Author Topic: Pick out a new bike for me  (Read 1045 times)

aetheldrea

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 42
Pick out a new bike for me
« on: April 20, 2017, 09:50:31 PM »
Hi, I need some help with recommendations for a new bike. I found MMM early last year via the New Yorker article and started riding my bike to work in the middle of March. Since then I've been averaging 3+ days a week by bicycle, before that was 100% car.

My current bike is an old, but not classic, Japanese steel racing style bike (Fuji Ace), from 1993, as close as I can figure. Probably the only original components still on the bike are the down tube shifters. The widest tires I could fit on this frame would probably be 700x28, but then no chance for fenders. Fenders barely fit with 700x23. Things are breaking, the front derailleur bracket cracked in half one day, and the corroded old spokes are going one by one. The teeth of the gears are showing some shark-fin type wear, especially the more useful gears. There is a clicking noise coming from the bottom bracket. I think I need a new bike.

My commute is a little over 7 miles one way and essentially flat. Winds are variable and usually at my back, but occasionally fiercely in my teeth, so gears are necessary. Entire commute is on roads shared by cars, mostly a 50 mph zone. The mile or so of road closest to my house is poorly maintained and bone-jarringly potholey in parts. After that I get onto the faster recently repaved county road which is much nicer with typically a wide (12'?) shoulder for riding in, but some lengthy patches mostly covered in dirt or gravel from the local farm trucks. Only four traffic lights and one stop sign for the entire route. Occasional windfall avocados lying in or next to the road are worth stopping for as well (roadkill guacamole, yum). Beautiful lemon, orange and avocado trees, commercial flowers, strawberry fields, mountain views, all in all a very nice ride.

I'm middle aged and not especially athletic, so not a super fast rider. 6'/180lbs. My commute takes about 35 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in he afternoon. I wear the biking shorts for the crotch padding and the changing out of sweat factor, and other clothing tends toward conspicuity, so I'm sure I look like a weenie, but I care not, as long as cars keep not driving into me. I like racks and panniers for carrying stuff to work--lunch, coffee thermos, clothes, etc.

I only ride a bike to go places, I haven't really ridden a bike for fun since I was small. Mountain biking and trail riding does not appeal to me. The idea of bike touring does appeal to me, but so far haven't even gone on a bike overnight trip. Any extended touring will probably not happen, if ever, until FI, hopefully right around 8 years from now.

Visiting bike manufactures' websites makes me think that a good number of their bikes would be perfect for me. Take Trek, for instance, 520--that would be perfect, 720--perfect, ooh, District IGH--that would be perfect, etc. Then I browse over to Surly, Long Haul Trucker--perfect, Disc Trucker--perfect, Cross Check--perfect, flat bar cross check--perfect, Straggler--perfect. But then I browse over to Kona... So I need some help.

I'm looking for wide (or at least wider) tires, room for fenders, or fenders preinstalled, and traditional bike riding posture. I like being able to change my hand positions on the bars. I live in small condo with many children and many, many books, no room for anything else, so one bike will have to do it all. I recently bought a trailer and a lock, so grocery and/or kid hauling is also in my future. I feel like with the right bike I could practically eliminate the need for one of our cars.

I live in a fairly small city, 30,000, twenty minutes away from a larger city, 100,000, and about 2 hours away from a major metropolitan area, many millions. So there are occasionally some nice bikes that pop up on craigslist, but the reasonably priced ones tend to disappear quickly. I'm not completely opposed to buying new and supporting a local bike shop. What do you guys think?
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 10:10:39 PM by aetheldrea »

MSquared

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 47
  • Location: USA
Re: Pick out a new bike for me
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2017, 07:52:45 AM »
You can't go wrong with most of the bikes you mentioned.  Surly Straggler, Surly Crosscheck, Salsa Vaya (I ride one, might be a little biased), Kona Rove, etc.  You could check out Soma or All City too. 

In your case, I would buy something with a steel frame with all the qualities you listed.  Dedicated touring bikes (Surly LHT, Salsa Marrakesh, Trek 520, Kona Sutra) might be a little sluggish for you -- a lot of people complain about the LHT feeling slow and clumsy when unloaded.  But you won't know until you ride one. 

Really, all you can do is start going to all your local bike stores and riding as many bikes as possible.  Pick the one that matches all your qualifications and feels the best.  Have fun!  :)

Dave1442397

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 531
  • Location: NJ
Re: Pick out a new bike for me
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2017, 09:10:46 AM »
What MSquared said.

I would look for mechanical disk brakes, as they will give you better stopping power in the rain, especially if you have the bike loaded up.


aetheldrea

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 42
Re: Pick out a new bike for me
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2017, 09:04:44 AM »
You can't go wrong with most of the bikes you mentioned.  Surly Straggler, Surly Crosscheck, Salsa Vaya (I ride one, might be a little biased), Kona Rove, etc.  You could check out Soma or All City too. 

