Need a bike recommendation please

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by demiro, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    I know we have some bicycling enthusiasts here. I am hoping someone can help me out.

    My wife wants to buy a new bike. Her wants: wide tires; hand brake; fixed gear; relatively cheap (<$300). Mostly paved bike paths or very light trails. Nothing heavy duty.

    She has an old 10-speed Schwinn, that I suppose is a road bike, but she rode a fixed gear bike on vacation recently and really enjoyed it. Of course she can't recall the brand.

    Any good bikes that fit that bill? I know next to nothing, and I'm not looking to research bikes like I would a camera (obsessively), so any input will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks! :biggrin:
  2. ThomD

    ThomD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 1, 2013
    SF Bay Area
    Fixed gear? Really? For most riders (except hipsters) that tends to be like the 3rd, 4th, 5th or 9th bike.

    The good news is that all main stream bike frames are decent enough. What separates bike quality tiers is components, but if you are going fixed, then that removes almost all the components.

    In your price range, look on craigslist. Do NOT buy a bike at Wally world or Sears. Visit a local bike store, but I don't expect that you will find much in your range. Even REI doesn't sell a fixie that cheap (unless it is on sale).
  3. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    I hope you don't have any hills to deal with.

    A cheap bike will drive you crazy because it won't shift properly, etc. etc. and they become frustrating.

    I would pick a decent brand bike. I have 5 treks in the garage but other brands are fine. Brands like schwinn are typically just re-branded pacific cycle bikes. Most of the cheap store bikes (costco, targer, walmart, etc) are made by pacific bicycle corp. and then re-branded with other names). These typically fall apart quickly and can be difficult to keep tuned up. I know first hand.

    Anyway, find out what bike you might like and then get it from Craigslist paying anywhere from 20 - 50% of retail. At 50% retail it should be nearly perfect. At 20% of retail, you probably need to spend $100 on a tune up. So you are looking for a $600 or more priced bike (new) which you can get for your $300 budget.

    Heres an example of a Trek hybrid in my area. Not what you asked for but the first ladies bike I found.

    Trek 7.2FX WSD Trek 7.2FX WSD - Hybrid - Like New

    They want $300. I look it up and it sells for $550 new. I would offer $275 assuming it does not need any work.

    With 5 bike riders in the family and a desire to try different bikes, I have bought just about as many bikes as I have bought m4/3 lenses. At least in my area if I follow the general 50% or less rule, I have been able to buy and sell to try bikes and not loose money.

    The manufactures website and bikepedia

    BikePedia, QuickBike Complete Bike Specs

    are good sites for finding the price of a bike.

    There is also the bike blue book for pricing used bikes.
    Bicycle Blue Book - Trade With Confidence

    A good bike will last for years and years. Of course many of the parts are consumables that will need to be replaced to keep it going but that should be expected. If your wife is a light rider, the parts will last a long time.
  4. htc

    htc Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 11, 2011
    You don't have to "hipster" to appreciate simplicity. Nothing to adjust, MUCH cheaper OR you can get better quality with the same money. There are also automatic two speed or kick back two speed available with coaster brake. The other brake can be hand brake and the look is like fixie.
  5. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    My wife hadn't even heard of fixed gear until she rode one. To your point htc, she like the simplicity. Of course it also had a big, comfy seat, wide tires, and for all I know was a $1000+ bike. It may not really be the fixed gear part that she appreciates so much.

    After reading these replies I am going to send the Mrs to the local bike shop and let them figure out what she needs. I'm sure $300 won't get it done, but she'll just have to accept that. On these kinds of toys she's frugal. If it were shoes or a purse it wouldn't be a concern...

    Thanks to all for the insights!
  6. MLitonjua

    MLitonjua New to Mu-43

    Jul 30, 2013
    Torrance, CA
    check out performance bicycle. I am not going into details but you $300 can get you a good, brand new fixie.

    BAXTING Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 5, 2012
    Los Angeles SFV, CA
    For that price range you will need to most likely buy used if you want anything decent.

    You wont be able to put wide tires on a road bike frame so Id actually recommend a single speed MTB with a flip flop rear hub or just run it single speed with it geared so your not spinning like crazy. Funny the least inexpensive bike I own gets the most use. Throw on some Schwalbe Big Apples and you have a street worthy ride ready to go anywhere. Of course Ill recommend what I have first, a Redline Monocog. They usually can be had pretty cheap used online.

    Just check bicycle websites and look at their SS bikes, most can be converted and some actually come with the flip flop rear hub. Most will be roadbikes, but that will limit your tire width.
  8. greenlight

    greenlight Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 16, 2012
    Colin B
    I'm guessing the bike your wife rode was a "single speed" rather than a "fixed gear".

    While the two terms sound similar, they tend to mean different things.

    A single speed bike is usually fitted with one gear and a freewheel, so you can coast.

    A fixed gear or "fixie" is like a track bike, in that there is no freewheel so you have to pedal at all times.

    I'd recommend a single speed for your wife; fixed gear is for very keen cyclists only really.

    Single speed town or mountain bikes (while less common than multi-geared bikes) can be bought new, or you can convert an old mountain bike with a little work. Kits to replace the multiple sprockets at the read with a single, long toothed sprocket are available. Older frames with angled dropouts are preferable for conversion, so the best option might actually be to convert your wife's existing Schwinn.

    If you are interested in doing a conversion, this page:

    Singlespeed Bicycle Conversions

    has lots of info.

    Here's my home converted singlespeed - an old Muddy Fox Courier

  9. Matero

    Matero Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 22, 2013
    Little bit of topic, sorry, because no dealer in US, yet.

    My wife has been dreaming new bike and I knew what she wanted. Beautiful, simple bike. And this Summer I made dream come true, and bought this one to her. All Pelago's bikes are made-to-order, very durable and stylish, IMHO. If I can clean some room to garage I'm looking one of those Pelagos for myself, too.

  10. abl33

    abl33 Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 2, 2010
    I'm not sure if the other posters are female, but I am, and a relatively small one at that. I have also been a fairly serious biker for a while. So, depending on her size, fit might be an issue. Major manufacturers like Specialized make women-specific bikes, which to me have been much more comfortable. There are good trekking and commuter bikes for less than $1000, particularly if you get last year's model.

    Also, I found this bike looks kind of fun:

    Terry Burlington :: Commuter

    It's $750, so more than you wanted to spend, but there really is a world of difference between so saving up is worth it. Sorry, I don't know anything about single-speed bikes, though.
  11. RajC

    RajC Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 6, 2013
    Probably not what you're looking for but I've had a Specialized Hard Rock for years. Very durable, great for casual riding on pavement or gravel. Not really great for narrow or bumpy trails. Very low maintenance and a great ride.
  12. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Nov 7, 2010
    After a couple of visits to the local bike shop my wife ended up with a Trek Shift 2 WSD. Not exactly what she thought she wanted, but after checking a bunch of bikes out in person and talking to the shop owner about them she is liking her choice.

    Thanks again for all the comments. They made it clear to me that she needed to do the first hand research and buy locally.
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