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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My sister is looking to get a bike to help her lose some weight. She's about 200 miles away, so I can't just go to the shops with her and help her pick one out.

It's one thing to look at specs online, but I'm hoping some of you can make some recommendations for a nice, entry level bike that would be good for her. She's about 5'2" and says she mostly wants to ride on the streets and bike trails. She's looking to spend about $400 to $500.

She hasn't ridden a bike in a long time, so I'm thinking she should stay away from a hard-core road bike, as I think she would be fairly uncomfortable with the position.

I have looked at some of the women specific bikes from Specialized and Trek such as the ones below, and recommended that she try those out first.

Specialized Bicycle Components : Vita Comp

Trek Bikes | Bikes | Bike Path | 7.2 FX WSD

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

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i vote for the specialized one ... better components all around ... crank, front and rear derailleur, brake .... so .... it's your choice after all !!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the recommendations so far. I just spoke with her and she said by "bike trails" she means paved bike paths.
 

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My advise would be to tell her to go to a local bike shop. Chain or Mom and Pop doesn't matter is as long as the people there have a clue. The worst mistake I have made was department store bikes. The Performance Bike I buy a lot of my stuff from in the Ft Worth area has been nothing but great to me. So have the people at Bicycles Inc (though I haven't bought from them) and City Cyclists are great people too. The newest bike store I have stumbled into is a place not far from me called Spokes.

What do they all have in common?? They all love biking and the energy is catching. The girl that sold me my last bike shared she and her husband did a 60 mile ride this past week and they all want to do the Hotter than Hell 100 century ride so its going to be tough figuring out who has to work.

That kind of encouragement is priceless when someone is just starting out, and the maintenance tips ect she will need along the way will pay big dividends when the going gets tough. If you know the bike shops, steer her to a good one and then let them get her in the right bike.
 

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If there is a Cannondale dealer around where your sister is I would recomend a Cannondale, Quick 6, I got one used and it is like a TimeX. It is on the low end of the Cannondale Hybrid line but just keeps on rooling. I think the MSRP is around $450. The bike has 700-38c tires and is good on the road or dirt path, it shifts easy and don't mis a beat, I just realy like mine.:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
but easier for a beginner. What area does your sister live in?
She's down around Little Rock; apparently the 49th most bike friendly city in the US (http://www.twospoke.com/forum/f27/top-50-bike-friendly-cities-4104/).

My advise would be to tell her to go to a local bike shop. Chain or Mom and Pop doesn't matter is as long as the people there have a clue. The worst mistake I have made was department store bikes.
Absolutely! No doubt about it. :thumbsup:

they all want to do the Hotter than Hell 100 century ride
I have bad memories of that ride.


Wild, I had forgotten to mention Cannondale to her. Thanks for the reminder.
 

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.....
It's one thing to look at specs online, but I'm hoping some of you can make some recommendations for a nice, entry level bike that would be good for her. She's about 5'2" and says she mostly wants to ride on the streets and bike trails. She's looking to spend about $400 to $500!
I am the same height as your sister, and my 2010 Cervelo S1 is a great fit. She isn't going to find it for $500, however. I am keeping my old Trek as a beater bike, but if I wasn't, it would be a good match for her. A local bike shop might know of someone who was willing to sell a used bike. Craigs list is another idea, but I have never used it for anything.

Paved bike trails are what I rode when I got back on the bike after a long layoff. They worked out great and gave me what I needed to get my confidence back. :D
 

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I don't have any brand or model advice but the big thing for her is to buy a small enough bike!

She's short and I've just spent a stack of time looking at little road bikes and shop guys try to sell you too big.

My 1st mtb was an ok size but when I upgraded I downsized and, wow, what a difference it made. When I bought the 1st one there is no way I would have bought smaller because the bike felt tiny but with experience I had the confidence to rethink my frame size.
Even though I knew better when I bought my current mtb I was badgered at all the shops to buy a bigger frame than my old bike. The new one is ok but when it dies I'll go back to a smaller frame.
A couple of years ago one guy even tried to sell me a full sized mountain bike for my then 8 year old son who is small for his age!
My first road bike was a Giant and I bought according to their size guide. I've just moved to a smaller (& carbon :)) Look and it feels so much better.
 

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One thing to watch out for on such a small bike frame is how the bottle holders are mounted. I forgot to check when I bought my new bike and couldn't get a bottle in/out.

My road bike has side loading bottle holders. My mountain bike has holders that pivot.

