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  1. #1
    Senior Member kookaburra1701's Avatar
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    Cheap Commuter/Utility bike

    Right now I only have one bicycle, an 87 Schwinn Tempo. It's a racing bike, and that's what I intend to use it for (once I get in better shape) but I've been using it to commute as well, and it's not exactly suited for it. I'd like to get an inexpensive (<$600 USD) commuter that preferably comes equipped with a back rack and fenders already on, and a more upright posture. I'd use it mainly for my 3 mile commute (flat terrain) and sometimes going to the grocery store (3 miles, again flat terrain.)

    Something like the Jamis Commuter series, or maybe Trek Bellevue. Does anyone have any recommendations/bad experiences with bikes in this category? Stuff I should look out for?
    2014 Specialized Dolce, 1987 Schwinn Tempo, 2012 Windsor Kensington 8

  2. #2
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    I've had few complaints with my Trek Allant. It comes with fenders and a rack already installed, but I think it's just over your $600 price limit. If you don't mind an internet bike, Bikesdirect has a few that look good - http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/city_bikes.htm
    馬好き

  3. #3
    Senior Member kookaburra1701's Avatar
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    $600 is more a soft guideline. I was looking at the Allant on Trek's website, looked like a likely candidate, but I couldn't figure out if it offered more for the money than a Jamis Commuter.

    How much technical know-how is required to assemble an internet bike? So far the most technical thing I've done is change my tires and pedals.
    2014 Specialized Dolce, 1987 Schwinn Tempo, 2012 Windsor Kensington 8

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Your LBS sell Jamis and Trek?

    Trek Navigator is a comfy casual bike, 2.0 fits a triple, 1.0 is an 8x1.

    Typically rack and mudguards are a point of sale add-on,
    so they will be added before you take it home..

    Shops typically knock off 10% for all the accessories
    bought with the bike , so load up on those.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 06-05-12 at 01:59 PM.

  5. #5
    Saving gas on my commute Scooby214's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kookaburra1701 View Post
    $600 is more a soft guideline. I was looking at the Allant on Trek's website, looked like a likely candidate, but I couldn't figure out if it offered more for the money than a Jamis Commuter.

    How much technical know-how is required to assemble an internet bike? So far the most technical thing I've done is change my tires and pedals.
    When I bought a Windsor Oxford from Bikes Direct, I had to install the front fender and wheel, then install and adjust the handlebars, seat, and pedals. After that, it was a matter of adjusting brakes, shifter, etc. I found it to be pretty simple.

  6. #6
    Senior Member kookaburra1701's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooby214 View Post
    When I bought a Windsor Oxford from Bikes Direct, I had to install the front fender and wheel, then install and adjust the handlebars, seat, and pedals. After that, it was a matter of adjusting brakes, shifter, etc. I found it to be pretty simple.
    With installing the handlebars, does that mean I'd have to completely install the brakes and shifters from scratch? Do instructions on how to do that come with the bike? The Windsor is actually the closest to what I had in my mind's eye for this bike. Looks like the first "adult" bicycle I had as a teen.
    Last edited by kookaburra1701; 06-05-12 at 09:54 PM.
    2014 Specialized Dolce, 1987 Schwinn Tempo, 2012 Windsor Kensington 8

  7. #7
    Senior Member kookaburra1701's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Your LBS sell Jamis and Trek?

    Trek Navigator is a comfy casual bike, 2.0 fits a triple, 1.0 is an 8x1.

    Typically rack and mudguards are a point of sale add-on,
    so they will be added before you take it home..

    Shops typically knock off 10% for all the accessories
    bought with the bike , so load up on those.
    The LBS sells some Trek stuff, I'd actually prefer to stay away from Trek-badged stuff because it's a theft magnet. Also the LBS doesn't do any sort of discounting. They're the only game for over 70 miles and I only really have confidence in two of people who work there.
    2014 Specialized Dolce, 1987 Schwinn Tempo, 2012 Windsor Kensington 8

  8. #8
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    "Cycling is for pleasure not penance"

  9. #9
    Senior Member kookaburra1701's Avatar
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    ooooh. Like the disc brakes.
    2014 Specialized Dolce, 1987 Schwinn Tempo, 2012 Windsor Kensington 8

  10. #10
    Saving gas on my commute Scooby214's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kookaburra1701 View Post
    With installing the handlebars, does that mean I'd have to completely install the brakes and shifters from scratch? Do instructions on how to do that come with the bike? The Windsor is actually the closest to what I had in my mind's eye for this bike. Looks like the first "adult" bicycle I had as a teen.
    The shifter and brakes were installed on the handlebars, along with the cables. I simply had to slide the quill stem into the headset, adjust the stem to my liking, and tighten with a hex key. There were basic instructions with the bike, and Bikes Direct sent me a PDF of the directions when they shipped the bike. I didn't find anything to be tricky, as the bike came needing only final assembly.

  11. #11
    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kookaburra1701 View Post
    The Windsor is actually the closest to what I had in my mind's eye for this bike. Looks like the first "adult" bicycle I had as a teen.
    A guy in my local club has one of those. I keep thinking he has a Surly LHT for some reason. Nice looking bike and seems like it would make a good commuter and do-everything bike.

