1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    First Bike Advice - Thanks!

    Hi, I am currently a student and I've been looking for two things. A quick, efficient way to get back and forth to class while saving some money (gas) and secondly, a good pass-time to relieve/forget about the stresses of class.

    My buddy and I have decided to look into biking and all the research we have done, this seems like a great sport we could venture into.

    But here comes the questions. I am new to the whole biking scene; I have no bike shop around me; and I am on a tight budget. My main two concerns are commuting and very light to light trail riding.

    I am ~5'4" with a 29" inseam. Like I said, there is not a bike shop around me, therefore, I've been having a hard place finding somewhere to be fitted. I am not extremely dedicated to biking (school comes first) and therefore, I am not willing to put a ton of time and money into it. I am just looking for something fun and efficient.

    Currently, I am looking at a Trek on craigslist. The only details provided are as follows:
    -gently used
    -medium sized frame
    -24 gears
    I contacted the seller and they provided the following details:
    It's a 4300. It has a 29 inch standover height. Ideal for 5ft 5" or less.
    Here is a picture: (edit: I can't post pictures due to post count)
    http: //img84.imageshack.us/img84/203/trekbike .jpg
    (remove the spaces)

    If anyone can provide any additional details or reviews of this model, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Also, what is the MSRP of this bike, and therefore, what would be a good offer price if I find this bike suitable to my needs?

    Any advice, suggestions, etc will be accepted and appreciated. As for budget, ~$200 - $250.

    Thanks a lot, I appreciate you for taking the time to read this.

  2. #2
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    Hi, I don't know much about that bike (although it's probably fine) but at 5'4" you may want to consider a small frame. Just looking at that picture, I'd think it was either as big as I could go with or maybe just a little too large (I'm 5'6" w/a 30" inseam). As for price, if that bike is within your stated range, it's probably a decent deal. Looks like it has rim brakes, which is not my preference (I like discs) but for your budget, that's probably what you're going to find. Go check it out and ride it and see if the fit feels good to you. The new MSRP is about $575 or so... but not sure how old that one is. I'd put it in the $200+ range as far as value so you're probably right there as far as the worth.

  3. #3
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    I'm 5'4" with a 28" inseam and own a Trek 4500. The standover height is a bit much for me and the frame is a bit a medium frame - size 16. The guy might be able to tell you what specific size this Trek 4300 is as there are various sizes.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for responding. I avoided the Trek as the seller didn't respond to my additional questions.

    I'm glad I waited. Yesterday I stumbled across a RedLine Monocog 29er. It was listed for $250 and the seller accepted $220. The bike was in excellent shape and I love the simplicity of a single speed. It also had the grips replaced (which seemed to be a common complaint). I was able to take it out to some light trails and ran it through the creek, it conquered everything flawlessly. I am very happy about my purchase.

    I just wanted to thank all those who helped!

    Sent from my DROID X2 using Tapatalk

  5. #5
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    Try a wahoo

  6. #6
    SSOD
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    Good find on the Monocog, they are good bikes for the money and good commuters. SS is the way to go anyway. Jump over to the ss forum and post some pics and write up of it. You can do some research on riding rigid off road to find some easy adjustments to make the ride better/ more comfortable. There are a lot of threads on this.

  7. #7
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    I'm 5'8 and ride a cannondale SL3 small frame, I prefer a small cock pit so it fit me perfect, I'm almost thinking you may need an extra small if your preference would be to have a small cock pit but If your not riding trails heavy then I'd say a small would do you good, just make sure your seat is at the right height

  8. #8
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    Important to get properly fitted for the bike now that you have one. It will dramatically improve your riding pleasure, especially if you will be doing some commuting. Do what it takes to get fitted and you will learn some and have that knowledge for the future as well

  9. #9
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    I'm just a beginner also. I have a friend who loves to ride bikes. He advised me to buy a bike from Sports Authority or Sports Chalet. I'm not really fond going to Mt. bike trails. I just want to use this bike within our community. I went to Sports Authority's web site and I found the Polaris Scrambler 26 inch mountain bike. Is this a good bike? What do you guys suggest?

  10. #10
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by c21johnson View Post
    I'm glad I waited. Yesterday I stumbled across a RedLine Monocog 29er. It was listed for $250 and the seller accepted $220. The bike was in excellent shape and I love the simplicity of a single speed. It also had the grips replaced (which seemed to be a common complaint). I was able to take it out to some light trails and ran it through the creek, it conquered everything flawlessly. I am very happy about my purchase.
    Score!

    Check out parktool.com and sheldonbrown.com for more information than you really want to find. Sheldon is particularly good at the issue of figuring out bike fit, since it's been mentioned. Park Tool has how-tos for every common maintenance task on a bike, with photos. So it's very easy to follow.

    Campuses can be tough on bikes. Get a big lock.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    So this probably isn't the right place to post, but I am in need of some help ID'ing a Cannondale frame. I uploaded the pic, sorry for the quality, but any guesses to its model would be greatly appreciated.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  12. #12
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    I just needed a bike that I could use for excercise. Are the bikes from sports authority ok to buy?

  13. #13
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    They vary. I don't know Sport's Authority's stock, but that kind of store tends to have a ton of Wal-mart level bikes, several shop-quality entry-level bikes, and sometimes a few higher-end bikes as well.

    If it's a brand that doesn't make bikes, don't buy a bike with their name on it. It's rebranded garbage. Brands I'd expect to see on more acceptable bikes in sporting goods stores are GT, Diamondback and Mongoose. Sometimes shop-only brands like Giant have contracts with those stores too. The problem with GT, DB and Mongoose is that they do really crappy, unsafe and disposable bikes as well as good ones.

    Don't buy the Polaris. Don't buy a GMC something-or-other, Magna, Huffy, etc. Test-ride some bikes and post your favorite - someone will know if it's a "real" bike or not. Or, see if its brand has a web site, and if the bike is listed on the site. That's a surprisingly good go/no-go for bikes.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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