Author Topic: The best all around Bike  (Read 11717 times)

usmarine1975

  • Guest
The best all around Bike
« on: August 19, 2014, 01:34:44 PM »
Ok so I realize this is going to get a lot of answers or I imagine it will.  But what is the best overall bike.  I am new to biking, never really got into it.  I have been trolling CL and looking elsewhere.  I am currently riding a Huffy that I got for free.  Seems to be ok so far for what I have ridden.  I have a Schwinn Clear Creek that needs new tires and some other gear that I am hoping next week to get repaired at the local recycle bicycle place.

I am now in the place in which I have seen different bikes and am like ok, I really don't know what I am looking for.  Some say don't buy the target store brands etc... And the prices seem to be all over the map on different bikes.  I am not looking to immediately replace the Huffy as it seems to be working fine, just curious at this point.

zinnie

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 612
  • Location: Boston
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2014, 01:51:43 PM »
It mostly depends on what you are using it for, but for a good-quality hybrid I like the Trek FX series. I use it both to commute around town carrying stuff and to take longer rides where I want to be relatively fast. They make them in men's and womens--I have the 7.3 FX WSD and it is a fantastic bike. Compared to comparably-priced bikes in other brands I think Trek is a really good deal: quality components, nice shifting, durable, you can take it on roads and light trails, etc. They start in the mid-400s new and high end is 1500s, though I see a lot of nice models on Craigslist in the 300 and 400-dollar range.

Site: http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/town/fitness/fx/

fallstoclimb

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1084
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2014, 02:17:05 PM »
I'd wait until you have a better idea of what kind of bike you actually want, since you have no idea now.

I started on a Trek FX and its okay at everything but not GOOD at anything.  At this point I find it frustratingly slow.  Will you be riding primarily on roads?  Get a road bike.  Rutted trails?  Get a mountain bike.   Both?  I'd go with a cross bike but I guess a hybrid would work.  Solely multi user paths?  Then I would go with a hybrid.  Long long rides on gravel trails?  Something with suspension or a carbon fork!  (Learned that the hard way, my hands took weeks to recover from the nerve damage).

Don't get a Target/Walmart bike.  Support your local bike shop, order a bike from bikesdirect, or buy something used on Craigslist. 

Also, fit matters, a lot, if you are going to do any sort of distance at all.

skyrefuge

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1007
  • Location: Suburban Chicago, IL
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2014, 05:51:02 PM »
In my opinion, a touring or a cyclocross bike is the best "all-around" bike (meaning it's the best type of bike if you want to use a single bike in a broad range of conditions/terrain). They have some off-road and hill-climbing capability but are more efficient than mountain bikes, have handlebars that allow you to drop out of the wind to go almost as fast as a road bike and ride further comfortably, and can fit fenders and racks to allow you to stay dry in wet weather and carry loads.

Fitness hybrids (like the mentioned Trek FX) is the second-best. They're essentially touring bikes with more-limited handlebars, which makes them significantly less-expensive (new touring bikes are more than $1000).

Of course these jacks-of-all-trades are then masters-of-none.

I'm not sure that's what you really meant when you said "best all around Bike" though. It sounds like you're nowhere near the point where spending $1000 on a bike would be worth it for you, and you're definitely nowhere near the point where owning multiple specialized bikes for specific purposes would be worth it, so the fitness hybrid might be the best place to look if you ever need to replace your Huffy. Every bike-shop brand (not Wal-mart) has one. But if your Huffy is working fine for the moment, nothing wrong sticking with that.

usmarine1975

  • Guest
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2014, 06:32:07 PM »
I am sticking with the huffy for now. I have a Schwinn clear creek that needs some work for now it may be the 2nd bike or even the new first if I like it better than the huffy making the huffy the back up. I am volunteering at a local recycle bicycle shop and could get a different bike from there. Basically hours help me purchase and they would help me build it.  They have some trek frames but looks like they will need parts purchased.  Still new to the brand and styles. So just trying to get some good feedback.

luigi49

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 291
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2014, 07:21:26 PM »
Try this for good info

http://sheldonbrown.com/

PindyStache

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 241
  • Location: Minneapolis
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2014, 08:00:07 PM »
FWIW I also ride a Trek FX and enjoy it a lot. But I am considering getting a touring bike as well, as the Trek is fairly upright for lots of wind resistance. You don't see many FX's on CL unfortunately, at least in my neck of the woods.

