Bike recommendations

So, my son is learning how to ride a bike and he has repeatedly told me that I need to get a bike so that he and I can ride together.

Now, look, I am not the strongest of bike riders and haven’t owned one in literal years. But, I want to be a good dad and ride with the boy. Where should I start?

If you are riding with your son I’d recommend a mtn bike. I always tell people to not spend too much upfront until you are sure you are into it. So with that I’d recommend looking on KSL for a decent used mtn bike.

Or you can buy my road bike I toasted last week. Slightly damaged carbon frame, I’ll give you a good deal :wink:

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Sounds like your son is a little older, riding BMX size bikes or so.

As for you. Get something well made. Like Rocker said, an MTB is a good all around bike. They can be a bit upright, so you’re not leaning over much. I will also suggest getting one from a local bike shop and not big box store. Yes you may pay a bit more, but the bike will be put together correctly. I can’t tell you how many bikes I’ve been paid to put together correctly from the big box stores. You’ll pay more in long run for a cheap bike now, vs one that’s put together properly. The components will be a little better too, meaning if you drop your bike on the drive side, your less likely to have something bend beyond repair or service.

I don’t know if I can suggest a used MTB, unless you buy it from someone who has maintained it. Be especially inquisitive over used ones. If you go the used route, take it to a local shop and have them give it a thorough look over, or tune up.

I can keep going, but I’d rather not give you too much all at once. If you have questions ask the board. There are enough of us who have bikes and ride them quite often. Not all of them sell like I do, but there is a pool of knowledge that can be tapped for your use.

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I would start with a local shop and get sized up to make sure you have an idea of what size bike will be most comfortable for you. Don’t feel pressure of buying from whatever shop you start with. I’d recommend taking a few different bikes out for a spin to see what feels best for you. Same goes for the shop, if you buy from a shop you’ll want to make sure it’s a shop you feel comfortable with, not just for the initial purchase, but for servicing it down the road.

Before you get into it I’d also decide on how much you really want to spend. That will help determine whether you may want to buy new or used. You can generally get a lot more bike for the money if you go used. The bad news is that due to the pandemic there is a shortage on bikes and bike parts. Most bike shops are not going to have year end deals like they usually do, they are having a hard time keeping anything in stock, especially the entry level bikes. Some people selling 2nd hand bikes are taking advantage and asking more than the original price due to the shortage. There is also unfortunately a LOT of bike theft going on in the area. If you see a 2nd hand deal that looks too good to be true, it’s probably stolen.

Good luck!

Good advice above. I’d say don’t overthink it at this point. You want to ride with your son who’s just learning to ride. The considerations would seem to be where you’re intending to ride and how much interest you may have in picking it up as a hobby or as alternative transportation. That, more than anything, should describe what type of bike you should consider. If it’s more dirt, than a mountain bike. Mostly pavement, maybe a hybrid/fitness style.

If you are in Utah, and between 5’10” and 6’1”, I have a bike you could borrow to use to see what you want. I’m not emotionally ready to sell her yet.

It’s a 20 year old hard tail mountain bike, but with an updated drivetrain. It has tires on that can be used on dirt or road.

Thanks for the offer, but, trust me when I say, you don’t want me riding any bike you aren’t willing to sacrifice to the crash gods. I am…not good at these things.

I ride a lot and am going to differ a bit from the advice from others. If your son is younger and just learning it doesn’t really matter what type of bike you buy because he’s going to be doing around the block rides. You could follow him on a road bike, cross bike, mountain bike or beach cruiser and be just fine. The important thing is that if you are spending time with him you’re being a good dad. If he’s a little older he is going to want to hit the trails and so you would indeed want a mountain bike.

