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Old 07-08-14, 11:52 AM   #1
newfamilyrider
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Purchase Advice Please

Hi . . . my wife and I would like to buy bikes to ride with our preschoolers who just got their first bikes and want us to ride with them. We are looking mainly for bikes to ride around the neighborhood and a few of the parks around us that have paved paths. I have been looking for used bikes without success and have been to a few local LBS and would like your opinion on what I am considering. . .

For me, I want to get a bike that I can also use to commute to work. My ride will include sidewalk and street as we live in the suburbs and there are some very unfriendly stretches for bikes on my way. I would also like a bike that can do some dirt and gravel paths, no real off road though.

My wife wants a cruiser or comfort bike as she is only interested in riding with the kids *for now*. But I would like to see her on something that can do some longer path rides when she is ready.

So for myself I am looking at a Trek Verve 1 or 2 or a DS 1 or 2. For my wife we are looking at a Trek Shift 1 or 2 or an Electra Townie 7. Trek is the way we are looking right now due to a current financing offer.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
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Old 07-09-14, 04:56 AM   #2
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The Treks you've listed for yourself seem just right for the type of riding you plan to do. If you mean crappy infrastructure for the unfriendly stretches, a hybrid might make you feel more secure with its slightly fatter tires than those on road bikes, but not so fat that you feel slowed down on the road.

As for your wife, if your area is hilly she might want to consider the Shift or DS over the Townie for climbing purposes, even though many Townie riders have no problems climbing with the crank-forward design of that bike. I personally have to be able to ride out of the saddle when I need to, and I'm not sure how that's done on a Townie or if it can be done at all. The Shift and DS bikes are definitely more adaptable bikes for any changes she might want to make down the road once she gains riding experience. Also, it seems to me from looking at the geometry of the Townie that she'd be pretty much stuck sitting very upright, which might be comfortable for a while, but she could get tired of it and then not be able to do much about it.

Other than that, just make sure your bikes are the right size. I hope this helps.
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Old 07-09-14, 06:50 AM   #3
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This does help thanks. The unfriendly stretches I mentioned are stretches of road that have no shoulder at all and people in my area are not super bike friendly or even aware.

One added question - is the front suspension worth it for these entry level bikes? It seems like that is the biggest part of the "upgrade" between the first and second model of the Verve, Shift and DS.
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Old 07-09-14, 08:38 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by newfamilyrider View Post

One added question - is the front suspension worth it for these entry level bikes? It seems like that is the biggest part of the "upgrade" between the first and second model of the Verve, Shift and DS.
At this level, suspension just adds weight, that you don't want. I'd skip the suspension.
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Old 07-10-14, 06:09 AM   #5
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As Berta says, these all look just right for what you want.

Personally I would pick the Trek over the Electra for your wife.

The key difference between the the Shift 1 and 2 is the gearing.
If you are planning to negotiate any steep hills I would recommend the Shift 2 as it has a triple crankset which gives much lower gears.
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Old 07-10-14, 09:29 AM   #6
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It does not matter which bikes you get - the most important thing is that you and your family feel comfortable with the shop. You have to trust them to provide solid advice. With your family; visit EVERY bike shop within a reasonable distance. Decide which two are the best for your family - should be a family discussion. Then visit those two again, ask for recommendations, test ride; go home list all the pro's and con's, then go purchase.

Purchasing on initial cost is a very bad idea; total cost of ownership is what you need to compare.
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Old 07-11-14, 01:14 PM   #7
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It sure does make a difference by which bike you choose. Tire width, pressure, knobby vs road tread, and bike weight are all trade offs that have a great effect on how the bike rides. Narrower, higher pressure, smooth tread tires offer higher speeds with less effort but work best on good roads and trails. Wider knobby tires work well on gravel and rough terrain. Wider, lower pressure, and road tread give a cushier ride but make the bike harder to pedal. Lighter bikes beat heavy bikes every time. I see lots of bikes in my neighborhood put up for sale at garage sales because the owner didn't have a clue about these factors. If you ask how many miles are on the bike, the answer is often I only rode it a few times.

By the way, be very careful riding sidewalks. Most avid riders avoid riding on sidewalks for a couple reasons. It might be illegal where you live. Motorists often don't see bike riders on sidewalks so you are much more likely to get hit by a turning motorist. I always tell people who insist on riding on sidewalks to ride as though you are invisible. You might just be invisible to a careless motorist.
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