(Topic ID: 243574)

Bicycle help. What is considered a good brand?

By fuseholder

1 year ago

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  • 23 posts
  • 20 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by Mike_J
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider


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    #1 1 year ago

    I have to grab a bike for a college bound student. Street and paved bike trail. I’m looking for something decent. Not cheap, not Uber expensive. Any information or recommendations are appreciated. Thanks.

    #2 1 year ago

    Trek, Cannondale, Specialized, Giant, Fuji, Orbea would all be leading quality brands. FYI, each of these brands have bikes on the pro road cycling tour, so they are known for their tech and quality.

    Each of these will have varying levels of models and price points based upon bike type, frame material, and group set level.

    If you want a real quality bike, I suggest visiting a couple of local bike shops and avoiding chain retail and sporting goods stores. They will be able to give you detailed info based upon what you are looking for while also ensuring the correct fit.

    I own two Trek bikes and a Fuji, but I have friends and have ridden in groups with all of these brands, and have heard great reviews on each of them.

    #3 1 year ago

    Keep an eye out at garage sales--that's where most of my bikes came from. In my area, they come up for sale frequently and in good shape. $20-$50 can sometimes get you a $100-$300 bike.

    Fenders or mud guards are a plus--especially when biking to classes in the rain or when you encounter a puddle.

    A shower cap or plastic bag to keep the seat dry while sitting out in poor weather can be nice to have.

    Shocks for the front wheel might look like a good idea, but it makes it harder to pop/jump the front wheel over things or curbs. I would advise against them. I'm not sure if they're still a fad or not these days.

    Two lights on the handlebars are helpful--one for distance, one for lighting the path in front of the wheel. Night classes and/or shorter winter hours make lights necessary. Don't forget a rear blinking light too for visibility. Possibly even spoke lights as well. Also enough batteries for the lights--rechargable lithiums could be an option.

    A small emergency pump and patch kit would be good to have. Also a spare tube and tire. I've had a small number of punctures over the years, plus a slashed tire or two.

    #4 1 year ago
    Quoted from fuseholder:

    Not cheap, not Uber expensive.

    Given these are relevant terms, ForceFlow and I approached the topic from two completely different perspectives. Maybe an actual price range would help us provide the most accurate advice for what you are looking for?

    Just to let you know, an entry level new bike from among the manufacturers I listed will start at around $700-$800 for something like this (you can find a new bike from most of the brands I listed in this range): https://www.bicyclesinc.com/product/trek-domane-al-2-302740-1.htm

    From there, the sky is the limit where you can spend $10K+ on something like this: https://www.bicyclesinc.com/product/trek-madone-slr-9-disc-etap-356007-1.htm

    Obviously, there are many bikes between those ranges depending upon what you are looking for.

    #5 1 year ago

    Two votes for garage sale. I picked up a Santana Spirt for $200. That represents about 5 cent on the dollar.

    #6 1 year ago

    The last bike I picked up was from one of the wholesale clubs. I think I paid 199 ish in late 1990s, it got me all through my college career and I'm actually still riding it approx 4 days a week for regular exercise. Can't recall the brand but it was one that was made in Taiwan, I do recall that.
    Watch CL and the other local for sale apps for possible bargain.
    You mind find one that was working when it was stored 20 years ago that just needs a new fuse!

    #7 1 year ago


    Wirecutter does a pretty good job reviewing a ton of stuff, check this out. I ended up getting a mint two year old Trek 7.3 when I was looking, but still worth the read to gain a little bit of knowledge.

    #8 1 year ago

    You should be able to get a nice hybrid for well under 500 bucks. Of course you can spend as much as you want to but a bike like this one is perfect for riding around the campus and even on long rides if he chooses. Also remember that it’s probably going to get beat up and rained on etc and bicycle theft is high on college campuses so you probably dont want to spend too much for a bike that is going to be sitting outside unattended. This is a nice bike right here at a good price, and of course you can spend a little more if you want to get one a little nicer.


    #9 1 year ago

    There are millions of unused, quality bikes hiding in garages/sheds so I would definitely look for used. College bikes get stolen all the time so getting the newest, shiniest, most expensive one is just asking to be a statistic.

    In Philly you see good bikes all the time where the owners have spray painted over the markings/logos to disguise the quality of the frame.

    I have owned Specialized, Gary Fisher and Trek over the years and they are all about the same quality-wise. The most important things are ensuring the bike is sized correctly and it's being used for the terrain it was designed for. If the college location is flat don't overlook single speed cruisers

    #10 1 year ago

    I spent a lot of time researching bikes when I bought mine. Tantrum nailed it though. I eventually ended up buying a Trek FX 2. It’s not too complicated, very comfortable, and checks all the right boxes for me.

    I went to a small local bike shop, “The Peddlers Shop” in Deptford, NJ (no clue what your location is, but I highly recommend them) spoke to the people there, and they fit me perfectly to the bike, let me test drive it, answered all of my stupid questions, and provided me with unmatched quality of service.

    Paid around $500 for it, and it came with a 10 year warranty, with free unlimited tune ups within the same period. I bring it there once every spring, get it tuned up for $0 and I get it back feeling like a brand new bike.

    From someone who used to buy “The Target Special” getting properly fitted for a “real” bike makes a HUGE difference.

    #11 1 year ago

    Trek. Always found them more comfortable with the broader range of available frame sizes. Dire hard bikes that stand up to abuse. I won’t bore with details but I’ve got thousands of hard miles on em and I’ve watched friends with other brands just go through all sorts of issues.

    #12 1 year ago

    Good Dad, Great Gift.

    My recommendation would be TREK.

