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Beginner Cyclist Needs Help Choosing a Bike

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Beginner Cyclist Needs Help Choosing a Bike

Old 02-07-12, 05:35 AM
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Tohtruck
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Beginner Cyclist Needs Help Choosing a Bike

Hello all, I am a newbie and I have zero knowledge about bikes.

I am looking to buy something that I can commute around New York City streets with. And, although not a huge priority, something that is versatile so I can humor the notion of riding off-road. I want something relatively comfortable (seems like it would be more comfy to sit a bit upright) and I am not exactly looking to be the fastest guy on the street either. I just want something simple and entry-level, but also don't want to end up with complete crap.

Also, I don't want anything too flashy that screams out "steal me!" or "rob all my parts!"

My price range is around $500.

I would like to buy a complete. I don't really have the time and energy to do all the research into putting together components for a custom bike. I also don't know anything. Chances are I wouldn't be able to differentiate a good ride from a bad ride.

A buddy of mine, suggested that I look into getting a single speed/fixed gear road bike.

I was thinking maybe an inexpensive entry-level hybrid.

I visited some of the local bike shops yesterday. Here's some of the bikes they suggested:

Fat Cycles (couldn't find a website for this brand; actually couldn't find any information at all on this brand) for $420

Pure Fix for $420

Redline 925 (they didn't have it at the store, but suggested I look into it)

KHS Urban Soul for $400

Felt Brougham for $550

I would also like to add that I think I would be more comfortable riding a free wheel. According to the employees that I talked to, all/most of the models I listed are flip-flop (they can be converted to free wheel or fixed gear).

Right now, I am leaning towards the Felt Brougham, or possibly the KHS Urban Soul. But I would like to hear some input and suggestions.
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Old 02-07-12, 05:51 AM
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How far do you plan to ride?
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Old 02-07-12, 07:57 AM
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Check out the Trek Earl it fits in your range and is a pretty basic steel framed single speed and it looks good and not that attractive. You can also take a look at the aluminum District S which goes a little over your budget but can be used in bad weather a little more as salt and water won't corrode the frame. People say that aluminum frames can crack but I don't think its a big issue with Trek or other quality companies and they offer a lifetime warrantee to the original owner of all their frames. Bicycle Habitat in Soho should have them avalible to test and their prices are usually pretty decent and they will most likely price match if you find it cheaper elsewhere.
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Old 02-07-12, 09:04 AM
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The whole fixie thing is a bit of a fashion statement. If you are an experienced, hardcore messanger or a racer wanting a winter training bike, then go ahead, but as a newbie who wants transportation and a bit of off-road playtime, it is just the wrong bike.
Do you need to carry any luggage or shopping around town on a rear rack?
Do you want to protect work clothes from dirty splashes with fenders?
I would suggest you look for a bike with no suspension, clearance for fat tyres and studded winter tyres, threaded eyelets for luggage rack and fenders.
If you want to convert to singlespeed or fixed or hub gears at a later date, look for a frame with a suitable chain-tensioning arrangement rather than the std Vertical Dropouts (ie, horizontal dropouts, track ends, eccentic bottom bracket or sliding vertical dropouts). I would also suggest using disc brakes for a grimy New York winter.
My Dahon Cadenza does most of that (and folds).
I am agnostic on the 700c vs 26" wheel argument and on steel vs aluminium. I use and like both and really dont care which I ride. I have left steel bikes outside 24/7 in salty environments with no corrossion issues.
A std hybrid style bike will solve most of your problems within budget and is the easiest to buy. Sportier cyclo-cross style models are really a hike in price.
Budget for accessories (lock, lights, luggage, repair kit, helmet)
Do you have any storage issues?

Do make sure you get the correct size.
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Old 02-07-12, 09:09 AM
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TO BIKE FORUMS, TOHTRUCK!

Our members will try to assist you to the best of our abilities with all of your cycling questions!

However we'll need to have several questions answered first.

1) Would it be possible to raise the budget a bit? (Possibly to $600 or $700)

2) What type of terrain will you be traversing?....Any hills?

3) What type of cycling condition are you in, generally?

4) How long is your commute, round trip?

Most Respectfully,

Slim

PS.

