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Thread: local bike shops -- how to choose

  1. #11
    KLizotte's Avatar
    KLizotte is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    In the mean time, you can take a CaBi out to enjoy the trails -- I think you can still snag a free day membership just to try it out, and I find it's totally worth the annual price to get around town without worrying about locking up my own bike. You can easily grab one in Ballston and ride the Custis to Rosslyn, for example. Good luck!
    I agree with what dasgeh has written except the suggestion to ride a CaBi on the Custis. They are *very* heavy bikes with only three speeds and trying to manage the Custis hills on one of them, esp in summer heat, will not be a fun experience. That's my 2 cents anyway.

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    You also need to figure out if you are going to be hauling a lot of stuff with you and whether you want a rack or not. True road bikes aren't really made for racks with a lot of weight on them.

    FYI: REI is the only place I know of that will provide a full refund for a used bike at any time. City Bikes will give you a full refund only in the first 30 days. To my knowledge, those are the only LBSs that provide that level of satisfaction guarantee; therefore, don't be afraid to take a long time in the shop/going on test rides before deciding.

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    Default choices... choices...

    When I was younger, there weren't many choices for my budget -- Walmart, K-Mart, Target, etc. had the same type of bike for about $100. In the $500 range, the choices become more daunting. I cannot even imagine how one chooses a $1,000 bike.

    This weekend I have mapped several bike shops to visit. Thank you all for the suggestions! And I agree that I should find something close to home, so that it will be easy to go back for service. (I am next to the East Falls Church metro station)

    rcannon100 -- you have summed up what I would like to get in a bike -- "city bike that can take a beating". I don't go on dirt roads, but I do envision going up/down sidewalks. I will most likely check out the Cannondale Badboy at REI. It is somewhat outside my price range, but the reviews look good and it has some cool features, such as disc brakes. I will certainly take dasgeh's advice and inquire about touring bikes or "dutch bikes".

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    I would also consider single speed bikes. If you get rid of the derailleurs and shifters, it saves weight and cost. If you are looking for more of a commuting bike and can live with the simplicity of a one gear, its a reasonable choice. Most manufacturers make single speed bikes that are close to your price point.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    Also, I'd think really hard before buying a hybrid. Why are your comprising between on-road and off-? I used to be a hybrid rider, but I don't go off road. I realized that I'm just sacrificing some of the best qualities of bikes made for roads, and not getting anything on the other side. If you want speed, look at road bikes. If you want durability, look at cross or touring bikes. If you want up-right geometry, look at touring bikes or "dutch bikes".
    Good luck!
    I don't know why cyclists denigrate hybrids so much. A lot of the trails and roads in the area are perfect for hybrids--bumpy and poorly paved, with frequent detours onto gravel, dirt, or grass. Flat bars are also useful for city riding. My back likes them too. Sure, a cyclocross would be great -- show me one in the $500 range in an LBS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluerider View Post
    I would also consider single speed bikes.
    I would not recommend one to a new rider in the Arlington area. Its quite hilly, especially once you venture off the major paths (though even the Custis would be ugly for a new rider on a singlespeed!).

    Quote Originally Posted by ShawnoftheDread View Post
    I don't know why cyclists denigrate hybrids so much. A lot of the trails and roads in the area are perfect for hybrids--bumpy and poorly paved, with frequent detours onto gravel, dirt, or grass. Flat bars are also useful for city riding. My back likes them too. Sure, a cyclocross would be great -- show me one in the $500 range in an LBS.
    I think dasgeh meant the traditional hybrid (mtb-ish frame, cheap suspension fork, 700c wheels with big tires, usually MTB components), which I've never understood the point of. The OP linked some bikes that are more flat-bar road bikes though, which I think is the right idea.

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    I love my hybrid! It's not the mountain bike type, though, and I stay on pavement for the most part. I've had it for 13 years and ride it all over, though I don't seek out the biggest steepest hills - more because of me than the bike. Bikenetics in Falls Church has some nice bikes of the type you might really like that are not overly expensive.
    Last edited by Arlingtonrider; 07-17-2012 at 02:36 PM.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabberwocky View Post
    I think dasgeh meant the traditional hybrid (mtb-ish frame, cheap suspension fork, 700c wheels with big tires, usually MTB components), which I've never understood the point of. The OP linked
    some bikes that are more flat-bar road bikes though, which I think is the right idea.
    Yep, that's what I meant. Sorry, I hadn't clicked on his links. And I don't mean to denigrate them -- I think people who ride offroad sometimes (like the toepath) will find value in them. But I bought one when I originally started commuting a long time ago, and it was a waste of money. I was just saying you should think about the use and why you're buying what you're buying.

    Re: CaBi on the Custis -- that's why I suggested Ballston - Rosslyn and not the reverse! But actually, I see CaBis on the Custis every day. The low gear seems to do fine on the big hill, as long as you take it slow. I do think it's worth getting on one before you buy, especially if you can get a free one day. It helps you know whether you want speed, and whether you like upright.

    Personally, I have both a road bike (for my non-pregnant self) and an upright bike (ok, it's an ebike, but it's dutch bike geometry). They both have their advantages and disadvantages - just depends on why you want to ride.

  9. #19
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    The popularity of hybrids also means the local shops tend to stock them in a wide variety of sizes, so you can usually test ride and take one home the same day...none of this order and wait crap!

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    I'll thrown in my two cents, although it's important to disclose that that my wife owns (most of) a local bike shop as of a month or so ago.

    First, if you ride a lot, a local bike shop can be a tremendous resource -- it really paid for me to have an LBS that I could actually have a relationship with, and hang out and ask lots of questions, rather than just buying a bike or bringing it in for service from somebody anonymous. A good LBS will know you, know your bike, know how you ride and under what conditions, and can provide a ton of useful help. These extra supports really helped me when I was getting started, and I've realized how valuable that is.

    Second, I second the comments on fit -- often getting a bike to fit just right is the difference between a bike that gets 1,000s of joyful miles or a bike that sits in the garage.

    On bikes, I don't like the term hybrid so much, but some best sellers at my LBS are bikes like the Kona Dew Plus (essentially an aluminum MTB hardtail rigged for city use rather than trails, with 700x35c tires and hydra-disk brakes), the Jamis Coda Sport (essentially a steel road bike with flat bars for city bike use), and, at the higher end, the Jamis Nova Race ( cyclocross with mechanical disk brakes and options for rack/fenders/commuting). These aren't really hybrids, but they're all very versatile.

    -Jeff

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