I'd like to get a bicycle.

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Dome Vongvises, Apr 29, 2006.

  1. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    I think I don't want to drive to work anymore. Anyways, I'm thinking of investing in a bike. This is what I'm looking for:

    1. Something good for long distance use
    2. Something good for exercise
    3. Easy to operate.

    Other than that, what brands or features should I be aware of? What maintenance issues are there? Etc?
     
  2. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Best bet would be what is called a hybrid, or a comfort or commuter style bike. A mountain bike is also ok, but I wouldn't use a "road bike", the racing tour-de france style with the drop bars. Front suspension is nice, and if you don't get one with rear suspension, a suspension seatpost is really nice. Suspension is not really necessary, but its nice. Look for V-brakes minimum. You want something reasonabley light, but not too flimsy and not too expensive I imagine. How much are you looking to spend? You best bet would be to find a friend who knows bicycles and ask them to help you shop for a bike. Brands like Trek, Schwinn and GT are good. Fenders are nice because you won't get messy when travelling in the rain. Good luck.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. DougR

    DougR Second Unit

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  4. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Dome, do a search here, bunch of threads already.

    How far a ride to work, roads, trails, hills? Backroads?

    First, look at your commute, drive it if you want, but it's best to have a good feel for the area, roads, alternate ways of getting there if there are any, places to stop and pick up things, here and there.

    You also will need to decide whether you will bike to work in the rain, winter, etc. etc. Also, how will you carry stuff to work, do you want to bike full time, every day, or perhaps drive one day, bike the next, etc. Cause then you can always shuttle lunch/food, and clothes in without even needing panniers (bike bags) or a backpack at all.

    When you answer those questions, a particular kind of bike should be fairly evident. Don't rule out the road bike, it WILL be faster than any modified mtb, slicks and all. There are plenty of options out there in road bikes, not all are race orientated which i see nothing wrong with commuting to work on, other than most race orientated bikes don't have the eyelets for fenders/racks and perhaps gearing for commuting, but they are perfectly fine to commute on IF that is what is comfortable to you.

    Jay
     
  5. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    The commute is close to six miles, and the trail to get there ain't exactly bike friendly. I've reevaluated the situation, and it seems like for the amount of money I'll save on gas plus health benefits seems to be dead even with a spending a thousand dollars on a bike.

    When I go to work, the only thing I need is basically myself. I bring a lunch bag to work occasionally. Otherwise, I really don't carry cash and such.
     
  6. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    OK, sounds like a mountian bike would be a good choice. Although 6 miles is fairly short, you can still work out a good sweat in the summertime, unless you work your hours around sunrise (i.e. ride in before the sun is completely up to stay cool). Something you might want to consider even if you can work in the clothes you ride in, if you do work up a sweat, you might want a change of clothes. And a backpack again, might be hot in the summer time. A messenger bag is a better option (a messenger bag is a medium to large sized pouch with a long shoulder strap that you can strap around your neck. Might be comfy for you, might not be, there are folks who say backpacks and great, m-bags are great, or panniers/racks are great. YMMV.

    Backpack is the cheap option, you can always try that and if you don't like it, look into m-bags or a dedicated pannier/rack thing. If you ever carry heavy loads though, th e rack/pannier or bike trailer is the only real option. Doesn't sound like you need to carry much.

    Another option for light use is a large saddlebag, but then we're talking specialized and typically european in design. Carradice makes some but they are U.K and are a bit pricey.

    A $1000 on bike and accessories is quite plenty! an entry level MTB can run you anywhere from $350 on a good closeout to $500 on a brand new model. Used can get you a better bike or an even cheaper model. Helmet is always a good thing, tool kit, spare tubes, pump, etc. A bike mirror is good, even on a trail. Money for fenders if you plan on riding in the rain, especially if it is a trail (think mud) is a necessary thing.

    Raingear,etc...

    So, I think a mountain bike is good..

    BTW, www.mtbr.com is fine for general mountain bike stuff, but most of it is geared towards mountain biking, naturally.

