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Why No Love For Utility Bikes?

Old 07-25-06, 03:29 PM
  #26  
I-Like-To-Bike
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
High quality, well designed, well built utility bikes have always been rare in the USA. Very few people have owned such a bike. Few people have even seen such a bike. Hard to like something you don't know anything about.
Really? I bought a very nice Austrian made Sears 3 speed fully equipped (fenders, chainguard, kickstand) bike in 1970 for about $60. In 1972 I paid $82 for a new Raleigh Sports 3 speed; in 1973 picked up a used 5speed (S5 internal hub) Raleigh Sprite for $40 in perfect shape from the Hare Krishna thrift shop. In 1975 0r 76 I bought a new Raleigh Superbe for $142. All the Raleighs were fully equipped, the Superbe in addition had a dyno hub front wheel and locking fork. All the Raleighs had Brooks leather saddles. All were bought in Philadelphia.

I can still see plenty of those old bold bikes on the city streets in Phila and Chicago (my frames of reference), because those old Raleighs, Schwinns, Columbias, and yes even Huffys one and three speeds were well built and could take a licking and keep on ticking for utility and commute cycling. Unfortunately, the media hypesters and marketeers drovethem from the market place with first the onslaught of hype for stripped down brutal riding 10 speed racer styles followed by the slightly more useful/comfortable gimmicky mountain bike.
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Old 07-25-06, 03:30 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by DataJunkie
um..... you couldn't be more wrong.

I am a 31 year old etl programmer. Married for 10 years with a 3 year old son. I am also remodeling a house at the moment.
Hobbies:
cycling
do it yourself home repair
freshwater fish
dog
cat
reptiles (in between reptiles at the moment. My gecko died
Books
beer
and a few other hobbies I can not remember.

I can justify my cycling expenditures due to the fact I do not have a car and my work is 30 miles away.
Besides, I've had something like a 30% raise in the last two years and a promotion. Considering that a new car costs north of $15,000 + title + taxes + gas + maint + insurance, a $1000 bike is a steal. Actually maybe 3 months of car payments. So anyhow.....
Don't you just love it when people assume what kind of lifestyle you have?
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Old 07-25-06, 04:33 PM
  #28  
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Thanks for those links! I've got my eye on one of the heavy duty Worksmans--that's pretty much the bike I've been after. A beefed up utility bike able to carry lots of cargo.
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Old 07-25-06, 04:42 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by barba
I love A.N.T. bikes, but their frames alone are usually over a grand. I don't quite get the love affair with the Dutch bike, myself. It is not hard to put together a bike that makes a great commuting bike with what is available out there. It may not be 100% commute ready off the peg, but I am a tinkerer and customizer anyway.

Old Raleighs and Schwinns are fairly cheap and plentiful, if you want used. If you want new, just buy an upright riding bike that will accept a rack & fenders and slap on a chain guard. Ta da. Paint it black if you must. If you are feeling very fancy, buy a dynamo hub or a SA 8 speed internal gear hub.
But that's the point of the OP... you do have to "put it together." There should be something available like a Schwinn with a internal gear hub and some 32mm wide tires with a rack and fenders as standard equipment ready to go off the shelf.
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Old 07-25-06, 04:46 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by baj32161
Don't you just love it when people assume what kind of lifestyle you have?
+1 As "they" say ass*u*me

That being said...I like utility bikes and I usually build my own based on what I need/want. I really can't see $1000 for a commuter for me. Most if not all of my current bikes were under $500 and my city bike will be less than that probably about $200 including the orginal $35 spent on the bike 30+ years ago. All the parts have been accumultated over the years at sales and from stripping down bikes for parts. Pack Rat? yup that be me.

Aaron
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Old 07-25-06, 04:49 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Tightwad
If you're a person who wants a pure utility bike at a price well under
a grand custom built just for you then check out........

Worksman cycles of New York City ,N.Y. !!

A Worksman crusier with a 7 speed hub will satisfy many who just want a
bombproof hard working utiity bike. They've been making them for over 100 yrs
for industry right there in NYC. Worksman will build a crusier for you then
ship it to your door so give'm a look.

http://worksmancycles.com/shopsite_s.../cruisers.html
Used their form and selected the options that I would like... and BAM... $700 bike. Just using their stuff. In particular I went with the smaller chainring and the 7 speed rear hub. But bottom line is it's gonna cost you something to get a new basic utility bike.

Of course the flip side of that is the $10 Huffy I bought at a garage sale. No pedals. No seat. I had a spare tractor seat sitting around the house, and bought some cheap pedals. So for less than $20 bucks, I now have a fat tire cruiser that I use for store runs around my neighborhood.

