Thinking about a cheap mountain bike - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 Old 10-12-2014, 10:56 AM Thread Starter
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Thinking about a cheap mountain bike

I want to start riding a bike to work, but donít want to spend a lot of money if it doesnít work out. Plus I donít want to worry about someone stealing it.

I saw one at Target for $100 which doesnít look too bad, but I have no idea. I guess I could find a used one if it werenít so much trouble. Itís just too easy to walk into a store and ride out without having to deal with shady people.

Iíd hate to buy one that was stolen and end up in trouble. I unknowingly bought one that was stolen when I was a kid and when I rode it to the playground, I got my butt kicked pretty good by the kid and his friends who owned it, plus I lost my money. Donít want to do that again.

So is there anything I should be aware of in making my selection? Iíll be riding on a 2 lane flat desert road without bike lanes and will most likely be in the dirt most of the time. I used to have an expensive bike years ago with skinny tread and it seemed like I was always repairing and aligning the tires. I want a minimum amount of maintenance so Iím thinking of the mountain dirt type of tires that can take a beating when Iím forced off the road.

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post #2 of 14 Old 10-12-2014, 11:13 AM
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Do you have police auctions in your area, I picked up a $400 mountain bike for $60, these are items that have been recovered by police after owners have been paid out by their insurance claims so there is no worry of retribution.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #3 of 14 Old 10-12-2014, 11:15 AM
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It is always good to get some extra exercise and stay fit, and a bike IMO is a great way to do that! Consider talking with a "bike" store associate that may have good used trade in bikes at a reasonable price, (& not stolen merchandise), where they recondition and resell bikes. If after trying the bike scene and its not for you, they may buy it back at lesser $ than you paid of course, but better than waiting/hoping someone will meet your price. Be safe.
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post #4 of 14 Old 10-12-2014, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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Do you have police auctions in your area, I picked up a $400 mountain bike for $60, these are items that have been recovered by police after owners have been paid out by their insurance claims so there is no worry of retribution.
Well I don't know, but it sure sounds like something I should look into Thanks Frank

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post #5 of 14 Old 10-12-2014, 01:41 PM
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Good to see someone willing to ride a bike everyday.

Educate yourself on the different 'levels' of bike hardware. The derailleurs are often the first piece to wear out on the cheaper bikes, and the box stores do not have replacements for those.
Avoid any bottom of the line or grip shift hardware.
How long do you plan on having the bike?
I'm not sure what's available in your area, but if you could up your budget to $300 I'm sure you could get a lower mid-range model mountain bike that will give you little to no issues with wear and tear on the components.
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post #6 of 14 Old 10-12-2014, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Well as for "How long do you plan on having the bike?" really depends on if my bad knee can take it or not and if I can deal with the extra time it takes to get to work. Right now it takes me 15min one way averaging 55 mph. The return trip home will be in desert temps of 110 deg F in the summer but I only have 1 more year to retire so I'll have to wait to see how I handle that.

The one thing I've always wanted to do is to do is to ride a bike along Venice Beach in LA CA and I may just do that after I retire. I'm about 1 1/2 hr from the beach so it will not be every day. It really depends on my body and if not, I might buy a 3-wheeler with a big basket LOL

I saw a couple of pretty nice looking bikes on Craigs List for under a $100 , but it sounds a little fishy.

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post #7 of 14 Old 10-12-2014, 05:43 PM
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Consider a hybrid or commuter style bike. Much more comfortable to ride.

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #8 of 14 Old 10-12-2014, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeper View Post
Well as for "How long do you plan on having the bike?" really depends on if my bad knee can take it or not and if I can deal with the extra time it takes to get to work. Right now it takes me 15min one way averaging 55 mph. The return trip home will be in desert temps of 110 deg F in the summer but I only have 1 more year to retire so I'll have to wait to see how I handle that.
I see a real problem here. I used to ride EVERYWHERE when I was 18 years old to age 22 when I got my first truck. I rode from the near North side of Chicago to Evanston and back just to see my GF., now my exwife. I rode a 100 mile trip and came home, took a shower and went for a bike ride. I could get up to about 20 MPH, but it was hard to sustain that speed. I was in pretty good shape then..... now, not so much.


Let's use 60 MPH, that's a mile per minute, 15 minutes is 15 miles.

If your speed is 15 miles per hr, then it will take 1 hour.

How many miles is it? An hour in 110 degrees will just about kill you, it would me.....

