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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 01-19-16, 06:21 PM   #1
GoldenLeg
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Which of these bikes would make the best commuter bike?

If a mod could delete my last thread, it would be much appreciated.
Went through my local craigslist ads and the following bikes seem to be the best candidates.

- Moving to Seattle
- I'm not worried about a the bike having a rack.
- I'm 5'10.

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Competition Road Bike, 10 Speed - $125



Alpine Competition Road Bike
10 Speed
New Helmet included
No rust, great road bike!
$125.00 Firm

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Bicycle - Schwinn 564 - $200



Have a used Schwinn road bike. It's ready to ride, has some thickslick tires on it, which have just been awesome. I did replace the original handles with some red bull horn ones (put new breaks on there as well. Frame is Aluminum. The shifters on the frame as opposed to the handle bars, which is pretty old school I guess. It's a medium to small size bike frame (i'd say medium) I'm 5'11" and do just fin on it, but it's right there were I might want to size up if i was a bit taller. It's been a really great bike, but I'm moving and not sure I want to take it with me. So here you go craigslist. Have at it.


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Bianchi Brava - $200



Great road bike at a great price.
58 cm

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Vintage Raleigh Technium 400 Bike - $100



Vintage Raleigh Technium 400 Bike - In Good Condition
66 cm

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Schwinn Le Tour 10 Speed - $100



Men's 23" Schwinn manufactured in Japan.
Original owner, garage kept, stored after graduation 1986.

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Schwinn Super Le Tour 12.2 - $100



Bike is in great condition, no issues, new tires/tubes, new seat, new handle bar wrap.
Bike was serviced by Webster Bikes.
33.5 from the ground to the top of the frame

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Vilano Aluminum frame bike - like new - $200



21 speed bike
Like new condition

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Old 01-19-16, 06:32 PM   #2
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I'll probably go with the Bianchi, with the Schwinn 564 a close second. The other bikes seem too small/large for you.
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Old 01-19-16, 06:52 PM   #3
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@GoldenLeg I feel like you've put a lot of effort into asking the wrong question. You got some good advice in your other thread. There are obviously a lot of functional bikes for sale in Seattle. What kind of bike do you think you want or need, for the commute you will have?
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Old 01-19-16, 07:03 PM   #4
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@GoldenLeg I feel like you've put a lot of effort into asking the wrong question. You got some good advice in your other thread. There are obviously a lot of functional bikes for sale in Seattle. What kind of bike do you think you want or need, for the commute you will have?
I'm buying the bike while I'm still living in the Houston area.
My number one concern is mobility. Not sure if some bikes are better than others when it comes to hills? I want to be able to ride in Seattle without slowing traffic.

In an all honesty, I'm not sure what kinds of questions I need to be asking.
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Old 01-19-16, 07:28 PM   #5
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Would it be possible for you to wait until you get to Seattle and check out the most common areas you'll be riding in, then buy a bike? Maybe you've already been there and know what you need. The main think, IMO, is to make sure the bike fits you. I prefer to buy older bikes that would have been sold in a true bike shop and not in a department or hardware store. Also I prefer to buy bikes that don't have any special threading standards, etc. older Schwinns can have some of those issues, but I'm not certain as to what year they went with standard things like stems, handlebar clamps.
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Old 01-19-16, 07:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenLeg View Post
I'm buying the bike while I'm still living in the Houston area.
My number one concern is mobility. Not sure if some bikes are better than others when it comes to hills? I want to be able to ride in Seattle without slowing traffic.

In an all honesty, I'm not sure what kinds of questions I need to be asking.
The question you should ask is:

"What should I be looking for in an inexpensive commuter"
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Old 01-19-16, 07:37 PM   #7
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Best bet for an inexpensive commuter is a vintage mountain bike (one with a rigid fork). They have plenty of gears for the terrain in Seattle and they make a fine commuter once you swap out the knobbies for slicks. Plus add fenders and a rack.

The great thing about old mtbs is that they're out there and they tend to be cheap (certainly cheaper than road bikes).
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Old 01-19-16, 07:43 PM   #8
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The number one thing you need to think about is how the bike fits. This will make more difference in your satisfaction with a bike than any other factor. At 5'10" you should be looking at bikes in the 53-56cm range for road bikes (sizing of bikes with flat bars is a bit different and they usually report sizes in inches). There is some variation in how different models account for sizing, and a lot of variation in how people selling used bikes measure them, but this is a good general starting point.