The more you spend over $500, the more your bike can vastly improve with just an extra $100. I think that $500 is marginal unless you buy online where minimal mechanical skills are required, or if you buy used from Craigslist. Of course, you could most definitely get a decent Single Speed for that amount without question. However, if you have any hill(s) at all, most people do better with multiple gears.

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Old 02-07-12, 09:22 AM
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Couple of pointers:

1. The Redline 925 that was suggested to you would be a great bike on the streets, but it's no longer in production.
2. Since you're thinking about possibly going off-road, then you will want a bike that either comes with or has the clearance for wide tires.
3. Go with your gut about the hybrid. While I fully understand the appeal of SS, I'd advise against it at this point for you since a)you're totally clueless about what gearing you'd be happiest with and b)your fitness level should improve, which will also affect your gearing choice.

If you have any Kona dealers nearby, then take a look at the Dew. Since you already mentioned KHS, then the Urban Xcape would fit your needs and budget.
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Old 02-07-12, 10:13 AM
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Torker makes a few models in your price range:
http://www.torkerusa.com/

A single-speed freewheel bike is a nice and simple and will be fine for 99% of NYC terrain, if you're not hauling too much stuff. An IG bike like the Torker Graduate has most of simplicity of a single speed, plus the advantage of gears.

You can go fixed, too, but if you are a self-described newbie I would concentrate on getting comfortable riding in the city and not worrying about getting used to riding fixed at the same time.
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Old 02-07-12, 10:30 AM
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I would suggest going to a shop that sells both single
speed and geared bikes. Test ride a SS on the nearest
bridge, then do the same with a geared hybrid. Another
thing to consider is mounting points for fenders and a rack,
some SS/fixies don't have them but most hybrids will.
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Old 02-07-12, 11:52 AM
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Simple=good.
Unless you will be dealing with large hills, Single Speed would be a really good place to start, IMO.

Also, just to avoid confusion Singlespeed (SS) is a single cog bike (one speed) with a freewheel, while a Fixed Gear (FG) lacks the freewheel. SS is totally workable and represents a really nice option to start with, and offers compatability to convert to an internally-geared hub at a later date, if desired. As mentioned by others, I'd avoid a fixed gear (no freewheel, no coasting) if you are getting started.

Since you express an interest in venturing off road, I'd recommend a SS mountain bike or cyclocross bike, either of which can be fitted with slick tires for your street use. By your post, it seems that your offroad needs might be met with a cyclocross bike or a "hybrid" that allows you to mount tires 32-40mm (or larger)
Look for frames that allow you to mount fenders and/or a rear rack.

The Torker Graduate might be an option. 5 speed internal hub (simpler, cleaner drive train, trouble free shifting), ready for fenders/rack, and sufficient for dirt roads, smooth trails.

Here is a good bang for the buck bike from Bikesdirect, which would necessitate some assembly/fine tuning, but would be a solid value.

ANother option from BD: http://bikesdirect.com/products/mercier/kilott_wt5.htm Sort of a drop bar equivalent of the torker graduate.
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Old 02-07-12, 01:59 PM
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A hearty endorsement for the Torker Graduate from me. Got mine off of Craigslist, and while it's not immaculate, its in great running condition. I was also pleased that I found a 2010 model, so it's grey, and not the brown that it comes in now (just an issue of my own taste). It's not flashy, almost no decals and logos, which I like, and which is good if you're riding in the city. Park it next to a Bianchi!
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Old 02-07-12, 09:43 PM
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Thanks for all the responses, lots of helpful information and suggestions.

I still have to check out more bike shops. So I'll ask about the models you guys mentioned. I probably won't go out of my way to order a bike off the internet that I haven't been able to ride. So basically, I'm going to narrow it down to just what the local bike shops have in stock.

So, to answer some of the questions posted:

I don't plan to ride ridiculously long distances. Basically the furthest I want to travel with the bike is maybe biking to another borough (like easily accessible parts of Brooklyn i.e. Williamsburg, DUMBO, Downtown BK, Parkslope might be a stretch, or Astoria, Long Island City, etc.) and of course around Manhattan.

