New to cycling - what to buy?

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New to cycling - what to buy?

Postby ur85q » Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:15 pm

Complete Newbie here - haven't ridden a bike for 20 years and looking to pick one up in the next few weeks to get back into it (and hoping to get some advice)!

As a teenager I rode a ten-speed bike with curly handle bars everywhere. I lived on that bike, rode everywhere ... to school, friends houses, the mall, into town. Absolutely loved the freedom I got from riding. As I grew older, I moved cities (and countries), went to university and got a job, I somehow lost touch with cycling ... and now find myself rediscovering it through my kids.

I like the idea of simplicity in a bike, and am dreaming of a light weight single speed bike (not sure I'm right for a fixie) with disc brakes such that all cables are hidden through the frame. I guess I'm thinking of something that looks simple and streamlined like a fixie, but with brakes implemented in a way that doesn't take away from the simple and streamlined look.

I don't see anything like this available anywhere ... is it because there is something wrong with this idea? Does such a bike exist? I'm not game enough to build something myself (at least not yet) ... can anyone recommend how I'd go about getting something like this together (ie. is there a retailer out there, or places I can go to have something like this built)? What would something like this cost?
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by BNA » Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:07 pm

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Re: New to cycling - what to buy?

Postby munga » Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:07 pm

you could find a used bike with a coaster (back-pedal) brake.
looks sort of like a fixie, but you can still coast down hills etc.
pitty43 wrote:Thanks all for your help. Better change my Gumtree add now.

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Re: New to cycling - what to buy?

Postby ur85q » Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:46 pm

Do bike stores take on custom projects? Say I bought a basic single speed bike on eBay ... would bike stores generally take something in that they didn't originally sell, and customise it for me (eg. swap out brakes to discs, etc)?
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Re: New to cycling - what to buy?

Postby Mulger bill » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:10 pm

As long as you pay them, most will say yes.

Why not DIY?
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Re: New to cycling - what to buy?

Postby ur85q » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:20 pm

Mulger bill wrote:As long as you pay them, most will say yes.

Why not DIY?


Feels beyond me at the moment ... don't know where to start, wouldn't know what to look for, what the pros and cons of the choices I made would be, whether certain parts are compatible with others ... I can't imagine everything is interchangeable. Feels "safer" to have a professional guide me through the process - at least on this first one :). Maybe I think there is more to it than there really is? Is DIY a reasonable option for a complete newbie?
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Re: New to cycling - what to buy?

Postby Mulger bill » Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:51 pm

Get the starter bike, start a build thread with some pics and ask as required. Lots of helpful people here.
If you want some helpful literature try http://www.icelord.net/bike
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Re: New to cycling - what to buy?

Postby rudeboy » Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:49 pm

ur85q wrote:Do bike stores take on custom projects? Say I bought a basic single speed bike on eBay ... would bike stores generally take something in that they didn't originally sell, and customise it for me (eg. swap out brakes to discs, etc)?
will depend on the store, I bought a diamond back from Big w on sale as money was a big factor and haven't riden for 20 years so wanted to see if the motivation stays before spending to much. Needing helmet, pump etc went to the Trek store in Rouse Hill to get them and mentioned I had bought a department store special for the above reason and he basically said they probably wouldn't service it.

Since then I discovered this site and have saved heaps by buying further accessories from places recommended here online. Did me a favour in the long run as I would have spent more relying on them for advice.

Only problem I have now is to find a local store that will service my "special" and build trust with that will help me in the expected upgrade in 12-18 months.
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Re: New to cycling - what to buy?

Postby ur85q » Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:22 pm

Thanks guys - Incredibly helpful, and some great resources here! I may just give it a shot after I get a chance to research a little. I do like the idea of the process of building something, ending up with something that is uniquely mine, and having the confidence to tweak etc down the road.

Now ... where do I find that starter bike ...
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Re: New to cycling - what to buy?

Postby munga » Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:58 pm

ebay. how tall are you? what's your inseam?
pitty43 wrote:Thanks all for your help. Better change my Gumtree add now.

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Re: New to cycling - what to buy?

