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wild_turkey

Buying a bicycle

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10 minutes ago, Mojo Hand said:

I guess?  I'm a little embarrassed to admit, but I don't know how to use gears.  But we have relatively steep hills in my neighborhood, and I guess that's what they're for? 

Upright sounds right to me, but I don't really what drop bars are for.  Like I said, I'm extremely ignorant about bikes.  I had a bmx bike I rode the hell out of as a kid in the 80s, but i haven't biked much since. 

The other option is singlespeed.  Which probably means you are going to be standing on your pedals to make it up hills and/or pedaling your ass off to maintain speed on flats and downhills.

You use gears like a car:  you keep the engine, you, running at fairly steady rpm, and change the gears to the terrain/conditions..If you are going up a hill, you choose a lower gear and your pedaling effort remains fairly low, while you pedal faster; or, if you are going downhill or on level terrain, you'll want a higher gear so you can pedal at a sane speed or rate while maintaining or increasing speed.

If you had a singlespeed car, you would be lugging all the time at low speed or up hills, and redlining on flats or downhills.  Some people enjoy doing that even on mountain bikes, but they are unusual.

Cyclists try to maintain a fairly steady cadence of 75-90 RPM, kinda like keeping your car between 2000 and 4000 RPM most of the time.

Drop bars are aerodynamic, for speed.  They are not uncomfortable, per se, but do involve a more crouched riding position that may take more getting used to than you want.  Plus you look like a bikefag riding a bike with drop bars.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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6 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

The other option is singlespeed.  Which probably means you are going to be standing on your pedals to make it up hills and/or pedaling your ass off to maintain speed on flats and downhills.

You use gears like a car:  you keep the engine, you, running at fairly steady rpm, and change the gears to the terrain/conditions..If you are going up a hill, you choose a lower gear and your pedaling effort remains fairly low, while you pedal faster; or, if you are going downhill or on level terrain, you'll want a higher gear so you can pedal at a sane speed or rate while maintaining or increasing speed.

Cyclists try to maintain a fairly steady cadence of 75-90 RPM.

Drop bars are aerodynamic, for speed.  They are not uncomfortable, per se, but do involve a more crouched riding position that may take more getting used to than you want.  Plus you look like a bikefag riding a bike with drop bars.

Thanks for all of the great info. The one you linked seems exactly like what I'm looking for. 

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Here's a cheaper single speed option that's probably pretty decent. https://www.amazon.com/SE-Bikes-Draft-Single-Commuter/dp/B01L4JLGBW

And another. https://www.amazon.com/Raleigh-Bikes-Alley-Fixed-Steel/dp/B07G9QHP3C/ref=pd_sbs_468_4/135-3905564-5035208?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B07G9QHP3C&pd_rd_r=a496053b-63e0-11e9-bef6-397a2872612d&pd_rd_w=F80YN&pd_rd_wg=9fIAw&pf_rd_p=588939de-d3f8-42f1-a3d8-d556eae5797d&pf_rd_r=2YQ99RWSZX98M315MS3V&refRID=2YQ99RWSZX98M315MS3V

 

The singlespeed bike will be a little easier to maintain.  I wouldn't expect a whole lot of problems from any of these bikes, but over a few years, some maintenance will be required.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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Everything twicehorn said is correct.  But a bit more on the single speed thing - a car has to cover operating speeds from parking lot crawl to 150mph.  Thus it requires gears in the transmission to match the (limited) operating speed range of the engine.

Bicycles don't cover the same speed, only 0-20mph (top end limited by aerodynamics).  Humans are torquey and spinny enough to cover that entire speed, that mostly eliminates the need for multiple gears.

 

Think of it as a V8 muscle car only requiring 4 forward gears, rather than today's 2.0L 4 cyl, that needs 6 gears.  Or electric cars not needing gears at all because electric motors can cover all those ground speeds with sufficient torque.

 

 

Basically, if you live in a flat to semi hilly area, having 1 gear is perfectly fine.  What you lose in that slight bit of efficiency you gain in having a simple, clean, light, durable, hassle free drivetrain.

