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Old 06-26-07, 03:29 PM   #1
skinnybenny
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good college bike?

hello to all,
i was just wondering if anyone out there had any good opinions on what exactly would make a generally good college bike. i want something light, tough, low maintenance, and low priced. something aluminum maybe? idk much about bikes. i was thinking some type of hybrid with tough wheels. i want to be able to go up on curbs n stuff. thanks in advance for any guidance or suggestions.
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Old 06-26-07, 04:12 PM   #2
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Instead of a hybrid, I'd just go for a low end mountain bike from a decent name brand (Trek, Kona, etc.) If mainly doing road, you can easily put slicks on the MTB.

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Old 06-26-07, 04:23 PM   #3
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I would go Iron Horse or a folding bike.
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Old 06-26-07, 04:24 PM   #4
supton
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I had a Gary Fisher Advance in college. Not sure, but I think it was a decent low to mid MTB in the mid-90's (could be wrong). I found it to be great. I liked doing some off-road riding, and later commuted on it. I suppose if I had gotten into road riding, like for hours at a time, a hybrid might have been better; but for the hour or less rides I did, a MTB did just fine. Plus, everyone has one.
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Old 06-26-07, 04:25 PM   #5
otismedina
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What about a single-speed bike; something like a Bianchi San Jose?
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Old 06-26-07, 05:41 PM   #6
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Try the GoodWill store. My kids did that for college bikes. $15 for an old Schwinn ain't too bad.
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Old 06-26-07, 06:09 PM   #7
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Nothing you can't afford to lose. 2 bikes stolen, 2 bikes stomped to death in undergrad alone. If you're serious about riding, buy something good and keep it in your room, but get a plain old steel MTB for going back and forth to class.
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Old 06-26-07, 06:32 PM   #8
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At the four colleges in my town, most students have either Wal-Mart bikes, or a decent mountain bike that is five, ten, or fifteen years old. I suspect the reason they prefer such bikes is that: 1. The bikes are left outdoors 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. 2. Colleges have a amazing rate of bike theft, with the very few "expensive" bikes being the most obvious target. 3. Most colleges have poor quality bike racks that do not allow proper locking techniques (including the "rear wheel to steel locking post" method). 4. Colleges often have NO rack at locations students need to travel to, such as the building where their classes are held.

So, I'd say look for a USED mountain bike in good riding condition. A bike that is scratched, dented and rusty, but outstanding riding quality. If you can't find a good used bike, visit three or four bike shops and buy the cheapest mountain bike they sell. A $300 mountain bike from Trek, Specialized, or Giant is going to be more durable and reliable than the typical $700 or $800 road bike.
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Old 06-26-07, 07:10 PM   #9
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Can you bring your bike in? My daughter has a hand me down bike that originally cost me over $1K, and is darned near pristine. She wanted to take it to the University of Central Florida, but when I found out it would stay locked up outside, to rust and be stripped, I refused.

She took a $50 department store bike, and when we wanted to make a real ride I stopped by with my trike and her bike in the truck.

Cheapest thing you can afford to punish and lose.
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Old 06-26-07, 08:50 PM   #10
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I started out in school with an ancient $15 goodwill bike as a project, and the next year got a decent Specialized sirrus (lowest-end components they had) which has been great ever since. that with a rack and panniers and your set. It has fairly skinny tires, is relatively light, and I've yet to come across something I couldn't carry by bike if I really put my mind to it. It was a $500 bike (not much on the bike spectrum, but not too shabby for the college circuit), but I went to an extremely bike-friendly school. locked, indoor storage in the dorms... good racks by most all buildings... no real theft problem. it was my main transportation and it was worth it to me to have a good bike.
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Old 06-26-07, 09:18 PM   #11
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Different schools have different rates of theft. Check out what is the case at yours.

Also check out what they might have in terms of storage, or, if you are in a dorm, see if your roommate is okay with you keeping the bike inside, as long as it's on your side of the room

I second the mountain bike idea though. Older, but good bike if you can find it (I'm partial to older model Specializeds) or something like the Trek 3700 (new) a low-end but solid mountain bike. Neither of these options are lightweight, but the saying around here is: lightweight, durable, inexpensive- pick two. Weight, for you, is the least important category.
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Old 06-27-07, 10:07 AM   #12
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thanks for all the really quick responses. yeah, ok, i think its a pretty solid consensus that i need a mountain bike. i'm going to the university of wilmington in north carolina. the bike will be outside all the time. and it's at the beach so rust is kinda an issue as well i think. thanks again for the quick replies. i'm going to be looking on ebay for a cheap mountain bike.
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Old 06-27-07, 10:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skinnybenny
thanks for all the really quick responses. yeah, ok, i think its a pretty solid consensus that i need a mountain bike. i'm going to the university of wilmington in north carolina. the bike will be outside all the time. and it's at the beach so rust is kinda an issue as well i think. thanks again for the quick replies. i'm going to be looking on ebay for a cheap mountain bike.
Try finding some rust resistant spray.
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Old 06-27-07, 10:54 AM   #14
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I'm in campus law enforcement, and am also the department "bike guy". I do all our maintenance and set-up.

The mountain bike is far and away the most popular bike among the students; I'd say 85% of the bikes on campus.
However, I never really saw why a mountain bike was a good idea for what these kids are doing, which is simply commuting back and forth from the dorm area to main campus. Always seemed to me that a hybrid or commuter bike would be ideal. You don't need knobby tires, you don't need an aggressive riding position, and you don't need suspension.
Something like the excellent little Kona Smoke (with a luggage rack) would be ideal. Street tires, platform pedals, fenders if it's raining...What more could you want?
Also, mountain bikes (even cheap ones) are theft magnets as a poster above notes.
I can count on one hand the number of hybrids or roadsters we've had stolen over the last 20 years or so.
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