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  1. #1
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    Bike with automatic shifters for Christmas (Trek Lime)? Opinions and thoughts?

    Ok, my wife has been asking about learning to ride a bike again after many years of not ridiing. She didn't ride much as a kid either. A while back she saw a Trek Lime and she liked it and thought it might get her riding again. She liked the automatic shifters and the back-pedal braking since shifters and hand brakes make her nervous. I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not. We have a few hills (not that big) around and she would mostly be riding to the store and back from time to time.

    The other thing I have noticed is that nobody really seems to carry these much any more and a lot of manufacturers have discontinued making them. Perhaps that's a bad sign. Anyone have any thoughts on these?

    Or alternative suggestions for a bike to get her going? I'd really like to find a used bike if possible since we are pretty broke. But it would have to be in nice condition of course and I will consider a new one if I can't find a really nice used one.

    Thanks!

    John

  2. #2
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    Warning: I don't have much patience with people who make a fuss about this. Anybody with two brain cells to rub together can learn to shift and brake a bike in about 15 minutes. If she wants to do it, she'll do it, and the advantages of gears (and to a lesser extent, hand-operated two-wheel braking) are so significant that you should encourage her to learn.
    Having said that, the best bike for her is one she'll ride, and if she has her mind made up that she's going to be girly about it, maybe that's going to be something like the Lime. I've never ridden one (doesn't change my biases, though...), but I see prices in the range of $450 to $600. Since money is a problem, if you can convince her to learn to shift, you can probably find a used mountain or hybrid bike with about the same capabilities for less than $100. I bought my wife a Specialized Hard Rock a couple of years ago for $15, added road tires and fenders, and she's ridden it hundreds of miles for about $65. Seems a shame to spend $400 more than that just to indulge her.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply Velo Dog. I'm starting to kind of get the same feeling after looking more at these bikes. Also, I rode one of these things and I wasn't all that impressed. If you have thoughts on a specific bike that might be useful. I was kind of looking at some of the Electra Cruisers on CL and they seem promising. They don't look intimidating but do look fun. Are they a good bike for a beginner? Should I be looking at a 3 speed and could that handle moderate hills? She's about 5'6" tall so I'd also like to find one that's a good fit.

  4. #4
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    My wife is just like yours - hasn't been on a bike for a long time, and doesn't want to learn to use shifters or especially hand brakes. She's been watching me have a ball riding my bike (the first one I've owned in years) which has gotten her interested in riding again. I've offered to teach her to ride mine as preparation for getting her one. Mine is a 7 speed folder with 16" wheels, perfect for riders of different sizes. She says "No way I'm riding a bike with hand brakes." I'm thinking that an internal gear hub, with coaster brakes might be just the thing.

  5. #5
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Better gift idea: a new purse.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  6. #6
    Arsehole PlatyPius's Avatar
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    The Lime and it's brothers/sisters by Giant and Raleigh have been killed. I know of no bike manufacturer producing a Shimano Coasting bike at the moment.

    I really don't understand why people are so scared of shifting. I assume they can't drive a manual transmission car, either.

    Get her a 3 speed cruiser or some such with a Nexus hub with a coaster brake. That will address her immediate fears/concerns.
    In a few months when she tires of that, explain to her that just because a bike has 20 gears doesn't mean you have to start at "One" and go to "20" every time you start moving.

    (You would be very surprised at the number of people who actually believe this, and therefore don't want a bike with "gears"....)

  7. #7
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    I looked at Schwinn and Electra Cruisers with 3 speed internal shifters and coaster brakes. The Schwinn is around $250 and the Electra Amsterdam is about $480. I've heard good things about the Electra's. But is it that much better of a bike? Especially for the occasional rider? I saw only one Electra Amsterdam for sale locally and they wanted almost that much for it so I think I'm going to pass. And by the way, my wife did actually ask for a purse as well....

  8. #8
    Arsehole PlatyPius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jehuie View Post
    I looked at Schwinn and Electra Cruisers with 3 speed internal shifters and coaster brakes. The Schwinn is around $250 and the Electra Amsterdam is about $480. I've heard good things about the Electra's. But is it that much better of a bike? Especially for the occasional rider? I saw only one Electra Amsterdam for sale locally and they wanted almost that much for it so I think I'm going to pass. And by the way, my wife did actually ask for a purse as well....
    I like Electras, but in this case....go with the Schwinn. The Electra isn't twice as good as the Schwinn.

  9. #9
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    Bikes made in the last 15 years have shifting systems that are no-brainers to use. Automatic systems have no idea how fast you want to pedal so they put you in the wrong gear half the time. I would recommend something like the Giant Cypress, but mountain bikes can be made into good cruisers if you put smooth tires on them. Look on CL for bikes that claim to be <5 yrs old. Hand brakes on a bike are no more complicated than foot brakes in a car.

  10. #10
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    I was the same way. Now I am considering 21 speed possibilities. For me the issue was riding enough that balancing became easier. . Unless you think it will be impossible to go for a enjoyable ride without gears get her what she wants or it won't get used. As far as a bike with gears and hand brakes is concerned you might keep an eye out for an old three speed to start. Goodwill and Salvation Army type stores are good places to find used bikes. Where I live you could find one there take it to the local shop for a tune up and still end up a good amount ahead with a nice bike.

  11. #11
    tcs
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    Shimano's autoshifting Coasting bikes were for riders who could balance, steer and pedal but not shift. As I predicted when these bikes debuted, this market segment turned out to be empty.

    tcs
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

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