Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

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.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 02-09-06, 08:23 PM   #1
rkalex25
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Wisconsin
Bikes:
Posts: 18
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
New to forum and biking, a little help please?:-)

I've spent the last few days reading through all these posts, as many as i can get through anyway (there are a LOT), and I've learned QUITE a bit.
But I'm hoping for some advice about my situation from all those who are wiser and more experienced than me.
First off, i'm 23, in ok shape (hoping to get in much more shape), 5'8 about 200 lbs. And I would like to commute to work and to school. My commute would be about 10 miles one way. There is a main highway I can take to both work and school, as well as many back roads. I live in a very urban area in south eastern wisconsin.
I went to the local bike shop today. The guy was very helpful. He recommended a Trek hybrid, 7100, 7200, or 7300. My total budget is about 500 +/- 100, and that's including the extras and such. So the hybrids he recommended seem to fit within the budget at around 300 each. So what do you think of those bikes for a 10 mile commute on flat paved roads? He told me road bikes would be faster, but that the hybrid would be fast enough for me. The road bikes are out of my price range.
I have looked around for some used bikes as well, but haven't seen much. The guy at the store showed me some of the used bikes they had there as well.
He also said I might think about a Trek 72FX. It looked pretty nice as well.
All the bikes were lined up really close together. Is it ok to ask to try one out? That may seem like a dumb question but the guy didn't offer or anything like that. So I want to know when I go back.
Also, what can I expect from a 10 mile commute on these bikes? Am I going to arrive drenched in sweat and winded and exhausted? Is it a slow comfortable ride? etc. What about winter? Wisconsin winters can be brutal.
Ok, Ive probably asked too many questions, and I know i saw some threads about winter riding, so ignore that one. But let me know about those bikes I mentioned for my commute.
Thanks!
rkalex25 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-06, 08:49 PM   #2
kiltz
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkalex25
I went to the local bike shop today. The guy was very helpful. He recommended a Trek hybrid, 7100, 7200, or 7300. My total budget is about 500 +/- 100, and that's including the extras and such. So the hybrids he recommended seem to fit within the budget at around 300 each. So what do you think of those bikes for a 10 mile commute on flat paved roads? He told me road bikes would be faster, but that the hybrid would be fast enough for me. The road bikes are out of my price range.
I have looked around for some used bikes as well, but haven't seen much. The guy at the store showed me some of the used bikes they had there as well.
I can't really say much about hybrids as I don't have any hybrids. The important part is for the bike to fit you. You may want to ask them to find a bike that fits you. Also ask them to do the measuring that take a really long time. The fit is really important.

Quote:
All the bikes were lined up really close together. Is it ok to ask to try one out? That may seem like a dumb question but the guy didn't offer or anything like that. So I want to know when I go back.
Of course, you should always try on a bike. If it doesn't feel comfortable, immediately find another one. Always ask to try one out. ride it around, not around the store, but in the parking lot, big spaces, and try to find a place where it will feel like the place you commute in.



Quote:
Also, what can I expect from a 10 mile commute on these bikes? Am I going to arrive drenched in sweat and winded and exhausted? Is it a slow comfortable ride? etc. What about winter? Wisconsin winters can be brutal.
Winter can be very harsh. I live in NY and it's cold here. A 10 mile commute will probably take you around 30min to 1 hr. If you travel at 10mph slowest. I've never trued a hybrid. I have a really old road bike. My hands feels tired on a road bike so I get to switch positions but I don't know about hybrids. I don't particullarly like hybirds because it's a combination of both but it can't do anything right. It's not fast and it's still a very bumpy ride, unlike a mountain bike. But like I said, I never tried a hybrid.

Regardless of bikes, any bike, I strongly recommend switching the saddle. The saddles that come with the bikes are extremely bad and painful.

Quote:
Ok, Ive probably asked too many questions, and I know i saw some threads about winter riding, so ignore that one. But let me know about those bikes I mentioned for my commute. Thanks!
Always ask question, don't be afraid to ask. It's a really nice community here at BF.


I really hope this helps.

