Commuting - Decisions, decisions, decisions!
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04-09-08, 03:48 PM
Hey guys! I'm new to the forum and this will be my first post. After checking the sticky "Advice for New Commuters" thread I didn't find anything for my particular case. After a co-worker turned me on to the idea of commuting I've decided to start an investment in a bike. My commute will be 18 miles to work and about 10 miles to school. I was first considering a BMX bike (stupid of me,) then I looked into MTBs (Haro Shift R1, Haro Escape, Gary Fisher Mullet,) but now I'm looking into other bikes, such as the Trek SU 2.0 and the Gary Fisher Cronus. I have a Bike Barn shop directly down the street from me, but I'm a little hesitant to walk in without the intent of buying immediately, as there will most likely be loads of sales pressure. My price range will probably be $700, but I'm willing to shell out a little more. How do you think a Gary Fisher Mullet will compare to the Trek SU 2.0 or the Gary Fisher Cronus? I'm looking for something with disc brakes and multiple speeds. Storage need not apply. I work from 10 PM to 6 AM, so I'll definitely need to add on lights and what not. I'm 19 years old, but I'm a bit out of shape, working security will do that to you! But it's even more motivation to commute! I'm taking baby steps and riding a few days a week after work on my brother's pawn shop bike until I'm a little more confident with my physical ability. Thanks so much for your time and I look forward to future communication with all of you!
04-09-08, 03:57 PM
Don't forget to bring a u-lock
04-09-08, 03:58 PM
First, don't be afraid to walk into any bike shop with only the intention of looking. Ask the staff questions, get an idea of who knows what (everyone has their strong and weak points), ask to test ride a few bikes (including some you have no intention of buying) to compare (they should allow you to do so). Any decent bike sales person will respect you for being a discerning customer. Ask them about having the bike fitted after you buy it (they should offer that). Heck, half the fun of buying a new bike is ogling all the models to choose from, even if you're set on just one.
04-09-08, 04:35 PM
I just bought a new bike about a month ago. I haven't owned or ridden a bike in about 20 years. I'm in, well let's face it, good shape, I'm a distance runner, and was looking for something for cross-training, commuting, and recreation.
I asked friends, and looked around shops and online, mainly at REI. Narrowed it down by category. Finally picked one out and made the plunge, and I REALLY like it.
Spent a few bucks on a u-lock, blinkie lights, gloves, helmet, and pump. Next I'm gonna put fenders and a rear rack on it. I've ridden it over 60 miles in the last 3 days, just tooling around after work.
Go for it. I hope you like it half as much as I do....
04-09-08, 04:50 PM
I am not sure how much I might recommend what I did, but at least its something to think about. I basically bought a new, but cheap bike. I paid about $250. I have found its excellent for learning. parts have failed because its cheap, but because its cheap I have not been afraid to get in there and learn to repair it myself. Basically I abused my bike for a long time before I learned proper care, and because my bike is so cheap, I have no real problems with that. Now that I know things like chain care, and break maintenance, I would not be afraid to do them on a nicer bike I also know what I would want more specifically from my next bike when I can afford it. Mainly a cheap bike lets you ride care free too, because having something happen to a $200 bike is easier to deal with than a $2000 bike.
Don't go so cheap you won't enjoy riding the bike though. But you might do damage to expensive components if you drop money on an expensive bike.
04-09-08, 04:56 PM
What irabidfish said, that's what a friend of mine suggested. He said go to Costco and get a cheap one, and don't be afraid to trash it, and if it gets stolen, buy a new one. I sort of went the other way, though. I went with the nicest I was willing to pay for, and REI was having an annual 20% off member sale at the time besides. (Only Novara and K2 bikes applied.)
I too started at the low end, although not as low as others. I set a budget of $500 for bike, lights, lock and helmet. Tax took me over $500, but not by much. I rode that bike 3,800 miles, replacing only the chain, brake pads and upgrading the tires, before it was stolen from my basement.
Two lessons here:
First: A modestly-priced bike (not to be confused with cheap) will last a good, long time as a daily commuter.
Second: After having a few thousand miles under my belt, I figured out what kind of bike I'd really like. The purpose of your first bike is to teach you what you want in a second bike.
I followed all the advice and got a hybrid as my first bike. As I said above, it was a perfectly good and durable bike. I'm over 50 and everyone said I should have an old man's bike. What did the hybrid teach me? It taught me that I wanted a roadie. I now have two. One of them has disc brakes.
04-09-08, 05:26 PM
tsl has me pegged. I went with a hybrid, and I really like it. Like I said, I've had it for just under a month, and paid $440 (on sale from $550) for it, and at the time I thought that was a lot. Now I'm scoping out tour bikes. My guess is I'll keep this 'urban assault bike' as the commuter/curb hopper, and maybe next year get a nice road bike for the long rides.
04-09-08, 05:32 PM
Quite a few of us have gone that route.
I started with a $500 hybrid and determined I was hooked on riding. Purchased a touring bike next and that did well until it was flattened. Went from that to a road style fixed gear. Now I plan on staying with the fixed gear but going more of a commuter style instead with a rack and full fenders.
However, it could change again. Perhaps I would like gears again. Perhaps not.
04-09-08, 05:39 PM
I would focus more on the frame than anything else.
When you first start commuting you have no idea what you really
want/need until a few miles /months later. If you're like most people,
your commuter bike will end up being very different from what it
was when you bought it as your skill and miles build.
In any event : Lights, mirror and rack to start. Go through a mock
flat tire fix so you know what to expect (you can patch tube without
removing wheel most of the time) and what to carry.
Good luck on your new endeavor ! :)
04-09-08, 06:15 PM
Go ahead in to look. Remember, YOU are in charge. When I walk into either a bike shop or a car dealer, if they start bugging me, I flat out tell them "You can back off right now and wait until I ask a question, or I can walk out the door right now. Your choice." Always works for me.
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