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Help/advice on college student's first commuting bike - what should I do?

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Help/advice on college student's first commuting bike - what should I do?

Old 05-18-15, 07:33 PM
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eiopa
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Help/advice on college student's first commuting bike - what should I do?

Hey everyone,

I'm looking to purchase my first commuter bike for work in the Bay Area this summer. I've narrowed my choices down to a few bikes and just wanted to see if people had any advice on which one to purchase and at what price (don't know my stuff). I attend school in the east coast and would hope to sell the bike after use (or not if it works well) seeing as I have one in storage (in the east) at the moment. I'm 5'10 with a 30'' inseam, so I'm guessing I could make the 53cm Kona bike work, hopefully. I'm not too worried about any potential hills in regards to the single speed Felt as well.


Kona Jake the Snake 2011 53cm -$650
Bicycles: Road Bikes Classifieds for Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming | ksl.com


Felt Breed 2010 55cm - $600
Bicycles: Road Bikes Classifieds for Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming | ksl.com
*This one has some modifications.


Kesterl Carbon Fiber (don't know year) size is probably 54cm - $900
Bicycles: Road Bikes Classifieds for Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming | ksl.com


I am definitely not experienced with bikes, so any help is truly appreciated.
Thanks everyone!
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Old 05-18-15, 07:44 PM
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first id ask where in the bay area- and depending upon that answer.. will you have to leave the bike outside either where you work or where you live? riders all have their preferences so none of those bikes are bad per say-- but they might get stolen, parts stolen, banged up, messed with etc. around here its generally smarter to have a much less pretty bike for commuting.. particularly if you want to get your money back out at the other side.
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Old 05-18-15, 07:48 PM
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Thanks Jetboy, I'll be living in Berkeley and working in Oakland. I'd be able to leave my bike inside when home and at work.
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Old 05-18-15, 09:56 PM
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5'10" requires a 56-58 cm frame. Berkeley is one big hill as it rises from The Bay. You should be worried about them, especially if you want to visit San Francisco too.

Also, what happens if you go for a latte, fitness drink, or food? I'm assuming your under 21 so no beer. A lock won't deter a thief in Berkeley.

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Old 05-18-15, 10:35 PM
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berkeley and oakland have hills, but also long flats and slow rises. my ride on the oakland side is probably only about a 10 meter rise. In san francisco i have a 100 meter rise or so. but if you are in the berkeley or oakland hills.. you could talking 200 meter rises.... they are small mountains.

But yeah- if all you are going to do with the bike is ride from work to home and back - and maybe some fun rides then those are fine. but if you plan to use it for groceries, night outs, going into SF, meeting friends etc... it might be better to have a cheaper .. or at least cheaper looking-- bike.

look at all the bikes locked up outside a BART station and you won't see a single one as clean and nice as the ones you are looking at. Park those CF bikes there and they would be top of the list and gone gone gone..

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Old 05-18-15, 11:01 PM
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5 10 with a 30" instead? Is that just a pants inseam or actual measurement?
Seems on the short end of an inseam. Just tossing this out to double check so you are for sure looking at the correct frame sizes.
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Old 05-18-15, 11:20 PM
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Just a pants inseam.

Also, thanks jetboy and oddjob2 for the advice. I'm gonna check out ~$100 1970s/80s bikes instead.
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Old 05-19-15, 07:08 AM
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Of the three bikes you posted I would get the Kona. Assuming you have the budget, and it looks like you do, I'm a fan of cyclocross bikes for commuting. They can fit wider tires if desired and can sometimes be fitted with fenders and a rack. They are also lightweight and fast like a road racing bike. I would not recommend a road racing bike, but get what you want.

A note on sizing: at your height you may indeed fit on a 56cm frame as oddjob suggests, but that is for "classic" road sizing. I'm 5'9" and I ride a 54-55 classic road bike but recently bought a 51cm cyclocross bike because they fit so much larger. I used to have a 54 and it was way too big for me. So I think the Kona could work for you.

Finally, I should tell you that my commuting bikes are old, very cheap, and look like junk. They function perfectly but were (are?) real basket cases that have negligible value. This is to prevent theft and because commuters live a rough life and get banged up. I have some very nice bikes but they are not used for commuting. If you're keeping the bike inside at work and at home you may not need to worry about this. But it's something to keep in mind if you plan on using the bike for other stuff. Which you probably will. However, to be fair, I have an advantage because I build my own bikes. Which means that I can build something from scraps for almost no money that will still work perfectly and I will actually enjoy riding. On the other hand if you go out and buy a $100 bike you'll likely get a POS.
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