Buying my first "real" bike - advice? I don't know what I want!

I’m wanting to ride just for general fitness, and since my PT recommends it for ongoing therapy for my knees (both have injuries that pretty much eliminate doing any high or medium impact activity)… so I decided I’d go ahead and get a bike.

BUT, I feel like I opened up Pandora’s box about a week ago, when I wasn’t happy with the bikes I saw at big box stores, and decided to google to figure out what I really needed to shop for before going to a “real” bike store and getting overwhelmed or oversold.

My sister rides a hardtail mountain bike (a trek 4300) and that’s what she recommends I look at), and my husband (who is not a cyclist really, he has a schwinn mointain bike he bought on impulse at a big box store a few years ago that he’s ridden maybe three times, thinks that is the direction I should be looking in too, but I’m not 100% sure I want or need an all-terrain bike.

I’ll be riding in the country… on the road, with lots of gentle hills, road conditions are generally okay, but there are a few areas where the roads are hardly better than gravel for fairly long stretches (it takes them a while to get around to re-paving out here). It’s really easy for me to come up with routes as long or short as I want them to be though, and I could possibly avoid any bad gravely areas.

So do I want a road bike (I think I do?), or an all-terrain or maybe even a hybrid? I am planning on visiting a bike shop this weekend when I get a chance to do that without my younger kids in tow, so hopefully that will help in my decision making, but I want to go semi-informed and not get talked into something I don’t need. I don’t plan on buying this weekend.

My budget is around $800 or so… any recommendations?

Part of the decision is how light/heavy a bike vs. how comfortable vs. how fast vs. cost.
Shocks add weight. You can get less wind resistance and more speed on a road bike.
Feel the weight of your husbands and sisters bikes to compare to what the bike dealer has.

I bought a good bike a Klein carbon q on ebay for 750. I have been very happy with it. I so far have 1300 miles on it since March. I really like the features on a good road bike.

I wish, my sister is in Hawaii! :slight_smile:

I agree with Andy. Do not buy a bike from a department store. Ever. :slight_smile:

Really you need to decide what you’ll do with the bike. If you only will ever ride by yourself, and you like smooth riding, and perhaps you want a little speed and fluidity to your ride, pick a road bike. Trek, Giant, Klein, Specialized, … There are tons. All brands have good and great lines.

If you want to ride with your husband and eventually with your kids, and you live near foresty areas, perhaps a hybrid or a mountain bike would be better. I always find riding alone to be boring and unattractive for me. But I’m a little bit of an outgoing person. If you like serenity then it gives you a little more freedom to pick.

and $500-$600 for a road bike is pretty good. Be sure to check out prices online first of the brands you know the store will carry, so you can expect what to pay. I have two shops near me, one is usually 5% under MSRP, the other is usually $100 over MSRP. For a $500 bike, that is a $125 difference is price.

That’s what I’m planning on, I just need to be able to go without the kids coming along (my 1 year old and 3 year old make it a challenge to do anything). But I want at least some idea of what I want before going… I am planning to go Saturday. I am not buying this weekend (currently no way to get anything home if I wanted to), just looking, so I’ll have time to think anything over.

At this point I know better than to buy a bike from a big box store, and I’m hesitant to even buy used from someone local since I don’t know what to look for (I might consider it if I could have the bike checked over at a LBS first), so ebay is obviously not a consideration :slight_smile:

I never got around to updating in a timely manner, but I ended up with a Trek 7.2 fx… I tried a bunch of different bikes and style (and in different sizes, even the WSD ones which I found I didn’t care for at all - I felt all scrunched up no matter what the frame size), and that was the one I felt best on… which surprised me since it was quite a bit less than what I was prepared to spend. I’ve been riding for a little over a week now (started with a 4ish mile route - I live in the country and that is basically “around the block” if you take a left at my driveway, then make right turns at each new road you come to, until you get back home), and I did a different route just shy of 9 miles today according to google maps without any trouble… it was actually a longer route than I expected since I didn’t check the map before I left (I’m very familiar with the area roads, just not the distances) took me about 35 minutes. I think I am going to stick with that route this week and next, then maybe try out a slightly longer one next weekend.

I think for now it’s perfect for what I want/need (which includes being able to take it to the park and enjoy time with the kids since we really can’t ride with the kids out where we are), but I can see myself wanting a true road bike at some point in the future - maybe in a year or two, but until I really get back in shape I don’t think I’d really be comfortable on one, which definitely influenced my choice now :slight_smile:

No name yet… I’m about to hit 50 miles though… I’m just 3 miles away! :slight_smile: I almost went for it today, but I didn’t have enough daylight left :frowning:

If comfort is a major consideration, you owe it to yourself to look at recumbents. You can find used ones at your price.