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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 07-04-11, 04:41 PM   #1
GetOnMyBike
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Commuting Bike: Options, Options, Options

Hi,

I want to start commuting by bike, but I am unsure how to go about selecting which bike to buy. Of all threads I've read, the type of bike would "depend on [my] needs." I am not too intense of a biker and am just looking to get from point A to point B, which is usually around 3-5 miles on bike paths and lanes. I would definitely prefer something lightweight that is easy to carry up-and-down stairs.

I'm a college student, so I don't have that big of a budget either. I looked at the Commuter Bicycle Pics thread and a lot of the bikes I saw were around $1,000. Can anyone recommend a good bike that is under $500?

There are a few that I have found (below) but, without being able to look at it in person, it's hard to tell whether they would be good for me. So, I'd love to hear any thoughts or opinions.
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Old 07-04-11, 04:54 PM   #2
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I don't really endorse the Takara or the Schwinn you posted. Look at this link and see what you liek there. there are plenty of bikes under $500 especially if you are willing to go the singlespeed route.

http://www.bikesdirect.com/
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Old 07-04-11, 05:02 PM   #3
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I don't really endorse the Takara or the Schwinn you posted. Look at this link and see what you liek there. there are plenty of bikes under $500 especially if you are willing to go the singlespeed route.

http://www.bikesdirect.com/
I chose those because they had the highest ratings among the bike category. I don't even know the advantages or disadvantages to a single-speed bike.

As for the site you provided, I do see a lot but I am unsure how to go about picking one. Can you recommend a few bikes that would suit my profile that I described earlier?
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Old 07-04-11, 05:04 PM   #4
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I don't really endorse the Takara or the Schwinn you posted. Look at this link and see what you liek there. there are plenty of bikes under $500 especially if you are willing to go the singlespeed route.

http://www.bikesdirect.com/
I don't want to thread-jack, but since I'm also looking for the same things as the OP.... Are all the bikes on the website off-brand? Are they ok? Price seems right. How mechanically inclined do you need to be to put them together at home?

TO THE OP... I've been commuting on my Walmart bike * for 2 months, about 6 miles one way, no problem. I'm looking for a better one now that I know I'm into it and what I really need but you can DEFINETLY find something to work in your price range.
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Old 07-04-11, 05:08 PM   #5
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Well first what would you really like to spend?

A singlespeed bike has the advantage of possible being lighter because there are less components. It also has the advantage of less stuff breaking because its simple. The disadvantage is you only have one gear.

Are you mechanically inclined or have someone able to put this bike together if you order it?

Have you considered used?
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Old 07-04-11, 05:15 PM   #6
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I don't want to thread-jack, but since I'm also looking for the same things as the OP.... Are all the bikes on the website off-brand? Are they ok? Price seems right. How mechanically inclined do you need to be to put them together at home?

TO THE OP... I've been commuting on my Walmart bike * for 2 months, about 6 miles one way, no problem. I'm looking for a better one now that I know I'm into it and what I really need but you can DEFINETLY find something to work in your price range.
The bikes are off brand and the bikes are straight from China and shipped directly to you. They probably are not quit as good of quality frames as maybe a Trek or obviously some more expensive brands, but they are not junk. I have owned 3 of their bikes and I think they are good quality better than I expected overall.

What Walmart bike do you have now and what kind of bike are you looking for?
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Old 07-04-11, 06:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by GetOnMyBike View Post
Hi,

I want to start commuting by bike, but I am unsure how to go about selecting which bike to buy. Of all threads I've read, the type of bike would "depend on [my] needs." I am not too intense of a biker and am just looking to get from point A to point B, which is usually around 3-5 miles on bike paths and lanes. I would definitely prefer something lightweight that is easy to carry up-and-down stairs.

I'm a college student, so I don't have that big of a budget either. I looked at the Commuter Bicycle Pics thread and a lot of the bikes I saw were around $1,000. Can anyone recommend a good bike that is under $500?

There are a few that I have found (below) but, without being able to look at it in person, it's hard to tell whether they would be good for me. So, I'd love to hear any thoughts or opinions.

I commute of a Giant Defy 2 but I'm looking at another giant for the days I want to take the other route which has RR tracks in a stretch of dirt and another stretch of dirt that is just too long to carry my road bike across. Giant just came out with this and it looks like a fine cargo bike for knocking around on.

Giant Escape 2


My dealer had this at $380 today. I also liked the Escape City but don't need the fenders here in Vegas. This looks like a GREAT commuter and can be had for exactly $500 at my LBS. Here's a picture though.



