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An absolute beginner to bikes and new to /n/ in general. (for reference, I'm 22 and only just learned how to ride a bike)
I posted this question a few times on the question generals but each time I get very few replies with different opinions, so I'd like to make a thread to see if I can get a clearer consensus.
I want to buy a bike for commuting, specifically longer commutes (30-50 minutes), and I was going around checking stores around my area.
I've found a tiny store run by a very nice, helpful old man that sells bikes for 3/5 of the price of a similar bike in the big chains. (the specific bike in question is equivalent to 335$)
To my untrained eye it looked good, 27.5 wheels, front suspension hard tail MTB, disc breaks, 3x8(I think) shimano gears, all that good shit.
But the catch is I absolutely can't locate the brand online, not in my native language, not on English and not in Chinese websites like aliexpress, it says "active" and "limited" on the tubes but those are just buzzwords probably.
Here are my questions:
1. Can no name bikes be considered or should they be disregarded immediately?
2. Assuming I live in a first world country, can I trust bike parts to be what the seller claims them to be? how big is the risk for counterfeit parts carrying a big brand's name?
3. What do I risk by getting bikes not from a familiar brand? I expect them to not be as good but just how much worse are we talking here?
4. How worried should I be about dangerous faults? like the breaks straight up not working or the frame snapping? (I weight 80kg so within a reasonable weight)
5. If I get that bike and find a specific part not to my liking, could I just change it relatively simply? and is it a legit long term strategy to just say "I'm a beginner and by no means an enthusiast, so I'll get a very cheap bike and replace parts as I improve or want more"?
6. What should I look for in a bike to determine it's decent? (riding it to try it out isn't really acceptable here).
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Also, I'd like you to consider in your answer that you guys are most likely enthusiasts and I'm not, so what you guys might think of as 'the minimum to be acceptable' will not necessarily be proportional to what I want and need given my needs and abilities.
Thank you for reading my wall of text here and in the generals!

pics obviously unrelated
>1. Can no name bikes be considered or should they be disregarded immediately?

I wouldn't buy one. If you are looking for a cheap bike you would be better off getting a second hand bike in good condition. This can be a little tricky if you don't know what to look for though.

>4. How worried should I be about dangerous faults? like the breaks straight up not working or the frame snapping? (I weight 80kg so within a reasonable weight)

Depends how bad it is. Even shit department store bikes should at least not have the frame snap (Usually because the frame is 30kg of solid steel)

>5. If I get that bike and find a specific part not to my liking, could I just change it relatively simply? and is it a legit long term strategy to just say "I'm a beginner and by no means an enthusiast, so I'll get a very cheap bike and replace parts as I improve or want more"?

You can upgrade parts fairly easily most of the time but its usually not as cost effective as just buying a better bike to begin with. Usually you buy a bike with the components you like and replace them when they wear out.
Branded entry level hardtail bikes aren't usually any better, so I'm sure that one will be as good as a branded ~$500 bike.

Check if it has hydraulic brakes, there's really no reason to get an MTB without one. It's easy to see with your eyes if the brake levers are connected to the brakes with cables or hoses.

The fork is very likely to be shit, but it will be shit on any sub-$1000 branded bike as well.

Some parts can be upgraded, but the MTB world moves very quickly when it comes to different part standards so you might not be able to find for example a new higher quality fork for a quick-release wheel and a non-tapered headtube.

If you're getting the bike just for riding around, an entry level MTB with a shit fork is good enough, only if you're going to ride actual MTB on trails the upgrades would be justified.
Op said they are just commuting. They don't new hydraulic brakes (although I love the ones on my road bike)
I thought about it but looking through sites I could only find ones that are either absolute garbage or too rich for my blood, craigslist isn't a thing here so I didn't take /n/ up on their offer to look it up for me.
>Even shit department store bikes should at least not have the frame snap (Usually because the frame is 30kg of solid steel)
This one specifically was aluminum, pretty light.
When you say "actual MTB on trails" I'm assuming you mean proper off road ones with hills and rocks and shit, right? because I would like to do some light off roading (gravel paths or the kind of tracks you'd see on a farm) but I'm of the impression any bike could do that regardless of if it's a MTB.
Ey, it's 'active' anon again. I'd say to post this on the BQG and BBG but I know you've done so in the past already. Anyways, here's my answers.
1. Yes, at least if you know how to inspect frame quality. Components aren't as important as the welds on the frame itself. Parts can always be fixed, tuned, or upgraded, but a cracked frame is a cracked frame.
2. Never take everything at completely face value, even if counterfeit parts aren't really an issue in the big world.
3. You risk quality control and warranties on the frame and possibly proprietary parts. A broken frame is a broken frame, you can always replace parts.
4. Your brakes and tires is something you want to ensure is properly functioning yourself, as well as spotting any cracked welds on the frame. I've never had the misfortune of experiencing a frame snap but that shit could seriously mess you up for life, especially if the frame snaps at the head tube.
5. It is a legit long term strategy but realize a frame's geometry is locked in once it's created and geometry plays a huge factor in not only how the bike handles but also how comfortable you are on the bike. Plus a shitty heavy straight gauge gas pipe metal bike will always ride like a shitty heavy straight gauge gas pipe metal bike. A frame might not exactly be a moving part but it's the most important moving part. Nicer frames are reflexive and dynamic despite being a rigid structure.
6. Honestly, there's a lot to look out for but without riding yourself, you wouldn't know what features equals what you'd think is a decent bike. I know you claim riding it is not as option but you really want to ride before you buy.
>When you say "actual MTB on trails" I'm assuming you mean proper off road ones with hills and rocks and shit, right? because I would like to do some light off roading (gravel paths or the kind of tracks you'd see on a farm) but I'm of the impression any bike could do that regardless of if it's a MTB.

