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Advice Request

Guys, need some advice on bicycles.

I’m thinking of getting a bicycle for fun and exercise.  It would mostly be used for riding on paths in the park with the kids and trying to get a little exercise.  The most I’d ride in a stretch will probably be 5 miles or so, but I’d be going over rolling terrain.

What I see in my mind is my old Schwinn 3 speed with a fat seat and straight handlebars. But, since it’s not 1979 anymore, I’m sure something like that isn’t exactly common.  Seriously, I’m not hopping rocks or doing the Tour de Kentucky, so I want a simple, straightforward bike.

I’m a big guy, with longish legs (6’4″, 32 inch inseam), so I’m probably looking at a 26 inch or bigger bike for comfort.

As for cost, I know I can’t go cheap and expect a good bike, but I’d rather not spend a house payment on a bicycle either.

Are there any brands that you all would suggest?  Any that you’d stay away from?

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  1. Steve

     /  April 23, 2015

    Probably could get it for cheap….doubt if he ever rode it again.
    (I’m here for ya buddy!!!)

  2. Daddy Hawk

     /  April 23, 2015

    I’m 6’4″, but I have a 36″ inseam. I went with a 2013 Trek 4300 Disc. 26″ wheels, front suspension and decent components for the price. It’ll be a comfortable ride for the miles you talk about. It’ll handle moderate off road with no problem. They dropped that model in 2014, but they can be found used and there is probably a similar model in their current lineup.

  3. I’ve been out of the bike business for a while, but I can recommend a few things:
    Make sure it has aluminum rims. Steel wheels suck if you want to stop.
    No need for the top of the line, but the low end models will discourage you from riding as far.
    “Quick release” axles aren’t really necessary unless you race. It’s plenty easy to take a wrench with you on the ride. The front fork of the bike you buy will come with “lawyer dropouts” that negate the feature, anyway.
    Before you take delivery, find out about taller stem/handlebar configurations: a hundred bucks here might mean the difference between riding and storing the bike. I’m 52 and I’m glad I had the forethought to install taller bars/stem on my bike when I built it. Before that, I laughed at all the old guys who wanted them. This is my ashamed face.
    These days, many companies are limited to gimmicks to sell their wares. Be wary of fancy shit.
    Stay with brand name drivetrain and brake parts: SRAM, Shimano, et. al.
    For <5 mile rides, a suspension fork is a waste of money. spend the money on a better seat/bars/stem. Most bike manufacturers WANT to sell suspension-ed bikes, though.
    A bike with an internal geared hub is REALLY nice if it's in your price range: no hanging bits, one cable, and when Boo gets to the age where he wants to take things apart, both of you will get a lesson in applied mechanics…
    I can go on and on. LMK if you need more help, I'll be glad to.

    • What do you think of bikes like the Schwinn Tornado? It’s nothing special, but it’s a simple bike for just taking a ride.

      • It’s perfectly fine for what you’re doing, so long as you don’t need multiple speeds for the hills.It has a coaster brake (pedal backwards to stop) so there’s less to go wrong, and it’s built just fine ( prolly in China, alas).

  4. Murphy's Law

     /  April 23, 2015

    You and I are roughly the same size. I started riding again after a few decades off of bicycles by buying a used Iron Horse mountain bike. They’re tough, have decent gearing and brakes, and ride nice, and they won’t break the bank like a Trek or some of the other top-of-the-line stuff. I recommend starting out with a used bike, whatever you buy, and running it through a bike shop for a tune-up. This ain’t the 70s any more and modern bikes require periodic maintenance. Whatever you buy, good luck and enjoy. Best thing I’ve done in the last few years was take up biking again and I love my Iron Horse.

  5. Anonymous

     /  April 23, 2015


    Diamondback Edgewood- decent for money, I have one, not too heavy, fairly comfortable w/ shock in seat post, comfy seat, front shock, about half the price of a Trek, not bad for the casual rider.

  6. http://www.dickssportinggoods.com/product/index.jsp?productId=49896816&cp=4406646.4413986.4417717.4418012.12458051&fg=Brand

    The above link is the Diamondback Edgewood. I have one of these, used to ride A LOT, now just casually. This bike would fit the bill, not a lot of coin, fair components (about half the price of a Trek) relatively light weight, aluminum frame, 27″ aluminum rims, shock built into the seat post, coupled with a comfortable seat, front shock for minor bumps, fairly upright and comfortable riding position.

    Dicks isn’t the greatest bike shop, but they are everywhere, and you could get this properly fit and adjusted, and serviced if need be. A little more money than a Walmart bike, but a whole lot more bike.

  7. Lazy Bike Commuter

     /  April 23, 2015

    You’ll definitely want something originally sold by an actual bike shop as opposed to something from Wal-Mart, especially at your height.

    If you look at used bikes, you will want a 21″ frame on a mountain bike and probably 60-62cm on a road bike (or XL of it is a compact geometry road bike). The size will be printed on the down tube (vertical tube between the seat and crank), and the seller should know.

    Sadly I rarely see listings for bikes in our size on the occasions when I check Craigslist, but you might have better luck.

    If you are going to ride 100% paved roads and only short distances, you would probably do well on a hybrid — or even a beach cruiser, some of those have internal 3 speed gear hubs.

    Mountain bikes tend to be the next best for comfort as far as seating position, but due to the wider, knobby tires they aren’t as easy to pedal quickly or as far. If you think there’s even a chance you’d want to ride off road you should get a mountain bike though, because road and hybrid bikes just aren’t strong enough.

    If the major brands, I don’t think any of them are known for lacking in quality. Giant alwaus used to be the best bang for your buck, they are the largest manufacturer so you would usually get better qiality components on a cheaper bike. I assume that is still true.

    Typing in my phone is getting old, so I’ll end it there. I know a couple of mountain bikers in Louisville if you want me to get a recommendation of a good shop of you want to buy new (and some might sell used).

    Also, don’t rule out riding in the dirt–if is super fun, Louisville has a good trail network, and it is not anything like as crazy as what gets on TV.

  8. Go cheap and upgrade the seat….

  9. Can’t help with bike brands…..

    Whatever you buy, remember that you’re going to be sitting on that seat over all sorts of terrain……and upgrade the little seat thats always sold with everything but road cruiser type bikes to something WAY MORE COMFORTABLE to sit on.

  10. jon spencer

     /  April 25, 2015

    For a starter bike, go used and use it to figure out what you like, don’t like, want and need on your next bike. Then buy new, or still used but with the features that you want.
    If you really want new, here is a good deal.

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