    You might want to consider checking out

    www.bikeforums.net

    and their "commuting" forums...which is geared towards commuting and commuters! Don't be too surprised if many of those in there are diehards, commuting on really nice bikes, etc. etc. but there is room for everybody.

    And here's a big thumbs up to you! Hope you enjoy the ride...

    Jay
     
  7. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    After two years of pondering, I finally got a bike. It's a Trek 7000. Here's what I can't figure out: what's with two sets of gear shifting? I sort of understand the gear shift on the right (I change it depending on pedalling), but I can't for the life of me figure out what the gear shift on the left is. It's number 1 through 3.
     
  8. Paul D G

    Paul D G Screenwriter

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    I'm sure someone can explain it far better than I, but I'll throw in my .02.

    Let's assume we're dealing with a 21 speed bike.

    The shifter on the right controls the chain attached to the rear wheel, which has seven sprockets. The shifter on the right controls the three sprockets at the pedals. 3*7=21.

    The speed settings, obviously, control how easier it is to pedal. Set your left shifter to 1 and the right to 1 and you're at the lowest (or is it highest?) setting. Gears that low are mainly for uphill climbs.

    Setting your shifters to 3-7 gives you the maximum effort required to keep your bike moving.

    I don't know what others do, but I bike almost exclusively around 3-5 to 3-7, dropping lower when I hit hills and starting to get worn out.

    BTW - you should change gears before you get to a hill. Changing speeds in the middle of an incline isn't going to have much of an effect.

    -paul
    who likes to bike but knows ***k all about it
     
  9. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    To be precise but trying not to be too technical, the left shifter controls the front derailleur which shifts those big ring looking things (chainrings) that is attached to the crank (which you pedal). The right shifter on the handlebar controls the rear derailleur which is the smaller rings (and more of 'em!) in the back of the bike on the rear wheel hub.

    As Paul states, you can just think of the front der, and left shifter as being major changes in pedal effort, if you have a triple, you can even consider (to start with) with the lowest indexed gear (1) and the smallest chainring as being the gear to be in on hills. (or lets say a LO-gear in a 4x4 transfer case in an automobile). The middle gear (2) and the middle chainring would be for flats, small hills, or for taking it easy and the high gear (3) would be for the downhills or flats when you are cruising.

    Like if you see a major hill coming up, shift the left shifter/front der. down into a lower gear.

    The rear der/right shifter does more gradual changes, so if you are on the flats and just feel like going faster, you can shift up the rear der. one index/gear into a larger gear and keep doing so, unless you are at the highest gear (8 or 9, depending on your # of speeds in the back). Then you'll have to shift the front der. up. (you should avoid this really though, you should try to keep the chain as straight as possible, but wont go into detail why).

    So, think of the right shifter as minor pedal effort changes and the left shifter as being major pedal efforts so if you feel like a major change in effort (either harder or easier) use the left shifter and if just a minor one, use the rear/right shifter.

    there is a science in gear effort but it all gets mathematical and techical by calculating gear inches and stuff, you can determine the optimal shift pattern. there *is* generally some overlap in the gears, things that you wont notice as a cyclist but not to be worried about for most people.

    Jay
     
  10. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    [​IMG]If you haven't yet, I suggest buying fenders for the bike. When I biked to campus in grad school, fenders were the single best accessory for my bike. It might not be raining, so you don't wear rain gear (which is very hot and stuffy), but the roads might be damp or you hit a puddle, and now you've got a rooster tail up your backside.
     
  11. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I'm glad to hear you finally took the plunge Dome. As coincidence would have it, you bought essentially the same bike I have. Mine is about 13 or 14 years old and is a Trek 720, but is essentially the same bike. Since it doesn't have rear suspension, you can put a rack on it, which also eliminates the need for fenders. It's a nice, solid bike.

