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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 05-03-14, 11:36 PM   #1
marash23
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Need help comparing used options

Hi all, my name is Ashley and I'm just starting to ride for the first time really since I was a kid. I'm 5'7, female, with a 30.5 inch inseam. I want to move toward biking as my main mode of transportation to school and work, for fitness and fun. I'd be commuting about 10 miles per day, more on days off for fun.

I live in Olympia, WA and it's often rainy. My routes will be paved (but not the greatest quality) roads and bike trails, occasionally some dirt paths. My regular route only has some mild hills, but there are two steep hills going in and out of downtown which I would like to be able to handle. I don't care about being very fast, but here are some things I'm looking for:

- strong frame
- stable geometry
- smooth ride
- not too heavy
- prefer a more upright position (just haven't ridden with drop bars at all so I'm not opposed to having to learn, also can drop bars be placed in a higher position until one gets more comfortable leaning forward?)
- comes with or is able to fit wider tires (I feel wobbly on my friend's thin road tires)
- comes with or could add a rack/basket

My absolute max price wise is $400, but I'd prefer something in the $200-$300 range as I am just getting into the sport. I'm really overwhelmed with all of the options out there, but here are some Craigslist finds I'm comparing:

Peugeot 55CM Mixte/Women Cruising Bike For Riders 5 feet 5 And Up
Trek with 18" Frame
Kona Smoke - medium 26" - like new

A bit out of my price range but I'd consider it if there are strong positive opinions on these:
Womens Giant road bike
Bianchi Mondiale - 52

Any other advice is welcome too! Thanks if you took the time to read this.

Last edited by marash23; 05-04-14 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 05-04-14, 12:20 AM   #2
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Welcome to the Forums .

I'm partial to the Kona Smoke myself
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Old 05-04-14, 12:36 AM   #3
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proper fit is everything, educate yourself first about proper bicycle fit as much ad you can, seem like you have done some research and you are on right track when you talk about adopting drop bars, etc.

Anyways; the right size, the proper fit makes all the difference when it comes to choosing a good bicycle, or more precisely a proper size, proper geometry bicycle frame for your body size and your proportions, i.e. your inseam, your arms reach, etc. There are sites on the internet which try to suggest proper bicycle frame size, proper fit, start from there and then do lots of road tests, test drives to see what's more comfortable for you,

If you want quick answer:Trek with 18" frame or bianchie mondial -52 look like better choices for you, the others either too small or too big for your height size, very good luck to you and very welcome to the very civilized commuter cycling community

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Old 05-04-14, 12:47 AM   #4
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I'm liking the looks of that Bianchi!
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Old 05-04-14, 12:50 AM   #5
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That trek 18 looks good. The first link concerns me in that that they could be selling stolen bikes.

Good luck & keep us posted!!

- Andy
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Old 05-04-14, 01:04 AM   #6
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In the first group, the Trek with the 18" frame or the Kona Smoke are the best bet -- the Kona already has fenders, which you'll probably want.

If you can swing the money, yeah, that Bianchi looks very nice. All this assumes the bikes fit you.
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Old 05-04-14, 07:04 AM   #7
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If it's for commuting and riding to school etc, then I really like the Peugeot Mixte . It has a step through frame which is great for ladies. Step through frames are easier to get on/off if a lady decides to wear a skirt. It also has fenders , rear rack and light... Just my opinion
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Old 05-04-14, 09:34 AM   #8
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Thanks everyone! I know that I'm supposed to just *know* when a bike is the right fit, but since I haven't ridden in so long I'm worried that I won't really know what feels right... When I go to try these bikes out is it a terrible thing if I tell them I'm testing fits and will get back to them? I already seem to have upset one person by asking "too many questions" but I think he was sketchy anyway (wouldn't tell me any details of the bike until I was in front of it).

Is it weird to go to a bike shop to try fit with the intention of buying a used bike elsewhere?

And are there certain things to look out for in terms of someone selling stolen bikes- I'd hate to be a part of that but not sure what to look out for.
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Old 05-04-14, 10:16 AM   #9
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Whenever buying used off CL, it would always be best to take some bike savvy person with you. Go to some local bike shops and test ride a few bikes.

I like the Peugeot, the Kona, and the Treks...

Only you will be able to tell if the bike is both, the right fit, and operates well. That's what test rides are all about, eh!


A word of warning: Peugeots can be difficult to service, due to their parts becoming less and less available.