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Old 07-04-11, 07:17 PM   #8
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If there's an REI near you, might want to check this out:

http://www.rei.com/product/808781/novara-buzz-bike-2011

A coworker bought one for a 6 mile (one-way) commute and he's happy with it. Seems like a pretty solid frame/fork combo, has eyelets for a rear rack & fenders (if you don't like riding with a backpack), and nicely priced.

My commuter is a 1995 rigid MTB bought off of Craigslist that I rehabed into a commuter/errand bike.
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Old 07-04-11, 07:20 PM   #9
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Single speed means when it's hard to pedal you can't gear down a bit to maintain cadence and not wear yourself out (or hurt your knees).

Multiple gears means you have more stuff to keep in proper register.

Bikes Direct is good, but you have to assemble yourself etc. The Windsor Wellington 3.0 for $400 on the front page, for example, is a good bike for the price. Shimano Sora components and all. You can do far better, maybe not in that price range for brand new.

That's a road bike of course, and you're going on paths ... any unpaved ride means you want a hybrid or MTB, and since you're city riding I'd say go with a hybrid. I have the GT Tachyon 3.0, but also the Motobecane Cafe Late looks good (or the Cafe Late Disc)... they're all decent bikes.
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Old 07-04-11, 07:59 PM   #10
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Hhmmmmm. options options options.... I would go with the Giant Option, Slightly heavy but very smooth ride.
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Old 07-04-11, 08:31 PM   #11
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Those tires look like ass.
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Old 07-04-11, 08:36 PM   #12
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Probably, the town you're in has a public bike auction. College towns are loaded with bikes that get left at the end of the year and the city has to unload. Look into it and see when the auction is. You could probably pick up something good for very cheap.

Then, in the future, if you find yourself riding quite a bit, you could upgrade to something else. If you can hold off until the fall, bike shops sometimes have deep discounts to get rid of excess summer stock. Really, for your purposes, almost anything will work. Especially parking it on a college campus, you should probably buy the absolute cheapest ugliest bike you can tolerate (and buy a good quality U-lock) to minimize your risk of theft or vandalism.
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Old 07-04-11, 11:19 PM   #13
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If you're looking at bikesdirect bikes, I'd go with http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/.../kilott_wt.htm or http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/uno.htm for commuting.
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Old 07-04-11, 11:34 PM   #14
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One thing to consider if your new is if you get a single speed bike take some time to practice removing and replacing the rear wheel, if you're not used to it, it'll be a serious pain the first time you get a flat. Short of that get something with a derailer. you don't have to worry about getting the chain tight enough and the wheel straight. In spite of what some think on these boards, derailers are easy to service and there are plenty of web sites and book to tell you how. I just spent 10 minutes getting my rear derailer right the other day, might be 10 more minutes than you'd spend with a single speed or IGH, but 10 minutes of service in a 6 month stretch isn't nothing I can complain about. Don't forget to oil your chain.
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Old 07-05-11, 02:10 PM   #15
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If I were in your shoes I would shop used and local. Probably look at craigslist, bike coops, local bike shops that sell used, auctions, pawn shops, or garage sales. Look for something you can go out for on a test ride and be able to look over.

The most important factor is fit. Is the bike the right size for you? A very close second would be your willingness to ride it. Basically, would you enjoy riding the bike?
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Old 07-05-11, 03:13 PM   #16
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Where do you live, or more specifically, is your area hilly or not? If it is super hilly, I'd get gears. Otherwise, you (and your knees) should be fine for 3-5 miles with a singlespeed if your area is flat to moderately hilly.

Bikes Direct seems fine (I've never bought a bike from them, but I see dozens every day), but if you have a good bike shop in your area that carries Torker, KHS or Redline bikes, all of those manufacturers have bikes (single speed, derailer geared, internal hub geared) that are geared to commuters and that would fit into your price range. If it's your first bike in a while it doesn't hurt to have a shop you can go to if you have problems or need advice.
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Old 07-05-11, 03:16 PM   #17
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I like this Schwinn. If you spend some time on Craigslist, you'll find some deals there too.

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...rcher_comp.htm
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Old 07-05-11, 09:03 PM   #18
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What Walmart bike do you have now and what kind of bike are you looking for?


Schwinn Admiral! (this should be on the confessions thread) I actually still like it alright but it's all wrong for me-- had no idea this was going to really become a hobby.

I need something I can sit forward on (bad tailbone) to use for commuting. I was looking at some Giant bikes like the Escape posted above. ^^^^^ Need racks, fenders, etc.
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Old 07-05-11, 09:29 PM   #19
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Hey I kinda like the Admiral also. =)

I like the Esacpe city alot and I like how it has fenders and rack already on it. Of course what I remember is the fenders aren't that high quality and so you might want to price out how much it would cost to put fenders and rack on yourself on a similar bike.
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