    DO NOT buy a bicycle from Wal-Mart. It WILL fall apart within 100 miles.
    DO buy your student a nice U bike lock.
    DO buy your student a water bottle holder.
    DO buy your student a decent helmet.
    DO pay for puncture proof/resistant tires//liners//slime. This is doubly important if you buy a bike for someone riding out West.

    I'd put this purchase at $600-$700.

    #13 1 year ago
    Quoted from fuseholder:

    I have to grab a bike for a college bound student. Street and paved bike trail. I’m looking for something decent. Not cheap, not Uber expensive. Any information or recommendations are appreciated. Thanks.

    I was a bicycle mechanic at a local bicycle store for a few years in my youth. Been riding, owning, and working on bikes for over 50 years.

    Does the student have a bike and ride now and know safe riding and rules? College in heavy traffic area or area less traveled.

    Research local bike shops. Take your student there and see what they offer. You need to educate yourselves on bikes.

    Garage sale bikes are fine if you know what you are looking for. Most bike shops also take trade ins and sell used bikes. And they usually check everything out and will set them up for you, and make sure it fits.

    When shopping used, look for true wheels (no wobble), check the wheel spokes. They should all be taught, none missing. They ping when you pluck them. When you rotate the wheels and make sure the bearing are smooth. The wheels should freewheel "forever" without drag. Make sure there is no rust. Chain should be oiled.

    Look for name brands as stated in message #2.

    I currently own several bikes. Specialized, Electra (Trek), and a few older name brands. Stay away from cheap discount brands sold at stores like Walmart or Target. My daily rider bike is a fat tire, aluminum frame Electra with 8 speed Shimano hub and disc brakes. It was just under $1000 new. When my sons went to College in downtown Chicago, they took their $700 Trek mountain bikes with shocks, derailleur gears, and aluminum frames that fit them well. We also bought good helmets that fit them well and good locks. You need to try on helmets at bike shops and also learn how and where to properly lock a bike.

    Your student needs to learn basic maintenance. Maintaining tire pressure, adjusting gears, chain lube, etc.

    A lot of this instruction should be available on youtube.

    Good luck.

    #14 1 year ago

    My girlfriend's Fuji hybrid is pretty nice. I would go hybrid bike or mountain bike on hybrid tires, like Kenda Kross's.

    The higher end ($175+) Walmart bikes are OK, their biggest problem is they're not assembled very well at the store. Not really a problem if you can do maintenance yourself.

    #15 1 year ago

    One nice thing about Trek, is if you have a Trek store near you, they guarantee you repairs in 24 hours. I've been riding trek for years and they make a solid bike. Same can be said for Giant, who makes a lot of frames for Trek. I personally avoid Cannondales...their frames seem to come from the factory with a creek any more. Surly makes a bunch of rugged bikes that would be good around college also.

    #16 1 year ago

    Kona. Not Trek expensive, but also not a cheap brand that will last a long time.

    #17 1 year ago

    Glad to see all of the comments. Is there a Pinside cyclist thread anyone is aware of? Sometimes after a frustrating few games of pinball, nothing like hitting the road on your bike for a few miles to clear your head.

    FYI, I tend to mod my bikes as much or more than my pins (been into cycling far longer than pinball). I have a middle of the road Trek Madone 4.5, but I've done a ton of mods and upgrades to it (Zipp carbon speed bars, Shimano Di2 electronic shifting, Shimano Ultegra groupset, custom geared 11 ring rear cassette, ceramic bearings, carbon fiber deep wheels, carbon fiber stem and spacers, carbon fiber cages). The cycling hobby quite enjoyable and great exercise. I'm pretty heavy right now, so kind of funny in that all of my upgrades my main goal was not necessary to get the bike lighter (I figured if I wanted lighter I'd just skip a couple of meals), but maybe a little more aero, a more comfortable ride, and an overall look and style that I like. This bike is a few years old (probably a year or two before disk brakes became standard fair), but I really can't see upgrading bikes at this point just for that.

    Some of my riding buddies call me "Shamu". I'd like to think it is because of my bike coloring, but I'm afraid it may be due to my girth.

    #18 1 year ago

    My brother had a cheap Raleigh at university. He beat it with a chain and spraypainted the frame partly pink. It never got stolen on a campus with rampant bike theft. That thing was a tank too, very reliable. Just a caution that a bike is a juicy target for theft!

    #19 1 year ago

    I ride a SCOTT. It’s not Trek expensive and offers a lot of the same things. Not sure what the general consensus on them is, but I love my Hybrid.

    #20 1 year ago

    It's really just the frame as all the components come from one of 3 companies. I did over 3,000 miles of riding every year about 7 to 8 years ago. Road a Specialized S-Works Tarmac and really loved it. Traffic is just too crazy now.

    #21 1 year ago

    you can do well under $1000. I second the $500-$800 range for something that’s going to be reliable and worth fixing if something breaks and worth maintaining. It’s not going to live outside is it? That might change things.. I’d shy away from garage sales personally because you don’t know the history of those bikes. They could have been crashed or bashed in the frame and it could have compromising micro cracks. You def. dont want to be riding if the frame suddenly fails. I’ve had one fail before..

    #22 1 year ago
    Quoted from NintenBear:

    I ride a SCOTT. It’s not Trek expensive and offers a lot of the same things. Not sure what the general consensus on them is, but I love my Hybrid.

    In recent years, Scott has entered into the road bike realm. I know some pros ride Scott, but outside of that I don't really know much about their reputation for quality. As someone stated previously, for the most part the individual manufactures design and/or produce their own frames, but after that most of them use the same components from manufactures like Shimano, SRAM, etc. Outside of the style you like, for non professional cyclists it mostly comes down to the geometry of the ride you prefer and the level of components you are willing to pay for in exchange for weight and performance.

    #23 1 year ago

    Electra Loft 7D or Cannondale Adventure. Either is around $499 and is more than enough bike for most riders.

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