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  1. #1
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    Choosing between 3 bikes

    Greetings,

    I've started commuting with my old mountain bike and am really enjoying it! I'm looking to buy a new bike that will be a little nicer for to/from the office, 75% along rail-to-trail (the Burke-Gilman for those who know Seattle) and 25% city, about 5 miles each way. It would be nice to go on longer rides from time to time, but probably most of the time it will just be commuting. I would like a rack for lunch/clothes, so I don't have to keep backpacking it.

    I've tried out probably 10 bikes so far, and am looking primarily at three options:

    2011 Giant Escape City ($550)
    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/...pe/7374/44053/

    2010 Masi CaffeRacer Solo ($600)
    http://www.bikepedia.com/quickbike/B...Solo&Type=bike

    2010 Bianchi Valle ($800)
    http://www.bianchiusa.com/archives/0...n/09-xt-valle/

    I've been trying to learn the new language that is bike components and materials. I'm currently leaning toward the Masi, since its 200 bucks cheaper than the Bianchi and has a 105 deraileur (which I understand is better than the others...?). After fenders/rack probably still 130 cheaper. I believe the components are better enough to justify the extra for the Masi over the Giant... but not sure. The Bianchi has a dynamo on the front for the light, which seems like a cool feature, but not sure if that is worth the extra expense. I do love that mocha brown on the Masi...

    I'm trying to stay below 1000, but less allows me to pick up other things sooner (such as bags, eventually maybe clip pedals?). I wouldn't be opposed to drop bars, but it seems like those quickly juice the price up, and for starting out may be more than I'm looking for.

    So, o commuters of bikeforums, what do you think would be the best bet price/bang for the buck wise? Or am I not as likely to notice all the difference in components the bike store people have stated, and should I just get the cheapest one that works?

    Much thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    If you're planning on using panniers- go with the Giant. It's got the longest chainstay length by more than an inch over the other two. And heel strike just SUCKS.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member ratell's Avatar
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    The Masi would get my vote, but the real decision should be based on which one you like riding best.
    2010 Masi Speciale CX
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  4. #4
    Papaya King waynesworld's Avatar
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    Yes, get whichever you like riding best. But, my vote would be for the Giant, then the Masi. I can't see spending that much more for the Bianchi. Unless you really like the Bianchi WAY better, then all bets are off.
    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
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    2011 BMC SR02, 2010 Kona Jake, 2009 Felt X City D, 1984 (?) Trek 400, 1995 Trek 850

  5. #5
    Senior Member Brennan's Avatar
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    I'd go for the steel framed Bianchi over the other two, because I prefer the feel of a steel frame for this type of riding. However, the other two look like great bikes. I think you'd do well with any of them.

  6. #6
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    Have you considered putting slicks on your mountain bike? (slicks are skinny non-knobby tires that come in MTB sizes.) The great thing is trying this out won't cost much money, you can get a pair for about 30 bucks.

    I use an older Trek 8000 mtb with slicks and a rack to commute 10 miles from Brooklyn to Manhattan and this works out just fine. I also own 3 road bikes (one a Davidson built in Seattle, try Elliott Bay Cycles down by Pike Place Market) and wouldn't even consider using one of those. 5 Miles on the BG isn't that long a ride unless you need to climb one of the big hills at the end once off the trail.

  7. #7
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    I'd be comparing the wheels and hubs also to find the better value.

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  8. #8
    Senior Member exile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChronicND View Post
    I've started commuting with my old mountain bike and am really enjoying it! I'm looking to buy a new bike that will be a little nicer for to/from the office, 75% along rail-to-trail (the Burke-Gilman for those who know Seattle) and 25% city, about 5 miles each way. It would be nice to go on longer rides from time to time, but probably most of the time it will just be commuting. I would like a rack for lunch/clothes, so I don't have to keep backpacking it.