darkadams00

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 386
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2014, 08:21:51 PM »
Wife rides a big 'ole sloping tube city bike, complete with fenders, a hand-built wood crate, and a twined stainless water bottle for rides less than 2 miles one way, particularly when she wants to wear a dress/skirt. She likes the feminine touch at times. For longer rides where she knows she will be pushing the pace or dealing with summer heat over longer distances, she rides an awesome (i.e. mint condition, bargain price)Trek 7.5FX we found on CL. I ride my Surly Cross Check Suburban Utility Vehicle everywhere--short rides/errands around town, commutes to work, moderate distances to a nearby lake/campground, and longer rides in the 60-75 mile range to nearby towns. All three bikes are equipped with racks and bike trailer hitches for versatility.

I've been looking at a folder for the bus and on vacations and a touring bike for distances over 75 miles, but if I had to choose just one, hands down I would stick with what I have. If my wife had to choose, she would pick the Trek for maximum utility (and then sell something to buy another city bike--probably something I like and she hates and when I'm not looking). :)

greaper007

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1129
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2014, 12:27:48 AM »
I'll be a detractor here.    I think the best all around (cheap) bike is an older mountain bike that you customize for city riding.    I have a 2002ish Kona Aloha that I put slick-ish tires on, a rear rack and north road handlebars.     The tires are wide enough and have enough traction to ride dirt paths (Nashbar city tires 26" if I'm not mistaken) but they're still fast enough for comfortable road use.    The rack and bags are obviously important for errands, and the bars are much more ergonomic for my wrists and shoulders than flat bars.    They also get your head up so you can more easily see traffic.

I have about $150 into this bike at this point (bike was a handme down from the wife).    I'd love a cross check, but I could buy about 8 of my bikes for one cross check.    I just can't justify it yet.   Maybe when I'm FI.

chouchouu

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 310
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2014, 04:39:51 AM »
I have a trek fx, I bought it second hand from a lady who paid $1200 for it and only rode it twice, I paid her $400. So i woukd definitrly check craigslist, so many sweet deals. It's a great, zippy bike and the first I've had with a carbon fork. It's great for riding around the neighbourhood but it does get tiring when I do commuter lengths, so I'm going to get a road bike too. From what your needs sound like, it would be perfect.

fallstoclimb

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1084
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2014, 06:32:46 AM »
I ride my Surly Cross Check Suburban Utility Vehicle everywhere--short rides/errands around town, commutes to work, moderate distances to a nearby lake/campground, and longer rides in the 60-75 mile range to nearby towns.

I am crushing on this bike so hard.  Do you find it reasonably zippy, for a steel bike? 

ETA:  Also, why a different bike for >75 miles?

fallstoclimb

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1084
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2014, 06:36:05 AM »
I should also clarify that while I trashed the Trek FX, I believe I have the 7.2 (the cheapo one).  However it looks like the 7.5 also has "linear-pull" brakes, which give me a heck of a time preventing brake rub, and its just so upright it feels dorky and slow.

skyrefuge

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1007
  • Location: Suburban Chicago, IL
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2014, 09:11:12 AM »
I should also clarify that while I trashed the Trek FX, I believe I have the 7.2 (the cheapo one).  However it looks like the 7.5 also has "linear-pull" brakes, which give me a heck of a time preventing brake rub, and its just so upright it feels dorky and slow.

Linear pull brakes are probably the most easily-managed and effective type of brake. If you're having a problem with brake rub that you can't solve with brake adjustment, it might be a problem with your rims not being straight, or something with the brakes might be broken.

Also, the FX line has a relatively aggressive stance. Sure, it doesn't put you as low as a road bike, but with handlebars that tend to be only slightly above the seat height, it puts you lower than any of their other hybrid/city/recreational models. I could understand *those* making you feel dorky and slow, but unless you're hanging out exclusively with hipsters riding track bikes, that's a surprising thing to hear about an FX. Maybe the bike is too small for you, forcing you more upright and less stretched-out? Or maybe it's some older model they had where the handlebars used to rise more?

