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  1. #1
    Member jacqui583's Avatar
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    Bike style vs planned useage

    I'm new to regular riding (three days and going strong! lol). To give you some history, I pulled out my 10 year old cheapie cruiser, had it tuned up at the local bike shop, replaced the rusty fenders and installed a basket and panniers. Now I'm having a blast riding it!

    While the bike is suiting my needs for the present, I'm sure that once I've got some miles behind me I may want to invest in something a little better manufactured. I've been looking around the internet and there seems to be a few different styles out there that may work for me, including cruisers and townies, and I've noticed quite a few of them only have single gears. What's up with that?

    I'd hate to spend a ton of money only to find I was happier with my old six-speed bike. I do mainly city riding and love having the basket and panniers, and I have to ride a bike with a sit-up style due to rheumatoid arthritis in my wrists (I can't put much weight on them).

    So to make a short story long, is there a list of descriptions somewhere for what each style of bike is best suited for? I want to start doing some homework.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Smooth James's Avatar
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    The first thing you should do is define your price range. Knowing how much you are looking to spend will help to narrow your search. Do you have a particular manufacture that you are looking to buy from? What would you like to use the bike for? Commuting? Running errands? Riding around for fun? Also would you being riding on the road, bike path, dirt/crushed limestone trails? And finally how fast do you like to go? These questions will help a lot in trying to find the bike that is right for you.

  3. #3
    Member jacqui583's Avatar
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    Thanks Smooth James. While I can't say that that price is no object, I don't need to buy the cheapest thing out there either. If I believe it is the right bike for me and that it is worth the price I can be flexible. Even though I've had my cheapie bike professionally adjusted it still has issues with the sixth gear; I put that down to you get what you pay for.

    I'm thinking it will be mainly used for shorter commutes. I live within a fifteen minute ride of work, grocery stores, fast food, beer/liquor stores, almost anything I would need. I would also use it on the nearby trail system that is mainly paved for pleasure-riding. Speed is not an issue for any of these things; I prefer to just coast along enjoying the sights and the ride. I try to leave enough time so that I'm in no hurry. As I mentioned above I need a "sit-up" style. The cruiser is working well for me, but I'm wondering if there is any advantage to the "townie" style (I'm not sure if that is a style or just a model from one manufacturer - Electra). Also, I find myself changing gears quite often to keep the most comfortable ride for the grade/wind. I use pretty much all six of the gears I have so I don't imagine I'd want a single geared bike, but I don't think I need more than the six either. I want something well-built that is going to last, run well and isn't going to look all rusty in a year. I'm also not that concerned about weight; I'm not trying to break any land-speed records, and if I need to transport it I just lift it into the back of my Sport Trac, so I'm not trying to put it on a roof rack or anything like that. I'm thinking that I don't imagine I'll use it in the winter, unless I develop a real passion for it between now and then! Oh, in case it's not obvious, I need a woman's bike.

    I have no interest in getting rid of my Sport Trac for something more "fuel efficient" because there are so many times that I need the flexibility the truck offers. That's why I thought that using a bike for a lot of the short daily hauls I do would be ecologically/financially/physically beneficial.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Smooth James's Avatar
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    If you have problems with your wrists you may want to consider a bike with a front suspension, i.e. mountain bike or hybrid, so that road vibration and bumps won’t irritate them. I don’t have any suggestions right now but I will see what I can dig up.

  5. #5
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    I like this for your use http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...n/soho/soho40/
    8 speed, sturdy, sit up style
    Not too much to say here

  6. #6
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Single-speed bikes work great if it's level, not windy, and you have reasonably strong legs. And some people like 'em because they're simpler. But if you like your gears, great.

    My advice for now would be to keep riding and keep mental track of what should be different on your bike. If you can't think of how anything would be improved, just keep it, or check into higher-quality versions of the same thing. If you decide you want to go faster or farther or carry more or ride offroad or start tackling bigger hills, those all point you in different directions for a new bike.

    If you live in a large city, go by the biggest bike store you can find and just peruse what is out there. I never knew "cyclocross" bikes existed until I started reading here, and didn't know what they looked like until I spotted them at the store.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  7. #7
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    I think you'd love the newer Electra Townies, Cruisers or Amsterdams. Most come with 3 speed internal geared hubs, but there are also models with 7/8 speed internal or 21 speed derailleur systems.
    http://www.electrabike.com/

    I'd avoid MTBs and hybrids with flat bars...the classic swept back bars and upright riding position will be much better for your arthritis.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  8. #8
    Member jacqui583's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the help! Maddyfish, I canít do the straight handlebars as Chipcom says. My wrists donít really bend, so I need the handlebars curved back towards me.

    I really do love everything about the one Iím riding, from the handlebars to the nice big saddle with spring suspension, to the classic look. However, if Iím buying new at some point, I donít want to just automatically go to the same style when there might be something that suits me even better.

