Looking for My First Real Bike
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  1. #1
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    Looking for My First Real Bike

    Hi, I am a high school student looking for my first good bike. I have been using a walmart Schwinn for the past few years and I want something new. I mostly bike around the city of Phoenix and mainly stay on the streets. But, I do cut through some parks, go over bridges, and go off curbs, so I need a hybrid bike that can handle some minor offroading. I've been looking at quite a few different bikes and I need some advice on what would be best. Thanks!

    Want
    -$400-600 (preferrably)
    -lightweight
    -will last me a good ten years or so
    -able to handle going off curbs or through grass
    -fast (it's subjective, I know, but it would be nice)
    -fun and easy to ride (will encourage me to ride more)

    Don't Want
    -a mountain bike
    -suspension
    -a fixie (I do travel on some inclines)
    -a drop bar bike
    -steel frame
    -twist shifters

    What I've been looking at
    -Specialized Sirrus Disc (tried it in a store and shifts felt smooth)
    -Raleigh Cadent 1
    -Trek FX 1 (tried it in store, but didn't like the shifter)
    -Raleigh Redux 1 (might be good for going around the city, might be more offroading focused than I need though)
    -Marin Fairfax 1 (I have seen good reviews, seems like a good price)
    -Marin Presidio 1 (out of my price range, but I like the 3 speed internal gearbox)
    -open to any other recommendations

  2. #2
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    I suggest looking at your local Craigslist and seeing what's available there that might suit your needs. You'll likely find a much better used bike than what you could afford in a new bike. Bikes are horrible investments and lose their value very quickly.

    For under $1k, you're not likely going to get a light weight bike, but you should be able to get the rest of what you're looking for. I'd also recommend looking for used CX / cyclocross bikes. For whatever reason, they have horrible resale value even though they are just as capable as any road bike (I own three of them!). A CX bike will allow you to install larger tires which will help with being able to jump curbs and the like, but still be relatively fast.

  3. #3
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    Any particular reason you want to avoid drop bars?

    Like many other things, bike prices have gone up over the years, $400-600 may not really fit "first good bike" category if you are buying new. As PoorInRichfield has noted, you may want to look for a used bike based on your budget.

  4. #4
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    Why not steel? In your price range, you'll get a lot more for your money.
    "L'enfer, c'est les autres"

  5. #5
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    I think a MBike off craigslist with non-suspension F/R would hit your spot. Don't see why not, if you could get mech disks that would be a hit out of the park.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by h.clakins View Post
    Hi, I am a high school student looking for my first good bike. I have been using a walmart Schwinn for the past few years and I want something new. I mostly bike around the city of Phoenix and mainly stay on the streets. But, I do cut through some parks, go over bridges, and go off curbs, so I need a hybrid bike that can handle some minor offroading. I've been looking at quite a few different bikes and I need some advice on what would be best. Thanks!

    Want
    -$400-600 (preferrably)
    -lightweight
    -will last me a good ten years or so
    -able to handle going off curbs or through grass
    -fast (it's subjective, I know, but it would be nice)
    -fun and easy to ride (will encourage me to ride more)

    Don't Want
    -a mountain bike
    -suspension
    -a fixie (I do travel on some inclines)
    -a drop bar bike
    -steel frame
    -twist shifters

    What I've been looking at
    -Specialized Sirrus Disc (tried it in a store and shifts felt smooth)
    -Raleigh Cadent 1
    -Trek FX 1 (tried it in store, but didn't like the shifter)
    -Raleigh Redux 1 (might be good for going around the city, might be more offroading focused than I need though)
    -Marin Fairfax 1 (I have seen good reviews, seems like a good price)
    -Marin Presidio 1 (out of my price range, but I like the 3 speed internal gearbox)
    -open to any other recommendations
    Not a bad selection. I'd go with the Marin Fairfax. It has a steel fork which will absorb shocks nicer than aluminum, yet be stronger than carbon. If you like the shifters, go with it.

    Second choice might be the Trek, but they all seem more or less equal in quality. Ride it for a year and the lust level may drive you to get the next quality level up.

    The main disadvantage is weight, an 8 to 10# handicap. Lightweight road bikes all pretty much have drop handlebars.

