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Best choices for a light utility bike?

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Best choices for a light utility bike?

Old 03-12-20, 10:55 AM
  #1  
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Best choices for a light utility bike?

With the reduction in out of the house activities related to the pandemic, I think its a good opportunity to shop more on a bicycle. Problem is we only have one good light utility / shopping bike, and Mrs. Road Fan and I would want to go together.

For a second light utility bike, what are the better choices? I've been thinking of getting a decent used '60s or so English 3-speed and to add a modern rack with shopping sacks on a rear pannier rack. Some hills, but I think a Sturmey AW would be adequate gearing. I'm not currently looking at needing a Bullitt or similar. That "smaller than a Bullitt" is what I am referring to as a light utility bike.
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Old 03-12-20, 06:30 PM
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If you have any hills, you might want more than 3 gears, especially for a heavy grocery load. I highly recommend 80s or 90s era rigid MTBs as utility bikes. I have one with a mixte frame, street tires, rear rack with grocery panniers, and a front basket. Lots of capacity and very sturdy.
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Old 03-13-20, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by AeroGut View Post
If you have any hills, you might want more than 3 gears, especially for a heavy grocery load. I highly recommend 80s or 90s era rigid MTBs as utility bikes. I have one with a mixte frame, street tires, rear rack with grocery panniers, and a front basket. Lots of capacity and very sturdy.
I can certainly go with a larger rear sprocket. There are some hills, but pretty moderate.
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Old 03-16-20, 08:48 PM
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I also need some ideas for light utility bike, thanks for starting this thread.
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Old 03-18-20, 07:50 AM
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Bicycles that allow for at least a rear rack, would be a place to start. I use my Trek 520 with a wire basket lashed to the top of the cheap rear rack that came with it (same as any cheap rear rack by Axiom, etc). I could also fit panniers/side-baskets to this rack if I need to transport larger quantities of goods. I've seen wire basket panniers that fold down when not in use.
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Old 04-13-20, 08:45 PM
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Eight years back I bought a Felt Cafe 7 bicycle from LL Bean that fit my criteria. Not sure if a comparable model is about. I think it came in 3 spd and 7 spd. I had the 7 and added a double. I have come to enjoy bikes with long wheelbases and very long chainstays like 19.5”. For upright bar bikes and the ability to carry heavy loads an old fashioned geometry is great. The Felt was around $600. It’s a much better ride than an old Schwin and better able to carry loads while still being lighter with an aluminum frame.
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Old 04-19-20, 05:14 PM
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Milk Crates on the Rear Rack?


Order milk crates online.

Calculate (n+1).

Homemade Coroplast crate up front, milk crate on rear rack.

Milk Crate zip tied to rear rack.

Last edited by hotbike; 04-19-20 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 04-28-20, 03:21 AM
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Best choice is what’s available and you can afford. I’m rather partial to the mtb platform and the rigid hard tails of the group. My first mtb was a 3x5 stumpjumper and till to this day I’m rather partial to the older mtb’s. Many have a touring bike setup with the gearing and rack mounts front and rear making things easier to personalize to your needs. And these days so many people want to go with the 29” wheels, leaving many 26” wheeled bikes with less desirability ( more in my mind &#128515. Tires are available for mtb’s from 1.25 wide up to 5 plus I think, those are some different bikes tho. 2” (ish) is probably around the tops, maybe 2.1 or 2.2 widths are the more common ones Tho. Like cruisers. 2” street tires are my choice with straight bars changed out to swept back ones. Oh, a basket and a kickstand too. Something I never would have considered in my earlier years.
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Old 04-30-20, 10:00 PM
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I’m all for getting a cheap low mile Craigslist 26” wheeled steel frame MT bike with no suspension. They usually sell for $50 to $85 around here. Put a heavy touring rack on the back, if it does already have one and a porter rack large enough to strap down that pizza box on the front. I also would find a cheap old kid’s trailer to pull behind for that 50 lb bag of dog food or 100 lb of concrete. For tires, I run the Gotham ST tires 26 x 1.75. They cost about $12.00 each when you buy a set. I’ve been running these on my Big Dummy for about 10 years with no worries, not even a puncture.
https://www.performancebike.com/fort...66455?v=927928
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Old 06-12-20, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
With the reduction in out of the house activities related to the pandemic, I think its a good opportunity to shop more on a bicycle. Problem is we only have one good light utility / shopping bike, and Mrs. Road Fan and I would want to go together.

For a second light utility bike, what are the better choices? I've been thinking of getting a decent used '60s or so English 3-speed and to add a modern rack with shopping sacks on a rear pannier rack. Some hills, but I think a Sturmey AW would be adequate gearing. I'm not currently looking at needing a Bullitt or similar. That "smaller than a Bullitt" is what I am referring to as a light utility bike.
A mini velo. Lower rear rack. Can carry adult behind.