    The Townie looks good and seems to be popular from what Iím seeing on other peopleís blogs, but it looks like your pedals are more in front of you than on a classic cruiser. That seems like it would be awkward. That Amsterdam is a beautiful bike! Unfortunately the one that really catches my eye is only a three-speed. Following StephenHís logic, I donít think three speeds are going to do it for me when Iím currently using six, unless someone can convince me otherwise? Awe, who am I kidding? Iíll likely end up on another cruiser! lol

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    Ride what'cha got for a while. If what you have now works well for a town bike, then ride it until you start wanting to do things that it cant, longer rides, going faster or whatever. I am a big fan of multiple bikes for multiple uses. I have a mix of vintage and new, most importantly have fun.
    ďI drank coffee, ate a glazed doughnut, and was happyĒ
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  10. #10
    Hooligan Abneycat's Avatar
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    The Townie 21 is what got my girlfriend into cycling. Its a good bike. The "Townie style" allows a very nice, upright riding position which lets the user sit on a wider saddle without having problems and also allows for reaching the ground with one's feet in the saddle, while still having the seat height set right for leg extension.

    Other bicycle manufacturers also do designs similar to this. RANS makes some which are of very high build and component quality, and some "dutch" bikes also have the more upright riding position with the cranks placed forward of the saddle.
    Last edited by Abneycat; 07-30-08 at 10:55 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member GP's Avatar
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    Whatever type of bike you decide on, get one with the Shimano Nexus internal geared hub. Some of the hybrids and cruisers have lower end derailleurs that end up as being a problem. The Nexus hub will cost more but mine has not needed any maintenance during its four years.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Buglady's Avatar
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    You know what? The bike I reach for first on a "hmm, I want to toodle around to the shops" day is a 23 year old, 5 speed Raleigh cruiser that was not tremendously expensive even brand new. I have a touring bike that I use for long rides, but for basic transport or when I am riding with other people and want to be able to sit up and chat as we go, it's the Raleigh all the way. I haven't yet seen a new bike I like as much! So this bike is geting a complete tear down, repaint and rebuild this winter

    I'm giving mine a new freewheel (the back cluster of gears) with an extra-low gear. It is a "Megarange" freewheel from Shimano, costs about $20, six gears, and should be compatible with most shifter systems. I just need a little extra help on hills!

    Oh, and good for you for doing errands by bike! It is ecologically friendly, cheap, and FUN. I do have to warn you that it can be addictive, as you begin plotting how you can fetch this or that unlikely item or combination of items with your bike rather than the car (My record is 30 lbs of fresh produce!)

  13. #13
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    If your wrist bothers you bikes like the Day 6 might be worth looking at.
    http://www.day6bicycles.com/

    I also thought the townie was worth looking at.
    http://www.electrabike.com/townie/

    The Giant Suade.
    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/bikes/lifestyle/1272/29315/

    My choice was a little different.
    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/bikes/lifestyle/600/28459/

  14. #14
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    " Also, I find myself changing gears quite often to keep the most comfortable ride for the grade/wind. I use pretty much all six of the gears I have so I don't imagine I'd want a single geared bike, but I don't think I need more than the six either."
    If you only had 5, you'd probably think that was all you needed too.
    More gears are usually better, but they have to be the right gears too.
    On my bike, I had a 6 speed 14-28, then a 7 speed 12-28, which was just like the 6 speed with the addition of a 12T cog I seldom used.
    Now I have a 13-24 8 speed and use all of them.

  15. #15
    Member jacqui583's Avatar
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    Wow; lots of great advice here. Thanks for all the feedback! Robert Foster, there's some really unique bikes there. The guys at work are already calling me Mary Poppins with the cruiser; I can just imagine what they'd come up with if I rolled up on that Day 6 Comfort Bike! lol

    The more I look at the Townie the more it has the gear configuration I think I want (8 geared internal) but I'm not sure the handlebars are curved enough for me. That Amsterdam is REALLY calling my name, except the ones I like the most are only 3 gears. Not sure if I'll be happy with that or not, and while I could see myself spending that kind of money if I love it I wouldn't want to be disappointed with it.

    Buglady, you may be on to something there. I keep thinking that it's not worth putting a lot of time and/or money into my current bike because it's old and I think I only paid around $150 for it. But if it's working well for me it may be worthwhile if I think I can get a few more years out of it. It's rims are completely rusty and the handlebars have some rust spots. I guess I'd have to price it out to see if it makes sense or not. There's a cream coloured Amsterdam with green painted rims that's absolutely gorgeous; what are the odds of me copying that? Of course the brown leatherette seat and handgrips really made the look. I'll have to look into what it would take to pretty mine up. Would you clean up and paint rusty rims? I guess that would mean removing all the spokes - scary prospect getting them all back properly. Off to the search engines!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacqui583 View Post
    Wow; lots of great advice here. Thanks for all the feedback! Robert Foster, there's some really unique bikes there. The guys at work are already calling me Mary Poppins with the cruiser; I can just imagine what they'd come up with if I rolled up on that Day 6 Comfort Bike! lol
    I know they are different looking but the reason I posted them is because they put absolutely no weight on your wrist. I also like the fact that they can be very comfortable from the very first day. I like the Day 6 and the Revive because of the back support as well. I do my grocery shopping and run several other errands on my bike. I bought a trailer and can haul up to 100 pounds if necessary.