Either way my advice is always to spend enough that you’ll enjoy riding the bike. If you hit WalMart* and buy a cheap bike it’s going to be heavy, fragile and unreliable. It may or may not be the right size for you. It could very easily end up being ridden a few times and then retired to a corner in the garage. That doesn’t ever feel like a good investment to me. On the other hand, if you find a bike that puts a smile on your face every time you throw a leg over you’ll ride it a lot, improve your health and set a great example for your son. I get asked “What bike should I buy” often and here is the process I recommend:

  1. Figure out how much you can spend. I generally say you should plan on $800-$1000 to get a good mountain bike new that will work well and last years.
  2. Visit every bike shop in your area. Tell them your budget and where you plan to ride and then test ride every bike they have in your price range. Wear good shoes and shorts. If you are hoping to ride a ton buy a $40 pair of bike shorts and wear them on the test ride. Ask the person helping you to help you get the saddle setup properly, in a well run shop you won’t need to ask. Go around the block more than once. Ride over the curb and on the grass.Shift the gears and spend time pedaling from the saddle and standing up.
  3. One of the bikes will put a bigger smile on your face than the others. Buy that bike. Size matters, but it’s easier in a mountain bike than a road bike as there are fewer sizes so I’d feel OK letting the shop tell you what size to test/buy.
  4. Ride. Often.

I don’t think brand matters a ton as long as you are in a good shop. I’ve owned Giant, Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Felt and others and love them all. I’ve owned hard tails, fat bikes and full suspension bikes and am currently spending most of my dirt time on a hard tail that I currently have setup with a rigid fork. It’s all good and the only really important thing is that you are excited every time you get on the bike.

There are a few places where I’d feel good letting you buy used, but as a newby I generally tell folks to buy new. If you are local to Utah there is are a couple of good Facebook groups that will have bikes that are well cared for and not stolen. (MBEU / Parking Lot Deals)

As others have said, if you are in Utah and about my size (5’10" also!) I’d be happy to loan you a bike and even give you a tour of a local trail system. I’m in Herriman and there are trails close that are beginner compatible. I’d also recommend Eagle Mountain, Corner Canyon in Draper, Valley Vista in Lehi, Lambert Park in Alpine or Temple Quarry in Sandy as being beginner friendly.

Man, this turned out to be a long post, here’s the TL;DR: Biking is awesome, spend enough that you’ll enjoy the ride. I’m happy to help. Get out and ride!

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I agree with all the posts here and should note that the reason I suggested a used bike is it is a place where you can potentially get the most bang for your buck - but you also need to know what to look out for and to avoid - so new is safer.

I actually have a neighbor who watches the local DI and grabs good bikes, fixes them up and sells them on KSL. He is honest and knows what he is doing as a former downhill racer and mechanic and he has hooked up a lot of kids in our neighborhood with nice bikes that would normally be way out of their budgets.

As others have mentioned no big box or chain stores, but do a local bike shop. Also you may be wondering where to spend or splurge and I would say initially that is your contact points with the bike, which is primarily the saddle.

I remember first getting into biking and dusting off an old bike I had inherited. The seat was ripped and so I went to a local bike shop to buy a new one. The guy showed me a bunch of $100+ saddles and I joked that I didn’t think my butt was worth more than $25 and bought what I thought looked like an affordable nice cushy seat. It turns out that really your butt and your junk is worth much more than $100 so get a saddle with the right fit. I’ll note that some of my favorite saddles had really no padding. But if it fits you right it won’t matter.

And once you have a good saddle make sure the angle is right, which is typically level to the ground (each rider is a bit different). A seat angled forward or back too much can completely alter the feel of a bike. And off course having the saddle the right height is important too.

So the fitting at a local bike shop is well worth the time.

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I take it that the Ironman in your handle doesn’t refer to the race that requires a 112 mile bike ride?

I’m selling a sweet Santa Cruz on KSL right now.

hehehe

No. No it does not. To give you an idea 9f me and bikes, I once crashed into a telephone pole on my mission.

There’s a joke in here I am not understanding.

He’s just hinting that you should buy his bike.