Author Topic: Bike advice  (Read 5292 times)

calskin

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Bike advice
« on: July 31, 2013, 05:36:04 PM »
Hey everyone,

I would like to buy a bike for myself as a commuter and to run errands.  I currently have a Peugeot UO-8 but it needs a lot of work (bike stem, bottom bracket, front and rear deraileur, breaks etc) and I figure it's going to save a lot of current and future headaches to get a new or used bike in good shape.

I live in Alberta Canada, so it gets very cold and snowy, but I would like to ride in the winter still as much as possible.  The area is mostly flat, but I live on top of a fairly big one even my 12 speed UO-8 was a bit of a challange. 

Things I liked about the UO-8 was the 29" wheels which made going fast very easy.  I didn't mind not having suspension, however, I would like to be able to ride my bike around if I go camping.

Basically, I'm not planning on trashing the thing (however riding in winter can easily do that) and I'm willing to put in the work to maintain the bike, but I want a bike that is going to last.

I have an idea of what I want, but I think I would rather hear what you have to say before I let that out, just so I don't sway anyone in a certain direction.

Please let me know what you think.  Oh and I'm 6'2" 230 lbs if that helps.

Thanks

napalminator

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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2013, 07:56:34 PM »
29er hardtail, rigid fork if you can deal with it (much cheaper).  non-steel to avoid corrosion over the long term.  nice wide-range cassette for the hills.  disc brakes for foul weather.

calskin

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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2013, 04:33:38 PM »
29er hardtail, rigid fork if you can deal with it (much cheaper).  non-steel to avoid corrosion over the long term.  nice wide-range cassette for the hills.  disc brakes for foul weather.

So you're saying buy new then?  What do you think a realistic budget would be?

napalminator

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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2013, 05:55:15 PM »
not necessarily new.  there are plenty of used 29ers out there.  especially if you build from parts.  there are some really cheap frames on ebay/craigslist.

yyc-phil

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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2013, 06:47:16 PM »
I can't recommend anything in particular but if you live in Calgary like your handle might suggest, check the Good Life Community Bicycle Shop in Kensington, an eclectic volunteer-run place to fix your bike (they have most tools you will need), find old parts, get some advice from greasers, and meet interesting folks from all walks of life, but maybe not the lycra-clad bunch who ride on $3,000 bikes. It is also a good place to donate your old bike if you'd like.

calskin

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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2013, 10:21:35 AM »
I can't recommend anything in particular but if you live in Calgary like your handle might suggest, check the Good Life Community Bicycle Shop in Kensington, an eclectic volunteer-run place to fix your bike (they have most tools you will need), find old parts, get some advice from greasers, and meet interesting folks from all walks of life, but maybe not the lycra-clad bunch who ride on $3,000 bikes. It is also a good place to donate your old bike if you'd like.

Yeah, I love that place.  It's actually where I got my Peugeot.  The problem I've run into is the bike is just a money and work pit because of old brittle parts which are very hard to find.  It's my fault for buying a 70s french bike though.  Parts are very hard to find or expensive.  When I bought it I didn't know a thing about buying a bike. 

I paid $100 for it and put about $50 into getting it running.  It got me to work every day last summer, but then the rear derailleur broke and I couldn't find a replacement at the bike shop and I don't know enough about bikes to go to MEC and buy replacement parts which will be compatible.

I went across the street to Reiley cycle to check it out and they had a bike with front suspension (no suspension lockout) 29" wheels and it was a semi off-road bike so it's pretty much exactly what I wanted (except for the no lockout thing) but it's $700. 

I feel really bad spending that much on a bike.  Am I being super cheap?


GuitarStv

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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2013, 11:20:16 AM »
How's the salting situation during the winter in Calgary?  That will drastically effect the lifespan of your bike and components.

Do you do most of your riding on trails or road?  Unless you're regularly hitting bumpy trails, I'd stay away from anything with a suspension.  It's just not needed for city riding/bike path riding/packed dirt, adds weight, and is yet another item that needs maintenance.

Have you checked out any cyclocross or touring style bikes?  They tend to be speedy, but a little more robustly built and better for commuting than racing bikes.  I'd expect to spend in the 400 - 1200$ range for a decent new bike in a Canadian shop.  Don't forget to haggle a bit, you might be able to talk them down from 700$ . . .

Russ

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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2013, 11:46:43 AM »
Don't forget to haggle a bit, you might be able to talk them down from 700$ . . .

If you want to haggle, it's often best to go for parts/accessories and not the bike. Bicycles themselves are hardly marked up at all; most bike shops make their money off of accessories. A bicycle that's on sale is often already at or below cost, for example. If you ask for a discount on parts or free water bottles or something, the shop has less to lose (they won't be giving you a bike under cost) and you have just as much to gain if you were going to buy fenders/a rack/bottle cages/kickstand anyway.

calskin

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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2013, 02:41:13 PM »
How's the salting situation during the winter in Calgary?  That will drastically effect the lifespan of your bike and components.

It can get pretty salty for sure.  And I believe they use liquid calcium instead of salt because it melts at a lower temp.

Do you do most of your riding on trails or road?  Unless you're regularly hitting bumpy trails, I'd stay away from anything with a suspension.  It's just not needed for city riding/bike path riding/packed dirt, adds weight, and is yet another item that needs maintenance.

