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Help for a newb
hi guys, i'm looking for a mountain bike to start exercising again. i did the jogging thing, now i want to do biking! it will just be in a local park, not any crazy trails.

so i was on craigslist and saw this bike.


does this look like a deal? (my budget is $100 max)

thanks in advance!
For around $100.00 I would avoid anything with suspension, it just adds weight and complexity. This bike probably isn't that old, maybe only a year or two, but to be honest, I doubt this bike was much more than $100.00 new.

I would look for something older, that was a better, more expensive bike when new. You can find good road and mountain bikes, without suspension, from the 80's and 90's that have seen little use and been sat unused in sheds for years which have plenty of life left in them that maybe just need a clean up and a service.

Keep an eye on the local papers with for sale ads, Ebay and Craiglist; don't rush to buy the first thing you see, but bide your time and find a good one. If possible, go to see it in person and make sure it's all working and not too worn out before you part with your cash, or negotiate a discount for any parts that need replacing.

Have a look at the Show off your Bike section, there's a few there that people picked up for less than $100: http://forums.bikeride.com/forum-36.html

Here's a cheap runabout I recently bought for about $50.00: http://forums.bikeride.com/thread-1679.html
Here's a couple that might be worth a look:


Way kewl Xerxes! I missed that post. I agree, the suspension bikes are actually slower than hardtail bikes not only due to weight but also introduces unnecessary action in the way the tires contact the road. Physics and less-friction work to make forward movement easier with hardtails.

As a road biker myself, you only need to see the difference between tires inflated to 60 psi compared to tires inflated to 80 psi. I'm currently rebuilding a 1991 Raleigh Tangent MTB, my first MTB, and it is a chro-mo steel hardtail. It was free on Craigslist because it was left outside, and I had a pack of bargain hunters right behind me trying to get a hold of it first. Needless to say the ad was only posted online a couple of hours. It will be a while before the bike is completed with so many other projects going on right now. Smile

Junkyard Tools rescued from the junkyard!
Ebay: just... don't. You probably don't really know what to look for and what might be problematic and also what the bikes are really worth. It is far too easy to get burned there. You should also remember that you will likely have to replace sprockets, chain and brake pads.
I'd try a local bike shop, they sometimes have used bikes that they did overhaul, so you can be (quite) sure that you don't need to put in additional money.

Nitpicking the physics: Actually off road a bike with suspension is faster (assuming equal weight), just as is a bike with tyres at lower air pressure. The reason is that the bike is not "lifted" as much and the tyre and the suspension "return" their energy to the system. The resistance added by this is quite important and can be measured on MTBs to become important at pressures as low as 2 or maybe 3 bars. The picture is different on a track (or on a very smooth road) though. There are articles covering exactly that, there was one on http://www.slowtwitch.com though I cannot find it. A test was also made by http://www.bike-magazin.de last year where they fitted a fully (there is one with electronic setup of the suspension system, dunno, by Specialized?) with lots of equipment and let a pro ride the same trail with about constant effort and they measured power consumption etc. There was also an article in the same magazine (though a year or so earlier) where some student did exactly those measurements for different tyres, pressures and surfaces (was a master thesis or so). I try to find it in the archieves.
Now for my 2cents lol. The next bike you are looking is not a 19 speed, it is a 18 speed. I restored one of those and would not charge half that much. Can not believe I am going to even say this but add about 10-50 dollars to that and you can get a new one with a warranty from an LBS or "Department Store" <--- thats what I have a hard time saying lolol. Next is considered to be a Bottom of the Barrel model. Granted I will say someone I know is still riding one similiar made in 2000 and it is going great, but it was overhauled about 3months ago. Whoever is selling this is wanting WAY too much, avoid it if you can.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
(07-23-2010, 06:47 AM)Joe_W Wrote:  . . . Nitpicking the physics: Actually off road a bike with suspension is faster . . .

You are right Joe, I wasn't thinking about off-road. In fact, my rebuild job on the Raleigh will convert the bike to a hybrid, more road than hybrid though. I don't plan to get off the road. I even bought road style 26"x1.75" tires for it. Smile

I'm looking forward to reading the articles you mentioned above.

Junkyard Tools rescued from the junkyard!
(07-23-2010, 07:32 AM)Bill Wrote:  . . . The next bike you are looking is not a 19 speed, it is a 18 speed. . .

He-he-he, 19-speed (stated in the ad link above). Smile

Try dividing that by anything other than 19 to determine the number of sprockets. Smile

Junkyard Tools rescued from the junkyard!
aw man i didn't know it was going to be this complicated lol

i would actually prefer a dual suspension as my only time on the road will be the mile trip to the park. and i really don't care about top speed because i'm more in it for the workout, i just don't want a bike that will fall apart on me after a month
How rough is the ground you plan on riding on?

Suspension is great for off road, but no suspension is better than cheap, poor quality suspension. In my opinion, I don't think you start getting decent front suspension on bikes much under $500.00 new and for full suspension, probably nearer $1000.00.

The cheap, sub $200.00 department store front and full suspension bikes you get aren't the real deal, they are an imitation of something better quality and more expensive. If you use them for serious off road riding, you'll probably be disappointed. In the UK we often refer to these cheap "imitation" bikes as BSOs, Bicycle Shaped Objects, because while they look like a bicycle, they don't actually perform like a proper bicycle.

Here's a few article that might be of interest to you:



@Steve: that means I have to find them... curse you! OK, as a scientist I should know that you should be able to cite the literature, so here are at least two of them:
http://www.bike-magazin.de/?p=3423 (Hardtail vs. Fully, in German only)
http://www.slowtwitch.com/Tech/What_s_in_a_tube__1034.html (about pressure and rolling resistance)

I cannot find the other tyre / pressure / tread pattern / "road" condition article at the moment, I'll have to check with my former colleague who regularly reads bike-magazine (well, article is in German, but at least the graphs might be interesting)
My comments about avoiding suspension were nothing to do with it's relative merrits. Rather that, on a tight budget it's best avoided because the overall quality of $100.00 bike without suspension will almost certainly be better than one with it.

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