Any areas really out of my way, or if I have to get somewhere in a rush for work purposes, or if I have to transport equipment. I'll probably be using public transportation. I'll probably, at least initially, use the bike for leisurely strolls, running quick errands, getting over to friends' places. or just getting places when I know I am not incredibly strapped for time.

Richard4993
Thanks, yeah, I haven't checked out Bicycle Habitat yet. I plan on going there tomorrow. Thanks for the suggestion.

Can you recommend any other good bike shops? I've checked out Bikes By George (he showed me a bike and was nice, but after mentioning the bike, an Origin8 for and his price, $495, to the other bike shops, they respectfully informed me that I would have gotten ripped off). Landmark Vintage was helpful, even though they weren't selling the kinds of bikes I was interested in, the dude there still helped me out. Busy Bee Bikes was super nice and informative. NYC Velo was also extremely nice and helpful. Right now, I am leaning towards getting the Felt Brougham there.

MichaelW
Yeah, those were the bikes that the stores (that I've checked out so far) recommended to me. I don't plan on riding a fixed gear bike. But based on what I was telling the people at the stores, those were the suggestions they gave me. Given, that the models I listed were flip-flop hubs. I will probably ride free wheel.

No, I don't plan on carrying luggage or any sort of cargo that would require a rear rack. If I'm in a situation where I will be carrying or picking up some cargo (aside from what I can fit into my backpack) I will not be cycling.

Don't care to put fenders on my bike. Just the bare minimum.

Most of the details you mentioned went way over my head. During winter time, I probably won't be biking around much. It has been a very mild winter here (global climate change), but I plan on not riding when it's brutal outside.

Thanks Slimrider,
I'm not looking to up the budget much. I'm willing to go to $600 (with tax) but no more than that.

The terrain I will be traversing is mostly concrete paved streets. There's not very many hills in New York City. I don't have plans on going off-road, but wouldn't mind having the option and not needing it.

"3) What type of cycling condition are you in, generally?"

Sorry, I don't really understand the question. What do you mean by cycling condition? And what do you mean by generally?

There's no set time for my commute. I will be using it just to get around, take leisurely rides, get to places, run errands etc.

Yes, based on my research and talking to friends and colleagues who bike, I am looking to buy a decent single speed bike.

Thanks for the suggestions no1mad. Yeah, I kinda felt that a hybrid would be my best bet. But based on all the information and the needs and concerns I mentioned to the bike shops, those were the models they suggested. The guy at NYC Velo, said that the Felt Brougham wasn't exactly a hybrid bike, but it was a road frame with some hybrid parts and it would be a good choice for my needs.

thanks Rockfish, yeah I don't plan on hauling much of anything more than a laptop and anything else that can fit in my backpack. What's an IG bike?

Good thinking 1nterceptor. I should just test a geared hybrid and a single speed

Ok, so I guess I'm going to have to check the stores if they have Torker Graduate. I thought about getting something from Bikes Direct, but I'm not comfortable ordering something over the internet that I cannot test drive.

Thanks so much for the replies everyone!
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Old 02-07-12, 10:07 PM
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You're already ahead of the pack. You've identified a (somewhat) firm budget, realized that as a complete novice to avoid an online purchase, decided to stick with what is available at the various LBSs, and willing to listen to advice.

BTW- 'Cycling Environment/Conditions' basically means surface/weather conditions, hills (big/little/none), traffic density/speeds. Just state you'll be riding in NYC and most people should draw their own conclusion as to your enviroment. Also, IGH stands for Internally Geared Hub.

If you got the time, you might want to check out the glossary of terms on Sheldon's site.
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Old 02-07-12, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Tohtruck View Post
Richard4993
Thanks, yeah, I haven't checked out Bicycle Habitat yet. I plan on going there tomorrow. Thanks for the suggestion.

