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New to biking... a few questions
#1
Hi, I am new to biking and wish to bike on trails to help lose weight and get in shape. I have not ridden a bike since 1987, when I had a Schwinn 10-speed road bike with two sets of handle bars and no one wore helmets. Money is a concern, so I have been shopping on craig's list and at walmart.com for ideas. I have some questions.

1. how important is getting a bike with a quick-release rear wheel? does it take that much longer to change a non-quick release rear tire on the road?

2. where is the most inexpensive place to buy items for my repair kit (tube, spare tire, tire levers, patch kit, chain wrench, allen wrenches, pump, etc.)? do brick and mortar retail stores sell these, or do i have to go online?

3. where is the cheapest place to find a bike with a quick-release rear wheel, either new or used? my budget is $200 and under.

4. is having a quick-release seat important?

5. are the best locks to use still those "U-locks"?

6. is it preferable to buy a mountain, road, hybrid, bmx, or racing bike?

7. is there a maximum weight limit for bike tires and rims? how fat is too fat to ride or you will break the rim? 350 lbs? 400 lbs?

8. how many speeds do i need? 5, 10, 18, 21??

Thanks so much!
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#2
(06-11-2010, 09:20 AM)mileena Wrote:  Hi, I am new to biking and wish to bike on trails to help lose weight and get in shape. I have not ridden a bike since 1987, when I had a Schwinn 10-speed road bike with two sets of handle bars and no one wore helmets. Money is a concern, so I have been shopping on craig's list and at walmart.com for ideas. I have some questions.
Walmart bikes are not to be used off road on rough trails, they are not built for that. OK for some light trail, but heavy and a pain to set up correctly due to inferior lowest end components. Used bikes: difficult unless you know what to look for.
Quote:1. how important is getting a bike with a quick-release rear wheel? does it take that much longer to change a non-quick release rear tire on the road?
Depends if you have good tools or not... with good tools: not much more work, except when reinstalling the wheel, that can be tiresome.
Quote:2. where is the most inexpensive place to buy items for my repair kit (tube, spare tire, tire levers, patch kit, chain wrench, allen wrenches, pump, etc.)? do brick and mortar retail stores sell these, or do i have to go online?
Hm. Cheaper: online. Maybe better service: your local bike shop. Actually: get some stuff every now and then from your local bike shop so that they know your face and when you need some advice they will be more helpful.
Quote:3. where is the cheapest place to find a bike with a quick-release rear wheel, either new or used? my budget is $200 and under.
Get a decent used bike. If you know somebody who has experience take that person along. That said: some bike shops have used bikes that they sell for customers.
Quote:4. is having a quick-release seat important?
No. Why would you need one? Your leg length does not change all that much, does it?
Quote:5. are the best locks to use still those "U-locks"?
Kryptonite and ABUS higher rated locks are best. Look what insurance companies recommend, those are usually good. Be warned: they are expensive
Quote:6. is it preferable to buy a mountain, road, hybrid, bmx, or racing bike?
Depends on what you want to do with it.
Quote:7. is there a maximum weight limit for bike tires and rims? how fat is too fat to ride or you will break the rim? 350 lbs? 400 lbs?
on thos low end bikes: the stuff is so heavy and so overbuilt: no worries.
Quote:8. how many speeds do i need? 5, 10, 18, 21??
depends what you want to do with the bike.

I'd get a used bike from a bike shop. They are tuned up correctly (in contrast to what you get at dpt stores). Bargains can be picked up on craigslist or Ebay or wherever, but you have to have a clue what you are looking for and what needs to be replaced.
Other possibility: Save some money and get a nice entry level bike. Commuters can be bought for not too much money.
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#3
as someone who has just bought a bike from walmart (the $74 special) I can attest that you are better off buying a bike from a bike shop... I saved money on the bike, but it was missing a a bolt for the drop protector, and needs all sorts of adjustments. It will cost me $60 to tune, so really the cost of the bike is $134 - still cheaper than newer bikes, but when you factor in the time and hassle about the same...

and then you are stuck with a greatly tuned, low-quality bike, that will probably wear out faster...

read my thread for an example if what you might go thru:
http://forums.bicycletutor.com/thread-1631.html