EDIT: Try to get a 2005 bike, a last years bike so you can talk about the price with the shop owner and ask for a discount. Last years bikes are usually cheaper.
kiltz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-06, 08:49 PM   #3
jyossarian
SERENITY NOW!!!
 
jyossarian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: In the 212
Bikes: Haro Vector, IRO Rob Roy, Bianchi Veloce
Posts: 8,756
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Test ride all the bikes, make sure the LBS guy fits you and adjusts your bike to fit you. Make sure you're comfy, then have him throw in some discounts on the helmet, lights, chain and lock. Make sure you have the right clothing. Something that wicks and breathes, an insulating layer and a windproof shell. No matter what you ride, you're gonna be drenched in sweat after 10 miles. Also make sure you include the cost of carrying your stuff in your budget (bag, panniers, milk crate, etc.) Ride your route a few times trying different combos til you find the right one, then have fun! Bring water cuz you'll need it if you're new.
__________________
HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!
jyossarian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-06, 08:55 PM   #4
Jarery
Senior Member
 
Jarery's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Coquitlam
Bikes:
Posts: 2,538
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hybrid will be fine at that distance.
You wont arrive much less sweaty on a road bike than on a hybrid. Thats more dependant on your fitness, not your bike. In fact the hybrid will get you in shape more since it'll be heavier

I always recomend a cross bike, since it has drop bars, but they are more expensive.

Ask about trading up in a year, see what they say. Also are there any other shops in the area ? Go to as many as possible, ride as many as possible, find a shop that you like, then buy from them whats in your budget
Jarery is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-06, 09:00 PM   #5
rkalex25
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Wisconsin
Bikes:
Posts: 18
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
There don't seem to be a lot of shops in the area. I drove past another one today after I went to that one, and it looked kinda dingy and was closed anyway. I really liked the one I went to.
I guess I just wanted to know if the hybrid will be good enough for what I want to do with it (commuting 20 miles a day round trip)
I would also like to know if anyone knows if the parts that come standard on the Trek hybrid are good, or if wheels or whatever should be changed?
Any advice u have is welcomed :-)
rkalex25 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-06, 09:01 PM   #6
Marylandnewbie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Silver Spring, MD
Bikes: Fuji Supreme
Posts: 1,701
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You seem to have hit on all the questions everyone asks before they start commuting. I've been at it for about a year now and ride 12 miles one way.

On your choice of bike -- ask a dozen bikers and you'll get 20 answers on the best bike to ride. Its just the nature of the beast!. So here are my thoughts:
I and probably many other new riders use hybrids because the riding position is a little more comfortable if you haven't ridden a lot. Also sitting a little more upright can make it easier to negotiate traffic. And the price is right for someone just starting out.
I think you will also find that a hybrid with 35mm tires gives you a little softer and more stable ride than a roadbike. Also a hybrid is probably a little more rugged in construction than a roadbike which can be good if your roads get potholed, etc. The desirability of a suspension fork and/seatpost are heavily debated here. My own experience suggests suspension seatposts aren't worth it (mine was always bottomed out anyway) but the suspension fork can be nice in rough terrain. I would not make it a major factor in the decision, but it might be an additional factor given otherwise equal bikes. Also if you decide to ride in winter or in the rain you will find it easier to mount fenders on a hybrid. The same goes for putting studded tires on the bike for riding in serious snow and ice.
Speed wise they will more than accomodate your needs. I can pretty easily do 15 mph on the trail I ride and can do 19-20 mph if I push hard, so speed should not be a major concern.
On the ride itself you are the master of your own two wheeled domain as a bike commuter. I would suggest starting slow until you get a sense of how much conditioning you need to be comfortable. Most people can do 10mph without killing themselves, so that might be a reasonable target pace to start with. Especially if you don't have a good place to clean up after a ride, you will want to ride a little slower to avoid working up a sweat. Over the course of a few weeks you will likely find it gets easier and you get less sweaty. If you ride a few commutes and feel comfortable then you can always pick up the pace. I look at commuting as a long term endeavor so I just try to make slow steady progress rather than rapid improvements.
I would suggest starting with riding every other day or so to see how it goes. You will probably want to wait until you have decent weather to start your commute. While it is possible to bike commute in pretty much any weather of conditions, cold rain requires pretty good rain gear and snow and ice require more gear and more skills of a practiced rider. All of which you will get in time, but can be a bit intimidating at the outset.
You can definitely ask to take bikes out on test rides. How far you can go will depend on the shop owner, but you want to ride a reasonable distance so you can feel how well the bike fits you and how it handles. It sounds like you are already dealing with a good LBS, but my main advice to any new rider is to pick a shop where you feel comfortable and where you feel the staff is treating you fairly. Of course they have to sell stuff, but some places are such a hard sell or really only want to deal with the racers or hard core riders that simple commuters can get lost in the shuffle.
Good luck with your bike shopping and your commute and we're always around to answer more questions if you can't find an existing thread on the topic.
Marylandnewbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-06, 09:01 PM   #7
buelito
train safe
 
