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Thread: Help In Houston

  1. #1
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    Help In Houston

    My wife and I are going to start moutnain bike riding. I have a couple of questions. What is the best bike shop in Houston?

    Also, what bikes do you recommend for her and me?
    She is 5"10" and will not ride if she is not fairly comfortable. So, I want to buy a decent comfortable bike, w/o spending a fourtune.
    We went to a bike shop and the guy recommended the Trek 4300 Disc. I saw the Ibex Iginiton 1 with a full suspension. What do you think of this bike instead of the Trek for her?

    I am leaning to the Trek for myself.

    Thanks for all your help and input.

  2. #2
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    You'll get your best local bike shop (LBS) recommendations in the Texas forum, so you might want to ask that question there. I don't know where you're located in Houston, but I personally recommend West End Bikes in the Memorial area (a few blocks east of Memorial Park). They're very helpful and knowledgeable and, like most places, will let you ride around the neighborhood. I'd recommend that you do some of your own research on this website, so that you have some basic knowledge of your own going in.

    Comfort is obviously a major issue, so I have two suggestions:

    1. Wherever you go, make sure that you and your wife get fitted. Bikes have different geometries, and simply finding a bike that has the right standover height is not nearly enough. Being new to biking, you won't know from experience what dimensions work for you and you probably won't be able to tell from a 10 minute ride around the block whether a bike is too long or short in the "cockpit" for you, so you'll want to get as close as possible by getting measured.

    2. You'll almost certainly want to upgrade the saddle, but not immediately. Stock saddles on low to mid-level bikes are almost always uncomfortable for most people. However, no matter what seat you buy, you're going to be sore after the first few rides (first week or two), so give the stock seat a shot for a few weeks. Your butt just has to get used to riding on a bicycle seat. If, after your first few weeks of consistent riding, you're rear is still sore, you might want to research a saddle that is a better fit. There's a lot of information on this website about this topic. Just search for it. The soreness in your hindquarters is a reason why a lot of beginners, my sister and a few friends included, quit riding before they even really get started. You just have to get past those first few rides.

    What bikes are best for you depends on the type of riding that you'll be doing, the conditions that you'll be in, and how much you're willing to spend. This information will help us make recommendations.

  3. #3
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    The Trek 4300's and 4500's are very popular starter mountain bikes in Houston. Both have a solid frame and a few decent components.

    I have also heard good things about West End (although never been there).

    I used to shop entirely at Bike Barn and have had some great experiences and some terrible. They do have a good inventory and decent close out prices (their regular prices are typically MSRP and not a good deal but not a bad one). I have since moved on several shops in other states that have great price and service (an option I would not recommend for a first bike)

    The ibex specs look good for the ignition 3 considering the price, although I am not sure you can buy locally.

    Definately get fit for your bike. If the shop is not willing to spend some serious time getting you fit and finding the right bike for you go some where else.

    I really think you will both be happy with the Trek's. Specialized also has some good entry level bikes (Rockhopper and Hardrock) which are readily available in Houston.

    I would stay away from full suspension unless you are will to spend $1200 + (there are just not many new quality FS bikes under $1K) and you will end up with a better hardtale.

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    Above have good points. I thought IBEX was mail order only. Agree with above re West End and Bike Barn on Westheimer (west side). Skip the BB near the village... Bicycle World and Fitness and Acme are also places with friendly and helpful staff...Acme has a pretty large selection on hand.

    TLud is right...do some research. And take what you hear with a grain of salt.

  5. #5
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    To answer TLud's questions. We will be trail riding in and around the Houston area. Huntsville, etc. Conditions, well, I don't think my wife will be out in the rain, etc.
    I am planning to spend up to 500 per bike.
    I have to make her as comfortable as possible within a budget. I am sure you guys know what I mean.
    Thanks for your help.

  6. #6
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    To answer TLud's questions. We will be trail riding in and around the Houston area. Huntsville, etc. Conditions, well, I don't think my wife will be out in the rain, etc.
    I am planning to spend up to 500 per bike.
    I have to make her as comfortable as possible within a budget. I am sure you guys know what I mean.
    Thanks for your help.

  7. #7
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    To answer TLud's questions. We will be trail riding in and around the Houston area. Huntsville, etc. Conditions, well, I don't think my wife will be out in the rain, etc.
    I am planning to spend up to 500 per bike.
    I have to make her as comfortable as possible within a budget. I am sure you guys know what I mean.
    Thanks for your help.

  8. #8
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    The only reason to shop at Bikebarn on Kirby would be for convenience or a sale price. Otherwise i found the staff to be quite rude and opinionated and felt they're only interested in making a sale. They were rather condescending to my girlfriend when she went in there by herself. Don't take your bike to be serviced they're either. They'll ask for about a week for a tune-up then before tthe quoted day, call you up and say "We can have it for you on the day promised, but that would mean one of our mechanics would have to stay late tonight, would the day after be okay?" This happened twice. Then if you buy a bike from them that they have to order, expect a few days delay than the day quoted. When they sell it to you, they'll quote you the day that it gets delivered and not the day they'll put it together and have it available to you. expect a few days for that. Then when you show up to pick it up, they won't have it ready. It will take them 20 minutes to walk down the strip center to go get it from storage....
    I also bought a bike on ebay that the seller overhauled the hubs prior to sale. Part of the sale mentioned that the bike would need a good once over by a mechanic...so i brought it in to bike barn and they charged me the full tune up price, even though they did nothing for the hubs/wheels.
    Bunch of jackholes.

    Get your bike at the Sun and Ski on Westheimer, they'll treat you right. I've heard good things about West End as well. Just don't go to Bikebarn or that store around the corner formerly known as West U schwinn. Ive had good experience with cyclone bikes.

    BTW, if you plan on riding in the houston area, unless you got a bad back or something, you really don't need full suspension or disk....

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