I am new to the Chicago biking community. I have never needed to purchase a city bike before and was wondering whether anyone had any advice for me.
To set somewhat of a starting point for this discussion, I have been eyeing the Fuji Declaration 2012.
The intention is to use is both as recreation and to get from point A to B within the city.
Any and all advice is appreciated!
wider tires are cushier, makes going over a pothole less rough (and we have lots of those!). if you know how to change a flat, it's not big deal. my coworker commutes on a skinny racing tire because she's not willing to sacrifice speed. if you are used to mountain bike tires, then those are probably the same width steve is referring to. lots of road bikes come with the skinny tire but can accomodate a wider tire (check with the shop!). also be prepared to upgrade the tires in a year or so. i find the stock tires on most bikes are pretty sucky especially if you ride year round.
Sarah Rizvi said:
Clint: Noted. Thanks.
S: I'll take a look at the site.
Jenn: Let's sidebar, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve: What's the benefit of the wider wheel? Most if the city bikes I looked at seemed to have similarly thin wheels.
Tricolor/Amanda: Definitley want the lightweight, single gear bike for maintenence and weight.
Lisa: I'm 5'1" so finding that fit and position is definitley more of a challenge as you well know.
It's not a bad idea to start with something relatively inexpensive, because if you ride a lot there's a good chance you'll find yourself iterating after a year or so as more mileage under your belt gives you a better idea of what your needs and wants are.
Seconded. Come to the swap. See many bikes. Try them.
I started on a mountain bike, then surveyed the friendly folks here who introduced me to the Surly Long Haul Trucker. I'm still deeply in love with it, but I'm starting to think about trying to build my own (lighter) Cross Check this spring for flights on the Lake Front Path.
Both the LHT and Cross Check support big, metal studded winter fatties (see my profile pic) which make winter riding here a hoot - and safer too. Also: the stock component builds - particularly on late models - seem to be between good and great. I've seen a few LHT's and Cross Checks around the city rebuilt as fixies if you're looking to keep it super-simple.
The best thing about the LHT is that the long wheelbase makes it just a TANK. I ride in the street a lot here, and despite our crap roads, my bike is always so full of love there's no room for hate.
OLB 0.1 said:
The bike swap on March 9th is a good opportunity to see a lot of variety in one place.
Sarah - get 2 bikes! One a 'cheapie' to have as a 'commuter bike' (which most thieves target) and another one as your 'good' bike. I know that principle sounds screwy-- but who wants to lose their good 'ride' just because they're trying to get to work/school, etc? Ride, Sarah, ride!!!
The "ideal city comuter bike" for you is not for sale anywhere. That is something that will evolve over time to suit you and you alone. You cant buy it, you have to make it. That is where the true "City Bikes" come from. I have been asked may times where someone could get a utility comuter bike like mine. The best answer I have is to send them to Alex at West Town Bikes.
Sarah, as a guy who works at a shop several things have been said that make sense.
First, always test ride. A test ride helps you figure out if you like how the bike has you sitting, how it rides and feels etc.
2nd, having something that accepts wider tires is def a good thing. More cushy and stable, but having a mountain bike would be to much. Something like the cross check (I actually ride one) is a good base for alot of stuff and can go fast, attach racks, ride in dirt/mud. A little of everything.
One thing I will mention is in the end it all depends on the type of riding you will do. If you see yourself doing longerish rides (ie longer than 10 miles) regularly, get something closer to a road bike in my opinion. But if you don't see your recreational rides going longer than 10 miles ever, a flat bar commuter bike might be the way to go.
Oh and one other thing. Frame material. Steel will flex more, be a more comfortable ride, but less of your pedal power reaches the ground because the frame flex will absorb it a bit. Aluminum is stiffer, and tends to be a little less forgiving. But that means it tends to get more power to the ground. Again it depends on you and what you like. I suggest test riding bikes made of both materials.
Have fun :)
This takes a fender, but not enough wheels. : (
Fenders in place, to many seats. : (
Lots of wheels along with lots of fenders. : (
Hey two wheels, one seat, two fenders, yeah! : )
Sarah, keep us informed of your choice. ; ) and have fun.
That's an often-repeated bikeforums-level oversimplification, right there.
Austin Fenwick said:
Frame material. Steel will flex more, be a more comfortable ride, but less of your pedal power reaches the ground because the frame flex will absorb it a bit. Aluminum is stiffer, and tends to be a little less forgiving. But that means it tends to get more power to the ground. Again it depends on you and what you like. I suggest test riding bikes made of both materials.
I would consider a cx or touring bike. Something rack and fender friendly. And dont be afraid of shifters and derailleurs; consider it an opportunity to learn a new skill. Shifting gears can be very helpful and adjustment rarely is more complicated than turning a barrel adjuster.
Point to William lol