Looking for new bicycle recommendations for newbie (and bike rack too)

BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
I haven't ridden much for bicycles for many many years (think at least 30) and with a brief ride or two about 7-8 years ago.
I got my oldest (6yo REI Rev 16 bike) after he graduated from Costco bought a balance bike. My current issue is he's too fast and with the health issues I can't keep on running after him.
A lesson in speed must be taught here :). So my car is recently replaced and I will be also looking for bike rack suggestions as well.

I am not looking to compete, do tricks, nor go offroad cycling. Just a simple not too expensive, well-made, and reliable bike.
p.s:
I'm 6'1" and a bit on the heavy side (hopefully that would change)
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Then get an e-bike and put down some serious speed with minimal effort :). J/K probably just need to find a basic hybrid bike and these days find might be a key word....but checking in with your local bike shops for new or used bikes might be a good start. REI used to have some reasonalble stuff with their Novara brand but it's been a while and looking at a REI page seems they have some others now....and a warning that supplies are low. Budget?
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
No e-bikes. I am capable of pedaling :)
Budget? Prefer something under $300, but willing to go up to $500 if there are massive improvements.
I assume I'd have to stick with a (heavier) steel frame?
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Warlord
I tend to agree that you are likely looking for a Hybrid bike. This isn't really the style bike where I am the most knowledgeable.

Note that finding entry level / budget bikes has gotten difficult due to COVID, demand has gone up, supply chains are hurting. So, if you like it, buy it on the spot!

For a "real" offroad or mountain bike, the cost of entry starts at $500. For a Hybrid, you may find what you want for a bit less. I wouldn't be surprised to find an Aluminum bike in your budget either.
 
ski2xblack

ski2xblack

Audioholic Field Marshall
Any old hardtail mountain bike or hybrid would work, right? You should definitely shop used for that budget, may even find a real bitchin camaro at your local sports recycler.
 
T

TankTop5

Audioholic General
Your budget is tough, I started my sales career in a bike shop and quickly earned the nickname chupacabra.

I’m going to recommend a 29er with a 21” frame, if you get a smaller frame you’ll realize your mistake within a week or two and your purchase will gather dust in your garage. Jamis is the minimum I would recommend.

Your budget will make it more than difficult to find the correct size frame and that is the most important factor. You may be able to get away with a 19” frame if you have handlebar riser but the geometry of the bike will still be off a little and you’ll notice at moderately fast speeds after a week or two riding.

A 29er has 29” wheels, they will roll over curbs and small obstacles easier without you selling a kidney for a full suspension bike.

You’re budget needs to be closer to $700-$800. That will put you in the Giant, Trek, Cannondale world but a company called Jamis is the secret budget properly built bike with excellent spec’d parts and geometry of the frame.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Warlord
Concerning a bike rack--I highly recommend that you get a hitch-mounted rack! If you car doesn't have a hitch, then get one installed, they can be very discrete even for a sport-car. I had previously installed a Hidden Hitch brand on my Mustang, just for the hitch-mounted rack. Those trunk-strap racks just suck all around.

@TankTop5 has very valid points! The proper bike FIT is absolutely critical, the most important of all variables on a bike purchase. I am 6'4" and depending on the make/model I ride 21-23" and/or XL-XXL frames. And, yeah 29" wheels would be my default rec too.

Jamis definitely has some good stuff. At you budget, perhaps look at what GT has to offer too. At the least, it would be best if you can find disc brakes vs. rim brakes. Note--At your budget and size/weight, you really should be looking at bikes with a rigid fork. Any suspension fork on a bike at this price is gonna ride like a pogo-stick, especially for a larger/heavier rider! For example, the entry price for a fork for someone of my size starts at about the total budget for your entire bike!

If you have a D1ck's Sporting goods, that may be a good place to go have a look. You won't get the support like you would from a real bike shop, but it at least seems like their bikes are a half-step above what you see at Academy or Walmart. REI is probably another half-step above D1ck's, and mostly similar to a dedicated bike shop.

I helped my niece pick out a Specialized Sirrus last season for ~$500, but I see that price is now up to $650. That has been a very good first bike and hybrid bike for her needs, which were somewhat similar to yours (pavement riding and maybe a well groomed trail here and there).
 
T

TankTop5

Audioholic General
Concerning a bike rack--I highly recommend that you get a hitch-mounted rack! If you car doesn't have a hitch, then get one installed, they can be very discrete even for a sport-car. I had previously installed a Hidden Hitch brand on my Mustang, just for the hitch-mounted rack. Those trunk-strap racks just suck all around.

@TankTop5 has very valid points! The proper bike FIT is absolutely critical, the most important of all variables on a bike purchase. I am 6'4" and depending on the make/model I ride 21-23" and/or XL-XXL frames. And, yeah 29" wheels would be my default rec too.