Actual mountain bike trails are pretty wild with jumps, drops and rocks. Just your regular gravel road can be done on pretty much any bike but road bikes won't have a whole lot of grip so be careful around corners at speed. If you get a bike with slightly thicker tires than the ultra thin road tires you should go over little pebbles and stuff nicely.
>Yes, at least if you know how to inspect frame quality.
How would I go about doing that? what do I look for? just cracks and out of place welding signs?
don't buy a bike from anyone who won't let you ride it first.
>so what you guys might think of as 'the minimum to be acceptable' will not necessarily be proportional to what I want and need given my needs and abilities.

So here's what you're going to do:

1. Buy a shitty BSO made out of melted down beer can metal

2. Ride it and it will be a piece of shit and it will cost a fortune to maintain

3. OMG cycling sucks!

Why bother making this thread if you're just going to buy a BSO anyway? Just stay on /o/ please.
Alright, how do I tell apart a BSO from a real bike?
I'm not just buying the first cheap thing I see with front suspensions, I am specifically asking what I should look for to determine if it's an irredeemable piece of shit or not.
I don't know shit about bikes, but plenty of people ride no name bikes worse than what I have my eye on daily, and I'm sure I don't need anything more than a 500$ bike to commute around 9 - 10km in each direction.
I'd love to, but as I've said it's not really accepted in shops around here, my only option to try out a bike would be buying second hand (if they'd let me), and as I've said I only found absolutely supermarket tier bikes and 2000$+ bikes.
$500 is plenty if you buy used. doable if new but just don’t fall for the suspension meme, bad suspension is worse than no suspension and $500 is bad suspension
>bad suspension is worse than no suspension
Not being contrarian, genuinely curious.
If suspensions don't do their job they just sort of don't do anything, don't they?
adds extra weight and shit that breaks. slows you down. structurally questionable as soon as it stops working poorly and starts not working at all. makes you look like a noob who thinks it needs springs and off road tires to ride on paved roads. gives you AIDS
pretty much, look for neat, consistent, welds. You want the welds to look like stacked dimes Keep an eye out for pitted welds with pinholes and stuff really, cracks too but a proper shop owner should dispose an already cracked frame.
this but to put it even more simpler, the up and down bobbing motion caused by the suspension is wasted energy that could've been put into the pedals.

Really, suspensions are shit unless you're spending $500 on a fork alone, not the whole bike.
>adds extra weight
fair enough, even though the bike is pretty light from what I've tried I'll accept it's worse than it could have been.
>shit that breaks
That's actually something I've wondered, what DOES happen if a suspension fork breaks? and how would I test the suspensions on the bike on site? what would I be looking for?
>makes you look like a noob
Frankly, I am
>gives you AIDS
Not nearly /n/ enough to fuck my bike
Shit's informative, thanks anon!
Granted I'm no physicist, but wouldn't the energy lost from the suspension be negligible for medium-ish speeds?
Just buy the fucking bike it’s obvious you want to already.
Sure, I want to, but I'm not entirely at peace with it.
I don't know dick about bikes, I don't know how bad bad can be, I don't know what's standard or whats acceptable and I don't even know how my needs translate to those wants.
I don't want to end up doing what >>1260803 described.
When a bike's suspension goes, either the seals will be blown and it'll sit on/close to the bottom of it's stroke leaving you with no suspension travel and dangerous handling geometry (too easy to 'over the bars' when you brake or bump something) or if the seals are good but the dampers are bad, the fork will infuriatingly bob endlessly. Even if the fork works fine now or a few years from now, it'll eventually require maintenance to prevent blowing it's seals and becoming a death trap.

>Granted I'm no physicist, but wouldn't the energy lost from the suspension be negligible for medium-ish speeds?
Neither am I but I've read a bike is somewhere on the order of a mechanical efficiency of 98% (without considering the thermodynamic efficiency of the human digestive system). Now reduce that by any margin and it'll be very obvious. Hell, even going from a rigid fork to a very high quality air fork is a pretty night and day obvious difference. That's why suspensions forks are mostly recommended for off road applications only and even then, a rigid fork with a skillful rider could still easily out ride a noob on a hardtail mtb.
>a new and lubricated chain can have an efficiency of upwards of 98.5 percent.

Another thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is fork flex. An inherent issue with suspension forks being of multiple pieces instead of a single solid piece like a rigid fork. That means really poor suspension forks can exhibit unstable braking and turning characteristics as the lower stanchions flex under stress.

The final nail in the coffin is cost. What went into manufacturing the fork could've gone into better wheels, drivetrain, brakes, or frame or whatever.

