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Old 12-22-10, 03:03 PM   #1
Sashko
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Urban bike advice for commuting

Hello,
I've been reading and hearing that an urban bike is ideal for city commuting. I currently ride a Raleigh hybrid, and am getting tired of repairing it on a regular basis, so I'm looking to get a new one.

I've been to a few local shops, and I was recommended something with internal gears and disk or internal breaks (I'm also tired of continuously adjusting my v-breaks). I've been told that internal gears involve less maintenance, especially when it comes to winter riding. I'm thinking of getting something from the States to save some money, but was wondering if you could recommend anything more specific that I'd go for in this case. Not looking for anything very pricey as well as not too nice so it's not overly appealing to thieves, however I'd rather have quality parts then something that's in need of constant repair. Thank you in advance.

Last edited by Sashko; 12-22-10 at 03:25 PM. Reason: Added details
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Old 12-22-10, 03:58 PM   #2
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I suspect that as far as thieves are concerned you either have a "newer nicer bike" or "old junk", so I doubt it makes a lot of difference which new bike you buy that way.

Disk brakes also require periodic adjustment, may be easier than what you have, but they don't eliminate issues, either.

If it's dead flat and you're not riding too far, a single-speed would eliminate some maintenance issues.
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Old 12-22-10, 04:03 PM   #3
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Within the last few days, for some reason my breaks have been coming off alignment and I've needed to adjust them each day.

I wouldn't say it's dead flat, I tend to be using my gears on a regular basis. Especially when it comes to coming out of my work's garage.
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Old 12-22-10, 05:06 PM   #4
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There is a reason urban bike are best served by internal hub gears. http://www.livestrong.com/article/24...t-urban-bikes/

Dutch urban bikes are very different that those sold in the U.S. http://www.theurbancountry.com/2010/...nto-style.html

These are urban transportation bikes..... http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&c...IKE&tbs=isch:1

One thing you will notice is that true urban transportation bike are heavier, use internal hubs and NO deraliures.
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Old 12-22-10, 06:34 PM   #5
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Internal gear hubs and drum brakes [NB the spelling] can be purchased as a combination.
and a drum brake and hub generator for the front wheel, for light without needing batteries ,
and that will work when ever you are moving,

or can be part of the specifications of a new bike purchase..

and get a serious lock and strong chain so you can keep it. !
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Old 12-22-10, 07:49 PM   #6
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You may want to ask this up in the Commuting section. There are several folks from the GTA who are regulars there.

Look up Macteacher from (I think) Mississauga who bought a Dutch bike last spring. There's also Irclean from London, ON, who seems very happy with the internal gear/disk brake Norco he bought this summer. You may not have to come to the states.
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Old 12-22-10, 09:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sashko View Post
Hello,

I've been to a few local shops, and I was recommended something with internal gears and disk or internal breaks (I'm also tired of continuously adjusting my v-breaks). I've been told that internal gears involve less maintenance, especially when it comes to winter riding. I'm thinking of getting something from the States to save some money, but was wondering if you could recommend anything more specific that I'd go for in this case. Not looking for anything very pricey as well as not too nice so it's not overly appealing to thieves, however I'd rather have quality parts then something that's in need of constant repair. Thank you in advance.
Are you close to Guelph? Try http://www.backpeddling.com/ They had some nice bikes when I visited and reasonable prices.
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Old 12-23-10, 06:17 AM   #8
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I have a Dahon Cadenza 8.
It has 26" wheels, Shimano Alfine 8-speed internal hub gears and cable disk brakes. I have fitted it with a Shimano disk-compatable dynamo hub (with B&M Fly lamp) and some more swoopy On-One Mary handlebars. Rack and fenders of course but no toe clips.
This is my 3rd winter of riding it, generally about 12miles/day in all weather.

As a bike style is is very useful, quite nippy yet comfortable over rough cobbles. It is a great grab-and-go bike for urban use and I have taken it off road a bit. My longest ride has been about 30 miles, its not really good for long distance. Recently I fitted studded tyres and there is plenty of clearance for winter riding.

Although it does fold, I have only used that feature once. It is basically an aluminium MTB style non-suspension frame.

The Alfine system is great and trouble-free. I like the performance of disks and they work in all conditions. Wheel removal is easier than with drum brakes.

People mention the old Dutch style bike but most people in the Netherlands are riding modern aluminium-framed utility bikes (700c, dynamo lighting, rack, fenders, chainguard).
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Old 12-23-10, 09:43 AM   #9
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All the above is solid advise, but I'm wondering why your V-brakes would need so much adjustment. I maintain a fleet of about 25 police patrol bikes all with V-brakes and aside from normal wear on the pads or an occasional worn cable they work fine almost all the time.
Although typical V-brake pads wear fairly rapidly, you should get on the order of at least months out of them.
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Old 12-23-10, 01:54 PM   #10
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Thank you everyone for your suggestions. I'm starting to think that upgrading the one I currently have might be better than replacing it. I really do like the bike and everything I've done with it, and in reality, my biggest probs are currently the brakes, gears and rear axle which keeps getting bent (however I've noticed that my rear wheel is on crooked so straightening it out after I replace my axle or wheel should prevent it from reoccurring).

Quote:
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Internal gear hubs and drum brakes [NB the spelling] can be purchased as a combination.
and a drum brake and hub generator for the front wheel, for light without needing batteries ,
and that will work when ever you are moving,

or can be part of the specifications of a new bike purchase..

and get a serious lock and strong chain so you can keep it. !
I'm definitely going to start pricing these parts out and see how much an upgrade would cost me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
All the above is solid advise, but I'm wondering why your V-brakes would need so much adjustment. I maintain a fleet of about 25 police patrol bikes all with V-brakes and aside from normal wear on the pads or an occasional worn cable they work fine almost all the time.
Although typical V-brake pads wear fairly rapidly, you should get on the order of at least months out of them.
I'm not quite sure why my v-brakes have been going out of alignment so much lately. They have a tonne of life left on them, and I had a store replace my pads not too long ago (avoiding that mechanic from now on as I feel he lied to me since there was plenty of life left on my prev pads but I changed 'em since they were so cheap). Before the winter came, I hadn't adjusted them much at all and they seemed fine. I know the pads and rims are in need of some cleaning (cleaned the rear ones a week or two ago, but now both are in need of a nice cleaning since I've been riding through snow, slush, and wet pavement since).
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