(06-11-2010, 03:19 PM)Joe_W Wrote:  
(06-11-2010, 09:20 AM)mileena Wrote:  Hi, I am new to biking and wish to bike on trails to help lose weight and get in shape. I have not ridden a bike since 1987, when I had a Schwinn 10-speed road bike with two sets of handle bars and no one wore helmets. Money is a concern, so I have been shopping on craig's list and at walmart.com for ideas. I have some questions.
Walmart bikes are not to be used off road on rough trails, they are not built for that. OK for some light trail, but heavy and a pain to set up correctly due to inferior lowest end components. Used bikes: difficult unless you know what to look for.
Quote:1. how important is getting a bike with a quick-release rear wheel? does it take that much longer to change a non-quick release rear tire on the road?
Depends if you have good tools or not... with good tools: not much more work, except when reinstalling the wheel, that can be tiresome.
Quote:2. where is the most inexpensive place to buy items for my repair kit (tube, spare tire, tire levers, patch kit, chain wrench, allen wrenches, pump, etc.)? do brick and mortar retail stores sell these, or do i have to go online?
Hm. Cheaper: online. Maybe better service: your local bike shop. Actually: get some stuff every now and then from your local bike shop so that they know your face and when you need some advice they will be more helpful.
Quote:3. where is the cheapest place to find a bike with a quick-release rear wheel, either new or used? my budget is $200 and under.
Get a decent used bike. If you know somebody who has experience take that person along. That said: some bike shops have used bikes that they sell for customers.
Quote:4. is having a quick-release seat important?
No. Why would you need one? Your leg length does not change all that much, does it?
Quote:5. are the best locks to use still those "U-locks"?
Kryptonite and ABUS higher rated locks are best. Look what insurance companies recommend, those are usually good. Be warned: they are expensive
Quote:6. is it preferable to buy a mountain, road, hybrid, bmx, or racing bike?
Depends on what you want to do with it.
Quote:7. is there a maximum weight limit for bike tires and rims? how fat is too fat to ride or you will break the rim? 350 lbs? 400 lbs?
on thos low end bikes: the stuff is so heavy and so overbuilt: no worries.
Quote:8. how many speeds do i need? 5, 10, 18, 21??
depends what you want to do with the bike.

I'd get a used bike from a bike shop. They are tuned up correctly (in contrast to what you get at dpt stores). Bargains can be picked up on craigslist or Ebay or wherever, but you have to have a clue what you are looking for and what needs to be replaced.
Other possibility: Save some money and get a nice entry level bike. Commuters can be bought for not too much money.
Reply
#4
I'll second all of Joe_W's comments and just add this:
1. If you are up to changing a flat, you can handle a bolt on wheel instead of a quick release. You just need to carry the wrench for the axle nuts. I wouldn't pick a bike based on this.

4. For more aggressive mountain bike riding, there are times you want to change your seat height on the trail. For everyone else, a seat quick release just means your seat is more likely to get stolen. Even if the bike comes with a QR, I usually put a regular bolt in.

5. Yes, get a Ulock. If you're going to be locking it a lot, use the U lock for the frame and one wheel, and then get a cheap cable to go around the other wheel (use the U lock as the padlock). Even a bolt on wheel can be stolen in 5 seconds with a pair of pliers.

6. I assume you're going to be riding groomed paths/trails, not real "off road" riding, so anything is probably ok. But I'd look for a hybrid style first and then maybe a mtn. These have a more upright riding position, can ride on dirt or street, tend to be sturdier. Avoid cheaper bikes with suspension if possible. Cheap suspension doesn't do much and make the bike heavy and means the other parts are cheaper.

8. Doesn't really matter. Don't buy a 1 speed cruiser style. If you are in a very hilly area, having a bike with 3 chainrings in the front will help. But don't worry too much about total number.

You'll definitely get more for your money with a used bike. There is usually lots of people around who bought decent bikes, put them in the garage and never used them. Most shops will give a bike a quick look over for free, so if a seller will let you, take it to a shop and get an opinion. Avoid anyone who says "it just needs this one little thing fixed". If they say that, they took it to a shop and decided not to have it fixed, so it's probably not "little". Flat tires are an exception to that rule of course.

Don't over think it too much. Just get something and get out there! Once you start getting stronger and more ambitious, you may want something a little different anyway. But you won't know until you get to riding some.
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#5
I agree; go for a used higher-quality bike than a new one that you may hate after one ride.

Just as an example, here's a nice looking Specialized brand bike for $250 that would probably be great for in-town riding as-is, and will likely last for many years: http://seattle.craigslist.org/est/bik/1787515510.html

But, as other people have said "The best bike is the one you ride". If a neat looking Huffy or Schwinn cruiser gets you in the saddle and on the bike paths, then there's nothing wrong with that.
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