Don't get me wrong, suspensions are great on expensive MTBs but for your purpose of casual commuting, a rigid fork will serve you better.
You’ve asked about it in three different threads already. Post some pictures already or you’re just going to keep getting vague answers.
You guys might be right, especially since I overestimated the price difference.
I found this thing in a big chain for about 410 dollars, it comes from Merida which to my understanding is a reliable manufacturer and the only real difference is rim breaks instead of disc breaks, some sort of seat suspension thing I've never seen before and narrower wheels.
Are cheap bikes from reliable companies any better? this one specifically is marketed as a 'city bike'.
I might get one tomorrow
How the fuck have you not taken a picture of the old guy's bike already for fuck's sake
We can't tell you what's better or worse if we don't know the goddamn bike
"shimano gears" and "front suspension" doesn't help
>picks another suspension bike
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OP here, I've stopped being a faggot for 5 minutes and took a picture of the bike.
It's not very clear but hopefully everything is clear enough.
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Don't know if this angle is any better but just in case.
Complete unknown,. Probably sporting goods store/amazon tier. Do NOT get anything with suspension at that price.. Do NOT go below the second lowest tier of bikesdirect.

A 50 dollar price difference isn't worth it.

Merrida a very large maker, somewhere in the top 10.
Hey buddy hope you die so I never read another post. Hth.
Just get a kilo tt
Or a state 4130 with the small rims if outside the us

Or literally any Aventon
OP, the main problems with 'no-name' bikes are several:

If it's a carbon-fiber frameset, there's a possibility that the quality control (or even the design and construction techniques themselves) are poor or non-existent, resulting in a possibility of catastrophic failure while you're riding the bike (i.e., having it literally crack and fall apart while you're on it).

The other concern is the quality of components used to build it. Cheap, low-quality components may not perform well even when new, or may wear out relatively quickly, leaving you with a bike that's hard to ride or impossible to ride. Wheelsets that won't stay in-true; derailleurs and shift levers that aren't reliable; bearings that wear out too quickly and either grind or become loose; chainrings, cogs, and drive chains that don't all mesh well or wear out quickly; even plastic parts that simply break. And so on.

If it's an aluminum frameset and a fixed-gear or single-speed bike, it's less of a concern, but still if components are cheap and not very durable then even a simple fixed-gear bike can end up being a piece of garbage that wears out quickly and gives you grief.

Even if a new no-name aluminum frameset bike can be upgraded to better components and wheelsets, it's not worth the expense compared to buying a gently-used name-brand bike from Craigslist or similar, that might need a little servicing done to it, but otherwise is in good shape and made with durable, quality components.
You mean the kilo wt so you can off-road
OP here, I think I have my consensus.
You're saying I should not risk it with an unknown bike and get one from a more familiar brand, in that case I'm leaning towards >>1261102 (merida crossway 15v, for reference)
That being said, one anon here mentioned that at the price point I'm talking about it really doesn't matter, is this an opinion everyone shares? is it more about "buy from a trusty brand" or "stop penny pinching you gigantic fag, pay low and you get a shitty bike"?
Name on the frame doesn't matter. Components matter. If you're going to go with merida, go with the L20, or some shit without suspension.
That Merida and the old guy's bikes are pretty much the same save for the name brand. Notice how both have bottom tier Shimano components (identifiable because they're all black and with plastic parts)
If you're gonna go that way, I'd get the old guy's one. At least you'll have the shop right there for when something goes wrong, unlike buying online where you're shit out of luck if anything bad happens.
So second hand aside, are those the best parts I can get if I don't want to spend more than 500$?
Actually, not necessarily the best, but are they reasonable for 500$?
Are the parts being low tier more of a budget issue than a brand issue?
Interestingly enough, at my price I'm actually having trouble finding bikes with rigid forks, lowest priced one I found was a road bike for a little more than 500$, but I honestly don't really want a road bike, I don't mind narrow tires but I would prefer a more mountain bike-y sitting position, at least for a first bike.
A shimano altus with a triple up front is a tried and true setup that has been used for years and will work great.

Only recently have 600 dollar mountain bikes moved to a 1x11 setup that is easier to maintain. People still debate on what setup is superior as the 3x setup provides sligtly wider gearing range. But the first thing that gets out of adjustment is your front deraileur that switches between the three rings. An adjustment is easy and can be done at home or 15 bucks at the shop.
OP here, I think I get it, I should avoid suspensions to the best of my ability and in general the less moving parts the less things which could break down.
So now I'm easing off the MTB for the city angle and looking into a single speed bike, do those make more sense? I'm really new to bikes so I have no idea if I would miss having gears for long commutes but I suspect I should be fine.
Pic related is an example for a filthy cheap single speed I found at a local bike chain store, it's 270$ and googling it's name gives me nothing, probably because it's under the store's "home brand" (which I suspect means it's some exceptionally chinese crap), also the frame size is 50cm according to their website, isn't that tiny?
Anyway, what do I risk in buying a single speed bike cheaply?

