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SteveK

Struggling to find a decent bike.

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I live in a fairly remote Isaan village, and have been trying to find a decent bike now for pottering around the local paths and lakes in the morning to get some exercise, without spending a fortune. Turns out this is an almost impossible mission to do on a budget. Fishing seems to have been more or less banned around here now so cycling would give me something else to focus on.

 

We have a local shop that sells bikes, they go up to 3500 baht and weigh an absolute ton. I don't really care about brand name etc but weight is important to me. These bikes are obviously ultra cheap made in China garbage with most things made from black plastic. I don't mind if it's a mountain bike, hybrid or road bike, but really prefer no suspension to save weight so I suppose MTBs are out.

 

Went to Ubon, and found a few shops selling the same Chinese bikes, like this one below:

 

 

cheapbike.jpg.5472f9724053b018133573c91585b31e.jpg

 

As well as that, there was a "proper" bike shop selling brand name bikes with decent ones starting at about 30k. I don't really mind second hand, actually I would prefer it, and only want to spend half of that, even less if possible. The wife almost had an epileptic fit when she saw bikes for 30-40k.

 

So my options are:

 

- Order from Lazada, which has some good deals, but I can't see the size of the bike so would have to gamble, plus there are lots of reports of bikes arriving with broken parts, gouged frames, etc and in the UK that wouldn't bother me because I would just arrange a return, but I know this would give me a migraine in Thailand. This one for 8500 baht looks ideal, with proper Shimano Claris groupset:

 

optima.jpg.adf51d83406b53812dd853b3e0b064f0.jpg

 

 

- Try to find a second hand bike locally. This won't work, they only ride the 3k bike here in the village. Some joker in the village has got a bicycle with a for sale sign on it, but the bike looks much like this one:

 

876523522_brokenbike.jpg.15c02c3b453fadbce9ae265f29d79f2e.jpg

 

- Order from eBay UK, which has everything I could possibly need and cheap, and build up my own bike for not very much money. Only issue is getting the frameset through customs without getting extorted. Has anyone tried this?

 

The only other option is to keep an eye on Bahtsold, which I have been doing, but good bikes are few and far between, plus would involve a several hundred km journey without overnight stay. If I went for the Optima bike above, what size should I go for? I am 5 foot 11. Has anyone had any luck returning things from Lazada that arrive damaged?

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Posted (edited)

Am I right in thinking that the handlebar stem length is not adjustable? So the only adjustment for size is moving the seat back or forwards a few inches along the rails underneath?

 

Also, if you remove some of the spacers between the headset and handlebars, surely there will be a chunk of the steering tube poking out the top? What can you do about that?

Edited by SteveK

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, SteveK said:

Am I right in thinking that the handlebar stem length is not adjustable? So the only adjustment for size is moving the seat back or forwards a few inches along the rails underneath?

 

Also, if you remove some of the spacers between the headset and handlebars, surely there will be a chunk of the steering tube poking out the top? What can you do about that?

most stems have a fixed length.  they are cheap and easy to change.  any bike shop should have a bin full of used ones you can switch easily and cheaply.  there are some adjustable stems available, check the shops and lazada.

 

you can simply move the spacers from below the stem to above and then tighten the stem bolts and topcap correctly.

 

a little tube sticking out the top not a problem.   if you find you have the right height and don't like the visuals, a shop can cut off the excess.

 

why not check out youtube?  you'll find thousands of DIY videos for setting up and maintaining your bike.

 

bike shop at terminal 21 in korat had a decent selection, reasonable prices last time i visited.  but reasonable is relative....50k baht for a quality bike isn't excessive for dedicated cyclists.  i believe they had some in the 15k lower end that were adequate for casual riding.

 

before you buy, decide what the purpose is.  will you mount racks so you can go shopping?  you want fast and comfortable and utilitarian?  an mtb or hybrid will accept racks, can have rigid forks, and you can switch tire widths and profiles depending on terrain.

Edited by ChouDoufu

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There are some decent bikes on the market . Check brand names like Java , Twitter for road bikes , Trinx for mtb . If you live remote i would certainly choose lazada for ordering , plenty of choice . I got a road bike in Thailand , 1 of the cheaper things , and i find 1 major problem . Even on the good roads for riding , theres a lot of small metal lying on the road , leading to punctured tires a lot .  For mountain bikes , i got no experience but i've seen a few , and Trinx seem to be a pretty big Chinese manufacturer , having multiple models , in different price brackets . You still get what you pay for , Shimano is not free , and the price of the bike certainly is related to the parts fitted on it .