Beric01

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1156
  • Age: 29
  • Location: SF Bay Area
  • Law-abiding cyclist
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2014, 09:49:30 AM »
I like my Specialized Crosstrail hybrid a lot. Had it for 5 years. It's a solid, lightweight hybrid that can handle dirt trails as well as really speed on roads. I've got the lowest-end model, so no disc brakes.

fallstoclimb

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1084
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2014, 10:34:22 AM »
I should also clarify that while I trashed the Trek FX, I believe I have the 7.2 (the cheapo one).  However it looks like the 7.5 also has "linear-pull" brakes, which give me a heck of a time preventing brake rub, and its just so upright it feels dorky and slow.

Linear pull brakes are probably the most easily-managed and effective type of brake. If you're having a problem with brake rub that you can't solve with brake adjustment, it might be a problem with your rims not being straight, or something with the brakes might be broken.

Also, the FX line has a relatively aggressive stance. Sure, it doesn't put you as low as a road bike, but with handlebars that tend to be only slightly above the seat height, it puts you lower than any of their other hybrid/city/recreational models. I could understand *those* making you feel dorky and slow, but unless you're hanging out exclusively with hipsters riding track bikes, that's a surprising thing to hear about an FX. Maybe the bike is too small for you, forcing you more upright and less stretched-out? Or maybe it's some older model they had where the handlebars used to rise more?

I will say that I haven't taken my bike for a tuneup, I've just had my husband work on it, but he's a passable home mechanic (or I thought he was!).  Both in the front or the back the brake has a tendency to 'stick' -- both sides will apply to the rim, but then only one will come off when the brake is released.  The 'boot' on the front brake has split as well, which makes the front brake feel very squishy. 

I got the bike in 2010 from a shop, I believe it was that year's model, so not very old and I believe the fit is good.  It may just be the comparison to my road bike.  My biggest complaint with it is that it feels difficult to harness my power, if that makes any sense at all - and I can do a standing climb on it, but it feels awkward, like my hands are too close to my body and my legs aren't properly under me.  I commute alone so its not like I feel dorky in comparison to other cyclists, I mean more so I'm so upright it encourages loafing.  I do ~22-33 miles a week on the hybrid and another ~40-100/week on the road bike so I know the power is there somewhere!  Ha.

All that to say, OP, this sounds like mostly my issue.  But I'm still on board with cross/touring bikes being the best all-around for any kind of serious riding. 

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14046
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2014, 12:14:51 PM »
Take them off and grease your brake posts properly.  They should spring back well after that.  If it's not, change the slow that your brake spring is pressing into when you're putting them back on the frame (there are usually three slots for different amounts of spring resistance).  Worst case scenario you can just physically bend the spring back a bit so it pulls off the rim more forcefully.  Replace the boot.

frompa

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 407
  • Location: Pennsylvania
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2014, 02:14:27 PM »
You do realize that this is a little like asking "what's the best religion?"  You are the only one who can answer that for yourself.  That having been said,

I agree with skyrefuge:  "...In my opinion, a touring or a cyclocross bike is the best "all-around" bike (meaning it's the best type of bike if you want to use a single bike in a broad range of conditions/terrain). They have some off-road and hill-climbing capability but are more efficient than mountain bikes, have handlebars that allow you to drop out of the wind to go almost as fast as a road bike and ride further comfortably, and can fit fenders and racks to allow you to stay dry in wet weather and carry loads."

But it does depend on how and where you intend to use it.  My regular around town bike is my touring bike, fitted with racks for carrying whatever I need.  But I also have a recumbent trike (excellent for when I or another family member has any injury that might otherwise prevent us from riding) (and fun as all shit) and a mtn bike for seriously rocky off-road riding.

And totally stay away from walmart etc bikes, first or second hand.  They are awful, badly designed, poor quality to the point of being dangerous. This is your transportation you're talking about... put some cash into this essential infrastructure that will last FOREVER if you maintain it.  (My day to day touring bike is 20+ years old; sure, I paid $700 for it new, but it's more than made itself worth that.)

usmarine1975

  • Guest
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2014, 03:17:59 PM »
What is this Walmart you speak of?  I hear a bunch of crazy people reside there.

I knew it was a question that would get me a broad range of answers.  But it has helped me narrow down a bit.  I haven't had many problems with the Huffy to date but who knows.  I have a Schwinn that I am looking to clean up, I know no recommendations for a Schwinn but a free bike is a free bike. 

