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Old 04-28-14, 09:54 AM   #1
careynm
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Which upright bike do you recommend for under 600?

Help with purchasing decision: need upright bike for under 600

New to the forum but not to cycling. Discovered last summer that I have herniated discs in my lower back and neck in addition to scoliosis(ow). I'm looking for something upright for errands and neighborhood rides and have narrowed it down to three (I think) and would love some opinions from whomever wants to chime in.

The motobecane Bistro 8v

City Bikes Save up to 60% off new Motobecane Bistro 8V Deluxe Aluminum City Bikes from bikesdirect.com

Windsor Kensington 8
Save Up to 60% Off Town Bikes | Classic, Stylish Eight Speed City Bikes | Urban Bikes | Commuter Road Bikes | Windsor Kensington 8 from bikesdirect.com

Giant via 2w

Via 2 W (2014) | Giant Bicycles | United States

I'm kind of loving the idea of the internal hub but have no experience with it. Please discuss.
Thanks!!!
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Old 04-28-14, 10:21 AM   #2
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I would get a 1980s Japanese lugged steel bike off craigslist and add this upright stem: Nashbar ATB Comfort Quill Stem - Normal Shipping Ground

Most "upright" bikes have a super heavy frame and bottom of the barrell components.

Many bikes from the 1980s had relatively short top-tubes compared to the seat tubes (as compared to road bikes today).

Then all said and done you are on the road for $300 with extra budget for extras, like shoes, helmet etc.

Also decent 1980s steel framed bike bought used should hold their value over time, vs a new aluminum bike that cost $600 today and used is worth about $150 tomorrow.
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Old 04-28-14, 10:40 AM   #3
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The Via 2 you linked has a derailleur, not internal hub. The next step up, via 1 has the internal three speed. They are fine bikes, IMO great for cruising, and very classy looking. The 1 comes with a really sexy basket that always draws the eye of customers.
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Old 04-28-14, 10:55 AM   #4
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I don't know... I think the Giant should be a lot cheaper. 8 speed internal gear hubs aren't cheap. If the two bikes that have them can slide in under 600 then the Giant being steel and having a regular derailleur should be under $400, IMO. I'd have a hard time buying any of the three though. I agree with the other poster. Something used, is the perfect bike for errands and around town. I would avoid Craigs and find a bike co-op or an LBS that refurbishes trade ins. I've bought lots of stuff off Craigslist. It's rare when you don't discover at least one thing that is different from what the seller said. It's one thing when its a microwave or rice cooker that was sold as brand new/never used and you find out its been cleaned really, really well but is far from new. With bikes there is usually a huge amount of component swapping before a bike gets let go on Craigslist. This might happen less in the ladies frame, internal gear market, but I've wasted the afternoon here and there, going across the city to look at a bike that was misrepresented by its seller. FWIW.

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Old 04-28-14, 11:07 AM   #5
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The problem is, you are comparing internet bikes to a bicycle only sold by brick and mortar dealers with a ton of customer support, lifetime warranties, follow up service, etc... Of course they are cheaper, they come in a box, there is no sales person, no mechanic, there is no boss that volunteers and donates massively to local bicycling infrastructure. So, yes, save that two hundred bucks to support some faceless entity who doesn't give a crap about bicycles at all.

But if you aren't equipped to true wheels, adjust headsets, and properly assemble it, don't be shocked that your four hundred dollar bike is looking more and more like a $550 dollar bike, yet you still get none of the follow up perks of buying from a local business.
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Old 04-28-14, 11:32 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by careynm View Post
Help with purchasing decision: need upright bike for under 600

New to the forum but not to cycling. Discovered last summer that I have herniated discs in my lower back and neck in addition to scoliosis(ow). I'm looking for something upright for errands and neighborhood rides and have narrowed it down to three (I think) and would love some opinions from whomever wants to chime in.

Windsor Kensington 8
Save Up to 60% Off Town Bikes | Classic, Stylish Eight Speed City Bikes | Urban Bikes | Commuter Road Bikes | Windsor Kensington 8 from bikesdirect.com


I'm kind of loving the idea of the internal hub but have no experience with it. Please discuss.
Thanks!!!
I just bought a Windsor 8, the mixte frame version. Frankly, I love it. It is smooth riding, responsive and just slides down the street. it looks well made. I know that these bikes are supposed to be paint mistakes but I have been unable to find anything wrong with the bike. It's not overly heavy and all the parts look well made.

