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  1. #1
    Senior Member Doane's Avatar
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    Help! Best under? $500 bike

    I bought a 7 speed Schwinn Lakeshore cruiser about a month ago and have decided to upgrade to something lighter and that handles better with more gears. I commute about 3 miles each way to work, every other day while building up my muscles and stamana. To work in mornings is all down hill, home in evening is all up hill and a good workout. I now only have to stop one time from 12 stops the first trip!
    I looked at a Raleigh 3.5 Detour today and liked the feel of it. $360 + fenders and rack and Kstand will end up about $420 The Detour 4.5 for $460 is similar, but better quality parts and would end up about $520 after adding the fenders, rack, kstand.
    I am 5'-11" 195 lb I want a bike with tires wide enough for ocasional dirt road rideing, but comfortable with more upright bars, 7 speeds minimum, fenders, rack, pants chain guard, and good handling.
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks,

  2. #2
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    If you have any Kona dealers in your area see if you can look at a Smoke: http://www.konaworld.co/bike.cfm?content=smoke

    It's discontinued for 2011 so you might be able to get a "Smoke-in" hot deal on one. It's already got fat tires and fenders so all you'd have to add is your rack and chain guard. The combination of a steel frameset with 47 mm tires should make a nice-riding bike. Plus, it's a Kona!
    Gettin' my Fred on.

  3. #3
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    For the money, its hard to beat the KHS Urban X as an all-around, everyday commuter. I wish I had bought one instead of my Giant FRC3

    http://www.khsbicycles.com/06_urban_x_10.htm

  4. #4
    Senior Member Doane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
    For the money, its hard to beat the KHS Urban X as an all-around, everyday commuter. I wish I had bought one instead of my Giant FRC3

    http://www.khsbicycles.com/06_urban_x_10.htm
    I don't know if I they even sell KHS in this area, but what are the advantages of it over the Giant, which they do sell here locally?

    And any comments about Giant vrs. Raleigh in similar price ranges?

    I also looked at a Globe internal 8 speed that is on sale for $650 marked down from $800, but it would still need the addition of fenders, rack, kstand and it's just way above my budget anyway.. but the internal gearing really works nicely and not having a derailer on the side to get banged up and dirty is nice too... nah, just too much $$ I noticed on line Raleigh makes one, the Calispell I8 with a Shimano Nexus 8 internal speed for about $550, but again, no fenders or rack. And.. is an 8 speed enough for hills?


    Thanks,
    Last edited by Doane; 10-11-10 at 07:38 PM.

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    What brands are in the dealers in your area?

    Realistically if you go to a bike shop or several, at the $500 price point,
    the bikes will be similar, only the brand name differs.
    the component picks will be on average similar,
    as the makers of the component parts have their several price points..
    and so the bits chosen , pre-dominantly shimano's, will match the price level.

    shop the dealer for service after the sale then ride the bike..

    a good bike shop would fit you on a well sized bike,
    and fit a few accessories to make the commute go well..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-13-10 at 10:41 PM.

  6. #6
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    I bought a Torker Graduate not too long ago, and it might be worth a look. Its been a smooth ride so far, and it looks great in person. Internal Hub, Front & Rear drum breaks, fenders, rack mounts, and 700x32C wheels. Only a 5 speed Sturmey Archer, but its a great bike for about 450. http://www.torkerusa.com/bikes/commuter-life/2011-graduate

  7. #7
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    I'll admit that I normally would pimp Kona- especially the Smoke*. I've also thrown out the KHS Urban X from time to time as well. But if I were in the market for a decent entry level again, I'd would have to put the Giant Escape right at the top. The top of the model line "City" goes for right at $500 around here.



    *was not a good day the first time I viewed the 2011 Kona line- My beloved Smoke and my lusted after Dew Drop were both dropped. Then the World gets an aluminum frame instead of steel...
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  8. #8
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    Last edited by Rhodabike; 10-11-10 at 08:33 PM.

  9. #9
    I'm Carbon Curious 531phile's Avatar
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    That Giant Escape City looks really well thought out. Has everything a commuter would want sans pannies: wide range of gears, fenders, kickstand, bell, rear rack. Another big plus in my book is the long chainstay for better heel clearance 17.9inches. It's hard to find bikes with really long chainstays. The Surly Long Haul Trucker has 18.1inches so the Giant comes really close.

    Quote Originally Posted by avner View Post
    I loled. Twice. Then I cried. Then I rubbed one out and cried again, but thanks for sharing.

