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help - would you recommend any of these bikes?

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help - would you recommend any of these bikes?

Old 10-22-11, 08:40 PM
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help - would you recommend any of these bikes?

hi,

my beloved commuter bike (90's era pre-suspension mtb with slicks) was stolen and an angel offered to buy me a bike on bikesdirect.

but since i've never had more than $100 to spend on a bike, i'm lost when it comes to the componentry and frame geometry.

i'm looking for something beefy enough to ride around NYC, geared since i pull a toddler in a bike trailer up hills, and which i can ride thru rain and occasional snow. (discs would be a plus, but i've certainly never had them before and it hasn't stopped me).

here are a few i'm considering. any advice? i'm feeling a bit lost:

2012 Motobecane Cafe Century
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...century_xi.htm

Motobecane Fantom Cross Pro
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._pro_rival.htm

Windsor Cyclo
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/cyclo.htm

Motobecane Fantom Cross Outlaw
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...ane/outlaw.htm

any and all thoughts would be welcome.

thanks!
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Old 10-22-11, 09:24 PM
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I've actually had my eye on the Cross Outlaw for a while as a potential commuter so obviously of those bikes I think that's the most worthy - the only thing I don't like is the front gearing - too narrow between the chain rings for climbing. I don't like the Cafe Century's components too much, but the other two look like fine bikes too, albeit without disc brakes. One has Shimano shifting (Ultegra/105) and the other SRAM Rival - both very nice, but which style you prefer is mostly a matter of personal preference. The Fantom Cross Pro has nicer components overall than the Windsor, but I prefer the gearing on the Windsor.

As for the bike trailer I've never trailed hauling one other than on my MTB or my hybrid, so I'm not sure how that would feel on a bike with drop bars.
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Old 10-22-11, 09:25 PM
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I know almost nothing about mountain bikes, but my wife has a Fantom Cross, and really likes it. We bought it from a coworker who bought it and raced it a year, and she has ridden it all summer. I commute on a Fuji cross bike - a cross bike is a great commuter, in my opinion. Add fenders, lights, a rack, its a great commuter. But take the lights and rack off, put road tires on it, and it is a very good road bike. Very good bike!

Beware - the build at a LBS will cost you about $150. Worth it if you arent a mechanic - in the case of one bike I bought from BD, the frame needed tweaking a bit (turned out a shifter was broken, I sent it back and bought the Fuji).
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Old 10-22-11, 09:37 PM
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outlaw, discs are moving to sross bikes so if youre spending new bike money spend it well.
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Old 10-22-11, 11:00 PM
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I own a Windsor cyclo. Great bike for commuting. Can't speak for the others.
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Old 10-22-11, 11:05 PM
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For the money, I'd go with this https://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...2_10000_202339. Can't go wrong with a steel frame. You'd just need to swap the pads out for some Kool Stop salmons and GTG.
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Old 10-23-11, 11:50 AM
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any thoughts on the nashbar suggestion?

... from the last poster?

or this one?

https://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...2_526536_-1___

htanks for the great suggestions!!
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Old 10-23-11, 02:57 PM
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Nashbar at least has user reviews. Read them.

If you like a value-priced steel bike (heavier and may rust vs. arguably better ride "feel" and indestructibility) I think those they're good options. Personally I don't like heavy bikes and neither of those has disc brakes. One thing I particularly like about Nashbar bikes in general is the lack of decals - perfect for a commuter.
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Old 10-23-11, 03:45 PM
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W/all the road hazzards/debris/potholes, etc. that one can encounter cycling in NYC my tendency would be to go for the Windsor. It's got 32h hubs/rims for cycling under load. That's a sizable consideration. The MBs are all really nice w/great comps for the price point. 20h hubs are a little light for urban/full traffic cycling, though. The Windsor has no rack mounts on the seat stays, but one can get around that by using P-clips available at any hardware store.

If you want disc brakes I'd recommend the Outlaw as it's got the highest spoke count of the MBs and rack mounts. Get a Tubus Fly rack, Jandd Saddlebags and Planet Bike full coverage fenders. Sette blinkies and a Sette Glo back-up HL from https://www.pricepoint.com for 9.00 per and a removable 4 mode Niterider Mi-Newt 150 from https://www.nashbar.com for 70.00. Topeak Road Morph w/Gauge frame pump from https://www.bikeisland.com and your set other than tire levers, tube(s), patch-kit, chaintool, multi-tool and a seatpost bag.

