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Need Opinions Re: bike lockup/theft avoidance etc.

Old 07-02-15, 08:47 AM
  #1  
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Need Opinions Re: bike lockup/theft avoidance etc.

I'm always struggling with the 'which bike to leave locked up' issue.

For years I have been lucky enough to bring my bike inside at work. The last six months or so I've had to lock up on the street in Manhattan and my bike is taking a beating. It's an old steel road bike from the 80s. Both wheels have been getting destroyed by ramming a big chain in and out daily and the paint is shot and rust is a constant issue.

I don't mind so much on this old bike, but I am most concerned with having a back up commuter for when the old one is in the shop or God forbid gets completely wrecked or stolen.

I had been looking on CL for another old 80s bike but long story short, the prices have gotten a bit high on those. At least $300-400, plus what I'd spend to upgrade with some sort of thumbshifter or maybe even a brifter...I don't want DT shifters, I can't hack those in rush hour traffic. I also don't want an old 6, 7 or 8 speed AL frame because you can't always spread out the rear dropouts for modern wheels (I share wheels between all my road bikes).

So, I started looking at more recent bikes on CL, ca. 2000-2005. for only a few hundred more, I'd get brifters, 9-10 speeds and, since around $500-700 would buy me a very decent 105 or Ultegra bike from that era, obviously, a much more fun bike to ride. But I was worried about how robust a AL bike with CF fork would hold up to daily lockups, plus how much more that would attract theft.

I am also looking into either:

* buying a entry level racer like the Cannondale CAAD 8 with Sora or the Specialized Allez Sport (also 9 spd Sora). About $800 at a bike shop and no used bike "hidden surprise" worries...
* just using my own early 2000s 9 speed bike for back up - only thing is, it's got VERY flashy paint and Dura Ace...so not sure that is the smartest thing.
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Old 07-02-15, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by pgoat View Post
So, I started looking at more recent bikes on CL, ca. 2000-2005. for only a few hundred more, I'd get brifters, 9-10 speeds and, since around $500-700 would buy me a very decent 105 or Ultegra bike from that era, obviously, a much more fun bike to ride. But I was worried about how robust a AL bike with CF fork would hold up to daily lockups, plus how much more that would attract theft.
Why is a newer bike with modern drivetrain much more fun to ride? For me, my 30 year-old Campy SR equipped friction shifting Tommasini is more fun to ride than my newer Shimano index shifting bikes.
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Old 07-02-15, 09:01 AM
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Heh - I knew I would get that response - I love my old steel bike. But I know me - I have looked at a few other old steel rides from the 80s and I would never leave them as is. Between being a tinkerer and also not wanting downtube or bar end shifters, It would involve an investment of at least $500-600, at which point I'd rather have something more recent.

Not knocking your choice, I had a Tommasini years ago and they are gorgeous, beautiful riding machines. Just not what I am looking for at present.

I guess I am trying to sort stuff out in my head - is it better to just

- buy a low end new road bike like the Allez for commuting & lock up
- or a 10 year old higher end bike (like a Ultegra or DA equipped model)
- or just use the 10 year old bike I've got and put my $500-1000 in the bank towards a nice (i.e. high end, 'weekend' use) new bike down the road
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Old 07-02-15, 09:04 AM
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UK made Atomic 22 makes special keyed bolts to secure a whole bunch of your components to resist stripping, if locked Up, for long.

I use my Brompton a lot, it goes inside with me.
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Old 07-02-15, 09:09 AM
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I should add -

my current 10 year oldish bikes are seen in my sig - Orbea w/ dura ace and flashy euskaltel paint (methinks a clarion call for theives), and a stealthy black Cannondale, but with Ultegra.

I've seen other similar Cannondales from that era going for $700 or so (usually CAAD 7 with 105)...I was gonna grab one of those but my wife said, why not just use the old one you have, and put the 700 bucks towards a nice new CAAD 10 for recreational use. In other words, just rotate the old bikes down to commuting duty. I guess I just have a hard time envisioning the fragile racing bike as a locker-upper. especially with flash paint.
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Old 07-02-15, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
I use my Brompton a lot, it goes inside with me.
Now that I am locking up daily I have been considering a folder. It's not something I've ever wanted but along practical lines it may be a good option...

We also have Citibikes here, but they have not made out to my outer borough yet, alas.
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Old 07-02-15, 11:24 AM
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The paddle cats got me so dizzy I couldn't think. I will respond later when I recover.
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Old 07-02-15, 11:26 AM
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See if these guys make a bike...
https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/chameleon/2859849
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Old 07-02-15, 01:48 PM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by pgoat View Post
I'm always struggling with the 'which bike to leave locked up' issue.

For years I have been lucky enough to bring my bike inside at work. The last six months or so I've had to lock up on the street in Manhattan and my bike is taking a beating. It's an old steel road bike from the 80s. Both wheels have been getting destroyed by ramming a big chain in and out daily and the paint is shot and rust is a constant issue.

I don't mind so much on this old bike, but I am most concerned with having a back up commuter for when the old one is in the shop or God forbid gets completely wrecked or stolen.

