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buying a new bike. help?

Posted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 11:13 pm
by lewvert
so im 17. of a normal sort of size (65kg) and looking to buy a new bike. at the moment i ride a bmx bike but have started riding longer distances than i used to. and on a bmx. it sucks.
and with a proper bike, im planning to ride more often
pretty much its just for getting around. but at the same time i generally throw bikes around a little. and im looking not to spend a huge amount of money. just to get what i need.
from what ive looked around and i think im fairly settled on the trek 3700 or giant boulder.
so pretty much what i would like help with is any recommendations or tips on what you can put together from the info ive given. i.e if im looking at the wrong bikes for what i want
perhaps a comparison or feedback on the two (if possible) would be extremely helpful. and any recommendations of bikes in the range of what i want
thanks alot.

Posted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 11:43 pm
by heavymetal
I've had a Giant Boulder non disc brake model. I used it for touring. On road and seriously off road. For on road I fitted slicks.

I had no problems with it apart from a shifter unit exploding whilst in the bush. They use a different model shifter now. The bike handled everything that I threw on it and at it. For the price it's a good value bike and the running gear on it was good quality.

I did change the seat and add bar ends and racks to it. The front suspension forks take a bit of adjusting to get them to your liking.

I've never owned a Trek 3700 so I can't comment on it.

Posted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 11:53 pm
by europa
It's hard to advise you Lewis. On the surface, what you are suggesting makes sense but you need to look further down the track. What will you be doing with this bike? Of course, we can't answer that and to be honest, YOU can't answer that. It's not unknown for someone to start road riding and get sucked in and go longer and faster and wind up with the latest uberbike from carbonframesareus.

Work out what you want to spend.
Work out what you can afford - this will be different.
Accept that neither of those figures are overly relevant - it's a given with bikes (being a consumer item) that you will always find something that will suit you better for more than you want to spend at the moment.
However, those first two numbers are useful.

Now go to a lot of bike shops (yes, long time viewers have heard this before but ...)
The more you look, the more bull you swallow from 'those trying to sell', the more bikes you ride, etc, the clearer your views will become.
On the surface, coming from a bmx would suggest a hybrid or other form of flat bar bike. However, (there is ALWAYS a 'but' or 'however'), what attracted you to bmx? Was it banging over the rough stuff? Was it pushing that bike as fast as you could? If it was pushing it as fast as you could over rough stuff, does that mean mtb now? No, it might mean a full on racer is the right move.

So, while you're looking at all these bikes in all these bike shops, try to get a feel for what you are attracted to. You may find that you immediately go to the mtb section every time, or the carbon section, or the section selling pannier bags, or the section with all the piccies of semiclad ladies.

I found it easy to work out where my priorities lie because I have a long history of road bikes, I have a long history of racing style bikes, I have a hybrid which I loathe, I love steel frames and ...
See, my history pretty much pushed me into one direction. I will always go check out the super expensive racing machinary, and I'll have an obligatory drool and will never knock back an offer of a test ride, but I know that I wanted an alrounder. I know all this because of the years I've spent mucking about with these flamin' machines and a long knowledge of what I do with them.

You don't have that luxury.
And so you are shooting in the dark to a large extent. You will be guessing with your choice and believe me, you will make mistakes (my beloved Europa is slightly oversized, but I still adore the old brute).

You can address this by getting as much experience as possible. Go to a lot of shops and make a flamin' nuisance of yourself. This has the double benefit of giving you the chance of discovering that wonderful shop that is ideal for you and so hard to find. It also fine tunes your !! BAN ME NOW FOR SWEARING !! meter and believe me, that is a good thing. But look at other riders on the road - can you see yourself riding a hybrid? Does your inner image tend to a full suspension mtb? Do you get all shivery when you see drop bars? Because you have suggested flat bar bikes, go to a bike hire shop and hire a flat bar bike for the afternoon - seriously, for a few bucks you might discover you hate the things. Sadly, you are unlikely to find a business hiring out racing bikes, but if you can talk your way into a test ride, DO IT. Never do what I did, decide that it's too much like hard work and walk away from a test ride - even if it isn't the bike for you, it adds to your data base.

And that's what I'm talking about, adding to your data base. The more experience you can cobble together, the better will be your decision.

Then it comes to cost. Unless you are very sure about what style of bike you want, it's probably best to think of this purchase as interim. My son, at 14, is dreadfully competitive, sports orientated and will go on to give me grey hairs when he learns to drive (the term 'hoon' springs to mind). There was little doubt that he was more suited to a racing bike than anything else and so I spent more than I should have to get him a good one.