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 10-12-2014 at 09:45 PM. Reason: math was wrong
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post #9 of 14 Old 10-12-2014, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Its actually about 8 miles one-way, but it’s a little treacherous crossing a highway with big rigs and a railroad. Some of the trains are long and I usually plan my trip so I don’t run into them.
I haven’t tried it yet, but I want to borrow a bike for a test ride on a weekend. The biggest obstacle l have is riding in the dirt shoulder and maybe coyotes. If I can make it under an hour than I’ll give it a shot, but I just don’t want to spend any more time than that.
Oh there is a small shortcut across the desert that will cut off a couple of miles

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Last edited by Sleeper; 10-12-2014 at 09:44 PM.
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-12-2014, 09:52 PM
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the air wash from a semi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleeper View Post
Its actually about 8 miles one-way, but it’s a little treacherous crossing a highway with big rigs and a railroad. Some of the trains are long and I usually plan my trip so I don’t run into them.
I haven’t tried it yet, but I want to borrow a bike for a test ride on a weekend. The biggest obstacle l have is riding in the dirt shoulder and maybe coyotes. If I can make it under an hour than I’ll give it a shot, but I just don’t want to spend any more time than that.
Oh there is a small shortcut across the desert that will cut off a couple of miles
The dust and stones and blast of air from a semi will be an issue. It is when riding a motorcycle, which I do.
You don't want to spend any time along side a semi with a trailer. The tires can delaminate and become rubber alligators which want to eat you alive.

The main issue is no one will be expecting a bicycle, too small, hard to see, no lights, and they may run you over. Some drivers may play "chicken" with a bike and see how close they can come to you.

Personally, I wouldn't do it, just not worth it.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #11 of 14 Old 10-12-2014, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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You know the more I think about it the more its starting to sound like impossibility. I start work at 5 AM which means I will be riding in the dark and the shoulder is full of broken beer bottles and ruts from people getting stuck. Plus people dump trash along the side of the road which is not only an obstacle, but it attracts scavengers which bring on predators.

I was also just thinking about the time because I usually leave early just in case I run into a train so Iím not really sure exactly how long it takes. It might be more like an hour and a half riding a bike.

My buddy works that stretch of highway as a CHP and he writes a lot of tickets to speeders. A few years ago he witnessed a young woman get killed on her bike in broad daylight while on patrol. She was killed by a truck making a right turn while she was waiting to cross the highway.

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post #12 of 14 Old 11-01-2014, 01:02 AM
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While at a Navy training command in San Diego, I lived in National City (11 miles south on flat, paved road) and I rode my bike to work every day. Twenty-two miles round trip. There were sections that had no shoulder, and I was constantly aware of how close traffic was to me when I had to ride out in the mornings, while the return trip had a good 4-foot bike lane all the way home.

In desert, with no street lights, no infrastructure there to support changing a mid-ride flat, and a history of drivers worse than what I faced, I wouldn't do it, personally. The heat is just an obstacle - plenty of sunscreen and water bottles would counteract an hour ride in the afternoons. There are good headlights for your handlebars, too. But people are a much more dangerous hazard than anything the environment has to throw at you. And that's coming from someone who now rides 20-45 minutes to work year-round (time depending on whether or not I take the back roads) on the islands off the coast of northwest Washington state, and all its windy, rainy glory.
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post #13 of 14 Old 11-01-2014, 09:43 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks coffeehound, well Iíve decided against it anyway. I took a slow drive along the road on my day off not at my normal commute pace and realized that the shoulder is much more treacherous than I thought. If I get run off the road it might not only be disastrous for the bike, but for me too. I donít think I would go off the road with a car let alone a bike because of the huge ruts, rocks, glass and debris.

Anyway I saw a bike on clearance at Walmart for $80 that looked like it was returned because the tires are dirty. It has some sort of spring suspension for the back and wide tires. I canít remember the brand name, but Iím thinking about going back over there to buy it if itís still there. I would have bought it while I was there, but I didnít have my truck with me and wasnít sure if I could find a used one for less.

I have a bike rack for my car from many years ago and Iíll probably drive the bike to someplace with bike lanes like the beach or something on weekends.

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post #14 of 14 Old 11-02-2014, 09:59 AM
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Nice! I don't know how familiar you are with bikes, so apologies if this is unnecessary, but with a lot of dust and sandy grit floating around and getting kicked up by your tires, you're probably going to want to clean and oil your chains and gears frequently. Dirt has the unfortunate tendency of getting caught there, and as the chain goes around, it turns both the chain and gears into sandpaper, and it will wear them both down really quickly. Also, after your first couple of rides, you might notice some slack in the derailleur and brake lines as the cables stretch a little and get seated in place. Don't blame the bike! It's normal, and can be adjusted.

You mentioned a suspension system on the rear wheel. That exists to absorb rough terrain while going downhill. Trying to peddle on flat terrain with either front or rear suspension systems is really annoying, as they absorb the power from your efforts, and you'll feel the bike dip down on every stroke. Some bikes let you lock the frame in place and essentially turn the suspension system off, some don't. Some people (like my wife) don't really notice or mind so much, so your mileage may vary.

Have fun!
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