I appreciate the fact you guys are helping me out, even if I do piss you off, so thanks.
polite sage for double posting.
I should point out I'm absolutely not considering the specific bike in pic related, if for no other reason than because it's tiny.
Kilo tt is the absolute lowest you should get for a fixed gear bike since anything else will need upgrading anyways
Buy once cry once.
400$ + no tax + free shipping
I don't want a fixed bike, and honestly I don't want drop bars either
AGAIN sage for double posting
Does that mean 400$ is a reasonable budget for a single speed?
Good plan, drop bars take years of riding experience to master
Any fully rigid bike that is offered in the right size for you and doesn't have those terrible trapezoid derailleur will do for a first bicycle. If you have access to a Decathlon, I always recommend their Triban 100 or the Riverside 100 if the budget is tight. You will quickly learn what you like and dislike in a bicycle and end up with N+1 bicycles cluttering your living room.
>those terrible trapezoid derailleur
what did you mean by this
Kilo tt comes with a free cog buddy
For a decent, brand new one, yes.
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Avoid those piece of shit at all cost
OP here, I can't get cock out of my mouth and I have more questions to ask.
Today after work I've visited two bike stores in my city, both are a part of a chain.
In the bigger chain I asked for his recommendation for what I need ("an a-to-b bike that would still be comfortable even for a 10km ride), he recommended some form of 29" MTB (either Trek or Merida or some shit, roughly 510$) and gleefully announced everything below that price in the store is hot garbage, he rubbed me the wrong way somehow so I tried the next one.
In the next place the guy recommended me a bike called 'Marin san rafael ds2', it was a bit pricier than I had hoped to spend (588$) but it does look nicer and you guys have successfully put me on edge about spending too little, catch is it's specification seems awfully impressive for an 80$ difference, had hydraulic disc breaks, 3x8 instead of 3x7 and to be honest it looked better from an aesthetic point of view (it wasn't the boring white in the picture, some sort of orange-red-ish color), I can't help but suspect this means it too has similar quality parts, except different, more expensive ones.
Both had suspensions, for some reasons it's difficult to find a fully rigid one at the lower price ranges, I guess it's to make them look better than they really are?
When I asked both of them about single speed bike they made a face, one said 'nah, you'll put too much effort into riding, why bother?' and another one said 'nah, I don't sell those here' with an obvious disdain for the city hipsters that would stereotypically ride those.
So my questions for today are:
>Would I REALLY miss gears if I ride mostly flat terrain with the rare, very limited incline? even if we talk about long rides?
>was asking for recommendations from the staff a mistake? I couldn't help but feel I was pushed the shit they couldn't sell
>pic related, y/n?
>Would I escape my trouble if I raise my budget to at least 600-ish dollars?
This is starting to feel like a personal blog, I'm sorry for being a pedant noob and I promise to GTFO /n/ when I'm done.
I can't tell if this is sarcasm
I really don't want drop bars, besides, I couldn't find them locally and I'm not too sure about buying online.
Actually, what about buying online and shipping it overseas? it's sounds like too much of a gamble for me.
I am pleased to say I've never seen one of those.

Yeah that one looks decent, especially if it has hydraulic brakes, the one in your picture has mechanical. 3x8 is also a lot better than 3x7 - 7 speeds can't be upgraded to better parts but 8 speed can.

Single speed is also fine, but most entry-level single-speed bikes have very poor parts spec - shitty brakes with badly positioned levers, freewheels that make an ugly noise while pedaling, heavy wheels and tires and possibly even velodrome gearing that's way too heavy for city riding. Generic hybrid bikes usually aren't complete shit while with a single-speed there is a risk of the bike being a complete shit.
I work at bike scrap yard that deals in low end bikes
there are at least 16 of them somewhere in the pile of derailleurs
>longer commutes (30-50 minutes)
so around 10 km ?
for this I recommend and sprung seat and slightly more upright seating position
its possible to average 25 kph in a fair amount of comfort
I found this from bikes like 1970s Schwinn Suburban and 1930s dutch bike

>27.5 wheels, front suspension hard tail MTB
not ideal for long distance travel
you will not notice this at first

>can I trust bike parts to be what the seller claims them to be?
fakes are easy to spot by material selection and finish

>Can no name bikes be considered or should they be disregarded immediately?
problem with no name bikes are bad shifter and brakes
they are made from the wrong metals and in are of the wrong dimensions and thickness
low performance and they quickly wear out + get damaged easy

>like the breaks straight up not working
point of failure is the hand levers and the brake pads them self's coming loose
further back cable failure is fairly normal

>frame snapping?
there is a very low chance of this in the heavy (15kg+) steel frames
alloy frames can suffer a build up of micro fractures but this is only problem on very light and old frames

>If I get that bike and find a specific part not to my liking, could I just change it relatively simply?
yes very easy to change for older pre 1990s tech bikes
however their are some newer parts that are a pita

>twist grip shift
if I find a bike with a worn out/locked up twist grip
its best to replace this part with thumb lever friction shiftier

>disk brakes
lots of different bolt patterns and mounting positions also no standard shape or size of brake pad

>new rear derailleur on alloy frame
each brand of frame has its own shape of sacrificial derailleur hanger
made of weak alloy so that it snaps off instead of damaging the chain stays
You're overthinking it. You probably have some compulsive disorder. Stop wasting everyone's time and just buy something that seems nice. If you regret it, that's fine. It happens sometimes. But you'd be a functional human being, not paralyzed by fear of disappointment.
unironically get a used 90a mountain bike

80s 12 speed a best
Marin Bikes have good bang for the buck. You can also look at a Fuji Nevada.