I haven't been riding long so putting a lot of money into a bike at this point would seem crazy.  I am going to try and learn what I can from the co op and working on my own so that when I do decide what I want to get and spend the money I will actually be able to maintain it myself.  Can't really do much harm to a Free bike after all or at least to the degree that it hurts the wallet.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2014, 03:20:31 PM by usmarine1975 »

darkadams00

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 386
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2014, 05:14:33 PM »
I ride my Surly Cross Check Suburban Utility Vehicle everywhere--short rides/errands around town, commutes to work, moderate distances to a nearby lake/campground, and longer rides in the 60-75 mile range to nearby towns.

I am crushing on this bike so hard.  Do you find it reasonably zippy, for a steel bike? 

ETA:  Also, why a different bike for >75 miles?

Zippy enough to handle twisty gravel trails, red light traffic, and constant on/off curb hopping around shopping centers as needed. Granted, I've only rode two other bikes extensively in the last 10 years, but I'm completely satisfied.

Regarding the n+1 touring bike--I ride mostly in town on trips < 30 miles RT, and I find that I'm more comfortable on a nice set of trimmed riser bars rather than drops for the variety of conditions I need a bike to handle. It's a little more upright than on the hoods would be, but I'm never riding for speed and usually with baggage of some sort (and I would feel weird jumping on a drop bar bike just to ride a mile to the yogurt shop with my wife). I ride the same bike for those "medium-range" fun trips to nearby towns for festivals, parks, and plays, i.e. trips I would make on a Sat/Sun with no discomfort. But that is the maximum range of comfort for me on this setup. I also run Gatorskins which are still puncture free after 4500+ miles, but I would want to run a lighter tire for longer distances. Finally, the "zippiness" factor contributes to fatigue by the end of 75 miles. A touring bike will track straighter without as much effort, kind of like a long ocean kayak tracks better than a whitewater kayak, each to suit their specific purpose.

So I just keep an eye out on CL for a mint condition giveaway with my name on it. It always comes. I'm very patient.

Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2014, 09:50:06 PM »
I have a Schwinn that I am looking to clean up, I know no recommendations for a Schwinn but a free bike is a free bike. 

I've mentioned this in other threads, but fix that damn bike up. It's not the best design. Heavy, inefficient posture, but it's decently put together. Will be less problem-prone than a Huffy over time for sure. (Source: my sister has one and I've checked it out briefly a few times while at her house.)

My backup bike is a Schwinn Mesa MTB that's got at least 2,000 miles on it. Again, not great, but not terrible either.

For something that could be acquired cheaply (used), hybrids like the FX are great. The FX is basically the Honda Accord of bikedom. I have a 10 year old 7500 FX I got for $250. I have pulled 300 pounds with it (for a total load of 500). Fully built up with fenders, lights, rack, panniers I've got close to $600 in it but I've logged 3200 miles and counting. Obviously I've burned through some chains, tubes, and finally had to replace the terribly old (possibly original) tires it came with.

That said, the newer designs have even better geometry, IMO. Despite being way too small for me, I still love tooling around on my wife's Giant Escape 3 (only one year old, and gotten for $280).

I'm patiently waiting for longtail cargo bikes to lose value, but I've yet to see a listing for under $750. Ditto true touring or cyclocross bikes.

usmarine1975

  • Guest
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2014, 04:28:01 AM »
I was waiting for your input. The Schwinn will be fixed. This Tuesday and next my wife scheduled Baby appointments that I had to attend. Wasn't able to take it to the bike co op.  Needs some parts that I know I can get at the co op. 

I will get it fixed. I didn't forget that you mentioned its nicer then the huffy.  I have been scanning Cl and wow the options.

JoshuaSpodek

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 300
  • Location: Manhattan
    • Leadership, values, meaning, purpose, importance, passion
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2014, 08:18:48 AM »
What shows up as a good deal on Craigs List and fits your body.

There's a lot of quality out there.

Thegoblinchief

  • Guest
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2014, 03:35:36 PM »
I was waiting for your input. The Schwinn will be fixed. This Tuesday and next my wife scheduled Baby appointments that I had to attend. Wasn't able to take it to the bike co op.  Needs some parts that I know I can get at the co op. 