Postby trailgumby » Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:25 pm

For a starter bike I'd go to the Local Bike Shop (LBS). Yes, you are paying top dollar, but it is worth it to be able to look at a selection of bikes, and try out a few in different sizes to see which is right for you.

The frame size and fit is the most critical thing. If it is wrong, the bike will be uncomfortable (and get worse the more you ride, maybe leading to injury) and your new love affair with the personal freedom a bike provides will be stillborn.

That initial advice regarding size that yo uget fro mthe owner is worth much more than the money.
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Re: New to cycling - what to buy?

Postby ur85q » Sat Jul 23, 2011 1:07 am

I'm 177cm tall, with an inseam of 86cm (assuming I'm measuring it right).

So I'm currently imagining looking for a complete starter bike on eBay (rather than a naked frame?) ... is something like a Cell Mallet, or one of the Nuske fixies the sort of thing to go for? Do I get one of these and then potentially look at replacing components over time? What should I be thinking about in terms of construction, components, etc?

For the uninitiated (like me), most of the bikes look good - but judging by the variation in prices I see, I can only assume they aren't all comparable. What are the key things to look for? Is it what the frame is made of? Forks? Crank? And what makes one frame (or crank, etc) better than another? I'm guessing this probably becomes quite subjective, dependent on my riding needs, and a bunch of other factors - and that my ability to discern some of the differences as a newbie may make some of the distinctions a moot point (and waste of money).

What are the key things I should be paying attention to? From what's on eBay now, what would you steer me towards?
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Re: New to cycling - what to buy?

Postby slidetaker » Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:58 pm

In your case where a DIY seems to be a challenge. I think you better off buying one.

In terms of new versus second hand, there are pros and cons.

For the same price, assuming a $400 singlespeed/fixed bike,

buying new should have a better fit and more options, oppuntunity to test ride and some LBS support in the future.

buying second hand is cheaper with slightly better, but used parts. I think you really need to know a bit about old bikes and their conditions to get a good sale.

Entry-level singlespeed/fixed can be brought around $300, mid range Masi/Redline around $700 and high range is $1000+
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Re: New to cycling - what to buy?

Postby ur85q » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:08 pm

Thanks for that. Having spent the last few days looking into it, I figure the odds are against me with DIY ... don't know enough about what to look for (or avoid), not sure I have enough of an appreciation of what I want/need, would need tools, etc. As much as I appreciate all the resources available to me (including the help from this forum), I figure it makes sense to buy something off the shelf for my first bike.

Am liking the look of Base Urban (baseurban.com) ... any views / experiences?
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Re: New to cycling - what to buy?

Postby slidetaker » Thu Jul 28, 2011 5:06 pm

A quick look shows that half of the parts from the bike are reputable brands which should be fine. Otherwise, looks like another entry-level TIG-weld 4130 Cromo steel bike.

For entry-level, they should all be performing similarly. Some might come with slightly better tyres, rims and cranks.

Otherwise, just visits as many stores as you can, test-ride as many as you can within your budget and get the most comfortable one on sale....
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Re: New to cycling - what to buy?

Postby funky_chilli » Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:55 am

hi guys, first post, been looking around a bit but finally decided to post.

I'm in almost exactly the same situation as the OP. I used to love riding my bikes (bmw/multi-gear mountain bike) but haven't ridden for maybe 15 years. I'm terribly unfit and want to buy a dirt cheap, entry level bike to see if I still like it, and if I do, maybe ride a bit to lose a bit of weight and get fitter. I'm interested in a low cost, simple, sturdy, low/easy maintenance kind of bike that's minimalist and not flashy so it won't get nicked when it's at the shops. I got this offer in an email on one of those deal of the day/group buy type deals and I think it fits the bill exactly.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW
(I hope I'm allowed to post this, if it's a violation of any rules, I'll remove it straight away)

Is this an ok bike? I know it's cheap, but is it decent? Will it fall apart? Are the components too cheap/crap? I know nothing abt bikes, but I know enough abt buying anything in general to know that u usually get what u pay for, and this seems to be very cheap! lol

Please offer any views, good or bad, and the offer is only available for a limited time, so I have to make my decision pretty quickly.

