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  1. #1
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    NYC Cyclists - What kind of bike do you ride?

    Hello everyone. I'm looking to buy my first new bike and I want to get a feel for what kind of bikes NY'ers are riding. I've been doing some research the last few days and I'm thinking about getting a hybrid or maybe a cyclocross bike. I live in Williamsburg but will be riding over the Williamsburg bridge and mostly in Manhattan for fun and fitness. Which do you think will be best to ride in NYC?

  2. #2
    Senior Member WhyFi's Avatar
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    Take a look at what people are riding over the bridge - you'll see a wide variety of bikes being ridden by a wide variety of people: road bikes (new and vintage), 'cross, hybrid, Dutch-style cruisers, MTB, SS/FG, etc. It's up to you to decide what you're comfortable on. Personally, I ride a road bike and it's served me well.
    It's the spandex.

  3. #3
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    I would go with the cyclocross bike for the drop bars.

    PS, I ride a road bike:

    SNOWBOUND by 1nterceptor, on Flickr
    Last edited by 1nterceptor; 05-17-11 at 05:00 PM. Reason: roadbike

  4. #4
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    Every kind of bicycle imaginable is ridden in NYC. Don't try to select one based on other people's choices. It has to suit you. You need to ride a bunch of different bikes in order to get educated enough to make a good decision. By riding different types, you can start to learn how a cyclo cross differs from a hybrid, e.g., and what feels right to you. Many bike shops & co-ops are fine with letting you try out different bikes. Don't spend a lot until you know what you want. Places like Neighborhood Bike Works in Philly are a treasure, with knowledgeable volunteers and masses of used bikes. Recycle-A-Bicycle (http://www.recycleabicycle.org/) and Times Up (http://times-up.org/index.php?page=bike-co-op/) in Brooklyn sound similar, though I have no experience with them.

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  5. #5
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    Just beware of the bikes being sold on the street. They are mostly junk and are not "like new" or "just tuned". They are usually crappy frames with crappy parts from the 60s/70s/80s. If a bike has lever extensions so you can reach from the bar tops, it is NOT a good thing. They are called "suicide levers" for a reason. If you can't lift it, the weight will NOT be a benefit. And one more thing: If you are getting your first bike since you were a kid, DO NOT get a hipster fixie. They are really not suited for city riding, no matter what the bike scene guys try to tell you. You want brakes and you want at least some gears.

    Rant over.

  6. #6
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    FWIW I'd go for a cyclocross bike, with a set of road slicks.

    Cross bikes are quite versatile: Good for commuting, fun rides, rides on dirt or gravel roads, long rides, even tours.

    If you don't want or don't like drop bars, you can get a hybrid like like the Specialized Sirrus, which is very close to a road bike.

  7. #7
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    Thank you all for the advice. Very helpful. I will definitely be visiting some bike shops. I'm gonna buy next month so that gives me time to test ride a bunch of different bikes.

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    The 3 years I lived in NY, I went with an aluminum cross-country hard-tail ( front suspension mountain bike).

    It was built like a tank, highly customizable(slicker tires, chopped handlebars, locking skewars, ect), lighter than alot of the older bikes on the road, and the compact crankset is ideal for the quick stop & go riding you encounter in traffic.

    The downside is that longer rides and hills can be tiring - Williamsburg bridge is fine, but the Palisades found me a little outclassed.

    I agree with the other poster. Avoid "fixies" like the plague. They are great utility bikes if you can't be bothered to keep your transmission in tune, but other than that they seem to be just a vanity choice.

  9. #9
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    If you're relatively new to cycling, I think a hybrid would serve you well. A friend of mine bought a Specialized Sirrus (http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...0&menuItemId=0) and really likes it. He uses it for riding around town as well as some longer rides. We did a 40+ mile ride out to NJ last year and he had no trouble tackling the hills and keeping up the road bikes.

    On the otherhand, if you're primarily looking to go fast and don't mind avoiding the bumpiest NYC streets, a road bike is generally fine. I primarily ride for fun/fitness as well, so I stick to the better roads (Central Park, Prospect Park, bike lanes, River Road, 9W). For my needs, a traditional road bike has been perfectly adequate and a lot of fun.

  10. #10
    NYC nycphotography's Avatar
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    In NYC I ride an expensive carbon road bike with expensive carbon wheels and I don't avoid the crappy roads, though I do avoid the potholes. I did flat spot an aluminum wheel in one of those gaping craters that form around the concrete bus stop pads. $200 to replace the rim and rebuild the wheel. Not the end of the world, but it was still $200 thank you bloomberg you effin eff. lol

    There is no need for a MTB on the roads, even the roads of NYC. There is no reason for a hybrid, or anything with any kind of suspension. All they do is weigh more and suck away your power as they bob up and down.