I will get it fixed. I didn't forget that you mentioned its nicer then the huffy.  I have been scanning Cl and wow the options.

Keep in mind the used market for bikes only gets better in the winter. I found the exact bike I wanted in a week. During the spring/summer it took 3-4 months of DAILY scouring to get bikes for the Alchemist, Goblin Alpha, and Goblin Beta.

darkadams00

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 386
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2014, 06:50:45 PM »
Agree with the winter bike shopping. In November-December, you can buy off adults who plan to buy new bikes for themselves (and demand is low because no one wants to buy/give a used bike for Christmas). In January-February, folks sell off their previous bikes because they got new ones for Christmas at the last minute and didn't try to sell before the holidays. In March-April, the bikes clog up CL with the other New Year's Resolution gifts-to-myself-that-was-as-useful-as-a-barrel-of-lint. In May, you can sometimes score a solid used/beater bike off college kids heading home for the summer. By mid-May, the students are gone, the weather has turned, demand picks up, and the pickings get slim.



GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14046
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2014, 06:09:33 AM »
+1 for winter shopping here.  I found that bikes were much cheaper (even new bikes in bike stores).  Great time for shopping.

nprguy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2014, 10:15:30 PM »
If you decide to go with a hybrid I would consider a Kona Dew.  I use my Dew for pleasure riding and an infrequent 20 mile commute with a rear rack, it is a comfortable and capable bike.  I would love a cross or road bike for the sportier ride but can't justifiy the additional cost compared to the utility of the Dew.  For as low as 300 dollars on sale at a LBS the Dew will save you major headaches over a target/walmart bike.

usmarine1975

  • Guest
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #26 on: August 26, 2014, 07:16:56 AM »
Next two pics show bikes I got for free

usmarine1975

  • Guest
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #27 on: August 26, 2014, 07:21:24 AM »
This pic shows the other 4

I also picked up a Schwinn Clear Creek that I am working on currently.  Some of these bikes have parts that I will need to fix it.

usmarine1975

  • Guest
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #28 on: August 26, 2014, 07:26:01 AM »
Essentially the picture of the 1 bike, in the new lot of free bikes I got two of those.  I am curious as to what your thoughts are of this type of frame.  Both need some work but could both be made into working bikes.  My options are to use one as a 2nd bike while utilizing the other for parts etc... save the cables as they all need new cables.  And utilize whatever I can to fix the Schwinn Clear Creek. 

The bike co op does have two Trek frames but both need parts that are not available at the co op and would have to be bought.  It's a thought for down the road but right now these could give me some experience fixing up etc...

usmarine1975

  • Guest
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #29 on: August 27, 2014, 11:06:56 AM »
So Stoked, my bike co op needed a new building. I just helped them find a donated building on the street behind my house.  Yea that's awesome.  I can walk or ride to the co op in under 5 minutes.  This is awesome.

bomgd3

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #30 on: August 27, 2014, 08:20:38 PM »
I have a 2013 Jamis Coda Sport which was purchased last year for $400.  Fantastic bike!

usmarine1975

  • Guest
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #31 on: September 03, 2014, 07:50:47 AM »
I just got the ok at the bike co-op that I can build one of the Trek Frames they have in.  We just received a bunch of Trek frames from an organization.  They are a bit trashed in the components department but with some help and extra parts I will have a Trek after all.  Not sure on the specifics when I am done I will post pics.  I am going to fix up the Schwinn as well.  Huffy will probably get donated or kept as a back up bike for the Little Brother. 

kendallf

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1065
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Jacksonville, FL
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #32 on: September 03, 2014, 08:37:21 AM »
Great that you've become active at the co-op; good luck with the bike builds!  If you have two or three candidates, you should be able to get everything for a functioning bike or two excepting new cables.  I do this fairly frequently with my old bike restorations.

usmarine1975

  • Guest
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #33 on: September 09, 2014, 01:05:55 PM »
chomping at the bit to get to the Co op today.

Only 2.5 more hours of work.

usmarine1975

  • Guest
Re: The best all around Bike
« Reply #34 on: September 10, 2014, 06:56:04 AM »
My new Ride, needs cleaned up a little and a new seat man that one hurts the butt.  Rode it this morning and it went well.

Got tires on the Schwinn now I just need new cables for the shifters and the brakes.  That will be for the next co op night.