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Old 02-19-07, 03:41 PM   #1
kbrown
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looking for a bike for my mom

So my mom just moved into some apartments that has some paths that lead into a nice residential area where she could get a lot of riding done and give her something to do in her spare time. But I don't know what kind of bike would be best for her.

I've checked out some pawn shops, but the ones that usually have a lot of bicycles were down to about 5 at each shop. I'm also thinking an internal geared hub would be best since it seems like less moving parts that have to be cleaned and messed with since she won't be able to do a lot of work on it at first so I guess QR on the wheels would be nice so she could easily fix a flat if she needed to. But give me your suggestions. What would be good for this kind of leisurely style of riding?
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Old 02-19-07, 06:07 PM   #2
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What kind of topography are we talking about here - flat or hills?

Has your mom ever regularly used a derailleur drivetrain before and if so, did she like it? Has there ever been a bike in the past that she's really enjoyed riding?
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Old 02-19-07, 06:25 PM   #3
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Mostly flat with some hills. I've never had any problems with any of them on my fixed. I was thinking a single speed at first but since she hasn't rode in about 20 years I think a few gears might come in handy.

She doesn't even know what a derrailleur is. I just thought the internal geared hub would be simpler to learn, weight really doesn't matter to much, but all around durability is a must since she won't want to pay for parts if something breaks. Also, it'll probably have to be used. I think I'm going to buy it for her so I just need some suggestions on what to look for.
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Old 02-19-07, 06:34 PM   #4
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The "new" indexed deraillers are simple to learn IMHO. I wouldn't worry about it.

I would go with a trail bike NOT a hybrid. There is no reason for the shocks.

Possibly a recumbent but you are most likely taling real money there.

Make sure she sees a doctor before she starts riding! Woman have less heart attacks then men but they have a much higher chance of dying from one.
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Old 02-19-07, 06:55 PM   #5
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She called me after I posted that and I started talking about it. She did have derailleurs on her bikes when she was younger so I'm sure she'd be fine if it had index shifting.

I was going to stay away from shocks for sure, I agree she doesn't have a need for them. She goes into the doctor regularly. I know she's been cleared for cardiovascular and aerobics stuff, but I'll have her ask next time she talks to her doctor.

I was looking at a sprung saddle for her maybe, would that be ok or would it cause problems? This bike needs to be as comfortable as can be.
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Old 02-19-07, 07:33 PM   #6
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I would highly suggestion that your mother pick out a bike she is going to be comfortable riding. She needs to be there to try it out in person. If the bike isn't comfortable to her, she won't be wanting to ride it.
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Old 02-19-07, 08:07 PM   #7
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She might want to check out the Electra Townies or Amsterdams.
http://www.electrabike.com/06_new/flash_index.html

Nothing wrong with shopping new and taking some test rides even if you want to buy used...you'll have a better idea of what to look for and you get to go shopping!
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Old 02-19-07, 08:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
She might want to check out the Electra Townies or Amsterdams.
http://www.electrabike.com/06_new/flash_index.html

Nothing wrong with shopping new and taking some test rides even if you want to buy used...you'll have a better idea of what to look for and you get to go shopping!
+1 with both pieces of advice. I do think 3 speed hubs are really great for low-maintenance "Mom bikes", especially if you are the one who gets to do the maintenance on it. Electra sells those. They also make a 7 speed derailleur and single speeds. If she's got health issues, the crank-forward design can be really helpful, even if only for the psychological value of being able to put one's feet on the ground with ease. Then again, if you were able to get an older bomb-proof Schwinn, she might like that, and it wouldn't be as expensive.

Definitely take her shopping. Let her try out a single speed, a 3 speed hub, and a derailleur and see which one she likes best. No sense in getting her something that will simply collect dust in the garage. Regarding saddles - if there's a way you can delicately explain to her that she needs a saddle that will fully support her sit bones but also that one that is too squishy will be uncomfortable for her soft tissue "down there", you might both feel uncomfortable, but she'll be comfortable on her bike in the long run.
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Old 02-19-07, 09:28 PM   #9
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Something like the Giant Cypress, but put slimmer tires on it. Lots of gears is no problem, she can only use one at time, and with more gears it is easier to find the right one.
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Old 02-19-07, 10:28 PM   #10
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Something like the Giant Cypress, but put slimmer tires on it. Lots of gears is no problem, she can only use one at time, and with more gears it is easier to find the right one.
Sometimes lots of gears can be too much of a good thing for some people. Giving her the opportunity to try out a lot of different drivetrain set-ups will allow her to know which kind of person she is before she actually purchases one. I'm wondering how many gears one needs in flat topography for "paths that lead into a nice residential area". There's a $70 difference between the 21 speed Townie and the 7 speed derailleur Townie. That may not seem like a lot of money, but it is about how much the Townie fenders and a cute basket would cost.
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Old 02-20-07, 12:37 AM   #11
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First off it would be helpful to know your mother's age and your budget. That being said, I've always found Jamis bikes to be well designed and a great value. Check out the following links for some ideas.

http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik...ers/index.html

http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik...eet/index.html
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Old 02-20-07, 12:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
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First off it would be helpful to know your mother's age and your budget.
And size, moms below about 5'3" need care to find a well fitting bike.
Fuji seem to do a good line in Mom bikes and dont forget Breezer.
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Old 02-20-07, 01:03 PM   #13
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Ditto Electra or one of the other outfits making utility cruisers. I have a Rat Rod that's been a great in-town bicycle. Visibility is excellent because you're upright, and they're designed to be very quick and easy to dismount. This makes it easier to do shopping runs with a lot of stops. I don't know about the other makers, but my Electra has stood up to enormous abuse. I had to put a sun rim on the back and replace the cheap seat post it comes with, but the steel frame seems to be bullet-proof.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
She might want to check out the Electra Townies or Amsterdams.
http://www.electrabike.com/06_new/flash_index.html

Nothing wrong with shopping new and taking some test rides even if you want to buy used...you'll have a better idea of what to look for and you get to go shopping!
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Old 02-20-07, 05:40 PM   #14
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Well my mom doesn't seem to be as interested in cycling as she was, she's scared of hurting herself so I'm just going to let it go for awhile, she might change her mind. But I'm really liking those electras, how hard are they to find used? That looks like a great bike for where I live.
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Old 02-20-07, 06:27 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbrown
...What would be good for this kind of leisurely style of riding?
You won't find one at a pawn shop, but at least have mom test-sit an Electra Townie. I've yet to find anyone who didn't love them for casual riding.
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Old 02-20-07, 06:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donnamb
+1 with both pieces of advice. I do think 3 speed hubs are really great for low-maintenance "Mom bikes", especially if you are the one who gets to do the maintenance on it. Electra sells those...
Yes, Electra sells a 3-speed hub, but the ratios are so widely spaced that they're silly. The Electra-3 is actually a single-speed with a uselessly low and uselessly high additional gear. The 21-speed, for about the same $$ gives LOTS more ratios, and is 100% as easy to shift. I speak from experience on this one...
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Old 02-20-07, 06:57 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbrown
Well my mom doesn't seem to be as interested in cycling as she was, she's scared of hurting herself so I'm just going to let it go for awhile, she might change her mind. But I'm really liking those electras, how hard are they to find used? That looks like a great bike for where I live.
Your best bet for used would be Craigslist or checking out local garage/yard sales, where you may find those that were bought, but never used much, like happens to a lot of bikes. Not to sound morbid, but around here I've seen them at estate auctions...the LBS in this area sells a lot of them to older folks looking to ride the towpath or Emerald Necklace.
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