Btw if you commute w/a messenger bag or backpack forget the rack and panniers. You wont need them.
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Old 10-23-11, 05:30 PM
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I pulled kids in trailers for 7 years and I like a flat bar bike for that. It is easier, at least for me, to turn around and look back and talk to my kids. Not saying it can't be done but a more upright position is favorable. I do like your idea of disk brakes especially if you are pulling a trailer in the snow and rain. It is hard enough to stop with a trailer, so the disk brakes will help in this. My ideal bike for your needs is a flat bar bike with disk brakes. Don't know any models off hand but it may be something to consider.
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Old 10-23-11, 05:32 PM
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I have never towed anything on my bike up or down hill, but perhaps another mountain bike or hybrid might be better because they are geared lower. Almost all the bikes mentioned here have road gears and the smallest chainring is 30T on most of them. Even though some of the cassettes go as high as 32T, that still seems pretty big for towing a toddler up a hill -- plus keep in mind the kid will grow and get heavier. The cranks and cassette can be changed, but it is generally less expensive to get a bike with the correct parts included.

I have no idea what the terrain in NYC is like, but I sometimes struggle to get myself up some of these hills in San Francisco. My daily rides involve grades that are 7 to 9% on average that range from 0.5 to 1.5 mi. Some short sections of the climbs are as steep as 12-15%. I'm not crazy about the suspension fork, especially a Suntour one, but it can be locked out.


Maybe something like this, but switch the tires out for street tires. The rims are pretty big though, so 35 or 37 might be the smallest tire that will fit. Alternatively throw some big comfort tires on there rather than big off-road tires.
https://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...9_trail_xi.htm

Last edited by jsdavis; 10-23-11 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 10-23-11, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by nashcommguy
The Windsor has no rack mounts on the seat stays, but one can get around that by using P-clips available at any hardware store.
Actually, the Windsor does have rack mounts on the seat stays.
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Old 10-23-11, 06:12 PM
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Know you are on your own, if you go thru the web sellers,
bikes direct is a warehouse seller. they ship you a box.
the service after the sale will not be there, like if you went thru a proper bike shop.

But if you are already a fairly competent mechanic you may be OK
bypassing the retail shop.

good luck ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-23-11 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 10-23-11, 06:18 PM
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Having ridden a cross bike up some long steep hills, I can tell you that a 3rd (lower) chainring up front would have come in very handy--I'd imagine even more so with a trailer in tow. Given that, I would choose the Café Century from the ones you listed.

BUT, I am under the impression that steel or aluminum framed bikes last longer than carbon (take this with a grain of salt, I've never owned or ridden carbon).

Are you looking at cross bikes for the brake lever options? If so, the Nashbar touring bike could be a good choice. Or, you can pick out a road bike and have cross-style brake levers installed as an extra--they're called "interruptor levers."
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Old 10-23-11, 06:20 PM
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If you have even marginal experience maintaining bikes you should be ok with BD. You need to be able to true wheels and adjust derailers and things of that nature.

The real trick is figuring out sizing. That can be pretty sketchy from just looking at geometry charts online. I wish I would had gone a size bigger.
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Old 10-23-11, 07:49 PM
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I would go with the Windsor Tourist. Why? Well, it's steel. The Windsor Tourist is made from 4130 Chromoly, which is the same steel the Surly bikes are made from. A touring bike will have a wider gear range, and a more comfortable and forgiving ride due to the long wheelbase. Plus, if you decide to do some overnights or tour you have a bike that's set up for it.

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

It's cheaper than the Nashbar steel touring bike and BD gives you free shipping.

There's also the Motobecane Gran Turismo. A hundred bucks more than the Windsor, but much better parts spec.

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

A carbon bike would be nice, but I worry about the durability of carbon if you're leaning it against stuff and locking it over and over again. Steel and aluminum are much more forgiving of abuse. But I'm a retrogrouch, so take what I say with a grain of salt. As for the so-called "steel weight penalty", once you hook a trailer to the light carbon or aluminum bikes it's pretty much a wash.


You're riding around NYC, the bike theft capital of the world. I would think that a flashy cyclocross bike with discs wouldn't last long out of your sight. Your hundred dollar bike would be much less theft prone. If an angel buys you one of these nice bikes, you should buy a really good lock. Maybe a Kryptonite New York Forgettaboutit chain?

https://www.kryptonitelock.com/Produc...=1002&pid=1168
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Old 10-23-11, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Schwinnrider
You're riding around NYC, the bike theft capital of the world. I would think that a flashy cyclocross bike with discs wouldn't last long out of your sight. Your hundred dollar bike would be much less theft prone. If an angel buys you one of these nice bikes, you should buy a really good lock. Maybe a Kryptonite New York Forgettaboutit chain?

https://www.kryptonitelock.com/Produc...=1002&pid=1168
excellent point
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Old 10-24-11, 11:32 AM
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+1 on getting another beater. No reason to ever buy a new bike for commuting around town. I suggest getting an old 3-speed Huffy or Chicago Schwinn and having new alloy wheels made for it. You could get a Nexus 8-speed hub and really be in business. At the price range you are looking at, I think you could probably get a Surly.

Last edited by formicaman; 10-24-11 at 11:41 AM.
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