Can you recommend any other good bike shops? I've checked out Bikes By George (he showed me a bike and was nice, but after mentioning the bike, an Origin8 for and his price, $495, to the other bike shops, they respectfully informed me that I would have gotten ripped off). Landmark Vintage was helpful, even though they weren't selling the kinds of bikes I was interested in, the dude there still helped me out. Busy Bee Bikes was super nice and informative. NYC Velo was also extremely nice and helpful. Right now, I am leaning towards getting the Felt Brougham there.
I mostly go to Bicycle Habitat but I do like Roy's out in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn as they are the closest shop to me and good when I need something fast and can't get into the city. I have been to a few other shops but overall Bicycle Habitat has always been very helpful if there was an issue with my bike. I had a suspension fork issue and they were very helpful with calling Trek and getting them to send me a new part under warranty and they got it done fast. When you buy a bike you also want to have in mind that the shop will help you out if there is ever an issue. Like others have said you should try out as much bikes as possible to see what suits you best so definatly look at geared bikes and see how they compare.
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Old 02-08-12, 01:22 AM
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Hey there TohTruck!

I like the Felt Brougham choice. That exemplifies excellent taste in single speeds. Of course, you may augment your riding potential by considering the best hybrid of the year 2011, according to the editor of Bicycling magazine. The Jamis Coda Sport won this most coveted award just last year. The Jamis Coda Sport has a chromoly steel frame, much like that of the Brougham. Instead of having only a single speed, you'll be accessible to 24 speeds. If you should decide later to take your Coda off-road, onto dirt trails and across the country side, then you'll have no problem. As a hybrid, it's made for that type of terrain, as well. Should the country and wooded trails become challenging, that's ok too. Your Coda can easily be equipped with 38mm wide tires, that will meet just about any dirt-trail challenge. The Jamis Coda can also be equipped with both rack and fenders, should you decide to deliver groceries in the slushed covered winter streets of New York city.

Since the Jamis Coda is made of chromoly steel (just like the Brougham), your bicycle will last for a very long time, provided that you keep it dry. As your components begin to show wear, you can eventually upgrade, at your leisure. However, since you're not climbing any hills, or involved in any type of racing, your components should hold up pretty well.

So there you have it! My two recommedations are the Jamis Coda Sport and the Felt Brougham. You can't go wrong with either one. However, you will get more bang for the buck with the Coda!

www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebikes/street/coda/12_codasport_rd.html
(click on the black color)

- Slim

PS.

Theft prevention:

Place an obviously well-used (but comfortable) seat or saddle on your bike. A ripped and taped-looking seat is an obvious turn-off. Also, if you have a quick release seat, you can just take a nice seat with you. Thieves like to sell saddles. They don't like to ride bikes without seats!

Get some duct tape. Wrap it around the lengths of your top and down tubes. Spray paint the duct tape with some kinda dull black paint. Don't get the paint on your bike, just the tape.

Immediately get the New York Fahgettaboudit U-Lock. Next month, add the New York Fahgettaboudit Chain and Disc Lock. Thereafterwards, always use the two in conjunction with one another. Always take your bicycle indoors, with you, whenever you can. You should always keep your bike indoors, over night.

* Always park and lock your bike next to a better looking (more expensive) bike, that has a cheaper-looking lock.

Proper Locking:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZDq1vkiZwA&feature=player_embedded

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dscni2TTbYA&feature=related

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Old 02-08-12, 03:35 AM
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Thanks for the help and support everyone! Really, even just hearing the encouragement that I'm steering in the right direction really helps a lot as I'm trying my best to avoid blind ignorance in getting into this thing.

I'll try and see if the bike shops around have the models you guys are bringing up.

Yeah, I'll be riding in NYC.

I think I'm going to keep my LBS prospects limited to just Manhattan. Richard4993, you bring up such a great point. There's lots of other bike spots that I should probably check out in BK and other boroughs. However, since I live in Manhattan, and if an issue ever came up with my potential future bike, it would make sense to buy from a place close by that will help me out.

SlimRider, is there a reason why a person shouldn't directly spray paint the bike? I really really really just want a very plain (no stickers or brand names or anything flashy) solid color black bike, which was one of the reasons I liked the Felt Brougham so much, it just looked simple and plain. But I figured if I ended up with something kinda flashy looking, I would just spray paint it.
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Old 02-08-12, 05:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Tohtruck View Post
Thanks for the help and support everyone! Really, even just hearing the encouragement that I'm steering in the right direction really helps a lot as I'm trying my best to avoid blind ignorance in getting into this thing.

I'll try and see if the bike shops around have the models you guys are bringing up.

