Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

How do you know which is the right bike for you?

Notices
Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

How do you know which is the right bike for you?

Old 07-17-09, 12:53 PM
  #1  
ambrisdelighted
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
ambrisdelighted's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Kansas
Posts: 55

Bikes: an 8 year old specialized hardrock mountian bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
How do you know which is the right bike for you?

I'm having a dilemma on deciding what type of bike to get
I've been riding the same bike I got when I was 12. It's a mountain(?) bike, but I'm not sure if it was made for anything except to ride for fun.

Now, I'm needing a good commuter bike to get to work and classes and grocery shop and the like, but I also have aspirations of touring. Can I find this in one bike?
ambrisdelighted is offline  
Old 07-17-09, 01:12 PM
  #2  
Andy_K 
Senior Member
 
Andy_K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 12,594

Bikes: Yes

Mentioned: 328 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1972 Post(s)
Liked 428 Times in 231 Posts
It's a well known fact that the number of bikes you need is n+1, where n is the number you currently have. So it sounds like you currently need two bikes. Of course, as soon as you have two bikes, you'll need three, but that's a problem for another day.

I would recommend that you go test ride a cyclocross bike. In theory, it will do everything you're asking for.
Andy_K is offline  
Old 07-17-09, 01:14 PM
  #3  
canyoneagle 
Senior Member
 
canyoneagle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Chapel Hill, NC (temporary)
Posts: 4,506

Bikes: Jamis Dragon 29er. Frame waiting for roads: 1990 Zullo EL-OS

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 117 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Something like these would be spot on, methinks:

Sporty without being to racy: https://www.surlybikes.com/crosscheck_comp.html

More on the touring side: https://www.surlybikes.com/lht_comp.html

There are numerous others out there, but essentially, the first bike is a cyclocross bike. Super versatile. You can mount racks and fenders, and it is much more agile than a mountain bike, but more relaxed than a road racing machine.
The second bike is designed for loaded touring, and is perhaps a bit more laid back than the cyclocross (abbreviated CX) bike, but is still sportier than a mountain bike.

These Surly's are quite good and they are reasonably priced ($1000-$1200 as specced or $400-$500 frame/fork) for their quality level.

Less expensive options might include the following, but bear in mind that it is advised to have a mechanic do a once-over (checking bearing lubrication, spoke tension, etc) which would run $100-$150 if you aren't familiar with bicycle mechanical work.

https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._cross_cx2.htm

https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/tourist.htm

https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/.../cafe_noir.htm - flat bar

It is worth exploring the many, many used bicycles on Craig's list and ebay.

Key things to look for:
- rack and fender mounts. These are small, threaded eyelets on the front and rear dropouts (where the wheels attach) and on the rear seat stays (the tubes that go from the rear axle to the seatpost). The seatstay mounts aren't absolutely required - you can get clamps if none exist on the frame.
- modest wheelbase
- good quality brakes: cx and touring bikes will almost always have "cantilever" (old mountainbike style) or disc brakes. These are much better at dealing with braking duties on a loaded bike.
- strong wheels. This is an area where the lightest wheels will not be desireable (you are not racing). 36-spoke rear wheel is desired.

Good luck in your search!

Michael
canyoneagle is offline  
Old 07-17-09, 02:16 PM
  #4  
xtrajack
xtrajack
 
xtrajack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,058

Bikes: Kona fire mountain/xtracycle,Univega landrover fs,Nishiki custom sport Ross professional super gran tour Schwinn Mesa (future Xtracycle donor bike)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If your existing bike is still in good shape I would recommend an Free radical attachment from Xtracycle:

https://www.xtracycle.com/welcome/

I have had mine for a little over a year now, I love it. It will do everything that you said you want a bike to do,and then some.
If you have a bike, it is cheaper than a frameset from Surly. Not that I have anything against Surly, as a matter of fact if I had the money I would have a Big Dummy.
I use my xtracycle for commuting, grocery shopping, and hauling my kayak, if I was into touring I could use it for that too. About the only thing you couldn't use one for would be racing.
BTW My Xtracycle started out as a mountain bike.--'08 Kona Fire Mountain
xtrajack is offline  
Old 07-17-09, 02:31 PM
  #5  
JeffS
not a role model
 