This is also my first internal gear hub. I think it is great. It shifts instantly, it's nearly silent and it feels like there is much more 'grip' than on my derailer bike. Just make sure that the two lines on the back hub are perfectly aligned. I thought mine were, they weren't...and well I did a thing that made the guy across the street wince and protect himself. It's an asy fix though.

Edit... I bought it after getting tired of looking for a mythical used 3 speed.. LOL As far as I can tell, they don't exist near me!
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Old 04-28-14, 03:16 PM   #7
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The problem is, you are comparing internet bikes to a bicycle only sold by brick and mortar dealers with a ton of customer support, lifetime warranties, follow up service, etc... Of course they are cheaper, they come in a box, there is no sales person, no mechanic, there is no boss that volunteers and donates massively to local bicycling infrastructure. So, yes, save that two hundred bucks to support some faceless entity who doesn't give a crap about bicycles at all.

But if you aren't equipped to true wheels, adjust headsets, and properly assemble it, don't be shocked that your four hundred dollar bike is looking more and more like a $550 dollar bike, yet you still get none of the follow up perks of buying from a local business.
So far my LBSs have a very limited selection, but I have yet to hit them all. Of course I much prefer to spend the money locally, but as of yet no one has shown me a bike that fits the bill. I'm still at the research stage and have plenty of pavement to pound before I make a decision. IF I were to buy online I'd definitely have an LBS assemble and check out the bike.
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Old 04-28-14, 03:19 PM   #8
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I would get a 1980s Japanese lugged steel bike off craigslist and add this upright stem: Nashbar ATB Comfort Quill Stem - Normal Shipping Ground

Most "upright" bikes have a super heavy frame and bottom of the barrell components.

Many bikes from the 1980s had relatively short top-tubes compared to the seat tubes (as compared to road bikes today).

Then all said and done you are on the road for $300 with extra budget for extras, like shoes, helmet etc.

Also decent 1980s steel framed bike bought used should hold their value over time, vs a new aluminum bike that cost $600 today and used is worth about $150 tomorrow.
Good point, but honestly a bit intimidating. I can change a tube but that's about the extent of my mechanical ability with bikes. I'd like to have something I don't have to tinker with; however the refurbished option is something I will investigate. Sadly, our local coop closed down a while ago, but I think some other places do refurbs. Thanks!

Last edited by careynm; 04-28-14 at 03:25 PM. Reason: terrible typing
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Old 04-28-14, 03:24 PM   #9
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I just bought a Windsor 8, the mixte frame version. Frankly, I love it. It is smooth riding, responsive and just slides down the street. it looks well made. I know that these bikes are supposed to be paint mistakes but I have been unable to find anything wrong with the bike. It's not overly heavy and all the parts look well made.

This is also my first internal gear hub. I think it is great. It shifts instantly, it's nearly silent and it feels like there is much more 'grip' than on my derailer bike. Just make sure that the two lines on the back hub are perfectly aligned. I thought mine were, they weren't...and well I did a thing that made the guy across the street wince and protect himself. It's an asy fix though.

Edit... I bought it after getting tired of looking for a mythical used 3 speed.. LOL As far as I can tell, they don't exist near me!
Great info, Katsrevenge! Thanks! I'm shooting for more gears than three since I have some reasonable hills in my area.
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Old 04-28-14, 04:02 PM   #10
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How tall are you?
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Old 04-28-14, 04:10 PM   #11
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Great info, Katsrevenge! Thanks! I'm shooting for more gears than three since I have some reasonable hills in my area.
It's sort of hilly here. That said, I almost never use all the gears on a 10 speed!

And my fiancée is happy with his single speed. To each there own!

I noticed that you say you aren't too mechanical. My bike was fairly easy to put together. If you search up 'papillionaire sommor assembly' you'll find a guide that will work for a Windsor 8. I don't think bikes direct has a guide just for it.

That said. If you can, the LBS is a better choice. I would have liked to buy local but I couldn't find an upright bike that wasn't a big box store brand that I also liked the looks of. It's all Treks and mountain bikes here.
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Old 04-28-14, 04:20 PM   #12
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How tall are you?
5' 41/2" give or take.
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Old 04-28-14, 04:24 PM   #13
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I ride upright because a bad disc in my neck makes it painful to tilt my head back. I bought one true upright bike, an Azor Kruisframe, and converted a Schwinn Passage to upright. Both are comfortable and handle well but as a dedicated and evolved upright the Kruisframe is quite a bit more comfortable and a real pleasure to ride. It has the 8 speed Nexus IGH and I really like it. Shifting is quick, intuitive and works when stopped.

