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I am looking for some suggestions

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I am looking for some suggestions

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Old 07-03-13, 05:37 AM
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iim7v7im7
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I am looking for some suggestions

Hi,

My first post here. I am looking for some advice from the forum.

BACKGROUND:

I am 52 healthy but sedentary and looking to add bike riding into my life as a form of cardiovascular exercise. I also am an engineer and have a tendency to be a bit of a gear geek. I have an hour in the late afternoon after work and of course more time on weekends. I have both semi-country roads and a dirt/gravel canal path near my home. I also have a beach cottage in RI where there are plenty of country roads of varying quality to ride. I am fairly tall, 6'-2"+ and a bit heavy at 215 lb (could lose about 25 lb.). I used to mountain bike with my friends 15-20 years ago but haven't really biked in over a decade now. I am in the process of visiting 3 or 4 LBS within a 30 minute radius to see which shop I like most and of course to choose a bike. Because the canal path is so convenient as an option, I have been looking at bicycles that can be ridden on the dirt/gravel surface (Cyclocross and Hybrids). The 4 dealers near as a composite me sell:

- Cannondale
- Giant
- Jamis
- Specialized
- Trek

As a budget, I probably have up to ~$2k to spend on the bike (could spend more, but going into it that is what I had in mind), knowing that I will likely spend >$1k on a rack, helmet, pants, shoes, accessories etc. My friends told me to get a bike with >105 level components (or SRAM equivalent). I have only visited one shop so far and the two bicycles that I demoed (based on their inventory) where a Cannondale CAADX Disc Ultegra and a Trek 7.5 FX. Both felt good, but the Cannondale had much nicer components and offered the alternate riding postures and I gravitated towards that. I want to make sure that I buy something that is a good fit terrain wise and physically to me to encourage usage. I have read on this and other forums two-sides of hybrids: a) some feel they are great and b) others think that they are initially attractive to beginners but soon lose their charms being less aerodynamic and lack grip re-positioning for comfort. Conversely, Cyclocross seem like a purpose built race bike for relatively short rides on a specific type of race course.

QUESTIONS:

1) In terms of categories of bikes which should I be looking at and why? For example, I did not look a any road bikes, should I?
2) Among these makes are there any specific models that you would recommend?
3) As a frame material, most bikes seem to be aluminum (some with a carbon fork). Should I be looking into steel or carbon fiber for comfort (vibration dampening)?

Thanks,

Bob
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Old 07-03-13, 05:44 AM
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Go road bike Bob,

71 and have five of them. 6 Ft 215 lbs

Buy from the Friendly Shop.

They will become your new friend for quick adjustments, answers to questions and most helpful for warranty repairs.

Bike are like shoes, they need to Fit. I lucked out on my First New Bike. Friendly Shop, Bike on sale, Perfect Fit.

Got in 11,200 miles the first year.

105 is good. Now have 40,000 miles on the first bike.
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Old 07-03-13, 05:50 AM
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I am 52 healthy but sedentary and looking to add bike riding into my life as a form of cardiovascular exercise.
Welcome to the 50+ forum!

Here's the thing.

In the long run, unless you "love" bicycling, riding a bike for the cardiovascular exercise as the prime objective will get "old" very quickly, and the bike will finally end up hanging in the garage. So, try bicycling for a bit to see how you like it and how you want to ride before investing a lot of $$ in a "final" bike.

Also, the first bike one buys generally ends up being the bike that points you in the direction of the next bike that you want. Many in this forum (including me) have gone through this transition or even more. (It is called n+1). IOW, it is a process and not a destination purchase.

My suggestion is to get a nice hybrid. Brand is not generally an issue. They are all good. but, the LBS (local bike store) you buy it from IS. Generally you are buying a bike store, who will fit you on a bike, and the proper fit IS an issue. Also, a "road equipped" mtn bike can do very nicely.

JMHO

Have fun

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Old 07-03-13, 05:58 AM
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MY advice is try all the local stores and both pick the store most helpful as noted above and the bike that seems to fit best. One warning and that is many LBS try to sell a bike they have in stock, even though it doesn't fit rather than order one.

