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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I am looking to buy a bicycle. I plan on riding it to work once a week (6.5 miles one way). I also plan on going on unpaved trails once a month. It seems like a hybrid would be the best option for me. Does this seem reasonable? I have read some discussions where people say that a hybrid is not a good choice because you give up certain features, but I cannot afford to get two bikes at this time.

Ryan
 

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I prefer hybrid for an all around bike. The amount of time a mountain bike actually spends off road really doesn't make it a good option. You can buy some nobby tires for the hybrid and do some light non paved riding.
 

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I would go with the hybrid. My Specialized crosstail came with tires with nobs on the side and slick in the middle which works great for light off road and on road.
 

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hybrid sounds right for what you described.... unless the trail riding you speak of is hard core.
the hybrid will be much nicer for the commute than the mtb... plus a nice hybrid is cheaper than a nice mtb.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the details replies. They confirm what I was thinking: to get a hybrid. Now the bigger questions is what one to choose. I don't have tons of money to spend on the bike. Would I be okay to buy a used one on Craigslist? What brand(s) are good? What are some things I should look for? I probably can spend around $200 for the bike (I know it's not much). My plan is to try it out and if I don't stick with it, at least I didn't throw a lot of money away. If I do, I can always get a different bike.
 

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used bikes are fine... go to an local bike shop and see if they have anything used and test wht the have new to find your size. the guys at the shop i go to are cool and will help you even if they know you are not buying a new bike. they want your business for tubes and parts and gear even if they cant sell you a ride. once you find your size then decide which brand you like. Cannondale, Specialized, Giant, Trek, Raleigh, and GT are a few.

it is pretty much just personal preference. you will find most people will tell you to get the brand they ride. if i was you i would go with a Trek or Specialized because they are reliable and usually easy to find. by the way no personal agenda here... i have a Wilier, a Cervelo, a Look, a Commencal and a Salsa.
 

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I own a hybrid and am very happy with it. As far as buying used, I'd do what SprocketGirl said and see if you can find one at a local shop. If that doesn't work out do, you know an experienced rider that can help you with a selection? Sometimes used means buying someone else s junk and that's not a good way to get started.

Let us know what you decided to do.
 

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If you buy one on craigs list be sure and get a bike the right size. If it doesn't fit you most likely won't stick to it.

There is more to buying a bike than just buying a bike.
 

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Unless you know about maintaining a bike, you might be better off in the local bike shop in the long run. Nothing wrong with a used bike at all, but you get no help on adjustments and the like. Most bikes stores or at least the ones around me have free lifetime adjustments if you buy the bike there. If have to bring the bike in to do them, it can add up quickly if you can't do them yourself. Like another poster said fit is EXTREMELY important. Improper fit can lead to all kinds of problems including injury. Most of all it isn't fun and the bike is likely to be a garage queen if its not fun.
 

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I probably can spend around $200 for the bike (I know it's not much).
It's hard to find many new bike store bikes in that price range. Used bikes on Craigslist or eBay can be a good option if you can do some tinkering. About the only new bike in that range that I've heard good things about is the Schwinn Midmoor (which you can find on Amazon and from big box retail stores). I can't vouch for it personally, but it does get much better than average consumer reviews, and it was also a best buy by Consumer Reports. If you buy it assembled from a big box store, I'd check it over to see if it is put together correctly.
 

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It's hard to find many new bike store bikes in that price range.
Oh, just thought of one bike store bike that could be a possibility: the Giant Sedona ST - should be around $280. The "ST" is for steel, so I'm guessing it would be a bit heavier than the aluminum Schwinn Midmoor. But Giant makes a decent bike, and you would get bike store assembly -- and most good bike stores include the first maintenance in your purchase price.
 

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These are all more mountain bikes than hybrids, though you can put smoother tires on a mountain bike and use like a hybrid. I don't know much about GT bikes -- I think they make decent entry level bikes, but not sure. One more thing to note, before I discuss these, is check the frame sizes (some are more medium, some are larger, some don't say) to ensure the right size for you.

Giant Yukon - a bit old, no suspension fork (some folks like rigid forks, some don't -- rigid is good on the road, suspension comes in handy on bumpy trails but adds weight and one more thing to break), but these old Yukons things seem to last. $125 seems a little high, $100 would seem better.

Fisher Tassara - rigid fork, large size, don't know about Tassara, but Fisher is not a bad brand generally.

Specialized Hard Rock - decent entry level, believe the Rock Shox is an upgraded fork. Not sure but believe this frame is kids or Women's Specific Design (WSD)

Trek 820 - 19" is large frame, I believe. 820's are fine entry level workhorses, steel frame is sturdy but heavy.

Trek 3500 - No picture, so can't tell how old. If fairly recent it would be one step up from the Trek 820 and have a lighter aluminum frame, and have a suspension fork with no lockout (lockout allows you to keep the fork rigid - handy on the road or gravel trails). Doesn't say what size -- if the size is right, I'd pick it over the 820 if you want suspension.

Hope this helps!
 

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Oh man, hit me with the tough question! :)

Actually, first and foremost, as I mentioned, these are different sizes or don't say what size, so you have to figure that out first. You won't like a bike that doesn't fit you. Also, if you ride off-road you want to be sure you have enough stand over room that if you come off the saddle quickly you don't hurt yourself on the top tube.

So, that said, if you found out the size of the Trek 3500 -- and it was the right size for you -- and if it really is in like new condition, it is probably the best deal for the money out of those you listed.
 

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I've got a used Raleigh Detour 4.5 that has served me well for about 3 years that I got used for about 250 from Thick Bikes in Pittsburgh. It has more miles than my car in that time and has required minimal maintenance. I like the upright position for cruising, it is the most comfortable bike I've owned and I love the 700 wheels for my commute. While it is a hybrid I find it more optimized for roads than trails. It is a bit heavier than I might like but it holds up well against potholes and functions great as a year round commuter.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The other bikes are out because of size. The two GT bikes are a good size (18 inch) b/c I am 5' 8". I'm not sure which one is best...
 
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