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The wife and I are wanting to get bikes to help pass the quarantine time. I know next-to-nothing about bikes so I'm looking for some suggestions.

We live on a gravel road, and will mostly be riding on that, or on dirt paths. We will not be riding on pavement much, if at all. We also won't be doing any trails that aren't smooth - meaning we won't be going over roots or other obstacles.

Our budget is $500/ea. I realize that this is a pretty low budget for many here (I don't expect carbon fibre frames), but it's what we've got.

Given the current lock-down, we'd be looking to get something delivered, we are not interested in going to a bike shop right now.

So, any suggestions?
 

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Double your budget but this is the lowest I'd go. A cheap $500 bike sucks, in every way. Not just comfort - but safety too. You might find something decent used for $500 but brand new and delivered, no chance.

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/revolt-2-2020

Get a pair of Revolts. Inexpensive, good on gravel, good on pave, fantastic warranty, quality parts.

You know how a 7620 is a decent guitar, but a 7321 is straight up awful? That's the difference in the two price points.
 

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Probably a bad analogy. Everything on a $500 bike is shitty. That's a shitty frame, shitty brakes, a shitty seat, shitty cranks, shitty wheels, shitty tires, shitty pedals. Maybe a better analogy would be getting your kid a Rhythm in Jump guitar that never stays in tune and is obnoxious to play, vs spending a bit more on something that isn't top notch but is reliable, like an RG550 or a Schecter C1.

If you're hard on $500 I have no advice for you, unfortunately. That's department store bike price point and I wish you luck with your uncomfortable buttocks and sore back. :(
 

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At that price range I'd suggest looking used online near you or going to a few bike shops and seeing what they have on clearance. Though the latter may be out of the cards at the moment.

Loads of 500 dollar bikes are on craigslist for half the price all the time pretty much anywhere. If you are somewhere with a cycling community you can probably find a really nice value bike for 5-600 used as someone graduates to their fancy schmancy bike. The bike shop route getting the 2 year ago clearance model you should be able to get that next model up. Which at that price range is usually a big difference in drive train components. Some shops also have used bikes from trade ins which may put a really nice bike in your price range.

I'd look at the price range of bikes (as long as you are not mountain biking) as 5-600 dollars you are basically buying a go kart. At 7-800 you are buying the equivalent of a Chevy Spark. North of a grand you are buying a Camry. If you can't find a deal from a shop or a used bike locally, then mail order can get you a slightly better bike. But at that price range I really doubt the slightly better spec would be worth the value in shop treatment. Personally I'd at least save a little more to get into that 700+ dollar range. The difference between a cheap and value drive train will be well worth the cost. I'd also highly suggest disc brakes, even the cheap ones will be fine for stopping on the road and they'll be easy to upgrade to something really nice for not too much $$$ if you want to.
 

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I'm not disagreeing with you, I just have a budget set for these :(

Anyway, are any of the following any good? If not, can you educate me on what's not good about them? Keep in mind, I'm not going on long rides. My kid will probably get tired after 20-30 minutes, and we'll head home.

https://www.fujibikes.com/usa/bikes/pavement/cross-terrain/traverse/traverse-1-5

https://www.marinbikes.com/bikes/20-san-rafael-ds1

https://www.raleighusa.com/cadent2-r143
Anything with a fork is going to be god awful and you're better off with something rigid. There's no such thing as a good complete $500 bike with a fork that works correctly. All it will do is rob pedaling efficiency and make you more tired. Of those three, I'd buy the Raleigh. There's nothing good on it but it doesn't have a terrible suspension fork, so that's a plus.

Every one of those is 1/10 the bike that the Revolt is. Safety, reliability, geometry, everything. If you're a 30 minute bike ride from home, that's a damn long walk. Do you really want to rely on the absolute cheapest possible components you can get?

You have like 50k in amps, buy the damn giant you cheap asshole. :lol:
 

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You have like 50k in amps, buy the damn giant you cheap asshole. :lol:
I'm not spending my money, we're spending our money. I have to convince my wife that we should double our budget.

I also realize this is much like someone asking for pickup recommendations saying they've got a $100 budget, and me saying "just save up a little more and buy the $350 set of Lollar Imperials". :lol:
 
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https://www.liv-cycling.com/us/tempt-2

I got my mom this for christmas a couple years ago. The spec is above average for the price (better than 2020 model) and is basically the floor for what I'd want to spend cash on. I'd spend the extra $$$ for a bike like this, or I'd just head to walmart.com and buy what is on sale. The difference in quality of frame in a Tempt 3 vs a walmart bike isn't worthwhile if the drivetrain is walmart quality. I'll also reiterate that craigslist is generally a gold mine for bikes.
 

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I'm not spending my money, we're spending our money. I have to convince my wife that we should double our budget.

I also realize this is much like someone asking for pickup recommendations saying they've got a $100 budget, and me saying "just save up a little more and buy the $350 set of Lollar Imperials". :lol:
Nah, not even close. It's literally Rhythm in Jump vs. OFR.

Dimarzios are $100 and they sound good. $350 pickups also sound good.

$500 bikes are shit and will do everything shitty. A $1000 bike is right at the break point where you get an actual comfortable bike with decent stuff on it that will last a few years.
 

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https://www.liv-cycling.com/us/tempt-2

I got my mom this for christmas a couple years ago. The spec is above average for the price (better than 2020 model) and is basically the floor for what I'd want to spend cash on. I'd spend the extra $$$ for a bike like this, or I'd just head to walmart.com and buy what is on sale. The difference in quality of frame in a Tempt 3 vs a walmart bike isn't worthwhile if the drivetrain is walmart quality. I'll also reiterate that craigslist is generally a gold mine for bikes.
Liv and Giant are the same brand, thats a decent choice too (though the same applies to the fork). My wife has a top end Liv carbon CX bike and the thing is amazing.

Matt - something like this is $850.

https://www.liv-cycling.com/us/thrive-2-2020

The absolute entry level men's version is $650:

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/contend-3

If you don't want road bike style handlebars and prefer flat bars, this is $780 and infinitely better than everything in your first post.

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/fastroad-sl-3-2020
 
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Liv and Giant are the same brand, thats a decent choice too (though the same applies to the fork).
It's heavy, but it's reliable. It works well enough for extra traction turning with bad form, heavily braking down hills, and being generally more comfortable when riding. My mom gets more out of a cheap but reliable suspension fork then she does out of a rigid fork. This one is actually pretty good except weight which isn't something my mom cares about or notices.
 

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Hello! I hope you have chosen a good option for yourself. If you really want to ride, and the budget is low, then I think any bike will do, the main thing is that it performs its functions - when the pedals are twisted, the wheels spin. I saw some recommendations here and they are pretty good, I will consider them too!
 
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