As far as hybrid vs cyclocross, it's more about your long range goals (cyclocross is better for longer distances and going quicker) and your overall level of fitness and flexibility (hybrids are an upright sitting position). You really are wrong about cyclocross is a "purpose built race bike for relatively short rides on a specific type of race course." True they are raced but they are really a road bike with wide knobby tires and mountain bike style brakes. Many people use they as commuters or an all around single bike. It really depends upon how far you plan on riding on your typical rides and how comfortable you are on either.

Good luck.
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Old 07-03-13, 06:35 AM
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Another vote for a road bike here. They are not fragile, they can be ridden on much poorer surfaces than many people imagine, and with slightly relaxed geometry (Giant Defy, Trek Domane, Specialized Roubaix etc.) they will have the clearances for 28mm tyres and can provide a very comfortable as well as fast and sporty ride.

'Cross bikes are also excellent, versatile machines. I know plenty of people who put a rack and panniers on their 'cross bike and do extended tours. And a touring bike is also an option, though these will be somewhat heavier and you won't find one in carbon fibre.

Speaking of CF, the material your frame is made of matters less than some will tell you. Aluminium is fine, steel is fine, CF is fine. I would suggest CF forks, they radically cut the weight of a steel bike and dampen road buzz better than most alu forks.

The advice about 105 or equivalent components is sound, they work pretty much flawlessly and it's quite a big jump in price, and a smaller jump in quality, to the higher-end stuff. As far as brands of bike is concerned, there really isn't much difference in quality at a given price point. Pick the shop, and the bike, you like best.

Personally I am anti-hybrid, I feel there is nothing you can do on a hybrid that couldn't be more fun on something else. However, the important thing is to buy the bike that fits you, that you feel comfortable on, and that will make you feel excited about riding it. A hybrid that gets ridden is a better bike than a road bike that hangs in the garage.
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Old 07-03-13, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by iim7v7im7 View Post
BACKGROUND:

I am 52 healthy but sedentary and looking to add bike riding into my life as a form of cardiovascular exercise. I also am an engineer and have a tendency to be a bit of a gear geek. I have an hour in the late afternoon after work and of course more time on weekends. I have both semi-country roads and a dirt/gravel canal path near my home. I also have a beach cottage in RI where there are plenty of country roads of varying quality to ride. I am fairly tall, 6'-2"+ and a bit heavy at 215 lb (could lose about 25 lb.).
The "R" word.

"52, healthy but sedentary," "could lose about 25 pounds," "engineer," "gear geek." Add a goatee and you'd be a perfect fit for the recumbent sterotype. I don't know if you're a recumbent person or not but I do know this: If you buy a $2,000 bike without giving recumbents an objective look, you're not doing a through job of investigating the available options.

Unfortunately, investigating recumbents may involve a road trip. You need to travel to a recumbent specialty shop. Such a shop will have several different styles of recumbent bikes for you to pick from. Each style will ride quite differently and have it's own set of plusses and minuses.
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Old 07-03-13, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
Another vote for a road bike here. They are not fragile, they can be ridden on much poorer surfaces than many people imagine, and with slightly relaxed geometry (Giant Defy, Trek Domane, Specialized Roubaix etc.) they will have the clearances for 28mm tyres and can provide a very comfortable as well as fast and sporty ride.

'Cross bikes are also excellent, versatile machines. I know plenty of people who put a rack and panniers on their 'cross bike and do extended tours. And a touring bike is also an option, though these will be somewhat heavier and you won't find one in carbon fibre.

Speaking of CF, the material your frame is made of matters less than some will tell you. Aluminium is fine, steel is fine, CF is fine. I would suggest CF forks, they radically cut the weight of a steel bike and dampen road buzz better than most alu forks.

The advice about 105 or equivalent components is sound, they work pretty much flawlessly and it's quite a big jump in price, and a smaller jump in quality, to the higher-end stuff. As far as brands of bike is concerned, there really isn't much difference in quality at a given price point. Pick the shop, and the bike, you like best.

