Easy to ride/low maintenance bikes?
Just found this forum and think you experts can help me out. :)
First of all, I'm 60 and my wife is 55. Very good health and in good shape.
We've owned, very cheap, bikes for years but are now thinking of taking bikes on our rear carrier when we travel. We just took them to Key West and loved riding, instead of driving, around the island.
We've been looking at the Schwinn Contenental but aren't sure if we really need, or want, electric. But, price isn't a factor.
I don't like to tinker. I'd like maintenance free, if possible.
We've never been satisfied with the shift mechanisms of our cheap bikes but do want a few gears.
I love the idea of a driveshaft instead of a chain and would probably buy a Schwinn Contental if it came in non-electric.
And, I want light weight bikes with bars that will sit well on the two bike carrier that mounts on the receiver hitch of our car.
OK, really needing some advice on brands.
Thanks in advance,
Rich & Carol Eubanks
Silver Springs, FL
I'm 63 and just bought a Trek Navigator 2.0 (21 Speed) and love it. Of course I don't mind adjusting gear mechanisms. I would think a bike with an internal hub gear should be low maintenance, a 3 speed maybe, but I don't even know if you can still get these. I do know several bikes have an internal hub 7-speed.
BTW I went to Key West last November, flew to Miami, then rented a car. I rented a bike in Key West, I think it was about $10 for the week, and never moved the car until we left. You don't want to move your car in Key West or you won't have a parking spot.
A drive shaft is not necessarily a lot less maintenance, and if something does need work, you are going to need specialized parts not available at most bike shops.
A quick application of lubricant on a chain every few rides is the typical maintenance needed for a chain. Any bike (with a chain or drive shaft) should be brought to a shop once a year or so if it is ridden regularly to regrease bearings and make sure the wheels are true etc (if you don't do it yourself). And depending on how much you ride, the chain would be replaced every few years. A bike with an internal hub would be low maintenance for you, whether chain or shaft drive.
However, if you are really sold on the idea of shaft drive there are companies that sell models without the electric motor. One I have read about on the forums here is http://www.dynamicbicycles.com/ and they seem to have a couple of different models that may fit your needs.
By the way, as I recall, shaft drive bicycles tend to be a little heavier than chain drive.
I think that you may find some of the traditional Dutch bike styles appealing for your needs. They're usually full kit dressed, with enclosed chains, coat guards, wheel lock, lights, and fenders, and they have a comfortable, upright riding position. Many have drum and coaster brakes, too, for clean riding and low maintenance.
There is very little futzing needed with these bikes; take it in to the shop every couple of years for a lube (if you're fair weather/low miles riding.)
Best of all, they're super classy!
Check out Velorbis, for example, as available from The Dutch Bicycle Company (http://dutchbikes.us/velorbis/). They're in Somerville, MA, so don't worry about having to import one yourself.
Do you like riding in the upright position or do you prefer drop handlebars? Do you want rack, fenders, basket, etc.? There are more and more bikes with 3 speed & 7 speed hub gears. Giant, Trek, Breezer, etc. have them. Have you looked at the Schwinn Coffee and Cream bikes?
bikesfortherestofus.blogspot has reviews of practical bikes that you might be interested in.
Find an old 3 speed. They are as cheap as a bike can be. And they will outlive you.
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