you consider 25km a short commute? That's about how far I am from everything now.
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby briztoon » Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:58 am

No, 25km is not a short commute. That's a daily 50km round trip if you don't detour any where else. Four trips a week is 200km, and if you maintain this through out the year, that's 10,000km. Many die hard riders target 10,000km a year, and fail. 5km/10km is a short commute.

I remember what it was like to be a poor Uni student. I bused everywhere. But I didn't live that far out of the city either.

Good luck with your search.
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby trailgumby » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:41 am

Depends on the hills. 50km round trip daily is not trivial. I'm in Sydneys northern beaches which has some decent hills en route to work and id attempt that a maximum of 3 days a week. Two days hard one day cruising easy and paying attention to eating enough on the ride so I don't bonk at work and be useless. But then im likely twice your age and I do 60km or so mountain biking on weekends on top.

That Sora bike is outstanding vale for money. High end 9 speed parts are still readily available for cheap. XTR chains which last ages and really extend the life of fhe rest of your drivetrain are only forty bucks. And it should be quite reliable with suitable attention to maintenance.
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby trailgumby » Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:03 am

On reflection I'd call Cell now for advice on sizing and jump on a purchase straight away. You wont equal that deal anywhere else soon.

The difference id spend on a *pair* of bottle cages, saddlebag, spare tube, patch kit, multitool, and some lights.
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby mitzikatzi » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:19 am

CELL Bikes wrote:..snip..

If you decide to order online, please leave a note in customer comments: "Mark said I could have a free bottle / cage", this goes for anyone in this forum as well, when buying a bike.

If you get it shipped to you, you'll only need to install the front wheel, turn the stem/handlebars the right way (and tighten the stem), and install the pedals. We tune the gears before the bike gets shipped out. Feel free to send me an email if you have any further questions ( [email protected] ).
-website mgr Mark
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby bucketface » Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:35 am

Heh, well I wouldn't be doing 50km every day. For one thing, I only have two full days of classes which would make them the only ones worth cycling to, lest I spend more time on my bike than in class... no 10000km rides for me. I'm in Perth which is pretty flat, or at least the parts I frequent are. You're right that I did forget to consider I need a better bike for longer distances. I'm thinking about getting the Cell one if it still sounds alright for my purposes.

@briztoon: Forgot to wish you a speedy recovery!
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Re: So I have $400 to spend... tossing up between a few bike

Postby mitzikatzi » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:19 pm

Reid Cycles - Perth Sell "cheaper" bikes.
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