You get slightly more out of Marin because they do no advertising or team sponsorships. The 29er trek and merida would also be fine for what you are looking to do.

The Marin is superior because of 3x8.

The Merida and Trek are probably Aluminum and the Merida Steel but that's all personal preference.
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>ITT: OP does it wrong
So you're saying the Marin one would be a good choice? guess I should adjust my budget accordingly, it's not all that much more than what I initially wanted to pay anyway.
>You're overthinking it.
Could be, I'm a terrible fucking pedant.
1.8m, Craigslist isn't really a thing here.
Retarded. MTB commuters literally all have autism
You’re new here aren’t you
Well, you can't say he's wrong, considering it's an /n/ meme.
No-name bikes generally suck. There are okay bikes from name brands for only $400. Konda Dew, Trek FX, Specialized Sirrus, etc.
You have two brakes, if one brake starts having a long lever pull (lever almost hits the bar when you pull it) or seems to have less stopping power, get it fixed right away. Since you have two brakes you shouldnt worry too much about brakes failing as long as you keep them maintained. If you have to pull the front brake hard, keep your weight way back so you dont go over the bars.
If you want to replace parts you generally can. But some things such as switching between drop bars and flat bars is not ideal because the frame's geometry is designed fro one or the other. If you want to upgrade to higher quality components you can generally do that, but not always. For example, high-end triple cranksets are pretty much unheard of anymore, so if you have a triple and want to upgrade you'll probably have to switch to a double, and that would mean switching the derailleur and shifter too. That's just an example. Point being, yeah you can upgrade/swap components, but occasionally there will be some obstacle that makes it less reasonable to do.
Get a bike WITHOUT suspension. Suspension is just extra weight, unless you're mountain biking.
Here are some bikes to check out, some are in the 400-500 dollar range, some are a bit more expensive. Many of them come in different variants/levels with different quality components for different prices. For example, a Konda Dew Plus will be more expensive and have better components than a standard Kona Dew.
Kona Dew
GT Tachyon
Trek FX
Specialized Sirrus (Vita if femanon)
Cannondale Bad Boy
Giant Escape
Salsa Vaya
Surly Straggler
All-City Macho Man
Kona Jake

You could also consider buying used. If you go that route, post in >>>/n/bbg
No NOT get the bike you pictured. The suspension will make the bike very heavy, and you will not gain anything from it. Suspension belongs on mountain bikes, NOT commuter bikes.
Thank you very much for the list, helps me get some perspective!
This point seems to come up a lot and I'm clearly not understanding something here.
Say having front suspensions instead of a rigid fork makes my bike weigh 1kg more, would it be that much different from if I were to ride a rigid fork one with a 1kg backpack on me? Does it matter if the weight comes from the load or the bike itself?
In my mind this seems like a pretty negligible difference, especially since if I pay a bit more for the San rafael I posted a pic of I'd also get hydraulic disk breaks instead of mechanical rim ones, and 3x8 gears instead of 3x7, those seem pretty sweet even if I do get front suspensions that will give me nothing.
Whether or not you have suspension isn't going to make a difference in whether or not you need to carry 1kg of gear. The added weight of the suspension will be there all the time whether or not you're wearing a heavy backpack.
And suspension adds not only weight, but also bob (unless it has lockout, and even lockout doesnt always work perfectly). Bob is very inefficient.
Suspension will decrease your efficiency significantly more than you realize.
Having a rigid fork is much more important than the amount of gears or the type of brakes you have.
Also, you can upgrade the brakes and drivatrain later when you have the money. Upgrading the fork would be more difficult, and less than ideal since a frame will have different geometry if it is designed for use with suspension.
Also, the suspension will probably make the bike cost more than an equal-quality bike with no suspension.
And inexpensive suspension is garbage and hardly works, EVEN IF you are mountain biking and actually want suspension.
There are a lot of reasons for you not to get suspension, and literally 0 reasons for you to get suspension.
Some of the bikes listed Konda Dew, Trek FX, Specialized Sirrus, etc) can be had for $400-$500 if you get the base models ($700-$800 for better versions with better components), and are basically suspensionless versions of the bike you are looking at. They will be infinitely better in all realistic scenarios.
Btw if you're looking at Marins, the Fairfax is a good option. The cheapest version of it is only $430 (the best version is a bit over $1000) and is far better than the Marin you are looking at. It is basiclaly Marin's equivilent to the other bikes recommended (Dew, Sirrus, FX, etc)
It would be a great option for you
Why the fuck are you recommending him a mountain bike? He said he wants a bike to commute.
Also mudguard for suspended forks sucks balls. But if you would like to try mountain biking later on, the entry level MTB from Trek, Giant & co are pretty ok commuters once fitted with slicks.
If OP wants a bike that he can commute and mountain bike on, he should be unironically getting a rigid 80s or 90s mountain bike. Put semislicks on it for commuting, switch back to knobbies for mtb. Keep in mind OP said he wants to do fairly long commutes. He shouldn't be on a mountain bike for that. Possible? Sure. Enjoyable? No, way too inefficient.

