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  1. #26
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    Had one already! On that note though -- are certain helmets categorically safer than others?

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by clockworkiwi View Post
    Thanks to all for the amazing advise! Wow. You guys are awesome.

    Anyway -- I figured I'd update all of you with a HUGE TURN OF EVENTS:

    Well -- I got a bike!! However, it was not the one I was thinking of when I first posted here.

    I stopped into a tiny little used bike shop that I hadn't noticed before on a whim, and fell in love with a (circa?) 1980's Motobecane Mirage (made in france)! My only reservation was the 'racing style' drop handlebars, which I had never used before, and I was concerned about their safety (relative to flat bars), but after taking it for a spin, my fears were partially allayed (still lightly on-edge about them though but equally enthusiastic!).

    The super-nice mechanic there installed all new brake pads and tuned it up to my liking. I bought a u-lock there which he mounted and he also threw in a free pair of lights.

    What I paid for bike and accessories: $279

    It's not new, but I think it will suit me well! It is super-light and sleek. Cost less than expected, so maybe now I can use what I saved on sprucing up what I think is already a pretty good ride. My #1 concern is safety, so at this point I think I will get a vest+vest-light to improve my visibility, and a bell to alert others that I'm around, on Amazon or something. Is there anything else I should consider?

    Attachment 371450
    Very nice and classy find. Hi vis vest and/or jacket. and bell are a good start. You said he threw in free lights, so I am guessing they are probably not the highest quality/best, so that is an area to consider spending a bit more.

    Finally make sure you have a plan for flat tires. Mini-pump, tube, tire levers is pretty standard. You can also help prevent flats with a good set of puncture resistant tires (but not a substitute for being ready for a flat).

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by clockworkiwi View Post
    Had one already! On that note though -- are certain helmets categorically safer than others?
    There should be a sticker inside saying it meets the cpsc standard. If you or a previous owner crashed while using it, it should be replaced.

  4. #29
    happy bike wishes Turtle Speed's Avatar
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    There aren't really specific safety ratings between helmet models. They either pass national standards or they don't. 99% of helmets on the market are certified, and any major brand (Bell, Giro, whatever) is gonna be good as long as it's a good fit. Don't assume that more expensive models are safer - you get slightly better construction by going a step or two up from the lowest models, then after that you're just paying for a tiny weight savings and bling.

    As far as bells, I think the Brass Duet is a beauty to use, easily worth the few extra bucks over a really basic one. The Amazon ratings are no joke. I don't really consider a bell a safety item, though, more a thing of etiquette for other bicyclists/pedestrians and, most importantly, a form of entertainment (ha).

    If you don't mind looking like a dork (I don't), I think best value on hi-vis is just a Harbor Freight vest for $5. Goes over all clothing, so it works in all seasons, costs basically nothing, and when it starts to get gross after a couple years, you can toss and replace it. Better than dropping $50+ on specialty gear that only works part of the year and leaves you looking messy once it's less clean.

    I think the most important thing you can do for your safety is just learn to ride in traffic. This is somewhat of a controversial topic, but I think Commute Orlando has great information on riding in the vehicular cycling style.

  5. #30
    happy bike wishes Turtle Speed's Avatar
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    Oh, and you should definitely learn how to change a flat, eventually, but I personally would consider a floor pump a bigger priority than a mini pump. The latter is normally a tool for changing flats on the road, and I don't even bother carrying a flat repair kit if I'm going 5 miles or less. If you've only ever done the gas station-filling thing, having a full-size floor pump is just an awesome convenience.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turtle Speed View Post
    Oh, and you should definitely learn how to change a flat, eventually, but I personally would consider a floor pump a bigger priority than a mini pump. The latter is normally a tool for changing flats on the road, and I don't even bother carrying a flat repair kit if I'm going 5 miles or less. If you've only ever done the gas station-filling thing, having a full-size floor pump is just an awesome convenience.
    Floor pump is great for topping off the tires or fixing a flat at home, but I still don't like the idea of commuting without a way to fix a flat. If you get a flat while commuting, you either need to fix it or a backup plan to get to your destination (work/school) on time, such as a bus along your route. If you have a good backup plan, or are on a short recreation ride where a flat will not make you miss work or school, then you could probably go without flat repair kit/mini-pump. Otherwise I would recommend being self sufficient enough to fix a flat mid commute.

  7. #32
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    Hey, great job! It goes to show that it's possible to find a decent used bike without spending several hundreds of dollars. You also don't have to worry about it looking as valuable for thieves.

    Something similar happened to me. I'd planned to get a new hybrid bike from a bike shop, but they didn't feel completely comfortable to me (I don't remember the bike shop employee fitting me, at all); I think it was near closing time, and I felt rushed, like the young woman just wanted to quickly make a sale.

