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Looking to buy a mountain bike
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September 23, 2011 – 4:14 pm
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I totally bought the cart before the horse….

I have been wanting to get biking with my 2 year old son Nathan.  I have been debating about bike seats, handlebar mount or rear mount, and bike trailers.  The other weekend I stopped at a garage sale and bought an instep 2 kid bike trailer.

The conversation between Lori and me went…. How much?….$5….whats wrong with it?….it needs a little work….like what…cleaned, new tires, and the bracket to attach it to the bike…..thats it?….oh, yeah, I need a bike now 😉

So I bought the trailer before the bike.  The trailer did not turn out to be that bad.  The tires held air, I cleaned it up, and the bracket online costs $8.  So, now I just need a bike.  Any bikes I have had since high school have been flea market or curb side specials.  I think it is time to purchase one.

I am not looking for a bike that is made out of some special NASA metal with golden gears and costs more than a used car.  I just want a kick around bike that I will use on a paved bike trail with the trailer and the occasional dirt path.  I am NOT a serious mountain bike person. 

What I would like are a comfy seat, handlebars set so that I don’t lean and hurt my back, and a fender so I don’t kick up smutz on Nathan when he is in the trailer.  I also don’t want to spend much.  I talked with a guy at work who told me go to this special store and so-n-so will hook you up with a leftover bike.  You can probably save $300…….How much do you need to spend to save $300 on a bike?  I was looking to spend less than that on my bike.

So, what should I be looking for?  What should I avoid?  Does it matter 12 speed, 18-speed, 21-speed?  Where are the exta gears, high or low?  What about brakes?  There are no trailer brakes so I need to be able to stop the trailer as well  🙂 .  The only word I know about brakes is Shimano (or is that gears?)

Or for what I am looking for will any Target or Wal Mart special handle my requirements for my price range?

Matt O 2006 Skyline Nomad 27′ travel trailer.  Previously owned 1986 Coleman Columbia / 1992 Coleman Senecca / 1989 Born Free Class C RV.

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September 23, 2011 – 9:00 pm
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If you plan on using the bike and enjoying it, don’t get a "one size fits all" Wal-Mart, Target, or another box store. Try looking at a hybrid from a bike store, where they will fit you up with the appropriate size/price/type bike for the type of riding that you are going to do.

Sometimes spending a little more money up front is actually cheaper then having to constantly repair a low end "bargain bike".

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September 23, 2011 – 9:08 pm
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i agree with mtn_bikers, get a hybrid bike, not a mountain bike. hybrid bikes are bikes designed for comfort but can go on dirt roads. they have a more upright/comfortable riding position and usually have softer seats.
i think i saw some at my local Costco. Costco carries decent bikes at good prices. much better than Walmart or Target bikes.

a mtn. bike will always have a bent-over riding position and harder seats.

if you aren’t going to be climbing hills, a 12 spd. would be fine. not sure what hybrid bikes have. should have rim brakes since disc brakes will be more expensive.

here’s an example:

http://www.google.com/products…..ABEPMCMAo#

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September 23, 2011 – 10:42 pm
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So a Hybrid bike is what I want.  A 12 speed will get me around town and through the campground.

Costco will have a better bike than Target?  wouldn’t they be equivalent?  I saw a Schwinn bike at Target.  Is Schwinn still a good bike or is it just a name plate now?

There is a bike shop in town that I plan on stopping at tomorrow to see if they have the bracket for the trailer.  I will check out their bike selection.  I am just afraid it is going to be all these road bikes or crazy mountain bikes.  Someone at work paid something like $3,000 for a bike that was some funny metal and the frame was custom built to his size and he went on and on about all the other dodads that were on it.  Ok, he is a VP and does triathlons but still, these are the stories I hear about while at work. 

I understand paying a little more for a bike that will last me.  I just don’t want to get some trick bike that has stuff I don’t need. 

Matt O 2006 Skyline Nomad 27′ travel trailer.  Previously owned 1986 Coleman Columbia / 1992 Coleman Senecca / 1989 Born Free Class C RV.

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September 24, 2011 – 4:56 pm
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Here’s my 2 cents…  (Background: Been riding since to mid 80’s.  Road bikes ($$$) – lots of centuries and double centuries and a bit of racing when I was younger. Hung out in many a bike shop, even helped part time doing some maintenace.  Touring bikes –  did a bit of touring in Europe when I was stationed there.  Mountain bikes – since they started making them commercially in the mid to late 80’s – still ride one.  And now a hybrid  – occasionally with the DW, for exercise and enjoying the back roads and scenery.

Garage sales, ect. – You can find a deal, if you know how to look but it can end up costing you.  It may need a tune up: tires, brake cables, break pads, and a chain.  Ends up running you to $100 or so.  Plus you have to know how to fit the bike yourself.