JeffS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 4,659
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
You only know by riding a variety of bikes.
JeffS is offline  
Old 07-17-09, 02:38 PM
  #6  
Jay D
Human Powered Vehiclist
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 255
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Unfortunately your first bike purchase will determine which bike you will REALLY want, so go inexpensive for your first try. As for myself, I choose a flat bar road bike which felt like my old mountain bike I road when I was a teenager but much, much faster. It was actually a very awesome bike and a great commuter but my curiosity of switching to a recumbent got the best of me and I eventually sold it and I now ride a "bent bike."
Jay D is offline  
Old 07-17-09, 03:09 PM
  #7  
cooker
Prefers Cicero
 
cooker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Toronto
Posts: 12,838

Bikes: 1984 Trek 520; 2007 Bike Friday NWT; misc others

Mentioned: 85 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3851 Post(s)
Liked 60 Times in 54 Posts
For touring you should get a tour bike, and it will work well as a commuter and errand bike. You could try getting a used tour bike on Craig's list or eBay - I got my 1984 Trek 520 on eBay. However, I would probably buy a new one if I actually went on a long tour.
cooker is offline  
Old 07-17-09, 03:13 PM
  #8  
moxfyre
cyclist/gearhead/cycli...
 
moxfyre's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: DC / Maryland suburbs
Posts: 4,166

Bikes: Homebuilt tourer/commuter, modified-beyond-recognition 1990 Trek 1100, reasonably stock 2002-ish Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I would recommend that you go test ride a cyclocross bike. In theory, it will do everything you're asking for.
+1

Yes, cyclocross bikes are pretty ideal for commuting. Good on the road, not fragile, can fit fenders and wide tires and racks if needed, versatile.

On the other hand, if you're on a budget and looking for something used... I would recommend a steel touring-type road bike of the kind that were very popular in the late 80s/early 90s. Mine is a lugged steel touring frame from the 80s, very similar in dimensions to the current Surly Long Haul Trekker.
moxfyre is offline  
Old 07-17-09, 04:26 PM
  #9  
BarracksSi
Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped.
 
BarracksSi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 13,854

Bikes: Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You know you have the right bike when you haven't bought a new one in a long time.
BarracksSi is offline  
Old 07-17-09, 08:15 PM
  #10  
gerv 
In the right lane
 
gerv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Des Moines
Posts: 9,565

Bikes: 1974 Huffy 3 speed

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 41 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
You know you have the right bike when you haven't bought a new one in a long time.


Yes, all the time you would have spent cruising eBay and Craigslist and BF are now spent on your shiny new "right" bike...
gerv is offline  
Old 07-17-09, 08:36 PM
  #11  
m_yates
Senior Member
 
m_yates's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 636
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You are much more likely to find cyclocross bikes in a local bike shop than you will touring bikes. I personally think a touring bike is best if you want a combination of commuting and touring, but most bike shops don't carry touring bikes. My local bike shop is a trek dealer, but doesn't stock the Trek 520 touring bike. I've never seen a Surly LHT in any local bike shop. I've been to a local Fuji dealer that had no Fuji Touring in stock. I guess the bikes aren't that popular. You'll see plenty of high end racing bikes and mountain bikes at most local bike shops, but these aren't really good for commuting or touring.

If you are lucky enough to find a local bike shop that carries touring models, I would strongly encourage taking a test ride. These are the most versatile road bikes in my opinion. Cyclocross bikes are a good second choice if a shop doesn't carry touring models.

I was in a similar situation as you last year. I donated my 15 year old mountain bike to Goodwill and replaced it with a Windsor Tourist. My Windsor has around 3300 miles on it now. As suggested previously, you will want to either learn bike mechanics or pay to have a shop assemble your bike if you choose to buy something over the internet. If you choose to shop locally, you may have to settle for what is in stock or ask to special order a touring model.
m_yates is offline  
Old 07-17-09, 10:03 PM
  #12  
JoeyBike
20+mph Commuter
 
JoeyBike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New Orleans, LA USA
Posts: 6,934

Bikes: Surly LHT, a folding bike, and a beater.

Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1114 Post(s)
Liked 53 Times in 35 Posts
How do you know which is the right bike for you?

I currently own 5 bikes. So I have no clue.
JoeyBike is offline  
Old 07-18-09, 08:31 AM
  #13  
Hot Potato
Senior Member
 
Hot Potato's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Western Chicagoland
Posts: 1,821
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I Bought four bikes in three years. I still have and ride them all, but haven't bought one (for myself) in a while. The trick was wanting the bike to excel at one particular thing. Then later, if you get another, require it to excel in a different area. Next thing you know, you have a stable of bikes you love, and you pull the appropriate arrow from your quiver for todays ride.

But I bought one bike that excells in "all around-ness," and that was a steel framed touring bike. $800 new. It accomodates fenders, racks, tires wide enough for the limestone MUP, and can be loaded up. Its the grocery getter, rainy day commuter, spring and fall commuter because it has a rack to carry clothes for the temp swings. Yet I could do a century ride or a tour on it too. If I had to give up my stable for just one bike, it would be the steel framed touring bike.
Hot Potato is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.