I want to ride my bicycle: What kind should I get? ~200-300 budget.
October 20, 2010 5:14 PM   Subscribe

I moved from WV to relatively flat Richmond, VA. What kind of bike should I get to take advantage of the newfound flatness? ~$200-300 budget.

I'm a newbie, so I would be mainly riding on packed gravel trails or paved bike trails, but would like to venture to very easy forest trails or sidewalks/pavement for short trips. So, I'm not looking for a cruiser, but would like to stay away from heavily framed mountain bikes. $300 is the top total budget for everything I need-helmet, bike lock, repair kit, pump. I'm definitely open to buying used. Would a hybrid have the shocks to support easy mountain trails?

Bike brands, types, and Richmond bike shop recommendations are appreciated! I'm 5'3" and a lady, average weight and in decent shape. Thanks!
posted by shortyJBot to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total)
Carytown Bikes is the consensus I've heard, but you could also try Re-Cycles for used parts & service.

as a former shop wrench, I can't recommend getting a hybrid when there are many 80s-90s mountain bikes out there that usually need little more than a thorough tune-up and some new tires, tubes, and cables— which will be more durable, better made, and more capable in town and on trails. look for an older Specialized Hardrock or Trek, fit some fresh Continental or Schwalbe tires with a mostly-slick tread, and plan to invest in a new saddle. Skip the repair kit, buy extra tubes instead. Buy a multi-allen wrench at Pleasant's instead of the bike shop (save $10 or more).
posted by a halcyon day at 5:39 PM on October 20, 2010

Anything in your price range is going to be pretty heavy with the possible exception of a used road or fitness bike. The good news is that you really don't need shocks at all unless you're doing pretty serious mountain biking. Something like this, a rigid fork hybrid/fitness bike might suit you but your budget is really thin.
posted by ghharr at 5:40 PM on October 20, 2010

$300 is the top total budget for everything I need-helmet, bike lock, repair kit, pump.

In other words, your budget is $200. That's really not very much.

However! You can take advantage of your diminutive stature by looking for good used youth bikes. There are a ton of them, since kids are constantly outgrowing them or quitting racing or whatever.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:07 PM on October 20, 2010

I love me some Carytown Bikes (and just bought a mountain bike there this week), but I don't think $300 would go very far. You'll likely get your best deal on used mountain bike, probably though Craigslist. Richmond Recycles sells used bikes, too, and they're good people.

With some fat mountain bike tires, you won't need shocks for anything short of some of the more difficult trails.

If I may, here is a piece on RVA bike shops that I put together last year. The short of it: all give great service, find out who is closest to where you are. There's also a new repair shop that just opened up at Pine and Cary.
posted by john m at 6:13 PM on October 20, 2010

I don't know anything about bikes, but I know people that do, and they've recommended Bunny Hop on Grace.
posted by frankdrebin at 6:46 PM on October 20, 2010

Thanks, guys! I've never thought of using a youth bike, and I had never heard of most of the places from john m's post. I'll take "diminutive stature" as a compliment, if it can save me some change. I kinda want to change my meta name to that now.

I think a mountain bike, although heavier, would be suitable for my needs if I could find the right one, since I'd just be recreationally riding on shorter trips of usually less than 20-25 miles on easy paths. A few extra pounds isn't gonna matter much when it's just me having fun, which isn't how I was leaning before.

Thanks, guys!
posted by shortyJBot at 4:23 AM on October 21, 2010

Hey! I was at Cyclus in Church Hill today and they have a used mountain bike for like $120.
posted by john m at 6:04 PM on October 21, 2010

Thanks! I'm going to look at a trek 800 sport edition from craigslist soon--$75 sounds far.
posted by shortyJBot at 3:11 PM on November 6, 2010

Should be fair .
posted by shortyJBot at 3:39 PM on November 7, 2010

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