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Old 06-18-05, 07:41 PM   #1
stewaje
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Messenger Question

I am about to start a new career as a bike messenger, but cannot decide on which type of bike to ride. Lots of people have told me to go with a mountain bike, as they can take more punishment than road bikes, but I just dont know. Could someone please help me out?
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Old 06-18-05, 07:43 PM   #2
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Depends on where you are going to be doing this, but i wouls assume a MTB would be your best shot I dont know of many roadbikes that can take curbs all the time and not get messed up..So i would say mountain bike..
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Old 06-18-05, 07:49 PM   #3
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Track bike is popular choice for messengers.
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Old 06-19-05, 12:39 AM   #4
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yeah i will be riding in chicago
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Old 06-19-05, 01:10 AM   #5
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Yeah, get a fixed gear bike so the derraileurs and such don't wear out on you and cost more... Plus you'll be more pimping and hardcore that way.
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Old 06-19-05, 01:27 AM   #6
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Go for the MTN bike and put slicks or semi-slicks on it. I think i would recomend non fixed gear though but depends on how far you will be riding. How much do you want to spend?
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Old 06-19-05, 03:07 AM   #7
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think the ideal messenger bike would be a fully rigid mtb, with high pressure 1.5" slicks. Wide cassette at the back or perhaps hub gears, and a single ring up front. Almost what I'm doing to my bike, minus the one chainring.
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Old 06-19-05, 02:46 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by UAEBiker
Go for the MTN bike and put slicks or semi-slicks on it. I think i would recomend non fixed gear though but depends on how far you will be riding. How much do you want to spend?
Looking to spend between 400 and 500
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Old 06-19-05, 02:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by javna_golina
think the ideal messenger bike would be a fully rigid mtb, with high pressure 1.5" slicks. Wide cassette at the back or perhaps hub gears, and a single ring up front. Almost what I'm doing to my bike, minus the one chainring.
Curious, why one ring?
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Old 06-19-05, 02:52 PM   #10
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maybe kuz theres less wear and tear? and no need for so much gearing when all you're doing is tooling around the city?

sorry raiyn

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Old 06-19-05, 07:33 PM   #11
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I know here in atlanta I don't ever really see them on mtb's they are always on a road/track bike of some sort. If our roads were more congested I would think they would prefer a mtb. I have been thinking of doing the messenger thing as well, and I think in a busier city or a more congested city a mtb would be ideal. I know in New York you aren't allowed to ride on sidewalks and will be ticketed for doing so. I know here you aren't allowed to ride on sidewalks but I've never had a problem, but speed wise it defiinitely isn't the fastest. How's the crime rate there, because I've also been informed not to use a bike you love. If I were to build one I would do what javna_golina said and use an internal gear and a single chainring. The single up front just so I don't have an extra shifter and derailluer to worry about, and I think they are a bit cheaper to take care of[edit: It's also just one less thing to worry about, no chain suck, no chain falling off the side, etc.] . I would also be inclined to put a bash gaurd on there, cause there's no telling what you will see when riding in the streets for 8 hours a day everyday. I know you said chicago, but I thought these guys faq was pretty good, http://www.nybma.com/
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Old 06-19-05, 07:35 PM   #12
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I would get an XC type rig. It can take more abuse than a roadie like if you want to hop curbs etc.
Get some nice slicks at 90PSI and your going to be rolling like a pimp
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Old 06-19-05, 08:21 PM   #13
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Yeah, get an XC hardtail bike. Chicago potholes will not be fun on a road bike. Plus i would think with all the a-holes downtown it will be more manuverable than a road bike. Might want to go a size bigger than you would if using the bike for on road instead of trails. That would make it more of a 'roadish' feel.
Good luck.
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Old 06-19-05, 10:04 PM   #14
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Thanks alot for all the info guys! much appreciated
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Old 06-20-05, 02:09 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by revmonkey
maybe kuz theres less wear and tear? and no need for so much gearing when all you're doing is tooling around the city?