In your case, I would buy something with a steel frame with all the qualities you listed.
Thanks for the suggestions, the Vaya looks sweet.

aetheldrea

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 42
Re: Pick out a new bike for me
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2017, 09:14:14 AM »
I would look for mechanical disk brakes, as they will give you better stopping power in the rain, especially if you have the bike loaded up.
Really on the fence about disc brakes. Almost everyone who has them seems to love them. Any bike I ride will be effectively loaded up with the 20 extra lbs of lard I carry on my midsection.

And aside from the cost penalty, it seems more difficult to attach a trailer to a disc brake bike. With the commute I have now, I could probably get by with half of one rim brake. And I don't plan on making any unplanned emergency stops 😀

Reynolds531

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 217
Re: Pick out a new bike for me
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2017, 07:12:11 PM »
Fuji Ace was a decent bike. Friend of mine had one. Isiwata triple butted tubing. Decent suntour group.  I would rehab it.

aetheldrea

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 42
Re: Pick out a new bike for me
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2017, 10:06:54 PM »
Fuji Ace was a decent bike. Friend of mine had one. Isiwata triple butted tubing. Decent suntour group.  I would rehab it.
You are probably thinking of an older bike than mine, from Fuji's classic era. I believe mine was all Shimano components before they were entirely replaced with whatever was in the junk drawer. I would consider keeping it, but fatties definitely do not fit fine.

Sydneystache

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 274
  • Location: Sydney (Westie!)
  • Aiming for RE!
Re: Pick out a new bike for me
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2017, 08:14:16 AM »
Fuji Ace was a decent bike. Friend of mine had one. Isiwata triple butted tubing. Decent suntour group.  I would rehab it.

Had the same thoughts. They make decent racers today for the young ones.

+1 for disc brakes, find readily accessorised commuters with fenders and racks.

But the question is, what's your budget? If you want as little maintenance as possible I would go extra and get an IGH bike with a Gates belt (I have one but it cost me $$$). Alternatively, if you have an Ikea near you they have a bike for sale with trailer.

Gumption

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 85
  • Location: HCOL
Re: Pick out a new bike for me
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2017, 08:16:16 AM »
CRAIGSLIST.
get something you can work on and wont be worried about if its stolen.
think point a to point b.

aetheldrea

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 42
Re: Pick out a new bike for me
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2017, 10:15:43 AM »
CRAIGSLIST.
get something you can work on and wont be worried about if its stolen.
think point a to point b.
Thanks, you win The Most Mustachian Answer Of The Thread award. I need to re-consider keeping my current ride until it is actually broken.

Gumption

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 85
  • Location: HCOL
Re: Pick out a new bike for me
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2017, 11:16:18 AM »
ha! there is nothing better than blowing past one of those folks on their $5,000 carbon weekend warrior machines. I think if you can do that a few times in your old iron horse, youll never go back.

sw1tch

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 268
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Middle of no and where
Re: Pick out a new bike for me
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2017, 12:07:54 PM »
Fuji Ace was a decent bike. Friend of mine had one. Isiwata triple butted tubing. Decent suntour group.  I would rehab it.

Had the same thoughts. They make decent racers today for the young ones.

+1 for disc brakes, find readily accessorised commuters with fenders and racks.

But the question is, what's your budget? If you want as little maintenance as possible I would go extra and get an IGH bike with a Gates belt (I have one but it cost me $$$). Alternatively, if you have an Ikea near you they have a bike for sale with trailer.

I'm not OP, but I think an IGH bike w/ gates belt will be my next bike.
<|>

I, sw1tch, will become a millionaire!
Fired on 9/8/2017

dcozad999

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 389
  • Location: Topeka, KS
Re: Pick out a new bike for me
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2017, 12:24:55 PM »
I would look for mechanical disk brakes, as they will give you better stopping power in the rain, especially if you have the bike loaded up.
Really on the fence about disc brakes. Almost everyone who has them seems to love them. Any bike I ride will be effectively loaded up with the 20 extra lbs of lard I carry on my midsection.

And aside from the cost penalty, it seems more difficult to attach a trailer to a disc brake bike. With the commute I have now, I could probably get by with half of one rim brake. And I don't plan on making any unplanned emergency stops 😀


6ft. 180 and 20 lbs of lard.  I call shenanigans.

Sydneystache

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 274
  • Location: Sydney (Westie!)
  • Aiming for RE!
Re: Pick out a new bike for me
« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2017, 05:07:41 PM »
Once you feel the braking power of a disc brake on a wet day...you never really go back.

aetheldrea

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 42
Re: Pick out a new bike for me
« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2017, 09:27:05 PM »
6ft. 180 and 20 lbs of lard.  I call shenanigans.
Right. Most of that girth is probably just bulging abdominal muscle.
According to the BMI charts, dropping 20 lbs would put me right in the middle of the healthy range, instead of being borderline overweight like I am now.