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Advice for car-replacement bike

Old 02-10-17, 05:33 AM
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Advice for car-replacement bike

Hey all,

I am moving to Chicago in a few months and starting to do some research on what bike I will get. I will be going car-free there after having to own one for the last several years living in the countryside. I REALLY want a dutch style commuter with integrated lights and full chain case but I cant afford anything I have look at. The choice I keep coming down to are the Windsor Oxford/Kensington and the Linus Roadster Sport 3/8.

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Both bikes are available with either a 3 or 8 speed internal hub which would be nice for city/winter riding. I am not sure how many gears I should have in Chicago which is mostly flat so I am open to suggestions on that. It seems that either way, the Linus bikes price out to be about 3x the price of the Windors. What do you think you get for that increase in price? Higher quality frame and wheels? Both bikes get good reviews online and I am also an at-home bike mechanic so I can fix just about anything if it brakes. I am just confused since a lot of the parts on the bikes are the same so.... is it just marketing and a hip brand name? Anything else I should consider looking at?
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Old 02-10-17, 07:37 AM
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My sister has the mixte version of the 8 speed Windsor. Its an excellent bike but you have to assemble it and true the wheels etc. If your up for that or willing to pay a lbs to assemble it it would be a good way to go. I havnt seen the Linus but if I was in the market for that type of bike I wouldn't hesitate to buy the windsor.

The 3 speed is pretty wide range. The 8_speed is of course wider.
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Old 02-10-17, 07:39 AM
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That Linus does look nice!!
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Old 02-10-17, 10:58 AM
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The "can't afford it" argument is faulty. If you don't buy a bike, you will soon spend much more on public transit, cabs/uber or car. Here public transit costs $6/day. There are about 220-250 commuting days per year. Do the math.
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Old 02-10-17, 11:34 AM
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I'd get the Windsor and save the cash. Looking at the specs, Linus frame is "Hi Ten steel with CroMo down tube" while the Widsor is "4130 CroMo steel" -- seems like the Windsor frame is made with better material = lighter. Only thing missing is a rack, and for the $300 saved, you could have it professionally assembled if you just didn't want to do it yourself, and have a rack installed at the same time. If you do want to spend all the way up to what you'd put into a Linus, with the Windsor you could also get a dynamo front hub for the front wheel and head/tail lights...
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Old 02-10-17, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
The "can't afford it" argument is faulty. If you don't buy a bike, you will soon spend much more on public transit, cabs/uber or car. Here public transit costs $6/day. There are about 220-250 commuting days per year. Do the math.
Yes I know. This is not the first time I have been car-free. But both of the bikes I have listed are less than 1/4 of the price of the bike I really want and will serve nearly as well. https://jclindbikes.com/city-bikes/w...ice-step-over/
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Old 02-10-17, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
H

.... is it just marketing and a hip brand name?
I think so. The Windsor is as good or better. And it won't sting as much if it gets stolen.
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Old 02-11-17, 01:22 AM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
Yes I know. This is not the first time I have been car-free. But both of the bikes I have listed are less than 1/4 of the price of the bike I really want and will serve nearly as well. https://jclindbikes.com/city-bikes/w...ice-step-over/
Welcome back to the forum! You contributed a lot in the past, and I hope you will again.

Sorry, no experience with either bike so I can't add much to your thread.
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Old 02-11-17, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
Yes I know. This is not the first time I have been car-free. But both of the bikes I have listed are less than 1/4 of the price of the bike I really want and will serve nearly as well. https://jclindbikes.com/city-bikes/w...ice-step-over/
I wasn't really trying to talk you into buying an expensive bike. I commuted on $200 used bikes for over 20 years, and only started using my more expensive single-owner bike for utility when it was 7 years old. It was just more the principle that workhorse bikes easily pay for themselves, so cost isn't as big a barrier as we think..

Having said that, if I were in your position, I would buy two quality used bikes - one would be a winter and trail bike, the other a summer and road rec bike. Partly, as said above, that would be to mitigate theft costs.

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Old 02-11-17, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
Here public transit costs $6/day.

$6/day x 7 days per week = $ 42 dollars. That's a lot more then what I spend on gas.


Originally Posted by cooker View Post
There are about 220-250 commuting days per year. Do the math.

