Suggestions on buying a bike for work commute...

Gator24765

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 13, 2009
778
1
Texas
Hello everyone. This will be my first bike purchase and I don't have a large budget for it. Around $150-$200..

I will be looking on craigslist.

I don't know much about bikes. My commute to work is about 5 miles and to school it is about 3 miles. The commute to work will be into the downtown area. So I don't need anything special. I just don't know what type of bike to look for.

I don't think I want a full on road bike because of the small tires and I don't want a full on mountain bike. Is there something in between? What is it called?

Any suggestions?
 

robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
24,594
57
Harrogate
There are hybrid bikes (normally called just that). Basically a more upright (think mountain bike style) frame with road wheels and tyres. But as you say you don't want skinny tyres (why?) they might be out.
 

Gator24765

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 13, 2009
778
1
Texas
There are hybrid bikes (normally called just that). Basically a more upright (think mountain bike style) frame with road wheels and tyres. But as you say you don't want skinny tyres (why?) they might be out.
Idk, well I have never really ridden a bike with the skinny tires. My old roommate always had problems with them going flat etc..

----------

Cyclo-cross.

Question: what kind of surfaces will you be riding on?

It will be city streets the entire commute.
 

Huntn

macrumors demi-god
May 5, 2008
17,279
17,006
The Misty Mountains
I still have my Schwinn Super Sport from 1971 so I don't know much about new bikes but to look into what the frame and rims are made of. You don't want something that can rust. This Schwinn I have, has an alloy frame that looks as good as it did when new. The rims are aluminum (I believe)...

It will be city streets the entire commute.
Skinny tires are perfect for streets.
 

acidfast7

macrumors 65816
Nov 22, 2008
1,436
5
EU
Go with a Dutch 3-speed.

Kronan used to sell in the US online for a reasonable price, but I think they retreated to Scandinavia again.

http://www.kronan.com/sv/cykel/kronan-herrcykel-gron

only in Swedish, but it's probablu the most commute-friendly and city-friendly bike around (one used would be in your price range.)

a few quick things that you'll like about it.

built-in fenders
integrated rear hub
integrated generator and mounted lights
integrated rear wheel lock.
integrated pump
integrated rear spring-loaded holder
super comfy

i have a 27-spd MTN bike, a cyclocross bike and one of these.

the Kronan gets the most use by far.
 

SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
25,146
8,204
Detroit
Hello everyone. This will be my first bike purchase and I don't have a large budget for it. Around $150-$200..

I will be looking on craigslist.

I don't know much about bikes. My commute to work is about 5 miles and to school it is about 3 miles. The commute to work will be into the downtown area. So I don't need anything special. I just don't know what type of bike to look for.

I don't think I want a full on road bike because of the small tires and I don't want a full on mountain bike. Is there something in between? What is it called?

Any suggestions?
I use a Trek Navigator 1.0 to commute to work. I liken it to a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike. But you sit more upright on it which is nice for my back. It was around $400, but I got it on clearance last spring for $339 as the previous years model.

You really should increase your budget for a bike if you want something quality. I started with the same budget you mentioned and ended up returning two different bikes that I got under $200. They were just junk all around. Sometimes we really do get what we pay for.

This Trek bike is a dream to ride, very easy and comfortable and is durable. It's a good quality bike in my opinion and good for just cruising around town.



Picture of my actual bike. That's a friend of mine trying to get on it.
 
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robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
24,594
57
Harrogate
Idk, well I have never really ridden a bike with the skinny tires. My old roommate always had problems with them going flat etc..
If you keep them at the correct (very high) pressure it shouldn't really be a problem. And they offer much lower rolling resistance which is great on roads.
 

acidfast7

macrumors 65816
Nov 22, 2008
1,436
5
EU
Go with a Dutch 3-speed.

Kronan used to sell in the US online for a reasonable price, but I think they retreated to Scandinavia again.

http://www.kronan.com/sv/cykel/kronan-herrcykel-gron

only in Swedish, but it's probablu the most commute-friendly and city-friendly bike around (one used would be in your price range.)

a few quick things that you'll like about it.

built-in fenders
integrated rear hub
integrated generator and mounted lights
integrated rear wheel lock.
integrated pump
integrated rear spring-loaded holder
super comfy

i have a 27-spd MTN bike, a cyclocross bike and one of these.

the Kronan gets the most use by far.
Serious. I'm a huge cycling fan and it's eons ahead of the Trek 1.0 is really city usage. It's almost zero maintenance and is extremely practical for riding in the evening and in the rail and for putting your stuff from the store on the back.

Why not waste some many on a wanna-be MTB instead

:facepalm:

the Trek doesn't even have an integrated lock to prevent people from stealing it.

i guess you don't really have bike/bikelanes so I can understand the lack of evolved city-bike

but I can still weep for the OP.
 

niuniu

macrumors 68020
Road bikes can be a major source of pain depending on your roads. I was averaging 2 to 3 punctures a week in Manchester and the same in London. Some of the roads I had to commute to work were a disaster. Sold both my drop bar and flat bar road bikes off.

On a nice road though - absolute pleasure to ride, and so much faster than a mountain bike. I'll be looking for a hybrid for my next bike, I really miss cycling. Spent way too long poncin around in a car even just for short trips.