Since the Giant does not have the Nexus 8 IGH I would eliminate that bike.

The Winsor has the nice steel mixte frame which looks great and probably rides great too. However the Motobecane's loop frame is much easier to step through and I think the geometry is more suited for riding upright. Sitting upright requires the bars move back and up to reach your hands. With what appears to be a steeply raked and fairly high head the Motobecane should be pretty comfortable.

My wife is moving to a more upright riding position to get the weight off her hands. She is 5' 4" and rides a 56cm Raleigh DL1 currently so I am looking for something along the lines of what you are. The Motobecane looks really good to me, better than anything else I have seen except for the very expensive genuine Dutch bikes.

IME an upright riding position works best with high swept back bars angled down a bit for a comfortable hand position. In converting the Passage to upright I went through a number of iterations of stem height and reach, handlebar angles and saddle position. The tallest frame I could handle and a really tall stem with very little reach made it all work pretty well.
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Old 04-28-14, 04:27 PM   #14
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5' 41/2" give or take.
Alright then!

Checkout the women's Fuji Absolute 1.5 and 1.7 Stagger bikes here @ Find Bikes, Cycling Clothing, Bike Parts & Bike Shoes Or Your Local Bike Store at Performance.

These are great deals for the money. They each have great components, including Carbon forks!

At Performance, the bikes are shipped to a brick & mortar, where you get to test ride the already assembled bike, before you actually take delivery.

Otherwise, I do like the Giant Via W and the Giant Sedona W for you!

Last edited by WestPablo; 04-28-14 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 04-28-14, 06:11 PM   #15
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Can't go wrong with a Motobecane. I inherited my dad's after he quit riding and turned to swimming as his daily exercise, and I've outfitted it as more of an upright. I've got the hybrid comfort/off-road tires, mountain bike handlebars, padded seat with anatomical cut-out. The Motobecane should come with a nice spring under the seat which will save you a lot in terms of shocks and jolts on the road. I'm sure you'll find it's a joy to ride, and you'll probably turn heads when you ride it out in public!

I would just make sure you don't get one with the shock absorbing fork. Some of the newer Motobecane comfort bikes have the shock in the fork, but you'll probably lose too much in terms of speed and power to make it an effective commuter.

Whatever you decide, I hope you'll come back and post us a picture!
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Old 04-28-14, 06:25 PM   #16
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The Windsor Kensington 8 mixte in oxblood gets my vote. Now I wish I need another bike because that one looks lovely.
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Old 04-28-14, 08:23 PM   #17
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Alright then!

Checkout the women's Fuji Absolute 1.5 and 1.7 Stagger bikes here @ Find Bikes, Cycling Clothing, Bike Parts & Bike Shoes Or Your Local Bike Store at Performance.

These are great deals for the money. They each have great components, including Carbon forks!

At Performance, the bikes are shipped to a brick & mortar, where you get to test ride the already assembled bike, before you actually take delivery.

Otherwise, I do like the Giant Via W and the Giant Sedona W for you!

Cool! I'll check them out. Thanks!
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Old 04-28-14, 08:30 PM   #18
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Thanks for all the feedback! I like this forum!

Last edited by careynm; 04-28-14 at 08:34 PM. Reason: Ipad
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Old 04-28-14, 08:35 PM   #19
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The Windsor Kensington 8 mixte in oxblood gets my vote. Now I wish I need another bike because that one looks lovely.
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Old 04-28-14, 08:36 PM   #20
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Can't go wrong with a Motobecane. I inherited my dad's after he quit riding and turned to swimming as his daily exercise, and I've outfitted it as more of an upright. I've got the hybrid comfort/off-road tires, mountain bike handlebars, padded seat with anatomical cut-out. The Motobecane should come with a nice spring under the seat which will save you a lot in terms of shocks and jolts on the road. I'm sure you'll find it's a joy to ride, and you'll probably turn heads when you ride it out in public!

I would just make sure you don't get one with the shock absorbing fork. Some of the newer Motobecane comfort bikes have the shock in the fork, but you'll probably lose too much in terms of speed and power to make it an effective commuter.