    The Townie and the Suede would have been my second choice but only because they didnít have back support. They do have other advantages that you would have to evaluate for yourself.

    Knowing how guys are about unique machinery I am sure they would be very interested in your ride if you rode up on a Day 6. I canít go anywhere and park my Revive without someone stopping to ask me about it.

    Still you have lots of options finding a bike that doesnít require you to put weight on your wrists.

  17. #17
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    +1 on the Giant Suede. I have a 7 speed which works well for me. There are other gear options including internal. Like you, I have wrist, hand issues so swapped the riser handlebars that came with it for some tourist style handlebars which sweep back. My handlebars came from an old Schwinn. The shifters and brakes fit fine. Love it even more since installing a rear rack.

  18. #18
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacqui583 View Post
    The more I look at the Townie the more it has the gear configuration I think I want (8 geared internal) but I'm not sure the handlebars are curved enough for me.
    Don't forget that you can change the handlebars on any bike. If you like everything about a particular bike except the handlebars, getting a different bar is a small price to pay for creating your perfect bike.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Buglady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacqui583 View Post
    I keep thinking that it's not worth putting a lot of time and/or money into my current bike because it's old and I think I only paid around $150 for it. But if it's working well for me it may be worthwhile if I think I can get a few more years out of it. It's rims are completely rusty and the handlebars have some rust spots.
    What brand is it? Are the rims steel or alloy? (Use a magnet to check). I'd say it's probably worth hanging onto and cleaning up, although you may not want to put a huge amount of money into parts etc.

    Never-Dull polishing wadding from a hardware or auto parts store will do a nice job of taking the rust spots off chrome parts like your handlebars. For rims, you will want to use a stronger anti-rust compound, and check to make sure the rust is not weakening the metal anywhere. (If it mostly comes off with a good scrub and a rust remover treatment, you are probably fine).

    If you have steel rims, I would recommend Kool-Stop salmon-coloured brake pads. They work a LOT better than the regular black brake pads do on steel! Brake pads are easy to replace yourself.

    New tires might be an idea too, depending on the climate where you live. Check for cracks in the sidewalls of your tires. New tires are inexpensive, too.
    Last edited by Buglady; 07-31-08 at 10:22 PM. Reason: can't spell!

  20. #20
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Don't rule out folding bikes.. most offer an upright position, many have internal gears, and are light enough to be picked up and stowed in a vehicle where their foldable nature is an asset.

  21. #21
    Senoir Membre Rosso Corsa's Avatar
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    I don't know if it has been mentioned yet, or if you are open to the idea, but I would really recommend a recumbent. Relaxing, no stress on the wrists, but much faster than a cruiser. I can't outline all of their aspects here, but look it up before you nix the idea.
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  22. #22
    Member jacqui583's Avatar
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    The more I look at pics of various bikes on the net the more I realize that I care about not only the ergonomics of the bike but also the aesthetics and what appeals to me. This is right down to the colour. I've decided that if a bike I like doesn't come in a colour I want then there's no point in me getting it. Shallow? Maybe, but I'm being honest with myself. I'm also concerned about buying a new style when I can only take it for a short test ride around the parking lot or something. You don't get a real feel for it until you can ride it in realistic conditions.

    Having said that I find myself continually being drawn back to the cruisers. They are just a very attractive style to me, and I know that they fit my riding style and physical issues. I'm a little disappointed that so many of them are what they call "beach cruisers" which are single speed bikes. There's a number of them that come in the three speed configuration AND in colour combinations that I want, but I'm still not sure about whether or not I'll be happy with just three speeds. I know they are being advertised as being for exactly the type of riding and useage I do, but I'm just not sure.

    However I think I may have come up with a solution. There's a place near where I'll be for this long weekend that rents the Electra three speed cruisers. I've booked a rental so that I can take it for a good ride and not just around the parking lot. The town with the rentals is very hilly and the town where I live is very flat, so I think I'll get to put this thing through some worst-case scenario paces. Then I can made an educated decision on if this is the bike for me. If it is I'll be ordering one and taking my old one to my partner's house 2 hours away - it'll save me hauling (and scratching) the new one if I want to ride there.

    Thanks again to everyone for your suggestions, ideas and links. You've really helped me work through this.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Buglady's Avatar
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    That sounds like an excellent idea! And I like the idea of having a bike at the other house, too

  24. #24
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    Jacqui:

    It sounds to me that you are quite content w/ your bike since you say you probably won't need more than 6 speeds, and you want it to be tough (which older bikes are).

    The issue w/ your 6th gear sounds like a derailleur adjustment. You should talk to the shop where you had it adjusted to see if they can fix that gratis.
    -- Ron
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  25. #25
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    If you like cruisers maybe this link will help.

    http://www.abikestore.com/beach-cruisers-2.htm

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