 

 

 

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With respect to others, I could not disagree more on the single speed option.  Single speed removes the majority of the potential for joy from cycling. Any 7 year old can handle shifting, it is no barrier.  Joy, for me, is more hours on it.  Gears make a huge difference in that.  And mastering them is part of the art and practice of riding.  It all becomes an extension of you.

Anyway, buy the bike that will make would love to ride it.  I doubt the single will make you love it.   Having said that, my wife has foregone a nice 2x11 to use a 3 speed townie.  She thinks she looks better on that.  

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I picked up the Marin Fairfax 2 and really like it so far.  Seems to be perfect for my needs.  Damn I'm rusty on riding, though. 

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18 hours ago, 52-80 said:

Everything twicehorn said is correct.  But a bit more on the single speed thing - a car has to cover operating speeds from parking lot crawl to 150mph.  Thus it requires gears in the transmission to match the (limited) operating speed range of the engine.

Bicycles don't cover the same speed, only 0-20mph (top end limited by aerodynamics).  Humans are torquey and spinny enough to cover that entire speed, that mostly eliminates the need for multiple gears.

 

Think of it as a V8 muscle car only requiring 4 forward gears, rather than today's 2.0L 4 cyl, that needs 6 gears.  Or electric cars not needing gears at all because electric motors can cover all those ground speeds with sufficient torque.

 

 

Basically, if you live in a flat to semi hilly area, having 1 gear is perfectly fine.  What you lose in that slight bit of efficiency you gain in having a simple, clean, light, durable, hassle free drivetrain.

 

 

 

 

3 hours ago, NBMisha said:

With respect to others, I could not disagree more on the single speed option.  Single speed removes the majority of the potential for joy from cycling. Any 7 year old can handle shifting, it is no barrier.  Joy, for me, is more hours on it.  Gears make a huge difference in that.  And mastering them is part of the art and practice of riding.  It all becomes an extension of you.

Anyway, buy the bike that will make would love to ride it.  I doubt the single will make you love it.   Having said that, my wife has foregone a nice 2x11 to use a 3 speed townie.  She thinks she looks better on that.  

Single speed is a polarizing topic.  Kids make do with single speed quite well and have for years and years.  However, it is kind of a different deal with 11 year old lungs and legs pushing 75lbs up a hill versus older ones pushing 200 up a hill.

Glad you found my "recommendation" helpful and like the bike.

For a duffer cyclist, I think gears are probably a better option.  Can maintain a casual cadence of 50 or so rpm in all conditions. What 52-80 said is true, but some of us have stronger engines than others and don't mind stressing them.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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7 hours ago, idigTexas said:

Knees don't last forever.  As you age, they will thank you for shifting to easier gears when needed.

True enough.  Also make sure your saddle is high enough.

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On 4/24/2019 at 9:57 AM, Mojo Hand said:

I picked up the Marin Fairfax 2 and really like it so far.  Seems to be perfect for my needs.  Damn I'm rusty on riding, though. 

Were you able to bring them down from full MSRP?  Where did you buy it?

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1 hour ago, BottleRocket said:

Were you able to bring them down from full MSRP?  Where did you buy it?

I didn't try.  I'm not much of a negotiator...  Just bought it from the local Marin dealer in the DC area, where I live. 

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Really appreciate all of the posts on here. Being new to mountain bikes, I read this thread start to finish and did a ton of research to figure out what to buy as a beginner.

My main use is to just get exercise either on the road or on trails like Brushy Creek trail. I didn’t want a road bike. I like the bigger tires.

My criteria was to have a relatively reliable bike, so I started leaning towards a 1x drivetrain. I liked the idea of a simpler drivetrain rather than 2x or 3x. Plus I don’t see myself needing extra gears. I also wanted below $1000, preferably between $450-750.

With that as criteria, I evaluated several bikes: Cannondale Trail (not 1x), Marin Bobcat, Ghost Kato, Co-op Cycles, Specialized Rockhopper, Diamondback Line, Giant Talon 2, Trek Marlin, and Kona Mahuna.