Personally I am anti-hybrid, I feel there is nothing you can do on a hybrid that couldn't be more fun on something else. However, the important thing is to buy the bike that fits you, that you feel comfortable on, and that will make you feel excited about riding it. A hybrid that gets ridden is a better bike than a road bike that hangs in the garage.
I Like the way you wrote that.
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Old 07-03-13, 07:13 AM
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+1 're: Denverfox, by something that rides and ride, it took me 3 bikes to find my place,and I am still looking.

Have fun and keep us updated on your progress!
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Old 07-03-13, 07:20 AM
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Until you ride and decide what type of cycling appeals to you it's really difficult to recommend a type of bike. But, given that you have both road and trail available to you I'd give serious thought to a cyclo-cross bike. Here's why: the chances are you will enjoy the trails as a relaxing getaway from traffic and the general rat race. If you decide that you like the road...keep the cross bike and buy a road bike. I bought a Masi w/Dura Ace for the road and love it. But, when my gf and I were induced to buy cyclo-cross bikes for the local rail/trail we loved that too. My Raleigh cross bike cost me $1200, is aluminum and came with 105. I love this bike. And, last year's 105 shifts better than my 7 yr.old Dura Ace. Were you to buy a $1200 cross bike and eventually a (let's say) $1500 road bike with 105 you will have paid less than $3000 for two new and good bikes. Sounds good to me. BTW if you get into cycling you WILL have more than one bike anyway.
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Old 07-03-13, 07:41 AM
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Thanks for your input...Some bikes

I will definitely see which LBS that I mesh with best (likely a deciding factor). At this point in the season, I am a bit concerned about being recommended a bike based on inventory on hand vs. the right bike.

These are some bikes that I was considering:

Cyclocross Models:

Cannondale:
http://www.cannondale.com/2013/bikes...mpact-crankset

Giant:
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...5855/#overview

Specialized:
http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bik...xelitediscapex

Hybrid Models:

Cannondale:
http://www.cannondale.com/2013/bikes...quick-carbon-2

Specialized:
http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bik.../sirruslimited

Road Models:

Cannondale:
http://www.cannondale.com/2013/bikes...crankset-28007
http://www.cannondale.com/2013/bikes...ouble-crankset

Giant:
http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...5817/#overview

Specialized:
http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bik...iteapexcompact

Trek:
http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/road/race_performance/domane_4_series/domane_4_3_wsd/#

Any thoughts regarding these specific models?
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Old 07-03-13, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by iim7v7im7 View Post
Hi,

...

I have both semi-country roads and a dirt/gravel canal path near my home. I also have a beach cottage in RI where there are plenty of country roads of varying quality to ride. I am fairly tall, 6'-2"+ and a bit heavy at 215 lb (could lose about 25 lb.). I used to mountain bike with my friends 15-20 years ago but haven't really biked in over a decade now. I am in the process of visiting 3 or 4 LBS within a 30 minute radius to see which shop I like most and of course to choose a bike. Because the canal path is so convenient as an option, I have been looking at bicycles that can be ridden on the dirt/gravel surface (Cyclocross and Hybrids). The 4 dealers near as a composite me sell:

...

Thanks,

Bob
So, which canal path are you close to? The D&R feeder path from Washington's Crossing to Frenchtown is nice and certainly doable on a road bike. (Mine has 28 mm tires.) The D&R main path used to be nice but hasn't been repaired as well after storm damage. However, it can also be ridden on 28 mm tires. A few months ago I rode the section from Princeton to South Boundbrook. It was doable, but a little rough in spots. Also the section south from Washington's crossing, through Trenton and up to Princeton is also doable (rode most of that last year just to see, since the section in Trenton had just been opened).

When I first got into biking, I spent a lot of time on the paths. However, it gets old after a while. Riding on the roads gives you a much bigger variety of routes and terrain, so you can see something a little different every time out. You can find hills that you have to walk up the first time, but eventually you meet the challenge and ride up!

- Ed
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Old 07-03-13, 07:47 AM
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South Bound Brook to Princeton is the one near me...

It is not what I exclusively want to ride on, but it is an excellent option during afternoon rush hour when car traffic can be a bit busy.