Walmart and the like -Usually low end price range.  A lot of steel components, which can equal more weight and future rust. Ok for very occasional use. Again, no one to help you fit it.  Probably put together by someone that may not know a wrench from a screwdriver? (I worked at a Sears years ago and saw how they put bikes together and how mant times they came back…)

Bike shops – You should be able to find a good quality bike for $300 or so. Most likely better quality that Walmart and the like.  More alloy components = lighter and no rust.  You get someone that can help you chose a bike and fit the bike to you, making it much more rideable and enjoyable. They can also help fit you for a helmet, fenders, ect. if you chose to purchase them.  You usually get one tuneup after a month or so, during which they will readjust the brakes and shifters and tune the wheels. The cables usually stretch a bit with initial use so this is important to keep it working well.  The wheels/spokes also may need a little tweaking after you’ve ridden a bit.  They may also help teach you some basic maintenance skills.  It means a bit more money than something from a department/discount store but as they say, you get what you pay for.

What kind?  A comfort/city/hybrid (they all sort of get blended together by names)  Look for good/wider size tires to handle gravel and some dirt. They will have frames with a more upright position making it more comfortable to ride for the occasionall user.  Some even have shock absorbers in the seat post and handle bars.  Speeds?  The cheaper bikes might have 12, but most bikes come with 18, 21, or 24 standard now.  They go all the way to 30 on the higher priced ones now…

The one other thing I’d recommend is a good pair of riding shorts.  They don’t have to be the tight "Spandex" style, as the put the liners in many different styles of loose shorts now also.  They make time on the bike much more comfortable.

Good luck in your search!

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September 24, 2011 – 6:50 pm
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Ok, went to the bike store today.  I looked at some Hybrid Bikes and Comfort Bikes.  The difference being wider more aggressive tires.  The guy was helpful and talked with me about everything.  We decided that a comfort bike might be good for me because it is comfortable angles and if when Nathan gets older (currently 2) and he wants to get into serious mountain biking I can do it with it.  It was a Raleigh 3 something and it was $379.  He was going to throw in a fender and a different neck that swiveled to push the handlebars out a hair since my gut got in the way  ::)  He said he might be able to do better.  At that point I told him my wife only gave me a $200 max allowance. 

He then showed me the 1 used bike for sale for exactly $200 (I saw the tag, he wasn’t BSing me).  It was a Del Sol Hybrid Bike with the non aggressive tire….actually it looked like a slick and he said it was a very good tire.  He said new the bike was about $450.  The Del Sol (and the Raleigh) had front shocks and a seat post shock.  It had the swivel neck on it already and he would throw in the fender and a comfy wider seat (to accommodate my wider seat).  He said without the extras he would do $175, with the extras $200. 

I am thinking this is a good deal.  Is it?  What should I look for in a used bike?  Do the shocks go bad and cost big $$ to fix?  The front ones seemed squishy to me but he tightened them up and it was better.  I have to look online to see if I can find pics of the 2 bikes.

Oh, they were both aluminum frames I believe.

Matt O 2006 Skyline Nomad 27′ travel trailer.  Previously owned 1986 Coleman Columbia / 1992 Coleman Senecca / 1989 Born Free Class C RV.

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September 24, 2011 – 7:10 pm
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Kev- The bikes I have picked up at garage sales have been real POS’s.  I don’t know what I am looking for except when it comes to the old Schwinn’s and other bikes.  My Dad and I used to buy and sell stuff at flea markets and we picked up some good old bikes. 

From my experience at the bike store and Target, I do see the differences in the bikes.  The Target bike I looked at was $200 and did not have a suspension, comfy seat, or any of the other extra’s I may get at the bike store.  Plus like you said, the service.  I can handle basic stuff to get things running, but the brake systems have changed since I remember and I have never dealt with suspensions unless it was an oldie with a springer front end.

You mention tires…..the Hybrid that I looked at had wide tires but the were not aggressive, almost slicks.  As a matter of fact the guy said that the frames were the same size on the Comfort Bike and the Hybrid Bike but the Hybrid rims were bigger (taller) and therefore would be slightly more difficult to turn but shouldn’t be a factor for the type of riding I would be doing.

As for riding shorts…….I’m fat, I am not putting spandex on.  It wouldn’t be a pretty sight.  :lmao:

Matt O 2006 Skyline Nomad 27′ travel trailer.  Previously owned 1986 Coleman Columbia / 1992 Coleman Senecca / 1989 Born Free Class C RV.

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September 24, 2011 – 11:28 pm
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In trying to find the used $200 bike online I think it is made by Haro and the modelis Del Sol.  Still haven’t found a picture of it….but then again I was searching Del Sol and coming up with cars  😛 . 

