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Old 05-19-2011, 02:31 PM   #1
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Need help selecting bikes

My wife and I are near 70, and have just begun to travel in our AS ('97 Excella 25'). We want to buy 2 bikes and are not sure what to get. We want to be able to ride bike paths, but not strenuous terrain. Should we get mountain bikes w/ gears or "comfort" bikes without gears? It seems that the geared bikes have much in the way of mechanical gear (something to go wrong?) while the "comfort" bikes seem to be heavier and perhaps more cumbersome. We have been looking in the $175-$200 range, although we know you can put much more into bikes. Any help will be appreciated.
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Old 05-19-2011, 02:44 PM   #2
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I myself have a "Walmart" bicycle that was around $120 and it does ok for the sporadic riding I do. The seat can be a bit uncomfortable after while though. I would suggest a "mountain bike" style for easier gearing, etc...but then upgrade seats and other things to make them more comfortable. How much riding do you plan to do?
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Old 05-19-2011, 02:48 PM   #3
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I think you should probably pass on "mountain bikes." Mountain bike tires aren't so great on a paved path. (You can do it but it just ends up being more work.) I think you should go for a comfort bike, sometimes called cruisers. If you want a cruiser that isn't so heavy you can look for some with aluminum frames (they will be more expensive though.)
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Old 05-19-2011, 02:53 PM   #4
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Look for Hybrid bikes

What you probably want to look for are hybrid bikes. They have the look of a mountain bike but are more suited for commuting, neighborhood riding, etc. The "comfort bikes" without gears may be great for the Malibu beach cruising crowd and the occasional roll down a board walk somewhere, but you are right.. they are heavy and unless you are riding on totally flat, paved terrain with not even the gentlest slope, you are going to wish you had gears. Additionally, many of the comfort bikes have gone to this sprocket forward design which is supposed to be better but in looking at bikes a couple of years ago I found the design to be anythng but comfortable as you need to have leg power going up and down on the pedals, not angled to the front.

You can find a great range of prices and extras. But if you pay a bit more, you will find that you can get a frame that is much lighter in weight which will be welcome when riding and when loading and unloading.
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Old 05-19-2011, 03:06 PM   #5
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Look for hybrid

Mountain bikes are overkill on paved paths/roads. Get a hybrid (skinny tires) or a road bike (skinnier tires).

Trek is a good company.
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Old 05-19-2011, 03:24 PM   #6
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I have a few bikes, one which is a cruiser (no gears), but the rest have gears. The cruiser is nice for riding round the local lake as it is fairly level. But for most of the other bike trails I ride on, one of the geared bikes is much more enjoyable. I can pick a gear that keeps the effort level and my cadence the same, no matter what the grade is.

I think a 7 speed is probably be the best bang for the buck. More gears don't necessarily equal an equal increase in usable gears, due to overlap of the gear ratio. My 27 speed actually has only about 15 meaningfully different gear ratios.

I mainly look for a frame that fits me and the use I want, knowing that the rest can be changed out easily enough. In the price range you list, I'd probably be expecting to swap out the saddle for a more comfortable one and possibly the grips as well.

I'd probably look at an aluminum frame as well, and not necessarily one with suspension either. Suspension makes for a more comfortable ride (even on bike paths), but adds to the weight.

Just go to several stores (Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, etc) and see what feels good. Bike shops might have a bigger selection, but also a bigger price tag. Then make your decision. If it isn't comfortable, it won't be fun.

Good luck and enjoy.
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Old 05-19-2011, 03:30 PM   #7
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Go to a good local bike shop and talk to the owner, not the kids working there. Tell them what you intend to do with the bike. Do not buy a Wal Mart bike and expect to be happy. The newer hybrid type bikes are great for what you have in mind. They are not too expensive but spending a little more on quality components will pay off big time in enjoyment. My son worked in the local bike shop here for years while in high school and college. They hate to work n cheap bikes but do it all the time, cash cow for the bike shop. Quality bikes just don't break down as often. I have been an avid road and mountain biker for years.
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Old 05-19-2011, 05:58 PM   #8
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Try a recumbent. No arm/wrist strain, no sore butt, no tired back (it's supported). The best bike trail ride you can get, and you will be looking for the long, long rides. Hundred mile weekends are a piece of cake, even for those of us getting up in the years. You don't see the youth on them much because they are social suicide, but at my age, who cares.

We never leave home without them.

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Old 05-19-2011, 05:59 PM   #9
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Oh, and if you wanted to be like everybody else, you wouldn't have an Airstream.
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 68 TWind View Post
Go to a good local bike shop and talk to the owner, not the kids working there. Tell them what you intend to do with the bike. Do not buy a Wal Mart bike and expect to be happy. The newer hybrid type bikes are great for what you have in mind. They are not too expensive but spending a little more on quality components will pay off big time in enjoyment.
68 Twind is right on target. You'd be happy with a hybrid, ok with a mountain bike and unhappy with a road bike. Your local bike shop will put you on the best bike for you and it will last and not require constant adjustment.
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:17 PM   #11
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Caution on Walmart bike, handle bars on one we bought for DW were longer than should be, somehow comfort was interpreted to have longer handlebars, cut of a couple of inches and when mounted higher than normal worked ok. Most places don't have flat terrain so at least 3 gears, 6 would be better. Gel pad seats make up for the seat springs that are not being used in the new bikes. No knobs on tires if you are going to ride asphalt most of the time.
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:24 PM   #12
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bikes are grat to have and a lot of fun while camping.

you don't say where you will be doing your camping or how you plan on transporting the bikes - bike carrier? roof rack? inside vehicle?

we bought 2 small tire, high seat folding bikes with front & rear hand brakes.

we bring them along when we plan on staying in areas which are fairly level. they don't have gears but are fairly light because of their size and are easy to pedal.

best of all [for people of our mature age] you are close to the ground and can 'step out' in case of trouble.

the small size and the fact that they fold in half makes them easy to put inside the passenger area of my f-150 crew cab. [also nice if you don't want leave them unattended while out and about].

as other have noted - go out and try a few and see what you like.

one thing we found out very quickly - the seats most of the bikes come with are um....too narrow shall we say for real comfort. so don't judge a bike solely be the 'impact' of the first sitting.

there are many aftermarket seats that can be swapped for a more pleasant biking experience.

happy trails.

az-streamer
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:30 PM   #13
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Look at Terra Trikes on the internet. You can'tbeat a recumbent trike!
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Old 05-19-2011, 06:32 PM   #14
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Lots of options, but not too many in your price range. A very few WM or Target bikes are okay, but you need to know what you are looking at. Great deals to be had on CL...again you need to know what you are looking at. Best bet is to find a bike shop with a good selection and ask.

I will second folders as being a good all around choice. They have the ability to store in less space and can be stretched to fit a wide range of people and as pointed out they are easier to "fall" off of.

I run vintage stuff, mostly Raleigh 3 speeds. Dahon is a reputable company and makes a wide range of folders. Something like their Boardwalk would be a good starting point.

Aaron
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