Originally Posted by groth View Post
So, which canal path are you close to? The D&R feeder path from Washington's Crossing to Frenchtown is nice and certainly doable on a road bike. (Mine has 28 mm tires.) The D&R main path used to be nice but hasn't been repaired as well after storm damage. However, it can also be ridden on 28 mm tires. A few months ago I rode the section from Princeton to South Boundbrook. It was doable, but a little rough in spots. Also the section south from Washington's crossing, through Trenton and up to Princeton is also doable (rode most of that last year just to see, since the section in Trenton had just been opened).

When I first got into biking, I spent a lot of time on the paths. However, it gets old after a while. Riding on the roads gives you a much bigger variety of routes and terrain, so you can see something a little different every time out. You can find hills that you have to walk up the first time, but eventually you meet the challenge and ride up!

- Ed
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Old 07-03-13, 07:53 AM
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I would NOT start with a higher end road/race bike for one simple reason. Tire clearance. Having space to use larger tires can be a big deal and virtually all road/race bikes have trouble fitting anything bigger than 25. If you're a tinkerer and engineer type with mechanical aptitude you might start with an older 80's 10 speed and fix it up for your preferred use. My favorite ride for a long time has been an old Peugeot UO8 config'ed as a single speed. Old 27" tire 10 speeds have plenty of room for bigger tires on 700c rims. And you'll get to play with bike mechanics.

If you just want one bike, I recommend a cyclocross (like Bianchi Volpe) with the knobbies swapped out for slicker (but still big) road tires, or tourers (like novara randonee, trek520).
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Old 07-03-13, 08:03 AM
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I disagree with the suggestion that you can't get anything bigger than a 25mm tyre on some road bikes. It depends on the geometry. On most of those the OP has linked to, I don't think a 28 would be a problem, if he needed it. And anyway, I ride over some rough surfaces on 23 and 25mm tyres with no problem.

OP, with regard to specific models, I reiterate that there is nothing to choose between them with regard to quality for the money. As for the road bikes, note that the Trek Domane you linked to is their women-specific model. But they do standard versions too, they're a fine bike. The others are great too. The Cannondales are probably the most aggressive of those you've linked to, (and the ones least likely to take a slightly wider tyre) so I might steer you, as a new rider, in the direction of the Giant, Trek or Specialized. Cannondale fans will tell you different, of course...

It comes down to sitting on a few and deciding what you like.
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Old 07-03-13, 08:10 AM
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If you go for a road bike make sure it will take at least 28 width tires. My Trek Madone will not.

Jamis Endura is a nice road bike that will take the wider tires.

I think I would be hesitant to buy a hybrid or flat bar road bike in the $2000 range unless you are prepared to spend more money later on a different style bike. The issue is that the bikes are compromise bikes. If you find that you like really long rides or if you have hand issues a road bike or cross bike with their multiple hand positions may make more sense. If you go the hybrid route to see if you like biking I would consider a cheaper one and then buy another bike later when you know better what you want. I have a road bike and assorted hybrids or hybridized bikes. I find that I ride them all, but in different situations. For example, the hybrids are especially nice for riding around towns with their upright position.

You also might think about a Salsa Vaya or Surly Cross check. They will take tires much wider even than the 28s and even though they are steel they really aren't tanks.
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Old 07-03-13, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
I disagree with the suggestion that you can't get anything bigger than a 25mm tyre on some road bikes. It depends on the geometry. On most of those the OP has linked to, I don't think a 28 would be a problem, if he needed it. And anyway, I ride over some rough surfaces on 23 and 25mm tyres with no problem.
I doubt it. Maybe the Roubaix, but I'm certain NONE of the other road bikes listed will even come close to fitting 28's. And they're probably even very tight switching from their standard 23's to a 25.

I have several older steel LeMond frames that came with 25s and looked like they'd fit 28's, --but none of them do. My Trek 5900 is so tight with 25's I declined to ride it (and it just hangs in my basement).

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Old 07-03-13, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by dbg View Post
I doubt it. Maybe the Roubaix, but I'm certain NONE of the other road bikes listed will even come close to fitting 28's. And they're probably even very tight switching from their standard 23's to a 25.

