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Single Speed Commuter
I'm a college student looking into buying a single speed bike that will be a good value for under $400 (preferably around $200). I'm going to school in New York, Ithaca to be exact, and I need something that will hold up to the crazy weather and lots and lots of use. Please respond with any suggestions or tips.

p.s. I'm not some hipster who's just jumping on the bandwagon, I just really need a simple, fun, and durable bike.

the above one would be fine, if it fits you. Read the comments - except the 1 star guy who installed the forks backwards.......but do read the follow up comments, they are quite good.

I like steel, some like aluminum.

You should plan on greasing the wheel bearings, headset and bottom bracket. Get some Koolstop Salmon brake pads, lights, lock and your set.
the bike looks good, but I'm 6'1" and a 54 is probably too small
(07-05-2011, 07:45 PM)Brian98 Wrote:  the bike looks good, but I'm 6'1" and a 54 is probably too small

what is your trouser inseam? Between your height and trouser inseam, we can come up with a pretty good recommendation for frame size.
a 6'1" person likes this one - but it is aluminum (:

this one is available in 58cm
http://www.amazon.com/Vilano-Drift-Single-Speed-Road/dp/B0054R6WFG/ and is steel Smile

these two are Cro-Mo (high grade steel):
and BD has a good reputation.

you probably want a 58cm or maybe a 61cm if you have really long legs.
I like the windsor and the vilano, but what is so special about steel?
the "feel" try riding a few miles on an aluminum bike, and the same route on a steel bike. I don't know how else to explain it. It is a personal preference thing. People who tour long distances usually prefer steel.

thirty years ago, aluminum bikes were esoteric, very expensive, and prone to frame failure. Currently, aluminum bikes are the cheapest, and not as likely to have frame failure. They have also gained weight, and stiffness.

Going back 50 years, almost all bikes were steel, the best were an alloy steel like Reynolds 531. Racers used steel. Then came aluminum; and racers used aluminum. Then titanium...and most recently carbon composites.

Low end aluminum bikes come with aluminum forks, mid level aluminum come with steel forks, and high aluminum come with carbon forks.
when you talk about "feel" are you talking handling response, road feel (vibration, flex), or simply confidence that the frame won't snap?

sorry for all of the questions, I just want to find a good bike.
handling and road feel.

no problem with questions. Smile

the vast majority of bikes are fine; it is 99% personal preference.

on any bike not from a good bike shop, plan on greasing the hubs, headset and bottom bracket, and tensioning and truing the wheels. That is why they are $100- cheaper.
would the tune up cost $100 if i took it to a bike shop
approximately, yes; depending on where you are.

basically, if you have to pay the bike shop to do the tune up, you'll come out ahead at the shop.

this is a forum for do it yourselfers; not for take it the shop people......many of us build bikes as a hobby; we rarely purchase new bikes; few of the bikes we have look like they did when we got them.
I'll do it myself, but I can't afford any mishaps so I'll be checking back for help
you do need some tools:
* cone wrenches for the wheels; If they have a "sealed" bearings; you don't need to worry about lubricating it.
* bottom bracket tools, varies from bike to bike - usually a pin wrench and spanner. If it has a "sealed" bottom bracket; you don't need to worry about lubricating it.
* crank puller - not needed with a "sealed" bottom bracket until you want to replace the bottom bracket.
* headset tools - again varies, on most 1" threaded headsets, I use a BIG adjustable wrench (needs to open to 1¾" and should have smooth jaws so not scratch the bike) from Harbor Freight and a thin metric wrench from a set of thin metric wrenches I got on Amazon. It the headset has "sealed" bearings, you don't need to worry about lubricating it.
* spoke wrench - get one that fits the spoke nipple you have, those multi size ones do not work very wheel.
* I need a truing stand, so I built one, see the Tools section. Some people can true wheels on a bike, I can't.
how much do you think all these tools will cost?
Depending as listed in my post above; $50 to $150 from Amazon and Harbor Freight. If you go the full Park Tool / Snap On route; probably close to $500. Of course there are many options in between. I have a large number of tools acquired over the decades. Now I only purchase a tool if I need it for a specific job.

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