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Old 04-18-08, 10:35 AM   #1
katmu
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Bike recs for a carfree teenager

My son is turning 17 next month, and still does not have his license and not sure that he will anytime in the foreseeable future. We are going to look at bikes tomorrow. He wants a bike like my bike (Breezer Villager) but I am wondering what other bikes we should look at. Most of his riding will be within 5 miles of home, some hills. He is not mechanically inclined (art student). Our LBS has a 2006 Villager left for $559 that I am thinking about but I would like some other options up to about that price range. Thanks.
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Old 04-18-08, 10:56 AM   #2
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Art students can be pretty mechanical if they want to be *g*. For a daily ride, going for reliable and durable is a good plan tho. I got a lot of good suggestions in this thread. Many of the bikes suggested come in both diamond and step through frames, if that matters to him. A few of the European ones only come in a step through.

If you don't absolutely *need* a generator hub, you have a lot more options than I did. The bikes will also be cheaper, since a decent generator hub retails for about $200. A decent bottle dynamo seems to go for $60 or so, so it's an inexpensive upgrade.
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Old 04-18-08, 03:31 PM   #3
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katmu,
That Breezer sounds like the deal to me! I couldn't find any here on the southeast seaboard. Closest dealer that had any in stock was in Memphis over 12 hour drive away I ended up ordering a Redline R530 in my size, I am going to have to add about $300 to bring it up to what I want. It retails for right at $600 so that Breezer is an excellent price.

What does son want? If he wants the Villager, is comfortable riding it I say go for it.

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Old 04-19-08, 09:47 AM   #4
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We are going to look at the Breezer today. He frequently borrows mine, so I know that he will be comfortable with it. I think the hub is a good choice for him.
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Old 04-28-08, 07:26 AM   #5
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Marin Muirwoods 29er, good practicality and a nice don't steal me black paint job.
http://www.marinbikes.com/2008/us/bi...woods_29er.php
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Old 04-28-08, 09:37 AM   #6
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Interesting. My son is in art too. He is currently riding a Schwinn MTB and isn't really pushing to get his liscence either. Of course here in the DC area, he doesn't really need it. His art school is right across the street from a metro stop and the bus rides right past our front door.
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Old 04-28-08, 12:05 PM   #7
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Just looking back at myself at that age, I think it may be an assumption that his riding will be within 5 miles. I got my first 10 speed at age 16, and it wasn't long after that that I was riding 20 miles each way on one or more trips a day. It's freedom and a way to burn the energy of that age. So I'd get a hybrid or a road bike. Make sure there is a useable rack or baskets to carry art supplies and whatever things he might find for inspiration.
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Old 04-28-08, 01:38 PM   #8
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If he likes the Breezer, that's a good one to start with. But if he's going to be riding a lot (like more than 10 miles a day), he'll soon "outgrow" the Breezer. Those bikes aren't very fast, and as he gets stronger and faster I think he'll start to feel frustrated by its limitations. He'll probably end up wanting a road bike or at least a fitness bike of some sort.

I just rode a Giant Sedona (comfort bike) for a couple days and longed to get back to my regular bike. Even though it's only a mountain bike, it's still faster and more comfortable on long rides than the Sedona.
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Old 04-28-08, 02:33 PM   #9
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I don't know that it's all that outgrowable. The gear range is pretty decent, and the cargo capacity seems good. A big issue with drawing and painting supplies is that papers and canvases can be *big*, so an aggressive bike position just won't work around the cargo. You can roll up paper, but rolling up canvas doesn't work so well once it's on a stretcher and painted *g*. The seat hurt, but not as badly as the average narrow hipped guy saddle does for my excessively feminine rear end. If I were male, I probably wouldn't even need to swap the saddle. (curse those childbearing hips and the correspondingly wide sitbones!)

The main disadvantage is a Breezer puts you pretty upright. So if you want to go racing fast, it's not a good choice. For a city/cargo bike it's a great choice. And honestly, there just *aren't* any bikes that can do both racing speed *and* the kinds of cargo an art student needs. A giant art tablet acting as a sail just ain't aerodynamic no matter what you do . It's rather like the tuba student problem really... sometimes artistic endeavors are really awkward. And we're not all called to be miniaturists or vocalists.

(And totally OT, but what is it with suggesting 29ers for cargo? I can barely stand over a regular 700C bike as it is. And it's not like I'm short for a woman... I'm finding the whole thing kind of mystifying.)
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Old 04-28-08, 02:39 PM   #10
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I don't know that it's all that outgrowable. The gear range is pretty decent, and the cargo capacity seems good. A big issue with drawing and painting supplies is that papers and canvases can be *big*, so an aggressive bike position just won't work around the cargo. You can roll up paper, but rolling up canvas doesn't work so well once it's on a stretcher and painted *g*. The seat hurt, but not as badly as the average narrow hipped guy saddle does for my excessively feminine rear end. If I were male, I probably wouldn't even need to swap the saddle. (curse those childbearing hips and the correspondingly wide sitbones!)

The main disadvantage is a Breezer puts you pretty upright. So if you want to go racing fast, it's not a good choice. For a city/cargo bike it's a great choice. And honestly, there just *aren't* any bikes that can do both racing speed *and* the kinds of cargo an art student needs. A giant art tablet acting as a sail just ain't aerodynamic no matter what you do . It's rather like the tuba student problem really... sometimes artistic endeavors are really awkward. And we're not all called to be miniaturists or vocalists.

(And totally OT, but what is it with suggesting 29ers for cargo? I can barely stand over a regular 700C bike as it is. And it's not like I'm short for a woman... I'm finding the whole thing kind of mystifying.
)
I think 29s are a growing fad right now, like FGs were a few years ago. A lot of people will try them, a few will stick with them, but many will go back to the tried-and-true 26 inch and 700c wheels. We're lucky to have so many choices, but it can be expensive trying every new thing that comes along!

