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What constitutes a “good bike” for you?

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What constitutes a “good bike” for you?

Old 12-10-21, 02:23 PM
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What constitutes a “good bike” for you?

As I was tooling around on my commuter bike today doing a few errands, I thought about how even though it’s really just a basic department store bike, that it suits my needs fine. And in general, I’m only a road cyclist and my road bikes are old steel, chromoly, or aluminum that I’ve had for lots of years, but well maintained (mostly by me)…and one CF road bike that I seldom ride. Those bikes are fine for me these days. I’m only marginally concerned with weight. As long as it has properly working components that are maintained, and well-adjusted…I’m happy. I have race results from 30+ years ago showing that I rode a couple of those bikes at 25mph avg in races. At almost 61 years old, I sure wish I could ride speeds like that now. But I just thought it might be a nice topic for discussion…what constitutes a “good bike” for you?

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Old 12-10-21, 02:29 PM
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The two that I ride.
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Old 12-10-21, 02:30 PM
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What constitutes a “good bike” for you?

Whatever Big Bike tells me a good bike is, because ... well, just because.
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Old 12-10-21, 03:02 PM
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A good bike is one that doesn't drip on the carpet when I bring it inside.

Oh, and it's reliable and fun to ride.
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Old 12-10-21, 03:37 PM
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To me a good bike is one that fits, so I can ride it comfortably.

It has components that work smoothly and reliably, and that last a long time.

It need not be light weight. It doesn't have to be painted in the currently popular colors.

Its drivetrain, brakes, and bearings make little or no noise in use.

It should not have a need to be handled with great care to prevent it from being damaged or thrown out of adjustment.

It could have a frame made of steel, aluminum, carbon, or titanium. Other parts might be made of the same materials, with perhaps some plastic as well, but not too much.

Most of the "good bikes" I've encountered have wheels with at least 20 spokes each, but no more than 36. There are exceptions on good bikes built for very specific purposes (e.g. track bikes with tri-spoke front and disc rear wheels, or polo bikes with 48 wire spokes in each wheel). The rims are always either aluminum or carbon.

There might be one, two, or three chainrings and anywhere from one to 13 cogs. There might also be an internally geared hub or a pinion gearbox at the crank. There will never be a gasoline engine bolted on, but there might be an electric motor. If there's a motor, it will be located at the crank or in the rear hub, not in the front hub and never above the rear wheel.

Shifters might be located on the frame downtube, the bar ends, or integral to the brake levers (for drop bars); or inboard of the grips (with flat or riser bars). They don't go on the stem, and they don't twist like a motorcycle throttle. (One exception would be a special shifter for an IGH.)

Brands are not very important, although it will almost never say Kent, GMC, Murray, Huffy, or Eurobike.
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Old 12-10-21, 03:38 PM
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Two things…

For me it is a bike that, if properly maintained, can take you as many miles as you want to ride.

And one that doesn’t have design/build flaws that holds back a rider, or causes the rider to consistently compensate for those flaws.

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Old 12-10-21, 03:52 PM
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A bike that is fit for its purpose.
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Old 12-10-21, 04:02 PM
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...I was just over visiting the bike co-op here, and I always look at the donated bikes. They had, today, a Raleigh DL-1 rod brake bicycle, my size, on sale for a hundred bucks. I looked at it lovingly for a minute, thought about how long it's been alive, and presumably carrying people around town. Then I thought about the various close calls I've had here, riding in city traffic, and how iffy those rod brakes looked.

I'm absolutely certain there was a time I would have bought and ridden that bike. But that time is past.
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Old 12-10-21, 04:07 PM
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One that fits my body and fits my needs. I like doing go-fast roadie things, so a go-fast road bike is the best fit for those needs.
"Swedish fish. They're protein shaped." - livedarklions
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Old 12-10-21, 04:23 PM
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Any type of bike which fits you well and meets your personal individual riding needs is a good bike.
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Old 12-10-21, 04:32 PM
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A good bike for me is one that fits and is really comfortable to ride and stealth quiet.
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Old 12-10-21, 05:11 PM
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- It fits me
- It works reliably and safely
- It excites me and makes me want to ride it
It's like riding a bicycle
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Old 12-10-21, 05:34 PM
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A quiet bike that really fits me. Oh, and it's gotta have a level top tube. I have one that doesn't and the aesthetic of that machine has relegated it to the shed. And no matter what I do it seems like that bike just doesn't fit me right.
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Old 12-10-21, 06:03 PM
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The idea of a "good bike' is an n-dimensional hyperspace, where n is a large, possibly infinite, number.
There are so many criteria, which differ from person to person and, form time to time and situation to situation within one person that it is like a Platonic ideal, something to aspire to, while realizing you will never attain it.
All that being said, the times I find myself telling my bike it is a good bike are times it has taken care of me; handled dicey terrain with out incident, carried me farther than I thought I could go that day, felt faster, or more comfortable than I expected, just, in general improved the ride experience.
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Old 12-10-21, 06:04 PM
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I'm easily pleased. I like four bikes I own and think they are all "good" or I wouldn't have acquired them. Two of them cost less than $50 for both. Acquired one in a trade. All were used. Now if the Wyoming weather would cooperate so I can go for a ride.
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Old 12-11-21, 02:03 AM
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Originally Posted by _ForceD_
…what constitutes a “good bike” for you?
A bike that lets me do what I want to do on the bike.
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Old 12-11-21, 06:32 AM
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Italian bikes are a good start.
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Old 12-11-21, 06:34 AM
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A good bike disappears underneath me. I don't notice anything about it. Everything works and it becomes an extension of myself.
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Old 12-11-21, 10:35 AM
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"Good" as opposed to what?

If we're talking about a bare-minimum threshold, then any bike that fits well and operates quietly and reliably is a good bike. But for me to actually want it, the bar is much higher.
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Old 12-11-21, 10:51 AM
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If you think your bike is good, it is good. If you are happy with it enjoy it. Don't let the opinions of strangers on the internet ruin that for you.
"It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels." -- Heinz Stücke

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Old 12-11-21, 11:02 AM
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Old 12-11-21, 12:33 PM
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Yeah, in my late teens (IIRC) I had a couple of ~3hr speed rides with a buddy that we did. He was an amateur racer; we both were distance runners. Could do a 25mph average along this one route we had ... mostly flat but with occasional short hills up out of (or down into) the trail along river bank. Nowadays, I'm doing pretty well if I get north of 15mph, and that's only for much more brief periods. Mostly I'm a ~10mph guy, these days.

For me, the "right" bike is a nearly-upright "city" bike format. Current bike is built on a mid-'90s Trek 970 steel frame, Surly Troll fork, great components, with a Brooks saddle, riser stem and Nitto Bosco swept bars. Required riding position due to old injuries that preclude any "sportier" setup. Works for me.

Weather's turning quite cold in my area, so it's mostly indoors gym exercise and floor work, except on nice days. Will get back to the frequent trail and road rides in early March or so, when the nasty weather begins to break.

Last edited by Clyde1820; 12-11-21 at 01:09 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 12-11-21, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat
A good bike disappears underneath me. I don't notice anything about it. Everything works and it becomes an extension of myself.
When this happens I lose track of time. Machine and Spirit become one in nature.
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Old 12-11-21, 01:05 PM
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A good bike is one I feel confident riding down the mountain without touching the brakes.
If I was able to pedal it to the top, that's good too.
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Old 12-11-21, 01:05 PM
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It puts s smile on my face within the first twenty feet.
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