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  1. #1
    Senior Member katmu's Avatar
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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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    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.

  3. #3
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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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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  4. #4
    Senior Member katmu's Avatar
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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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    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

  6. #6
    Senior Member dingster1's Avatar
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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.

  7. #7
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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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.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
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  8. #8
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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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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    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.)

  10. #10
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torrilin View Post
    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?


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  11. #11
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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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.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  12. #12
    Senior Member katmu's Avatar
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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.

  13. #13
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katmu View Post
    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.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  14. #14
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post

    OT question: What does *g* mean?


    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post


    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.)

  16. #16
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katmu View Post
    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
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  17. #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).

  18. #18
    Senior Member mavimao's Avatar
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    All the cool kids seem to love those singlespeed, fixed gear bikes. Low maintenance, indeed.
    Quote Originally Posted by imthewalrus View Post
    Yeah, next time shoot her down. It'll make her easier to bunnyhop.

  19. #19
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katmu View Post
    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.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torrilin View Post
    (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.

  21. #21
    Instigator at best kjohnnytarr's Avatar
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    Swobo Otis looks pretty awesome as a commuter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by katmu View Post
    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.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torrilin View Post
    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.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torrilin View Post
    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.

  25. #25
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elkhound View Post
    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.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
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    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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