OT question: What does *g* mean?
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Old 04-28-08, 02:49 PM   #11
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Why are people assuming that the teen is a painter? Lots of choices for the art student these days. He could be doing sculpting, drawing, prints, computer graphics. I can remember riding back from the university carrying a painted canvas in one hand and steering with the other. But I haven't had a portfolio larger than 8 1/2x11 for decades.
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Old 04-28-08, 03:00 PM   #12
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He studys visual arts, but drawing and animation are his specialties. I was trying to keep the bike fairly simple as he suffers from mild autism so his ability to fix his bike if it breaks down will be pretty minimal.
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Old 04-28-08, 03:12 PM   #13
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He studys visual arts, but drawing and animation are his specialties. I was trying to keep the bike fairly simple as he suffers from mild autism so his ability to fix his bike if it breaks down will be pretty minimal.
Maybe a fixed gear or single speed, then.
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Old 04-28-08, 03:23 PM   #14
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OT question: What does *g* mean?


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Old 04-28-08, 04:18 PM   #15
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Aaron
For me at least, more . I'm an old ircer, so *g*, *eg* (evil grin) and the like are more natural to type. And the habit of writing in 3rd person to emote has rather stuck. I do use and tho, since *bg* and *wink* strike me as unaesthetic.

(and I've got to admit the idea of hauling home the pieces for found art sculptures using only a bike is enough to make my hair curl. clay and bronze don't have to be moved so much, so you'd just need to worry about moving your sketches. stone you can have delivered. and for digital art, you don't need a CRT anymore, so moving your computer is nowhere near the production.)
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Old 04-28-08, 05:07 PM   #16
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He studys visual arts, but drawing and animation are his specialties. I was trying to keep the bike fairly simple as he suffers from mild autism so his ability to fix his bike if it breaks down will be pretty minimal.
Hmmm. He and I share some of the same vices, drawing and animation.

If your area is flat, a single speed may do it. But the more hills, the more gears he needs.

Basic bike fixes aren't that tough in general. He should be able to fix a flat and do general maintenance like oiling the chain and inspecting the brakes. Beyond that, a cell phone and a good relationship with the local bike shop may do the trick. You may be surprised at what he will pick up. Its not like auto mechanics.

Here is the story of one fellow who is autistic, learning disabled and has still learned a fair amount about bicycles mechanics. Freddie Hoffman
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Old 04-28-08, 09:41 PM   #17
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I agree with a couple of the above posters, I would get a fixed gear, then just toss a higher geared singlespeed cog on the other side of the hub. Nice and light for commuting, plus it is a bit "cooler" than the breezer (no offense).
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Old 04-28-08, 10:40 PM   #18
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All the cool kids seem to love those singlespeed, fixed gear bikes. Low maintenance, indeed.
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Old 04-28-08, 10:47 PM   #19
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He studys visual arts, but drawing and animation are his specialties. I was trying to keep the bike fairly simple as he suffers from mild autism so his ability to fix his bike if it breaks down will be pretty minimal.
If he's already comfortable and confident riding and dealing with the Villager and you can afford it, get that. You're absolutely right in that it's a pretty trouble-free bike.
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Old 04-29-08, 06:50 AM   #20
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(And totally OT, but what is it with suggesting 29ers for cargo? I can barely stand over a regular 700C bike as it is. And it's not like I'm short for a woman... I'm finding the whole thing kind of mystifying.)

Perhaps I should have suggested a bike with 700x40 tires instead.
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Old 04-29-08, 08:31 AM   #21
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Swobo Otis looks pretty awesome as a commuter.
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Old 04-29-08, 10:25 AM   #22
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My son is turning 17 next month, and still does not have his license and not sure that he will anytime in the foreseeable future. We are going to look at bikes tomorrow. He wants a bike like my bike (Breezer Villager) but I am wondering what other bikes we should look at. Most of his riding will be within 5 miles of home, some hills. He is not mechanically inclined (art student). Our LBS has a 2006 Villager left for $559 that I am thinking about but I would like some other options up to about that price range. Thanks.
A tandem so he can date.
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Old 04-29-08, 02:56 PM   #23
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If you don't absolutely *need* a generator hub, you have a lot more options than I did. The bikes will also be cheaper, since a decent generator hub retails for about $200. A decent bottle dynamo seems to go for $60 or so, so it's an inexpensive upgrade.
What you save on the bottle dynamo over the generator hub you will spend on extra wear on the tires.

What you save on foregoing a generator of any kind, you will spend on batteries.
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Old 04-29-08, 02:58 PM   #24
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I don't know that it's all that outgrowable. The gear range is pretty decent, and the cargo capacity seems good. A big issue with drawing and painting supplies is that papers and canvases can be *big*, so an aggressive bike position just won't work around the cargo. You can roll up paper, but rolling up canvas doesn't work so well once it's on a stretcher and painted *g*. The seat hurt, but not as badly as the average narrow hipped guy saddle does for my excessively feminine rear end. If I were male, I probably wouldn't even need to swap the saddle. (curse those childbearing hips and the correspondingly wide sitbones!)
Seats can be switched out. If he finds that he's hauling large loads regularly, he can get a trailer or an Xtracycle extension for whatever bike you get now.
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Old 04-29-08, 04:04 PM   #25
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What you save on the bottle dynamo over the generator hub you will spend on extra wear on the tires.

What you save on foregoing a generator of any kind, you will spend on batteries.
The Breezer Villager comes with a bottle dynamo. I much prefer the dyno hubs...but can't find one that will take the Shimano roller brake I love the self contained brakes, might try to mix roller and drum with an S-A drum/dyno on the front.

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