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  1. #1
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    College student looking for a ride under $500

    So, for the past 2 semesters, I've rode a 1 1/2 year old Mongoose XR 200 to class and around campus (about 3-4 miles daily). Unfortunately, it's starting to show its age with worn cogs, sub-par brakes, a broken front shifter assembly (happened today, actually), and just flimsy construction all around. I've never owned anything other than a mountain bike, and I'd like to keep it that way. I'm a full-time student with a part-time job, so I'm definitely on a budget here.

    I like the fact that the XR 200 has a rear spring too, as it seems to help soften up the impacts from hopping curbs and such around campus. Although, I've never really ridden a nice hardtail, so I might not have a problem with them either. I do NOT like the weight of this bike but it might not get much lighter in my price range. My primary gripe with the bike is the terrible drivetrain. Don't get me wrong here. I'm a mechanical engineering major and I've adjusted this thing until my head exploded, yet it still will not shift smoothly or consistently. I want a drivetrain that shifts when I say so. Every time. I don't want a flashy-looking bike, either. There have been several bike thefts here over the past couple years, so I don't want the thing to scream, "I'm awesome, STEAL ME!" Ya know? Can anyone make a recommendation for me? Thanks!

    -Grant

    P.S. If someone has a front shifter/cable assembly from an XR 200 laying around, I'd be happy to take it off your hands so I can fix and sell this worthless bike.

  2. #2
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    Also, I'm going to my LBS tomorrow (Velo City Pro Cycles in Tuscaloosa, AL) to look around. Their website states that they sell Trek, Giant, Cannondale, Electra, and Orbea products. Anything in particular I should know about those brands before visiting the store? I'm taking my card with me, so if I fall in love with something, it's coming home with me.

  3. #3
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    You are at school and going to get a new bike.

    One question: would you rather have your Mongoose stolen or a new $500 bike.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike
    One question: would you rather have your Mongoose stolen or a new $500 bike.

    Ha, well there's an obvious question to that answer. My bike is only out in public in the daytime as I live off campus. I lock it up on a bike rack every time it is unattended and store it in the garage every night, so I don't anticipate having any problems. However, like I said before, I don't want a flashy orange (or other vibrant color) bike that is going to stand out to would-be thieves. Plus, I'd prefer a nice silver, charcoal, or black bike anyway.

    I ride just enough to want a good bike. This Mongoose is killin' me.

  5. #5
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    I ride a $100 road bike from the mid-'80s to school. It was a nice bike in its day, sat in someone's garage, and now does a kickass job for me about 50 miles a week.

    As long as nothing is mechanically really screwed up to begin with, a MTB for the same price and from the same period should address your needs pretty well. IMO, buying new is a waste of money for that situation.

    Since you're at school, see if you've got a bike co-op on campus, or a used bikes store nearby.

    Good maintenance habits ought to take care of the rest. You don't need suspension. Really.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    There was just a thread on the Norcal forum about securing bikes. No one believed in locks as security, let alone taking an eye off of the bike. Every year I have graduates from my high school teams go to university and we warn them against taking their good bikes, as much as they love them and like to show them off. Bikes at schools are for stealing. Campus police simplys hrug as if it is simply a thing to be tolerated at school.

    There is a local shop that has stacks of used bikes and I tell thm not to spend more than $100 but choose well. They do nothing cosmetic but know enough to make them run well and be safe. A skilled eye can see the value but theylook like beaters. They are called Sleepers and stay around along time.

    For around town and loaning I have a 88 Rockhopper. 6-speed, rigid, scratched up and lots of stickers. She doesn't look like much but runs like atop. I ran a week of YMCA MTB camp on her. One of my new frosh racers needed a bike to start and he used this for months.

    But I see that you have convinced yourself that the Mongoose is not worth redeaming. I'll bet you are wrong. You just want a new bike.


    What, exctly, is wrong with the mongoose.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike

    But I see that you have convinced yourself that the Mongoose is not worth redeaming. I'll bet you are wrong. You just want a new bike.


