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  1. #1
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Advice sought on a beater bike...

    I'm thinking I might like a beater bike to ride the three miles to the gym next year. I'd ride my own bike, but even though it's not terribly expensive, I don't want to lock it outside the gym. I figure people would steal the odometer and the bike bag, and I don't feel like removing those each time.

    Now, it may sound silly to ask for advice on picking up a beater bike, but what the heck. I'll ask anyway. Any suggestions? I'm starting to look on Craigslist and in the Reader (a local sort of hippie / entertainment rag). Should I get (or forget about) a single speed? Perhaps a beach cruiser? Someone's old MTB? (Craigslist has mostly mtb's and little girl pink bikes, it seems to me.)

    I want something UGLY that I still would lock. Any other suggestions on where to find, how much to spend, etc?

    It's either this, or a set of dumbbells and a bench for the apartment (both of which I've had and sold...sigh).
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  2. #2
    Riding a bitsa
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    I use my mtn bike for such duties plus I can ride it offroad where I'd not wish to take my road Specialized. For me this means I have a bike for all seasons. The road bike when it's decent out and I'm off for a longer ride. The mtn bike for offroad, local riding and when it's nasty out.

    I got the mtn bike new, but have fallen so many times that I doubt anybody would want to steal it because it's all battered & one seat stay is bent (an endo on rocks). I would never feel comfortable with my road bike locked outside because it's such a target, but the mtn bike isn't so I can relax.

    I'd stick to craigslist but instead of a real beater, why not buy a different purposed bike like I have? This will make you a rider for all seasons....

  3. #3
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Don't forget yardsales. Maybe ask your co-workers.

    My suggestion for you is find an old 10 speed. Unless you are trying to go up Texas Canyon or something like that, it should do. They have a little more range and a little less theft potential than a cruiser.

  4. #4
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    ANY Cannondale!

    Tyson
    1968 Peugot U08 "Racer"

  5. #5
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Just look in the local papers and look for the cheapest around that will fit you and then haggle over the price. Failing that, look in the dumpsters for an abandoned bikes about a month after christmas, for the discarded aid to someone's new year "Keep fit" programme.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  6. #6
    Riding a bitsa
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    OK, if you really want a 'beater' go to the second hand stores like Goodwill.

  7. #7
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Unless the bike is beaten up thoroughly and therefore really cheap, you might consider returning to the Trek 7600 idea if feasible....using your current MTB as your utility back-up bike. But $$ is an issue for most of us, and with post Christmas credit bills lurking like circling vultures....maybe not a good time for this idea. (Just thinking that whatever bike we buy is generally with us a long time and ...................................)

    **** Sunny San Diego, these non-CA types can't understand, probably has garage sales year-round.
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
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  8. #8
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas
    Don't forget yardsales...
    I agree wholeheartedly with Artkansas - you'll find the best beaters (AND the cheapest prices) at other folks' yard sales. Happy hunting!

  9. #9
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas
    Don't forget yardsales. Maybe ask your co-workers.

    My suggestion for you is find an old 10 speed. Unless you are trying to go up Texas Canyon or something like that, it should do. They have a little more range and a little less theft potential than a cruiser.
    I purchased four brand name bikes from $5 to $20 doing what Arkansas recommends, going to yard sales. The best deal was a Trek 720 Hybrid for $5. All it needed was a new chain. But it takes a while to find one and you have to get there early. Nice bikes under $20 sell fast.
    Roccobike BF Official Thread Terminator

  10. #10
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    To me the least "wanted" bike today is the old dependable
    3 speed bike from the past. They have not one once of
    glamor and can be the most ugly bikes on the planet.

    For a 3 mile ride the 3 speed would be ideal. These bikes
    are a true "hop on & ride" no maintance machine well suited
    to being a utility ("beater") bike because they were designed
    for just such use.

  11. #11
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Here are two listings on my local Craigslist. Both seem just a bit pricey but then maybe not. Your opinions?

    Scwinn 10 speed

    and

    Trek 950 (steel?)
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  12. #12
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    Here are two listings on my local Craigslist. Both seem just a bit pricey but then maybe not. Your opinions?

    Scwinn 10 speed

    and

    Trek 950 (steel?)
    Your choice, your money but my .02 cents still is on finding an old 3 speed mate. If you
    don't want one do ya think someone else will??? Think about it, mate. Think about it......

