Bike Advice

My B-I-L (Brutha-In-Law) has started thinking about proclaiming his independence from car-commuting and purchasing something with 2 wheels that he can pedal. Living in Arizona, good biking weather is kind-of always, and his commute isn’t terribly long or hilly. Recently he mentioned to me that he was looking at “fixie” bikes. I tend to think that the coaster hub is one of the better improvements on the basic concept of the bicycle, and told him so, but that’s just me. I realize some of this blog’s readership is somewhat to fairly knowledgeable about bikes; what say you all? What’s a good “commuter” bike, on a budget of ~$300?

3 Responses to “Bike Advice”

  1. matt says:

    For $300, he’s going to want to look at end-of-year closeouts that most shops are having before the new model year comes out. It’s a little low, but he ought to be able to find something. If he’s willing to look used on Craigslist or a local shop that carries used bikes, he would probably have even better luck.

    Things to look for:

    * A “hybrid” frame, as opposed to a “road” or “mountain” one. This will give him an upright riding posture and beefier tubing.

    * 29″ or 700c wheels.

    * Either a solid fork or a suspension fork with a lockout. If he’s not riding offroad, the suspension fork will just waste energy bobbing up and down while he rides.

    * Mounts for disc brakes, a cargo rack, and fenders. Even if he doesn’t want them right away, it will be nice to have the ability to add them in the future.

    I would look for something from Specialized, GT, Giant, Felt, or another reputable mid-range brand. Avoid department store bikes like low-end Schwinn, Pacific, Huffy, etc. They use cheap components and fall apart way too quickly to be reliable for commuting.

  2. Pitt says:

    Interesting about the 29″ wheels. Is that a new thing? My bike’s 26″. B-I-L is a few inches taller than I am, too. Though very slender. He’s not terribly mechanically adept, though. He does have a bike now, but it’s a cheap Walmart one that has (as matt pointed out) fallen apart.

    Thanks for the insight.

  3. matt says:

    I think there’s some slight difference in width, but 29″ and 700c wheels are pretty much the same. They just call them 29″ on mountain bikes, and 700c on other bikes.

    To show how similar they are, I have two bikes with 700c wheels and one bike with 29″ wheels, and all three of them are using the exact same tires.

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