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Bike for Family Man

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Bike for Family Man

Old 06-30-20, 10:36 AM
  #1  
phogi
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Bike for Family Man

Hi All,

Need some bike recommendations. I'm a 40 year old dad with two young kids (3 and newborn). I have a Specialize Tricross single speed but its not ideal for hauling a kid on the back--too tippy and twitchy.

Looking for something more stable under load, and capable of front and rear racks, possibly paniers if we end up doing longer rides or even doing an overnight bikepacking when the kids get old enough. If possible I'd like something with a Nexus 7, as being able to shift at a stop while loaded seems like a key advantage. However I'm not interested in the "hauler" bikes as they seem very specialty and could not be used as a regular bike in the future.

I've looked at touring bikes like the Trek 520 and similar, city bikes like the Loft 7i, and the "fitness" bikes being marketed by the major companies.

What would you recommend I should be looking at?
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Old 06-30-20, 10:40 AM
  #2  
phogi
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I should add that I'd like the bike to be able to haul one of those kids trailers that makes it like a tandem, and also be able to haul a trailer for a kid (though probably not at the same time).
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Old 06-30-20, 10:40 AM
  #3  
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Is there a reason you are looking at a 7 spped rather than 8 speed igh?
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Old 06-30-20, 12:01 PM
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Nexus has a 7 speed hub, and I don't think I'd want an old 3 speed.
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Old 06-30-20, 12:24 PM
  #5  
Russ Roth
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If budget isn't too much of an issue I'd go with a Soma or Surley frame and build to suit, not certain there's a lot of 7sp only, bikepacking capable bikes on the market. I'd guess you can get in at under 1000.00 since there isn't an amazing drive train to add, just build the nicest wheels possible, an origin8 crank with chainguard on one side to protect pant legs and basic components all around. Should be an easy build. Thinking on simplicity, this https://www.bianchiusa.com/store/git...eed-cream.html
would let you get started really affordably and make the wheels the priciest thing going. You've got me thinking this might be something I do.

One issue I do see is the the trailers often attack to the axle, you may have an issue with that but some you can change the attachment to clamp the frame, if you do that first wrap the stay with a thin layer of handlebar tape, that'll keep the frame safe from the clamp.
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Old 07-01-20, 07:21 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by phogi View Post
Nexus has a 7 speed hub, and I don't think I'd want an old 3 speed.
Nexus IGHs also come in 8 speeds. I have one on my Norco.

One advantage to the 7 speed over the 8 speed is the gear ratios of the 7 speed are more evenly spaced. More can be seen on that here. https://sheldonbrown.com/nexus8.shtml
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Old 07-01-20, 09:57 PM
  #7  
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Mini velo.

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Old 07-01-20, 10:29 PM
  #8  
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I haven't done any touring, but I have done several longish rides ~40 miles towing my son in a trailer(burley bee) on both a race-ish road bike and a mountain bike. 40 miles with an extra 50 lbs on the road bike is really no problem at all, I'm just 3-4 mph slower for a similar level of effort...

The mountain bike is nice because I can turn around and see behind me, and I have gears to go up hills. I bought it mostly as something different from my road bike to tow kiddos around.

I had been really hesitant to put the bike trailer on the road bike, I was worried about twitchyness and visibility and hills and stopping, but once I had it attached, I found it really quite nice. It is substantially faster and still handles fine. It is a little difficult to see, so if you ride in cities a lot I wouldn't recommend it.

Being Illinois, hills are few and far between, but I have been seeking them out for some intervals towing the little one, and it really isn't too bad. I've never really found myself needing to change gears while stopped, its kinda the same as coming up to an intersection alone, just a little slower to get going. you get used to it quickly.

If I were to do it again (buy another bike for hauling kids), I'd probably get some sort of flat bar road bike/hybrid, but at this point I just use the road bike. Probably the biggest reason to have a hybrid would be to have something similar to my wife more so than some practical reason. Something like a touring bike would also likely be excellent and be upright enough for good visibility, and with something other than a close ratio cassette.