  13. #13
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tightwad
    Your choice, your money but my .02 cents still is on finding an old 3 speed mate. If you
    don't want one do ya think someone else will??? Think about it, mate. Think about it......
    Tightwad (love the name, btw!) I like your advice. I just posted a WTB ad on Craiglist for a 3-speed. Maybe I'll get lucky today or this week!
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  14. #14
    Senior Member KeithA's Avatar
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    Gary, if it were my money, I'd go for the Trek. If I recall, they were steel and had Shimano Deore LX parts. Of course, that is dependent on the condition of the bike and whether she fits right. The main reservation is the handlebars. I hate it...absolutely hate it...when they're raised that way and would look to replace them if you were to buy the bike. Still, on the short commute, it might not matter that much, but did I say I hated bars raised that way. Just my opinion of course...

  15. #15
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    The scwhinn is a bit on the old side, so will not give you a comparison to how a new bike handles--For your new Bike? . The red one forget about- but the trek is worth a look at. only 21 speed so a few years old, so look for wear on drive train- worn sprockets, floppy deraillers, stiff changers and whether it does change gear crisply. The bars might be comfortable but I doubt it. Steel frame so look for rusty parts. $125 is too high. think around $75 and it might be worth a try if it is in respectable condition. I am thinking UK prices here, but converted $75 seems still a bit high.

    Think haggling but all these bikes will require some money being spent on them- any change in tension on the spokes (Check by twanging them) wheels out of true- probably not been used recently so check for tyre cracks abd tread depth or uneven wear. Then the cables, and brake blocks, And the saddle will probably not be comfortable.

    All these will be evident on any bike- in fact it reminds me of my bikes- but probably will be worth the money- only thing is it is a buyers market right now- there aren't many of them about after christmas.
    Last edited by stapfam; 12-26-05 at 12:43 PM.
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  16. #16
    jcm
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    3-speeds are serious bikes and are anything but obsolete. They are bomb-proof. I just bought a '64 Raliegh clone (they are all mostly Ralieghs, basically). Found it for $50 in a bike shop. Very dirty. Took it home, cleaned it up and pulled the hub apart to clean that. After rubbing compound, wax, WD-40 and fine steel wool to remove the minor rust specks on the chrome, it looks like new. Re-packed the bearings but left the BB alone since these all had cottered cranks. Now the problem is that it doesn't look like a beater anymore, but rather, a restored beauty.

    I use it for under 10 miles round trip quite often. I have a Brooks B73 on order for it.

    If you go for one of these I will pass on a word of caution: Do not stand on it in 3rd gear. Sooner or later, even a well adjusted AW hub will slip into neutral due to a design flaw. If you are bearing down while standing in 3rd gear you WILL face-plant over the bars! They are not designed for racing but for commuting and short trips although they are not limited to such.

    You will find that these things go pretty fast in 3rd as they are geared high. My area is hilly but it takes them ok in 1st gear.

    BTW, that Trek 950 or 930 you found is no beater. I have a Trek 830 (1988) that continues to give good service and is morphing into a better bike. It's what I use as my regular.

    Up the British!!

  17. #17
    Riding a bitsa
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tightwad
    Your choice, your money but my .02 cents still is on finding an old 3 speed mate.
    1. He's looking for a bike, not a wife.
    2. Fems usually come in one speed.
    3. I'd be interested in finding a three speed woman. How do I go about finding one?

  18. #18
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    "Think Outside the Cage"

  19. #19
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slide
    1. He's looking for a bike, not a wife.
    2. Fems usually come in one speed.
    3. I'd be interested in finding a three speed woman. How do I go about finding one?

    The "mate" I use is an Aussie term for friend I picked up years ago from
    an Aussie soldier I served with In S.E. Asia. We ran the girls and got roaring drunk many
    a day we did.

    If this is your attempt at humor........it failed.

  20. #20
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm
    3-speeds are serious bikes and are anything but obsolete. They are bomb-proof. I just bought a '64 Raliegh clone (they are all mostly Ralieghs, basically). Found it for $50 in a bike shop. Very dirty. Took it home, cleaned it up and pulled the hub apart to clean that. After rubbing compound, wax, WD-40 and fine steel wool to remove the minor rust specks on the chrome, it looks like new. Re-packed the bearings but left the BB alone since these all had cottered cranks. Now the problem is that it doesn't look like a beater anymore, but rather, a restored beauty.

    I use it for under 10 miles round trip quite often. I have a Brooks B73 on order for it.

