I only have $400 to spend on a road bike, but the ones I have found so far all cost over $1,000. I have worked hard during my school, being class president of my junior class, as well as getting ready for college, but I can't afford a bike which costs over a grand. Where can get a bike for my budget? It saddens my heart to know that the teenagers who want to ride the most are the ones who can't afford it. Isel Brooklyn, New York
Until then, you will have to be frugal. And here's how: Trot over to your library and find some back issues of Bicycling magazine. Anything two or three years old is fine. Better yet, you find an April issue, which has the magazine's annual review of new bikes. Then find some bikes that sold for around $1,000 when new. You'll probably find something like the Fuji Newest, an extremely capable road bike that sold for $900 in 2002 and has an aluminum frame and Shimano components. Or a KHS Flite 500, also a decent bike that went for $1,000 a few years back.
Then, start looking for a used one. Try eBay. Try Craigslist. Scan the classifieds. Post a note at the local bike shop asking anyone with a road bike in your price range to contact you. You may have to be patient, but my guess is that you'll find a perfectly good bike for well under $500. Plus, odds are a used bike will come up with all the goodies that usually add $100 or more to the price of a new bikecycle computer, pump, seat bag. Depending on the condition of the bike, you might need to spend $50 for a new chain and cables, and maybe handlebar tape. But my guess is you can find a ride-ready bike.
Good luck, Isamel, and ride well!
For a budget-busting peek at this year's supermodels of spin, read "State of the Art" from the April 2005 issue of Outside.