    FWBA casual ride 3-17-12 by Yo Spiff, on Flickr
    2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '88 Trek 900, '92 Trek T100, 2000 Rans Tailwind

  12. #12
    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kookaburra1701 View Post
    I'd actually prefer to stay away from Trek-badged stuff because it's a theft magnet.
    Interesting how that works. The thieves just know "Trek is a good bike", even though many of them are fairly inexpensive. I think bike shop bikes in the $100-200 range are probably quick turnarounds with decent sale prices, so that's what they look for. Mart junk is harder to move and high end bikes raise peoples suspicions.
    2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '88 Trek 900, '92 Trek T100, 2000 Rans Tailwind

  13. #13
    Senior Member kookaburra1701's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yo Spiff View Post
    A guy in my local club has one of those. I keep thinking he has a Surly LHT for some reason. Nice looking bike and seems like it would make a good commuter and do-everything bike.

    FWBA casual ride 3-17-12 by Yo Spiff, on Flickr
    An LHT was actually my first choice but it's just too much money to risk keeping locked up outside while I go shopping/am at work. I do contribute $100 to my "LHT Fund" every paycheck though. I figure by the time I have enough saved up I'll be in good enough shape to actually do some touring.
    2014 Specialized Dolce, 1987 Schwinn Tempo, 2012 Windsor Kensington 8

  14. #14
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Check out the Giant Escape City.
    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

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    Check out the Giant Escape City.
    +1

  16. #16
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    This is nice too, but I still like the Zilla better.

    If a folder is an option....
    Last edited by DVC45; 06-06-12 at 01:57 PM.
    "Cycling is for pleasure not penance"

  17. #17
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    Psst read: requirement was <$600

  18. #18
    Senior Member kookaburra1701's Avatar
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    Ok, I pulled the trigger on the Windsor Kensington, one is on its way to me now.

    Also thanks to everyone for their suggestions. Pretty much every bike has been saved to my "wishlist" folder in my favorites, because I can think of a use I'd have for each. This is how N+1 syndrome starts, isn't it? Is there any hope?
    2014 Specialized Dolce, 1987 Schwinn Tempo, 2012 Windsor Kensington 8

  19. #19
    Very, very Senior Member JPprivate's Avatar
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    KHS Green? It's a three speed with fenders. I had it now for a few years. It's pretty good deal at under $400

  20. #20
    Commuter From Hell swoody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yo Spiff View Post
    Interesting how that works. The thieves just know "Trek is a good bike", even though many of them are fairly inexpensive. I think bike shop bikes in the $100-200 range are probably quick turnarounds with decent sale prices, so that's what they look for. Mart junk is harder to move and high end bikes raise peoples suspicions.
    Aside from protecting my bike from small chips and dings, this is one reason I wrap my frame with electrical tape. It's not so much 'uglifying' the bike, but making it more discreet. I pulled the tape off the other day, and all my co-workers had the same reaction... "Your bike is yellow??"

    Quote Originally Posted by kookaburra1701 View Post
    Ok, I pulled the trigger on the Windsor Kensington, one is on its way to me now.
    That's a good choice! As the others have mentioned, the setup required with buying an online bike should be fairly minimal, and as you stated you've already changed tires and pedals, it shouldn't be too difficult for you. Let us know how it works out when you get it all put together
    It is better to travel well than to arrive.
    Slow n Steady :: Trek 4300 Commuter

  21. #21
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kookaburra1701 View Post
    Ok, I pulled the trigger on the Windsor Kensington, one is on its way to me now.

    Also thanks to everyone for their suggestions. Pretty much every bike has been saved to my "wishlist" folder in my favorites, because I can think of a use I'd have for each. This is how N+1 syndrome starts, isn't it? Is there any hope?
    Not really...
    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

  22. #22
    Saving gas on my commute Scooby214's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kookaburra1701 View Post
    Ok, I pulled the trigger on the Windsor Kensington, one is on its way to me now.

    Also thanks to everyone for their suggestions. Pretty much every bike has been saved to my "wishlist" folder in my favorites, because I can think of a use I'd have for each. This is how N+1 syndrome starts, isn't it? Is there any hope?
    Good choice!

  23. #23
    ouate de phoque dramiscram's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kookaburra1701 View Post
    Right now I only have one bicycle, an 87 Schwinn Tempo. It's a racing bike, and that's what I intend to use it for (once I get in better shape) but I've been using it to commute as well, and it's not exactly suited for it.
    Why? I've been commuting with a racing bike for the last 2 years. I modified it to fit a rear rack and homemade fenders so it's quite ugly but I prefer a faster bike so the commute is quicker/shorter.
    Originally Posted by Leebo
    Headwind is like a hill without a soul. Just gear down and suffer.
    Quote Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
    Headwinds are hills dipped in evil!
    Tabarnac de vent!!!

  24. #24
    Senior Member kookaburra1701's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dramiscram View Post
    Why? I've been commuting with a racing bike for the last 2 years. I modified it to fit a rear rack and homemade fenders so it's quite ugly but I prefer a faster bike so the commute is quicker/shorter.
    A few reasons. 1) I don't want to break it hauling heavy loads. 2) The kludges I worked out for fitting fenders and racks to it when it has no mounts for either make me nervous. 3) I do actually want to race it at some point. 4) When I've got a load on the back, the aggressive racing position really makes it hard to maneuver and makes my back ache. When I'm not moving lots of mass (other than my fat butt, ha ha) the aggressive position is nice. 5) Having a back up bike for insurance in case something goes wrong gives me some peace of mind.
    2014 Specialized Dolce, 1987 Schwinn Tempo, 2012 Windsor Kensington 8

  25. #25
    Kid A TurbineBlade's Avatar
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    Also thanks to everyone for their suggestions. Pretty much every bike has been saved to my "wishlist" folder in my favorites, because I can think of a use I'd have for each. This is how N+1 syndrome starts, isn't it? Is there any hope?
    Yeah, not really. Not unless your spouse really, really enjoys cycling.
    Cyclist, angler and aquarist

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