General Question

rafiss's avatar

Any recommondation for a bike for a beginner? Not planning to use intensely.

Asked by rafiss (51points) July 30th, 2009

I will be going to college next year and it’s a relatively small campus where bikes are the easiest way to get around. I’m looking for something that will be sturdy and good for a while. No need for anything fancy or especially aerodynamic and fast. Now that I think about it, I don’t even know what “anything fancy” means on a bike.

I plan to ride mostly on roads and sidewalks, but will also do some riding on grass and dirt. I heard that a hybrid might be good for this, but I am very new to all this.

As far as price ranges, I was hoping for around $300 to $400, but I came up with those numbers before doing any research at all, so they might be ridiculous.

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12 Answers

Fly's avatar

My bike, a relatively cheap Clash bike that I think I got from Wal-Mart, has lasted me a long time. It’s still in great condition after 5 or so years. Not too many bells and whistles, just a bike with a few gears that you simply adjust to your biking abilities (pretty much all good bikes should have gears). It works great on all terrains, but best on pavement. If my memory serves me correctly, it cost around $130. $300—$400 on a bike is way too much in my opinion, especially if you’re not looking for anything special.

jrpowell's avatar

Go to the local bike shop. Not a place like wal-mart. They will point you in the right direction and let you take a lot of test rides. And they will set everything up for you like lights and the proper seat height.

And a local shop will usually give you free tune-ups for a while. You shouldn’t have have a problem finding something nice in that price range.

Oh, and buy a good lock and cable to run through the wheels.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

You can spend anywhere from $0 to upwards of $4000 on a bike. I would just get your standard walmart style mountain bike.. cheap.. effective.. and long lasting if you aren’t doing any serious riding.

Noel_S_Leitmotiv's avatar

@johnpowell: GA

I agree, no matter what your experience level, needs or budget go to a bike shop, not Wal Mart.

As a bike shop employee i wish i had a nickel for every time a frustrated person brought us their brand new department store bicycles with some at best annoying, at worst terrifying problem(s).

If we felt like they could handle it we explained why the bike was such a disaster, frankly urged them to try to return it, and assured them we would sell them a safe, quality product for not much more money.

The nightmarish quality of the hardware aside, a Wal Mart bicycle is assembled by a hack that would just as soon be putting together an outdoor grill.

He or she has no understanding of the proper assembly of a bicycle: you wouldnt believe some of the things ive seen.

$400 is enough to by a real bicycle at a bikeshop, it will not only be easier and more pleasurable to use, but it will be safe as well.

Darwin's avatar

I got a Huffy on sale for $99 and it has done a decent job for me. I added a basket and I was all set.

If you know precisely what you want and are handy at putting things together, then WalMart or it’s local equivalent is fine. However, if you want someone who is knowledgeable about bikes and who can fix things that go wrong (and things do go wrong), then I recommend a bike shop. $400 should get you something solid that should last you a while. There will be some much more expensive bikes than that, but many of those are specialized for specific types of riding so don’t worry about that.

One caveat: be aware that many bike shops only carry certain brands, so do a bit of research online before you choose a shop, so you can go to one that carried the brand you find interesting.

A second caveat: unless you are going to college somewhere in the mountains, you only need about three gears (less, if you are on the absolute flat). The extra gears, the shifter, the derailleur, etc. are otherwise just cause for maintenance.

A third caveat: in addition to the good lock (which will probably run about $30 at a bike shop), also get a pump and a small but basic bicycle tool kit that you can tuck into your backpack or a saddle bag. Those items can often help you ride home instead of walk.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

For the record I’ve had my “Walmart” bike for over 12 years and it still does the job. I’ve found bike shops to be over-priced. That said, If I were already looking to spend close to 400 bones on a new bike than yes.. I’d go to a bike shop.

rooeytoo's avatar

If you want a bike that fits you and will be comfortable for you to ride on any terrain for any period of time longer than 5 minutes, then go to a bike shop. WalMart doesn’t care if it is the right bike for you, they just want to move a unit. Fit is very important for comfort.

This is especially true if you want to do any off road riding and really that is the most fun.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Noel S Leitmotiv – Thank you and a GA to you as well for recognizing my wisdom, hehehe.

suzyq2463's avatar

Trek Navigator
I’m not sure if you’re male or female, so this is the link for a guy’s bike. There’s one for women too. Very sturdy bike; has thick tires so it can go on grass; meant for the kind of riding you’re wanting to do. I had one for awhile, and it’s a nice, solid bike. $429.

emilyrose's avatar

I agree that a hybrid is great for this purpose and I think your price range is perfect. Is craiglist active in your area? You can find decent used bikes at a good price typically. I agree with the others that say don’t go to walmart. Go to a local bike shop, tell them what you plan to use the bike for, your budget, and any good shop will find you a good bike, fit you, and offer tune ups. One brand that I recommend is Marin if those are available in your area. They specialize in commuter bikes that would be perfect for what you want.

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