Yet another newbie...first bike and LOST

Discussion in 'Beginners Forum' started by SwtFlamingo, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. SwtFlamingo

    SwtFlamingo New Member

    Trying to do my research on getting my first bike... and i'm torn...i just don't know/understand the best choice for me.... hybrid or mountain? I have been to several shops around town and and even with their recommendations i'm still getting mixed answers on which to go for.

    Im a complete newbie, honestly, have not ridden in years and have never had a bike better than a walmart special.... so i know anything is an improvement!

    I test road a Trek Neko 2 and am looking to test a few other brands later this week (a friend recommended the brand Cannondale -he has a hardtail mountain). Like i was saying though... not riding in forever and not having really anything to compare to i'm not sure if i would know good from bad. So i really hope you guys can help me firm up a plan!

    i live in town backed up to several parks for trail riding (some gravel/ some paved, and im sure more options for even more rough terrain)... which i think will be my primary use. I don't see me taking any crazy trails/jumps/downhills but i like the ability to grow into the bike as i get more confident. i also don't see me using it on the street that heavily... but i like the idea of the occasional ability. There is one event coming up later this year where a friend is running a road relay and the team is looking for riders to ride support to the runners at night and such. I was considering doing that....and if i can use my bike, great.

    I hope to find something reasonable in price/quality, not low end/basic but not something i will grow out of quickly. This is a complete new thing for me.... and im hoping to stick with this and get more into riding, but i dont have the ability to sink a great deal into a "new hobby" just yet. So an advice is greatly appreciated!!
    fpl1 and John_V like this.
  2. newleaf150

    newleaf150 Deranged Touring Cyclist Tavern Member

    Welcome! It sounds as though you've started out well by doing some test rides. That's really the single best way to figure out what is best for you. Test ride as many as you can, buy the one which is the most comfortable.
    John_V and rushlake like this.

  3. i12ride

    i12ride Spin Spin Spin Tavern Member

    I think you're gonna have to up about a grand (for new bikes) to have anything decent to grow into. There are decent $500 bikes but the group or the suspension will be low end and not be what you need as skills and usage intensity ramps up. This game is basically overspend your budget or buy something in the budget and have to be upgrading things as the originals give out and doing that will put you beyond just spending more on something that will hang with you like you want it to. Upgrading can be reasonable if you shop online for parts and do the wrenching yourself but if not then better get the goods up front is my suggestion. Brand is irrelevant...get what you like, what fits what you can spend and what will be of use in most places you want to ride...............unless you get n+1 bug and end up with a garage, house & attic full so you have a bike for every occasion.
    fpl1, John_V, rushlake and 2 others like this.
  4. maelochs

    maelochs Old, fat, and slow

    To me the question is, what kind of riding will you actually be doing?

    A bike which will be a joy on a rocky, rooty, rutted trail might be a burden on a paved trail, and a horror on the road (I overstate but only a bit.)

    If the trails around you are paved or gravel, you don’t need suspension to go quickly and have fun. If you Want to seek out challenging terrain (hills you can barely walk up and are scared to walk down) then suspension will make the tough stuff possible and the easier stuff fun—but you might feel really sluggish on the paved trails.

    Unless a person Really knows what s/he wants, I don’t recommend going big for a first bike.

    Have your cycling friend help you get something cheap off Craigslist—I assume he knows enough about bikes to make sure you don’t get robbed. Learn to ride wherever you want, or wherever you can, and in a while you will know where to drop that grand.

    Otherwise ...hard to help.

    Some people are thrilled riding very slowly on almost completely smooth, flat, packed-earth trails on a bike which could climb an inverted mountain or survive a jump from the Moon to the Earth.

    Some people want a lot of gears, some find shifting confusing ... some folks race mountain bikes but prefer single-speed for fun (I confess I don’t get it, but whatever .... it works for that person.) Some people like to ride rigid single-speeds over the same trails most people need multi-gear full-suspension bikes to even approach.

    You might find a love for road-riding and want a road bike with clearance for tires which let to do gravel. You might want a gravel bike with disc brakes and fat tires ... and then swap in skinny tires for road riding.

    You might want a full-suspension mountain bike ... to ride on the paved trails, because it feels like riding an old marshmallow Cadillac.

    Or you might want to get a lightweight, short-travel XC hardtail and tear up all kinds of trails ... or you might find you have a taste for riding off 40-foot cliffs and get a big-drop DH or freeride machine which needs a winch to get to the top of the mountain but descends like a tiger on steroids ... or a rhinoceros on steroids for the freeride bike.

    There are people who want to cruise without ever breaking a sweat. There are people who don’t want to go riding if they aren’t going to risk breaking many bones and rupturing their spleens.

    I’d say, go cheap for a short while unless or until you are sure Exactly what you want this $1000 bike to do, and what you want to do with it.
    DaFlake, cwtch, John_V and 2 others like this.
  5. rushlake

    rushlake Member

    Liv Rove 2 or higher. Pretty much specs. out the same as a Trek Neko 3, a step up from what you were looking at but $150 cheaper. It’s hard to beat Giant/Liv bikes for the bang for the buck. Then take it from there. Like i12 said go a little above what you think you want because you will grow out of it and buy the next step up very soon. Who knows after a year of riding you may completely change your preference. But you have to start somewhere.
    superj, fpl1, cwtch and 1 other person like this.
  6. RidesAlot