    If you want to hang out with the cool kids drinking PBRs and smoking Pell Mells... get a fixie. If you grew out of college when you graduated, don't think flannel and an "ironic hat and glasses" makes someone "cool", then avoid the fixed gear like the plague pox on urbanity that it is.

    I'd suggest a ROAD bike if you think you're susceptible to the "i wanna go faster" bug, and either a cyclocross bike w/ slicks or a flat bar road bike if you're not.

    A basic road bike should be obtainable for $1000 or less. A used one for even less.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member dendawg's Avatar
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    For fun and fitness in NYC get a road bike.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by nycphotography View Post
    In NYC I ride an expensive carbon road bike with expensive carbon wheels and I don't avoid the crappy roads, though I do avoid the potholes. I did flat spot an aluminum wheel in one of those gaping craters that form around the concrete bus stop pads. $200 to replace the rim and rebuild the wheel. Not the end of the world, but it was still $200 thank you bloomberg you effin eff. lol

    There is no need for a MTB on the roads, even the roads of NYC. There is no reason for a hybrid, or anything with any kind of suspension. All they do is weigh more and suck away your power as they bob up and down.

    If you want to hang out with the cool kids drinking PBRs and smoking Pell Mells... get a fixie. If you grew out of college when you graduated, don't think flannel and an "ironic hat and glasses" makes someone "cool", then avoid the fixed gear like the plague pox on urbanity that it is.

    I'd suggest a ROAD bike if you think you're susceptible to the "i wanna go faster" bug, and either a cyclocross bike w/ slicks or a flat bar road bike if you're not.

    A basic road bike should be obtainable for $1000 or less. A used one for even less.

    I bottomed out my suspension on my MTB exactly twice in 3 years in New York.

    The first time, it cost me a filling and time off from work. There was a very malicious cabby involved. My bike was fine.

    The second time, I had to get off my bike & stare at the 12 inch curb on the bridge to Roosevelt in order to wrap my head around the fact I didn't do a face plant. The road/bike route was asphalt-scrapped down for construction and I was feeling faint in the summer heat. Again, the bike didn't even have a scratch.

    There is a learning curve involved...kudo's for being at the high end of it.

  13. #13
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    And to this idea of riding "Manhattan for fun and fitness" that's kind of absurd. That has to be the last place on earth you go for a fitness ride.

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    I've been riding a Trek hybrid (suspension in front, none in back anymore) for 4 yrs. It's a good practical bike, I don't feel too bad about leaving it locked up on the street. But I want to be able to go faster, farther, and still do some light touring, so recently upgraded to a Specialized Tricross cyclocross.

    I like having them both in my stable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    And to this idea of riding "Manhattan for fun and fitness" that's kind of absurd. That has to be the last place on earth you go for a fitness ride.
    well then sir, you sure don't get out much do you? considering the entire westside of manhattan is one continuous bike path you should remove yourself from this discussion.


    IF there are specific uses you have for your bike, you need to prepare accordingly. if you are going to be commuting and needing to lock it up, you need to plan for that. if your strictly riding for fun and brining it back inside when your done, you need to prepare for that. Personally I have 2 bikes, my commuter which is outfitted with racks so i can commute for my work stuff and/or travel around the city. It's made from pretty much all inexpensive parts so if any one part breaks or gets stolen the most I'll be out to replace it is about $100. I also have a dedicated roadbike that I use for fitness purposes and ride it in all the boroughs. the narrow tires suck on the bad streets but the more you ride and familiarize yourself with the city, the more you learn to avoid those streets.


  16. #16
    Junior Member MotobecaneGT's Avatar
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    and i thought i was the only one with velocity deep v's on a road bike, motobecane no less!

  17. #17
    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacster View Post
    And to this idea of riding "Manhattan for fun and fitness" that's kind of absurd. That has to be the last place on earth you go for a fitness ride.
    not too much fun either when you have to jockey for position along the avenues...
    Quote Originally Posted by nycphotography View Post
    I'd suggest a ROAD bike if you think you're susceptible to the "i wanna go faster" bug, and either a cyclocross bike w/ slicks or a flat bar road bike if you're not.
    CX-bike has the highest utility by far as you can ride it year 'round

  18. #18
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    I get out plenty. I've probably been riding Manhattan since before you were born. The west side bikeway is a terrible place to ride for fitness, at least the lower portion, and the upper portion too as it runs through the parks. Boat Basin??? You can't go more than 5mph without ticking the walkers off, and it IS a shared SIDEWALK. By the cruise ship terminal??? By Chelsea piers??? On a nice weekend it is reckless to ride fast in a lot of sections.

