Bike Shopping!

So, today, my roommate, our friend who actually knows how to ride a bicycle (ok my roommate knows how, too, but knows about as much as me about buying them) and I headed out to a couple of local bike shops to look at bikes! I was thinking of getting a used one, but as I started to realize that a)  a used one was only about $200 less than a new model that I would not need to do a bunch of fixes too and b) I could probably afford a low end new one, I started to consider new bikes. I still have NO idea what I’m doing. So this post is mostly going to be me sorting out my thoughts on the bikes.

Things I learned:

  • I apparently like hybrid bikes and the handlebars that stick straight out rather than drop handlebars (I think the latter are supposed to be “better,” but they were sooo sensitive I had trouble steering). All of the used road bikes I tried had the drop bars and I had never used these before and was not a fan.
  • I need a very small step through frame, which really limits my options. The one employee, when trying to figure out how frame sizes of bikes compared (he wanted to find me 15″, if I recall correctly, but that for some bikes mean extra small…and I’m not even short!). I really don’t want to give up on the step through frame or getting a women’s bike in general, though, because I know a major difference is that they are set up for smaller hands, and I basically have child sized hands. Also, I wear skirts almost every day so there is probably no chance a regular bike would suit me well.
  • Apparently you never do forget how to ride a bike! I was SOOO nervous when I test rode the first bike. I even sort of wrecked into a wall and kept like hopping off thinking I was going to run into a parked car (part of this was that bike store employee put on seat wrong). As soon as I calmed down, though, I was zooming around the parking lot!
  • Bikes are expensive…but not AS expensive as I thought. I went in thinking “Ok, so used will be like $200-300 and new will be like $1000 so I need used.” I then discovered there was a whole range of prices for new bikes!

Bikes I tested and thoughts:

  • Jamis Commuter. I rode the Commuter 4, but would probably buy one of the cheaper levels (the 1 and 2 are in my price range, I think). I liked that it came with some components already (i.e. fenders and a rack, some with headlights), but I am nervous that I would want to switch the components and their inclusion then would be a waste of money. This bike was the cheapest, but it handled worst and was least comfortable (though this might have been an artifact of me being super nervous that I might wreck the $800 bicycle). Also, it was at the less helpful store (i.e. I couldn’t practice shifting this one because the employee wouldn’t show me how to shift gears).
  • Trek 7.1 FX. This one was acceptable to me. It was in the middle in terms of price and how well I liked it. I did think it came with the most comfortable seat, so there is that. I felt more comfortable with both this and the next bike because they were hybrids – I’m still not really sure what a “commuter” bike is and I’m not sure if it would be appropriate for use for fun/fitness and the employee at the second, more helpful store immediately jumped to these hybrid bikes away from other styles when I mentioned occasional biking for fitness.
  • Specialized Vita. The more I think about it, the more I want this bike, even though it was most expensive. It handled the best (I was turning around a bunch of times in the parking lot, I almost fell off trying to turn around the Jamis), it was the lightest, and it was the cutest (it had pink on it!). It was also the most expensive, though.

Anyone who has suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments!

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