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Old 12-30-14, 06:11 PM   #1
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2 Biker Riders need bikes. Taking advice and suggestions!

This is a two parter. I'll start with the slightly more complicated one. My fiancee when she was a kid took a tumble over the handle bars because she squeezed the front brakes too hard. In the 6 years I've been with her I haven't seen her ride a bike once. She's 25 now. I don't know how long its been. i'm almost worried I might have to reteach her how to ride a bike. But since then she won't even consider riding a bike unless it has coaster brakes. She'd basically be riding it for leisure purposes on flat road. I want us to get more excersise, but we aren't going nuts. It's probably going to start with just bike rides to get breakfast down the road. So any suggestions on specific bikes I should check out?

Second part. I personally haven't ridden a bike in probably 7-8 years either. I used to split my time between a mountain bike(cause it was the cool bike to ride) and a road bike. I remember that the road bike wasn't exactly comfortable to ride being so hunched over, and although it the mountain bike was comfortable, I feel like I'm a little too grown up to be riding a mountain bike simply cause I think it looks cool. I won't bike going off trail or anything. So like my fiancee I'm looking for a bike good for riding around town. I want it to be functional, but i don't need a heck of alot of bells and whistles. And I'm fine with normal hand brakes. What type of bike do people in my aisle generally look for?

Any suggestions will do!
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Old 01-01-15, 10:32 AM   #2
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Your fiance didn't go over the bars because she squeezed the front brake too hard. It was probably because she didn't use both front and rear brakes at the same time. It is called an Artie Johnson by lots of bike enthusiasts and most of us have done it one time or another. Two brakes are far safer than just having a rear brake since more of the braking power resides in the front brake. It is much easier to get a bike to skid using a coaster brake and at that point you have lost ALL braking power. I don't have a solution to her fear. That's just too bad.

You don't give enough information to recommend any one bike. What is your price range? If you are both casual riders you probably don't want to drop a bundle of money on bikes but the low-end bikes are generally heavy and come with components that may work OK but are nothing to write home about. My one caveat is to stay away from bikes sold by mass merchandisers and stay away from anything that has suspension. It is a real crap shoot to get one that is properly assembled and in general the components are bottom-of-the-barrel quality. Used bikes are a better choice but only if you have enough knowledge to differentiate between garbage bikes and decent used bikes.
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Old 01-01-15, 11:47 AM   #3
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I recommend that you try a tandem out by renting one. Both of you need to read this several times first: The Proper Method If she does not trust you completely, a tandem is not for you.

Here are a couple of singles that may interest you:
B&W GT - another project - Bicycle Repair Forums
Motiv Rocky Point II - Bicycle Repair Forums

There are very few current bikes that are very good, and those are expensive. In addition to our NV friend's advice: stay away from mail/internet ordering too - those bikes need set up, which will run you $100 to $200 each at a shop.

My advice: visit ALL of the bicycle shops in your area to determine which shop you want to do business with. Do NOT purchase on your first or even 2nd visit. Narrow it down to two shops, go to each and talk in great detail about what you want, your concerns, likes, dislikes etc. Talk to the mechanics. Take test rides on a couple of bikes. Go home. talk about it with your partner. All bike shop bikes are about equal quality. The brand does not make much difference, but the shop does. You will have a long term relationship with them. Bikes require maintenance.
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Old 01-02-15, 08:59 AM   #4
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Go with some hybrids. They are a mix between mtbs and road bikes and would be perfect for the limited use you describe.
You don't need a road bike for around town riding(trails and sidewalks/neighborhoods) because you are stopping frequently and you would not be in the drops(the low part of the handlebar). You also don't need a mountain bike as it would be unnecessarily heavy.

- Look for bikes with no suspension. Suspension = heavy. Suspension = moving parts that don't work well if not assembled properly and a hassle to maintain if needed.
- Look for bikes with 28mm - 38mm with 32ish being a pretty good compromise. that is 1.25" wide and will be good to absorb the typical bumps of town riding while not being extremely heavy and thick. The wider you go, the more rolling resistance, typically. Speaking of- you don't need knobby mtb tires like your old bike. That will only make it more difficult to pedal.
- Look for bikes with a flat bar variation. These are great for shorter rides and town riding as you are more upright which is more comfortable on short rides and helps in town to be seen by cars and to see up ahead.
- Go to a few bike shops and ask a ton of questions. See what they have and price it compared to other shops. If the costs are too high, you can always go the Craigslist route since you will now have an idea of what type of bike and sizes are needed. Take the bikes to whichever bike shop you visited for tune ups. Itll ensure the bikes are properly tuned and in good working order, and will toss some money the shop's way since you hopefully learned a lot from them in the process.
- $300 per for used should get you something workable. $500-600 new should get you something workable. Ballpark figures, of course.

