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Old 11-28-04, 01:14 AM   #1
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bike rental fleet near saltwater recommendations?


I work at a boat rental facility on a saltwater lake (pumped in by the S.F. Bay). We used to rent crummy, crummy mtn. bikes that got thrashed by renters and the saltwater. The multispeed hubs w/ deraileurs were to difficult to maintain in our fleet along with the other misc. repairs to sailboats, kayaks, etc. I'm thinking of a beach cruiser. I thought of Workman Cycles; but, they're steel and a bit pricey. Is it worth it? They are heavy guage frames. Any other suggestions?

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Old 11-28-04, 07:49 AM   #2
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No saltwater experience, but I've work with rental bikes. My bet is that the problems that you experienced were likely caused by poor maintenance. Nobody wants to work on trashy bikes that they don't ride personally and the real junky stuff is hard to keep shifting crisply even under the best of conditions.

My advice would be to buy yourself something that's cooler looking and has better components than a Workman. You'll be more fastidious about cleaning and maintaining your own bike and it'll work fine.
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Old 11-28-04, 09:45 AM   #3
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Singlespeeds.... and done.
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Old 11-28-04, 09:59 AM   #4
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Seems obvious to me that you want all aluminum. Frame, components, bolts-everything. All of the major mfgrs should sell a pretty cheap setup for mtb or comfort bikes with this stuff. As said before, getting a decent bike/gruppo will pay for itself in aggravation and pride in maintenance.
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Old 11-28-04, 10:19 AM   #5
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We go to Ocracoke Island, NC, about once a month during the summer. It is a warm, humid island where nothing is more than about a half mile from the ocean.

There are no rental cars, so we always rent bikes. Consequently, we put in a lot of time and miles riding the local rental bikes around the island, and have some perspective.

The most common sort is a "cruiser style" bike with "Solar" written on the frame. It is the basic, fat-tired. one-speed, traditional bicycle with a coaster brake. These things stand up really well to a harsh environment of salt air, sand, and annual flooding from hurricanes. They are not as well made as the standard bicycles of the 1950s, nor as rugged as the Worksman. However, the bike rental people seem to have decided that they are the optimum compromise between price and quality.

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Old 11-28-04, 10:29 AM   #6
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Trek makes an alumininum frame single speed beach cruiser. It also has aluminum rims and stainless steels spokes. After a year or two of beach use, it would be a good idea to replace the steel handlebar with an aluminum bar.

The Trek is correctly "geared" for beach riding. The standard sprocket gives gearing of about 50 inches instead of the 65 or 70 inches used on most single speeds. That makes it easy for even "old folks" to pedal on sand, or up moderate hills.

Of course, you can not ride fast with 50 inch gearing. Even if your legs are spinning like crazy, you will just be cruising along. And, slow and easy riding is what cruising is about.

KMC makes a chain called the "Rustbuster" for cruisers. Houston's air is a mixture of salt spray from Galveston and chemicals supplied by Exxon and the other petro-chemical criminals. Many chains rust in months. A rustbuster chain never rusts.

Last edited by alanbikehouston; 11-28-04 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 11-28-04, 01:12 PM   #7
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Jamis cruisers makes a line specifically for rentals, I think they call it Taxi bikes or something. I would look at the Fuji Cape Mays, they are aluminum framed and dirty cheap. Or the Fuji Sanibel, steel frame but alloy wheels and the bars are covered as t not show rust, this is also dirty cheap. If you want to spend a little more look at the Giants, they are aluminum frames and also come with rust buster chains. The biggest place your rust will show is the handle bar so just cover them with those big foam covers. Any crusier bike you get from a major manufacturer will have alloy wheels and stainless steel spokes. I worked in a shop over the summer at the beach and we had the same cruisers for like 5 years, yeah they show some rust on the bars but a little wd 40 on the chain when they come in the door and they keep running fine. Cruiser style bars are too big to make out of aluminum so dont bother looking, they would be too weak being that big. Just put the foam covers over the bars so the rusy doesnt show.
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Old 11-28-04, 02:59 PM   #8
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I looked at the Jamis Taxi, and that is a very common bike at Ocracoke. It is even possible that the "Solar" is a rebadge of the Jamis Taxi, since they look much the same. I can testify that it is a very durable bike and quite useful -- I have gone on several 14 mile round trips across the island, hauling my daughter in a trailer. The foam handlebars give you a choice of hand positions -- definitely a good thing. Problems -- the seat is much too wide and there are no fenders. However, it gets an A+ in salt/sand resistance.

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Old 11-28-04, 10:37 PM   #9
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Aluminum may not rust, but it corodes like crazy in a moist salt envirinment. Three speed internal geared hubs and coaster brakes seem to survive harsh conditions.
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Old 11-29-04, 01:49 PM   #10
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Thank you so much for all of the advice. I was thinking that Trek made a beach cruiser. The "Rustbuster" chain, aluminium bars, etc. are great recommendations. I'll further sleuth out Jamie's Taxi's and Solar. All great recommendations! Thank you. Come visit us! (I'm aloud to do that?)
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Old 11-29-04, 01:59 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by victor
Come visit us! (I'm aloud to do that?)

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Old 11-29-04, 11:13 PM   #12
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Years ago the wife, kids, and I rented balloon tire beach bikes on Hilton Head. One condition of the rental was that the bikes had to be kept out of the salt water or else we risked losing our deposit. Seemed reasonable to me. That's the ride when I ran over a dead jellyfish.
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