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.
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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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    New question here. A great bike for exercising?

    I'm looking to get myself a bike for exercising, I just want to get out and ride a few miles a day. I realize with how advanced some bikes are nowadays, that this might not even be a workout. It could be effortless with how high-performance bikes are now so I need to find something that fits and isn't too easy.

    So I guess I have to ask what kind of bikes should I look at that would service my purpose of exercise. I was looking at some of the GT Mountain bikes, I don't mind riding mountain bikes on the street. max budget is really going to be $500, no more than that. I'm just not really willing to invest in the hobby yet like some are. I started by looking at a GT karakorman sport for $500 that got me interested. I read some people criticizing the promax hydraulic brakes on the GT bikes so that's what lead me to ask for opinions. At this point I'm open to all brands and I have no investment in anyone, so I am in a good spot.

    Really I don't know where I should be looking, perhaps the recommendings you guys can offer here would be much better. Let me know what you think.. thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    A mountain bike is a good choice as it is versatile. If you decide that you want to ride on dirt you're set, if you decide you want to ride on the road you're set, if you want to go faster you can put on narrow high pressure slick tires and you're set. It's much harder to go the other way by buying a hybrid or road bike and expecting it to be ok if you get out on trails. If there is absolutely no way you'll ever want to ride dirt (how did you get to a mountain bike website?) then a hybrid, city, path, cyclocross, or touring bike might also fit your needs. Just remember that bikes made for dirt make better street bikes than street bikes are on dirt.

    Get out to your local bike shop(s) and see what they have. Ride everything you can and choose what you like.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the speed reply. Locally, I checked out 'performance bicycle' which is nearby, that's where I came across the Karakorman Sport from GT. They seem to be a big chain with good selection. Bike had some cool features, and nice visual appeal. As a car person I liked the rotor/hydraulic brake system, seemed cool. Salesman helped make some good points about hybrids and road bikes being far easier to go further with, and I liked the versatility of the MTB as you mentioned. a MTB seemed like it would require a little more effort on the street.

    I did some more googling, then found a couple comparisons and mentions of various competing bikes, ended up here after seeing some informative posts, but ultimately lots of people complaining about promax hydraulic brakes which come on the GT. Not sure where to go from here, move on and start looking at other bikes, or just go ahead and get something that seems nice. Hard to know which is the right decision so I knew I had to ask first.

  4. #4
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    Most bikes in that price range are going to be fairly comparable. If you have other shops in the area, check to see what they have. Unfortunately the hydraulic brakes at that price range are going to be rather mediocre. Sometimes a cable brake may be the better choice because there will be some adjustment available, though it comes with the down side of they need to be adjusted, sometimes rather frequently. Pick the bike that fits the best. You could also look for some lightly used bikes, you may be able to get better bang for your buck that way.

  5. #5
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    $500 is a really tight budget.

    Either do secondhand, raise your budget, or expect to deal with a few cheesy components. Shouldn't matter all that much given your described use.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    Are there any "Favorite Models" that people have in the $500 price range, or is it really just a 'buy whatever you want' kind of thing? As with all hobbies, I know there has to be a "best option" though. I read a thread where someone compared the GT i mentioned earlier to a Silverback SOLA 4 and it seemed to be better loaded. I do like the look of that bike as well, but can't find them in the USA.

  7. #7
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    Specialized Hardrock..I'm still riding a 2003

  8. #8
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    More expensive bikes don't pedal themselves... They just last longer, come with better components that operate better, and feel better. At 500 bucks new in an lbs you're looking at a bike with a pretend suspension fork, and some pretty low level components. If you include retruing wheels constantly and gears not shifting properly and brakes bring iffy into you're workout you will be pleasantly surprised at how much sweat you drip on the bike without even riding it lol.. On the other hand, if you want to save a few bucks, bikes direct could provide you with components a few tiers above what you'd find on a similarly priced lbs bike. Otherwise at 500, I'd go used. And probably cheaper to provide cushion for any parts that need replacing.

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  9. #9
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    Re: A great bike for exercising?

    For $500, nothing at retail. You get your choice of mountain bikes that have athletic geometry and a suspension fork that's worse than riding rigid, mountain bikes with bolt upright geometry and a fork that's worse than riding rigid, and hybrids with bolt upright geometry but at least the fork is rigid. Given your use case, the crappy fork is probably less problematic than bolt upright geometry would be.