I have no experience with a trail-a-bike yet, but I just picked one up, as well as a tandem, so I can tow my wife, and 2(-3?) kids and not accidentally drop them...

In general I would look for a bike that fills a hole in your N+1 equation, perhaps something that meets your touring oriented needs, instead of focusing on something to haul kids, because it will likely be excellent at hauling kids anyway.
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Old 07-02-20, 11:41 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by phogi View Post
Nexus has a 7 speed hub, and I don't think I'd want an old 3 speed.
By the way, another benefit of the IGH bikes besides the shifting at a stop is the single speed type chainline. That 1x1 sprocket configuration essentially eliminates the likelihood of dropping a chain while riding.

I haven't kept up with Nexus 7 or 8 speed hub bikes in a while, but I can't think of any that are of the drop bar/touring variety. Most that I remember are urban/commuter/hybrid type bikes, not unlike that Loft 7i. Here's one that looks like a more classic styled version of that Loft, no first hand experience with Linus, though. https://linusbike.com/products/roadster-7i

Not sure if you can buy a new Norco locally, but the Indie 8IGH is the much changed successor to my Norco.

One that was really interesting in a MTB/BMX mixed with an urban bike style was the Electra Super Moto 8i. But it seems like it had a short production run as it's not on Electra's website for 2020 anymore.

Last edited by FiftySix; 07-02-20 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 07-22-20, 07:12 PM
  #10  
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That looks awesome
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Old 03-08-21, 09:46 PM
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I have an older Trek 5700 Mountain bike that I tool around town with the kids. I picked it up used for a great price. I have my nice 29 and a road bike for those occasions. My five year old rides his weeride copilot attached behind me and his 2 year old brother rides in the trailer behind him. I pull about 100lbs but it's a great work out up and down the hills around here.
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Old 03-09-21, 09:12 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by hermanchauw View Post
Mini velo.

Is it possible to have any additional atrocities configured on this abomination? So much wrongness in one place.
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Old 03-09-21, 01:05 PM
  #13  
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If an internally-geared hub isn't critical, consider an older (mid-90's) steel mountain bike. I'm about your age and have 2 kids (3 and 6) and have used a mid-90's Trek 820 for hauling my kids around. That bike has low enough gears for towing two kids up a hill, an indestructible frame, eyelets if I did want to mount a rear rack (although I had one and had to remove it because it interfered with the hitch for the Weehoo trailer), and is stable with an upright riding position for good visibility. Sadly my 820, which I'd had since high school, got stolen, and I replaced it with a slightly nicer but inexpensive 930 found on Craigslist. A used bike like this is cheap enough that you won't have invested much if your needs change as the kids get older. Here's photos of one 2-kid configuration. I also have a Burley Bee two-kid trailer borrowed from a neighbor.

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Old 03-09-21, 04:32 PM
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I have a similar set up except I have gone with the weeride copilot and a trailer as I don't like the child riding with me on my bike. Here is my set up:


The only problem I am running into is the fact that either I am going to fast for my son to peddle or the hill is too steep for his little legs to do any good!
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Old 03-19-21, 02:22 AM
  #15  
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I will echo what the others have written. I use my 30 year old MTB bike converter to a 'hybrid' set up to haul the kids either in a child seat, a Thule Chariot, or both. I don't know if it's just me, but using my beater bike for this makes it a lot less stressful than if I was using one of my 'nice' bikes. Will the child seat frame attachment leave scratches on the frame? I don't care. And my bike has fallen over and scratched more than a few times when I am putzing around with the kids in the Chariot.
One last advantage: when we go somewhere and have to lock up the bike and wagon, I only worry about the wagon. The bike itself is functional, but largely worthless to a thief (scratched up frame no decals, etc.).
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