sorry raiyn

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Old 06-20-05, 05:02 AM   #16
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Back when..... I last rode courier (messenger) there was no such thing as a mountain bike and my last courier bike was a Shogun roadie loaded with (really top of the wozza! ) shimano 600 gear and Araya rims, cost me $550, big biccies in the early eighties. However, were I to do it again, unlikely if not impossible, I would buy something like a Giant Yukon or Iguana and fit it with slicks as suggested. You want something tough with all the brakes you can buy disks, disks, disks. You wont use the granny gear but you will use all the rest of them. Front suspension is a must, your forearms and wrists will thank you for it at the end of a long week. If your tax laws are like ours and you are doing this legitimately then you should be able to write off the entire cost of your work vehicle and its maintainence as part of your costs of doing business, also your wet weather gear and general cycling crap. You could really push it and try to claim a couple of subscriptions to quality "industry" mags or even entry to bike shows!. Well maybe. The point is get a mid range MTB and write it and everything else you can off on your tax bill, at the end of the year sell it and buy a new one, you'll need to, it'll be rooted . Cheers!
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Old 06-20-05, 09:45 AM   #17
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A good bike messenger, if anything, is fast. 29" (or 700cc) rims will be faster than 26" rims.

My choice would be a Surly Karate Monkey built SS.
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Old 06-20-05, 10:10 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by telenick
A good bike messenger, if anything, is fast. 29" (or 700cc) rims will be faster than 26" rims.

My choice would be a Surly Karate Monkey built SS.
I'm just a seventeen year old feeling haughty because I'm doing second year physics but...

Yes a good bike messenger is fast, but a bike messenger would be doing alot of stopping and starting, especially in heavy traffic. Therefore a 26" wheel would be better in this situation because it will have a lower rotational inertia and thus accelerate and deaccelerate quicker. As well as this, It'd be less likely to go out of true.

That having being said, 29" mountainbikes are really cool, and I want one. Virtually nonexistant here though. I envy you americans and your lower prices and weird eccentric bikes.
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Old 06-21-05, 12:13 PM   #19
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I, personally, would go for a road bike (maybe cyclo-cross/touring style) with the intent to ultimately make it single speed and then fixed as I progressed in my fitness and abilities. As telenick said, messengers are fast (at least the ones who are good) and nothing beats a road bike for speed.

Oh, and javna, you're forgetting something with your physics explanation....most of those messengers don't stop in traffic or at lights!
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Old 06-21-05, 12:46 PM   #20
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Hey, don't forget an important rule of thumb:

Your lock should cost more than your bike.

As a messenger, you're going to spend half your day in office buildings while your bike sits out on the street. Avoid anything that attracts theives - disc brakes, integrated shifters, suspension forks, boutique wheels, carbon anything. Forget about a new bike - use something old.

When I was a messenger I rode an old Fuji touring bike that I turned into a fixed gear with a front brake only. It had 27 inch wheels and a good amount of rust. I locked it with a Kryptonite New York Chain.

Fixed gear or single speed is good because you're going to have to ride in all types of weather and you don't want to have to clean, lube, and adjust deraillers and grease a cassette every time it rains. Simpler is better. With a fixie, just lube the chain and pump up the tires and you're good to go.

Oh, and get some Mr. Tuffy tube protectors so you don't get flats. They really work.

Don't worry about speed - if you go slower, you'll pick up more packages and make more money. And your dispatcher will love you if you have a rack and bungee cords on the back of your bike, so you can take oversized/overweight items. You'll make more money if the dispatcher loves you.

Whichever bike you choose, you'll quickly forget about it unless it breaks down. Talking your way past front door security, learning the city, handling the radio, organizing your runs, keeping healthy, and staying on your dispatcher's good side are all much much more important than what kind of bike you ride.

Good luck!
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Old 06-21-05, 01:46 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javna_golina
a bike messenger would be doing alot of stopping and starting, especially in heavy traffic.
Stopping? What stopping? Red lights are just a caution... Inertia is a good thing. Nice try but no cigar.
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Old 06-21-05, 04:32 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by telenick
A good bike messenger, if anything, is fast. 29" (or 700cc) rims will be faster than 26" rims.

My choice would be a Surly Karate Monkey built SS.
i completely agree w/ this. go with a rigid 29er set up single speed. you will be fast, and the bike can take all kinds of abuse. remember, you'll ride in crap weather too, so if you are ss you wont have to worry about shifters/derailieurs not working...
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