How do you come up with 220-250 working/commuting days per year ?? That's a lot of free time per year. Unless somebody is retired, majority of people have to leave their home and go somewhere or be somewhere at least 350 days per year. So yeah, using public transit, car-share, uber, taxis, trains costs as much as owning a car, when you do the math.
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Old 02-11-17, 10:16 AM
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A pretty looking and expensive bike is a bad idea for city riding. Theft and vandalism is a big problem in large cities. Get something cheaper, something that doesn't attract too much attention.
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Old 02-11-17, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
$6/day x 7 days per week = $ 42 dollars. That's a lot more then what I spend on gas.
Not after you factor in the cost of the container you carry it around in.
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Old 02-11-17, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
$6/day x 7 days per week = $ 42 dollars. That's a lot more then what I spend on gas.

How do you come up with 220-250 working/commuting days per year ?? That's a lot of free time per year. Unless somebody is retired, majority of people have to leave their home and go somewhere or be somewhere at least 350 days per year. So yeah, using public transit, car-share, uber, taxis, trains costs as much as owning a car, when you do the math.
Someone comes up with "cost" comparisons like that by assuming people never venture beyond walking distance from their home except for commuting. Since a bicycle conceivably (ignoring health, convenience, comfort, weather, distance, cargo, passengers, and age factors) can be used 100% of the trips away from home and no reason to spend money for any other transportation purpose, the math works out.

Similar cost comparisons between bicycle and motor vehicles are sometimes made assuming motor vehicles serve no other use or practicality for their owners except for commuting.

Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 02-11-17 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 02-11-17, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Unless somebody is retired, majority of people have to leave their home and go somewhere or be somewhere at least 350 days per year.
BTW, retired people leave their home too, sometimes even by bike if and when it is practical.
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Old 02-11-17, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Someone comes up with "cost" comparisons like that by assuming people never venture beyond walking distance from their home except for commuting. Since a bicycle conceivably (ignoring health, convenience, comfort, weather, distance, cargo, passengers, and age factors) can be used 100% of the trips away from home and no reason to spend money for any other transportation purpose, the math works out.

Similar cost comparisons between bicycle and motor vehicles are sometimes made assuming motor vehicles serve no other use or practicality for their owners except for commuting.
You do blather on. My point was to illustrate that a bike pays for itself in transit savings. If we only base it on work commuting that's about $1200-1500 a year, in Toronto, anyway. If we throw in other trips taken by bike instead of bus, the savings are even greater.
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Old 02-12-17, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
A pretty looking and expensive bike is a bad idea for city riding. Theft and vandalism is a big problem in large cities. Get something cheaper, something that doesn't attract too much attention.


That's what I was thinking. Do you know where you'll be living and working, and what the bike storage options are at either place? Will you be hauling groceries with the bike? Would a compact or folding bike work better?
And lastly, I will periodically have a bike out of commission when it's in the bike shop or something, so having TWO bikes would be helpful for that.
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Old 02-12-17, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
$6/day x 7 days per week = $ 42 dollars. That's a lot more then what I spend on gas.
Gas is hardly the only cost of using/owning a car for transportation. In fact, it's a trifle when compared with depreciation and repairs.
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Old 02-13-17, 08:26 AM
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These are a pretty sweet deal for an every day commuter. It does cost $900, but you would have little to no maintenance on this and save money in the long run.

https://www.prioritybicycles.com/products/thecontinuum
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Old 02-24-17, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
... Both bikes are available with either a 3 or 8 speed internal hub which would be nice for city/winter riding. I am not sure how many gears I should have in Chicago which is mostly flat so I am open to suggestions on that...
In fairly flat or moderately hilly areas, I commute and tour on single speeds. Is it the optimal and most efficient way to go? Nope. But then I really appreciate mechanical simplicity and I like challenging myself so 1 speed gets a nod most of the time. How many speeds you want all depends on what you want to do and your frame of mind but 'more' isn't always 'better'.
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Old 02-25-17, 02:58 AM
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Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
Hey all,

I am moving to Chicago in a few months and starting to do some research on what bike I will get. I will be going car-free there after having to own one for the last several years living in the countryside. I REALLY want a dutch style commuter with integrated lights and full chain case but I cant afford anything I have look at. The choice I keep coming down to are the Windsor Oxford/Kensington and the Linus Roadster Sport 3/8.
I have the Windsor 3 speed and if commuting, you'll need a new rear tire or Tuffy liners to hold off the flats. I would also upgrade the front brake pads and have the LBS stress the rear wheel. I was breaking spokes in the rear wheel after 3 years.