Sandbox's bike looks like the right direction for me Puncture prevention is my absolute priority on my next purchase. Anyway good luck on your choice OP. No matter what bike you get you're doin the right thing by cycling to work/school.
 

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Jan 31, 2010
1,317
11,869
Midlife, Midwest
If you are riding on paved surfaces, you want a bike with skinny tires. Unless you are riding through a war zone, or some area strewn with broken glass, its unlikely you'll get many punctures. Bike tires have improved immeasurably over the past ten years or so. You still need to know how to fix a flat by the side of the road - but I doubt you'll do it more than once a year.

A commuting bike needs a few special features. One: It needs at least a small amount of carrying capacity, so you can put a change of clothes in it. You don't want to show up at work wearing the clothes you've ridden 5 miles in a Texas summer. Wearing a backpack while riding a bike is generally uncomfortable. So get a bike you can add a rack and/or panniers. This also comes in handy if you decide to pick up a few groceries on the way home from work. Secondly, you'll need a bike you can add lights to. Your job may be daytime one, but the last thing you need is to ride home in the dark if you work late. Get decent quality halogen or LED lights. Rechargeable (not generator) for the front. Lastly, you'll want a bike you can put fenders on. It rains even in the desert. Riding in the rain isn't too bad, as long as you have fenders to prevent filthy water being thrown up from your tires.

As far as the bike itself, I'd suggest you look at a so-called hybrid or utility bike like this Trek. Obviously, given your budget, you are going to be looking at used.

You'll also want to buy some bike-specific clothing. Shorts and a microfiber jersey will mean you'll get to work relatively dry. Wearing a cotton t-shirt will make you sweat like a pig.

DO NOT BUY a $150 bike at Wal-Mart. It will be unbelievably heavy, use nasty fasteners that make it hard to change tires, and have substandard gears, brakes, etc. that will fall apart in six months of use. Don't buy any sort of mountain bike, and try to commute with it. The rolling resistance of those knobby tires will make your 5 mile commute feel like fifteen.

I commuted five miles each way to a job for two years, including two Wisconsin winters.
 

mobilehaathi

macrumors G3
Aug 19, 2008
9,347
6,218
The Anthropocene
DO NOT BUY a $150 bike at Wal-Mart. It will be unbelievably heavy, use nasty fasteners that make it hard to change tires, and have substandard gears, brakes, etc. that will fall apart in six months of use. Don't buy any sort of mountain bike, and try to commute with it. The rolling resistance of those knobby tires will make your 5 mile commute feel like fifteen.
I had a friend who was so happy to buy his $80 Wal-Mart bike. It was so cheap!

Then he spent another $150 getting it fixed over and over in the next 2 weeks. He's been rather cranky ever since.
 

SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
25,146
8,204
Detroit
You'll also want to buy some bike-specific clothing. Shorts and a microfiber jersey will mean you'll get to work relatively dry.
Where is a good place online to get these products and what would you recommend specifically?

DO NOT BUY a $150 bike at Wal-Mart. It will be unbelievably heavy, use nasty fasteners that make it hard to change tires, and have substandard gears, brakes, etc. that will fall apart in six months of use. Don't buy any sort of mountain bike, and try to commute with it. The rolling resistance of those knobby tires will make your 5 mile commute feel like fifteen.
To the OP ^^^ absolutely paramount advice! Be sure to heed it.
 

Gator24765

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 13, 2009
778
1
Texas
Thanks for all the input.

The roads are paved but they are rather bumpy and rugged. Old part of town.


I never once thought about buying from walmart. #crap


I will be buying used because of my budget but had no clue what to search for on craigslist.

Also, what size should I be looking for? I am 5'10" 170 pounds.
 

Randman

macrumors 65816
Jul 28, 2008
1,327
9
Jacksonville, Fla
I spent about $330 last year for a Jamis Explorer 1. It's super comfy for street commutes but rugged enough to pop a curb if need be. It's a 7-speed. Added front and back lights and an underseat saddlebag and a waterproof case for my iPhone (use Bluetooth headphone).
 

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senseless

macrumors 68000
Apr 23, 2008
1,768
158
Pennsylvania, USA
"It was around $400, but I got it on clearance last spring for $339 as the previous years model."

That's funny. It's a bike. What can they do to make last year's model obsolete?
 

Gator24765

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 13, 2009
778
1
Texas
I havent ridden bike very much so before I make my purchase what handle bar style do you guys like the best?

This:



or this:






Thanks
 

ender land

macrumors 6502a
Oct 26, 2010
876
0
Oooh fun.

I was thinking very seriously about getting a commuter bike as well but my daily commute was over 20 miles and it was just not going to be practical. I am somewhat excited to have a job where I can in fact bike to work as I do enjoy biking.

Best of luck finding something that works :)
 

Gator24765

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Nov 13, 2009
778
1
Texas
Oooh fun.

I was thinking very seriously about getting a commuter bike as well but my daily commute was over 20 miles and it was just not going to be practical. I am somewhat excited to have a job where I can in fact bike to work as I do enjoy biking.

Best of luck finding something that works :)

Thanks. I would like to be more active so riding a bike is a good plan.

I have a 5 mile ride to work and a 3 mile ride to school so not bad at all. The ride to school is all through rich neighborhoods too. so no traffic!