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I am looking for a new bike after my current one has started to fall apart mostly.

As a disclaimer upfront: I have very little knowledge on bikes. For my current bike I did very minor repairs myself (fasten lose screws, etc.), for everything beyond that I mostly went to a shop or asked friends.

I am looking for a new bike to replace my - as mentioned before - falling apart old one. My constraints are mostly on the budget as I am not in a position to spend more than around 300€ on the bike - which I know is a rather tight budget.

I will be using the bike for two things mainly:

  1. Daily commutes to the train station from home. This is a short 5 minute ride that however includes going up a quite steep hill. This for me was a point that ruled out a Single-Speed. Not completely sure here though.
  2. Short tours of up to 20km (~12.5 miles). 80% road. 20% dirt/forest road. Nothing to steep, it's mostly flat around here. I would say >95% flat. The other is bridges, etc. so rather short slopes.

With these things in mind I considered to go for a City Bike. My current one also is a city bike and I think that I don't really need suspension, etc. However I might be wrong here as I never tried suspension before.

I also considered buying a used bike - however my problem here is that I am not sure what to look for here, to see if I buy something usable, or something that will fall apart after a couple months.

So to conclude and formulate a question: For my beforementioned budget and use-cases what would be a good bike-type or specific bike to look at and where should I look for it?

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    If you don't need suspension now then you don't need it. – Daniel R Hicks Aug 28 '18 at 12:37
  • City or hybrid would be fine. Visit some local bike shops and let the sales staff guide you. In your price range suspension does one thing only: add weight. I'd avoid it. – Argenti Apparatus Aug 28 '18 at 14:12
  • How flat is ">95% flat"? That less-than-5% can be really important if it's steep. If ">95% flat" is really flat (or you have the ability and don't mind having to grind up a few hills...) a single-speed bike is usually a lot cheaper and easier to maintain than anything with gears on it. – Andrew Henle Aug 28 '18 at 16:25
  • @AndrewHenle the thing holding me back from the Single-Speed is my daily commute. The hill there is nasty and takes ~2 minutes and being sweaty on the train everyday does not feel like a good plan. Else I would go for a single-speed probably. And yes, flat is really flat. As in like totally flat. – Ben Aug 28 '18 at 20:31
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    Also ask a bike-knowledgable friend to come with you when looking at used bikes. Learn the M check and apply it. sustrans.org.uk/what-you-can-do/cycling/your-bike/… – Criggie Sep 1 '18 at 3:56
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Consider repairing your current bicycle if you are happy with it. Especially if the frame and/or wheels are of high quality and still in good shape. For <300€ you can only get a very cheap entry level bicycle. The same money will easily get you a pair of good tires, shifters, cables, chain, saddle, pedals, stem and handlebar to repair or upgrade your current bike. Repairing your current bicycle also makes sense if you plan to leave it at the train station since an old bicycle (with a good lock) is probably much less likely to get stolen than a brand new one (even if it’s cheap).

If you really want a new bicycle, I’d personally go for something less sedate than a city bike. Go for a hybrid, trekking bike or an MTB with rigid fork (i.e. without suspension). Avoid cheap suspension forks like the plague.

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  • Good option. And always park next to a shinier bike ;) – Swifty Aug 28 '18 at 16:00
  • This actually does sound like a good plan. The old bike has issues with the tires and breaks. I guess I could look for cheap replacements here. I will definitely look around here before making the decision to get a completely new bike. – Ben Aug 28 '18 at 20:33
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Keep it simple, no fancy stuff, no suspension, maybe look for a 1X system (if that is possible at that price range)

Get an entry level hybrid bike from a bike shop if possible.

Have it fit when you buy it so you are comfortable riding it.

Get a good lock if you leave it at the train station.

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Where should I look for it?

More and more places have bicycle recycling projects where donated bikes are refurbished by volunteers or students (or inmates) and sold on.

The quality is high because they sell on the best ones, fully refurbed, but the prices are low because the bikes are donated and the labour is cheap!

See if you can find something similar near to you. It’s better value than buying new, and takes the risk and hassle out of buying second hand.

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  • You could donate your old one for feel-good feelings and maximum convenience. Ride in, ride out! – Swifty Aug 28 '18 at 16:01
  • This might actually be a really good plan. We have three universities in town and neighbouring cities so there is a good chance something like that exists. I will look around for that! – Ben Aug 28 '18 at 20:34
  • @ben worth the trouble of seeking out – Swifty Aug 28 '18 at 20:47
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For my beforementioned budget and use-cases what would be a good bike-type or specific bike to look at and where should I look for it?

Go to a garage sale for bikes. You will probably find a good bike, which was not used heavy and was standing most of the time in someone's garage, so they are in pretty good shape and you do not have to repair the whole bike. You can get there bikes for around 50-100€, get a new chain, get new brake pads and you are ready to go.

In the best case, the bike type you should be looking for is an "old school" MTB-bike, which has a steel frame, solid wheels and good shifting components. so you will have little repair and maintaining.

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