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I'm looking for a good bike to use to get around campus and use on the local trail which is about 10 miles paved and unpaved and goes around a lake. Preferably under $300.

  • Welcome to Bicycles. We cannot help with shopping question here; we aim for question and answers that have long-term and wide-spread value. Shopping questions tend to help just the one person get out of date quickly. Since you want if for use on campus, try the student association, local bike shops, and campus notice boards for second hand bikes. – andy256 Jun 23 '15 at 3:41
  • Product recommendation questions are generally a poor fit for a Q&A site since the answers quickly become out of date. There are a number of previous posts that will help you know what to look for when buying a new/first road bike, commuter bike and mountain bike. – Gary.Ray Jun 24 '15 at 19:08
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If your campus is like most I have ever heard about, you want the cheapest bike that will do the job.
Bike theft is a common thing everywhere but campuses where a lot of young people are in need of bikes are certainly not less risky than average.

Most students I know look for second hand bikes, either at the university, online or where they grew up/have their relatives and friends network.

The brand of bike is less important, I guess you know better than I do what kind of bike you like for that.

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    Some campuses are starting to catch on. My Alma Mater has a caged bike area with cameras that logs who goes in and out with a swipe card system. Bicycles are a very economical means of transportation. It's disappointing that the lack of security on campus stops most students from being able to use bicycles. – Kibbee Jun 22 '15 at 19:45
  • I don't think lack of security should ever stop anyone. As long as you follow 2 simple rules no one should ever steal your bike: know how to lock it (always lock two wheels and frame to a secure place) and most important, go for the combo: very cheap bike, very expensive lock. Make sure the bike next to yours is nicer to steal and requires less effort. – super Jun 24 '15 at 7:10
  • I do not tell the OP not to buy a bike but to go for a cheap one as long as still living on campus. When you move around a lot there is the day you forget to lock your bike. I personally love the ring locks that keep the rear wheel with the frame, I do lock the front wheel to the frame with the lock I use to attach to a fixed object. – Willeke Jun 24 '15 at 15:12
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I had a BMX bike for two years in college and no one wanted to steal it. To most common thieves it does not have a high value since it looks like a kids bike. They are fun to ride, can get you across campus through any terrain, and are small enough to fit inside closets and crevasess if you forgot your lock.

If that's not your thing. Try an older road bike off of craigslist. Something that you can maintain yourself, but not too shiny to get noticed. You want something light and with less moving parts so that way there is less to go wrong. Make sure you replace all the quick release parts.

I had a 20 year old Specialized road bike before going to the BMX. Before that, I had a 2 year old Mongoose that got stolen piece by piece.

  • Why replace the quick releases? – Carey Gregory Jun 24 '15 at 3:45
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    Because with quick releases, unless you are careful to lock both wheels, someone can steal them literally in 5 seconds without any tool. – super Jun 24 '15 at 7:11
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Especially considering the theft issue raised by Willeke, I'd say hands down the bike for you is a rigid mtb. That's what I ride. I live in a high-crime city, and ride it on fairly technical trails.

I would buy used. You could probably get a decent used one for less than a hundred bucks.

I would probably put some skinnier 26x1.5 tires on it, depending on how rough the unpaved stuff is.

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