Looking for advice on buying a bike

Lately, I’ve been considering buying a new bike that I could ride to work and I’ve been looking for recommendations and it suddenly dawned on me that this might be a good place to ask. I live roughly four, relatively flat, miles (6.5km) from my office here in Scotts Valley and I have an old dead $g(Diamondback bike) mountain bike I’m afraid to ride for fear of the rusted spokes killing me. I’d like to replace it with something similar but geared towards comfortable rode riding as I’d prefer not to arrive at work in a complete sweat. I heavily (pun intened) favor lifting weights to aerobic excersize and figure a bike would be a great way continue avoiding the treadmill. Lastly, I’d rather not spend a lot of money which I suppose is the real kicker. Does such a bike exist? If so, what would it be?

Oh, btw, I’m slighly over 6 feet (184cm) tall.

Thanks!

14 thoughts on “Looking for advice on buying a bike

  1. I ride a bike to and from work every day. It’s a round trip of 32 km (20 miles) over relatively flat land just under half of which is non-tarmacked. The people I work with were kind enough to install a shower in the office (thanks David 🙂 which means I can sweat as much as I like!
    I would recommend a light bike, which basically means a hardtail (unless you’re prepared to spend serious bucks). Make sure that the transmission (back derailleur, front crank and plates) is of a high as quality as possible (I have Shimano LX which suits me fine). I wouldn’t spend a lot of money on either disk brakes or front suspension because you’ll rarely need them, at least to begin with, and if you need later on you can always upgrade the components you have. Here, such a beast would probably cost you between 800 and 1000 Euros ($1000 to $1300) but I’m sure it will be cheaper in the US!

  2. I’d suggest the Giant range also – perhaps go for one of the combination mountain/racing bikes – these are lightweight and fast, but also allow for a bit of comfort.

  3. I believe that there’s a cycle store in S.V. in the shopping center near Bruno’s bbq (that’s where I got my bike). You may want to check it out. For road riding you’ll not want to get any fat grippy tires and will most likely want to use the thinner ones. Maybe one of the older 10 speeds (but a more modern version?) will do what you’re looking for. I think Tierney has one, doesn’t he? Good luck on the bike hunt and I’ll cya ’round!
    A

  4. Like Adam, I was going to suggest you have a look at the shop in S.V., but you may want to explore someplace where you can explore larger frame sizes. I’m just 6’0", but with fairly long legs, and found I was most comfortable on a 23" frame. Of course, one question is what do you consider a lot of money? These days, the price of bikes ranges from merely expensive to WTF!
    Happy shopping.

  5. Hi Steve,
    It used to be that there were two types of bicycles: mountain bikes and road bikes. Mountain bikes are great for playing in the mud, but are slow and not quite as safe on the road (not that they’re dangerous on the road, but knobby tires just don’t grip the road as well as smooth ones). Road bikes, on the other hand, have skinny tires, are very fast, but are also very aggressive and unless you’re the bike racing go-as-fast-as-you-possibly-can type (I am), they might not be the most comfortable thing to ride because of the aggressive body positioning.
    Enter a relatively new class of bike, often called "urban," "lifestyle," or "hybrid" bikes. These will have wheels that are appropriately sized for road riding (but aren’t the 23mm wide racing wheels), and good smooth tires for gripping the road well. The frames will have relaxed geometry that makes it a little more comfortable to ride, but the components aren’t going to be as slow on the road as a mountain bike. They’re also designed for the quick handling necessary for riding in traffic. Here are a few that I’ve seen and suggest taking a look at:
    Reccomendation #1: Trek SU200 http://www2.trekbikes.com/bikes/bike.php?bikeid=1034060&f=21
    Other bikes that would probably suit you:
    Trek 7000 http://www2.trekbikes.com/bikes/bike.php?bikeid=1310000&f=27
    Giant Cypress http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/bikes/lifestyle/600/28427/
    You might also look at the diamondback hybrid bikes (http://www.diamondback.com/depts.asp?deptid=5). I haven’t seen any of these personally, so I can’t vouch for them, but it’s already a brand you appear to like.
    One more thing to consider: When buying a bike, the absolute most important thing is the fit. If a bike fits well, it feels like it’s part of you, and you WANT to ride it. If it doesn’t fit, it’s uncomfortable and every morning you’ll realize its easier to get in the car than on the bike. We all have our favorite brands (I prefer Trek, personally), but in the end, get the bike that fits best. That’s the one you’ll ride.

  6. Getting sweat is all about how fast you pedal, it’s not usually
    feature of decent bike (unless you do drive something which is not
    made for traveling by pedaling power, like downhill bike).
    Go to shop and try different bikes, choose the one which feels most
    fit. Personally I wouldn’t buy mountain bike for commuting, but it’s
    matter of taste. I would look hard tail mountain bikes, "urban bikes"
    (eg. Cannondale Bad boy), and even fitness/cyclocross and road bikes
    are worth of testing, if you have no previous experience about those.
    Notice that there are multiple frame sizes, correct one depends of
    drivers dimensions and geometry of frame. Don’t get too big frame,
    it’s easier to "grow" too small bike than shrink it. Forget cruisers,
    comfort bikes, full suspensions (and even front suspensions in lower
    price range bikes and of course road bikes),
    Lighter is usually better, also more expensive is usually better up to
    a certain point.
    If you choose mountain bike, I recommend to switch slick tires (unless
    you’re really driving off road, but that’s sweaty :). Also road bike
    can have wider tires, I use 28 mm width in mine.
    I usually need to carry something to work or from work to home, so
    back rack with decent bags is nice, but adds weight. Good biking
    backpack is lighter alternative, but has less capacity and might be get
    your back wet..

  7. Wauw you impress me! You live in US and you want to use a bicycle for actual transportation, that is a welcome change of style. It feels like people in US would only ever use a bicycle for Sunday leisure tours. 2*6 km à day, will get you in good physical shape within weeks. It is a good way to mix in physical exercise in your daily life. I cycle to work everyday in LU, but that is such a short tour that I can not claim it to be exercise, it is less than 2*1.5km. Just down the hill and up again and round three street corners.
    For bicycle I would suggest a cross bike like Jacob Thurman mentions. One suggestion is to get one with hub dynamo buildt into the front wheel – it is the best bicycle accessory I have had. No more fuzzing around with battery light or friction loss from bottle dynamoes, just perfect light performance with minimal human energy input.
    Schmidt hub dynamo is great but other models exist.
    <http://www.nabendynamo.de/&gt;

  8. I just ran across this — I also live in S.V. Did you ever get yourself a bike? If not, I highly recommend a visit to S.V. CycleSport in Scotts Valley. They have the Raleigh Coasting, which is a nice city bike that’s perfect for fair-weather commuting.

  9. Fritz,
    I was in there over the weekend and they didn’t have any my size though they were building a bunch of bikes this week. I’m going to head over there at lunch and see if I can try one out. I’m still in the hunt and investigating the other bikes mentioned above.

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