Giant seemed to be the best value for the dollars but for some reason I didn’t like the ride as much as the Cannondale. Diamondback was also a good value but I didn’t want to order online. I want bike shop support because I’m a bike idiot. The Trek’s had 3x drivetrains which I didn’t like. If I wasn’t going to get 1x, I wanted 2x. Kona and Co-op was too expensive. I didn’t like the lack of local dealers for Marin (only a few).

So I was down to Cannondale Trail 5 or 6 and Specialized Rockhopper. I’m buying Rockhopper tomorrow unless you guys think I’m making a mistake because it rode well and was 1x. It has a Microshift rear derailleur so I’m a little concerned about that, but the Cannondale Trail was 2x9.

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So I was down to Cannondale Trail 5 or 6 and Specialized Rockhopper. I’m buying Rockhopper tomorrow unless you guys think I’m making a mistake because it rode well and was 1x. It has a Microshift rear derailleur so I’m a little concerned about that, but the Cannondale Trail was 2x9.



What’s “microshift”? Buy the bike you like that fits you/feels the best. If you love the how you feel on the bike, you will ride a lot and end up wearing out the beginner components that come with the lower end bikes (no judgment) and can then easily go to an XT drivetrain that is very durable, smooth and a 1x.

Good luck.

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1 hour ago, Dbeasy said:

Really appreciate all of the posts on here. Being new to mountain bikes, I read this thread start to finish and did a ton of research to figure out what to buy as a beginner.

My main use is to just get exercise either on the road or on trails like Brushy Creek trail. I didn’t want a road bike. I like the bigger tires.

My criteria was to have a relatively reliable bike, so I started leaning towards a 1x drivetrain. I liked the idea of a simpler drivetrain rather than 2x or 3x. Plus I don’t see myself needing extra gears. I also wanted below $1000, preferably between $450-750.

With that as criteria, I evaluated several bikes: Cannondale Trail (not 1x), Marin Bobcat, Ghost Kato, Co-op Cycles, Specialized Rockhopper, Diamondback Line, Giant Talon 2, Trek Marlin, and Kona Mahuna.

Giant seemed to be the best value for the dollars but for some reason I didn’t like the ride as much as the Cannondale. Diamondback was also a good value but I didn’t want to order online. I want bike shop support because I’m a bike idiot. The Trek’s had 3x drivetrains which I didn’t like. If I wasn’t going to get 1x, I wanted 2x. Kona and Co-op was too expensive. I didn’t like the lack of local dealers for Marin (only a few).

So I was down to Cannondale Trail 5 or 6 and Specialized Rockhopper. I’m buying Rockhopper tomorrow unless you guys think I’m making a mistake because it rode well and was 1x. It has a Microshift rear derailleur so I’m a little concerned about that, but the Cannondale Trail was 2x9.
 

Don't worry about local dealers.  Anyone can work on any bike.  The issue there is simply some local service, which you won't have from a pure mail order bike.  For major service, you are likely going to want to settle on one shop, preferably the one you bought it from as they would be the most invested in keeping you happy and coming back.

I don't know about microshift, it's new.  I will tell you that Specialized, unless on some kind of sale, tend to be less bike for your money than some.  Trek, too.  I would tend to throw Cannondale in that basket as well.  Marin currently sells the most bike for the money at the entry level.  Diamondback, too, but order only.  It's not just the best set of components for the dollar, but the whole exceeds the sum of the parts by a considerable margin.

1x is a good thing.  An air fork is better.  Specialized is ok, they piss me off a lot.  For example, I cannot make their website cough up the specs on the Rockhopper Sport.  For another, periodically, they come out with some proprietary BS (the Brain shock, for example) and fairly abruptly quit supporting it.

How much is it costing you?

Edited by TwiceHorn

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Also, db, IIRC you are a little older, as am I.  An air fork on a mountain bike is a really important feature.  Most or many of the bikes you're looking at have forks with coil springs.  The coil spring is "one size fits all," while an air sprung fork uses an adjustable air spring that can be dialed in for your weight using a "shock pump."

