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Best option for commuting bike?

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Best option for commuting bike?

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Old 06-25-18, 11:15 AM
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emrlucas
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Best option for commuting bike?

First of all, I'm so sorry if I'm asking this in the wrong place! I am super new to the world of bikes and I am currently looking to buy a bike ASAP for commuting to school this semester and work this summer.

I am in contact with the person selling this 1994 Schwinn Woodlands bike. I'd post a link but I can't because I just made this account! Anyway, it seems to be in very good cosmetic shape. They're selling it for $100.
I also found another "vintage" Schwinn Woodlands for $40. They said it needs a little work -- a new right brake handle.

Then the last bike I was considering is listed as a "Vintage Women's Clubman Road Bike." I don't know the brand or anything, but it's a 10 speed and they said it is completely rebuilt with new tires. They're asking $85.

I really don't know anything about anything but I want to make a smart choice on my budget! Obviously I don't need anything super fancy, I would just like something that will last me as long as possible and not require too much fixing along the way.

Thanks so much!
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Old 06-25-18, 12:00 PM
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If you have a local bicycle shop (LBS) that you have some confidence in, make sure you get the target bike checked out. Ultimately, what really matters is that it's a bike you *will* ride ... personally, I'd go with an old Gary Fisher (I've got one from the early 2000's that still is solid and quite ridable).

w.r.t. budget, make sure you budget for good lights, a bag (pannier, backpack, whatever works best for you).

You don't mention anything about your commute (distance, hills, weather, plan to ride all year...) so extra hard to guess what might work well for you.
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Old 06-25-18, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Khb View Post
If you have a local bicycle shop (LBS) that you have some confidence in, make sure you get the target bike checked out. Ultimately, what really matters is that it's a bike you *will* ride ... personally, I'd go with an old Gary Fisher (I've got one from the early 2000's that still is solid and quite ridable).

w.r.t. budget, make sure you budget for good lights, a bag (pannier, backpack, whatever works best for you).

You don't mention anything about your commute (distance, hills, weather, plan to ride all year...) so extra hard to guess what might work well for you.
Oops, that definitely is important! My daily commute to school would be only about 2 miles each way and flat. I am located in Wisconsin, so I don't know that I want to deal with trying to bike through snow and ice -- weather shouldn't be much of an issue. I do live in a pretty hilly area, so I am not really interested in cruiser or one speed bikes. Is that enough info?

Again, thanks so much for the input.
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Old 06-25-18, 01:26 PM
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Any of those bikes could conceivably make a great commuter. They're from an era of sturdy, utilitarian bikes.

The biggest question is fit. If you are familiar with biking you might be able to guess pretty reliably whether a bike will fit based on the size (if the ad says), but if not, the only way to know is to ride.

For old horizontal-top-tube bikes like that, it might seem unintuitive, but you want no standover clearance. A properly-sized bike, you would not be able to stand flat-footed because your pubic bone would be sitting on the top tube first. On the other hand, if you can't straddle with tip-toes, it may be too big. The seat post will give a few inches of leeway.

Then you want to feel comfortable with your hands on the tops of the bars or brake hoods, maybe even down in the drops. Again, the stem is adjustable (and replaceable), so the fit can be tweaked a bit.

If the bike fits, any other issue can be fixed. But depending on your ability to fix, or afford to pay for a fix, you might want to prefer a more ready-to-go bike.
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Old 06-25-18, 01:29 PM
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How can "2 miles each way and flat...." and "...I do live in a pretty hilly area..." apply at the same time?

Anyway, for a 2 mile commute (and flat) pretty much anything should do. An average non-competitive cyclist does 10mph, so you're talking about a typical ride of 15min .... so a "well fitted" bike, and a "fast" bike are probably things you don't need to worry about for now.

Pick something you are comfortable riding, and fixing. Perhaps an older 3 speed internal geared bike would suit you.
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Old 06-25-18, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Khb View Post
How can "2 miles each way and flat...." and "...I do live in a pretty hilly area..." apply at the same time?

Anyway, for a 2 mile commute (and flat) pretty much anything should do. An average non-competitive cyclist does 10mph, so you're talking about a typical ride of 15min .... so a "well fitted" bike, and a "fast" bike are probably things you don't need to worry about for now.

Pick something you are comfortable riding, and fixing. Perhaps an older 3 speed internal geared bike would suit you.
Sorry, I didn't make that too clear. I meant that my everyday commute is flat but that the area I live in is hilly so I would prefer something that could handle hills in case I choose to bike anywhere else in the area (i.e. to work). Thanks so much!
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Old 06-29-18, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by emrlucas View Post
Sorry, I didn't make that too clear. I meant that my everyday commute is flat but that the area I live in is hilly so I would prefer something that could handle hills in case I choose to bike anywhere else in the area (i.e. to work). Thanks so much!
if the woodlands fits it would be a nice place to start.
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Old 06-29-18, 05:21 PM
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Those early 90s steel MTBs make awesome commuters. I have a 90-ish Spec. Rock Hopper that I bought at a yard sale and have held onto just because it's just so damn bombproof.

Get some slicks and a rack/pannier and you've got a great commuter. (Assuming it fits)
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Old 07-01-18, 09:55 AM
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Dont go cheap on the Lock .. + a Hardened Chain not a cable ..
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Old 07-04-18, 03:31 PM
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I agree that any of the early 90s MTBs make great commuter bikes - and while no bike is theft-proof, they'll be a bit less of a target.

If you do decide to commute in the winter, old MTBs with studded tires make great winter commuters. Then you get to have the classic Wisconsin winter commuter - where the tires are worth more than the rest of the bike.
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Old 07-04-18, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
Then you get to have the classic Wisconsin winter commuter - where the tires are worth more than the rest of the bike.
Yup, that's certainly my case.
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