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Looking for stylish commuting bike for the girl...

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Looking for stylish commuting bike for the girl...

Old 09-29-10, 08:13 AM
  #1  
ROJA
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Looking for stylish commuting bike for the girl...

So the girl has an older mountain bike that she doesn't really like riding. She wants to get more into utility and commuting by bike. These would be pretty short trips (at least at first), probably 2-3 miles each way max.

Here is what she wants:

1. STYLE (bike must look good, not like something her mom would ride, e.g., this is bad: https://www.trekbikes.com/women/wsd_p...avigator30wsd/ and it can't look like a mountain bike or a typical ugly hybrid) -- we live in an area where there are lots of cyclists and hipsters on bikes and she wants to think her bike is "cute" and I suspect she is more likely to ride it if she loves how it looks (also, she says nothing too "girly" but I'm not sure what that means) (oh, and she prefers for the frame to be one color, but I'm not sure if this is vital or not).

2. UTILITY -- she would love things like racks/baskets, fenders, full chainguard, etc., and we live in an area with lots of bike theft, so I am thinking that bikes with no QR wheels/seat would also be nice (although I can retrofit if necessary). The bike would be kept outdoors a fair amount of the time and would be locked up outside while at work, shopping, etc., so it can't be something I'd worry about getting stolen all the time. I also suspect she would prefer a mixte-type frame because she will be riding in dresses and skirts sometimes.

3. SKINNY TIRES -- I don't mean 23s, but she doesn't want fat tires or mountain tires.

4. GEARS -- Can't be a single-speed bike, but she would probably be OK with a 3 speed. I was thinking that a belt-drive bike would be perfect but they may not be too mainstream yet, so that's not a big deal. I suspect that an IGH would be handy and will probably be the only choice in a bike of this variety anyway -- pros and cons?

5. DYNAMO POWERED LIGHTS -- Not a big deal to her, but they sound very handy. Anyone know how well these work and how much they slow you down? Also, it seems like they would be harder to steal then a regular quickie light that just pops out.

So far, she likes the Giant Via 1 W (test ridden) and she LOVES the Trek Belleville WSD (just from the website, not ridden yet).

Any experience with bikes of this genre? The Trek is apparently 40 lbs!!! Would it be super super slow on the flats or decent. That is more than double the weight of my road bike! Anything else she should consider (factors, features, or actual bike models)?

Also, how hard would it be on a bike like this to keep it outside all the time? I always keep my bikes inside, but she would prefer to keep it out for easy access.

Thanks for any tips!

Last edited by ROJA; 09-30-10 at 12:38 AM.
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Old 09-29-10, 08:45 AM
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I wouldn't be concerned about weight too much unless it's hilly. It doesn't seem like she's interested in high performance or long rides. Where I would get worried about weight is if at some point she might end up in an apartment or someplace where she'd be lugging it up or down stairs.

Fashion is a funny thing. Though she doesn't want to ride the kind of bike her mother likes, the kind of bike your girl is interested in look very much like the bikes my mother rode in the early 60's.

Last edited by tjspiel; 09-29-10 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 09-29-10, 09:19 AM
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Sounds like you're describing the Pashley Princess Sovereign.
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Old 09-29-10, 09:24 AM
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At 2-3 miles you can ride almost anything, so style takes the primary consideration. My wife does most of her riding in the 2-3 mile range, and rides a pink cruiser bike, with a rear rack and Wald folding rear baskets This is not the bike for your wife - it has fat tires , but it fits my wife perfectly. Of course my wife is probably closer to the girl's mom's age, so it may be too close to what her mom would ride . Have you thought about the Civia Loring? It looks like a good light weight utility bike, with some style.
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Old 09-29-10, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
I wouldn't be concerned about weight too much unless it's hilly. It doesn't seem like she's interested in high performance or long rides. Where I would get worried about weight is if at some point she might end up in an apartment or someplace where she'd be lugging it up or down stairs.

Fashion is a funny thing. Though she doesn't want to ride the kind of bike her mother likes, the kind of bike your girl is interested look very much like the bikes my mother road in the early 60's.
I assume she is local around here, if not, then ignore this post. Prettty much agree with tjspiel, my bike is close to 40 lbs and it's not bad at all in the flat. I do slow down on freeway overpass. However if she is in Berkeley, then going toward the hills from the shoreline can be a little more challenging such as going from GGF to UCB. On the on the other hand, if she is in Oak town, then the 40 lbs bike is ok.

Is she planning to commute anywhere on Bart with this bike? That 40 lbs might be an issue as we know how the elevator are so poorly maintain on those station. Too often I find myself hauling my bike up to the platform using the stair and 40 lbs up those stair can be a work out.
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Old 09-29-10, 10:26 AM
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How about a folding bike? solve the theft problem by taking it inside instead of leaving it on the street..

And BART commutes during peak hours are where a folding bike is allowed.
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Old 09-29-10, 10:39 AM
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I Have a Brompton, Mine is Black , but, theyre made in a rainbow of colors , now.
the 3 by 2~ 6 speed is a good reliable rear hub.
optional crank with a 44 tooth chainring lowers the range, [versus the 50 or 54T]
front bag system makes a good quick to remove shoulder bag to carry computer and
notes and books ..

this year there is a Shimano made hub dynamo option, for folding bikes..
Dealer in Palo Alto : https://www.foldabikes.com/
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Old 09-29-10, 10:45 AM
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This one is somewhat similar to those. REI has their also vaguely similar Safari and Fusion bikes on sale right now too but if they all truly are available only in the sizes indicated on the web site they are not likely to fit. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Ken
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Old 09-29-10, 10:49 AM
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The Trek Belleville Mixte: https://www.trekbikes.com/women/wsd_p...bellevillewsd/

I'm going to test one myself.
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Old 09-29-10, 10:51 AM
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Thanks for the tips so far. She will be riding mostly in Oakland, so it's relatively flat. No stairs unless she wants to take the bike on BART (not a bad point). On those few occasions, she could probably take the elevator.

