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A novice needs help picking a commuter ( really I know nothing)

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A novice needs help picking a commuter ( really I know nothing)

Old 01-29-12, 05:15 PM
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shantelle
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A novice needs help picking a commuter ( really I know nothing)

Hi! I am a 25 year old female looking for the perfect bike for my 7 mile daily commute (each way). I currently am using the Trek Calypso Beach cruiser,and am finding it to be terribly inefficient. I am not really interested in racing or anything at this point, I just want something semi-comfortable, fairly fast, and aesthetically appealing. My price range is between $500 and $800. I have been looking at the Trek Allant and the Linus Mixte (links below). I would love some on advice either on these or any other bikes you think would better suit my needs. Thank you so much. Oh! side note, I live in the flatlands of Florida, and am not very efficient with shifting (though I'm sure that is something I could conquer).

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...t/allant_wsd/#
http://www.linusbike.com/models/mixte-3/ (Also comes in 8)
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Old 01-29-12, 05:23 PM
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gerv 
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What do you think the beach cruiser in inefficient? If you want a faster ride, you might think about a drop bar bike with fairly narrow tires. A lot of folks on this forum tend to ride cyclo cross type bikes... not the most aggressive ride but with room for fenders, slightly wider (and more comfortable) tires... that sort of thing.

If you like the more upright position though, the mixte looks very attractive. It's going to be a heavier bike though (hi-ten steel), with only 3 speed gearing. Linus has another model, Dover 5, with better steel and more gears.

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Old 01-29-12, 05:25 PM
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Welcome to the neighborhood!
I, too, commute in the flatlands of FL. I'm in Clearwater so it's really flat.
1. How long have you been riding your cruiser to work?
2. Is your fitness level to the point of moving up in speed?
3. Your budget can/will get you a good bike - but defining what you need and where you want to go with bikes and commuting will determine what is recommended.

I ride a cheap 7-speed Schwinn cruiser with a seat-post rack. But, I'm OLD and don't give a rip what people think of me! I can imagine you want something a little snazzier! I'm sure the gurus will be chiming in shortly!
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Old 01-29-12, 05:40 PM
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Test ride both and buy the one that's
more comfortable/ agrees with you
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Old 01-29-12, 05:56 PM
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The key is how long you've been riding? Just getting started? Keep that mental checklist of what you want, and revise it every ride before it doesn't change any more. I'd personally start looking at something along the Trek FX line. They're upright and comfortable and widely available. They make lack in style points, but if you are a year round commuter style points may drop in importance pretty quick.
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Old 01-29-12, 06:20 PM
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Are you really set on the upright position? I would say you should at least take a couple of test rides on bikes with a little more bent-forward riding position. Like maybe a flat-bar "fitness" bike or a relaxed-geometry touring or cyclocross bike. The less-upright riding position of these bikes makes for greater efficiency, because you will be more aerodynamic and also because it is easier to put more power into your pedal stroke. Also, in some ways these types of bikes can be more comfortable for longer rides because your weight is more balanced (less weight on your bum, more on your arms).

Edit: Just perused the Trek site and the FX series (suggested above) is an example of what I was thinking of when I said a fitness bike. Many of the big manufacturers make something similar.

Last edited by Spld cyclist; 01-29-12 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 01-29-12, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
What do you think the beach cruiser in inefficient? If you want a faster ride, you might think about a drop bar bike with fairly narrow tires. A lot of folks on this forum tend to ride cyclo cross type bikes... not the most aggressive ride but with room for fenders, slightly wider (and more comfortable) tires... that sort of thing.

If you like the more upright position though, the mixte looks very attractive. It's going to be a heavier bike though (hi-ten steel), with only 3 speed gearing. Linus has another model, Dover 5, with better steel and more gears.

Lovin' the retro looks of this one. Like the Linus 8 sp even better. One can take it on holiday if going to a less flat area. If one doesn't like the upright position have your lbs flip the handlebars for you. That'll give you an ability to lower your profile in windy situations. The IGH(Internally Geared Hub) is great...until one gets a flat. Then it can get tricky. Learn to change your own tube so some well-intentioned Samaritan doesn't goof up your gear settings after changing your tube.

Get a good HL like a Niterider Mi-Newt 150 Cordless. 70.00 @ http://www.nashbar.com. 2 or 3 rear blinkies from http://www.pricepoint.com Enter Sette ST 316 Glo in the site search and it'll come right up. 10.00US...good price for that quality of light.

As one gains commuting experience what works for you in terms of accessories will become more and more clear. WB cage, frame pump, trunkbag or panniers, multi-tool, tire levers, patch-kit, toolbag, etc. Would suggest taking a basic maintenance course @ a local bike co-op or adult learning center. It'll prove to be invaluable. Bicycles are deceptively complicated machines.

Most of all enjoy your new bike whatever you decide and welcome to the Commuting sub-forum!