Matt O 2006 Skyline Nomad 27′ travel trailer.  Previously owned 1986 Coleman Columbia / 1992 Coleman Senecca / 1989 Born Free Class C RV.

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September 25, 2011 – 7:41 pm
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I bought a bike  :jig:

I bought the used Hara Del Sol bike for $200.  They put fenders on it and a comfy seat.  I took it for a spin when I got home and I can feel it in my legs.  I think I will take it out a few times solo before I take DS with me in the trailer behind it. 

I read a sign while we were putting the fenders and seat on.  They don’t do consignments on used bikes but if people donate their bike they will sell it and give the proceeds to a charity that deals with bikes and the disabled.  So I guess that is how my used bike got there and where my money went to.

[Image Can Not Be Found]
[Image Can Not Be Found]
[Image Can Not Be Found]

Matt O 2006 Skyline Nomad 27′ travel trailer.  Previously owned 1986 Coleman Columbia / 1992 Coleman Senecca / 1989 Born Free Class C RV.

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September 27, 2011 – 11:13 am
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Sounds like you got a good deal on the bike – enjoy  8)

Definately recommend doing a few rides without towing your son, you won’t believe how much more difficult it is to tow sometone. I know a few people who race bikes that tow their kids for "training"

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September 27, 2011 – 5:20 pm
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It’s like pulling a parachute from a drag racing car!  :turtle:

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September 27, 2011 – 6:43 pm
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Congrats!! Looks like you made a good choice.  Take good care of it and you should have many happy rides!!

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September 27, 2011 – 7:46 pm
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Thank you for your advice everyone.  I feel like I got a good deal and I got what I want.

So pulling the trailer will be slightly difficult….It looks so easy  😛 The trailer is designed for 2 kids or 100#’s.  I just ordered the connector for the trailer to the bike.  It will be about a week before I have it all hooked up so I have some time to get used to it. 

Matt O 2006 Skyline Nomad 27′ travel trailer.  Previously owned 1986 Coleman Columbia / 1992 Coleman Senecca / 1989 Born Free Class C RV.

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October 13, 2011 – 10:46 pm
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The Bike and trailer in action.

Matt’s Bike with Nathan’s Trailer

Matt O 2006 Skyline Nomad 27′ travel trailer.  Previously owned 1986 Coleman Columbia / 1992 Coleman Senecca / 1989 Born Free Class C RV.

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October 14, 2011 – 1:14 pm
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I would put the cover down the front of the trailer just to protect him from any road dirt. Thanks for making sure he is wearing a helmet. I’ve seen many a kid that is not wearing one even though Mom or Dad is.

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October 14, 2011 – 3:47 pm
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I put the mesh shield down now and the plastic window when there are puddles and or it is cool out to cut down on the breeze.  That was the FIRST time he was in the trailer and he got freaked out by the cover. 

Yes, he is wearing a helmet.  We do get some speed going down hill and you never know what may happen.  I won’t make him wear a helmet and me not wear one so we both wear one.  I also don’t want to be the dufus that falls and cracks his skull open on a "nice even flat bike ride" so I will wear one.

We have a routine.  We keep the helmets in the trailer.  I will say lets go for a bike ride and he will get both helmets out of the trailer and hand them to me.  He also knows to "look up" so I can buckle the helmet.  When we are done he automatically "looks up" so I can unbuckle him and then he grabs my helmet and puts them both in the trailer.

Matt O 2006 Skyline Nomad 27′ travel trailer.  Previously owned 1986 Coleman Columbia / 1992 Coleman Senecca / 1989 Born Free Class C RV.

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October 15, 2011 – 10:51 am
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I would recommend that you invest in better full length fenders. The one the bike shop put on is okay for keeping dirt spray off the rider but a full length one will stop anything from spaying up into the trailer. You might even consider an extra mudflap on a full length fender. Crushed limestone trail dust will go through the mesh screening easily. Planet bike makes a nice full fender set for not much $$
This pictures shows a full length set of Planet bike fenders without an extra mudflap on my town cruiser.
[Image Can Not Be Found]

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October 15, 2011 – 12:27 pm
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That is the kind of fender I was thinking off.  They had an antique bike on display and I pointed to it saying I was thinking of something like this fender.  They said these are the style fenders and all the smutz comes off the top of the tire therefore no need for a full fender.  I will have to look into the full fender for my bike. 

Matt O 2006 Skyline Nomad 27′ travel trailer.  Previously owned 1986 Coleman Columbia / 1992 Coleman Senecca / 1989 Born Free Class C RV.

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February 12, 2013 – 5:33 pm
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We are looking to buy 2 new bikes for this camping season and have no clue what’s good and what’s junk.  We are looking at spending about $600 each.  Any with experience have suggestions?

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