    What, exctly, is wrong with the mongoose.


    The flimsy derailleurs (both front and rear) are bent and can't be corrected to their original shapes. This is, I'm guessing, from a previous owner's failed attempts at tuning. Also, the cable stay for the front derailleur decided to break in half today, rendering itself useless (stuck in 3rd). The front disc brake is adjusted perfectly right now, and it still isn't as effective as the rear rim brakes. All of the suspension joints creak and pop no matter how often they are greased and, frankly, it's just become embarrassing and a p.i.t.a. to ride anymore.

    When/If I get a new, quality bike, I plan on voiding it of all stickers, and in the case of the 3700 Disc (which I am seriously considering), replacing the green grip caps with neutral-colored ones. Yes, true bike enthusiasts will still recognize it, but the most time I leave my bike unattended for is an hour and 50 minutes in the middle of the day on a rack positioned towards the center of a courtyard. I feel perfectly secure with using this bike at school. I've seen bikes worth much more than this anchored around campus before with cheaper looking locks than I have.
    Last edited by g9m3c; 03-03-2011 at 11:14 PM.

  8. #8
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    I believe Mongoose XR 200 is Walmart bike. I have Schwinn Ditch 3.0 that I purchased from Costco. The bike was ok to ride around campus, but weight and pedal bob made me not enjoying mountain biking. Enough said, I decided to get GT Outpost disc hard-tail from Performance bike for $300. The bike rides much better compare to my Schwinn on/ off road. I think you can get entry level Specialized, GIant, GT for less than $500. Try to get one with hydraulic/ mechanical BB-7 brakes if possible. My only problem with the Outpost is the Promax brake.

  9. #9
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    This would be a good not so flashy bike for commuting. You will need to get a abus lock or something like that and make sure you lock the wheels to the frame or get the locking qr and seat post clamp. Take a look at bikes direct the parts you get are much better for the price and the bikes are not flashy.

    http://www.abus-bordo.com/index_en.html

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...e_700HT_xi.htm

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/mountain_bikes.htm

  10. #10
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    Check out the Gary Fisher Urban Collection from Trek. Not flashy but nice commuters.

    New single speed for under your budget.

    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...muters/gritty/

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by polonia2
    I believe Mongoose XR 200 is Walmart bike. I have Schwinn Ditch 3.0 that I purchased from Costco. The bike was ok to ride around campus, but weight and pedal bob made me not enjoying mountain biking. Enough said, I decided to get GT Outpost disc hard-tail from Performance bike for $300. The bike rides much better compare to my Schwinn on/ off road. I think you can get entry level Specialized, GIant, GT for less than $500. Try to get one with hydraulic/ mechanical BB-7 brakes if possible. My only problem with the Outpost is the Promax brake.
    What would be the pros and cons of those bikes when compared to the Trek 3700 Disc?

    Quote Originally Posted by jpeters
    This would be a good not so flashy bike for commuting. You will need to get a abus lock or something like that and make sure you lock the wheels to the frame or get the locking qr and seat post clamp. Take a look at bikes direct the parts you get are much better for the price and the bikes are not flashy.

    http://www.abus-bordo.com/index_en.html

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...e_700HT_xi.htm

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/mountain_bikes.htm
    I'd really prefer to buy from my local bike shop as it's about a mile from campus, which is where my bike is almost every day.

    Quote Originally Posted by cdnxj
    Check out the Gary Fisher Urban Collection from Trek. Not flashy but nice commuters.

    New single speed for under your budget.

    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...muters/gritty/
    I'm not interested in a single speed with a fully rigid frame.

  12. #12
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    As the father of two 'kleejit' cyclists, Berkley Mike's advice is pretty solid and the voice of experience.

    My advice,although slightly different, is based on the same premise. Bikes at college are at great risk to be stolen, have parts picked off of them or just vandalized/damaged because it seems like fun to some inebriated wanker.

