rebelgtp
rebelgtp UltraDork
9/22/13 4:26 p.m.

Alright guys I need some help from the collective. The little woman has decided that for Christmas she would like a bike (the pedal kind). We are trying to keep things on a tighter budget this year so I would like to keep it under $300 if possible. She would really like a mountain bike. Doesn't really care about suspension. She is used to cheapy hand me down bikes. She has also talked about using it to go get grocerys. Oh she is also on the short side only 5'2".

Around here we have one bike shop with nothing but high end expensive stuff and Walmart. That is it. I would like something in between.

Any suggestions on makes and models I should look at?

donalson
donalson PowerDork
9/22/13 5:12 p.m.

if she hasn't ridden in a while I can't say enough about "pedal forward" type bikes... my wife has back issues (3 bulging discs and awaiting surgery) but can ride her Electra townie

it is not a fast bike but its a fun bike just to tool along on... I'll hop on it and ride with the kids sometimes, also use it to check the mail and sometimes will run down to the store on it (under 2 miles round trip)

there are a number of companies selling pedal forward bikes these days... specialized, trek, I know Giant did... on the cheaper side SUN has one that is prob the closest to your price range http://www.sunbicycles.com/product_detail.php?short_code=Drifter+7&cl1=CRUISER

the other way to go IMHO would be an old school city bike http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bikes/model/via.1.w/14852/66309/ (not this one based on price but this style)...

MTB where real popular in the 90's because they where the only real option for a semi upright riding position after a few decades of road racing type bikes in the US... but an old school 3spd is more suited to how most people ride... this style is coming back for a reason :)

neon4891
neon4891 UltimaDork
9/22/13 5:56 p.m.

A good middle ground is a bike from a big box sporting goods store. Something like an entry level Diamond Back should come in around that budget. If a Dicks sporting goods is near enough they offer good service with bikes.

Also, consider a hybrid.

asterisk
asterisk New Reader
9/22/13 6:10 p.m.

How often do you get to Portland? There are a few shops that carry used bikes. Sellwood Cycles has some of everything but Community Cycling Center is probably a best bet in that price range.

AquaHusky
AquaHusky Reader
9/22/13 6:11 p.m.

And don't forget to put the 32cc weedwhacker engine on it so she can putt around effortlessly.

Woody
Woody MegaDork
9/22/13 6:47 p.m.

In reply to donalson:

I've never heard of these until you mentioned them. That might be a good option for my Dad. He's 82 and still rode every day until he had a mild stroke last winter. He misses riding but refuses to ride a trike ("They're for old people".)

I can always look forward to great info from you whenever someone has a bike question.

http://www.bike123.com/crank%20forward.htm

ShadowSix
ShadowSix HalfDork
9/22/13 6:55 p.m.
donalson wrote: if she hasn't ridden in a while I can't say enough about "pedal forward" type bikes... my wife has back issues (3 bulging discs and awaiting surgery) but can ride her Electra townie it is not a fast bike but its a fun bike just to tool along on... I'll hop on it and ride with the kids sometimes, also use it to check the mail and sometimes will run down to the store on it (under 2 miles round trip) there are a number of companies selling pedal forward bikes these days... specialized, trek, I know Giant did... on the cheaper side SUN has one that is prob the closest to your price range http://www.sunbicycles.com/product_detail.php?short_code=Drifter+7&cl1=CRUISER the other way to go IMHO would be an old school city bike http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bikes/model/via.1.w/14852/66309/ (not this one based on price but this style)... MTB where real popular in the 90's because they where the only real option for a semi upright riding position after a few decades of road racing type bikes in the US... but an old school 3spd is more suited to how most people ride... this style is coming back for a reason :)

This.

I feel like most people don't realize that there is something out there other than mountain bikes and drop handlebar road bikes. This is unfortunate because most would be better off with something like what donalson is talking about.

rebelgtp
rebelgtp UltraDork
9/22/13 7:43 p.m.

I guess I should have mentioned that she likes taking a bike when we go camping in the mountains and rides trails. So something suitable for off road would be best.