I'm planning on starting really slow and maybe just riding to the shops and back first, and then maybe around the block a bit (as I said I'm pretty seriously unfit) lol then if I get back into it I may get a bit more adventurous and maybe try riding on bike tracks to start - not game to go on big roads yet I think. My area is pretty hilly, which is what is worrying me for now. From my limited understanding, this has a flip/flop hub which means I can change it from fixed to single-speed, which means that I can coast and not go as extreme as fixed all the way? Am I correct? Should I go for something with more gears? Would I be able to change things later if I find that it doesn't suit me?

Please chime in and let me know if this is a good deal or not, or if I should invest a bit more than this. Also, another reason why I posted this is that it may be suitable for the OP who it seems is also looking for something similar to me. Oh and it's so cheap that it feels like a deal I can't let go past lol

Thanks for any info guys :)
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Re: New to cycling - what to buy?

Postby slidetaker » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:55 pm

okay...I will answer the questions first.

I think this bike will hold up okay for a couple of short trips to the shops per week for a couple of years.....quite frankly even the cheapest bike can do that...

It has a flip-flop hub with single speed freewheel provided meaning you can do coasting/freewheeling...

However, this bike does not fit your application because being unfit, in a hilly area, with a 46/16 gear ratio single speed/fixed, these things go against each other.

Have you considered a second hand mountain bikes? There are plenty in the market and most can go under $100 that will serve your application better.....
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Re: New to cycling - what to buy?

Postby funky_chilli » Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:47 am

thanks for the reply slidetaker.

I'm interested in a fixed/single gear bike because of the simplicity. I can't be bothered figuring out which gear to be in, I get it that being unfit it'll be a bit of a struggle at first, but I'm in no rush, I can take it slowly at first and as my fitness improves, so too shall my ability to get up those hills!

actually my area is not that hilly, I was driving around today taking note of the hills and the roads around are actually pretty flat, except for one main one that goes up to the shops. I'll take that one slowly, and earn that snack from the shop when I get to the top! :)

Silly question now, what's the 46/16 gear ratio mean? Is this good or bad? My limited understanding is that this is an good ratio for going up and down hills? I don't really know much abt ratios, so maybe I should do some reading up abt this....

price isn't really that much of a concern, I don't HAVE to buy a $200 bike, I mean I COULD afford a $2000+ bike or however much these darn things can cost if I really wanted to, but I'd prefer not to. This being my first bike after so many years, I don't even know if I'll enjoy it like I used to, and I think if I end up not, then I can easily afford to let $200 gather dust in the garage, or even sell it on ebay or something and not lose too much money out of it.

I do however prefer to buy new rather than second hand. I mean yes I appreciate that a second hand bike would probably have better components or whatever, but at least I know that this being all brand new, nothing's going to be rusty or shouldn't be falling apart yet ;)

I do have a thing for customising things such as cars or what have you, so I can imagine if I do get into this hobby, I'll probably start looking for better components anyway, so I'm sure whatever I don't like on the bike can be changed to something else later on.

But being a total noob at all things to do with bikes, I was just wondering if this is a decent base to work on, and then maybe I can change things later if necessary. I mean my thinking is, it's only $199, can't really go wrong on price, but if it's a piece of crap, then it's not even worth that. I just don't know the difference between what's decent and what's just plain crap at this point.

thanks again for your reply.
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Re: New to cycling - what to buy?

Postby slidetaker » Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:41 pm

It sounds like you have some planning and determination into getting back on the saddle, rather than impulse cheap buy.....

I am really going by a lot of "average" and "assumption" when talking about rider's height, weight and terrain gradient without going into the numbers.

46/16 is gear ratio which gives you about mid 70's gear inches. This gear inches is more suitable on flat ground, riding on-road, getting up to some decent speed without spinning the legs too fast....coupled with 23c tyres, this bike really targets the above purposes...

Given that your budget is not that tight, why not buy one from your LBS, most branded entry-level bike is around $300, that will give you a proper fit, test-ride, and support in the future. As you would also known, you get what you paid for, and that $100-$150 at entry-level is going to get you something quite a bit better. This will also serve you better in the future when you are upgrading and modding....
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