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Looking for a rugged lightweight bike for urban abuse?

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Looking for a rugged lightweight bike for urban abuse?

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Old 09-08-09, 05:59 PM
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Red Eyes
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Looking for a rugged lightweight bike for urban abuse?

Hoping to get some advice from some bike experts about the type of bike I should be looking for and the price range.

(Important factors = Weight, Ruggedness/Durability, and cost “aka” best bike for the money).

My background: I am currently in medical school and mainly use my bike to commute but also like to abuse it on ruff urban terrain.

Basically, I currently have an old trek 820 antelope that I use to commute to school three miles away. The commute is full of steep up and down hill paths, so weight is an important issue for me. My city is not super bike friendly, so along the way, I have to jump a lot of curbs and serious pot holes and cracks.

My other use (for fun), is that I like to do what I call urban mountain biking. My school is full of high stairs that you can jump or ride down with your bike and lots of ledges you can jump off of. I do this for enjoyment and derive a lot of pleasure from it. So what I would like is a bike with some kind of suspension as opposed to my hardtail double butted bike, which inadvertently hurts my knees and package if I am sitting. To visualize the stairs I go down, think of the stairs from the Philadelphia library from the movie rocky. Also, the ledges I jump off of are about three to four feet high. My rims always get warped or go out of true, so I stopped doing this, but would like to get back into it (got nothing else to do while around the school).

The biggest problem I have had is that the rims easily go out of true and get bent. So a bike with rims that can stand a lot of abuse are very important to me. I know that going down stairs and doing these jumps on concrete will hurt anything but if you know of something that can handle the type of abuse I am putting on it, I would very much appreciate it.

My last factor is price. I only make 50 dollars a week tutoring physics/chemistry to undergrads at the university so I will have to save for a while. Please take that into consideration with your recommendations. (I can't work more than four hours a week, its just too much with the studying).

To conclude, the question is: what do you recommend for the type of riding I am doing? My friends all tell me just not to ride it the way I am, but if this is what I want for fun, then I hope I can be able to do it.

Also, let me know if you need more details, I can edit my question and you can edit your answer. Thanks in advance for the advice.
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Old 09-08-09, 06:24 PM
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exile
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You may want to ask this question on the Mountain Biking forum. You can use any bike to commute on.

It's about priorities and compromises as no bike will do everything well. I'm not trying to discourage you in the least, but some bikes will perform better than others given certain situations or parameters. I am not familiar with Urban Mountain Biking (only the Youtube vids) but looking at the bikes in the vid a mountain bike would be the place to start.
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Old 09-08-09, 06:26 PM
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Red Eyes
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Thanks brother, will do.

Since I am a newb, do you think anyone will get offended if I ask the same question in another location (like you said the mt. bike page)?
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Old 09-08-09, 06:38 PM
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I don't see anyone getting offended by asking your question in a probably more appropriate forum.

You can ask about the type of bike I commute on (hybridized mountain bike and touring bike), but I couldn't answer your questions on what to bring on a tour or how to negotiate single track.
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Old 09-08-09, 07:08 PM
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There is no "lightweight" bike that will withstand that abuse (I say that knowing full well that my Kona Stuff will get the same treatment later this week ). I would think that if you want to play around and jump off stuff, get a dirt-jumping type MTB. I ride a Kona Stuff and find it perfect for aggressive urban riding, but to try and ride it the 5 miles to work is brutal. I have done it, but it is not fun. You could get something fully rigid (no suspension fork), but make sure it is beefy.

I think the best solution is 2 bikes. One "good", beefy bike to play on, and then one (probably an older road bike) to actually commute on. The benefit here is that bike #2 would be cheap and you could lock it anywhere with little risk.
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Old 09-08-09, 07:37 PM
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ermmm....maybe a bmx bike would be good for the 'urban mountain biking.' most bikes just aren't up to that kind of treatment.
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Old 09-08-09, 07:53 PM
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Your bike is pretty nice, maybe you can find a local bike-coop that has a set of used wheels in better condition. Otherwise a set of wheels from BWW with Sun rims and XT hubs will handle lots of abuse:

http://www.bicyclewheelwarehouse.com/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=44

Just to hold you over until you have some big $$ for a new bike.....

Last edited by Mr IGH; 09-08-09 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 09-08-09, 08:18 PM
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first, I too am in medical school so i feel your pain. second, the bike you have is probably up to the abuse at least until you start residency and can make some money. If I were looking to do that, i would invest in a nice set of rims instead of a whole bike. remember, you can take the nice expensive rims off the bike and put them on a new one when you get one. Also some good fat tires might make a difference to the rims, also a new seat may help the package. BMXers do this type of stuff all the time w/o suspension. Good luck in school.
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Old 09-08-09, 08:46 PM
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820 is a pretty decent frame that is not unreasonably heavy. Just sold one off and it was a decent rider. Factory rims were a little cheap.

I'd say upgrade to some better rims and keep what you have. Mavic on the upper end and CR18 suns on the budget. You can get the CR18 off Ebay for Loose rims $60 to your door. If you are in a hurry and can't wait for them to pop up on CL. Or about $35 a loose rim at most shops.

It really isn't bad to relace a wheel. If the rims are the same profile measurement you will likely get away with loosing up all the spokes and lay the new rim on the old rim lining up the stem hole and offsets and moving one spoke over at a time.
http://sheldonbrown.com/wheels/index.html

http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/rims/559.html


Another good wheel building tip site.
http://miketechinfo.com/new-tech-wheels-tires.htm
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Old 09-08-09, 08:47 PM
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light - strong - cheap. As with anything mechanical, You can pick any 2.
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Old 09-09-09, 10:00 AM
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You could try putting Schwalbe Big Apple tyres on the bike if it has the clearance - even some MTBs don't. It's like adding suspension to a bike. I don't know if they're designed for jumps. If not, buy a jump tyre like a Table Top. There is no reason why an urban jump tyres should slow you down - "narrow equals fast" is for people who don't RTFM. See

http://www.schwalbetires.com/balloon_bikes

http://uk.shopping.com/xPO-Schwalbe-...UMP-BIKE-TYRES

And especially this

http://www.mtbr.com/cat/tires-and-wh...1_1564crx.aspx

Fat shock absorbing tyres are definitely the largest part of the answer. You might try re-truing your wheels using an online guide. If that doesn't work, consider new wheels - but not a new bike. The bike's weight isn't the problem.

Last edited by meanwhile; 09-09-09 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 09-09-09, 10:39 AM
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I think that your current bike fits the bill just fine, especially since you have to jump curbs and potholes, and want to do tricks on stairs and such. Lighter road or cyclocross bikes would be more likely fall apart on you, with that kind of abuse. I would outfit the bike that you have with slicker high-pressure tires (at least 60 psi), and save your money to buy new wheels and hubs. No way around it, you are going to go through some rims and spokes riding like that.

If jumping and slamming your bike around is what you like to do, then I agree with others and think that you should throw your idea of having a light bike out the window. I would suggest a BMX bike, a full-suspension moutain bike, or an older and heavier mountain bike made either from over-engineered chromolly steel or over-sized aluminum (say 1987-1995). Some of those old bike frames can take a real pounding, but they are even heavier than your current bike.

I still say that you should just outfit your current bike with higher pressure tires, and be prepared to replace your wheels sometime over the next year.
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