    If you go for one of these I will pass on a word of caution: Do not stand on it in 3rd gear. Sooner or later, even a well adjusted AW hub will slip into neutral due to a design flaw. If you are bearing down while standing in 3rd gear you WILL face-plant over the bars! They are not designed for racing but for commuting and short trips although they are not limited to such.
    I've had and used three speeds since I was 8, fifty years ago. I have never heard from anyone, anywhere of ANY problem with any AW hub or Sachs Torpedo 3 speed ever slipping out of third when the shifting cable is adjusted correctly. And once its adjusted (which takes all of 10 seconds) it stays adjusted unless the wheel itself shifts in the frame due to loose axle nuts. In fact if there is no cable at all the bike will always be in third. Any reference for this alleged design flaw?

    A three speed for a three mile jaunt is perfect. Around here they usually go for about $10-15 at garage sales. A new B-73 would be worth about 5 3 speed bikes. Tightwad's advice is excellent.

  21. #21
    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    I've had and used three speeds since I was 8, fifty years ago. I have never heard from anyone, anywhere of ANY problem with any AW hub or Sachs Torpedo 3 speed ever slipping out of third when the shifting cable is adjusted correctly. And once its adjusted (which takes all of 10 seconds) it stays adjusted unless the wheel itself shifts in the frame due to loose axle nuts. In fact if there is no cable at all the bike will always be in third. Any reference for this alleged design flaw?

    A three speed for a three mile jaunt is perfect. Around here they usually go for about $10-15 at garage sales. A new B-73 would be worth about 5 3 speed bikes. Tightwad's advice is excellent.
    I can't reference Sturmey-Archer as they say the same thing you say - user error. My information is from personal experience, Jobst Brandt (see his Forum) and the many people who agree with him/us. That hub is extremely reliable and just about bullet proof - but it does have that design flaw.

    Take one apart and you can readily see the problem. It's a simple matter of mating surfaces that encourage a disconnecting moment under stress. Add some wear on those pinion pins and clutch, then add a strong, aggressive rider and it can be Ass over Tea Kettle without warning if you are standing on it.

    Mal-adjustment is a huge factor but the basic flaw is still there. I suggest that this is the reason so many great bikes do end up at garage sales for $15. People experience shifting problems and set them aside to gather dust.

    Shimano hubs and Rohloff hubs don't do this because they are designed improvements over the SA and are machined to avoid such problems. I have looked inside a Shimano but haven't had the opportunity or inclination to open a Rohloff. I am unfamiliar with Taiwan built SA stuff because I only like the older units.

    Herr Brandt has a very good explanation concerning this as he is an excellent engineer. People always argue with him over this, too. If it weren't for my own experience, I might not believe it either because I love those old bikes. I can give the anecdotal event description (must've looked pretty odd somersaulting over the bars) but that would only feed the argument that I don't know how to adjust the indicator chain. I assure you, I do.

    To be fair, the one I am currently riding has not done this since I rebuilt the hub. Before I overhauled it, it did. My earlier unfortunate experience had me ready and I avoided a second disaster - just barely, as it is almost impoosible to keep from going over when standing on the pedals. Since rebuilding, I have it adjusted right in the middle of the sweet spot. I also machined my own pinion pins with a bit of angle to hopefully discourage that separation moment. I hand filed a mating surface on the clutch cogs.

    However, I won't push my luck - ever again. In 3rd gear I stay seated. That was a bad day.

  22. #22
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm
    I can't reference Sturmey-Archer as they say the same thing you say - user error. My information is from personal experience, Jobst Brandt (see his Forum) and the many people who agree with him/us. That hub is extremely reliable and just about bullet proof - but it does have that design flaw.

    Take one apart and you can readily see the problem.
    I've taken plenty of SA AW hubs apart and put them back together as well as TCW, FW, S3C, and S5's and don't know what you are talking about. I've also taken apart and put together plenty of Sachs Torpedo 3 speeds and never have seen any significant wear on the gears. Typical problems, if any is broken bearing races, or out of place circlip on the coaster brake models. What is the URL for the Jobst Brandt Forum where this design defect is specifically described in less cryptic terms?

  23. #23
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Hot lead: (lol)

    Just $20!

    Univega 12 speed
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  24. #24
    jcm
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    Try: www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt

    It's an interesting read and a controversial subject. Still, I have to go with my own experience on this although nothing will keep me off those old bikes.

  25. #25
    jcm
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    DeeGee! Ask 'em to throw in a plant holder!

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