I do most of my riding on trails, but I would like to have the option to go off road if I go camping or whatever.  I'm not talking about jumping it or anything, just riding on dirt and maybe easyish trails.  I live in a 1 bedroom apartment with my wife, so I don't have space for multiple bikes.

Have you checked out any cyclocross or touring style bikes?  They tend to be speedy, but a little more robustly built and better for commuting than racing bikes.  I'd expect to spend in the 400 - 1200$ range for a decent new bike in a Canadian shop.  Don't forget to haggle a bit, you might be able to talk them down from 700$ . . .

Thanks for the tip.  I'll check those out.

calskin

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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2013, 02:41:45 PM »
If you want to haggle, it's often best to go for parts/accessories and not the bike. Bicycles themselves are hardly marked up at all; most bike shops make their money off of accessories. A bicycle that's on sale is often already at or below cost, for example. If you ask for a discount on parts or free water bottles or something, the shop has less to lose (they won't be giving you a bike under cost) and you have just as much to gain if you were going to buy fenders/a rack/bottle cages/kickstand anyway.

Thanks.  That's good advice.

calskin

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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2013, 09:29:56 PM »
Well I just got a bike.  We went to the Goodlife Bike Shop in Calgary while we were walking around Kensington and my wife found a Miyata Two Ten in great condition.  I rode it around and bought it.  I donated my old peugeot and got the Miyata for $120.

I've already taken it to the store to grab some stuff and it rides awesome.  The cassette and chain needs a good cleaning, but other than that it's in great shape.

It's not exactly what I was looking for.  I wanted a hybrid on off road bike and this is a pure road bike, but it'll work without a doubt.

Thanks for your advice everyone.

capital

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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2013, 04:37:23 PM »
That's not a pure road bike but a touring bike, which is designed to fit fat tires and carry panniers on a rear rack. With the fat tires, you can take it off-road, as long as you're not hitting trails with big jumps or anything.

If you want to commute all year, you definitely want to buy fenders, and may want studded tires for ice riding. I've heard a lot of folks in the coldest regions use old mountain bikes (sometimes set up as singlespeeds for cold-weather reliability) and to avoid trashing their main bike with road salt. It depends on how well-maintained the roads and bike trails you commute on are; if they're well-plowed, then things aren't all that different from summer.

yyc-phil

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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2013, 10:39:59 AM »
Nice to see a fellow Calgarian on MMM, and especially one who is a fan of the Good Life! For more frugal shopping, check out Sass on Centre and McKnight, IMO the best and cheapest consignment store in Calgary, with name brand apparel for men and women at unbeatable prices, unlike those upscale consignment stores downtown catering to the fancy crowd that will sell anything at any price, just because...

calskin

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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2013, 11:29:10 AM »
That's not a pure road bike but a touring bike, which is designed to fit fat tires and carry panniers on a rear rack. With the fat tires, you can take it off-road, as long as you're not hitting trails with big jumps or anything.

If you want to commute all year, you definitely want to buy fenders, and may want studded tires for ice riding. I've heard a lot of folks in the coldest regions use old mountain bikes (sometimes set up as singlespeeds for cold-weather reliability) and to avoid trashing their main bike with road salt. It depends on how well-maintained the roads and bike trails you commute on are; if they're well-plowed, then things aren't all that different from summer.

That's awesome.  That's pretty much exactly what I was wanting then.  I guess I lucked out.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do for winter commute.  The only issue is I can't have 2 bikes because I have no room in our apartment.  I guess I'll just have to be very vigilant about cleaning everything regularly.

Thanks for the comment.

calskin

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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2013, 11:33:26 AM »
Nice to see a fellow Calgarian on MMM, and especially one who is a fan of the Good Life! For more frugal shopping, check out Sass on Centre and McKnight, IMO the best and cheapest consignment store in Calgary, with name brand apparel for men and women at unbeatable prices, unlike those upscale consignment stores downtown catering to the fancy crowd that will sell anything at any price, just because...

My wife has heard of that place, but we haven't been there yet.  We'll check it out soon cause I need some work shirts.

yyc-phil

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Re: Bike advice
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2013, 11:57:41 AM »
On the subject of winter biking in Calgary, I don't commute to work because I must go to the airport every few days to start work, but as we live in Beltline a few blocks from everything interesting about Calgary, I ride almost everywhere to run errands, a little bit of grocery shopping, or just for a Sunday ride with my wife (on her awesome vintage folding bike found, where else but at the Good Life). My setup is a 1970s sturdy road bike with a steel frame, stripped down of all gears and brakes, and fitted with a single-speed coaster brake wheel (because it is illegal in Calgary to ride a brake-less bike). Easy setup to maintain (daily cleaning and weekly spray with chain lube in winter) and fix (nothing to fix actually except the occasional puncture), and that matches my riding almost anywhere in Calgary, even on steeper climbs which I enjoy as it gives me the chance to sweat a little so I can have the excuse to eat my daily dose of chocolate. However, I still have not been able to find a studded tire in s. 27 to fit on my front wheel. I rarely ride on trails which I would like to change, since due to a chronic achilles tendon injury, i can no longer run the way I'd like to. I still like the simplicity of a single-speed and the extra workout required to climb hills, so any advice on single-speed sport bikes (affordable, i.e. under $700) would be a bonus.