I had been looking on CL for another old 80s bike but long story short, the prices have gotten a bit high on those. At least $300-400, plus what I'd spend to upgrade with some sort of thumbshifter or maybe even a brifter...I don't want DT shifters, I can't hack those in rush hour traffic. I also don't want an old 6, 7 or 8 speed AL frame because you can't always spread out the rear dropouts for modern wheels (I share wheels between all my road bikes).

So, I started looking at more recent bikes on CL, ca. 2000-2005. for only a few hundred more, I'd get brifters, 9-10 speeds and, since around $500-700 would buy me a very decent 105 or Ultegra bike from that era, obviously, a much more fun bike to ride. But I was worried about how robust a AL bike with CF fork would hold up to daily lockups, plus how much more that would attract theft.

I am also looking into either:

* buying a entry level racer like the Cannondale CAAD 8 with Sora or the Specialized Allez Sport (also 9 spd Sora). About $800 at a bike shop and no used bike "hidden surprise" worries...
* just using my own early 2000s 9 speed bike for back up - only thing is, it's got VERY flashy paint and Dura Ace...so not sure that is the smartest thing.
you know you can buy a low end bikes direct bike (brand new) with stem shifters for less than the low end craigslist finds... if you want brifters that will run you a bit more...but still within your range...

I bought one of the low end bikes (dawes lightning sport) has 2 x 7 stem shifters, chromolly frame / fork and after using for about 10 years decided to upgrade to 2 x 8 Claris derailer with microshift brifters for about $100... the original price 240.00 (including the shipping cost).
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Old 07-02-15, 05:07 PM
  #10  
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I did see those sites. Wasn't sure how good they were.
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Old 07-03-15, 12:20 PM
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This is odd/may not be particularly useful, but if you are traveling by car anywhere soon, think about looking at CL in those cities. I'm in NC, and 80s bikes are definitely not that high down here, just got one myself. Obviously consider logistics in bringing the bike home with you. I tend to road trip a good bit so I often cruise CL in places other than my hometown when traveling.
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Old 07-03-15, 12:27 PM
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/\ That's actually a great idea - we were just upstate and my wife thought of that. I don't think we were far enough outside NYC to make a big difference in prices but what you;re saying makes sense.

To give an idea, I used to fish old steel 70s and 80s ten and twelve speeds out of the trash for free and get one good usable bike out of three or so junkers. These were usually lower end of course but totally servicable as commuters, They usually had stem mount shifters, or I'd turn them into SS.

The last two I bought, including the 86 Trek I now commute on, I paid about $150-200 on CL. That was for nearly new unused condition. But that was also ten years ago - now in NYC a decent old steel bike asks $400ish or more if it's 531 or Columbus. If I could find one for $200 or less that would make the shifter and wheel upgrades (going from 12-speed with freewheel to 9-speed w/ freehub & cassette) more palatable.
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Old 07-03-15, 01:42 PM
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Yup, totally believe it. Now that's smart dumpster diving!

That's crazy expensive!! My pug should've only been about $100, mayyyybe $125 or $150, just based on watching what's coming on and off CL here, but I was dumb when I bought her so I paid almost twice that with bum tires. There's a guy about an hour from me who refurbs nice 80s bikes- I had my eye on a Nishiki, white and purple, but the position was too aggressive for me, think she was $150- just as a retirement project/ to fund his Bikes for Kids donation program. You never know where you might find something! Wonder if he was the buyer for some of the good deals I saw go through... anyway,

Hell if you have a contact you can trust and is willing to check out the bike for you, might even be worth shipping. Just an offhand suggestion, I don't know the first thing about it. But maybe, and if you're set on a 80s bike, which I was. Got grumpy after a beautiful black vintage Trek went too quickly back in January at a low price, and just now found something I like as well. I'm a picky, one-time buyer (although this didn't help me look more carefully at consumable parts! I was all about the frame and feel.)

I hope you find something! I was glad I was patient in the end, although once I saw this second bike I wanted at a price I was willing to pay, I wasn't careful enough- didn't want to lose out, so didn't research quite enough on what to look for. Ah well. Learning experience. Love the bike so it's all good.
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Old 07-03-15, 01:49 PM
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Oh and wanted to add- my shifter had already been upgraded to a thumb, so they can be had. Had been done awhile ago, so that didn't add to the cost for person who snagged this one to sell.
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Old 07-03-15, 02:08 PM
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I know it doesn't feel great to commute on something that looks like crap, especially if you are wearing nice clothing. but it sucks to have you bike stolen. I'd just suck it up and get something equally beat-up as a back up bike, and park your current one next some nice looking ones on the rack.

I saw a documentary on bike theft in Manhattan. They video taped a guy, first time using a set of bolt cutters, in a crowded street corner. No one even batted an eye. He took about 20 seconds.

The second time the guy used a hammer and some kind of chisel. Again, no one took notice.

Third time he used a cordless saw of some kind, made a hell of a racket, took forever to do it. One guy turned his head for a second glance, but eventually kept walking.