buelito's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Reston, VA
Bikes:
Posts: 801
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I will apologize in advance to all those who own hybrids... my experience (I rented one in San Francisco a couple of years ago) is that a hybrid combines the worst aspects of the mountain bike and of the road bike. It is not good on the road and it is not good off the road. Either get a mountain bike with slicks or get a road bike, or a cross bike (or a fixie). That's my 2 cents...

but, like has been said above, the most important thing is bike fit.

train safe-
buelito is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-06, 10:04 PM   #8
Lecterman
The Guadfather
 
Lecterman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Fart Worth
Bikes: Trek, Centurion, Kuwahara coming soon
Posts: 1,090
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by buelito
I will apologize in advance to all those who own hybrids... my experience (I rented one in San Francisco a couple of years ago) is that a hybrid combines the worst aspects of the mountain bike and of the road bike. It is not good on the road and it is not good off the road. Either get a mountain bike with slicks or get a road bike, or a cross bike (or a fixie). That's my 2 cents...

but, like has been said above, the most important thing is bike fit.

train safe-
+1

For a new rider a road bike can be "different" and not as eay to negotiate as an All terrain/mountain bike, due to the drop bars. I would suggest a flat bar road bike like the Novara Forza

I suggest keeping you eye out for a used road/touring bike and get some flat bars for it. It will be a smoother ride with the controlability that a new rider will like.
__________________
Are you a registered member? Why not? click here to register. Its free, and only takes 27 seconds!
Help out the forums, abide by our community guidelines.
"Minor bun engine, made Benny Lava!!!"
Lecterman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-06, 05:34 AM   #9
kf5nd
Senior Member
 
kf5nd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Houston, TX 77095
Bikes: Specialized Sequoia Elite, Schwinn Frontier FS MTB, Centurion LeMans (1986)
Posts: 1,470
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You should absolutely expect and demand to test ride all of the bikes. Hybrids fine for 10 mile trips, good choice. www.icebike.com for winter suggestions. As far as being sweaty and all that, I keep clean clothes at work in a box underneath my desk, and change into them, also I don't have to carry clothes on my bike. I exchange clothes during my carpool days. No shower, but I use unscented baby wipes, works great and is cheap.
kf5nd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-06, 05:35 AM   #10
kf5nd
Senior Member
 
kf5nd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Houston, TX 77095
Bikes: Specialized Sequoia Elite, Schwinn Frontier FS MTB, Centurion LeMans (1986)
Posts: 1,470
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
also assume 10 MPH until you figure out how fast you'll ultimately be, which I'm sure will be faster. you just don't want to make yourself late to work on your first day bike commuting. you want to be early and make a good impression.
kf5nd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-06, 06:31 AM   #11
Juha
Formerly Known as Newbie
 
Juha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Bikes:
Posts: 6,263
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Check out the Winter Cycling -forum here. It has tons of info about how to "winterise" your bike and yourself.

My commute is about the same length as yours and I've been riding it for more than 10 years now with a hybrid. I like the heavy build and the ability to fit large panniers and haul stuff if need be. A hybrid will be OK, just find one that fits you.

--J
__________________
To err is human. To moo is bovine.

Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


Become a Registered Member in Bike Forums
Community guidelines
Juha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-06, 06:38 AM   #12
rkalex25
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Wisconsin
Bikes:
Posts: 18
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks for all the advice and info!
I guess my next question would be...how do you know when a bike fits you? What should I look for?
The guy at the bike shop said I should get about 17.5" frame. Does that sound about right? (5'8 height)
rkalex25 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-06, 06:47 AM   #13
MichaelW
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: England
Bikes:
Posts: 12,920
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The best style of bike for a 10mile ride on decent roads is probably a flat-bar road bike such as the Specialized Sirrus, Jamis Coda, Trek FX . These are really light-touring/sports bikes: they take medium width tyres, fenders and rear luggage rack and come with lower gear ratios than a race bike.
Tyre size makes a big difference to performance. On longer commutes, many riders opt for a tough 28mm width as a good compromise between speed and reliability.
The difference between flat bars and drop bars is more apparent on longer rides where drops give you more alternate hand positions. You can set flats to be fairly aerodynamic but you are stuck with one position.