    It is a great resource for riding, but back to my original point, it isn't a great place to get a good ride in. The 1st, 2nd, 9th Ave bike lanes suck. The East side "bikeway" is best left unused by bikes. No, Manhattan is only good for suicide style riding.

    As for Velocity Deep Vs on a road bike, the original Velomax Tempest wheels used them, I have a pair. Mine are grey though so they aren't as noticeable as the blue ones above.

  19. #19
    Ride 365 Lucky07's Avatar
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    I've been riding a single speed for the past year or so for my short commute in Manhattan. That bike was a really cheap build. It's an Eight Inch frame, 25mm tires, Vuelta 36 spoke flip flop wheels. I ride the freewheel side, as I like to coast occasionally & it's easier for me to transition back to the road bike.

    My wife rides my old ss mtn bike. It's got a rigid fork and is built to be abused. It's perfect for her since she lashes it daily with a Kryptonite NY chain & lock.

    I used to ride my road bike in, but found it was getting hammered almost daily on the company bike rack. Some people don't know how to lock their bikes without damaging others.

    I'd say the ideal bike is one you're comfortable using every day. So many companies are making 'commuters' now, but I'd test ride a handful of different kinds of bikes on your to-work route, if possible.

    I agreed that if I had to own one bike, it would be a CX bike. You can do just about any kind of riding with it ( commute, trail, road).

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  20. #20
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    I live in Queens near Nassau and ride a 2011 Trek Marlin 29er. It originally came with wide mountain tires but recently swapped them out for road tires and the speed of the bike has improved tremendously. I can easily sustain 15 mph or higher on stretches without too many stoplights.

    If your commuting mainly in Manhattan, it might be a better idea to get a road bike, as they tend to be lighter, more aerodynamically efficient, and have different frame geometry than mountain bikes. Even with road tires, you will not be able to get the same type of speed or efficiency that you will be able to get with a road bike.

  21. #21
    Senior Member will be was's Avatar
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    IMG_2637 (Small).JPGIMG_2636 (Small).JPGIMG_2643 (Small).JPGIMG_2660 (Small).JPGIMG_2639 (Small).JPGIMG_2655 (Small).JPG

    IMG_2629 (Small).JPG
    I use the GWB and the west side bike path to midtown Manhattan, these are some of the views from my commute.

  22. #22
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    I've got several good road bikes but the bike I'm on the most is a rusty old Raleigh Sports 3 speed. I like having a bike I can leave outside all the time and not think twice about. The big basket comes in handy for all sorts of things. The seat is set low enough so I can put one foot on the ground at lights. For slow cruising around the city I've gotten to really like this setup, no more flying along with the messengers. I wouldn't want it as my only bike, but if this one got stolen (ha ha) I'd get another immediately. I haven't been on the subway in over a month, this bike takes me everywhere. One caveat though, it helps to know something about fixing old bikes. I used to work as a bike mechanic, I'm not sure it would make sense to spend a lot of money fixing up an old bike. good luck.

  23. #23
    Junior Member MotobecaneGT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by will be was View Post
    IMG_2637 (Small).JPGIMG_2636 (Small).JPGIMG_2643 (Small).JPGIMG_2660 (Small).JPGIMG_2639 (Small).JPGIMG_2655 (Small).JPG

    IMG_2629 (Small).JPG
    I use the GWB and the west side bike path to midtown Manhattan, these are some of the views from my commute.
    I would take that sometimes on my commute from the bronx to brooklyn, but i ended up taking 2nd ave most of the time. something about riding in traffic and going around cars is more fun to me. plus harlem has some pretty annoying hills to go across, but that means you get to fly down the other side. when stoplights dont mess it up

  24. #24
    Senior Member will be was's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MotobecaneGT View Post
    I would take that sometimes on my commute from the bronx to brooklyn, but i ended up taking 2nd ave most of the time. something about riding in traffic and going around cars is more fun to me. plus harlem has some pretty annoying hills to go across, but that means you get to fly down the other side. when stoplights dont mess it up
    MotobecaneGT, how many miles is your commute?

  25. #25
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    Buy a road bike, I would suggest a Caad 10 5 for $1,300 +/- you can get it at http://roysbikes.com/

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