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Old 12-04-08, 03:25 PM   #1
underway
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what crank forward comfort bikes for groceries & bike paths

Hi all.

Just looking to get back into cyclinging, and do less driving. Haven't done much biking in the last 30 years. Back then I prefered chromoly for riding and cost.

I am 51 years old, and live in so cal, near the top of a steep 600 foot high hill.

I'd like something with a more upright posture, and leaning towards an internally geared hub like the afine 8 or i-motion 9.

Something like the electra townie 8, with hand brakes.

Any with chromoly frames? Any where they sell just the frame, and assemble the components to your own spec?

Don't think I need both fat tires and a shock absorbing fork. Don't need fenders..

What crank forward comfort bikes are out there these days?

Rans are too expensive, and too hard to find.

Giant suede.
Fuji saratoga
Specialized Carmel
trek pure
canondale daytripper
raleigh Venture or Circa

Schwinn?

How are these?

What others are out there?

Any place around here have a large collection of such bikes used?

The i-9 specs great, including the quick release for flat. But reports of awful noise keep me wary.

Guess I could get a cheaper version first, with derailers, and then put in the IG hub of my choice.

Thoughts?

Thanks!
Don
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Old 12-06-08, 11:52 AM   #2
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Have you checked out Day6 bicycles yet?
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Old 12-06-08, 03:18 PM   #3
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Can't speak comparatively about the others, but I'm pleased with my (third) Electra Townie. I had a three-speed, but didn't like the gear ratios. The shop took it back for an 8 (not the internally-geared hub), but I didn't like the hydraulic forks. Now I ride a Townie 1 and it meets my needs just fine once I added the fenders, basket, and a different set of handlebars.

Not cheap, but good quality for the money, IMHO.
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Old 12-06-08, 03:45 PM   #4
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My wife has the seven speed (non internal) Trek Pure. She likes it. I have ridden it and find it awkward, but it is fitted for her not me.
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Old 12-06-08, 03:47 PM   #5
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+1 on the townie. We have two at a vacation house that is shared by the extended family. Everyone likes them and I do the maintenance. No serious problems yet. bk
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Old 12-06-08, 04:05 PM   #6
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Check out the Electra Royal 8 (classic looking Dutch-style) and the Commuter 8.
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Old 12-06-08, 07:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by underway View Post
I am 51 years old, and live in so cal, near the top of a steep 600 foot high hill.
I'd think carefully about getting a bike that's too "crank-forward". Whenever I go up a hill, I spend at least part of the time standing with a taller gear, and something as extreme as a Rans looks like it would keep my legs from moving like I'd need them to.

To be fair, though, I haven't ridden anything like that (Rans, Daytripper, etc). I just see the crank nearly underneath the handlebars and wonder if it's really a good idea.
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Old 12-06-08, 07:42 PM   #8
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Gear hub bikes with steel frames are a vanished species in the U.S. so far as I can tell.

The only 1Motion9 complete bike I know of is the Swobo Dixon. I have one and so far so good. I chose the SRAM hub for the greater overall range. Aluminum frame and fork with Avid disc brakes. Shimano hub bikes are a lot more common and available from most of the major makes including Trek, Specialized and Cannondale as I recall. If using in place of a car make sure the bike has provisions for racks. You will want a rear rack minimum.

Several of the Surly frames are suitable for gear hubs including the Karate Monkey and Cross Check as they have horizontal dropouts which allow chain adjustments without the need for a chain tensioner.

Almost always cheaper to buy a complete bike if possible as the bike manufacturers pay a LOT less for components than you can get them for unless you have a garage full of bike parts.
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Old 12-09-08, 12:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tatfiend View Post
Gear hub bikes with steel frames are a vanished species in the U.S. so far as I can tell. ...
I would strongly agree with this: if you insist on these requirements, you are going to be limited to a very small number of what will likely be very expensive bikes.

Most mass-producers have gone to aluminum for frames--it's only the smaller frame shops that do a lot of steel anymore.

---

For your info, RANS does offer framesets, and in the past they did mail-order the crank-forward bikes. You might ask if they still are, or maybe if you can get one mailed from the nearest dealer.

The RANS bikes are rather pricey, but then, the position they offer is quite a bit beyond what all the cheaper alternatives provide--and the RANS seat is an entirely different experience from sitting on a regular bicycle saddle.
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Old 12-11-08, 07:39 PM   #10
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Well, I'm not married to steel. Just figured if it was both cheaper and better riding, why not... But yeah, seems like everything is alu these days.

Anyone in So Cal have an sram 9 speed internal running? I hear these reports of unbelievably bad noise in some hubs, and it scares me.

I just got a 7 speed internal townie for my girl friend, and it is not geared low enough stock to go up much of a hill.. The range on the 7 speed nexus are really quite limited!

Thanks all.
Don
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Old 12-11-08, 08:37 PM   #11
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Have to agree about the crank forward bikes and hills.. More of your weight is on your rear and less on your pedals then with a "regular bike".. At least that was my experiance.. I fould them really comfortable for shorter rides on relativly flat ground ... You might look at the Giant Cypress ST... This is a low end steel framed comfort bike... You can pick it up for under 300.00 and put the components you want on it as the original ones give out.. I bought there Sadona ST with that in mind but everything is working fine on it, thus no reason to change anything yet..Love the steel frame... IMHO steel rides much better ..
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Old 12-12-08, 03:57 PM   #12
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I threw a pair of "ape hanger" bars on a Townie, and now I can stand between them when I ride uphill. YMMV. Past performance is no guarantee of future success.
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Old 12-12-08, 10:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by underway View Post
I am 51 years old, and live in so cal, near the top of a steep 600 foot high hill.

I'd like something with a more upright posture, and leaning towards an internally geared hub like the afine 8 or i-motion 9.

Something like the electra townie 8, with hand brakes.
My wife has a townie. Looks nice. Nice ride in the flats, but a struggle for her going up hills. Before I bought I'd ride some of these up the very hills you have to climb. I would also go for a crank round about 44-33-22. You'll need that 22.

And remember that walking up a hill brings no shame.
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Old 12-12-08, 11:26 PM   #14
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I would look for a used, older rigid fork mountain bike with a triple crank and maybe change the bars to give you an upright position.
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