    So, years later, I happened to come across a used hybrid that fit me perfectly; I now know that I need small-framed bikes. I'm glad that I waited and wound up with a cheaper bike.
    Last edited by anon06; 03-29-14 at 09:21 PM.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstraus View Post
    Floor pump is great for topping off the tires or fixing a flat at home, but I still don't like the idea of commuting without a way to fix a flat. If you get a flat while commuting, you either need to fix it or a backup plan to get to your destination (work/school) on time, such as a bus along your route. If you have a good backup plan, or are on a short recreation ride where a flat will not make you miss work or school, then you could probably go without flat repair kit/mini-pump. Otherwise I would recommend being self sufficient enough to fix a flat mid commute.

    How often does one get a flat on average? When I commuted abroad a couple years ago by bike, I never got a flat over the span of a year. I was riding a hybrid though -- are those less likely to get flats than road bikes?

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by clockworkiwi View Post
    How often does one get a flat on average? When I commuted abroad a couple years ago by bike, I never got a flat over the span of a year. I was riding a hybrid though -- are those less likely to get flats than road bikes?
    Road bikes are generally more prone to flats (skinny high pressure tires).

    Depends on many factors - your tires, having proper tire inflation, quality of roads (potholes, etc) amount of glass, rocks, etc on the road, how careful you are, etc.

    When I first started commuting on my road bike flats were a bit to common, despite having proper tire inflation and trying to be careful (but not careful enough at avoid debri and other road hazards). I replaced my crummy old tires with a set of Continental Gatorskins and haven't had a flat yet (but sure I will now). I try to be sure to check tire pressure and add air every day I ride. For this a good floor pump with a pressure gage is important.

    If you have a good set of tires, a short commute, and backup plan if you get a flat (such as a bus option), then you could probably get by without having everything with you to fix it, knowing there is a risks.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstraus View Post
    Road bikes are generally more prone to flats (skinny high pressure tires).

    Depends on many factors - your tires, having proper tire inflation, quality of roads (potholes, etc) amount of glass, rocks, etc on the road, how careful you are, etc.

    When I first started commuting on my road bike flats were a bit to common, despite having proper tire inflation and trying to be careful (but not careful enough at avoid debri and other road hazards). I replaced my crummy old tires with a set of Continental Gatorskins and haven't had a flat yet (but sure I will now). I try to be sure to check tire pressure and add air every day I ride. For this a good floor pump with a pressure gage is important.

    If you have a good set of tires, a short commute, and backup plan if you get a flat (such as a bus option), then you could probably get by without having everything with you to fix it, knowing there is a risks.


    1- Would it be worth replacing the road tires with hybrid or mountain tires that are more resistant to flats?

    2 - When you get a flat, do you spin out of control? What is proper biking technique for safety when/if this happens?

    3 - How long should it take a novice to replace a flat? Can everything I need to replace the flat be stored in something like this -- http://www.amazon.com/Roswheel-Bicyc...handlebar+pack ?

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by clockworkiwi View Post
    1- Would it be worth replacing the road tires with hybrid or mountain tires that are more resistant to flats?

    2 - When you get a flat, do you spin out of control? What is proper biking technique for safety when/if this happens?

    3 - How long should it take a novice to replace a flat? Can everything I need to replace the flat be stored in something like this -- Amazon.com: Water&Wood Roswheel Bicycle BOX Handlebar Bag Cycling Bike Basket Bicycle Package Front Top Bag Silver Gray: Sports & Outdoors ?
    1 - Road bikes typically can't handle tires as wide as a Mountain bike or Hybrid tire, so that isn't really option. That said, its worthy seeing if you can get slightly wider and more puncture resistant tire. Not sure what tires you currently have, or what size (23mm is pretty standard). There are a number of areas on a roadbike that limit max tires size. If your not sure try asking the shop you got your bike at what size you could get away with, maybe 25 or 28 (or another shop if they don't have a good selection of tires). Ask about tires with good flat resistance, such as continental Gatorskins. If you can't get wider, don't worry, plenty of people in this forum, myself often included, commute on 23mm tires. If you don't want to spend the money, try with your current tires and if you start having a problem investigate other options (that is what I did).

    2 - Most flats I have gotten have been from some sort of debri such as broken glass. These fats usually deflate slowly...suddenly it sounds funny and starts rolling funny. These types of flats are easy to stop safely. Something like a sidewall blowout could be worse, but I personally havent' had anything like that. For the most part they are just an annoyance.