I have several older steel LeMond frames that came with 25s and looked like they'd fit 28's, --but none of them do. My Trek 5900 is so tight with 25's I declined to ride it (and it just hangs in my basement).
Well, we'll have to agree to disagree. But if you look at the specs for the Domane, it comes with a 25mm as standard. Looking at the Defy I'd be surprised if it wouldn't take a 28. I have its predecessor, routinely rode it (it's in pieces at the moment) with a 25mm and am pretty sure I could squeeze a 28 onto it. But the answer is for the OP to go along to his shops, look at the bikes, and ask.
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Old 07-03-13, 08:40 AM
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You start out with mentioning you're 52 but don't say how it's relevant to the discussion at hand. What would be different it you were 32?
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Old 07-03-13, 08:53 AM
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The Domane might actually be embracing the trend toward larger tires. Longer chainstays, etc. That would be cool. I'd still have to see it to believe it. The Trek store guy told me it (Domane) wouldn't fit a 28 but I'm pretty sure he had not tried it. I troll ebay and craigslist for a Roubaix mainly because it has more clearance. But I've been universally disappointed with tire clearance on the dozen or so road frames I've played with. I have converted two of my LeMond frames to 650B rims just to get clearance for 32's. And even with 650B rims, I can't get any wider than 32.

(sorry if this is a hijack)
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Old 07-03-13, 09:00 AM
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He'd be twenty years younger, a few of us here would love to be twenty years younger without all the associated aches and pains we have now. Now everybody go for a ride and enjoy the day.
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Old 07-03-13, 09:34 AM
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Based on the description of your environment, I would vote for the cyclocross bike. You can get a really decent one at half your budget, leaving money for a decent aluminum n+1 road bike if you choose later.
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Old 07-03-13, 09:44 AM
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Get the bike that fits you the best. Don't buy a bike to upgrade the components. Get on it and ride!
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Old 07-03-13, 10:05 AM
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A 28 really isn't all that much tire, at least for my purposes, which sound very much like those of the OP. I have 37s on my all-rounder, and they come in very handy on looser gravel, dirt and rain-softened turf. And they're fine on pavement, both bad and good. So I would recommend a cross bike or a light tourer, by any reputable maker. Hybrids are fun, too, not as quick or versatile as a cyclo-cross, but usually much cheaper.
Racing-style road bikes are too specialized, too delicate and too expensive for me.
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Old 07-03-13, 10:07 AM
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Bob,

Until you decide what type of bike you want, which is determined by the type of riding you want to do ... have you considered purchasing a used bicycle to start out? There are some pretty good bargains out there, and you can even try a variety of bikes pretty inexpensively.

Which ever way you go, the most important thing is to go to a shop where you feel they take the level of interest in you and your riding to where you are comfortable dealing with them on a long-term relationship basis. Too many shops just want to sell you a bike, then could care less what happens afterward. The best shops will take all the time needed to examine your needs, won't try to oversell you, and will be more than wiling to do what it takes to keep you as a customer for as long as you can physically ride. The shop is much more important than the brand of bike you buy. Just like an auto mechanic, once you find one you can trust ... he will have your business forever.
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Old 07-03-13, 10:38 AM
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MRT2
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Cyclocross is worth checking out, but might be too aggressive. Another option is the sport/touring class of bikes. They are incredibly versatile, allow for tires up to 40 mm or more, or as narrow as 28 for faster road riding.

For example, check out the Salsa Vaya 3. I was very close to pulling the trigger on this last year but in the end went with the Casserol as I didn't really need something that could handle a lot of dirt and gravel. Happy with my choice, but if I rode more dirt, gravel, or crushed limestone, I would have gone with this.
http://salsacycles.com/index.php/bikes/vaya_3

Though the Casserol is discontinued, QBP sells one under the All City Brand, it is called the Spacehorse. http://allcitycycles.com/bikes/space_horse

Finally, the Jamis Bossanova is worth a look. My wife was looking at this one, but in the end went with a Satellite road bike instead. But, if she really wanted something a little more durable, this bike looks really attractive for the price.
http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik...nova_spec.html

Last edited by MRT2; 07-03-13 at 10:47 AM.
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