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Noob starting to commute, need bike advice.

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Noob starting to commute, need bike advice.

Old 05-27-08, 06:31 PM
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greenneub
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Noob starting to commute, need bike advice.

Hey everyone! I've decided that I want to start commuting to work. But my younger brother obliterated my old Norco Mountaineer, so I'm looking at getting a new bike. I'd like something fast, and I don't have any intention of mountain biking, so I was thinking of getting a road or a cyclocross bike (I only just learned of cyclocross after spending a day on the forum). But since I'm essentially a total noob when it comes to serious biking I'm not sure where to go. Should I just go to Walmart or Canadian Tire and pick up a 250-300 dollar road bike and see if I enjoy it and stick with it or should I go to my local bike shops and check out what they have in their used section? The city I live in does have pretty extreme winters and summers, so potholes and road cracking are definitely issues for commuting. How sensitive are road bikes to city road conditions (ie, potholes, cracks, railway tracks, etc.)? Will I have constant issues with a road bike? Are cyclocross bikes pricier than road bikes? I don't really want to drop more than 400 on a bike, but if it's necessary, maybe I'd go up to 500. Oh yeah, the commute is about 7 km each way.

Last edited by greenneub; 05-27-08 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 05-27-08, 06:57 PM
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viclavigne
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I doubt that you'll find any bike that is especially fast in Walmart, I got my commuter from the local 'Mart and the best thing I can say about it was it was cheap. But I commute 2 miles each way to work, so quality and speed were not a big issue with me.
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Old 05-27-08, 07:05 PM
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lns55
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I used to ride a Kona Smoke. It's a good strong and sturdy bike which makes it excellent for city riding. The streets here in Cleveland can really get crappy in winter and the Smoke held up just fine without any problems. I recently sold it to a coworker who just stated commuting by bike. The reason I sold it is I strictly ride fixed gear and singlespeed these days. Check out the Smoke - $369.00 (USA). It even comes with full fenders. Best of luck to you.
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Old 05-27-08, 08:11 PM
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If your LBS has trade-ins, you will probably get a better bike second hand there than you would new at Walmart or Canadian Tire for the same price, and can ask them to tune it up for you. For a 7 km commute you could use a tour or cyclocross bike, a sporty hybrid, or a mountain bike fitted with thinner, slicker tires. Make sure you know what size you need, and if you can, drop into the LBS every day until you see a bike you want then grab it. I recommend a bike that can mount a rear rack and fenders, and that has no suspension. If you have to ride over a pothole lift your butt off the seat and let your legs absorb the shock. Keep the tires firmly inflated to avoid pinch flats from sharp pothole edges.
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Old 05-27-08, 08:13 PM
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A cyclocross bike has room for proper fenders for dealing with rain and mud. Road bikes seldom have enough clearance to fit decent sized tires or fenders for handling potholes and sloppy weather.

One of the performance hybrids may also be a good option.

Looking at the Smoke I see that it's inexpensive but the components are VERY basic. For a little more I'd suggest the Dew or something equivalent from another maker. The improvements for the cost are a huge bang for the buck over the Smoke IMHO.
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Old 05-27-08, 08:16 PM
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talleymonster
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I would watch Craigslist of you're in a big enough city.
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Old 05-27-08, 09:58 PM
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Road Ferret
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I commute on 2007 Specialized Tricross Sport about 22.5 mi RT. Cyclocross is more expensive, but more versatile in my opinion. They'll cost you. Given the budget you stated, I recommend you look for something used to determine what you're really looking for as you commute.
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Old 05-28-08, 12:25 AM
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Which Canadian city?
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Old 05-28-08, 03:37 AM
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400 is pretty cheap for any bike that could be called "fast" but I am assuming what you really mean is efficient since the roads are apparently to rough to REALLY ride fast. If you are really new to biking then i suggest that you buy a new bike from a local shop. It was be more expensive than used but it will be fitted to you by a professional which is the absolute most important part! If you buy used u could save some $ but might not enjoy the ride after for long.... A brand new road bike under 500 is hard to find plus they dont work well for commuting. I would suggest a high performance hybrid such as a giant FCR3 (which is what i ride or serious specialized. I dont know what the specialized costs but I know that I paid $420 for my giant FCR3 brand new fully fitted with some custom stuff that i wanted like upgraded pedals. If you want to go up in price i would recommend some kind of touring bike. They are made of steel and absorb bumps and rough road better than other bikes and can also carry heavy loads with great speed. The cheapest one I have ever seen that i would consider is the fuji touring or the windsor tourer which are essentially the same bike from different manufactures. Good luck!
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