    3 - First flat I got on my roadbike probably took me a good 15 minutes of struggling. After doing it a few times, probably can fix it in about 5-6 minutes. If you plan to repair on the road, you might want to practice a couple times at home first. if you don't know how there are some good videos on youtube, etc. Some bike shops will teach you as well. A bag like that hsould hold everything. I just have a small saddle bag that holds tire levers, spare tube, and a few other items, plus a Lyzyne mini pump on my frame.

    I hope I am not scaring you. Flats shouldn't happen that often, but they do happen so you want to be prepared so they don't cause a problem when they do. Personally I would rather be prepared but never use any of the stuff then be caught without a way to fix it.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstraus View Post
    1 - Road bikes typically can't handle tires as wide as a Mountain bike or Hybrid tire, so that isn't really option. That said, its worthy seeing if you can get slightly wider and more puncture resistant tire. Not sure what tires you currently have, or what size (23mm is pretty standard). There are a number of areas on a roadbike that limit max tires size. If your not sure try asking the shop you got your bike at what size you could get away with, maybe 25 or 28 (or another shop if they don't have a good selection of tires). Ask about tires with good flat resistance, such as continental Gatorskins. If you can't get wider, don't worry, plenty of people in this forum, myself often included, commute on 23mm tires. If you don't want to spend the money, try with your current tires and if you start having a problem investigate other options (that is what I did).

    2 - Most flats I have gotten have been from some sort of debri such as broken glass. These fats usually deflate slowly...suddenly it sounds funny and starts rolling funny. These types of flats are easy to stop safely. Something like a sidewall blowout could be worse, but I personally havent' had anything like that. For the most part they are just an annoyance.

    3 - First flat I got on my roadbike probably took me a good 15 minutes of struggling. After doing it a few times, probably can fix it in about 5-6 minutes. If you plan to repair on the road, you might want to practice a couple times at home first. if you don't know how there are some good videos on youtube, etc. Some bike shops will teach you as well. A bag like that hsould hold everything. I just have a small saddle bag that holds tire levers, spare tube, and a few other items, plus a Lyzyne mini pump on my frame.

    I hope I am not scaring you. Flats shouldn't happen that often, but they do happen so you want to be prepared so they don't cause a problem when they do. Personally I would rather be prepared but never use any of the stuff then be caught without a way to fix it.

    Wow, road bike tires must be very liable to flats based on what I've read -- I've never in my life had a flat on a mountain or hybrid bike, so I guess I will just now have to live with getting flats on my road bike. Hopefully it will not happen that often... If it does, perhaps I'll sell this bike and get a hybrid like the Cannondale I was originally considering.

    Will invest in a bell, mirror, and pack.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by clockworkiwi View Post
    Wow, road bike tires must be very liable to flats based on what I've read -- I've never in my life had a flat on a mountain or hybrid bike, so I guess I will just now have to live with getting flats on my road bike. Hopefully it will not happen that often... If it does, perhaps I'll sell this bike and get a hybrid like the Cannondale I was originally considering.

    Will invest in a bell, mirror, and pack.
    Don't worry about it too much...didn't mean to scare you and you can have many many miles of flat free road bike commuting. Inspect the tires from time to time for anything stuck in them or damage, keep the air pressure right, and you will probably be fine. Once I replaced my crummy old "racing" tires on my road bike with some 23mm gatorskins I didn't get any more flats (over 6 months so far). Not to say I will not some day, so I am prepared, but its not like you should expect to get regular flats.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by clockworkiwi View Post
    Thanks to all for the amazing advise! Wow. You guys are awesome.

    Anyway -- I figured I'd update all of you with a HUGE TURN OF EVENTS:

    Well -- I got a bike!! However, it was not the one I was thinking of when I first posted here.

    I stopped into a tiny little used bike shop that I hadn't noticed before on a whim, and fell in love with a (circa?) 1980's Motobecane Mirage (made in france)! My only reservation was the 'racing style' drop handlebars, which I had never used before, and I was concerned about their safety (relative to flat bars), but after taking it for a spin, my fears were partially allayed (still lightly on-edge about them though but equally enthusiastic!).

    The super-nice mechanic there installed all new brake pads and tuned it up to my liking. I bought a u-lock there which he mounted and he also threw in a free pair of lights.

    What I paid for bike and accessories: $279

    It's not new, but I think it will suit me well! It is super-light and sleek. Cost less than expected, so maybe now I can use what I saved on sprucing up what I think is already a pretty good ride. My #1 concern is safety, so at this point I think I will get a vest+vest-light to improve my visibility, and a bell to alert others that I'm around, on Amazon or something. Is there anything else I should consider?

    Attachment 371450
    If you live in Portland, OR you can rock the old school brake levers. Anywhere else in the country and you will have to get aero brake levers. Tektro make a nice pair. Very reasonable. Your seat does not look level. It should be.

