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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 08-08-13, 12:22 PM   #1
memebag
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Looking for bike recommendations

I own a road bike and a cruiser. I love them both, but I'm thinking about replacing the cruiser. I'm posting here for suggestions about what kind of bike to buy.

My cruiser has a big basket on the front for carrying stuff around, plus a bright head light and a bell. The problem is it has only one speed. That was fine when I started riding and wasn't really strong enough to need any higher gears. Now I want more speeds. It also has giant knobby tires. I could go for some smaller tires.

My road bike is very fast, but not very comfortable, and not well suited to carrying home groceries. Also the skinny tires have no traction on damp pavement.

So I'm looking for a bike that is faster than a cruiser, has a reasonable number of speeds, medium width tires, reasonably comfortable and has space for one or more baskets.

Any suggestions?
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Old 08-08-13, 12:37 PM   #2
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Budget?

I built a Surly Ogre, a mountain frame with drop bars and 700x40 tires on it, it's a tank that will handle front and rear racks and go wherever you are willing to point it. Mine is set up with a triple crank and a wide range cassette so I can spin on the road or climb goat trails with it....if I'm up to it. It's a weird bike that can do a lot of anything.

The Surly Big Dummy is an extreme example of a true utility bike...if you haven't seen those, take a look. You can sit two kids on the carrying rack platform on the back, it's as though you took the back seat off a tandem and replaced it with a heavy sub-frame and carrying platform.
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Old 08-08-13, 01:31 PM   #3
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Budget = cheap, I guess.

I don't understand most of those words you used.

I looked at a pic of the Big Dummy. That's pretty cool. Not sure I need 200 lbs of cargo capacity. A grocery bag or two should do it.

Am I in the wrong sub-forum?
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Old 08-08-13, 03:31 PM   #4
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The Big Dummy is an awesome multipurpose bike. I ferry the kids, haul compost, commute, tour, and ride centuries on mine. It's big, but can go pretty fast with enough encouragement, and as the sling bags are always with you, you never have to worry bringing panniers or worrying if everything will fit. Sounds like you're looking for something a bit less overkill though. You might consider picking up an older steel bike (make sure it's light chro-moly, not hi-ten), fitting 38mm tires and attaching a porteur rack, and nitto north roads (or similar) handlebars.

As an aside, it's definitely possible to get traction on wet pavement with skinny tires--you just need the right ones. Schwalbe or higher-end Continentals would be a good place to start.
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Old 08-09-13, 11:57 PM   #5
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http://m.feltbicycles.com/productcatalog/series/1/10937
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Old 08-10-13, 12:24 AM   #6
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Giant Escape City should work. Bigger tires than a roadie, relaxed geometry, comes with fenders and a rear rack and can take a front rack too. 24 speeds and frame of light aluminum. Price is just under $600.
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Old 08-10-13, 08:39 AM   #7
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I would suggest that you look for a touring bike that can take front and rear racks. This will haul a lot of groceries. Has a good general use. Can have lights, fenders,etc so it can be easy to ride in a variety of weather conditions and with a variety of clothing options.

Cheap is alway problematic with getting a decent bicycle. Your best low cost best is to find a used bike.
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Old 08-14-13, 11:17 AM   #8
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OTOH , stretching the Budget.. one of these : http://www.larryvsharry.com/ cargo bikes will
be able to carry enough to replace the Car for most trips .. including the Case lot buys at Costco.
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Old 08-14-13, 12:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memebag View Post
I own a road bike and a cruiser. I love them both, but I'm thinking about replacing the cruiser. I'm posting here for suggestions about what kind of bike to buy.

My cruiser has a big basket on the front for carrying stuff around, plus a bright head light and a bell. The problem is it has only one speed. That was fine when I started riding and wasn't really strong enough to need any higher gears. Now I want more speeds. It also has giant knobby tires. I could go for some smaller tires.

My road bike is very fast, but not very comfortable, and not well suited to carrying home groceries. Also the skinny tires have no traction on damp pavement.

So I'm looking for a bike that is faster than a cruiser, has a reasonable number of speeds, medium width tires, reasonably comfortable and has space for one or more baskets.

Any suggestions?
Why buy a new bike when you can change your Cruiser into a really nice city Cruiser for a few $$.

All that needs to be done is have your local bike shop lace in a 3sp or 7 spd rear hub with coaster brake and change the front chain ring to 36 tooth to own a sweet city bike.
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 08-14-13, 12:25 PM   #10
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Why buy a new bike when you can change your Cruiser into a really nice city Cruiser for a few $$.

