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Thread: A Few Questions

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    A Few Questions

    BFSSFGers
    I have been lurking for a while and decided I needed to ask a few questions before my impending purchase. My wife and I decided it would be fun to get bikes to take our 18 month old for rides around the neighborhood (less than 3 miles) and occasionally, probably rarely, to the zoo/large park (about 7 miles). I started thinking about all the crap bikes I had growing up and decided we should get good bikes from a local shop. I started doing some research and soon realized bikes are much more expensive than we had thought, and that there exists a thing called a “single speed.” Taking into consideration that we live in very flat New Orleans, I never really shifted gears on any bikes I’d had previously, and I like the clean look, I decided a single speed was right for me. After more research I discovered bikesdirect.com, this forum, and a culture that I didn’t know existed, and that I don’t particularly identify with, called “Hipster.” So after all of this I decided that the Windsor Timeline, with some modification, is right for me; I like the wider tires and the ability to take fenders. I do, however, have a few questions:

    1-I don’t feel comfortable with drop bars and my child in a child seat, so I am wanting something more upright with a couple of hand positions. I like the VO Belleville and Montmarte. Are these good options? Also, I know I will need new brake levers, any recommendations or things I should look out for?

    2-It seems that most Timelines are shipped with 15 tooth cogs. I think I’d like something bigger, maybe 18-20 teeth, to make it easier to carry my 25 lb kid around in a child seat and I’m not particularly looking to set speed records. Is this good rationale? What should I look for in cogs? Sizes etc.? Would I need a new chain?

    3-Will I be able to put this thing together when it comes in? I’d like to be able to service it myself, and I figure this minimal assembly may be a good stepping stone. I can search youtube, I’ve worked on my own cars in the past, and I am moderately good at following directions. That being said, I can also take the advice of those more knowledgeable than me and have it put together by a professional.

    4-Am I overlooking a more “appropriate” bike for my needs? Suggestions are welcome.

    Thanks in advance for all of your help. I’m not going to ask a sizing question because that lemur ya’ll post on here kind of freaks me out.

    -KingfisherB

  2. #2
    I fear angry birds Santaria's Avatar
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    My wife and I both pull our younger children in trailers on fixed gear bikes. While my bike is not entry level by any stretch, my wife is riding a bone stock Fuji Betsy. I believe we paid $450 shipped through IMINUSD in California. I helped her as little as I could when she assembled it, but I have the tools needed. So here's my recommendations:

    Buy a track wrench (pliers are better) and a chain whip. These two tools, combined with a decent (and inexpensive) set of hex keys and some other very standard tools will set you up to do the maintenance you're going to need.

    I originally was on a Soma El Toro bar, which was nice because of the hand positions and, much like you, I didn't foresee myself riding in the drops much. This can be a misleading mindset. I went to a Nitto Noodle and am finding better hand positions when wanting to ride upright. Any cross lever brake will work, just make sure that you match the bar diameter to the diameter of the clamping section of the cross brake. I would not invest in switching out the bars/brakes until you've given yourself a few weeks on the dropbar setup to make sure you know what you really like/don't like. My wife rides a flatbar and is now looking at my El Toro. I may let her try it but there is no further investment. If you're trying to keep things reasonable, this isn't a good investment.

    On the cog, I am running a 46 chainring to a 18t when I'm pulling the trailer. This combination allows me to pull my two little children (23 lbs.; 43 lbs) plus the trailer, their few toys they like to keep with them and my Vandal loaded with another 20-25 lbs. of books and tools I have with me full-time. I get pretty good spin out of it, which is the key. You're going to want to spin, but not spin to the point of not moving the weight - there is some trade-off. I run a 15t on the other side of my flip/flop hub and can still absorb the difference without changing the chain - just the rear wheel sits further forward in the dropouts on my bike. I'm not running a rear brake, so I have a little bit of flexibility in the wheel placement.
    THE DEVIL

    Originally Posted by Scrodzilla
    If that was my house and you put your stupid bike in my flower garden to take a picture, I would come outside in my underwear and light you on fire.

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    1 - get w/e bars you feel comfortable on. dont worry to much about multiple hand positions, this really only matters on longer rides

    2 - fixed gear and single speed are very different (you cant coast on a fixed gear) - from the sounds of it, you do want to coast so you want a free wheel, not a cog. no chain whip is really necessary to install this. pedalling will do all the final tightening required

    3 - best bet for servicing and build: try and find a local bike coop - they will help you build it. you will get experience/be able to use their tools. from there you can see which tools you might want to buy. some of the most expensive tools are ones you'll probably only use once and arent worth buying

  4. #4
    Hi, I'm Bryan. jimmytango's Avatar
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    Personally, I'd recommend getting a trailer for the kid. If you crash, the trailer won't fall over, whereas a frame or rack-mounted child seat will.
    I am not the company I keep.

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    Thanks for the replies guys. I would like to be able to coast, so I should look for a freewheel instead of a cog? For some reason I was lumping the two together as one. As far as drops go, I'll probably give them a try just to see, I rode my brother-in-law's cyclocross bike with them and wasn't particularly excited about them; but then I guess I shouldn't judge them on one trip around the block. Still I'm thinking something more upright may do the trick, we'll see The child seat vs. the trailer is my most nagging decision, one I've researched more than the bikes themselves, and I still haven't come to a decision; but that is a discussion for the "Recreation and Family" forum, unless ya'll have more input.....

  6. #6
    I fear angry birds Santaria's Avatar
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    Don't spend more on a trailer than you really need to. I purchased the $100 Walmart ones and they do exactly what they're suppose to. If you're not trying to race along at 30 MPH, then all the fanciness of higher-end trailers is moot.

    They all have safety features built in, but at the end of the day, its still just a metal frame with wheels. I put a reflective triangle on the back of mine and have two cherry bombs, one on each rear corner. I keep the rain cover in the back and let my son and daughter enjoy the sunlight and fresh air.
    THE DEVIL

    Originally Posted by Scrodzilla
    If that was my house and you put your stupid bike in my flower garden to take a picture, I would come outside in my underwear and light you on fire.

  7. #7
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingfisherB View Post
    Thanks for the replies guys. I would like to be able to coast, so I should look for a freewheel instead of a cog?
    Yup. Single cog BMX freewheels are inexpensive and abundant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
    Yup. Single cog BMX freewheels are inexpensive and abundant.
    And if i'm not mistaken, there are some BD options with freewheels instead of cogs

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