Winter riding may require a different bike altogether. You may require studded tyres so need much more clearance. Having 2 bikes is always a good idea. Non sus MTBs make excellent winter commuter bikes.
MichaelW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-06, 07:10 AM   #14
rkalex25
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Wisconsin
Bikes:
Posts: 18
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If anyone would be able to help me out a little bit more, I'd appreciate it. I found this list of bikes that are on sale at a different local bike shop. Just wanting to know if these are good prices or not. I'm specifically looking at the Trek hybrids.
Here is the link.
http://www.southport-rigging.com/pag...=05NovBikeSale

Just a note, the numbers next to the bikes listed don't mean a whole lot to me.
TREK 7300 17.5 @ 2 20 @ 3 22.5 @ 2 - what does all that mean?
rkalex25 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-06, 07:12 AM   #15
enzed
Senior Member
 
enzed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Sydney, Australia
Bikes:
Posts: 59
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My current ride is at trek 7100fx. While I do admit it's not the faster or lightest bike in the world, it's fast enough for me.The gears are low enough to climb comfortably most of my local hills. Put on some bar ends, rear rack, bike computer & a good set of lights - hey it's a good commuter. I'm using 35mm tyres at the moment, & they handle the city roads/bike paths alright.
Last year I took it on 560Km week-long supported bike tour. The bike (and me) made it through the week without too many problems. Admittingly the road bikes passed me regularly, but at least I wasn't last in each day.

Keeping that in mind, I've got my eye on one of the new "Avanti" flat bar road bikes. They cost a little more, than I spent on my Trek. But if I were to upgrade my ride, they're be on the top of my list

By the way, this evening I took my Trek on a 28Km evening ride (including a few hills). I didn't find it particulary hard. So, with a bit of practise, a 10mile commute is quite doable. If you're worrying about sweating too much, just keep at a moderate pace & remember it's not a race.

17.5"/20"/22.5" - They refer to the sizing. I'm 5feet7 and my Trek is a womans 17.5".
I tweaked around the handlebar/Seat height, & I find it a good fit.

.

Last edited by enzed; 02-10-06 at 07:33 AM.
enzed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-06, 07:31 AM   #16
Wheels4
Senior Member
 
Wheels4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Decatur, alabama
Bikes: Trek Hybrid and Scott Roadie
Posts: 348
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think a hybrid is the way to go... especially for a newby. b/c they are pretty solid bikes... mine is anyway. Once you own a hybrid... you start to learn what you really like or want in a commuter, assuming that's the only use of your hybrid. same would be for mtn bikes and road bikes. whatever you decide... good luck!!

ride safe,

Rich
__________________
all-around: 09 Trek 7.3 FX
roadie: 09 Scott S60
Wheels4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-06, 08:15 AM   #17
Jarery
Senior Member
 
Jarery's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Coquitlam
Bikes:
Posts: 2,538
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Go for the hybrid, trek makes fine ones, my first was a 7200fx.

If your very tight budget wise, I wouldnt get anything above a 7200. Save the cash, get the accessories you need, and save up for a better bike in a year or 2. By that time you'll be in shape, less weight, and know exactly what you do and dont want in a bike.
Jarery is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-06, 08:28 AM   #18
MacG
don't pedal backwards...
 
MacG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Minneapolis
Bikes: Surly Long Haul Trucker set up for commuting and loaded touring, old Sekine road frame converted to fixed-gear, various beaters and weird bikes, waiting on the frame for my Surly Big Dummy build
Posts: 754
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If you have a shop that deals in used bikes nearby or better yet some type of bicycle co-op, I wouldn't rule out used bikes as a good solution.

I've been commuting 60 to 100 miles per week on an old Peugeot road bike frame to which I added upright (cruiser style) bars, a rack, clipless pedals, and a powerful homebrew headlight setup. I found the frame in a scrap steel dumpster at the local county-sponsored household hazardous waste collection facilty. The rack is off of a different frame found in the same dumpster a different time, and the pedals and headlight components were bought new. Somewhat wiggly dumpster wheels were replaced with nice used alloy wheels from my local bike co-op ($20, including good used tubes and tires).