    Yes, cyclocross would come closest to a do everything bike. Gotta be sure of your size if buying used. Drop handle bars give you 3 positions, straight bars only one. Most cross frames I've seen have eyelets for fenders and rack. Cross would be the lightest weight bike you'd be looking for. You could pick up one for $450.

    Heavier bike will make you stronger. Fenders and rear rack turns it into a commuter or errand bike.

    If you got the time scour craigslist for cyclocross bikes. If you want to ride, buy the Marin, IMO.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by h.clakins View Post
    Want
    -$400-600 (preferrably)
    -lightweight
    -will last me a good ten years or so
    -able to handle going off curbs or through grass
    -fast (it's subjective, I know, but it would be nice)
    -fun and easy to ride (will encourage me to ride more)
    There is a saying that goes - light, strong, cheap, pick two.

    It will be hard to find a bike that checks all your boxes. You will have to make some compromises.

    I have to ask why you don't want a drop bar bike? If it is because of not wanting to be low in the front, keep in mind that there are drop bar bikes with a more upright position. Gravel bikes are higher in front than CX bikes.

    Of the bikes you listed, I have to wonder about your comment that you "didn't like the shifter" on the Trek FX. What is it about the shifters that you didn't like? If it's just the shift quality, that is probably nothing more than a minor adjustment. Most hybrid bikes have the same type of shifters - trigger shifters. You rarely see twist shifters anymore on anything except department store bikes.

    My advice is to test ride lots of bikes and buy the one that makes you want to ride!
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  8. #8
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    you can get a lot more bike for the money used than new so I would very much suggest getting a nice used one off Craigs list or your local Facebook Market place. I would not get hung up on brand, but instead look at component level and most important make sure it fit's you well. In your price range you should be able to find a nice used one that won't depreciate much if / when you decide you are ready to upgrade in a few years.
    Gravel Rocks

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  9. #9
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    Thanks. I looked at craigslist and there weren't too many options. I did find these though:
    https://phoenix.craigslist.org/evl/b...027117899.html
    https://phoenix.craigslist.org/evl/b...023165610.html
    What do you think?

    I like the idea of a used bike, but I don't see myself getting upgrading a few years from now. Do you think I can get by by upgrading the components on a new bike over the next few years?

  10. #10
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    I don't see myself being serious enough about biking to need a drop bar bike. These are mostly casual rides and recreation/fitness. I'm used to a flat bar bike. I'll look at some cyclocross bikes when I go back to my local bike store and see what the drop bar is like.

    I've tried the trek fx 1 and the specialized sirrus in store. The sirrus just seemed to shift faster and more smoothly. I don't know if thats down to the shifters or the derailleur, but I liked the shifting on the sirrus more.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by h.clakins View Post
    Thanks. I looked at craigslist and there weren't too many options. I did find these though:
    https://phoenix.craigslist.org/evl/b...027117899.html
    https://phoenix.craigslist.org/evl/b...023165610.html
    What do you think?

    I like the idea of a used bike, but I don't see myself getting upgrading a few years from now. Do you think I can get by by upgrading the components on a new bike over the next few years?
    I would check out that Fugi and pass on that Trek FX. Don't get me wrong, I think the Trek FX's in general are good bikes, but that particular one is older (mid-2000's) and has paired spoke wheels which were known for spoke hole cracking. Of course at $250, you could always spend $100-200 on a new wheel set and be at the cost of the Fugi.

    Be sure to check the tire clearance on these bikes. Both of these look like the tires are still on the narrow side. If you really want to be able to hop curbs, you will want wider tires. Think 38mm or wider.

    Another place to look is eBay.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by h.clakins View Post
    I don't see myself being serious enough about biking to need a drop bar bike.
    That's what I said when I bought my Trek FX new - 6 months later I bought a new Trek Domane road bike.

    Of the two on craigslist you posted I agree that the Fuji is the one I would look as a first choice. If you look at it and want it, maybe offer $350 for it.

    I would not upgrade components on a bike in that price range - there's nothing wrong with the Sora groupset - it will serve you well. If you decide you want nicer components unless you have an expensive bike you are almost always better off selling the bike and buying something with the nicer groupset you want.