18 gear inch or lower. Mine is 18-65.5 gear inch.
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Old 06-13-20, 05:59 AM
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Thanks all! I like the creative ideas, especially the Coroplast aero front storage!

I have a Trek 720 frame on its way to me, and I'll be transferring all my parts over from the Trek 610 to the 720. Being a regular touring bike the 720 should accept significant load once its built up. Mrs Road Fan is happy with the 700c Breezer she has. So, problem solved!
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Old 06-13-20, 06:07 AM
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I have a Trek 720 . I thought it was a “hybrid”, account it has straight bars.


The vinyl on the seat was starting to split apart, so it’s now wrapped in blue packing tape. I ride that tantalizing line between a heavy touring bike and a light cargo bike. Type Eleven bike with Model 520 Panniers.

The Trek 720 now has Big Panniers, which I call “Model 520”. The front platform is mounted to the head tube, which makes much more stable control and handling (compared to handlebar baskets).
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Old 06-13-20, 04:09 PM
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Bike Friday Haul a day or (if you want electric ) Ever E day. Super light, short footprint, super comfortable and capable and configurable.

https://www.bikefriday.com/folding-b...day-cargo-bike

https://www.bikefriday.com/folding-b...ric-cargo-bike
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Old 06-17-20, 10:53 AM
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Cool utility in the eye of the beholder..

Start with what bike you can find, that fits adequately, add baskets and such.. Kickstand , A Lock that keeps it un stolen..


Utility is a use of the bike nothing necessarily about a specific bike..

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-17-20 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 06-17-20, 10:59 AM
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It hasn’t been built yet.
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Old 06-28-20, 01:09 PM
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https://www.larryvsharry.com/


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Old 06-28-20, 01:15 PM
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Soma cargo bike
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Old 06-28-20, 01:16 PM
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Last edited by fietsbob; 07-09-20 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 07-03-20, 05:44 AM
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I would suggest a reasonably modern mid range hybrid with a front and rear rack and then 4 pannier bags with the two on the front clipping to lowrider frames. This will keep the loaded panniers on the front of the bike somewhere close to the front wheel's axle which is going to improve the general handling of the bike.

I am still running about doing my general grocery shopping on my now 14 year old Falcon Explorer Hybrid running a general purpose Suntour 18 speed groupset on 700c X 38mm (front) and 700c X 43mm Schwalbe Marathon plus tyres and 4 X 18 litre volume capacity pannier bags: two front and two rear. This set up makes for a much more civilised and safer ride than a plastic grocery crate bolted to a rack.
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Old 07-03-20, 07:25 AM
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Model 520 Big Coroplast Pannier Set

Big Coroplast Panniers Multi Angle View

This pannier set has almost as much volume as typical longtail panniers, at a fraction of the cost.
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Old 07-09-20, 07:47 PM
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Likely been mentioned, but I can't recommend the Wald 137 basket enough... you can order from Psychic Derailleur in Indianapolis, IN. without the mounting hardware for easy zip tie attachment to a front or rear rack.
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Old 11-17-20, 10:41 AM
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I'm building a Velo Orange Polyvalent right now for this sort of thing. I put a front rack and attached a Wald 137 basket. I am adding some pouches to the back of the basket to hold small things like my keys, wallet, phone etc. It's definitely not a cheap option, but I'm super happy with it so far. I put a 1x11 SRAM Apex 1 setup with 650bx47 tires, disc brakes, and it'll get fenders.
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Old 12-31-20, 01:19 AM
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My friend, you need a Trek 820, preferably with the suspension fork replaced. Rack on the back with a couple basic panniers and a removable wald on the front and Bob's your uncle.
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Old 12-31-20, 08:30 AM
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Older Mountain bikes make great utility and go anywhere bikes. Here is what mr,grumpy is referring to:

Trek 820

Unfortunately, the secret is getting out and availability of the these bikes is going down and prices are going up.
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Old 12-31-20, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post
Older Mountain bikes make great utility and go anywhere bikes. Here is what mr,grumpy is referring to:

Trek 820

Unfortunately, the secret is getting out and availability of the these bikes is going down and prices are going up.
Awww... you linked to MY bike!

Actually, in the Trek line of adult MTB/Commuter/Hybrids it's the cheapest bike, brand new, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's the cheapest (or early so) of the full sized, multi gear, bikes from any respectable manufacturer.

Used might be another story, but I got mine for sixty bucks over 12 years ago, when she was a lot newer and shinier.
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