If you can find an old road frame that fits you well, there really is no reason not to use it for a commuter. Remember that you'll be riding this bike in inclement weather and probably leaving it locked and unattended in less than desirable circumstances. One of the best ways to deter would-be thieves is to ride an undesirable bike (and the biggest part of the secret is to find a universally undesirable bike that you personally really like and are comfortable on). A slightly beat-up road frame from the 80s with not-so-hot components and weird customizations will get you around just fine as long as you maintain the bike properly (which you still have to do with a new bike).

Roughly where in Wisconsin are you located? If you are within a reasonable drive of the twin cities, I would highly recommend you stop by the Sibley Bike Depot and see what they have. Many of the bikes there are already fixed up to a rideable state, but there are also plenty of bikes that have not been repaired yet. If you want to learn bike maintenance, this is a great way to do it. Adopt an old bike and rebuild it with new grease, a few new parts, etc. and take it home with you for a ton less than a new bike. If you can spend $100 on a used/reconditioned bike, you will have $400 left in your budget to get a nice helmet, lights, pedals, shoes, clothes, and other accessories, all of which will almost certainly not be included in the price of the new bikes you are looking at. Some people prefer to pay for a new bike and have it ready to go, but I personally love to solve problems with a more grassroots approach and get as involved as I can.

Here's Sibley's website. They're located in downtown St. Paul, and their seasonal hours are listed on the website.
http://bikeped.org/
MacG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-06, 08:42 AM   #19
Mad Scientist
Senior Member
 
Mad Scientist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Bikes:
Posts: 96
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have been commuting via bike for almost a year. I had the same questions as you did when I was looking for a bike last spring.

I rode bikes at several shops before I purchased a Marin Muirwoods. The Marin is very close in price to the Treks you are considering -- in fact, I considered the same Trek bikes. I ended up choosing the Marin (in part) because I wanted to have something a little different than everyone else.

I have discovered that my LBS (across the street) is a great shop; but, my experience depends greatly on what employee I talk to. There is a girl there who knows almost nothing and has been completely unhelpful. There is an older guy (manager or owner) who is somewhat helpful. And there is a pair of young guys (both mechanics there) who have given me tons of valuable information and advice. I would encourage you to visit a variety of shops multiple times and talk to different people.

I have had zero flats with my 26" x 1.5" wheels/tires (WTB Slickasaurus). The tires are very smooth, with a just a few shallow grooves on the sides to help with turns. They roll very easily and work well on my urban commute.

My commute is 7.6 miles each way and is no problem on the hybrid. I do no off-road riding so the mountain-bike geometry is not of use to me. I also do not race and technically do not require a faster or lighter bike.

Even though I am mostly happy with my hybrid, if I had to make the choice again I think I would find a way to pay more money and get a cyclo-cross bike. My bike is heavier than I want, and does not have an aggressive enough riding position. Furthermore, I would prefer to have drop bars.

Ultimately, I think you should make an effort to ride as many bikes as you can. Ride them for as long as the shop will let you. Ride them multiple times. Ride bikes from different shops and different brands. Try different styles even if you are planning on getting the hybrid.

Regardless of the equipment you choose, I think you will find commuting by bike to be an enjoyable experience. I feel great every time I ride.
Mad Scientist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-06, 08:43 AM   #20
squeakywheel
domestique
 
squeakywheel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: off the back
Bikes:
Posts: 2,004
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Best source for used bikes is garage sales in the spring. Some credit unions have monthly free classified add fliers with bikes for sale. I've had good luck finding used bikes at bike shops near colleges. Some people have luck at thrift stores such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill. I haven't tried that myself.

Make sure you get one that has threaded eyelets at the fork ends and chainstay ends so you can attache racks and fenders.

While shock absorbers are not a disqualifying feature if you find a good deal on a bike you like, you don't need them and shouldn't pay more to get them.
squeakywheel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-06, 08:45 AM   #21
8bitevolution
Devil's advocate
 
8bitevolution's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Oklahoma
Bikes: Surly Cross-Check, 1976 Schwinn Runabout, 1987 Schwinn Traveler
Posts: 151
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm in the same situation as you - I just got my bike last Saturday with the intention to commute (but my commute is nowhere near as long as yours). I got a Trek 7300.