    My Specialized Hardrock broke a lot until I replaced pretty much everything. But to its credit, it has athletic geometry - I can ride it like I mean it, and it doesn't fight me on setting up the cockpit for my body. I rode that bike for several years because the economic freakout in 2009 locked me into it; I really appreciated that it had pretty normal XC geometry. Too short a reach can really hurt if I'm working hard.

    A lot of brands - Trek and Giant both do this - shorten the top tubes on their cheapest bikes. I suppose it must sell, but it's terrible for working out. I think Cannondale's cheap bikes have the same geometry as their serious ones, but they often have a weird head tube where the Big S doesn't.

    Picking up a secondhand bike could get you into something with a nicer grade of components. I don't like to get into upgrade-mongering, it's not something I like about the sport. But at this pricepoint, it can make a really big difference in how the bike ages. I gave it some real thought when I picked up my shiny new bike, and decided I'd like a 5-year service life without any major failures or revisions. I don't know if I'll get that from my wheels, but I'd like to. If I get more, that's a bonus. $500 bikes are more like 2-season bikes, or less - look at all the posts from people shopping for forks for their 3-month-old bikes. And when they go cheap, they're back in a year or two, buying another fork for the same bike.

    Tl;dr - get a used bike, or get a Specialized Hardrock. Expect to throw parts at any new bike you buy for this figure.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeN00b View Post
    Are there any "Favorite Models" that people have in the $500 price range, or is it really just a 'buy whatever you want' kind of thing? As with all hobbies, I know there has to be a "best option" though. I read a thread where someone compared the GT i mentioned earlier to a Silverback SOLA 4 and it seemed to be better loaded. I do like the look of that bike as well, but can't find them in the USA.
    Just get what you like, you're the one who's got to pay for and ride the thing, not us. A $500 bike is a $500 bike, there's going to be some small differences here and there but the overall package is going to be $500 worth of bike no matter who made it or where it came from.

    Used bikes are a minefield so unless you have a reputable bike shop selling used stuff or you have a friend who is really knowledgable about bikes and fixing bikes stay away from used. Bike shop used bikes are your best bet there, but it's hard to find shops that sell used. In the several dozen bike shops here in Park City and Salt Lake the closest thing I can think of is the bike collective, so not a good selection here in a very bike friendly town.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  11. #11
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    I recently bought a used single speed bike for $150.00 bucks. Not much can go wrong with it, is a heck of a workout if you want, or you just ride easy. Do not fall for all this $500.00 not getting much BS. Most components are just fine for non-racing fun. As far as the last longer thing...may be true, however, if you start riding a lot, you may find you like a different type of riding more than another. That is when you plunk down some bucks, not your first bike. Do look at used, with a starting point of 50%off retail and go down from there ,never more.

  12. #12
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    Another vote for the specialized hardrock. The new model should be coming out any second and it is a total redesign, so the 14 should be going a little cheaper. One piece of advice dont get the base model with the 7 speed cassette. It will keep you from upgrading cheaply if you like riding it. I wasnt sure if I would stick to riding and got the base model. I found I love it and have progressed from 5 to 10 miles a couple times a week to 20 miles a day 5 or 6 days a week with the occasional 30 to 50 mile ride or trip to the mountain bike park. That 500 dollar bike is now a 900 dollar bike with the parts I have added. I put a raceface and slx 1x10 drivetrain on it for 200 and a air shock with the suntour upgrade program for 200. Those parts I put on it are better then parts that would be on a 900 dollar bike purchased new. Until you get to 2000 or above do you get away from the junk parts that you would replace.

  13. #13
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    Had the fork seize on my $600 bike without ever racing it. But the rest did fine until I started pinning a number on again. Like I've been saying, I don't think the crappy fork is that big a deal for what you're describing. But I think context is important - I'm not just trying to justify my current high-dollar bike, I swear.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
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    A great bike for exercising?

    Go for a bulk discounter and get last years model with 300 knocked off . An 800 bike will be much better than a 500, hopefully have an air fork, and also have last years colours which will be slower improving your work out ...


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  15. #15
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    Get a decent bike ^^ as you get fitter/lose weight, you'll want to push your boundaries... At least that's what happened for me... I got an entry level 29er with a crappy Suntour fork. Once I lost some 6 - 8 kg's, I wanted more of a challenge - on the 29er the riding I was gravitating towards kept ending up with a buckled rear wheel!? So, now I own an AM bike... and it's frickin awesome!!

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