All that needs to be done is have your local bike shop lace in a 3sp or 7 spd rear hub with coaster brake and change the front chain ring to 36 tooth to own a sweet city bike.
I thought of that, but when I looked at how those multi speed hubs work they seemed awfully fragile. I should learn more about those. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 08-14-13, 12:26 PM   #11
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Giant Escape City should work. Bigger tires than a roadie, relaxed geometry, comes with fenders and a rear rack and can take a front rack too. 24 speeds and frame of light aluminum. Price is just under $600.
That looks like the sort of thing I need. Thanks.
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Old 08-14-13, 03:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
Why buy a new bike when you can change your Cruiser into a really nice city Cruiser for a few $$.

All that needs to be done is have your local bike shop lace in a 3sp or 7 spd rear hub with coaster brake and change the front chain ring to 36 tooth to own a sweet city bike.
I thought of that, but when I looked at how those multi speed hubs work they seemed awfully fragile. I should learn more about those. Thanks for the suggestion.
They are actually very durable and less maintenance required than a deurailler setup. A nexus 7 speed should give you all the gears you need, and you can get skinnier tires put on the cruiser. Plus you can keep a chain guard on, clean lines and clean pants. You will notice a significant speed difference at the fraction of the cost of a new bike.
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Old 08-14-13, 09:25 PM   #13
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They are actually very durable and less maintenance required than a deurailler setup. A nexus 7 speed should give you all the gears you need, and you can get skinnier tires put on the cruiser. Plus you can keep a chain guard on, clean lines and clean pants. You will notice a significant speed difference at the fraction of the cost of a new bike.
That sounds pretty cool. I looked at prices online and those hubs look like they cost $150-$200. The cruiser cost less than $250. Seems weird to spend that much on the hub, but maybe it's a good idea.
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Old 08-14-13, 09:48 PM   #14
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Looking for bike recommendations

Good point...I'd price the cruisers and bikes with that hub and see what the math tells you. With a new bike don't forget the price of the rack, basket, panniers, etc that it will take to get the new bike able to carry your stuff. It all adds up very quickly
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Old 08-15-13, 04:35 AM   #15
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A Surly Big Dummy gets my vote. My wife and I both have one. We also have cruisers road bikes and a folding bikes. We ride the Big Dummys the most. I also commute on mine a lot of the time. It's just so handy and rides so nice with Big Apple 26x2.35 tires.
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Old 09-03-13, 09:33 AM   #16
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Giant Escape City should work. Bigger tires than a roadie, relaxed geometry, comes with fenders and a rear rack and can take a front rack too. 24 speeds and frame of light aluminum. Price is just under $600.
Thanks for the suggestion. I ordered one yesterday. I rode the Escape 3 and it was just the sort of thing I'm looking for.
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Old 09-03-13, 09:35 AM   #17
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Thanks for the suggestion. I ordered one yesterday. I rode the Escape 3 and it was just the sort of thing I'm looking for.
You're welcome and enjoy the ride!
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Old 09-03-13, 12:34 PM   #18
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I'd suggest more of a city bike as it seems you are looking for a comfortable bike. Not knowing how much you will carry or how far you typically go it's hard to make a good suggestion, but this looks like a good start for a heavy hauler.


http://www.criticalcycles.com/britis...FUVp7AoduUEA-g


The low frame makes it simple to get on or off with a heavy load. Some mistakenly call this a ladies frame, but that's not the case here.

It does not come with a front basket, but I am sure you could add one. You would lose the headlight, but that could be replaced with one on the handlebars or even one low on the wheel.


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That sounds pretty cool. I looked at prices online and those hubs look like they cost $150-$200. The cruiser cost less than $250. Seems weird to spend that much on the hub, but maybe it's a good idea.
I spent $80 on my used giant city bike and went on to spend over $600 repairing it. In the end I got a city bike that new would have cost $1200 - $1500 for just under $700. As I tell my coworkers, it's not about what is cost you, but what you can get back out of it. I know over the next year or two I'll get that $600 back and then some.

I too highly suggest an IGH. I use a 3 speed now but originally had a 7 speed. They are nice, though you have to get use to letting up while down shifting. Nice thing is at a red light I can go from 3rd gear to 1st while standing still. Try doing that with a derailleur setup! I am hard on my bike (I weigh too much and haul sometimes hundreds of pounds of stuff) so I have to replace my IGH every year and a half to 2 years when they should last 10-15.
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Old 09-03-13, 12:52 PM   #19
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I decided against upgrading the cruiser after I realized the geometry was all wrong for me now. It changed the geometry of my body. I got the cruiser 9 months ago on a lark. It made me love cycling (and got me to painlessly lose 30 pounds, lower my blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar), but now I need more room to stretch my legs. Even if I upgraded everything I wanted on the cruiser, it would still be a cruiser.

I will love it forever. Maybe I can get my daughter to ride it. If not, someone will.
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