New as a registered member of the forum but I've been stalking the reviews for quite some time now. Great place you have here, nice layout, and incredibly informative. Thanks for all of that!
Now for a familiar story I'm sure: I rode my previous bicycle everywhere. Eve-ry-where. I would leave the house at 12am most nights, ride up a gigantic hill, down a gigantic hill, to a local park, work out, then ride home...all in all probably 10 miles, mostly paved. Days that I had free, I would find trails, sometimes even deer trails, and leave nothing but tire prints and take nothing but memories (seldom did I bring a camera). An 80 mile day meant nothing to me. I took my mountain bike wherever I wanted to go and it never seemed to mind. And, while I'm slightly embarrassed to admit this, it was a red and yellow Royce Union. But hey, I upgraded a few things, learned about bicycles and how to fix them (and boy did that bike ever need fixin') and all in all, if my bike computer wasn't lying to me, I put on well over 10,000 miles over 5 years...and I took months off due to ridiculous amounts of snow where I live.
Then, one fateful night, my garage was broken into. Do they mess with the ancient motorcycle in the garage? No. Do they mess with anything else of real value in the garage? No. They took my rototiller, some broken hand tools, a few oil ravaged repair manuals, and my damn bicycle! They took my Royce Union!
Ok, so maybe some here might say "They did you a favor". Nope. I would still be riding that bike today if given the chance. I imagine it's sitting at the bottom of a creek or rusting behind some shed right now. It just aint right. If you're going to steal something, don't steal someone's bike. It's like stealing my boots...we've been places together, we fit one another, we have memories. Come on now.
Now for the other familiar part of my story: I desperately want another mountain bike. And I am financially destitute. I work part time at a community center teaching kids in an after school program and I work very part time and volunteer at a farm that does therapy horseback riding for people with disabilities. This summer I'll be a camp counselor at that very place. The love of my life has plans for some overnight bicycle trips this year and I'd certainly like to attend. The camp counselor position needs for someone to be on a bicycle traveling from group to group checking in and I want to be that guy. My small sedan now costs over $50 to fill and I rather be on two wheels anyway, motorized or not. And biking gives me time to think, process, reflect, and hate on SUV drivers in a curmudgeonly and grumbling sort of way. Hell, I even miss the huge amount of close calls thanks to vehicles not caring about my life or individual limbs. I miss it that much.
Ok, ok, enough of my biking backstory. Onto answering some important questions.
1) Your budget. How much do you have to spend on the bicycle (not including accessories such as helmet, gloves and other accessories).
Admittedly, little. I doubt I could really swing more than $100 right now, and even that will be painful at the moment. I know that this is not a good price point, but keep reading anyway please!
2) What bikes, if any, are you already considering? (Please try to limit the selection to a handful if at all possible, and provide links to those bikes. Remember, we don't always know the exact specs of all the bikes out there!)
I keep seeing plenty of bikes on Craigslist. I let a Marin slide through my fingers the other day. Nearly new and up for $100 on CL. Person didn't know what they had. I had to volunteer that night and the drive would've probably run another $50 anyway because they were so far away. I test rode an older Diamondback that had good reviews on this site, full suspension, but it was really shot. The seller used to own a bike store and the thing had all sorts of problems during the test ride. He swore up and down he could sort them out, but he had already had it on his bike stand and either wasn't able to tune it or didn't care enough to before a potential buyer arrived. I passed. I was also looking at the Diamondback Response Sport, but this is out of my price range for new.
The ability to take a beating and keep going is my biggest concern. I'd love to get something with acceptable components, but again, I realize what my price point is so I don't expect the best, I just want "solid" and "good".
3) What type of riding do you intend to do? (e.g. Cross Country, Freeride, Downhill, paved paths)
I intend to do many paved paths (though whenever in the city I tend to find the most difficult way to go, cutting across curbs, grass, small wooded areas...only when it's public property and I make sure to be careful to not leave a mark) and many cross country trails and some downhill and true "mountain biking" if I can find a bike that can handle it.
4) Do you have a preference over a hardtail or full suspension?
Honestly I'd prefer hardtail. I don't think I really require full suspension because I'm a lightweight guy and I haven't liked the feel of riding full suspension bikes anyway. They feel spongy to me.
5) Age, weight and height. (In many instances very important for a variety of reasons).
I'm 28, about 5'8"-5'9", and I weigh in anywhere from 130-135. I stay in good shape, I used to do lightweight boxing, and I love hiking, paddling, rock climbing (the non-rope using, needlessly dangerous way...that stuff is pricey!) so I feel most bikes would put up with me just fine. I'm not someone who will gain a lot of weight as they get older. I still have the metabolism of a hummingbird.
6) What sources will you consider buying from? (e.g. Your Local Bike Shop, online vendors, or used bike sources such as mtbr classifieds, craigslist, ebay and others)
I'd love to buy from a LBS, but my financial situation seems to dictate Craigslist, E-Bay, and...freecycle.
7) Do you want people to offer you alternative suggestions to issues such as budget, bikes already considered, and sources?
Yes, please do! I welcome and would appreciate any and all advice, no matter the subject.
Oh, and mechanical skills. I don't own all the tools I used to that are bike specific, but I do have mechanical skills when it comes to bikes. I can do basics without consulting a guide. For more involved repairs or upgrades, I can look at a guide and then do the repair or upgrade with little to no additional help. The farm I work/volunteer at has an adaptive bicycling program (and some really neat bikes) and eventually I'll be maintaining that 'fleet' too. I do all my own repair work on the car (a lovely little 92) and the motorcycle (a lovely little 84) and I prefer to do things like that myself. Maybe I can get Park Tools to donate a nice set to the farm
Thanks so much for reading this and I look forward to your comments.
It's a pleasure finally being registered.
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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Thread: Oh bicycling, how I miss thee...