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Posted (edited)

They had some OK looking Trek mountain bikes from 17,000THB in Bangkok last month. I think MTBike in Ubon was selling a limited supply of them last time I went, 8 years ago now! I've got a similar priced Specialized. Would like a lighter bike but I haven't the budget. Wouldn't like to go cheaper than about 17,000THB tho, as quality drops off.

Edited by MJKT2014

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Posted (edited)

double post sorry

Edited by MJKT2014

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, SteveK said:

The wife almost had an epileptic fit when she saw bikes for 30-40k.

Plenty of decent bikes around for 10-15K

Merida, Bianchi, Trek, Giant ........ mountain bike, hybrids or road bikes all widely available new in that price range.

Edited by BritManToo
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Look on Facebook Marketplace.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

About 10 years ago I bought a Japanese mountain bike from the market at Chom Chom?border town....bargain..had hundreds for sale 2nd hand...if your near and the market is still open take a look

Edited by baansgr
Or Kap Chong...whatever crossing is near Surin
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A MTB could be nice if you live in the country side. I bought a new Trek a few years ago (MTB 29er in BKK) and I changed a few parts over the years to make it lighter.

Check this page on Facebook: Buy & Sell - Cycling, Triathlon and Trail Running Items

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the help with sizing, but the guy who owns the shop selling those Optima bikes reckons I need a size 50, so now I am between a rock and a hard place. I either need to go to the shop and try the bikes but he's a 6 hour drive away, or gamble on a size 52. If it helps, all the branded mountain bikes I have bought in my life, cannondale, trek, marin et have been mediums or 17-18 inch. 

 

He only had the above bike in pink so looking at this one now, let me know if you think it would be ok for casual riding:

 

https://www.lazada.co.th/products/optima-corsa-2400-2017-i316536035-s702224662.html?spm=a2o4m.searchlist.list.29.65734118zua9Sz&search=1

 

I will just be pottering around the village in an attempt to build up my fitness over a few months, then maybe attempt some longer rides (on the road).

Edited by SteveK
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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, SteveK said:

Thanks for the help with sizing, but the guy who owns the shop selling those Optima bikes reckons I need a size 50, so now I am between a rock and a hard place. I either need to go to the shop and try the bikes but he's a 6 hour drive away, or gamble on a size 52. If it helps, all the branded mountain bikes I have bought in my life, cannondale, trek, marin et have been mediums or 17-18 inch. 

 

He only had the above bike in pink so looking at this one now, let me know if you think it would be ok for casual riding:

 

https://www.lazada.co.th/products/optima-corsa-2400-2017-i316536035-s702224662.html?spm=a2o4m.searchlist.list.29.65734118zua9Sz&search=1

 

I will just be pottering around the village in an attempt to build up my fitness over a few months, then maybe attempt some longer rides (on the road).

Hope you've got good smooth tarmac roads, the bumps will kill your privates on that road bike.

 

Can't see where you've stated your height, if you're 6' you'll need a 56cm road bike.

At 50-52cm you must be a real shortarse, 5'8" (ish).

 

A lot of Thai cycle shops deliberately sell small bikes to tall foreigners, because that's all they keep in stock for the very short Thai market. They don't care if it fits you or not.

Edited by BritManToo
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4 minutes ago, BritManToo said:

Hope you've got good smooth tarmac roads, the bumps will kill your privates on that road bike.

 

Can't say where you've stated your height, if you're 6' you'll need a 56cm road bike.

At 50-52cm you must be a real shortarse, 5'8" (ish).

 

A lot of Thai cycle shops deliberately sell small bikes, because that's all they keep in stock for the very short Thai market. They don't care if it fits you or not.

I'm about 5'11" but would prefer the bike frame to be too small rather than too big.

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, SteveK said:

I'm about 5'11" but would prefer the bike frame to be too small rather than too big.

You need 56cm, if you buy smaller it'll be too uncomfortable (usually backache) and you'll never use it.

I'm 6' and I use 56cm or 58cm road bikes.

 

Road bike sizing is not as forgiving as MTB sizing.

Edited by BritManToo
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