Buying a new bike
June 6, 2007 7:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to be at U Colorado in Boulder for the summer and I'm interested in buying a bike. I'm willing to spend about $200 on a new one (which I'll take back to my school after the summer) and I'd preferably like a city bike that I can also occasionally take off-road. Since I got my last bike when I was in middle school (I'm 20 now), I wanted to see if anyone could offer advice or a guide on buying a new one.

I know that there are a lot of great bike paths around Boulder and I'd like to check them out. I'm by no means a hardcore biker (as should already be evident), but I want to ride some trails and at the same time drive around CU's campus comfortably. Can anyone suggest a good place to buy a bike? Also, what types should I be looking for and is there anything I should be aware of? Thanks!
posted by Aanidaani to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Check Craigslist. Plenty of people buy bikes in the $300-$400 range and then sell them for about $200 after barely using them. That'll get you a solid Trek hybrid.
posted by AaRdVarK at 7:26 PM on June 6, 2007

Wait until you come out here to Colorado before you buy a bike. Many folks feel that they need the latest and greatest when these days a ride from a few years ago is not bad at all. Look for flyers on campus. And, there is a used gear store in Boulder. Man their website sucks but it has the address. I'm sure a Boulderite can give you other suggestions on where to look -- paging LFR.
posted by fieldtrip at 8:13 PM on June 6, 2007

I'm sorry, I didn't realize that you want to buy new. You really would get more for your dollar if you buy used. But, if you really want new and you don't want to do any mountain biking you should consider a comfort bike or a cruiser. Very fun for getting around town. If you want to ride off road on anything with more terrain than just a dirt or gravel road you will want a mountain bike. I'm not sure that you can get any sort of a decent new mountain bike for your price range.
posted by fieldtrip at 9:12 PM on June 6, 2007

I know next to nothing about bikes but I can tell you this: Get a good lock! My bike was stolen within a week of moving to Boulder last year, and it was locked with a standard chain lock.

Apart from the thefts, though, Boulder is a biker's dream. If you can, avoid the busy streets and look for the path alongside the creek that cuts through town.
posted by Phatty Lumpkin at 9:15 PM on June 6, 2007

I'm new to Boulder myself (here for the summer as well), but I have to say that Aardvark has it...figure out what size you need and get it used. You should be able to get a 4-5 yr old quality hardtail mountain bike for that price that will let you do more than just bike paths and roads if you are so inclined.

If you are dead set on getting new, the Performance Bike shop on Arapahoe seems to have pretty reasonable prices on bikes spec'd with decent parts for not too much more than you are talking about spending. This, for instance, seems not too bad and pretty cheap, although its not going to be able to handle any rough stuff. I haven't ever bought a bike from Performance before, but I have bought a ton of other stuff from them and can say that all of it has met/exceeded expectations (especially for the price).
posted by jtfowl0 at 10:04 PM on June 6, 2007

Or maybe this one? Again, the components aren't too great, but the frame seems ok and you can upgrade later if needed.
posted by jtfowl0 at 10:10 PM on June 6, 2007

Yet another person urging the "on a budget, get a good used bike" theme. Even if you aren't an avid cyclist, the difference between a good bike and a crummy/average/too heavy bike is HUGE. Most good bikes built within the last 5+ years will still have LOTS of life left in 'em -- a good cleaning, followed by a proper tune up/replacement of cables/adjustment of gears and brakes and they will be much better than any comparable new bike for the same coin.

Stated another way, heavy bikes with heavy wheels aren't much fun. Neither are bikes with imprecise shifting. $200 should buy you a decent quality, used hardtail (non-suspension) bike with good components. Good luck!
posted by mosk at 11:11 PM on June 6, 2007

4 days ago.
posted by meehawl at 7:04 AM on June 7, 2007

Performance is a good place to shop for a bike if you want new and are on a budget. But in my opinion, new bike often = rip off, especially at the low end.

Boulder just got it's own Craigslist, so check on there. The Denver Craigslist is also filled with bikes. You can hop on the B (regional bus to Denver) and check out a few, then throw it under the bus and ride home once you get back here. I've found good deals this way, no car required.

Hardtails are great here because there's lots of easy washboard trails to ride. Check out Betasso loop for a nice beginner (but challending) ride. If you get a road bike (or even a mountain bike, if you're a beast), work your way up to riding Flagstaff Road by the end of the summer. You'll be in the BEST shape of your life-- and decending a hill at 50+ mph is quite a thrill ride.
posted by jstef at 8:25 AM on June 7, 2007

Sorry... $200 is about the minimum for a new hybrid/comfort bike, which is what I think you want. You're going to have to go used. And stay away from department store bikes!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 8:28 AM on June 7, 2007

I think I'll check out a few used shops around town and get an idea of what I like. I wouldn't mind buying used, as long as the bike will still last me a few years. Thanks guys!
posted by Aanidaani at 11:28 AM on June 7, 2007

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