  10. #10
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    There is a 2009 Jamis Commuter 3 at bicycle bananas for $500. If it is really hilly where you are then an 8 speed IGH might not be enough for you, but if the hills are not too bad it should be more than enough. The sizes are very deceptive with them though. Pay close attention to the frame geometry. I am 6'1 and my 2008 20.5in commuter 4 is pretty much perfect. It is really weird because my girlfriend also has a 20.5 that is somehow much smaller. The only downside to the commuter is that it Alu, which for some isn't a downside, but I would have preferred steel. The IGH and disc breaks were too much to pass up where I live compared to the Coda comp. If I had to do it again I may have gone with the 2009 coda comp, but I'm pretty thrilled with my choice, and the wet winter season is coming, and I think I will appreciate the discs and IGH.

  11. #11
    Senior Member sonatageek's Avatar
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    Well after reading the original post again and looking at the Raleigh models the OP is looking at, I think my CX suggestion is plain wrong. Sorry about that.

    There is another bike at Nashbar that might be closer to the mark -- Even if you factor in having a bike shop do the final assembly you should be well under the Detour 4.5 price with similar running gear.
    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...9_10000_200348

    What part of the country are you in?

  12. #12
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doane View Post
    I don't know if I they even sell KHS in this area, but what are the advantages of it over the Giant, which they do sell here locally?

    And any comments about Giant vrs. Raleigh in similar price ranges?

    I also looked at a Globe internal 8 speed that is on sale for $650 marked down from $800, but it would still need the addition of fenders, rack, kstand and it's just way above my budget anyway.. but the internal gearing really works nicely and not having a derailer on the side to get banged up and dirty is nice too... nah, just too much $$ I noticed on line Raleigh makes one, the Calispell I8 with a Shimano Nexus 8 internal speed for about $550, but again, no fenders or rack. And.. is an 8 speed enough for hills?


    Thanks,
    Nothing was wrong with my Giant FRC3 but it was more like a flat bar road bike than a commuter. It was hard to put on fenders and when I loaded it up with much weight it got a little squirlly. I would have rather had a steel frame with lots of tire clearance. If you dont' have a KHS around the Giant Escape looks nice too. Did you enter your zip code in on their website?

  13. #13
    "Per Ardua ad Surly" nelson249's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irclean View Post
    If you have any Kona dealers in your area see if you can look at a Smoke: http://www.konaworld.co/bike.cfm?content=smoke

    It's discontinued for 2011 so you might be able to get a "Smoke-in" hot deal on one. It's already got fat tires and fenders so all you'd have to add is your rack and chain guard. The combination of a steel frameset with 47 mm tires should make a nice-riding bike. Plus, it's a Kona!
    Ditto on the Smoke. A buddy of mine bought one two years ago and I am supremely irritated that Kona has discontinued it. Plus my local Kona dealer is out of stock. I like the suggestion by no1mad and zeppinger of the KHS Urban-X. It will likely be my new commuter in the near future.
    Last edited by nelson249; 10-12-10 at 06:24 PM.
    1997 Mongoose Hilltopper, 1988 Bianchi Specialissima, 2006 Surly Cross-Check, 2010 Norco City Glide, 1947 CCM Single-speed.

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  14. #14
    Senior Member Doane's Avatar
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    Thanks everyhone for all your comments and advice.

    The KHS Urban-X is apparently available at a dealer here. Will be looking this Saturday as I have off from work!


    The KHS Urban-X $440 rack, fenders, "CRMO" frame, "hi tensil" forks, Shimano Rivo shifters, CO51 front derailer and Altus rear, alloy rims with "black"? spokes and 26x1.5" tires.


    Giant Escape city with fenders and rack for $540 Aluxx Aluminum frame, alloy forks, SRAM Via shifters, SRAM VIA front and rear derailers, alloy rims with stainless spokes, 700x32 tires


    Raleigh Detour 4.5 for $460 + fenders, rack and kstand = about $520 aluminum frame, alloy forks, Shimano EF51 EZ fire shifters, Shimano TX51 front, Alivio rear derailers, Weinmann double wall rims? and stainless spokes, 700x40 tires.

    Any advice from those familiar with these materials, brands and models, or is there not too much difference?

