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Selecting a frame type
#1
Hi All,

I am a casual bicycler and am thinking about buying a bike to commute around London when I move there this summer. I am currently in Zambia and have found a local organization that makes some really cool bikes, including a bamboo frame bike ( http://www.new.zambikes.org/ ). I can get a big discount on the frame, and want to support the organization, so have decided to go for it, the problem is I don't know what type to get.

Since most of my riding will probably be around town, I'm thinking that I would like a road bike, but I don't really like riding in the crouched position. Is it possible to achieve an upright ride position with a road frame? If I'm going for a hybrid style bicycle, would it be better to go with a mountain or road frame?

The next thing is, I'm debating about whether or not to set it up as a fixed gear. If I buy what is necessary for a fixed gear, how easy is it then to go to a multi-speed bike?

Thank you for your help!

Cheers,
Ashley
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#2
There's no reason I can think of why you couldn't whack some flat/risers on a road bike.

In London, you don't really need an MTB, in fact even I'd have a road bike there (I've got nothing against Road bikes and roadies, I just don't like them). Speed and agility to dodge the inconsiderate/f***-wit drivers that clog London's streets are what's required, not the ability to fly down rock gardens and destroy root sections.

Can't comment on Fixies, never used them. I believe however you'd need to replace the hub to convert it to multi-speed, as a fixie doesn't have a freehub mechanism.
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#3
I suggest a mountain bike frame with no suspension, flat bars, brakes front and rear and a single speed or internal hub gearing (you can convert back and forth easily). The reason for the mountain bike frame is JonB's: "Speed and agility to dodge the inconsiderate/f***-wit drivers that clog London's streets are what's required, not the ability to fly down rock gardens and destroy root sections" Mountain bike geometry is quicker than road bike geometry, so you can respond faster; or course that is tiring to ride longer distances.
Nigel
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#4
Assuming you will not be jumping off curbs etc. Consider a tire size of 32 x 700c. I have a Specialized tricross which I ride around town. Some of these models except racks for carrying light to medium loads.
  Reply
#5
(10-18-2011, 08:47 AM)bob18dnld Wrote:  Assuming you will not be jumping off curbs etc. Consider a tire size of 32 x 700c. I have a Specialized tricross which I ride around town. Some of these models except racks for carrying light to medium loads.

Concur; tire width in the 32 to 38 mm range, doesn't matter if it is ISO622 (700c), ISO590 (26x1 3/8) or ISO559 (current mountain/cruiser 26").
Nigel
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#6
For city riding, I'd go with a road frame unless you really think you'll be super rough on the bike, might actually want to go off road, or jsut want the most bomb proof thing you can get. You can set up a road frame for a more upright riding position and I think it will be quicker and more responsive than the mtb. I think larger wheels really improve the ride feel of a bike for everything except heavy duty off road or for someone short enough that smaller wheels are needed to get a good fit.

If you set it up fixed and want to change to geared, you are probably looking at getting a new back wheel, cranks, plus all the various derailleurs, shifters, etc. etc. So it's completely do-able, but a pretty major change. Also, note that for fixed, the frame has to have "horizontal dropouts" so you can adjust chain tension. I like riding fixed, but I wouldn't recommend doing it just because it's what the "kid's are into these days". It's a little different and not really that practical. Also, if you do go fixed, put at least a front brake on it. No brakes is for riding the track, not the city.

For an urban bike, I'll +1 nfmisso's recommendation of an internal geared hub. Or even set it up with one chainring in front and 7 in back using normal derailleurs, etc.

Lastly, try to get a frame with eyelets (mounting holes for racks, fenders, etc.) These kind of things are 'sexy', but if you're really using the bike to get around in England, you may want them pretty soon.

Cool frames though - have fun!
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