    I would find the absolute fugliest beater that works well enough to be reliable and ride that to school or around town. My daughter (a collegiate racer that raced at Nationals three times) will tell you that the best campus bike she had (and she's had a few) was a totally rusted cruiser frame they found half buried in the surf. They hung some similarly fugly, but functional parts on it and she rode it for a long time, using only a cheap u-lock to secure it. Any half-assed bike thief could have taken it without too much trouble, but they wouldn't risk it for an unsightly bike that had so little re-sale value. She rode her $1,200 S-Works frame bike on w/e and training rides. She was actually pretty proud of the beater.

    Unfortunately she had to learn a couple lessons the hard way before she saw the wisdom of going this route. Bike theft and vandalism is an everyday (every hour?) occurence at colleges everywhere.

    If you must take your good bike to school, keep it locked in your room and ride it for your recreational rides only where it will not leave your direct line of sight and supervision.

    A $500 bike left locked, but unattended in a college bike rack?

    It's sad that things are the way they are, but you have a higher tolerance for risk than I do.

  13. #13
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    What would be the pros and cons of those bikes when compared to the Trek 3700 Disc?
    .
    I don't have Trek. But, looking from its component, I can say Trek 3700 is an entry level hard-tail. The bike should be OK for you. Just make sure you lock the bike when parked. I got an entry level Specialized Hardrock stolen before.

  14. #14
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    I've narrowed my choices down to 2 bikes after I went to a couple of local bike shops today. I started a thread with them here:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...14#post7821814

  15. #15
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    i say get a cheap used bike for riding around campus, then you won't have to worry about it too much. if you absolutely have to get a nice bike and leave it locked up, lock that sucker up good. krypto + the threaded steal lock means it will probably take more than just a pair of cutters, and wrap the threaded one around the wheels/fork.

    even if it's out in the open during the day, no one is going to pay attention to your bike except a bike thief.

    those are def entry level bikes, should be OK for a beginner. I went with a similar kind of setup not knowing how much I would be riding, and eventually rode the parts to their death after many miles on the trails and then got to upgrade everything.

  16. #16
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    As closure for this thread, there's some great info in the link below that helped me choose a bike I would have otherwise dismissed.

    Trek 3700 Disc or Haro Flightline Three?

  17. #17
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    This winter I had a similar budget, looking for an entry level bike to use on campus and on the trails. I looked at the Hardrock disc $520 msrp, 3 series disc and the gary fisher collection advance.
    Buy the nicest and best fitting bike that you can afford and it should work great for you. Paying a little more now is worth it. Talk to your LBS about what your budget is and they might be willing to bring the price down, mine did. They brought the price down on a bike I had my eye on. I ended up with a bike better than I thought I could afford.

    I don't know where you go to school but bike theft doesn't seem like much of an issue on campus here. Theres nice roadie and dual suspension bikes worth much more money than my bike on the racks outside the dorms. The only thing I've seen stolen is a seat & post. I usually store my bike inside because I don't want it rusting up or getting banged up against other bikes. I've ridden a beater bike and it sucks!

    EDIT: Just read your other thread and Congrats!! enjoy the ride!
    EMAW

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryandoobs
    This winter I had a similar budget, looking for an entry level bike to use on campus and on the trails. I looked at the Hardrock disc $520 msrp, 3 series disc and the gary fisher collection advance.
    Buy the nicest and best fitting bike that you can afford and it should work great for you. Paying a little more now is worth it. Talk to your LBS about what your budget is and they might be willing to bring the price down, mine did. They brought the price down on a bike I had my eye on. I ended up with a bike better than I thought I could afford.

    I don't know where you go to school but bike theft doesn't seem like much of an issue on campus here. Theres nice roadie and dual suspension bikes worth much more money than my bike on the racks outside the dorms. The only thing I've seen stolen is a seat & post. I usually store my bike inside because I don't want it rusting up or getting banged up against other bikes. I've ridden a beater bike and it sucks!

    EDIT: Just read your other thread and Congrats!! enjoy the ride!

    Thanks! I already had a 9mm cable lock, but I just bought a big 12mm for a bit more peace of mind.

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