Looking at your sister's height again, I am an inch taller than she is. I am no bike fitter, but she would probably use the same size frame I do. I am lucky enough to live near a woman bike fitter and she took great care of me. She has a web site and is on Facebook. This is her web site
Bike Shop Girl
in case you are interested in taking a look at it.
 

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I just decided on a Giant. The seat on it is so comfortable and that was a big thing to me. I didn't want to spend extra for a more comfortable seat. It came with a kick stand, (might vary at different retail stores) My main reason for choosing the Giant was from reading reviews on the two different bikes (Trek Fx 7.1) I read reviews that the Trek had poor off road handling, and not to take on gravel roads. While the bike I bought isn't for mountain biking, the store told me it would be perfect on road and some trails. It is slower than the Trek, so if she is looking for speed, don't get the Giant. That was a lot of info, hope it helped though.
 

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I'm going to go against the crowd opinion here and say this:

Get a department store bike

Most people I've tried to help get into cycling end up going on a couple rides and realize its not for them. They spend 500-1000 bucks on a nice mountain or road bike, and it just collects dust for a year before it gets thrown on craigslist. My girlfriend and her mother both wanted to try and get into it, but they combined haven't ridden more than ten times.

Don't spend more than $100 at first. If she really wants to ride and can actually get into it, then spend more money on a nicer bike. You'll also have the benefit of knowing at that point what she likes or doesn't like about her bike, if she might prefer a more upright style or drop-bar type position.

The alternative is getting something off, say, craigslist, but I think the point is still the same.

But that's just my .02, take it for what its worth.
 

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I'm going to go against the crowd opinion here and say this:

Get a department store bike

Most people I've tried to help get into cycling end up going on a couple rides and realize its not for them. They spend 500-1000 bucks on a nice mountain or road bike, and it just collects dust for a year before it gets thrown on craigslist. My girlfriend and her mother both wanted to try and get into it, but they combined haven't ridden more than ten times.

Don't spend more than $100 at first. If she really wants to ride and can actually get into it, then spend more money on a nicer bike. You'll also have the benefit of knowing at that point what she likes or doesn't like about her bike, if she might prefer a more upright style or drop-bar type position.

The alternative is getting something off, say, craigslist, but I think the point is still the same.

But that's just my .02, take it for what its worth.
This is exactly what my GF and I did. We bought off of CL to start. If we are still going strong in Aug we will by new. Combined we spent less than what 1 new bike would cost and mine came with a lot of the basic accessories, pump, bags, bar ends, etc...
The only downfall was the frame for my GFs bike is too big. I managed to get it fitted as close as possible but it is too big for her.
I can't wait to get her a new one that fits in Aug. She loves the biking now I can only imagine what she will be like with a proper fit. I may not be able to keep up with her. Lol...
 

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Gee, if you buy a department store bike and do not get the correct frame size, you guarantee you are not going to stick with cycling! Having the bike actually fit you makes a huge difference in your comfort and enjoyment. The weight of the frame matters, too, if you do road cycling and live in a hilly area.
 

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You can do your shopping and get recomendations for frame size from your local shops. Buy the Walmart or CL bike and take it to a shop for set up. It will cost a little bit for the set up but better than spending $500 on a bike for a 1 time ride.
 

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Your sister should be looking for a fitness/hybrid/street bike. The definition of those models can vary among manufacturers. Sometimes a fitness bike has harder gearing, but not always. Avoid the category "comfort bike" as those are heavy. The suggestion to look on Craigslist is a good one.

I don't think your sister needs the 105 components on the Vita Comp at her level of riding. The Trek 7.2 fx would be an excellent choice.

Also check the Jamis street bikes, like the Coda Femme, one of the few chromoly hybrids on the market. 2010 JAMIS BICYCLES - SPECIFICATIONS
$500 at EMS. Looks like they're having a 20% off sale?

For riding on paved bike paths or fine stone I recommend 700 x 32 tires. That's a versatile size that can handle a little off-road riding, yet the rolling resistance is decent on pavement. 700 x 35 isn't necessary for your sister's intended use, and 700 x 28 will give a harsher ride and limit her to pavement only.

Pay careful attention to comfort and fit features and try to get the shop to swap whatever is needed: seat, handlebar, tires, gears. If your sister lives in a hilly area and isn't fit, get no less than 48/38/28 front and 11-32 rear. No reason why you can't put full mountain gears on any of these bikes if needed.
 
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