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  1. #1
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    SF Commuter cycle for under a grand

    Hi all,
    I'm new here, and new to many aspects of cycling. I have just moved to San Francisco after living in Amsterdam, where I commuted for 20-30 minutes too and from work, rain, snow or shine, every day for three years. My bicycle was typical of the city: a heavy, single speed coaster with geometry promoting a very upright position.

    Now that I am in SF, I would like to commute to the train (2.8mi), then to my work at the other end (1.5mi). I am a little overwhelmed by the bicycle choices and would love suggestions.

    I do have some specific requirements. I like classic looking frames (steel frame, road style, classic aesthetics), I have a thing for horizontal top bars, and am more comfortable with fairly narrow but swept back handlebars, I would like tires between 32 and 40mm. It has to be light enough to lift on and off a train with confidence. I would like a selection of gears, and have been told I have a long torso.

    Does the forum have any suggestions for a suitable bike (new or used suggestions)? Much appreciated - I have been looking for over a month now and can't decide!

  2. #2
    Senior Member nashvillwill's Avatar
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    I will let other suggest bikes for you (because there are many). I just thought I would mention to be sure to consider what you will be taking on the train. If its Caltrain, you should be fine. If its BART, you may want to be careful about what you get. Bikes aren't allowed in the city or the Transbay tube during peak hours, except for a folder. Even when they are allowed, you may not want big sweeping bars. If it's MUNI metro you are talking about, then you shouldn't bother with a bike.

    Having said that, I take a regular frame on BART, but I beat the rush.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by nashvillwill View Post
    I will let other suggest bikes for you (because there are many). I just thought I would mention to be sure to consider what you will be taking on the train. If its Caltrain, you should be fine. If its BART, you may want to be careful about what you get. Bikes aren't allowed in the city or the Transbay tube during peak hours, except for a folder. Even when they are allowed, you may not want big sweeping bars. If it's MUNI metro you are talking about, then you shouldn't bother with a bike.

    Having said that, I take a regular frame on BART, but I beat the rush.
    Good point. I am taking the Caltrain, so I don't really want constraints on frame size (I would prefer not to ride a folding bike).

    I may take the BART on occasion, so it's good to know that beating the rush is a factor

  4. #4
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Listen to that ^^ guy.

  5. #5
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    I am in SF also. My commute bike is a Marin Muirwoods 29er, but the top tube is sloping and it is more like a mountain bike than a road bike and the tires are 42mm. I find that the bigger tires are much more comfortable than the bike I tried with 32mm tires. It is a bit on the heavy side though, about 30lbs or 13.5kg so you might find that unappealing. The Marin store on 7th and Folsom has a 25% discount on their previous year bikes so that might be worth a look.

    Other bikes you might consider are one of the Jamis Coda or Jamis Satellite bikes. Both are steel bikes but teh top tube is not horizontal. The Kona ***** Tonk is a steel bike too.

    The Jamis Commuter bikes might be woth a look too. They are steel with slightly swept back bars and they already include fenders and rack.

  6. #6
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    For under 1,000$ look for a used Rivendell Sam Hillborne, Saluki, Hilsen, or Bleriot with 650b wheels.
    They are designed for the wide tires you are looking for and you can put loads of different swept back bars on them. They are classic looking lugged, steel frames.
    They are designed for an upright poture, and they do come with horizontal top tubes (not the Hillborne, though).

    Their shop is also close to you, in Walnut Creek, California.
    But for under 1k, you are talking used. Maybe they have something around the shop.
    I got a Rivendell Bleriot for $850 complete. It weighs 22lbs. It has 40mm tires with fenders on it now.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7023773...in/photostream

    www.rivbike.com
    Last edited by lungimsam; 12-19-12 at 11:07 PM.

  7. #7
    I'm Carbon Curious 531phile's Avatar
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    Are you going to use panniers, backpack or do you even need a bag??? Answer this question first and then decide. If you need a bike with panniers, that will narrow your choices down to touring bikes which have all the eyelets for racks and a long chainstay for heel clearance. Trek 520 and surly long haul trucker have long chainstays. I know they are above $1000, but you can find them used for less than $1000 sometimes. If you are just going to be using a backpack, then you can pretty much ride anything, but keep it relatively light and get a bike with fenders since you live in the bay area. Jamis Coda line bikes are a good choice. As are some Kona bikes. Cyclocross bikes make good commuter too especially if you don't need a rack as many don't have eyelets for them.

    Come to think about it, a Surly crosscheck would be close to ideal for you. You should be able to find them used for less than a $1000.

    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.

  8. #8
    I'm Carbon Curious 531phile's Avatar
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    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.

  9. #9
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    Hi maak,

    the first bike that came to mind when I read your post was this: http://publicbikes.com/p/PUBLIC-D8-2012

    The price is under $1000, but it'll be over $1000 when you factor in taxes, I guess.

    It's designed and sold by people who live in the SF Bay area. I test rode one and liked it a lot. Of course, the bars don't sweep back as much as on say, a dutch-style bike or beach cruiser.

  10. #10
    Steel is real, baby! frpax's Avatar
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    What bikes are YOU considering?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 531phile View Post
    x2. I commute on a cross check and absolutely love it. You may spend some quality time on the 25 tooth rear cog if you have lots of hills to climb though. Even with that, I would grab the cross check.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by frpax View Post
    What bikes are YOU considering?
    I seem to have looked at a lot of bikes in the last month, as I refined my idea of what I want. I have looked into quality used steel frame bikes (from stores in SF), although they are not so common at stores. I have frequented craigslist looking for similar bicycles, but am wary of buying from there.

    I have looked into rivendell's are a pipe dream at my budget, and hard to find for a reasonable price used. The box dog pelican is nice but a little pricey for me. The lesson may be that I am aiming too high! But that may give you an idea of the style I am pursuing.

  13. #13
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    And the Velo-Orange Polyvalent looks interesting to me. It's a bit of a cross between what I used to ride, and the road bikes that are popular here.

  14. #14
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    For BART at peak Commutes, How about a Bike Friday Tikit.. Made in Oregon, and they fold swiftly
    you roll the folded bike by its front wheel, with a handle , part of the folded rear portion.

    they start at/under about $1K you can get them in Sizes, so unlike any other folding bike.
    + as you offer more $ you get lots of upgrade opportunities..

    they will love to go with a premium component pick..



    off peak you can take regular bikes .. good town for theft, so if you have to lock it outside
    Consider coping with it being Not there.

    May be some of the Craig's list sellers selling what they took.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 12-20-12 at 03:48 PM.

  15. #15
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    Great suggestions so far. I would say that the VO Polyvalent encapsulates what I am looking for: a classic, urban bike capable of other duties; however at $1250 for a maxi build kit, it's a little out of budget for me.

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