Bikes are the coolest invention in the universe

yes for mens pants anyway…


#everyone, plz help crowdsource these picks
I’m a lifelong hobbyist but I don’t know everything about every bike.
8 and 1/2 pages of “new”
#whittling it down, my personal method:

  • frame size is where we start. Your inseam seems to be “normal” for your height, so we’ll go by height on this chart:

  • Cost: In US dollars, investing in a new bike doesn’t become a favorable deal (see BSO below) until you hit about $600-700 (approaching what the IKEA bike costs, actually.) So, since you want used and for novice, I’m thinking $500 max? [EDIT: see note below–I didn’t even come close to that limit] If you’re willing to go higher than that, then paying a bit more for new becomes a factor and that’s a whole other thing.

  • no BSOs: Huffy, Manga, modern Mongoose etc. I believe this includes modern Schwinn, and historically Schwinn is problematic, I mostly skipped them, too.

  • no picture=skip: quickly reviewing 850 choices means eyeballing.

  • no suspended bikes: on gnarly trails they’re an advantage. otherwise, they’re heavy, jiggly, energy-robbers. larger-circumference tires will absorb any on-road, light gravel, or hard-pack trail bumps perfectly cromulently. Someone else may disagree, but that’s my method.

  • only bikes that have eyelets to mount racks and fenders: your “all-weather commuter” criteria (I approve, as my bike attests.) some picks have racks/fenders already

[I will note here that the Fresno market is a buyers paradise–great prices! I just did this for a guy in Detroit and here in ATL is waaaay different]
#which leaves
Rigid MTBs. knobby tires rob energy on road so invest in slicks or semi-slicks: rocksteady, no BS mtb violates my “no suspension” criterion, but otherwise alu frame and good components=legit and good price. the shock might could be “locked out” for road riding. he fucked up writing the price. he actually says $95 for the bike in the description. super legit, no BS mtb.

TOUR-STYLE ROADIES: has a nice commuter bar on it, Bridgestone is very reputable with a “following.” good light steel, reputable components to be expected. me likey. (OK, there was only one of those. thought there would be more.)

HYBRIDS. the “jack-or-all-trades, master-of-none” of bikes, but this works for what you want, though. I think these models are OK: Spesh on a Brooks saddle, rack & fenders incl.; well worth this price. This is the best-choice hybrid of those I found for you (size OK by my eyeball? double-check.) Trek step-thru hybrid seems decent. guessing size is OK. test ride for size, check for eyelet mounts (I’m sure they’re there.) otherwise a fair package, says he’ll deal, even. not sure if hybrid or MTB, but advice same as Jamis just above. possibly too big, but otherwise kinda neat

OTHER: this is a big “maybe”. PRO: rack, basket, kickstand, step-thru “mixte” frame and I believe this is a reputable Schwinn model/good alloy steel. CON: “$380 obo”? this person is smoking a rock. your best offer should be $200 unless you really love it (ask me for more info if so)

#before you buy:
check whole frame for cracks including underneath. crack=walk. no big, flakey rust patches. check the seatpost for seizure; bring hex wrenches (or adjustable wrench for really old models) to loosen seatpost bolt and make sure post isn’t frozen in frame. feel free to punch the saddle sideways to loosen. frozen=walk, unless you’re 100% positive it’s frozen at your personal height (see below,) but then haggle. spin wheels and inspect from head-on view; if more than a gradual <1cm wobble, the repair is ~$20 and up per wheel, so haggle or walk as appropriate. If the gears don’t shift right or brakes are wonky, similar story. there are bearings in both wheel hubs, in the frame between the cranks, and in the headtube between the stem (i.e. the handlebar holder) and fork. they should all spin freely, smoothly with no noise. If it feels like there’s sand in there, then there is. use your hands to tug the wheels, cranks, and stem sideways and if they’re loose beyond like ~1 mm, consider walking, esp on those old MTBs.
double-check the fit. “Stand over the frame of a bike, and if there’s an inch or two between the top of the top tube and your tender parts, that’s the right size.” is the short answer. a bit small is OK. there is no “a bit big,” walk away. See also this and the second part of this: “Adjustment,” to get the right saddle height.