Jamis definitely has some good stuff. At you budget, perhaps look at what GT has to offer too. At the least, it would be best if you can find disc brakes vs. rim brakes. Note--At your budget and size/weight, you really should be looking at bikes with a rigid fork. Any suspension fork on a bike at this price is gonna ride like a pogo-stick, especially for a larger/heavier rider! For example, the entry price for a fork for someone of my size starts at about the total budget for your entire bike!

If you have a D1ck's Sporting goods, that may be a good place to go have a look. You won't get the support like you would from a real bike shop, but it at least seems like their bikes are a half-step above what you see at Academy or Walmart. REI is probably another half-step above D1ck's, and mostly similar to a dedicated bike shop.

I helped my niece pick out a Specialized Sirrus last season for ~$500, but I see that price is now up to $650. That has been a very good first bike and hybrid bike for her needs, which were somewhat similar to yours (pavement riding and maybe a well groomed trail here and there).
Of all the bikes I’ve had I miss my Giant XTC the most, that bike was built for speed.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
You’re budget needs to be closer to $700-$800. That will put you in the Giant, Trek, Cannondale world but a company called Jamis is the secret budget properly built bike with excellent spec’d parts and geometry of the frame.
But there's always used bikes.
 
ski2xblack

ski2xblack

Audioholic Field Marshall
Concerning a bike rack--I highly recommend that you get a hitch-mounted rack!
I'll second this. Soooo much more convenient...although pricey. I think my 1up bike rack exceeded BSA's entire budget. Highly recommend the 1up.

Where u at, @BoredSysAdmin? I just checked our local listings and there are quite a few 29er hardtails within your budget. (I'm in Colorado, mtb grand central, so the used market is as good as possible).
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Middlesex, NJ
So far I've only seen one bicycle store in the Long Branch (about 25 mins drive from me)
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
I assume anything Walmart (Schwinn etc..) sells is utter trash not worth even mentioning?
 
ski2xblack

ski2xblack

Audioholic Field Marshall
To be clear, those listings were used bikes, not new. After the Perf closed, it seems we have as many reseller merchants as new. Before considering a pos walmart bike, you should scour any used sporting goods stores and craigslist/fb marketplace/offer up, etc. Ideally, you'll find the 29er hardtail in the right size with good components, that retailed for $1K or more a few years ago. There are quite a few such examples in your price range in the used market out here.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Wow, I expected much info, but I guess much homework is still overdue. Looking over @TankTop5 mentioned the Jamis site, specs are overwhelming.
Size - I assume this is the frame size you mentioned, most models come up to size 21" or 23" - this one fairly easy.
Now wheel size - you say 29", but Jamis site says Tires 700 x 38c - Is 700 as in 700c ie same thing as 29" and 38c is that tire thickness?
@ski2xblack what is hardtail?
What's the difference between Street Comfort/Hybrid to Sport Comfort/Hybrid?
 
ski2xblack

ski2xblack

Audioholic Field Marshall
700c is the standard road bike tire size. Hardtail is just a bike without rear suspension.

Bikers are as compulsive as audio nuts, so there is a ton of used gear available due to upgraditis, including a bunch that would suit your needs perfectly and be worlds better than anything Walmart has to offer.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
I agree with the sizing for both wheels and frame so far. 700C is closer to 27" diameter (many older US road bikes were sold based on the 27" wheel size). 27.5" for mountain bikes is also known as 650B. 26" (650C IIRC) wheeled mountain bikes are pretty much gone for now. Wheel sizes can get kinda strange....

Bike racks can get expensive for sure. 1UP is great but pricey but I think a better value than Thule. I definitely prefer hitch mounts myself, particularly 2" mounts as they'll be more capable (say when the family bike count goes over 2). Durability does cost.

The worst part about a Walmart bike is often those they hire to assemble it, altho often very cheap componentry is used as well; the combination can be dangerous (and lots of videos on that subject, particularly for their "mountain bikes" used on real trails). I'd avoid if possible, same for Costco last I looked altho if you sort of go thru everything (something I could do, you may not have the tools/knowledge). Schwinn once upon a time was a decent brand. Surly might have something for you.

The difference between the various sport/street/comfort/commuter labels on hybrids won't mean a lot, it's just generally a bike suited to street use mostly and riding in an upright position, and often either rigid (no suspension) or a hardtail...and I'd agree a suspension fork on a new bike at your budget is likely best avoided, but possibly a used bike might have one worthy of use.

Link up some used ads from Craigslist for your area in your price range perhaps so we can comment.....
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
The guy is pretty optimistic on that comfortized Raleigh (the horrible saddle and the extra bar height with the riser stem :) ). It probably sold new for not much different....and it's not particularly new. I don't like grip shifters much either. I'd pass.

You really interested in a road bike with drop bars? Not exactly a comfortable ride compared to a more upright position (but better aerodynamics! ). I'd say the size is a tad small for you for a road bike, too. I'm 5'10" and ride a 57/58 (a 56 wouldn't be bad for me, I just prefer a frame on the largish side).
 

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