Yeah, I'll be riding in NYC.

I think I'm going to keep my LBS prospects limited to just Manhattan. Richard4993, you bring up such a great point. There's lots of other bike spots that I should probably check out in BK and other boroughs. However, since I live in Manhattan, and if an issue ever came up with my potential future bike, it would make sense to buy from a place close by that will help me out.

SlimRider, is there a reason why a person shouldn't directly spray paint the bike? I really really really just want a very plain (no stickers or brand names or anything flashy) solid color black bike, which was one of the reasons I liked the Felt Brougham so much, it just looked simple and plain. But I figured if I ended up with something kinda flashy looking, I would just spray paint it.
Hey there TohTruck!

I was just thinking in terms of keeping up the resale value of the bike. Also, if you have tape over the tubes, people just wonder what in the heck is wrong with your bike! Bike thieves, would have to wonder the same thing too! Of course, if you do just spray paint directly onto your tubes, you won't be causing any permanent damage to your bike. You can always have it professionally powder-coated, later. However, no matter what happens paint wise cosmetically, it will still remain quite functional as a bicycle. So, to that extent, you're absolutely correct, you can paint the bike to make it look less attractive.

Damn! These are such awful times...

I just hate destroying the aesthetics of beautiful bikes!

I say, if you have two quality locks on your bike, and it's not parked outside overnight, you should be alright.

However, I'm not a New Yorker! I therefore, can't really say at all. You should know more about that than myself. If my bike was parked in a public place, during the day, and locked with two locks, I'd feel fairly secure in Cleveland, San Francisco, or Oakland. Like I said, I really can't comment upon New York.

Two New York Fahgettaboudit locks should be adequate security you would think!

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Old 02-08-12, 07:17 AM
  #17  
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For getting around the city, I recommend you look around for an older road bike. You see a lot of these on the streets in cities not only because they are relatively cheaper, but they are also less likely to be stolen. As far as single speeds, I don't get it. My experience with SS is that you need to have proper gearing in relation to your weight/strength, which can be a pain. For example, with my friend's bike, he can fly on that single speed, but I can get on it and pedal like lightning, but it won't go nearly half speed. I'm a few inches taller than him, but also probably 60-70 pounds heavier. I'm much stronger, yet that means nothing since the gearing isn't high enough for me. Fixed gears don't really make sense either. There's a reason why track bikes are called track bikes and road bikes road bikes. You're boned when it comes to climbing with a fixie, but at least you'll build considerable strength.
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Old 02-08-12, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by GettinMyLanceOn View Post
For getting around the city, I recommend you look around for an older road bike. You see a lot of these on the streets in cities not only because they are relatively cheaper, but they are also less likely to be stolen. As far as single speeds, I don't get it. My experience with SS is that you need to have proper gearing in relation to your weight/strength, which can be a pain. For example, with my friend's bike, he can fly on that single speed, but I can get on it and pedal like lightning, but it won't go nearly half speed. I'm a few inches taller than him, but also probably 60-70 pounds heavier. I'm much stronger, yet that means nothing since the gearing isn't high enough for me. Fixed gears don't really make sense either. There's a reason why track bikes are called track bikes and road bikes road bikes. You're boned when it comes to climbing with a fixie, but at least you'll build considerable strength.
Thats why all of my bikes are geared. I think not having gears is more of a fashion statement than anything. They do have less things to break but personally I like the ride better on a geared bike as I'm not just stuck in one gear so if I'm going up a steep hill I can shift down and if I'm going down hill I can shift into the highest gear and fly.
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Old 02-08-12, 11:23 AM
  #19  
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If I were in your position, I wouldn't even consider getting a single speed. These days, derailleurs and shifters are quite reliable and don't add all that much to the cost of the bike. Also, if you're going to be riding in traffic (and in NYC there's no way not to ride in traffic), you're going to want to be able to accelerate quickly and cruise at speeds that allow you to interact with cars. If you're not a really strong rider, you will really want gears for that. If you do some off-road riding at some point, you will also probably want gears.
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Old 02-08-12, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by GettinMyLanceOn View Post
For getting around the city, I recommend you look around for an older road bike. You see a lot of these on the streets in cities not only because they are relatively cheaper, but they are also less likely to be stolen. As far as single speeds, I don't get it. My experience with SS is that you need to have proper gearing in relation to your weight/strength, which can be a pain. For example, with my friend's bike, he can fly on that single speed, but I can get on it and pedal like lightning, but it won't go nearly half speed. I'm a few inches taller than him, but also probably 60-70 pounds heavier. I'm much stronger, yet that means nothing since the gearing isn't high enough for me. Fixed gears don't really make sense either. There's a reason why track bikes are called track bikes and road bikes road bikes. You're boned when it comes to climbing with a fixie, but at least you'll build considerable strength.
Hey there TohTruck!