However, if your direction is doubtful, being a bit more sensible is ... well, sensible. But who makes decisions on that basis.

Bikes are an amazingly personal thing. They go right to your innner dreams and images of yourself. They can be the ultimate expression of the man lurking inside you or they can be the ultimate camouflage. Whatever you buy, buy the bike you fall in love with. Seriously, I don't care how impractical it may appear. If you don't love it when you buy it, you never will. You do need to consider practicality, a carbon framed racer will not thank you for racing fire trails, but buying a 'sensible' flat bar bike is silly if you really want a racer (and that's not a put down of flat bar bikes by the way).

Take my circumstance. I love steel frames. I leap upon justification for owning a steel framed bike. I acknowledge the advantages of other frames but emotionally connect to steel. Similarly, I want a bike that is an allrounder, which is why my poor Europa suffered wearing mudguards and a dynamo for so many years. There are so many very good bikes that I would not have been happy with.

So, where are we in this rant, for a rant it has become :oops:
Take your time. Look lots. Ask lots of questions (and deliberately ask silly questions, you'll be amazed at some of the even sillier answers). And let your heart choose your bike. At your age, it's unlikely you have a lot of money. At your age, you will own many more bikes. Hell, at 17 you could honestly aspire to a full on mtb and a full on racer and a commuter to go to the shops. Maybe that is the answer.

Hope this helps. My god I hope this helps.


Posted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 12:09 am
by lewvert
wow. thanks heaps
that gave me alot to think about

Posted: Fri Dec 08, 2006 12:10 am
by europa
Thinking's cheap mate. As long as you don't spend more than you can afford, you won't go too far wrong.


Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 2:04 pm
by lewvert
so i ended up going with the boulder. its really nice. i put a cargo rack on the back and its all sweet. gears are taking a bit to get used to though :lol: but its so much better than a bmx. im really happy with it. thanks everyone for your help!

Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 2:33 pm
by europa
Piccies please. Ya can't brag without piccies :D

Good stuff. Keep us posted on your adventures with her.


Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 6:43 pm
by Bnej
Giant boulder is probably one of the better cheap & all-purpose bikes out there.

Remember with your gears: Change the front gear down before you reach the hill, then work your way down on the back. If you have to change the front gear while you're really pushing the pedals, it won't go smoothly (goes clickyclickyclickyclicky BANG!) Deraileurs always prefer being shifted when you're not pedalling hard, but the front one especially.

Spend some time fiddling with the suspension adjustment too. On the road, you'll want to harden it up so you get better power from pedals - then off road, you can make it softer to cope with rocks and corrugations.

Posted: Sat Dec 09, 2006 9:09 pm
by heavymetal
You'll find that the gears take awhile to get used to. The gear cables also stretch over the first few weeks and the gear indexing may require adjusting.

Posted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 6:01 pm
by lewvert
ive been riding like all day yesterday and today. my legs feel like lead. but its been amazing. its so smooth and so much fun :D the gears took a little while to get used to but i think ive pretty much got it down. though i think i need to harden up the suspension up a little. do i twist it to the + or the - side?

the bike shop said they will service it for free after one month and again after 6, so that should sort the deal with the gear cables :D

i think the only problem with it is that both wheels and the seat have quick release so its a bit more effort to lock it up. apart from that. brilliant!

here it is (fingers crossed the photo works)


i was going to go with black. but the black was sooooo shiny. it was like a mirror. i actually really like the dark grey colour

Posted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 9:41 pm
by heavymetal
lewvert wrote:i was going to go with black. but the black was sooooo shiny. it was like a mirror. i actually really like the dark grey colour

I had a black one. It didn't stay shiny for very long. :D

You can get clip on plastic mudguards for wet weather which might help keep things clean.

The rack looks a reasonably sturdy one.

Posted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 9:51 pm
by lewvert
bicyclewa wrote:You can get clip on plastic mudguards for wet weather which might help keep things clean.

like the back of my pants. i hate it when all the water from the road sprays off the wheel and all over your back and pants

bicyclewa wrote:The rack looks a reasonably sturdy one.

yeah, its pretty solid

Posted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 9:59 pm
by heavymetal
lewvert wrote:like the back of my pants. i hate it when all the water from the road sprays off the wheel and all over your back and pants

You can buy cheap cycling rain jackets that have a really long tail that covers your back, pants and seat. I usually buy the cheap ones as the tail is longer and most don't last very long off road.

Posted: Sun Dec 10, 2006 10:09 pm
by europa
She looks a sweet little unit. Well done. Have fun with her.