    H

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
    If you live in Portland, OR you can rock the old school brake levers. Anywhere else in the country and you will have to get aero brake levers. Tektro make a nice pair. Very reasonable. Your seat does not look level. It should be.

    H
    How much should installation of brake levers such as those cost? Would they have to remove the 'suicide' levers (that term freaks me out) in order to put those on?

  16. #41
    Senior Member metz1295's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clockworkiwi View Post
    Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I own a helmet, and plan to purchase some led lights on Amazon, along with a ulock and cable which collectively should not be more than $35. I agree that the quality and proximity of the shop is key for me (it's a cannondale shop), and they seem to stand behind their bikes. Alternatively I would have gotten a ~$400 bike from BikeDirect, paid ~60 for assembly and tuneup, and not had the same type of longitudinal support. Just want to be sure that the Quick 6 is an quality bike for the type of commute I will be doing!

    Most LBS carry two brands, a high and a low end. For example, mine carries Specialized and Raleigh. Pick your Cannondale, then ask about a similar size on the other brand. IMO, if all you're doing is commuting, you're on a tight budget and you're not dedicated to a particular brand, there's no reason to not save a couple hundred on a lesser brand bike.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by metz1295 View Post
    Most LBS carry two brands, a high and a low end. For example, mine carries Specialized and Raleigh. Pick your Cannondale, then ask about a similar size on the other brand. IMO, if all you're doing is commuting, you're on a tight budget and you're not dedicated to a particular brand, there's no reason to not save a couple hundred on a lesser brand bike.
    thanks -- I ended up getting an 80s motobecane mirage. now sorting out other issues (see above)

  18. #43
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clockworkiwi View Post
    Hi! I'm planning on getting my first commuter bike to start commuting to grad school which is 3 miles each way (6 miles round trip) on mostly flat city roads with mild to moderate traffic. I am considering the Cannondale Quick 6, but before I splurge (yes, for this broke graduate student, $529 on a bike is a major investment!) I wanted to seek any input from more experienced bikers here who might have this bike or at least be able to offer some feedback on this plan. I initially was going to get something from BikeDirect, but I have heard good things about the Quick 6, and it also comes with free support and tune-ups/adjustments from the store which is right near where I live for a good period of time, and thus don't have to worry about assembly or anything as I would with an online vendor.

    Any and all thoughts/comments would be tremendously appreciated!!! Thank you!
    $529 is a major investment for most Americans, not just broke college students.

    There are a few people on here who didn't quite well $300 hybrids.

    Don't feel like you need to spend a huge amount of money.

    However, don't skimp on a lock, helmet and adequate lighting.
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  19. #44
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    i see that i'm outdated now.

    nice ride.

    i wouldn't worry so much about the flats, especially with a 6 mile RT ride. 3 miles can be walked in about 30 mins.

    i've ridden the stock tires on my two bikes about 5000km (3000miles) without any issues.
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
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  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    i see that i'm outdated now.

    nice ride.

    i wouldn't worry so much about the flats, especially with a 6 mile RT ride. 3 miles can be walked in about 30 mins.

    i've ridden the stock tires on my two bikes about 5000km (3000miles) without any issues.

    how much should replacing the break levers cost?

  21. #46
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clockworkiwi View Post
    how much should replacing the break levers cost?
    a brake lever?

    that's a very complex questions ... what to replace them with? (STI, brifter, cheap stuff).

    why replace a brake lever?

    not trying to be an ass, but that's a hard question to answer.
    Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S)
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    a brake lever?

    that's a very complex questions ... what to replace them with? (STI, brifter, cheap stuff).

    why replace a brake lever?

    not trying to be an ass, but that's a hard question to answer.


    sorry, I was asking in response to someone's suggestion above that "If you live in Portland, OR you can rock the old school brake levers. Anywhere else in the country and you will have to get aero brake levers. Tektro make a nice pair." I wanted to replace the brake levels to make the brakes more responsive and effective, but wanted to know how much this should cost.

  23. #48
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Might be the pads that need replacement more so than the levers, or possibly even the cables. Or maybe they just need some adjustment.
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
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  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
    Might be the pads that need replacement more so than the levers, or possibly even the cables. Or maybe they just need some adjustment.
    pads are brand new... possibly cables but what are your thoughts on "suicide" levers?

  25. #50
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Yeah but are they good, quality pads? Brand new doesn't mean anything if they're hard as plastic like the ones that came on my wife's bike from Bikes Direct.
    2011 Felt Z85 105 | Ultegra | KMC | Selle Italia | Vuelta | Topeak
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