This is really great advice, but it requires much time, patience, and some basic bicycle knowledge. You shouldn't just grab the first thing that you see off of Craigslist. Some people try to dump their defective bikes off on CL. Sometimes, you can find potentially great deals on CL. However, you might not be aware of it due to your lack of bicycle knowledge. OTOH, you might not have the time to make the proper adjustments or installations on your bike, even though you might have the knowledge. There's nothing better than finding an old chromoly steel ten speed off of Craigslist for $150, that fits and is in relatively good condition. However, these deals are usually rare and require patience. It's a lot like fishing! Sometimes you just need a little luck.

* This is really more related to my question about your personal cycling condition...Like, what type of physical condition are you in for the cycling experience? I was just trying to assess your ability to handle a single speed.

Originally Posted by richard4993 View Post
Thats why all of my bikes are geared. I think not having gears is more of a fashion statement than anything. They do have less things to break but personally I like the ride better on a geared bike as I'm not just stuck in one gear so if I'm going up a steep hill I can shift down and if I'm going down hill I can shift into the highest gear and fly.
Having the extra gears TohTruck, is a definite advantage that you just might be able to use, if your cycling skills increase and your desire to cycle increases, at all. You'll find that having the gears when needed is better than not having them available, at all. That's regardless has to how infrequently that occasion may present itself.

Originally Posted by Spld cyclist View Post
If I were in your position, I wouldn't even consider getting a single speed. These days, derailleurs and shifters are quite reliable and don't add all that much to the cost of the bike. Also, if you're going to be riding in traffic (and in NYC there's no way not to ride in traffic), you're going to want to be able to accelerate quickly and cruise at speeds that allow you to interact with cars. If you're not a really strong rider, you will really want gears for that. If you do some off-road riding at some point, you will also probably want gears.
The case against a single speed is valid, only if you're not a strong enough cyclist, to really ride a single speed, efficiently. Of course, if you're absolutely NOT going to ever encounter any hills, and you're absolutely NOT going to ever require yourself to "accelerate quickly and cruise at speeds that allow you to interact with cars", then a single speed just might be the prescription for your cycling needs.

So I guess the bottom line is, get a single speed if that's really what your heart truly desires, but realize that you might be inconvenienced by that particular selection, at sometime in the future. Having said that, I live in the Bay Area and there are more single speeds here than you can shake a stick at! The single speedsters seem to be quite happy!

Personally, I would have no use for a single speed, because I just hate hills!

- Slim

PS.

Just think! There once was a time when all we had were single speeds

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Old 02-08-12, 03:06 PM
  #21  
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A rigid mountain bike can make a good commuter with a few minor modifications. Buying used would allow you to get more for your money. They are sturdy enough for rough roads have good brakes and gearing, a comfortable riding position that is practical for riding in traffic, and usually have fittings to allow installation of fenders, a rack etc. You should replace knobbly tyres with fat slicks for road riding- they will make it easier to pedal and give you the best on-road traction, wet or dry. I'd consider full-coverage fenders to be essential for keeping road water off you (water falling up seems to get you wetter than water falling down). Obviously, if you want to take it off road all you need to do is switch back to treaded tyres.

Alternatively, an English roadster might be a good option. It's essentially what I've converted my ex-mtb into, and gives you a sturdy machine that is ideally suited to city riding.

Remember to budget for a high-quality lock to deter thieves, and a good lighting system front and rear. Wear any safety gear you feel appropriate for the riding you do. I wear gloves on the road.
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Old 02-08-12, 05:49 PM
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Thanks guys.