    I'm trying to stay below 1000, but less allows me to pick up other things sooner (such as bags, eventually maybe clip pedals?). I wouldn't be opposed to drop bars, but it seems like those quickly juice the price up, and for starting out may be more than I'm looking for.
    The highlighted statement has me mystified (I know it won't be the first time ). Do you mean a bike that looks nicer, or a bike more suited for commuting.

    Personally I think old MTB's make fine commuters, and if you let us know what it is we might be able to give you some suggestions on how to make it commuterific .

    If you want a bike that looks nicer, than it really is your choice.

    If you want a bike more commuter friendly I like the Giant or the Bianchi since they seem to offer room for both racks and fenders. The Masi seems more geared toward going fast.

    However, get the bike you like and find the most comfortable. I really don't know if you will notice a difference in components since you won't have anything to compare them to.
    Last edited by exile; 05-29-11 at 01:17 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Thanks for the replies!

    I hadn't really considered altering my mountain bike, but I suppose I could consider it. The main reason I was thinking to replace it was that I got it when I was 14, so its a little on the small side nowadays (though not too bad), I suppose I could get a longer seat tube and such...

    It's a GT All Terra Outpost Trail, from the mid-90s. 4130 triple-triangle frame, shimano SIS SL-TY31 thumb shifters, shimano altus C50 deraileur, rims Weinmann 4019 26x1.50/550, 18 speed (3 front, 6 back, 5 of the back five are rusty). It works alright but was stored outside while one of my siblings borrowed it last year, so is in need of some TLC.

    I was mostly thinking something newer and lighter would be nice. My wife has a hybrid as well, and we were thinking it would be nice to go for rides together. Maybe fixing up the mountain bike would be enough, though I do like the idea of a new bike... How much of a difference will the 26 inch mountain bike slicks vs. the 700c hybrid tires make?

    Sheesh, now I have even more to think about! I hadn't even thought about the possibility of heel strike, I'll need to think about that. Can that be fixed by different rack/pannier combinations, or is it just bike/foot size? I'm a size 10.5, so not bigfoot, but I can see how that would be a hassle.

    Back to pondering!

  10. #10
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    You'll want fenders on a designated commuter and the Giant has those already. I would go with the Giant as it seems to be more purpose built for commuting. The longer chainstays will be a plus when you hang panniers.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    You'll notice more difference between a knobby 26" and a non-knobby 26" than you will the difference between a 26" and 700c of the same tread design/compound.

    You can find racks that offer longer platforms that allow you to mount panniers further back. Downside to that is the further back from the axle the load goes, the more noticeable the handling will suffer. Also, the better quality panniers allow you to adjust the mounting hardware- as in slide fore/aft or rotate a bit to tilt the bag. You could just get a decent backpack or find one that works off the bike and just strap it down to the rack itself or use a basket or crate. Here's the solution I came up with:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    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

  12. #12
    Senior Member exile's Avatar
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    If your current bike in on the small side I wouldn't invest to much into it (although I would keep it as a spare for now). You could probably score a similar bike off craigslist in your size for a fraction of the price of some of the bikes you listed.

    Many mid 80's to 90's rigid MTB's had beefy frames, stable geometry, ability to fit wide tires, and eyelets for both racks and fenders. To commutify it get some slick tires, add fenders and a rear rack. On top of that you can add bar ends for more hand positions or a trekking bar.

    Depending on your area figure about $150 for the bike, $35 for a rack, $35 for fenders, $40 for tires, and $20 for bar ends. You could basically outfit your bike with equipment more suited for your purposes for close to 1/2 the price.
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  13. #13
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    Well, if the bike is too small I wouldn't bother then. And if you are looking to ride with your wife on her hybrid you should match what she is riding, unless she just likes to poke along on the BG for a few miles and then it won't matter. (My idea of a ride is 50 miles at a decent pace, or a loop around Lake Washington, my wife's idea of a ride is one loop around the park, with a stop for lunch along the way.) I don't know anything about the bikes you mention. Try a bunch and pick one.

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