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Old 05-04-14, 10:24 AM   #10
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And are there certain things to look out for in terms of someone selling stolen bikes- I'd hate to be a part of that but not sure what to look out for.
A deal that's too good to be true. I know this may not always be the case but many times it is.. Some thieves will sell bikes in very good condition, way below what the bike is worth, because they are trying to make some quick cash and get rid of it before they get caught.
Watch the persons body language and how they talk and answer questions. Keep checking Craigslist everyday. A lot of people post the description of their stolen bikes, in hopes of getting help recovering them. Many sketchy people have "guilty" written all over them.
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Old 05-04-14, 10:33 AM   #11
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A word of warning: Peugeots can be difficult to service, due to their parts becoming less and less available.
Yeah the French have it all confused and backwards...I once salvaged a French made Motobecane only to discover that all the threading and components were different measurments from other bikes. So I got rid of it. I just didn't feel like looking for parts.
Most large cities have used bikeshops with a lot of older vintage bikes and parts so it's still possible to keep the old bike rolling .
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Old 05-04-14, 10:42 AM   #12
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Welcome to the Forums .

I'm partial to the Kona Smoke myself
Assuming you've been on other bikes, would you mind telling me what do you like about your Kona? I know it's all relative to the individual but I like to hear other people's thoughts and I don't know anyone who owns a Kona.

Also it says it's a medium 26" and then in the description it says 18" dimensions... where is the 26" measurement coming from?
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Old 05-04-14, 10:46 AM   #13
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Yeah the French have it all confused and backwards...I once salvaged a French made Motobecane only to discover that all the threading and components were different measurments from other bikes. So I got rid of it. I just didn't feel like looking for parts.
Most large cities have used bikeshops with a lot of older vintage bikes and parts so it's still possible to keep the old bike rolling .
Thanks for the heads up on Peugeot's, I only knew Peugeot to make cars so it was interesting to come across so many cycles. There is a bike co-op/shop on campus but I've never checked it out, I'll have to stop in today and see what they could do about working on Peugeot's should I decide to go that route.
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Old 05-04-14, 11:25 AM   #14
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What kind of shape as to wear and tear cannot be judged from a distance.

Bring a mechanical bike savvy friend with you to help assess that, when you go look at the bike.
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Old 05-04-14, 12:07 PM   #15
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What kind of shape as to wear and tear cannot be judged from a distance.

Bring a mechanical bike savvy friend with you to help assess that, when you go look at the bike.
This would definitely be ideal but unfortunately my only bike savvy friend just moved out of state about a month ago
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Old 05-04-14, 12:15 PM   #16
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This would definitely be ideal but unfortunately my only bike savvy friend just moved out of state about a month ago
Feel free to FaceTime/Skype me while you're there. I can try to assist you!

PM me if you wanna do this. Be glad to help!

- Andy
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Old 05-04-14, 12:20 PM   #17
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Just came across this one - TREK ,750

Which seems to be a better bike (higher MSRP) than the others I'm looking at. Is bicycle blue book a good resource? When I look up any of the bikes I'm considering, the price point is wayyy lower than what folks are asking. I know there will be mark-ups for additional/better components and people trying to profit but just wondering.
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Old 05-04-14, 12:26 PM   #18
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Feel free to FaceTime/Skype me while you're there. I can try to assist you!

PM me if you wanna do this. Be glad to help!

- Andy
Andy that is so nice! Thanks for that offer, I'll PM you once I hear back from some of these folks.
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Old 05-04-14, 12:32 PM   #19
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This would definitely be ideal but unfortunately my only bike savvy friend just moved out of state about a month ago
didn't think the Washington state capitol and home to Evergreen University was that small a town ..
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Old 05-04-14, 12:40 PM   #20
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didn't think the Washington state capitol and home to Evergreen University was that small a town ..
It's not that small, you're right! But the friends I have that do ride have admitted to me that they don't really know enough to feel that they could help me out. I'm gonna check out the bike shop at school to get some more advice but I don't know if anyone who volunteers there would be willing to take time out of their day to drive out and test with me. I'm not above asking, I just don't know how likely that is. My step-dad bikes but only very casually and he thinks I'm stupid for considering used anyway (he thinks I should shell out $800-$1200 that I don't have for something shiny and new) so... that's my situation.

I've posted on my school forums to see if there's anyone who'd be willing to take a look with me so we'll see where that goes.
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Old 05-04-14, 01:25 PM   #21
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That Trek 750 looks really nice. You getting a good quality chromoly steel frame, and 700cc wheels which are better for the road then 26 inch wheels. Looks like it has enough frame clearance to run at least 700x40 tires which is good for bad rough roads plus it already has fenders and rack. That bike probably has shimano alvio components which are ok for a commuting bike...Why don't you test ride it and see if it fits.
Try to offer $200 and see what happens. I think the MSRP for new Trek 750 was about $550 way back in 1997.
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