    RidesAlot Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the site! Good luck with your new bike and ride the heck out of it!
    fpl1, cwtch, rola643 and 1 other person like this.
  7. cwtch

    cwtch Well-Known Member

    Get a mountain bike. A hybrid isn't really made to ride trails and they aren't any faster on the street than a short travel hardtail mountain bike. Many hard tail MTBs are faster on the road than most hybrids. Bikes built to do multiple things typically do none of them well. A hybrid is good for cruising the neighbourhood and a path in the park.
    A mountain bike works fine for neighbourhood riding and paths in the park but also gives you the ability to ride trails that a hybrid won't work for. Plus you can make a mountain bike a hybrid by stiffening the suspension and putting thin tyres and a rider stem on it. Can't make a hybrid a mountain bike no matter what you do to it.
    Just my opinion, it isn't that I don't like hybrids. It is more that I see people buy them thinking they handle mild trails and being disappointed as they grow and want to ride more off road and realise they need a mountain bike.
    rushlake, fpl1, i12ride and 3 others like this.
  8. cwtch

    cwtch Well-Known Member

    I love this advice. Everyone gave great advice but this is so accurate. No wrong bikes, just wrong for some people in some situations.
    I am that odd one who races full squishy MTB downhill and Enduro but prefers and has the most fun on my single-speed hard tail riding trails with sections a lot of people are walking there bikes up and down while I grunt one gear up and pound a hard tail down.
    It is whatever makes one smile, since you don't know what will do it for you yet, one idea is rent a bike or two to feel the difference or go used on the cheap so you can try and sell it for something different if it isn't right for you. Often you can buy a used bike and ride it for a bit and sell it for what you have in it. Can't do that with a new bike.
  9. John_V

    John_V Moderator Staff Member Mod Team Tavern Member

    In my opinion (which may/may not be worth anything), you and just about every other newbie falls in one of two categories. All of us start off with good intentions and ask the same questions, since no one starts off in cycling as an expert. I say two categories because there really isn't a middle of the line group. At some point along the way, you will fall into one of the following.

    In newbie category one, are those that have set all these cycling goals and for some reason or another they never materialize. Either the person doesn't really enjoy it as much as they thought they would or life changes prevent them from cycling as much as they thought they would. In either case, the bike ends up in the garage or storage shed and usually forgotten. With a cheap bike, you can justify it sitting there not being used much more so than if you went out and spent $1,000.00 or more on a bike.

    In the second category is where the rest of us fall into place. You purchase a bike, regardless of the price, you ride, you get addicted to the point that you would do anything to get out and ride and you realize that your current bike is not good enough for what you want to do. After three or four bikes, you realize that you may as well have had a drug addiction because you're pouring as much money (or more) into cycling as you would on drugs. The difference being that drugs aren't good for you and cycling is.

    In my opinion, you should get whatever bike fits you properly, is comfortable and fun to ride and it makes you feel good riding it. If you should fall into the second category, at some point in time, the bike you buy now will not be the last bike you buy.

    As an example, I started riding at age 63 on a bike my wife bought for me as a birthday present. I really had no intentions of taking up cycling but she spent $300.00 on this bike (more than I would have ever spent) and I didn't want to disappoint her by letting it sit in the shed. That bike was given to my brother when I upgraded to a nice hybrid and that bike now sits in the shed not being used much. I'm now 71, and since my first bike, I've gone through the hybrid and three road bikes. If you look at some of my posts, you'll see that I'm still riding - a lot!
    fpl1 likes this.
  10. fpl1

    fpl1 Well-Known Member Tavern Member

    All great advice. Certainly look at the used route too. You can save a lot of money. Good luck with the decision and keep posting on here about your riding. Here’s hoping you fall into the second category John mentioned.
  11. newleaf150

    newleaf150 Deranged Touring Cyclist Tavern Member

    If finances are tight, you might do well to see if there are any bike co-ops or rental outfits near you. Both are likely to sell used or refurbished bikes at a discount.
  12. cybersnow

    cybersnow Mountain Tourer Tavern Member

    Given the parameters you stated, either one will work. I do recommend that you spend some time on different bikes for two reasons. First to get a good idea of what size bike feels most comfortable, because if the bike is not fitting you prolly won’t ride it much. Secondly, don’t limit your test ride to a tour around the parking lot. Most good local bike shops will let you take the bike out for a reasonable ride. Take the time to experiment. My wife and I started out on hybrid bikes and they were great for riding bike paths etc.. when we found our selves riding more on dirt roads and gravel, we went to Dual Sport bikes. They are a little too heavy to be sporty hybrids and not really set up for single track, but are adequate for most of our riding. This year, because we are riding a lot on unimproved forest roads and trails, we are buying mountain bikes as a second set of bikes. Bottom line, here for us, is that there is no single bike that does everything.
    rushlake likes this.
  13. DaFlake

    DaFlake Well-Known Member Tavern Member


    This is spot on for sure. You have to figure out what and how you want to ride and then get the right tool for the job. It was always the first question I would as when I was working with a customer back when I was selling bikes.
  14. Moses2297

    Moses2297 Member

    It sounds like u don’t want to do hard terrain but at the same time when the gloves come off you want to push yourself. I would recommend the trek dual sport The dual sport has a variable suspension system in the front giving you the ability to lock out the suspension. When you do find some pavement. At the same time this bike can take the path less travelled to a fun exciting level. It has a hard tail with disk brakes. Giving you control and pop. Treks expensive selection isn’t un warrented. If you can crack its welds. You get a new bike with their lifetime warranty. Although they aren’t the only company with a warranty but there customer service is un matched you can even tour there company right here in Waterloo wi