So yeah, actually, I think I am going to go for a single speed. It like the simplicity of it, and would like to eliminate any variables for things that could go wrong or need repairs etc. Just give me a bike that goes forward. I'm not interested in being a speed demon either. I don't think there's very many hills in NYC. Probably the most difficult thing I'll have to traverse is going over bridges, and I was fine (albeit a bit of a challenge, but a fun challenge) doing it with a tiny BMX bike.

As to my physical condition... eh... I'm not in the best physical condition right now. I'm out of shape, but I'm not obese. I walk everywhere in NYC for the most part. I train in mixed martial arts (boxing, muay thai, wrestlng, and jiu jitsu) and have been training in martial arts on and off for quite a number of years now, although I am taking some time off right now so I can focus on work and other endeavors. So I wouldn't call myself an incredibly well-conditioned super athlete at the moment. But I don't get tired walking up a flight of stairs either.

I don't want to buy used. I feel like I would end up getting ripped off without even knowing it. I'd rather buy new from a store that can offer appropriate customer service for someone who is a beginner and just getting into this.

I went to a couple more stores today. Unfortunately, it started to snow today, so I didn't really test drive many bikes at all. Actually only got to ride a single speed bike from a company called Phat Cycles. It felt fine. Although, I'm a short dude and I have very short legs, the seat felt a bit high for me. They said they could cut it down a bit to make it more comfy. But after riding around on it, it actually felt fine.

The single speed Phat Cycle bike is $420.

How high should the saddle be? Like, in relation to how far I can reach down with my foot? While upright on the seat I could just barely touch the floor with my toes. Does that sound okay? Again, my only experience with bikes is riding a little bmx bike.

Bicycle Habitat had a Trek District S for $590. It's a bit out of my price range (wanted to keep it under $600 with tax). I'm open to getting it, if its a major difference in quality in comparison with the Phat Cycle (I'm sure it is) and/or the Felt Brougham (which is right at my price range, being just under $600 with tax).

One of the dude's at a bike shop i went to in Alphabet City (in the east village) was telling me that for the most part, almost all the bikes around the various price ranges under $1,000 aren't going to be much different since everything is manufactured in taiwan. Is that true? So in other words, one bike that goes for $600 isn't going to be much different than another brand that goes for $600. And if so, should I just choose the one that looks the coolest?

So the bikes that I am strongly considering now:

Phat Cycles for $420

Trek District S for $589.99 (a bit out of my budget, but if there's some reason that I absolutely should get this then I'd be open to it)

Felt Brougham which is $597 (that's with tax) - I think this is in the front running right now.

Some other bikes that the stores had in stock were:

Raleigh Misceo for $499.99

Fuji Feather for $599.99 (out of my budget)

Orbea Carpe for $560

Any input on the above models would be appreciated.
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Old 02-08-12, 06:00 PM
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By and large, most bikes- regardless of brand- are built by very few factories in Taiwan and China. They just apply the paint and decal scheme the customer orders and whatever components as well.
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Old 02-08-12, 06:09 PM
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Another possible route to take would be to check out the REI in Soho. Should you get one of their house brand models (Novara), and you have any issues whatsoever, they'll take it back. Here's the link to their "urban" line. Of course, you could browse what else they have to offer- but not all brands they carry are offered in all markets that they serve. Best to consult the local store to see what they could offer you.
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Old 02-08-12, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Tohtruck View Post
One of the dude's at a bike shop i went to in Alphabet City (in the east village) was telling me that for the most part, almost all the bikes around the various price ranges under $1,000 aren't going to be much different since everything is manufactured in taiwan. Is that true? So in other words, one bike that goes for $600 isn't going to be much different than another brand that goes for $600. And if so, should I just choose the one that looks the coolest?
I think it would be more accurate to say that bikes around the same price are pretty similar in quality (assuming they are have roughly the same types of components). At the same price, they may have different brands of brakes or rims or whatever, but those components should be in the same ballpark quality-wise. To see if two frames are really "the same" you should download the geometry charts from the manufacturers and see how they differ. Even so, subtle differences like the selected tubing might make otherwise similar bikes feel different.
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