Last edited by genec; 07-25-06 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 07-25-06, 08:26 PM
  #32  
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I so badly wanted a good dependable utility bike just like my European counterparts have. Not the overpriced, over-the-top mountain bikes or racing type bikes. Just a simple, good quality steel framed bike that I grew up with. I bought a used Raliegh built late 1960s Phillips for 25 dollars. Then I wanted more in the area of flexibility and created a sort of internal gear hub folding bike by Dahon for 200 dollars plus the cost of modifications to it. Then I bought a real European three speed by Brompton for 700 dollars. I felt I finally went to bike heaven. This is my first new European built bike in almost 35 years! They are so rare since everything worth anything is now made in Asia.
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Old 07-26-06, 08:25 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Tightwad
Good for you, mate. Lots of worthwhile stuff on your list. You're also correct that NO car means
MORE money in pocket for the finer things in life ........like a custom bike.
he he
Oh no. If I mention a custom bike to my wife she will kill me.

On topic:
I have nothing against utility bikes. I have this infatuation with almost anything with 2 wheels. If I encountered one that suited my fancy at that moment, I would not have a problem purchasing it.

I think the only exception to my 2 wheel infatuation are bmx bikes.
I may also look a tad funny on a hog with those real high handlebars.
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Old 07-26-06, 05:54 PM
  #34  
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Hmm, I thought my tourbike was a utility bike since I use it for everything.
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Old 07-26-06, 07:44 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by genec
Used their form and selected the options that I would like... and BAM... $700 bike. Just using their stuff. In particular I went with the smaller chainring and the 7 speed rear hub. But bottom line is it's gonna cost you something to get a new basic utility bike.

Of course the flip side of that is the $10 Huffy I bought at a garage sale. No pedals. No seat. I had a spare tractor seat sitting around the house, and bought some cheap pedals. So for less than $20 bucks, I now have a fat tire cruiser that I use for store runs around my neighborhood.
One of the nicest facts about cycling is the ways you can approch it, with success, is limitless.
There is no wrong way to bike or what to ride on.
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Old 07-30-06, 05:38 AM
  #36  
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Yellow jersey?

Check out The Yellow jersey bicycle shop website . They are located in madison Wisconson and import Indian 3 speeds.
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Old 07-30-06, 10:16 AM
  #37  
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Who would seriously spend a thousand dollars on a bicycle? Thats sick
If you rode one, you would understand.

Also, the reason we don't buy utility bikes is the same reason we don't buy Yugos. Transportation in America is much more than just getting from point A to point B. We want to enjoy the ride in between. We want to be exhilarated, thrilled, and entertained. We want to go fast or to zip around the turns. I have both a pick up truck which is a bit utilitarian and a Mazda Miata. The truck is for transporting hay and chicken feed. It is boring mindless driving, but I can't fit a bale of hay in the miata. The miata is a blast to drive. I am like a kid in a go-cart. It is exhilarating and fun. The same is true of my road bike. I won't buy a utilitarian bike, because all it will do is get me from point A to point B. I can do that in a bus.
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Old 07-30-06, 12:16 PM
  #38  
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I've done half-centuries before on a Schwinn Racer coaster-brake model. The bike was STOCK, including the vinyl, spring seat. Actually, I didn't find the bike that bad on flat roads. If I could buy that bike back right now, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

I like coaster brake utility bikes. Wish I still had one.
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Old 07-30-06, 01:14 PM
  #39  
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in America is much more than just getting from point A to point B.
Maybe for you.
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Old 07-30-06, 03:08 PM
  #40  
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What exactly are we complaining about? In my mind there is room for every type of bike possible from the single speed to the high end road bikes.
I for one want a utility bike, better mountain bike, entry level road bike, racing road bike, tandem, and on and on. I do not have a car and need to fill that space in my garage with as many bikes as possible. Now if my wife and finances weren't limiting factors....
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Old 07-30-06, 05:31 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by slowandsteady
If you rode one, you would understand.

Also, the reason we don't buy utility bikes is the same reason we don't buy Yugos. Transportation in America is much more than just getting from point A to point B. We want to enjoy the ride in between. We want to be exhilarated, thrilled, and entertained. We want to go fast or to zip around the turns. I have both a pick up truck which is a bit utilitarian and a Mazda Miata.
So what do you do your utility/commuting cycling on? Your Miyata or your pickup?
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Old 07-30-06, 05:34 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
What's this "We" garbage?
Isn't it something how so many posters spell "I" as W-E?
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Old 07-30-06, 07:23 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
High quality, well designed, well built utility bikes have always been rare in the USA. Very few people have owned such a bike. Few people have even seen such a bike. Hard to like something you don't know anything about.
Back in the late 1960s and eary 1970s, the English three speed was the standard adult bicycle. The modern high-end utility bikes descend from it. Before that, the balloon tire, coaster brake single speed bike was the standard. These bikes are equivalent to the Dutch bikes. In those days, mountain bikes did not yet exist and road bikes were very rare.

Until the time of the "Ten Speed Revolution", cycling was regarded as transportation, not as a sport. It not important transportation, since it was fairly easy to park in most major cities and traffic jams were rare. Consequently, there was no need for bicycles to be anything other than sporting equipment. With the "revolution", everything changed, and convenient bicycles that you could simply hop on to without putting a $1,000 suit in peril vanished. The wern't really missed, because one could easily drive anywhere.

Utility bikes appear to be coming back, now that automobile use is becoming less practical and convenient in cities. Most any LBS can get you a Breezer these days. I think cycling for transportation is emerging from the dark age that began around 1975.