But realistically, if he wants to try both, he would be better off getting a $400-$500 commuter bike now, he can take that on really mellow dirt/singletrack if he wants to, and if he wants to get into mountain biking later, he can get a cheap used mountain bike then.

80s-90s rigid mountain bikes are really the only kind of bike that is reasonable to use for both commuting and mountain biking. And even that would be sub-optimal for longer commutes. (though it is an absolutely excellent option for short commutes)
Seriously, something like >>1262473 or a rigid 90s memetain bike
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OP, if you go to a LBS and they have one of the bikes you've been recommended like the Fairfax, Dew, FX, etc, go ahead and buy it.

But don't let them sell you on somethig that is "similar" without asking us first. A lot of LBS employees are retards and would try to sell you a beach cruiser or "comfort bike" or whatever. Those are garbage.
How is a modern MTB with slicks and a locked-up fork less efficient than a 2 decade old one ?

What does your commute look like ? Lot of red lights and stops ? Long stretchs of well paved road ? A less efficient bike won't do much difference for the former.
most suspension forks weigh around 2 kg
it balences the bike out makeing it easyer to lift
still most of the weight will be over the rear wheel

also they will be at least 2 inches longer than a rigid fork (rigid frames have a diffrent geomerty for this reason)
this combined with more postive caster make the bikes steering more lazy / flopy

>1kg backpack on me?
makes almost no diffrence in terms of handleing
only consideration is that it will reduce the amount of air flowing over your back
if your going to be bikeing more than an hour or 16 km a rear wire basket is worth it to hold a back pack and some other supplys in place
even if it gronks up the handleing a little bit

>hydraulic disk breaks
ive yet to find a set that did not work
even if the pads and disks are wrecked and their is some hydraulic fluid missing
the mechancal advantiage is enough to work with
avid and tektro make good stuff

>mechanical rim brakes
issue with them is the need for frequent adjustment of pads
and keeping the wheel true and non oval
most people don't have the persistence for this

>3x8 gears instead of 3x7
but does it have MegaRange ?

>suspensions that will give me nothing
cheep forks with only springs do not deal much with small bumps
they work best on speed bumps and curb ramp (due to angle of fork)
where as air suspension can be made to work with small bumps by adjusting the preload
this can be done with a hand pump due to small volume
>How is a modern MTB with slicks and a locked-up fork less efficient than a 2 decade old one ?
Geometry isn't as good for pavement. Suspension may still have bob if the lockout sucks. Fork will be heavier despite being much newer. Commuting with suspension is fucking stupid.
>What does your commute look like ?
Realistically? almost no actual road, 50/50 on pavement and bike tracks for one trip I have in mind and almost only pavement on the other.
Riding a mechanical bike is legal on sidewalks here and frankly I'm not confident enough to go on the road yet, it's kind of what I'm expected to do.
ּRight, so insist on a rigid fork, got it.
I might go for the Trek FX in that case, but I'll look through the rest of the list again to see if one is cheaper.
What was that about needing to keep wheels non oval with rim breaks?
OP again.
Looking a bit into the recommendation the Trek FX1 weights 27.66 pounds (roughly 12.5 kg), while a San Rafael DS2 weighs about 29 pounds (about 13.1kg), that's 0.6 of a kilogram difference, it really doesn't seem to be that much of a difference (though from what little I understand by lurking /n/ both would be considered rather heavy).
Would a suspension fork not help with stuff like curbs, damaged pavement/road and gravel paths? they're not part of the current commute I have in mind but my current commutes won't last for long and it's not unreasonable to think my future roads might include such difficulties.
The Marin one has this suspension fork (http://www.srsuntour-cycling.com/nl/bike/forks/NEX-HLO-700C-3891.html) if I'm not mistaken (googled "SR Suntour NEX Disc HLO, 63mm Travel, Hydraulic Lockout, Preload Adjustment", which is what they called it on the official website)
I desperately tried to find if they say it somewhere, but I've also heard cheap front suspensions are usually made of steel, which kind of sucks, because it would mean I have to worry about rust there.
I understand the risk with cheap suspensions but I'm not entirely at peace with paying more for less, because other than that the san Rafael seems like a half decent bike.
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>most suspension forks weigh around 2 kg
>it balences the bike out makeing it easyer to lift

What the FUCK are you talking about, you dumbcunt lmao
>ּRight, so insist on a rigid fork, got it.
no just be careful to know what type you are buying
suspension is nice to have, it can help reduce strain on the wrists
if you do get a suspended bike make sure to keep the stanchion tube lubricated
at least once a year otherwise the forks can get stuck

>What was that about needing to keep wheels non oval with rim breaks?
its a rare problem where the hub is not perfectly centered the the vertical axis
also known as wheel hop
can be fixed by Radial truing

>Would a suspension fork not help with stuff like curbs
yes but mostly in the vertical direction so you have to keep the wheel inline with the curb as normal
and must remember that the rear wheel is still un suspended lol (I know this personally)

>damaged pavement/road and gravel paths?
a soft set will soak up large cracks in the pavement and things like manhole covers (sort of 20 mm travel)
and any dips in a shell rock type of path