    Thanks again

  15. #15
    Senior Member sonatageek's Avatar
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    Looking at the KHS website the MSRP of Urban-X is:
    MSRP: $329 COLORS: Gray SIZES: S, M, L

    The picture shows it with fenders and a rack:


    From the look of the bike, it appears to be an old school rigid mountain bike with slick tires. Not a bad setup, (heck I have been using an early 90's Raleigh M-60 with a similar setup for the past 3 years) but the Giant Escape looks like a nicer bike.
    Last edited by sonatageek; 10-13-10 at 04:27 AM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Doane's Avatar
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    I'm not finding that.. I went to the KHM site and it shows the Urban-X for $439 here

  17. #17
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    All three bikes have their strengths and weaknesses. If I were choosing it would come down to ride quality, warranty, and the reputation of the LBS (assuming the bikes are from different shops). On paper I like the Raleigh's components, but the other bikes already have fenders and racks so there are no fitment issues or added cost. I would assume that the KHS steel frameset and fatter 26" tires would translate into a smoother ride, but it may come at the cost of handling and performance. As I said, the ride will tell the tale. Good luck and happy hunting!
    Gettin' my Fred on.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doane View Post
    I bought a 7 speed Schwinn Lakeshore cruiser about a month ago and have decided to upgrade to something lighter and that handles better with more gears.

    I am 5'-11" 195 lb I want a bike with tires wide enough for ocasional dirt road rideing, but comfortable with more upright bars, 7 speeds minimum, fenders, rack, pants chain guard, and good handling.
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks,
    26" wheels, fenders, more gears, chain guard that is lighter than the 40lb Schwinn but under $500. You aren't going to get much lighter but you can get more gears but not too sure about the chain guard with a double or triple crankset.

  19. #19
    Senior Member sonatageek's Avatar
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    Ha -- I found it via a google search and the top returned link is KHS website and points to the 2008 listing. Did not catch that --

    Interesting how much the price jumped on that model a few years ago and that the frame went from AL to CroMO with the 2010 version.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doane View Post
    I'm not finding that.. I went to the KHM site and it shows the Urban-X for $439 here
    Last edited by sonatageek; 10-13-10 at 12:15 PM.

  20. #20
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    Get a Voodoo Agwe from Airbomb for $599.00. You can run either 700C or 29er tires on it. Its only one speed but with a double butted cro moly frame, at that price, its a heck of a good deal. If you want to run monstercross with it, its a good choice.

    Voodoo, sad to say, discontinued it in favor of the Nakisi. They call it a dirt townie.

  21. #21
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    I like the KHS better than the other two because of the steel frame and 26inch wheels. In my opinion they will make the bike a better all around bike rather than dedicated road machine. You can put fatties on it if you decided to later on or you can even go on a long bike tour (its got front fork braze ons for a front rack!) It will probably handle a load better and the slightly smaller wheels should be stronger than equivalent 700cc. The other bikes are a little bit more roadish.

  22. #22
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Two things about the Giant:

    1. The rack does not have a "sweep back" (I think that's the term), meaning if you're not careful (depending on mounting hardware) a bag could slide forward...

    2. Giant uses the Average Retail Price, not MSRP. Two different Giant shops in town here. One marks it at $540, but then "sweetens the deal" by lowering the price to $500. The other one just marks it at $500. So look around.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
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  23. #23
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Something else to consider as well- the cnainstay length. The longer it is, the less heel strike issues you will have in the future. The KHS measures 16.7", the Giant 17.9".

    That being said, go ride 'em all. Buy the one you want.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
    Community guidelines

  24. #24
    Senior Member Doane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    26" wheels, fenders, more gears, chain guard that is lighter than the 40lb Schwinn but under $500. You aren't going to get much lighter but you can get more gears but not too sure about the chain guard with a double or triple crankset.
    I was immediately impressed with how much lighter both the Raleigh detaour and the Giant felt that I tested last Saturday. I am going to actually weigh the Schwinn Lakeshore to see what it weighs, I'm really curious now. A full jchan guard isn't that important, I can always use pants clips, but fenders are a must, along with a rack to carry my lunch, and other things.

    Incidentally, the Lakeshore has 26 x 2-1/4" tires, they have worked fine in loose dirt on dirt roads and this evening I even drove home and part way went over a loose bark mulch trail with no problems, though I had to peddal a lot harder. So, what would you people say is the minimum width of tires I should consider in order to occasionally drive over dirt roads with loose dirt areas but at a leasurly speed?

  25. #25
    Senior Member Doane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sonatageek View Post
    Ha -- I found it via a google search and the top returned link is KHS website and points to the 2008 listing. Did not catch that --

    Interesting how much the price jumped on that model a few years ago and that the frame went from AL to CroMO with the 2010 version.
    Is aluminum or CroMo better, and what is CroMo? Any advantages to one over the other?

    Thanks,

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