Don't get to Portland much in fact it has been a couple years since I was last over there. I know there are tons of great places over there to look.

donalson
donalson PowerDork
9/22/13 8:28 p.m.

to the OP if that is the case and the trails are fairly groomed then a hybrid will likely be her best bet... at that price range suspension of any sort is not going to be good for her as it will be heavy and crap, adjusting tire pressure will go a long way towards comfort on road or off... as mentioned big box sports stores are prob going to be the place for you to look... but from the sounds of it you are limited in your area so you might also look at www.bikesdirect.com they bikes themselves aren't bad and from a quick look have some hybrid bikes in your range that I would ride... just know that you will get to do some basic assembly of the bike (which isn't difficult IMHO) or going to pay the LBS to do it for you.

if I was looking for something more city oriented I'd jump on this myself... fenders, swept back bars, and a 3 spd hub (i'm a big fan of geared hubs), add a rear rack and some pop out baskets for easy runs to the grocery store

woody... they where all the rage a few years ago and made by about everyone who dabbled into casual riding bikes... electra touts it as "flat foot technology" with how kicked back the seat is and far forward the pedals are you should be able to flat foot the ground even with the seat at the properish (yes that is a technical word ;-) seat height (to pedal length)... electra had a patent on the BB being separate and forward of the seat tube so trek just put a big curve to the BB at the bottom of their seat tubes now, others just have a HUGE angle on the seat tube... a few years back I know electra had one that had skinny 700c tire/wheels... my LBS had one and I took it on a few short rides, it was wrong in so many ways... it was a comfortable bike but was pretty quick feeling

I still am a huge fan of european style commuter bikes... I spent a week in Bergen Norway and saw bikes everywhere... it was the beginning of winter in a city that rained something like 300 days a year... all the bikes had fenders, racks and a lot of them had studded tires... they where tools and seemed to work well (search dutch bikes)... sadly in most parts of this country bikes are seen as nothing more then a toy, shops are designed around that view and most infrastructure is designed around that idea :-/

Ian F
Ian F UltimaDork
9/22/13 9:21 p.m.

In reply to donalson:

What he said. You should be able to find a bike shop that sells bikes like that for a decent price. You just might have to drive a bit. The shop I've been going to for 30 years is still around because they sell bikes at all price-ranges, from $300 commuter bikes to mega-$ bikes for nut-cases like me, and they do so respectfully. Because of this, some of their customers drive from very far to shop there, passing many other shops along the way.

A bike from a place like Dick's will be a bit of a crap-shoot. It'll depend largely on the competency of the sales staff and assembly staff. Bikes don't come assembled and while they aren't rocket-science to put together and set-up, you do need a bit of training and/or experience.

donalson
donalson PowerDork
9/22/13 9:41 p.m.

to Ian F... my old LBS back in FL was awesome like that as well... if someone was looking for a bike but the budget couldn't fit what the LBS sold the shop would recommend CL, the customer would ask about a bike they saw on CL and the shop would give thoughts about it... if they brought it in they'd look it over and give a thumbs up/down... his reasoning was if they really get riding they will come back wanting more... sadly more shops don't seem to get this sort of philosophy and only care if you are ready to drop 2g's

motomoron
motomoron Dork
9/22/13 10:16 p.m.

Just a thought:

On the basis of value, people sell nearly unused, 10 year old, cost-$1000-new, bikes all day long on craigslist for 3 bills.

I worked in shops a long time and there's one constant: People buy expensive bikes then find out that it takes work to ride them. More work to ride them well.

donalson
donalson PowerDork
9/22/13 11:22 p.m.

I don't know how I skipped over that one... what motomoron said is spot on... CL is a great place to look you can find some real peaches on CL

gamby
gamby UltimaDork
9/22/13 11:34 p.m.
neon4891 wrote: A good middle ground is a bike from a big box sporting goods store. Something like an entry level Diamond Back should come in around that budget. If a Dicks sporting goods is near enough they offer good service with bikes. Also, consider a hybrid.

Having been a bike tech at a Dick's and having fixed some astonishingly bad assembly jobs from other Dick's stores, I'd caution that you have someone who knows what they're doing look over the bike you purchased there. As they try to run on less and less payroll, the skilled labor in that company gets more and more questionable.

$300 was entry level 20 years ago. It'll still buy a decent enough bike (at the exact same quality level) now that should be OK enough to tool around the neighborhood. $1000 is an entry-level road bike in an LBS.

I second CL. Deals to be had if you can jump on them.

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