No idea what to say about your girlfriend, only that its a shame to hear she is hesitant to ride because of what happened when she was smaller. Best idea I have is to go to a dedicated paved bike trail the first few times you guys ride. Drive there, then start and end on the trail. There will be no traffic and little need to brake hard or often. Hopefully that eases her back into riding and she can get a lot of confidence.

Good luck
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Old 01-02-15, 02:43 PM   #5
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Drop By your Local Shop.

Trek's FX series is without the suspension fork; DS dual Sport Is with .. My LBS is a Trek Dealer.

some other brands too.. they all come in Boxes off a Boat from Asia, thats the Business norm Now..

Test Rides is better than talk ..
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Old 01-02-15, 02:52 PM   #6
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I'd start browsing Craigslist.

Give yourself, say a $400 budget for 2 bikes. The hybrids aren't bad... other than the coaster brakes.

Put a few miles on them. Perhaps keep to parks and MUTS (multi-use-trails) to start with.

I'm not sure about coaster brakes. Perhaps some ancient 3-speeds will have them, or some beach cruisers, but I'd still try the normal handlebar brakes. You could build a bike around a coaster brake system, but it would be somewhat limiting.

The two of you may decide you don't like riding at all, so start cheap. If it is what you want, then go hog-wild on your next bike purchase.

Here is an 8-speed coaster brake internally geared hub.

And a 9-speed coaster brake hub

So, you could build a nice bike around the coaster brake hub, or somewhere the bikes should be out there. However, it still is a big limitation as one moves towards performance bikes. I'd still do coaster + hand brakes.

Last edited by CliffordK; 01-02-15 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 01-03-15, 12:37 PM   #7
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From your post I'm gathering that you are both in your mid twenties. There are loads of different bikes out there so I agree with the advice given above. And since I'm the Unofficial preacher for the Electra Townie, that's what I'm recommending you 2 should try. Nice comfort beach-cruiser style bikes which are ergonomically designed. If you will be riding in areas that have nice paved roads/bike paths and not many hills, you will be happy. My only complaints with the Townie are the stock seat and pedals. But those are easy to swap-out. I also opted for swapping-out the handle bars for Electra's stock bullhorn cruiser bars. Below is a thread on the Townie that has been running for 11 years. Browse it a bit. Either way, test ride as many different bikes as you can before making a decision.
Good luck!

Electra website:

Townie Bike Forums thread:

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Old 01-04-15, 01:51 AM   #8
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My wife rides vintage coaster brake bikes, doesnt want anything else. I think it would be better to have a 5 speed vintage bike, but then no coaster brakes.
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Old 01-04-15, 02:41 AM   #9
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Aproaches to cycling vary from person to person. Right now, you have a desire to ride a bike. I'm assuming your fiancee also does as well. If not then you probably don't want to push her into doing something she is vehemently opposed to. And you probably don't want to jump into this with performance road bikes right away either. My best advice is to find what's comfortable today that will allow you to enjoy cycling and go with that. That may be a hybrid or single-speed townie/breach cruiser or MTB or road bike. We don't know. You don't know. But it's something you owe to yourselves to find out by trying out different bikes.

Cycling is a sport you grow into... A full-on race-ready or even high performance road bike today may not be the most comfortable thing for you to ride. Eventually your riding style changes and your body changes too and in a year that road bike may be the most comfortable thing for the type of riding you want to do while the hybrid or converted MTB that might be comfortable to ride now may turn out to be limiting in the future. But you have to get there from here. So go find a bike shop and try out different styles of bikes with your fiancee. Then each of you determine what kind of bike and what kind of cycling suits you right now. And plan to buy something that will work for you for the next 6 months or so. If you're just starting out cycling (which given a lapse of even a couple of years is really how you should consider yourself) then you don't want to drop a ton of cash on a bike that you may grow apart from in relatively short order. You'd be surprised at how quickly your body acquaints itself to cycling.

As for your fiancee's fear of front brakes, I can understand her hesitation. If she's willing to ride a bike with both front and rear brakes and can restraint herself from using too much front brake then I would still suggest you attempt to convince her to look into such a bike. Most likely you will be travelling at slower speeds to start out with so relying only on the rear brake won't be too detrimental. Eventually she should learn and be encouraged to properly use the front brake. If she simply just can't bring herself to even get on a bike with a front brake then by all means try and find a bike with a coaster brake. This will of course limit your choices... especially as you graduate to the higher performance end of the cycling spectrum. But right now, it is more important to get her a bike she is comfortable riding and operating.
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