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Old 07-07-14, 12:33 PM   #1
heliocopters
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Bikes to watch out for

My city has a community bicycle warehouse where bikes are donated then refurbished and tuned by volunteers and redistributed to the neediest of the city at no charge. Some of their bikes they sell between $100 and $150. I'm going there tomorrow to pick out a bike because my car recently kicked the bucket and I need to get to work (and I'm broke). I have a bike, but it's a Schwinn, which was fine when I lived in the same neighborhood as my work, but now I live outside city limits and it's not going to cut it (because it's a Schwinn, heavy, slow, and a Schwinn). Now, since I'm the kind of person who owns a Schwinn, I need help determining what kinds of bikes I should be on the lookout for tomorrow. Suggestions? From what I've heard there's a lot of brands that "used to be good" but went downhill recently.

I'm checking Craigslist as well.

Thanks!
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Old 07-07-14, 12:49 PM   #2
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I imagine that when you go in there somebody can help you with this, and that somebody will probably have a good idea of what's available because I bet it's pretty random.

Comfortable to ride, easy to pedal in the same gear ratio. There's no better benchmark of a bike than that. Comfortable means it fits. Easy to pedal means the drivetrain is doing its job and the frame is good. But it can be hard to compare a bunch of bikes in the same gear ratio without pulling out your slide rule. Especially with older stuff.
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Old 07-07-14, 12:50 PM   #3
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Ask the guys at the co-op. They will probably know all of the many questions to ask considering the information you provided. It will be faster and easier in person.

They worked as volunteers.....I would imagine them to be quite the helpful sort and would lead you in the right direction of what they have for sale.
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Old 07-07-14, 05:29 PM   #4
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+1+1=+2

You're going to a co-op, not a retail bike shop. The people there will (a) have no motive to rip you off or upsell you a more expensive bike than you need, and (b) are probably volunteering their time, and are thus very nice. Put yourself in their hands, they will do their darndest to put you on a bike that will meet your needs.
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Old 07-07-14, 07:40 PM   #5
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if you're dead set on hating your schwinn and you're willing to spend $150, take the schwinn with you. maybe they'll give you a little credit for it. since they're a charity anyway, maybe your current bike and 2 days worth of helping out will get you the bike you want without spending any cash. to me, these questions would be worth asking given your situation.

i'm curious to see how this plays out. keep us posted on the outcome. also, it would be nice to see a pic of the schwinn you won't ride and the bike you end up with.
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Old 07-08-14, 05:40 AM   #6
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Thanks for the advice everyone, I'll be heading over there shortly to see what they have.

metz, to be fair, I don't hate my Schwinn. It's adorable, but it's slow and heavy and I need something that's going to be easy to take on and off bus bike racks and will get me to point A to point B faster. It was sold to me by a friend who got a new bike for the same reason. I'd like to keep my Schwinn for Tweed rides and the like, but I might sell it after I pick up a new one if I don't think I'll ride it again.
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Old 07-08-14, 09:40 AM   #7
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if you're dead set on hating your schwinn and you're willing to spend $150, take the schwinn with you. maybe they'll give you a little credit for it. since they're a charity anyway, maybe your current bike and 2 days worth of helping out will get you the bike you want without spending any cash. to me, these questions would be worth asking given your situation.

i'm curious to see how this plays out. keep us posted on the outcome. also, it would be nice to see a pic of the schwinn you won't ride and the bike you end up with.

I know exactly where you are coming from. Two of my bikes are Schwinns. They are the ones set up as commuters. They are the ones that get ridden every day. One was already commuterized and obtained from a Co-op for $150. It has a lugged steel frame and Shimano Exage drivetrain (3x7). Including Exage Cantilevers. We are probably talking mid '90's build. The o.p. couldn't touch that bike new for less than $600. I know that Schwinn in 2014 is not the same as Schwinn in 1984 but ... even in 2014 if you give Schwinn $600 you will get a bike you don't have to make excuses for. My other Schwinn is a World Tourist circa 1984. It also has a Shimano drivetrain. $30 at a garage sale. The Velo Orange handlebars and brake levers I bought for it cost more than that. People on a budget cannot afford the luxury of ignorance. Ignorant cyclists fixate on brands like Trek and Specialized and Cannondale who do, in fact, make very desirable bikes, but at a co-op these bikes will cost twice what a Schwinn does. They are NOT twice as nice, or even twice as good. FWIW.

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Old 07-08-14, 09:47 AM   #8
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Thanks for the advice everyone, I'll be heading over there shortly to see what they have.

metz, to be fair, I don't hate my Schwinn. It's adorable, but it's slow and heavy and I need something that's going to be easy to take on and off bus bike racks and will get me to point A to point B faster. It was sold to me by a friend who got a new bike for the same reason. I'd like to keep my Schwinn for Tweed rides and the like, but I might sell it after I pick up a new one if I don't think I'll ride it again.
You act as if Schwinn only makes one model of bike. Or that a cruiser from another manufacturer will be lighter and faster than a cruiser from Schwinn.
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Old 07-08-14, 09:50 AM   #9
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Now Schwinn , has a better Dealer sold line, and a cheaper big Box Store line..
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Old 07-08-14, 10:08 AM   #10
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I went to the co-op and the best bike for me I could find was Kabuki mixte that was in great shape for $120. I haven't heard of Kabuki before so I don't know what to think of it. It was super light and fast, which was what I wanted, but it will take a little practice for me to get used a road bike because I'm used to a city bike, and it felt so small next to my city bike. My Schwinn is probably a better quality overall; it was $500 originally, and the guy at the co-op estimated the Kabuki would go for about $300 today if it were new, which was a really disappointing estimate (yes, I understand I was going to a co-op and not a boutique, but still). They're going to tune it and give me a call when they're done and at that point I have 10 days to decide.