So far, I'm really happy with the quality of it. But, in retrospect, I wish I had tried out a 7.3 FX or 7.2 FX. I'm not sure if anyone already mentioned it but the big difference between the 7300 and the 7.3 FX is the FX has trigger shifters and a flat handle bar.

The 7300 has grip shifters, the handle bar has a bit of an angle, and it has front suspension.

I've found the front suspension to do nothing worthwhile. The grip shifters can be annoying at times. So if you can try out an FX, I'd recommend it.

Also, try to find all your local bike shops and go there and see what they have! I'm kicking myself because I dismissed a local shop because I thought they were all BMX and mountain bikes. It turns out they carried Jamis, a brand I'm very interested in trying. The shop wasn't listed on the Jamis dealer site so I had no idea till a friend told me. So go everywhere, and ride anything that fits your price range and needs.

In the end, just make sure you get a bike you're happy with from a shop that you feel treats you fairly.
8bitevolution is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-06, 08:53 AM   #22
CBBaron
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Cleveland
Bikes: Pugsley, fixie commuter, track bike
Posts: 1,602
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Probably the best commuter bike I have seen under $500:

http://www.redlinebicycles.com/adultbikes/925.html
Come outfitted with fenders, good tires and comfortable bars. If I remember correct SE Wisconsin doesn't have too many hills so even a newbie you can still handle a single speed and if you want to try something really fun you can go fixed. Over all its a good value.
A hybrid is a decent bike for that type of commute but they are heavy and the upright riding position creates more air drag. It will be easier to ride and seem more comfortable at first but a hybrid will be more limiting and less comfortable with more miles.
Like someone else said people have lots of different opinions on what makes a good commuter so if you pick a bike you like I'm sure it will work well for you. Just make sure any bike you pick can easily mount full fenders and a decent sized tire (28mm or more).
Craig
CBBaron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-06, 09:01 AM   #23
rkalex25
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Wisconsin
Bikes:
Posts: 18
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks for all the great info again!
I drove home from school this morning on the backstreets to see what it was like and how many miles. It came out to be about 8.5 miles. So, a little less than i thought.
I guess while i was driving I had a few questions/concerns. Like, where are you supposed to ride the bike on the street? Do you stay on the right shoulder if there is one, do you stay in a lane like a car? What about at stoplights, do you stay far to the right and allow a car to pull up along side you? Where do you go if you have to turn left from a left turn lane? So many questions, I know. lol
It's hard because I hardly see anyone biking in this area, especially this time of year. Though maybe I just haven't been looking out for them as much until now.
Another concern I have is about parking on campus. There are only two bike racks that I have found, and usually no bikes there. (The campus is set right outside the city, so it's nearly in a rural area. Most people commute by car obviously). Would you be afraid to lock a bike at a bike rack that had no other bikes on it? If so, where would you park the bike then? This is not a high crime area by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm sure bikes still get stolen.
I live in southeastern Wisconsin, between Milwaukee and Chicago on Lake Michigan. There are few hills, if any at all.
Im going to keep doing my research and try some bikes out. You guys are all great.
rkalex25 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-06, 09:09 AM   #24
barba
Senior Member
 
barba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 4,083
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I also like a single speeds for commuting, as long as you don't have any massive hills in your way. The simplicty and ease of maintnance in poor conditions are real plusses. If the part of WI you are in is flat, a SS may be a good choice as a commuter.

I had a hybrid for a bit, but unless you are really wedded to a more upright riding position, get a road style bike. You will want to go faster soon... Used steel road bikes are great (often much nicer than the lower end modern road bikes you would get in the same price range).

Above all else, buy a good pump and learn how to fix a flat on the road. It is going to happen sooner than later.
barba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-06, 09:43 AM   #25
HiYoSilver
Rides again
 
HiYoSilver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: W. Sacramento Region, aka, Nut Tree
Bikes: Giant OCR T, Trek SC
Posts: 3,259
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I would not recommend single speeds for a 8 mile commute for someone not in shape. Use the gears, that's why they are there.

I would also not recommend a flat handle bar, you can have the same upright riding position with road bars plus 2 more riding positions. Sometimes it is nice to give you body a rest and take a new position.

Other advice seems good. Have fun.
HiYoSilver is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:53 AM.