Otherwise, it's a great bike!
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Old 02-27-17, 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
I have the Windsor 3 speed and if commuting, you'll need a new rear tire or Tuffy liners to hold off the flats. I would also upgrade the front brake pads and have the LBS stress the rear wheel. I was breaking spokes in the rear wheel after 3 years.

Otherwise, it's a great bike!
Do the hub gears cause flats and broken spokes? If so, why?
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Old 02-27-17, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I had the 1-speed Windsor for a while...didn't like it.
  • Steering was too twichy.
  • Looks cheaply made
  • 700c wheel and skinny tires...a lot of puncture...the front fender hit my toe when turning slow speed.
Some of those issues might resolve with familiarity. A light road bike often feels more twitchy than a heavier mountain bike and you need to learn to steer with a very light touch, and yes, you do get more flats, although sometimes that is due to underinflation and pinching. Lots of bikes have toe overlap at slow speed - we just learn to adapt, maybe pedal half-strokes or coast through narrow spots or whatever, and it becomes second nature.

Another possibility is that your Windsor had been in a crash with the front fork bent back a bit - that would harm steering stability and perhaps aggravate toe overlap.
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Old 02-27-17, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Welcome back to the forum! You contributed a lot in the past, and I hope you will again.

Sorry, no experience with either bike so I can't add much to your thread.
Thanks Rudy!
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Old 02-27-17, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I had the 1-speed Windsor for a while...didn't like it.
  • Steering was too twichy.
  • Looks cheaply made
  • 700c wheel and skinny tires...a lot of puncture...the front fender hit my toe when turning slow speed.
I commute on a narrow bike lane with cars blasting by me at 50 mph. And the Windsor was alot of work to ride down that road. Like I constantly had to correct the steering to keep the bike going straight. Never rode a bike that behave that way. I guess really bad geometry imo. Not a problem if you're park riding, though; the twichiness might even be fun on the MUP. And the Windsor looks cheaply made...one grade above Walmart quality. The rear bearing wore out after a few months, due to bearing lock nut loosening and allowing the bearing cone to tighten up.

I saw a Linus at a group ride, and I must say the Linus looks very high quality made...like a Trek.

Hi-ten steel frame is just as good as chromoly steel frame. Hi-ten is probably more compliant, more comfortable. Chromoly is probably more stiffer, less comfortable. Hi-ten is probably heavier than Chromoly. The Windsor felt really light.

I also didn't like the use of 700c wheel and skinny tires. I was getting a lot of puncture on it. And the front fender would hit my toe when turning slow speed. Would have been better if they use 26" wheel and 2" tires.

The OP said he really wanted a Dutch Bike...IMO, the OP should forget these cheap clones and buy a genuine Dutch Bike. New ones are ridiculously expensive, but you'll not have to buy another bike again, because they last forever. So in long run, you'll be saving money by buying Dutch. Dutch Bikes ride totally different from the Windsor. The Windsor is like a Miata sports car with peppy acceleration and lightning quick handling reflex...Dutch bikes are like Cadillacs, heavy and slow.
I too would prefer a higher quality bike to a lower quality one. However, buying a 1k bike in a city like Chicago with high rates of bike theft seems like a bad idea to me right now. Maybe after I am living there for a while I will change my mind. I currently ride a LHT but didnt use it for commuting even in relatively low-crime Lansing because I can't really afford to lose that kind of investment.

I actually did a lot of my commuting in Lansing on a 1973 Raleigh Sport 3 speed. I loved that bike and it was very high quality. However, its steel wheels made for some scary stops in the rain and it was almost impossible to find snow tires for its old fashioned rims. In Lansing I had a big enough place that I had 3-4 bikes so it was easy to keep a winter MTB around but in Chicago I will have no such luxury.
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Old 02-27-17, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Do the hub gears cause flats and broken spokes? If so, why?
The hub gears don't cause flats. It's the cheep Kendra tire that has no flat protection. Also, I noticed most of the weight on that bike goes to the rear wheel so you have to use a quality rear tire.
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