>sr suntour sf14 ds hlo 700c
it is a coil type with hydraulic damping
there is even some video of it at work

>I understand the risk with cheap suspensions but I'm not entirely at peace with paying more for less
don't worry too much about the fancy things
they come into mind latter on when one gets used to the cheaper parts and starts to find their limits

honestly air spring is more of a luxury than a necessity
I like them for the adjustability and how they can save me from crashes on downhill mtb trails

the total weight of a bike is less important than its distribution of mass
you might notice this if you ever have to move 50 or more bikes in a day
or even just one bike over a fence
What do you mean by 'bike tracks'? Concrete bike trails? Gravel? Dirt? Mountain bike trails with lots of roots and rocks?
>weight difference
May be due to more than the fork. Weight of other components. Regardless, suspension fork isn't just the weight. The suspension bob will waste a LOT of energy. And EVEN IF it has lockout, and EVEN IF the lockout works well, the ride quality of a locked out suspension fork is not as good as the ride quality of a rigid fork.
>Would a suspension fork not help with stuff like curbs,
Going off curbs? Not at all. Going up curbs? You shouldn't be doing that anyway (unless you're on a mountain bike with wide tires) because you'll pinch your rear tube and get flat tires.
>damaged pavement/road, gravel paths
Suspension is very much overkill if that's the roughest conditions you'll be dealing with. Instead, you'll just want your tires to be a bit wider than if you were riding only on good pavement (at least 32 millimeters, potentially 35 or even 40; wider will be slower, but more comfortable on rough terrain), and ride with your tires at a bit lower pressure than you would if you were on smooth pavement (I won't give pressure recommendations without knowing what specific tires you'll be on).
>paying more for less
You're not paying more for less. You can probably get a Trek FX, Marin Fairfax, etc for just as cheap as a San Rafael, and it will serve you much better.

>suspension is nice to have
He's not going to be mountain biking. He's going to be on rough pavement and gravel. There's a reason gravel bikes, touring bikes (even those meant for rough roads and shithole third world touring), etc all have rigid forks. Hell, even bikepackers sometimes go rigid.
>What was that about needing to keep wheels non oval with rim breaks?
If a wheel is out of true (wobbly in any direction), it will be more of an issue with rim brakes than with disc brakes because it will rub on the brakes. You can fix it yourself with a spoke wrench (very cheap tool), or a bike shop will charge $15-20 to true a wheel. Disc brake wheels are not immune to the problem, you can just ignore it a bit longer and let it get a bit worse than you can with rim brakes. Your wheels aren't going to be constantly going out of true (unless you're really abusing your bike, like constantly riding down stairs and up curbs and stuff like that, and that would give you other problems like lots of flat tires too, so you shouldn't be doing that anyway unless you're on a mountain bike). It's just something that will happen occasionally, and it's one of the periodic maintenance issues, just like you sometimes have to have your brakes adjusted, derailleurs adjusted, etc.
Disc brakes are nice, but if I found a good deal on a bike with rim brakes, I wouldn't not buy it just because of the brakes.
The exception being for mountain bikes. On mountain bikes, disc brakes are important to have because they provide more stopping power which can be important in technical terrain. But for riding on pavement, rim brakes will provide plenty of stopping power.
OP here, I went scouting for bikes today and ran into what is presumably an official trek store, asked the guy about the FX1 and he said he doesn't have one my size.
After thinking a bit he said he had a large fx1 frame and a smaller size fx1 he could scavange into a large fx1 for almost as cheap as the no name bike which started this thread!
Switching parts like that is nothing to worry about, right? They're both trek fx1's except different sizes and different years. (Frame is 2018 and parts are 2015-16)
Do I take the plunge? Can my noob ass finally be at peace?
As in, you want a size large, he has a stripped down large frame, and could put the components from the smaller frame on it? As long as the frame and fork are your size, yeah, you'll be good to go. The FX1 will be a great option for you. Not a high end bike by any means, and you'll likely want to upgrade components at some point when you have the money, but with your budget you couldn't make a better choice.
OP again, hopefully for the last time.
>What do you mean by 'bike tracks'? Concrete bike trails? Gravel? Dirt? Mountain bike trails with lots of roots and rocks?
over here bike tracks are parts of the pavement that are asphalt, but it very much depends on the specific city, few bike tracks actually lead anywhere all the way and you have no choice but use the pedestrian pavement or risk getting run over by pissed off car drivers.
>As in, you want a size large, he has a stripped down large frame, and could put the components from the smaller frame on it?
Yes, frame is green which I'm not crazy about but whatever, it's much cheaper and it's not neon pink or anything.

I think I'm going to order it tomorrow, so thank you very much for your help everyone!
I really do appreciate it.
seconding the other anon
>6. What should I look for in a bike to determine it's decent?

welds quality, frame weight, coating, brand at last


rim and hub quality, (you can easily change tires according to your preferences later)
>(riding it to try it out isn't really acceptable here).

sad, sounds 3rd world

Anyway, like others said 350$ no name bike will probably be very close to 500$ brand bike. These days almost all frames come from Taiwanese mega factories.

For commuting you should consider a bike without suspension fork. Suspension needs more maintenance and adds nothing valuable to
a commuter bike.