Whatever you decide, I hope you'll come back and post us a picture!
Yeah, not a fan of shocks. Too mushy.
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Old 04-28-14, 08:39 PM   #21
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I ride upright because a bad disc in my neck makes it painful to tilt my head back. I bought one true upright bike, an Azor Kruisframe, and converted a Schwinn Passage to upright. Both are comfortable and handle well but as a dedicated and evolved upright the Kruisframe is quite a bit more comfortable and a real pleasure to ride. It has the 8 speed Nexus IGH and I really like it. Shifting is quick, intuitive and works when stopped.

Since the Giant does not have the Nexus 8 IGH I would eliminate that bike.

The Winsor has the nice steel mixte frame which looks great and probably rides great too. However the Motobecane's loop frame is much easier to step through and I think the geometry is more suited for riding upright. Sitting upright requires the bars move back and up to reach your hands. With what appears to be a steeply raked and fairly high head the Motobecane should be pretty comfortable.

My wife is moving to a more upright riding position to get the weight off her hands. She is 5' 4" and rides a 56cm Raleigh DL1 currently so I am looking for something along the lines of what you are. The Motobecane looks really good to me, better than anything else I have seen except for the very expensive genuine Dutch bikes.

IME an upright riding position works best with high swept back bars angled down a bit for a comfortable hand position. In converting the Passage to upright I went through a number of iterations of stem height and reach, handlebar angles and saddle position. The tallest frame I could handle and a really tall stem with very little reach made it all work pretty well.
I felt the same; the motobecane is more upright, and I like that, but the Windsor has the steel frame, which seems like a better value. I've considered getting the Windsor and changing the handlebars to something less flat.
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Old 04-28-14, 08:47 PM   #22
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It's sort of hilly here. That said, I almost never use all the gears on a 10 speed!

And my fiancée is happy with his single speed. To each there own!

I noticed that you say you aren't too mechanical. My bike was fairly easy to put together. If you search up 'papillionaire sommor assembly' you'll find a guide that will work for a Windsor 8. I don't think bikes direct has a guide just for it.

That said. If you can, the LBS is a better choice. I would have liked to buy local but I couldn't find an upright bike that wasn't a big box store brand that I also liked the looks of. It's all Treks and mountain bikes here.
Hmmm, now i might have to widen my search and look at three speeds too. Man, this was supposed to make it easier to narrow down, not harder!
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Old 04-28-14, 10:12 PM   #23
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The Windsor Kensington 8 mixte in oxblood gets my vote. Now I wish I need another bike because that one looks lovely.
Red was my second choice. I got mine in that dove gray color.


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Hmmm, now i might have to widen my search and look at three speeds too. Man, this was supposed to make it easier to narrow down, not harder!
For me it was a very close toss up between the Winsdor 8 (with 8 gears) and the before mentioned Sommor (with 3). They are roughly the same price, you see... so I went with more gears. But the Sommor (with a loop frame and in purple) is my n+1.

edit to add. As I have mine set up, it is a completely upright bike. The stem is very long. Very comfortable. I will need to get a different saddle though. It's not wide enough for me.
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Old 04-29-14, 01:46 AM   #24
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Here are my preferred suggestions for you!

Fuji Bikes | LIFESTYLE | CRUISER - PEDAL-FORWARD | BARNEBEY 3

Fuji Bikes | LIFESTYLE | PAVEMENT - CITY COMFORT | CROSSTOWN 26 1.3

Trek has some good upright position bikes too. I had one for 12 years and it never let me down.

- Andy
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Old 04-29-14, 03:14 AM   #25
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I felt the same; the motobecane is more upright, and I like that, but the Windsor has the steel frame, which seems like a better value. I've considered getting the Windsor and changing the handlebars to something less flat.
The major bicycle companies don't make many bicycles available in steel anymore. I could name a few brands that carry steel, but your choices are indeed more limited than aluminum for sure. Besides Jamis, there's Raleigh and KHS, insofar as brick & mortar goes. Other than those few major brands, there are the three major producers of bicycle steel, but smaller bicycle companies like Surly, Salsa, and SOMA. Besides these, there are a few small independent custom bicycle manufacturers.

Online, there are a few steel models available primarily from www.bikesdirect.com. There are also a few being offered by www.nashbar.com and www.performancebike.com. However, steel is definitely becoming a rare material used for bicycles.

Given your budget, I'd recommend either the Jamis Coda from a brick & mortar, or the Windsor online.

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