    Just to explain the gears another way, the right gear adjusts the gears in increments of 1, and the left adjusts the entire range. There is a lot of overlap on mine. Here's kind of a numerical explanation. When the left is on 1, let's say the gears on the right are 1-8 (I seem to remember the 7000 is 3x8 gearing) when you switch the left to 2, it is like raising the right gears to 5-12, and when the left is on 3, the right is something like 9-16. So most of the time, you leave the left unchanged. The gearing on mine is really too low (the front rings are rather small), but I think the current ones have a larger range. So, I leave the left on 3 all the time, but you may stay on 2, at least for a while. Then, do your routine shifting on the right. When 1 on the right is too high, shift down the left. when 8 on the right is too low, shift up the left. You'll get the hang of it, and find you will rarely, if ever, change the left.

    As far as maintenance, you want to keep the moving parts clean and lubricated. Get a decent pump and check the pressure every couple of rides. I would just go ahead and buy new tires every other year and new tubes every year. There is a great video on youtube on how to change them. If you have a Performance Bicycle nearby you can replace tires and tubes for under $30 during one of ther many half price sales.

    There are a few other little things, but I need to get going.
     
  12. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    The Trek 720 is probably one of the best mass produced touring bikes ever made... the Trek 7000 is more of a short commute / bike path bike.

    Dome, My recommendation is to keep the left shifter on '2' and use the right hand shifter to go up and down through your gears. If you are headed down a big hill and you are already on the smallest gear in the back (and want to go faster) then shift up to the big front 'gear' (or cog). If you are going up a hill and you are already in the easiest to pedal gear (largest gear in the back) then shift the front onto the smallest gear (it will make it even easier). For bike paths and most commutes you will rarely need to ever shift with your left hand. Once you get comfortable with this then do some more research about gear ratios and determine your optimal shift progression on your bike.

    Important note: You should never have the chain on the 2 biggest gears at one time _or_ the two smallest gears at one time. Your chain will be stretched diagonally and will either pop off or receive damage.
     
  13. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Good to know. It's been very reliable and solid. Of course, this is only the second year I have actually been riding it, and the only comparison I have is the Schwinn Varsity I had back in school days. Now, that thing weighed a ton.
     
  14. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Technically, the only touring bike in Trek's line is the 520. The XXXX series, at least historically has been Trek's line of Aluminum framed road/mtbs vrs the XXX series is the steel.

    A touring bike vrs a stanard road bike is just some details like typically a touring bike will have lower gearing, braze-ons for racks and fenders, a long enough chainstay to allow for leg clearance for a rack, might even come with a rack and some of the higher end models come with friction shifters and are not indexed like your 7000. Some may even come with a MTB rear der to allow for lower gears.

    Doesn't mean you can't tour on it, but technically a touring bike is more specialized than a road bike, especially since this go-fast world of ours, many road bikes are geared towards racing.

    Jay
     
  15. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    I'm really liking biking so far. I've kept my left gear on 2,and I've just been shifting the right one mostly. Round Trip is about 8 miles. Never commuted before otherwise.
     
  16. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    The 720 (steel touring bike) also came with stronger wheels (to support the load of panniers and packs) and slightly wider tires (vs a road bike) to handle rougher roads. I should have used the word 'was' in my first post... the 720 is no longer made by Trek. The 520 is their only current production touring bike.

    The 720 frames are still desired by many cyclists who are building up a touring bike (or heavy duty commuter).
     
  17. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Yup, that works for the most part for general riding, you wont need the big ring ("3") if you just coast downhill and save the lowest gear in the front ("1') for the big hills. Although some would point out that it may be better to keep the chain as straight as possible (be in the big ring in the front ("3") and somewhere in the middle of the rear gears rather than in the 2x11 (for example)... For the average joe, it's not a big deal.

    jay
     
  18. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    In that regards, being a 134lb person, I'm pretty easy on my bikes, touring or otherwise, although I do tend to look for good wheelsets and not in a fancy radial laced pattern. My commuter bike has two "rear" wheels as the rear wheels are generally support the most weight and are therefore, beefier...

    Jay
     
  19. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Lead Actor

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    I've had a Huffy mountain bike for many many years (was bought nearly 20 years ago). It's gotten a lot of use and continues to go, go ,go! Yeah, cheap brand, but they work.

    If I was to replace it I'd go to Walmart and get a Schwinn. They are very cheap. I saw a good 12 speed mountain bike for $165. Great deal!

    /tightwad mode
     

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