Sounds good, Go for it!
Don't make him start doubting again. Smh
I would absolutely start doubting myself again if it wasn't for the fact the Trek FX 1 was offered to me for ever so slightly more.
Have you bought it meanwhile?
Going there in a couple of hours!
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Ended up buying a brand new 2019 FX 1 because the large frame the guy mentioned was apparently part of a bike that was in a crash, so we've both figured this might not be such a hot idea.
Ended up paying more, (a little under 450$) but screw it, at the very least I need to get it out of my system and get me a god damn bike.
Thanks, /n/, you're cool dudes.
Enjoy it, /n/igger. You did as well as you could for $450.
Good going man. You should start looking at bike fitting guides right away, saddle height specially.
Everyone loves their Trek FX it is a great all arounder.

Piece of advice: Resist the urge to throw another 15 lbs of shit on the bike.
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I have put 2083 miles on my no-name claris roadbike this year. Cost: 399 on black friday 2017. (normally 599). Poseidon Triton
well done anon.
Get a good lock now and learn how to lock a bike proprely
Post the bike and we're done.
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pic related, it's not a very good one but it's a picture.
too little too late, already slapped a rack on it.
Thanks /n/iggers, I love it.
I'm having trouble riding in anything but a straight-ish line and I'm still not 100% on those gears because certain combinations start rattling for some reason, but other than that I'm having fun.
More than anything I've learned I have to learn how to properly ride, somehow riding a bike is kind of hard on my triceps and wrists, like I'm leaning on them too much.
Thanks again dudes! you've been a great help.
That rattling is probably actually rubbing due to cross-chaining, try to avoid big-big or small-small cog combinations.
Your arms hurt because you're not used to riding and thus don't have proper posture, try to use your core muscles to support your body instead of just throwing your dead weight onto the handlebars
This may seem a bit confusing at first but it'll be as natural as breathing soon enough
Also you may want to check out some guides on brake and shifter adjustment since new brake cables "stretch" after being used for the first time so your brakes/shifters WILL need re-tuning.
Finally, you may want to get some decent pedals that are a bit bigger, grippier and not so flexy, it's really worth it.
Those narrow riser 'bars are kind of rubbish for casual riding; OEMs spec. them just to save a few pennies. You'll find tourist-style handlebars (a.k.a. "North Road" style) to be more comfortable if you don't mind the price.
>I'm having trouble riding in anything but a straight-ish line and I'm still not 100% on those gears because certain combinations start rattling for some reason, but other than that I'm having fun.
Don't cross-chain. Cross chaining is when you're in the big (outer) chainring and in one of the smallest (innermost) rear cogs at the same time, OR when you're in the small (inner) chainring and one of the smallest (outermost) rear cogs. It wears your chain faster and may make it rub on your derailleurs. Other anon posted a helpful diagram showing what cross-chaining is, but I would advise that when in the big ring, avoid not only the biggest cog, but also the 2nd and maybe 3rd biggest cogs; and likewise, when in the smallest ring, avoid the smallest 2-3 cogs. If you crosschain briefly it's not a big deal, just don't stay in that gear ratio for a long time.
If it's making noise even when not cross-chaining, ask the shop you bought it from to take a look, they'll probably check it out and make any necessary adjustments for free since you just bought it from them.
>More than anything I've learned I have to learn how to properly ride, somehow riding a bike is kind of hard on my triceps and wrists, like I'm leaning on them too much.
Make sure the saddle height, saddle angle, saddle fore-aft position, and bar height/position are correct for your body. Fit adjustments can help a lot, and can definitely affect your wrists, even if it's an adjustment that you wouldn't expect to affect your wrists.
If after a while you still have wrist pain, you could try some ergo grips, but you should definitely try getting the fit dialed in first.
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It's probably that, my changing gears is still more trial and error than it is a well thought out decision but it's fine because 2x4 just werks if I'm not ascending.
Why are they not good? They don't really bother me right now, is it one of those things where you're fine with lower quality until you try the higher quality and it ruins the lower quality for you?

Also since this is pretty much my personal blog I want to share I fell off a bike for the first time today, the pedal got caught in a bus stop, threw me right at the road, but luckily I was pretty slow because I had enough sense to break before.
Really, thanks dudes, I rode my bike pretty much every day since >>1263746 , I'm not confident enough to commute with it for long distances but I'm getting there, I just need to get better at maneuvering between obstacles and not crashing or running some kid over.
Based, keep at it
>Why are they not good?

they are fine, it's just someone trying to sell you a new set of bars that they have. You would lose the tight handling and the ability to go offroad if you installed a pair of hokey 'townie' bars.

Also in my experience bars that are non-drop bars where your wrists are not perpendicular to the front wheel are more difficult to manuver, keep steady and turn. They do allow you to ride upright and in a position with less weight on your hands.

But IMO big deal just get a $10 pair of gloves on amazon if your hands get hurty.
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Bar ends are also a good idea. A secondary hand position is very welcome on long rides.
>You would lose the ability to go offroad
lmao no he wouldn't you retard

it's just polishing a turd
Ergo bar-ends are good but if you use your bike in a way where they are really useful (touring). You might as well get drop bar.

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