The next thing you should look at is the mechanical condition of the bike. Are all the parts that are supposed to move moving freely? You shouldn't feel any grinding when you turn the pedals (lift the rear wheel and crank by hand), spin the wheels or turn the handlebars back and forth. Does it shift smoothly and brake well? For this you need to ride the bike. Give some leeway for your technique, but it shouldn't feel like the cables are sticky. Is everything as tight as it should be? Check the bike over for loose parts. Is anything rusty? A small amount of rust (especially on chrome surfaces) isn't usually a big deal, but it can indicate neglect. If you see rust, ask the seller to adjust the handlebars and seat up and down. These parts often seize from corrosion on old bikes and you'll want to be able to adjust them.

The bikes you listed seem about right for your price range. Test ride them and decide based on what feels good. Any bike can be adapted for commuting. There's a good chance you'll end up wanting to replace the tires. Try to find a bike that doesn't need much else. Save some room in the budget for a lock. You will likely also end up wanting fenders. Most older road bikes can accommodate that, just make sure there is a decent amount of room between the tires and the bike's frame.
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Old 01-19-16, 07:44 PM   #9
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Rule out any bike that does not have both eyes for fenders and the room for large tires under the fenders. This is Seattle. Rule out any bike that doesn't fit you well. Those two should narrow your search quite a bit. (I rode and commuted 12 years in Seattle and a bunch more in similar Portland.)

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Old 01-19-16, 07:58 PM   #10
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Find a bike in you budget that fits you (55-56cm-ish if it's a road bike like those in pics). Triple chain rings are a nice-to-have for hills. Pass on any bike with steel rims- poor braking in wet Seattle. Don't worry about finding he perfect bike otherwise. In time you will get a better sense of what kind of bike works for you. If that's not the one you already have, sell it and buy another.
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Old 01-19-16, 08:13 PM   #11
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Personally, if it were me, I would go with the super le tour 12.2. It appears to be commuter ready i.e. fenders, rack, and horn. Aside from that it doesn't stick out and scream steal me like alot of newer bikes do.

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Old 01-19-16, 08:21 PM   #12
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"In time you will get a better sense of what kind of bike works for you. If that's not the one you already have, sell it and buy another."


​Incidious C's advice is solid.
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Old 01-19-16, 09:13 PM   #13
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The super le tour is a great bike. My best friend has one and loves his. The price is right. No problems with wider tires or fenders.
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Old 01-20-16, 01:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenLeg View Post
I'm buying the bike while I'm still living in the Houston area.
My number one concern is mobility. Not sure if some bikes are better than others when it comes to hills? I want to be able to ride in Seattle without slowing traffic.

In an all honesty, I'm not sure what kinds of questions I need to be asking.
First, you can't expect to buy a good bike sight unseen, especially if it's 40 years old like some of these you've been posting.

Second, you need to find out what your commute going to be like. How far, how hilly? You need a bike that's comfortable enough for your ride and can go up your steepest hill with your biggest load on your worst day. Is this going to be your main transportation, so do you need lights and fenders and rain gear etc, or is this a daylight fair weather ride and do you plan to do something else like ride the bus in case of darkness, rain, sleet, snow? (It's Seattle after all.) Are you ok to work on an old bike that might not be reliable and cost you some more money until you get it debugged?

The advice you will get here about what kind of bike you need will run the gamut from BMX to Tour de France by way of e-bike. You already have people telling you that you need a 50yo English 3-speed, you need a 30yo mountain bike, etc. If you are riding 2 miles occasionally, you can get by with nearly anything. We have members who have a 40 mile round trip, 200 days a year, and they tend to build bikes to suit themselves out of high quality reliable parts. We tend to recommend hybrids or old mountain bikes because they're a versatile and durable way to learn what you really want to do. But it's really secondary to just being prepared and dedicated.
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Old 01-20-16, 01:16 PM   #15
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I would vote for the Bianchi...
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Old 01-20-16, 03:51 PM   #16
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Seattle = fenders

A lot of commuters on here are concerned with fit and components, but what really matters is how cool you look on your bike. fenders are cool and that mutha hs a super cool horn.

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Old 01-20-16, 05:46 PM   #17
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My commuter/all-around bike is a 2006 Schwinn Super Sport DBX:




I picked it up for $800 almost a decade ago. I bought it because:

It was spec'ced with a double-butted Schwinn N'Lightened Gold alloy frame
It had a Tiagra STI shifter brakeset
Had a triple crankset
Came with mechanical disc brakes
Room for 35 c tires under fenders
And had rack braze-ons/mounts

Mine is a M or 55 cm. I ride with moustache bars and I just upgraded to an Kalloy Uno adjustable stem with an effective 70 degree rise allowing an upright position which has finally made the bike comfortable to ride.
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Old 01-20-16, 11:26 PM   #18
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Seattle = rain, and bad roads.

Medium width tires, fenders, and lights are smart to have. Don't rule out a rack, due to the climate waterproof bags are a must, and you might end up carrying more than you're used to.
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