PS: For a frame-pump I'm going to recommend the Topeak Road Morph w/gauge. It's available for 35.00US from http://www.bikeisland.com Operates like a small floor pump. I've got one on all of my bikes.
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Old 01-29-12, 09:43 PM
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I think both of those bikes are also going to be "inefficient" because they are probably on the heavy side and are upright riding position and 3 speed on the Linus. The Trek FX 7.2 WSD is in your price range and there seem to be a lot of happy 7.2 commuters. It will be a good all round bike, but might be too aggressive for you. The Alliant WSD and Atwood are similar bikes. You should test ride a lot of bikes to get a better idea of what you like and what you don't like. I'm sure there are other brands that have similar offerings. Your local bike store people should be able to help you find similar bikes. If the bikes don't come equipped with fenders, the store can probably get you set up with fenders for $40-50. Shifting is something that takes a little bit of practice. I'm inclined to think that bikes with fewer speeds/gears are going to all be on the heavy side. Perhaps someone on this forum might be familiar with the offerings of lighter, no front derailleur bikes.
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Old 01-30-12, 04:34 AM
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My recipie for a good commuter for 2x7 miles is a lightweight aluminium frame with non suspension fork, a hub gear with more than 3 gears, and clearance for medium sized tyres. If you want to ride through a grimy winter, then disk brakes are a plus but not required for Florida.
I just had a quick look around at USA models and the best I can see is Raleigh Alysa i8. It has a crossbar style frame but women's geometry. It is probably lighter and sportier than those "lifestyle" bikes with excess metal.
I switched over to hub gears from a std derailleur setup and find it clean, efficient, very easy to use and maintain. Wheel removal is a bit more involved but not difficult and you should be using the most highly protected tyres you can fit (eg Schwalbe marathon Plus). I have used 3 speed and 8 speed and prefer the extra gears of 8 even on flatter terrain.

You need to add accessories, possibly rack, fenders, lights, lock, repair kit and get a helmet and gloves for protection.
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Old 01-30-12, 05:35 AM
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Might look at the Soma Buena Vista just as another option.http://www.somafab.com/archives/product/buena-vista
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Old 01-30-12, 08:40 AM
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+1 on the Trek FX. They have been great for me for commuting.
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Old 01-30-12, 08:51 AM
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Another vote for Trek FX. (Mostly because I have one.) It will put you somewhere in between upright and road bike. I have a 7.3 and love it.
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Old 01-30-12, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by littlefoot View Post
Might look at the Soma Buena Vista just as another option.http://www.somafab.com/archives/product/buena-vista
I love the looks of the Buena Vista, but I doubt it could get built up in her price range as the frameset alone runs $4-500.
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Old 01-30-12, 10:19 AM
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#1, shop for the bike shop. Go talk to each of them. they will keep you going ..
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Old 01-31-12, 01:57 PM
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check out Jamis. They have a lot of nice commuters at reasonable prices. I'd recommend Coda and Satellite, esp.
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Old 01-31-12, 02:31 PM
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My first recommendation is to go directly to a local bike shop that is known for being honest and reputable, if you don't know of any check with some of your local cycling friends for recommendations. It should be a shop with a good selection of all types of bikes and not a boutique shop that will try to sell you on their philosophy. Don't go in on a Saturday morning, best to go in on like a Tuesday afternoon. Find a salesperson that you're comfortable with and explain what you stated in your post. Have the salesperson walk you through the options, there are many. The recommendations you get here (no offense anyone) are going to be recommendations that validate the choices that we've made for our own commuting/riding situation. One (or even two) of us might provide you with the answer you'll need. You'll have no way of knowing which one of us is correct relative to your needs. That said, this will be a process. What you "think" are your needs now may not mesh with what your needs are in actuality. If you're lucky you'll buy the perfect bike right from the get go, chances are after about 6 months is you'll start to think, "I wish I had known that when I bought my bike" or something along those lines. We all go through that, or most of us do.
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Old 01-31-12, 02:56 PM
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Smaller wheel bikes , like Bike Friday give you the step thru frame too.

You will find the Folding bike section here has a continuing face off of competing claims..

Oh Wait ..Hockey and Florida may not make sense as a metaphor ..

3 speeds .. a cruise along gear, flanked by one for the wind at your back.
another when it's against you ..
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Old 01-31-12, 03:13 PM
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To Bike Forums, Shantelle!


As you can see, we're trying to assist you to the best our abilities!

....We will continue to do so!

My vote goes for the Jamis Coda Sport Femme hybrid. It rides like a dream! It's not only great on cornering, but overall handling, in general. It's frame is made of 520 chromoly steel and can be fitted with both rack and fenders. The optimum tire width is 38mm, therefore most mountainous dirt trails will not be a challenge. The Jamis Coda Sport was selected as the Editor's Choice, of Bicycling magazine's most coveted award, for being the best hybrid of the year for 2011.

The Jamis Coda, is an excellent commuter bicycle!

Good Luck!

- Slim

PS.

Check it out, Shantelle!

www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/street/coda/12_codasportf_rd.html

(Click here)

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Old 01-31-12, 04:09 PM
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I think "gerv" gave excellent advice. The pictured bike looks like you could even flip the handle bars and make a moustache bar out of them.
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Old 01-31-12, 08:49 PM
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Does anyone sell Giant near where you live? They make a mixte that might make a good commuter.
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-ca/....w/9811/49440/
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