Folding bikes are definitely out (I even offered to let her ride mine). They fail badly in the style category, apparently.
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Old 09-29-10, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by ROJA View Post
Thanks for the tips so far. She will be riding mostly in Oakland, so it's relatively flat. No stairs unless she wants to take the bike on BART (not a bad point). On those few occasions, she could probably take the elevator.

Folding bikes are definitely out (I even offered to let her ride mine). They fail badly in the style category, apparently.
Remind her that the mixte is NOT a "girls bike," despite Trek calling it a "women specific design."
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Old 09-29-10, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by ilynne View Post
Remind her that the mixte is NOT a "girls bike," despite Trek calling it a "women specific design."
???

Not sure I understand. So does that mean she shouldn't ride one? Why not?
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Old 09-29-10, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by ROJA View Post
Thanks for the tips so far. She will be riding mostly in Oakland, so it's relatively flat. No stairs unless she wants to take the bike on BART (not a bad point). On those few occasions, she could probably take the elevator.

Folding bikes are definitely out (I even offered to let her ride mine). They fail badly in the style category, apparently.
She should fine with that heavier bike. I've seen some very stylish rider around Oakland mainly by the lake and Whole Food area. I don't see too much Spandex but more better dress female rider around there. So I can see why she want to commute with some styling.

I will recomend some extra light system. Driver in Oakland can be good or really awful, so just be sure she get seen at night. I have some good luck so far for not having my Magic Shine stolen when I do lockup in Oakland (knock on wood).

Just remind her to stop at the lights and stop sign if she ever do get out to Berkeley because of that recent silly crackdown on cyclist here. Sheesh, $200 ticket? Terrible!
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Old 09-29-10, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by ROJA View Post
???

Not sure I understand. So does that mean she shouldn't ride one? Why not?
I would have to guess that comment was aimed at the "Not too girly" request.

Mixtes have a very high degree of "Oh wow that's a Mixte" factor. I'm a 6' male, and I ride one, and I love mine. Most people can't remember what to call it, they just say "that's one of those whatcha callit bikes, ain't it?"... "Cooool".

P.S.... When the Mixte style frame was developed in the late 1890's, it was considered a Unisex frame. The word Mixte is a corruption of the French word meaning "Either, or Both"...
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Old 09-29-10, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by ROJA View Post
???

Not sure I understand. So does that mean she shouldn't ride one? Why not?
No, it means men ride mixtes also, just not the WSD sized ones.
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Old 09-29-10, 11:51 AM
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Gotcha on the mixte thing, thanks.
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Old 09-29-10, 11:54 AM
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I'm just finishing a Singlespeed Mixte for my GF as a birthday present, i think that mixtes have a lot of style (vintage ones even more!)

Last edited by slims_s; 09-29-10 at 11:56 AM. Reason: added link to mixte C&V sticky
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Old 09-29-10, 11:56 AM
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Since you a near SF take a look at Public.

https://publicbikes.com/Bikes
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Old 09-29-10, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by ROJA View Post
Here is what she wants:

1. STYLE...
An Electra Amsterdam Alexander Girard 3i, perhaps? A Specialized Globe Live 2 Mixte might do. There's the Nirve Wilshire Ladies 3-spd and the Linus Mixte 3. You want style and didn't set a price, so I have to mention the A.N.T. Mixte models (and a Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit! Or two!) Pursuing that line of thought, Rivendell offers the Betty Foy. Would something like an Alex Moulton TSR2 capture her fancy? (No, it does NOT fold.)

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Old 09-29-10, 12:13 PM
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Electra definitely get style points.



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Old 09-29-10, 12:32 PM
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My sister's friend has the "Bad Kitty" and loves it, but it's a single speed.
There's a number of geared models available by these people too. Most of their bikes scream retro, which seems to be the style these days.
They're priced reasonably too.
https://www.manhattancruisers.com/bikes.htm
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Old 09-29-10, 12:59 PM
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Fits skinny tires, SF built (or designed, anyway): https://www.somafab.com/bvista.html
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Old 09-29-10, 01:25 PM
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I know you said folding bikes are out, but something like the Dahon Brizza or Ciao sounds just about right for her needs... especially with the added bonus of taking it on BART during rush hour.

https://us.dahon.com/bikes/4887/briza-d3

https://us.dahon.com/bikes/1640/ciao-p3p7p8
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Old 09-29-10, 01:58 PM
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Breezer Uptown 8... practical and utilitarian and comes like that right off the peg.

The Electra is nice and very stylish but find they make some of their parts out of cheese.

The Breezer is a more versatile bicycle and really takes it's style cues from modern European commuter bicycles... my finacee rides one and I love her bike even though the upright and well set back position is too much for my back to bear.
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Old 09-29-10, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ROJA View Post
Folding bikes are definitely out (I even offered to let her ride mine). They fail badly in the style category, apparently.
Oh, say it isn't so! Not this one, or this one, or even this one? And then there is this one (seen with a price but a distorted picture here) but the Lockjaw hinge requires a hex key to operate and it may not be for everyone. I put fenders and a rear rack on my Mu P8 and it is a real joy to do a bike/train commute with it. Even though California rail systems are much more bike friendly than Illinois rail systems are, carrying a folded 20 incher through transportation infrastructure is much more fun than carrying a full sized bike. If She Who Must Be Pleased is going to ride a train much with this bike a folder is the way to go.

Ken
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