Whew, that’s a lot. but now we can refer people to this post for future bike hunts and avoid redundancies. @chgoliz I’ll do you next but later. Review methods and before you buy stuff I wrote here to get in the swing of how this works. In the meantime, anyone else can do a hunt, too. :slight_smile:


That’s right! Don’t you love how easy men have it?


Holy baby blue banana seats! That’s awesome! Thank you so much. I’m going to study this post carefully. I hope I can return the favor some tome soon. This is really nice of you. :smiley_cat:

I will post updates as I go …



Anyone want any of these?


that looks… unstable? prone to breakage?


oh, lawd.
the one you posted is not even all that bad. they’re based on this game that’s been going around

and then this guy actually builds them, the absolute madman!


They’re computer renderings. Cool though. He would have to be a madman to actually try to build them.


oh, whoops. that makes a hell of a lot more sense. so much attention to detail, I never considered it. the stands for the rear wheel…

still a bit of a madman.


OK, so what kind of bike does she want? what kind of riding; utility, sport? I assume not off-road in Chi? what do her friends ride so they don’t all rag her for having a weird bike?

Also, am I looking at the Chi metro CL or are y’all off in a neighboring county or what?

Big-city used bike markets tend to be highly inflated. I haven’t looked at it yet, but even so, there will still be deals for good stuff. How many, how often they come up, and how quickly they get snapped up may be an issue, but we’ll see.


Leaning toward calling on this one. And I like the idea that Bridgestones have a following.


Interestingly, my bike that I posted ITT is also an 80s Japanese sport-tourer with a casual handlebar. This feels like validation :slight_smile:
Don’t be intimidated by the downtube shifters, they become second-nature quickly (like reaching down to shift a 5speed car, but without the hard part – the clutch.) also, getting some old-school thumb shifters on the bar can be done (but researching compatibility for your old gear set-up is a thing.) but give the DTs a good chance.


Are there conventions governing the transaction for tranferring possession of the bike? If there’s not proof of ownership, we could memorialize our understanding with a quick signed note of some kind. But what do reasonable private parties do when buying and selling a bike? I suppose some documentation is needed to transfer title, but what about customized or old bikes or if the proof of ownership was lost and needs to be replaced.

eh, neither of the used bikes I bought involved anything other than cash trading hands. given the universal and total indifference police have toward bike theft, the odds of a sale affecting you negatively seems very remote. but screenshotting/saving the .html of the page your potential bike is on before it’s taken down seems like it would protect you legally if it came down to it. There’s a serial no. stamped into the bottom bracket of bikes; after the purchase, if you were paranoid about the seller, you could go to the cop shop and ask if the bike has been reported stolen (but if it was, you’re out the money and the bike, and you’ll have to finger the thief–which you should, but just saying.)

once you get your bike, take pics of you with it and a pic of the serial no. and record that number on your device/a card in your wallet. I etch my name into the seatpost where it’s inside the seat tube, too.


Okay, maybe 4 or 5".

Or only around 3-4" on the Avanti.

But my Hillman is pretty slammed.

Obviously it’s a bit small for me… I want to replace it with a 55-56cm funny bike frameset, and run it with the drops as my commuter. Because I ride in street clothes, and not usually for more than 20 or 30 minutes, I don’t get on the drops very much, so I set the height on the hoods at the lowest I can sustain, and the drops are just for taking advantage of a descent (usually just an overpass or gentle slope around my way) or for trying to hide from a headwind.

I’m not sure about this hip rotation business; being on the drops that low doesn’t cause me any particular discomfort beyond the fatigue caused by having to either go hard, or take more weight on my hands, or sit up. Maybe I’m rotating my hips, I have no idea. What’s the deal with it, beyond the dread?

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you didn’t want to cut that steerer tube?

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What are drops?

Nah, 1" threadless forks are hard to come by, let alone carbon ones, and that’s a pretty short head tube.

The first time I use the word there I mean drop bars (as opposed to the bullhorn and aero bar combo you’d normally see on a funny bike), and after that I’m referring to the hooks in the bars.


These, right?

I feel like the little brother of this group.