    The other advice I would have - unless you have a burning need for a bike now, be patient and keep an eye on Craigslist checking it every day. New bikes show up in a larger area like Pheonix all the time. There will be a bunch of them after Christmas when people have received new ones as gifts and are ready to unload their current rides.
    Gravel Rocks

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  13. #13
    Seat's not level
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    Quote Originally Posted by h.clakins View Post
    Thanks. I looked at craigslist and there weren't too many options. I did find these though:
    https://phoenix.craigslist.org/evl/b...027117899.html
    https://phoenix.craigslist.org/evl/b...023165610.html
    What do you think?

    I like the idea of a used bike, but I don't see myself getting upgrading a few years from now. Do you think I can get by by upgrading the components on a new bike over the next few years?
    Used is fine for a first bike. There isn't a need to go spend a fortune for a new bike. Road frames last a long, long time if taken care of. Mine is 19 years old at this point.

    If you take to riding, components will wear out and break. it happens. Just upgrade components when you can.

    Don't shy away from drop bars. They offer more hand positions which make riding longer distances more comfortable.

    Heck, my daughter has raced for 8 years on used bikes. Her first new bike was 2 years ago and it was ridden for one season and is in the basement... been replaced with sponsored bikes.


    The only expensive bike is the bike that doesn't get ridden. Buy something you will ride and enjoy. There also isn't a perfect bike. Buy one and ride it... The only perfect bike is the next one you want to buy.
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  14. #14
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    Thoughts on this?:
    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...6490347042287/

    Definitely a top end bike, but I was wondering if the tires would be too small.

  15. #15
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    I feel more comfortable on flat bars. I don't think i really ride long enough distances to use the drop bars that much.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by h.clakins View Post
    Thoughts on this?:
    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...6490347042287/

    Definitely a top end bike, but I was wondering if the tires would be too small.
    WAAAAY overpriced. I wouldn’t pay more than $400 for that.

  17. #17
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    Offer the person $425 and see what they say...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by h.clakins View Post
    I feel more comfortable on flat bars. I don't think i really ride long enough distances to use the drop bars that much.
    I have never used the drop part of my drop bars, that is just too low for me. I ride mostly with my hands on the hoods and sometimes on the flat part. It's nice to have 2 hand positions. I installed bar ends on my flat bar bikes in order to have two hand positions on those too.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by h.clakins View Post
    Thoughts on this?:
    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...6490347042287/

    Definitely a top end bike, but I was wondering if the tires would be too small.
    Tires are relatively cheap, you can always swap them out. Just make sure that bike will fit wider tires if you want. These roll well, are available in sizes up to 700cx40 and are a great bang for the buck:

    https://www.thebikesmiths.com/produc...yABEgLk8fD_BwE
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

    “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” -- Aaron Levenstein



  20. #20
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by h.clakins View Post
    Thoughts on this?:
    https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...6490347042287/

    Definitely a top end bike, but I was wondering if the tires would be too small.
    Nice bike - Offer $375 and be willing to go up to $400 I think for a good deal. Tires aren't hard to change if you decide you want larger ones - but ride a bike for a while before you decide you want to change things is my advice.
    Gravel Rocks

    Trek Domane
    Niner RLT9 (Gravel Bike)
    BH G7 Disc
    Trek Crockett

  21. #21
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    That bike checks off all on your list, don't let it get away!
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  22. #22
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    Should I go for this one or wait for something else? Is there much of a difference between this and a high end used specialized or giant?

  23. #23
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    Here is what it comes down to. New, we just don't think you are going to find a bike that fits all your wants, within your set price range. This one pretty much fits what you are looking for and within your price range. Assuming its your size, It looks to have more potential that what you are even asking. Dont understand the fenders in Arizona, unless you plan on riding it the rain, and the other extra's can be take off to make a nice zippy bike. Make a a fair offer. $400 - 425 sounds good. What's the worse that can happen? If you sit there waiting for the "right" one, two years from now you will still be looking. Remember if you don't strike, someone else will

  24. #24
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    Thanks. I think I'll check it out. Thanks for all the advice.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by h.clakins View Post
    Should I go for this one or wait for something else? Is there much of a difference between this and a high end used specialized or giant?
    Pretty much every bike manufacturer is putting out nearly identical product quality at that level. There might be minute differences in geometry or components, but this price point is extremely competitive. There really aren’t ‘dud’ companies anymore outside of wal-mart type bikes.
    Send the guy an offer!

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