Recommendations for good commuter/hybrid bikes with 700c wheels
My wife and I are looking for good commuter bikes for everyday use for short commutes and errands of 3-5 miles each way, and for occasional weekend leisure rides of 20-40 miles. I'd sincerely appreciate your recommendations for bikes that fit the following:
1) Faster 700c (29 in.) wheels with smooth hybrid tires that aren't as thin as road tires, but aren't as thick as mountain tires
2) Accept a good rear rack and fenders
3) Hybrid style frame (not crouched aggressively low like road bike and not fully upright like a cruiser)
4) Preferably available in the $400-600 range in practice (MSRP could be higher as long as I can find the bikes at this range). Don't want to spend more because of risk of theft in a university town
5) Available in Large Men's and Medium Women's frame
6) Don't care about shocks - a mid-width seat on cush springs should do fine
Not looking for a racer, but a good, solid dependable everyday riding bike that's faster on roads than a mountain bike, and can handle longer rides on weekends.
One example that could fit would be a KHS Urban Express.
Front suspension at cost of components? Crosstrail & Ariel vs. Sirrus and Vita
Thanks NoBrakeNate. Specialized makes great bikes, I especially like their mountain bikes like the Carve and Stumpjumper.
Originally Posted by NoBrakeNate
1) The Specialized Crosstrail and Ariel look like very nice bikes, but don't you think the front shock is unnecessary for road bike riding, and that a bike that comes with one is going to cut corners in other areas like components? What advantage would they have over the Sirrus, Vita and other bikes without suspension? To soften the ride, I plan to use larger plush seats sitting on large springs.
2) What's the difference between the Crosstrail and Ariel? Which do you prefer and why?
3) The Sirrus and Vita are more like what I was thinking of. By tire clearance, do you mean between the tire and the frame? For road biking, would this matter at all?
4) What's the difference between the the Sirrus and Vita? Which do you prefer and why?
Balancing off-road capability + front suspension with road speed
I totally agree about the test riding - I'm just trying to narrow down type of bike and models first.
Originally Posted by NoBrakeNate
1) Could you totally shut out the front suspension fork on the lowest-priced two models for the Sirrus and Vita for faster street riding?
2) Will the front suspension on those models work well and be fairly durable for light-medium duty cross country mountain biking (not screaming down hill)? I'm not up to speed (no pun intended) on current bike components, but not too long ago you could barely get a quality front shock at that price point.
Our original thinking was to pick up non-suspension commuter/hybrid street bikes for every day commuting and errands, weekend leisure rides of 20-40 miles and to take with us when car camping. And keep separate hardtail mountain bikes for cross country riding with more quality components for the heavier use.
It would be nice to have a bike that is primarily for road use that can also handle dirt/gravel roads and light mountain biking, so long as this doesn't sacrifice much speed and traction in road riding. So I guess what I'm asking is can the Crosstrail and Ariel handle light-medium cross country mountain biking without sacrificing much speed in road riding? We would only be looking at 700c wheels, and the larger wheels = better speed, so the only remaining speed differences will be in how aggressive and protruding the tread is and how thick the tire is. How much faster would the Sirrus and Vita be than the Crosstrail and Ariel for road riding? If you hardly sacrifice any road speed and road traction with the Crosstrail/Ariel, seems like they are a great all around choice. If you sacrifice a lot of road speed and road traction, then the Sirrus/Vita and FX seem like the way to go.
Finally, for a woman, when there's a choice (like for the Vita), would you recommend a step through model or not? What are the cons of a step-through?
I sincerely appreciate all your advice - you've really helped us narrow it down to some very nice models.
Specialized Sirrus - too long and tall stem? Worth replacing?
This review below from Outslide Online claimed the Sirrus has a very long and tall (20-degree) stem that keeps you upright in town, but slows you up on longer road leisure rides. Sirrus owners, would you agree? This bike will be used by us 80% for short commuting/around town errands and 20% for leisure road rides on weekends (not for speed), so probably not relevant for us.
The Best $500 Road Bike: Specialized Sirrus | Road Bike Reviews | OutsideOnline.com
At first we bristled at the flat bars, which are seemingly anathema to a quick road riding position, but after a few tests we realized our complaint is less with the bars than the incredibly long, tall (20-degree) stem. We’re all for comfort, but the combo of tall head tube and gargantuan stem steers the Sirrus out of the road realm into the full-on commuter zone. When we swapped in a shorter flatter stem, however, the bike piloted more like the road bike we expected. The shifting was okay, braking power was a bit sluggish, but both functioned reliably well. Ditto the 32mm tires. We wish more manufacturers would spec fatter tires on enthusiast level bikes because, as was the case here, the smooth ride far outweighed any arguments about added drag.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Specialized bills the Sirrus as being as comfortable on the open pavement as it is in the city. That might be true of the more expensive models (the $2,100 top-end Limited gets a carbon frame and damping features borrowed from even pricier bikes), but the base Sirrus we tried is definitely best suited to townie riding. For around-town errands and even long commutes, it’s a solid bet as the rugged frame and beefy wheel set will stand up to abuse. And if you’re willing to tinker with parts (especially subbing in a stem), it can pull double duty on casual road rides with friends. In that sense, the Sirrus is a good, inexpensive everyday bike that allows those curious about road riding to give it a shot without committing to more than one bicycle."