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Old 07-30-06, 07:57 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by hillyman
Hmm, I thought my tourbike was a utility bike since I use it for everything.
Agreed...someone care to explain the difference between my touring bike and a utility bike? I can't think of something I don't use my touring bike for that one wouldn't use a "utility" bike for...then again, maybe I'm just getting hung up on definitions.
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Old 07-30-06, 08:09 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
So what do you do your utility/commuting cycling on? Your Miyata or your pickup?
I have a Miata, and a small pick-up. I do my utility/commuting on a Giant Lite (electric assist, gets all sorts of laughs) or a Salsa (fenders, rack and internal hub, also freaks out purists). Both cost north of a grand, as a matter of a fact, both are worth more than my truck. My truck is insured as a farm implement, and gets less than 500 miles of use a year. My Miata (which is tricked out) is insured as a pleasure vehicle, my bikes are my primary vehicles. 2,200 miles on the Lite this year, and the Salsa is new, it only has 110.
I use my bikes as utility bikes, and had to build them both up, one from scratch, the other is about 50% original. I could not find what I wanted in the U.S. and used the Dutch bicycle as a guideline.

Utility bicycles are ridiculed a great deal, purists seem to dislike them because they are not the kind of bikes they wish to own, for a myriad of reasons. Rat rod aficionados tend to disregard anything that is less than 15 years old, less than 3rd hand, or costs more than a 3 topping pizza.
I had specific demands for the bikes I have, and built them to meet those tasks.
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Old 07-31-06, 12:49 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by FarHorizon
I've done half-centuries before on a Schwinn Racer coaster-brake model. The bike was STOCK, including the vinyl, spring seat. Actually, I didn't find the bike that bad on flat roads. If I could buy that bike back right now, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

I like coaster brake utility bikes. Wish I still had one.
Just look around a bit. They're not that hard to find.

About a year ago, on a whim, I decided to look for a mid-60's 3-speed Schwinn Racer (non-coaster). Within a couple of weeks, I had found a pristine '67 version, in the color I wanted for just over $100.

That may be part of the problem. There are so many of these old bikes being given away or sold at very reasonable prices that it doesn't make a lot of sense to go out and buy something new, for a lot more money, that doesn't really do anything a whole lot better.

Regards,
Alan
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Old 07-31-06, 01:22 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by apw55
Just look around a bit. They're not that hard to find.

About a year ago, on a whim, I decided to look for a mid-60's 3-speed Schwinn Racer (non-coaster). Within a couple of weeks, I had found a pristine '67 version, in the color I wanted for just over $100.

That may be part of the problem. There are so many of these old bikes being given away or sold at very reasonable prices that it doesn't make a lot of sense to go out and buy something new, for a lot more money, that doesn't really do anything a whole lot better.

Regards,
Alan
Agreed. I think you may have hit the nail on the head. How can new manufacturers compete for the money of cheapskates like me in this field? I could spend $700 on a commuter, or I could buy an old bike for $100 and drop another $100 on accessories and repairs. I save $500 and get a cooler bike.
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Old 07-31-06, 03:35 PM
  #48  
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"I save $500 and get a cooler bike." Yes, and often a much BETTER QUALITY
bike than you can today at a decent price.
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Old 07-31-06, 04:26 PM
  #49  
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Prices on the English 3spds are on the rise I can recall buying them for $15-$25 a piece at yard/estate sales...unfortunately not too many anymore, if you can even find them. Even $100 for one in good shape is a great deal IMHO. I am in the process of a build up, I am using a Moby frame that was part of a $35 basket case that I bought back in 1974, fenders from the deep discount pile at my LBS ($5?), NOS 3spd S-A hub from who knows where, most of the rest of the parts are scavenged. The only brand new parts on the bike are the spokes, nipples and pedals Total cost is around $150 and that assumes new tires and tubes

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Old 07-31-06, 08:05 PM
  #50  
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So what do you do your utility/commuting cycling on? Your Miyata or your pickup?
What's this "We" garbage?
First of all its a MIATA, not a Miyata. It is a car. They have sold close to 1 million. It is the best selling roadster of all time according to the Guiness book of world records. There are 132 Miata owners clubs in America alone. So when I say we, I mean we, as in the other one million owners. I don't commute on my bike since I would have to ride over a VERY large bridge which doesn't allow bikes. The commute is 30 miles one way. I am not able to ride 60 miles a day. At least not at this point. I commute to families houses and various other things when I can(once a week at least). I do this on my road bike. The miata does nothing for my physique, unlike the road bike.



The reason, plain and simple, why there are no utilitarian bikes is that NO ONE is buying them. Alright a handful of people are buying them. If there was a market, I assure you someone would be selling them.

I really don't understand the anger towards those of us that ride anything beyond a $50 junker. They say it is insane to spend $1000 towards a bike. But why not? If you have the money and it is something you want, go for it. I have a Miata, but would I rather have a Ferrari? Yes! But that doesn't mean I am angry at Ferrari owners for spending over $100,000 on their car. Good for them. Enjoy it. No sense being bitter about it.
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