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Old 06-21-14, 09:37 PM   #1
swimmbabe184
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What type of bike should I buy?

Hi everyone,

I'm moving to Pittsburgh, PA for graduate school, and want to commute to school when the weather is good via bike. I am completely new to riding, aside from recreationally, and I have no idea what type/brand or anything to buy. I'm looking to spend 300-400 dollars, but I don't even know if that is realistic or not for what I'm looking for. I need it to be very lightweight, as I will have to carry it up and down flights of stairs in the city. Any and all information would be incredibly helpful! Thanks!
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Old 06-21-14, 09:54 PM   #2
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The easiest solution is a mini velo like the Mercier Nano. Its a size practical enough to carry up and down a high rise apartment and it doesn't take up much room.

And the best thing is, its right within your budget!
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Old 06-22-14, 07:32 AM   #3
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Keep in mind that you'll usually get a bit more for your money with a used bike than new.

What kinds of stairs? All outside? Inside to bicycle storage? Any way to avoid them? How long of a distance will your commute be? Flat, hilly? Good bicycle paths or on the road? How much stuff do you need to carry?
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Old 06-22-14, 07:51 AM   #4
polishmadman
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Isn't Pittsburgh home to some of the steepest streets?

If thats the case, I would say anything with 32 or 34 tooth gears. The minivelo is a good option or maybe a use mtb with street tires.
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Old 06-22-14, 08:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swimmbabe184 View Post
I'm looking to spend 300-400 dollars <snip> I need it to be very lightweight
These two statements are incompatible with each other. Cheap bikes are heavy. Light bikes are expensive.

Buying something used on arrival will make your budget go further, and possibly into the realm of lighter bikes.

The other things asked--how far, how much will you carry, how will you carry it, and so on will all help in the decision making.

I'm not ordinarily a fan of mountain bikes on road, but Pittsburgh is home to some the steepest streets in the country. A mountain bike with street tires is probably the best place to start. Better (read: more expensive) bikes will be both lighter for the carry, and shift better for utilizing those climbing gears.

Bear in mind too that routing strategy helps loads. No one says you have to take the shortest, most direct route, no matter what the terrain. Sometimes it's best to plan a route around terrain, and spend the extra time instead. Sometimes the loger route in miles will be the shorter route in time depending on lights, traffic and terrain. Struggling on a hill is slow compared to riding around it.

Don't forget to leave room in your budget for good locks--plural. Campuses are prime hunting grounds for bike thieves. A mid-range U-lock and a good (not cheap) cable lock together are the general recipie. All locks can be broken. Two different types requires a thief to carry two different types of tools. More importantly, your bike will be locked better than neighboring ones, and the thief is likely to move on.
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Old 06-22-14, 04:30 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
The easiest solution is a mini velo like the Mercier Nano. Its a size practical enough to carry up and down a high rise apartment and it doesn't take up much room.

And the best thing is, its right within your budget!
First,they're not that light,second,they need a fair bit of tweaking out of the box. Check out the Nano thread over in the folding forum.

swimmbabe184: as tsl said,light and cheap don't go well together. If you're looking for a light bike at a low price point,you'd do best going used. If you're not knowledgeable enough to find something off Craigslist,there is a co-op local to you.
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