This means the fork functions quite a bit better.  Which means it's going to smooth out chatter quite a bit better.  I rode an entry level hardtail for 4-5 years and at the end of rides, my wrists hurt and I was generally fatigued without necessarily having gotten much of a workout.  The coil fork still moved and went over big obstacles, but its "small bump compliance" just wasn't much good.

I upgraded to a bike with an air fork and a couple other things (1x among them), but the suspension improvement means I ride twice as long and more than twice as far and enjoy it more.  The price difference is on the order of substantially under $1000, to $1000-1200.  Salsa Timberjack NX, Marin Nail Trail 6 (I believe), and DIamondback Sync'r are mid-level hardtails in this range.

I can understand if you don't want to spend that extra few hundred for something you aren't sure you'll stick with, but it will make your riding a more pleasant and rewarding experience.

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Ok, update. Everyone is telling me that an air fork is hugely important, including all the sales people at the bike shops. Since a lot of my initial riding will be on pavement or gravel trails to decide how committed I’m going to be to this, I bought a less expensive bike with the intention of upgrading to a better bike if I really get hooked.

On my way to buying the Specialized Rockhopper, I stopped off at Sun and Ski and found a 2019 Cannondale Trail 5 that was a couple hundred dollars off the normal price. It had better components than the Specialized for only about $100 more so I bought it. I actually went there to try out the Marin Bobcat 5 because of the positive reviews on here, but they told me they don’t carry them in store anymore.

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Cool.  

One thing you can do, if your bike still has a coil fork, Suntour has a program where you can upgrade your fork for $200 give or take.  The Suntour forks are thought to be pretty good now. https://www.srsuntour.us/pages/upgrade-program

There's a guy named Nick that handles that program that's supposed to be super friendly and helpful.  And it doesn't matter that your stock fork is Rockshox.

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For future reference,I wouldn't let a 2x or 3x chain ring deter me from buying a bike if everything else is to your liking.  I leave mine in the middle most of the time anyways, and rarely use the big ring, but it's nice to have the little ring when you're tired.  Plus you can easily convert it to a single front ring later on.

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For future reference,I wouldn't let a 2x or 3x chain ring deter me from buying a bike if everything else is to your liking.  I leave mine in the middle most of the time anyways, and rarely use the big ring, but it's nice to have the little ring when you're tired.  Plus you can easily convert it to a single front ring later on.


You can also change it to a 1x for around $250 unless you want top of the line components.

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The ethos of a bike is simplicity.  The more chainrings, derailleurs, shocks, boingy sproingy things in it:  (a) the heavier it is (b) the louder/creakier things get (c) the more maintenance is required (d) the less $ left in supply chain for quality in other parts.

Comfort is a function of 2 things: 

(1) your position - which is adjustable on every bike, bound within a base geometry (which for all intents and purposes are similar enough) 

(2) tires and tire pressures.  theyre pneumatic and make the cushy cushy. 

all the other marketing gimmick about titanium or steel or carbon or aluminum being more or less comfortable than steel or carbon or aluminum or aluminum is all tosh.  this bike has seatstays so and so millimeters thin for comfort = tosh.  we use this type of welding process to bend this tube to allow this flex for comfort = tosh. 

you drop the pressures by 5psi and its going to be noticeably softer.

 

if you are going to bomb down a hill and zig zag across a technical course, having the right geometry and shocks and springs and so on is going to be very much important.  if you are riding up and down 5%, 10%, 20% grades, having a wide gearing range is important. 

 

if, like 80% of people intending a bike to tool around for fitness, buy the simplest you can.  which by extension is the lighest (for that price point), and the easiest to maintain.

 

i like this Kona Unit

https://www.konaworld.com/unit.cfm

if you want to go fast you put some 1.5-2" tires on it.  if you want to ride on rough stuff put 2-3" wide tires on it. 

 

 

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