As far as the debate about the Schwinn goes, my friend sold it to me and got a new bike for the same reason: more speed and less weight.

Also all of the other cyclists make fun of me for having a Schwinn.

For those of you were curious, this is it, but in green: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-OyKkZ3WU2q...r+7+Ldy+11.png

Adorable, but not cutting it for my hilly neighborhood.
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Old 07-08-14, 10:32 AM   #11
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Also all of the other cyclists make fun of me for having a Schwinn.
How old are all these "other cyclists?" If I may be so bold, how old are you?
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Old 07-08-14, 10:39 AM   #12
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How old are all these "other cyclists?" If I may be so bold, how old are you?
HAHAHA! I meant that as a joke, but one of my former co-workers, who is much more hardcore about cycling than I, did used to make fun of me for biking my Schwinn to work, who is 32. I actually get a lot of compliments on my Voyageur from everyone else.

Personally, I'm ageless.
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Old 07-08-14, 11:08 AM   #13
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Get a newer bike-shop brand bike that works well right out the door. Do not get an older bike which looks cool, or a department store brand bike. Check especially the shifters and wheels. Shifters should shift, wheels should not rub the brakes. If the wheels do rub the brakes, they will need truing and that can only be done if they are not rusty or corroded.
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Old 07-08-14, 11:52 AM   #14
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Get a newer bike-shop brand bike that works well right out the door. Do not get an older bike which looks cool, or a department store brand bike. Check especially the shifters and wheels. Shifters should shift, wheels should not rub the brakes. If the wheels do rub the brakes, they will need truing and that can only be done if they are not rusty or corroded.
Wow. You really have a low opinion of co-ops and bike kitchens. Shifters should shift... ouch.
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Old 07-08-14, 11:59 AM   #15
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You should find a way to trade that Voyageur for this Voyaguer
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Old 07-08-14, 12:09 PM   #16
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Wow. You really have a low opinion of co-ops and bike kitchens. Shifters should shift... ouch.
Just to clarify, should brakes brake?
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Old 07-08-14, 12:58 PM   #17
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Just to clarify, should brakes brake?
Absolutely, but they shouldn't, like rip your fillings out or anything violent like that. An aneurysm is not a pretty thing. Keep the forces on your body gentle. Monitor 12 seconds ahead so you don't have to risk blood clots behind your eyeballs by panic braking.

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Old 07-08-14, 01:03 PM   #18
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You should find a way to trade that Voyageur for this Voyaguer
+1! Some modern brake levers is about all that bike would need. Here in PDX they put 105 level brifters on a bike like that... well quite a few do. Many will rock the OEM and call it good but a pair of Tektro aero levers are only $20.

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Old 07-08-14, 01:06 PM   #19
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They're going to tune it and give me a call when they're done and at that point I have 10 days to decide.
Awww, so cute, it's like adopting a kitten!

Don't listen to your bike snob friends if they make fun of any bike that works for you (also don't listen to mconlonx). Older bikes can be fine, if the co-op is tuning it up for you, you should be able to trust it is in good working order.

Personally, I like to violate bike snob norms (somewhat) just cuz. I have 700x50 tires on my crosscheck, and I'm going to ride it in the Pendleton Devil Dog Duathlon in a few weeks. I won't win any medals, but if there was a prize for fattest rubber, I'd win that! I do have a trek with regular road tires I could ride, but realistically it wouldn't gain me more than a few seconds, if that, so I'd rather make a statement.
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Old 07-08-14, 01:08 PM   #20
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FIT!

It matters above all else, if it's wrong the bike won't work out.
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Old 07-08-14, 01:27 PM   #21
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Old 07-08-14, 02:02 PM   #22
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Interesting.
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Old 07-08-14, 02:27 PM   #23
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Mixtes (pronounced "meext" not "mixty- Mixte or meaning "unisex" in French) were city bikes for men or women. I have an '85 Nishiki & a 1987 Miyata mixte and they are both right, agile and fast.

heres a nice blog about Mixtes - Lovely Bicycle!: Myths About the Mixte
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Old 07-08-14, 02:50 PM   #24
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Mixtes (pronounced "meext" not "mixty- Mixte or meaning "unisex" in French) were city bikes for men or women.
When I was a little kid the muscle bike fad had passed and boys wanted BMX. Anything with a swoopy frame and banana seat was a girl bike. Point being: Whether it's a girl bike or not is in the eyes of the people by whom you want to be noticed.
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Old 07-08-14, 04:20 PM   #25
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You should find a way to trade that Voyageur for this Voyaguer
I used to have one like that though I believe it was an 1983 model. Bought it for $15 at a garage sale but got rid of it because nobody in my family was interested in it. Either too small or are like me and don't like dropped handlebars.
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