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Help Please! Which bike to purchase?
Hi everyone,

I am a newbie and I really need everyone's help in deciding a bicycle for me and my boyfriend. Let me give you some background information:

We live in San Francisco
By no means are we using this bike for marathons... just plain casual riding to lose a few pounds
Distance: Richmond District to Downtown San Francisco; 5 miles I am assuming
We are looking for a hybrid bike that has excellent brakes and a few gears
Budget: $300-350

Here are the ones I am looking into buying:

2011 Fuji Crosstown 2.0 Women's Comfort Bike
2012 Schwinn Voyageur R21 Women's Comfort Bike

For him:

2011 Fuji Crosstown 2.0 Hybrid Bike
2012 Schwinn Voyageur R21 Comfort Bike
2011 Fuji Crosstown 2.0 Hybrid Bike

If you have any other recommended bikes please reply!
It is always tough to recommend bikes because we (and especially you) don't really know yet how you're going to use them. But if you are not expecting to want real "sport" bikes, I would go the "practical" route instead. A bike that is set up to go down to the store to pick up a carton of milk is also great for a casual weekend ride in the park. Fenders, chainguards, and racks make a bike something that you can jump on to run a quick errand in your work clothes or put on some workout gear and go for a distance ride.

I like this: http://www.schwinnbikes.com/bikes/urban/2012-jenny-7-speed-14398
and Schwinn's whole line of urban bikes has a lot of choices: http://www.schwinnbikes.com/bikes/urban

Also these:

Other manufacturer's have similar models.

Here's some good advice about bikes for everyday riding:

That all said, the bikes you linked to all look decent enough. Some general advice:
- You will want some gears in San Francisco, stay away from cruisers or single speeds.
- All other things being equal, avoid bikes with suspension forks. They don't do much except add weight and cost at this level.
- If you can get up to the $400-$500 range, you get a lot more choices and a lot better quality. But get what you can. Low cost bikes are a great way to get started without investing a huge amount.
- Buy from a bike shop, not a mass market retailer (i.e. Target). They will take care of you much better.
Thanks for the detailed reply. Could you help me choose one with suiteable gears on that website?


This is the Jenny 1 is this ok for SF?
(04-27-2012, 03:46 PM)penelopewong Wrote:  Thanks for the detailed reply. Could you help me choose one with suiteable gears on that website?


This is the Jenny 1 is this ok for SF?

I think you're going to be happier with at least a 3 speed. I'm not familiar with the area you're in. But hills on a single speed isn't always fun.
It all comes down to tradeoffs though, especially if you're on a budget.

This is a great deal: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1078308_-1___400323
But it doesn't have a step through frame with is nice to have.

This one that you linked to before is a decent set up:
Have them throw a rack on it and you're still under 300. (The Fuji you linked to isn't bad either.)

If you can, I would try to test ride a couple bikes. Even if they're not the exact one you would get (i.e. similar model but single speed instead of geared, etc.) It's good just to try the ones where you really sit upright versus a more "hybrid" style where you're a little more stretched out. Just try a couple things, don't let them browbeat you into making a quick decision, and trust what you feel.

If you're really just going to be going on couple's rides with your significant, get at least somewhat similar style bikes. If he's on something sporty, and you're on a classic mosey around town bike, you're both going to get annoyed. But if you're the one pushing this forward, get what you like. Don't pen yourself in to what they want.

Sorry, tough to be a lot more specific than that. Smile
Hi Penelope;

As Dave said; avoid the suspension. Add weight, it is another thing to go wrong and many people want to lock it out after a month or so of "porpoising" along.

Make sure where every you get your bikes from will provide complimentary 30 and 90 day service. At those times the cables will need to be adjusted and the spokes tensioned.

Many of us on this forum do our own bike maintenance, which requires a few special tools and skills - thus purchase from less expensive places or used classics (my new bike is 1994 vintage). But from what you describe as your situation, a good dealer is more important than the bike you chose.

Recommended priorities:
1. bike dealer - find one that you really like. I really like Wheel Away http://www.wheelaway.com/ I strongly recommend against Hyland http://www.hylandbikes.com/ because they did not stand behind the bike they sold me - but on the good side caused me to become quite knowledgeable.
2. test ride as many bikes as you can - from dealer(s) that you like. Pick ones that work for you, but they should be similar types.

If you are really brave consider a tandem. http://forums.bikeride.com/thread-2920.html
We ride the tandem because my wife has balance issues, and can not ride a bike.
I have to admit that I do not like the "comfort" bike style, neither the looks nor how they ride, so I will not be the most helpful person I fear.

The Bay Area is decidedly hilly. Some hills are quite steep. Get a bike with shifters, otherwise it'll be no fun at all (well, there are routes around the hills, you don't always have to take the shortest possible path, but still). There's nothing wrong with internally geared hubs, Shimano and SRAM have some quite decent stuff.

Testride bikes, the comfort type and the more hybrid-style (think of road bikes with flat handlebars). My wife just went through all of this, she definitely did not want the comfort style bikes, but we had really bad experience with rental ones. She decided for a nice tourer.

Find a decent shop that is proud of the products they sell, give free tune up after 2 months or so and (maybe check up after the first year).

And expect to replace the saddle. Those soft, cushiony things are not nice to ride on, the soft material gets compressed by the seat bones and piles up / presses against regions that were not made for that.
Also expect to buy "extras" (well, must haves) like a floor pump, decent lock, maybe bottle cage + bottle, repair set for on the road (tyre levers and spare tube + little multitool)

Nigels suggestion / hint with the "classic" / used bikes is worth some consideration. However, he has long experience with bikes and can tell what needs to be replaced and how much effort / money this will take. True, you can score real deals when buying used, but on the other hand you might be not so lucky. Some bike shops do offer tuned up older bikes, might be worth checking that out. Also some shops offer bargains on last year's models (though you are probably too late for that).

Oh, and Tandems are really nice. We did rent one (that was... well... a TSO = tandem shaped object) and really enjoyed the ride (though position of the stoker and the saddles and the components were... less than desirable. Be warned though, it can be either highly addictive or ruin a relationship. I was told a tandem would act as an emotional amplifier: tensions between the partners would surface really soon and really strong... still, renting one to give it a try is worthwhile!

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