Downtown Manhattan. So how much of a chance does your Ultegra equipped road bike stand?
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Old 07-03-15, 02:28 PM
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Any chance you could squeeze a folder into your office? Brompton? BF?
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Old 07-03-15, 02:48 PM
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try onguard 16mm chain or u-lock they can be found cheap but heavy. i lost keys at bar one time big bolt cutters didnt even damage the links. yikes!

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Old 07-03-15, 03:12 PM
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My solution was getting a cheap older ti MTB frame and building it up as a commuter. Added huffy stickers as well. No paint to scratch, doesn't stand out on aesthetics. I'm a fan of the older rigid MTBs as commuter platforms, especially if they have eyelets (mine didn't, I had to use clamp ons).
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Old 07-03-15, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
I know it doesn't feel great to commute on something that looks like crap, especially if you are wearing nice clothing. but it sucks to have you bike stolen. I'd just suck it up and get something equally beat-up as a back up bike, and park your current one next some nice looking ones on the rack.

I saw a documentary on bike theft in Manhattan. They video taped a guy, first time using a set of bolt cutters, in a crowded street corner. No one even batted an eye. He took about 20 seconds.

The second time the guy used a hammer and some kind of chisel. Again, no one took notice.

Third time he used a cordless saw of some kind, made a hell of a racket, took forever to do it. One guy turned his head for a second glance, but eventually kept walking.

Downtown Manhattan. So how much of a chance does your Ultegra equipped road bike stand?
sigh, I know...it's not good.

Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Any chance you could squeeze a folder into your office? Brompton? BF?
yes, a folder should work. I need to learn more about them, I have no clue about prices/features, and am worried about weight limits (I'm 220 lbs)

Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
My solution was getting a cheap older ti MTB frame and building it up as a commuter. Added huffy stickers as well. No paint to scratch, doesn't stand out on aesthetics. I'm a fan of the older rigid MTBs as commuter platforms, especially if they have eyelets (mine didn't, I had to use clamp ons).
I agree- I used an old rigid Marin Pine mountain for many years to commute on. It was great, but due to hand issues over the years I just cannot with flat bars - gotta be a drop. I wound up selling my Marin...I realize it's not impossible to put drops on a mtb, but I think my desire to retro-fit & frankenstein is waning with age.
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Old 07-03-15, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
I saw a documentary on bike theft in Manhattan. They video taped a guy, first time using a set of bolt cutters, in a crowded street corner. No one even batted an eye. He took about 20 seconds.

The second time the guy used a hammer and some kind of chisel. Again, no one took notice.

Third time he used a cordless saw of some kind, made a hell of a racket, took forever to do it. One guy turned his head for a second glance, but eventually kept walking.
Are you sure it wasn't a video about London? I know it is easy to get Manhattan and London confused. They are both on an island.

Gone In 60 Seconds - The Bike Crime Wave Part 1

Gone In 60 Seconds - The Bike Crime Wave Part 2
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Old 07-04-15, 03:34 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by pgoat View Post
yes, a folder should work. I need to learn more about them, I have no clue about prices/features, and am worried about weight limits (I'm 220 lbs)
Downtube - Folding Bicycles for Sale this company can make whatever folding bicycle you want if you dont like the normally stocked. brompton are good but can get expense.
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Old 07-04-15, 03:51 AM
  #22  
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i would definitely need drops on a folder.

I took a ride on a flat bar a few weeks ago and wanted to climb off immediately. I have a bad bone spur on one thumb that makes the basic flatbar position unbearable.
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Old 07-04-15, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Are you sure it wasn't a video about London? I know it is easy to get Manhattan and London confused. They are both on an island.

Gone In 60 Seconds - The Bike Crime Wave Part 1

Gone In 60 Seconds - The Bike Crime Wave Part 2
OK, you're right. That's the one I saw. I stand corrected.

It'd been quite a few years ago when I saw it. Nonetheless though, I can't imagine the scene'd be that much different in New York.
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Old 07-04-15, 06:12 AM
  #24  
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I think they're comparable cities, in terms of both bike use and theft.

Idk what the official numbers are in NYC, but I'm thinking theft recently rose again after a drop in the 2000s. Some of this is mitigated by the bike share programs.

I appreciate all the input, I am just trying to hash this all out in my head. There's no perfect fix, you are always risking theft/damage when you lock up on the street. I hope this thread might help others also - I just had a couple of friends lose various types of bikes to theives in the past year.

After reading all this here, I think for me:
* it's silly to buy another 10-year-old bike with 9 or 10 speed for $500-800 when I already own two such bikes. Better the devil you know...
* also kinda silly to spend $1000 or so on a new lower end bike with 9 speed. For that much I may as well wait to get a nicer new bike for fitness riding, and rotate the current bikes down in duty.

For now, I guess I'll keep looking for another old steel beater. With a brifter and 9 speed rear wheel (I have spare cassettes), y'all have convinced me that would probably be the smartest thing to leave locked up. Thanks again!
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