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  1. #1
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    Need help chosing a commuter bike

    Hi, I'm pretty new to these forums and I need help chosing a bike for mainly city riding. I would say for commuting but I live downtown and my commute is a meager 1.8 miles.

    When I was looking at a bike before I was drawn to the Forge Sawback 5xx because of (surprise!) the price and the fact that my budget for a bike is like 400$ max.

    I don't have enough bike experience and I am overwhelmed by all the numbers involved in bicycle parts... Particularly the wheels / tires.

    But onto my main question, Would a hardtail MTB w/ disc brakes and road tires be better for commuting / recreational city riding ( San Fran, lots of hills) or would I be better off with a road bile w/ traditional (cantilever?) brakes.

    Also, is it possible to put road tires on the MTB wheels (particularly the 5xx?) or would I need to get new tires and wheels.

    P.S. I have a feeling I would like mountain biking in general, but having no car and living in the heart of san francisco I think means that any trail riding would be precluded by miles and miles of road riding, so for the time being (next few years) mountain / trail riding is out.

    Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
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    I would avoid a mountain bike for commuting. 26" wheels on knobbies combined with front suspension kill your momentum. I have a Kona Dew Deluxe, it's the perfect cross between a mtb and road, and a blast in the city. You could probably find a basic Dew or Smoke for around your budget. Trek, Marin, and Jamis have cool urban bikes too.

  3. #3
    BIG and Bald
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    For $440 you can get a Specialized Globe.

    Kona Smoke 2-9 = $369

    Kona Dew = $399

    Either of these bikes will be well suited for your use. My choices would be the Smoke or the Globe....plus a helmet.

    What bike lines are available in your area?
    [SIZE="2"][SIZE="3"]Eat to Live[/SIZE][/SIZE]...[SIZE="3"]not the other way around[/SIZE]

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireBallKY
    For $440 you can get a Specialized Globe.

    Kona Smoke 2-9 = $369

    Kona Dew = $399

    Either of these bikes will be well suited for your use. My choices would be the Smoke or the Globe....plus a helmet.

    What bike lines are available in your area?
    I'm not sure what exactly you mean by bike lines. do you mean like bike lanes / routes? I dont think there are any in particularly downtown, but bikers generally use the roadways and there isnt an insane amount of traffic usually.

    Those bikes seem alright, but I feel like they're good brand bikes with low end parts... and the globe is listed at like 630$

    Thanks for your help guys.

    P.S. for the more urban / street bikes I was looking at the Motobecanes / mail order bikes. particularly the Cafe Latte or Dawes Lightning...

  5. #5
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    FireBall was referring to which bicycle brands do the area shops carry. Best thing to do is to scope out all the shops to see what brands/models are available. Get a feel for how each shop treats you.

    I saw one of those specialized globes just yesterday and thought it was a tad pricey for what you get. It basically has the bottom end Shimano parts. It seems you are paying quite a premium for the built in generator hub and light system, fenders, and cargo rack.

    If you feel more comfortable on a mountain bike, try to find one with a suspension fork that can be locked out. That is, you flip a lever and it turns rigid. On smooth roads, suspension is rather wasteful of your pedal power. Slick tires that fit on standard 26" rims are pretty good on pavement. There are even some nice tires like the Continental Town and Country or the Michelin Country Road that roll well on the street and still have a little bit on dirt. One thing you can do with most any mountain bike is to run a set of 700c road rims with disc brakes. Most mountain bikes have enough clearance in the frame and fork to fit the slightly taller wheel and tire combo. If you had two sets of wheels, you could easily swap between street slicks and knobbies and ride whatever you please.
    Get on your bikes and ride!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerboy
    FireBall was referring to which bicycle brands do the area shops carry. Best thing to do is to scope out all the shops to see what brands/models are available. Get a feel for how each shop treats you.

    I saw one of those specialized globes just yesterday and thought it was a tad pricey for what you get. It basically has the bottom end Shimano parts. It seems you are paying quite a premium for the built in generator hub and light system, fenders, and cargo rack.

    If you feel more comfortable on a mountain bike, try to find one with a suspension fork that can be locked out. That is, you flip a lever and it turns rigid. On smooth roads, suspension is rather wasteful of your pedal power. Slick tires that fit on standard 26" rims are pretty good on pavement. There are even some nice tires like the Continental Town and Country or the Michelin Country Road that roll well on the street and still have a little bit on dirt. One thing you can do with most any mountain bike is to run a set of 700c road rims with disc brakes. Most mountain bikes have enough clearance in the frame and fork to fit the slightly taller wheel and tire combo. If you had two sets of wheels, you could easily swap between street slicks and knobbies and ride whatever you please.
    Are you sure you can put a 700c wheelset on most normal mountain bikes?

  7. #7
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    Actually there are different models of the Globe...There is the Globe, Globe City, Globe Centrum and the base Globe is $440. At $400 you're options are drastically reduced especially when it comes to parts specs plus you stated you wouldn't be riding trails for quite some time so a suspension fork would probably be a waste.

    Also, with purchasing a bike from the local shop, you build a relationship that can save you lots of $$$ when repairs/maintenence becomes necessary as opposed to taking a bike in that you bought online. My LBS give free lifetime tune-ups with each bike they sell.

    Sometimes good deals can be found and I hope you can find the bike that truly suits your needs. GOOD LUCK and happy riding!!!
    [SIZE="2"][SIZE="3"]Eat to Live[/SIZE][/SIZE]...[SIZE="3"]not the other way around[/SIZE]

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bugly64
    Are you sure you can put a 700c wheelset on most normal mountain bikes?
    Yes, as long as you are running disc brakes because otherwise you would have issues with the rim lining up with the brake pad. A 700c tire is barely any taller than a big fat 26" knobby. You may have clearance issues on a few full suspension bike due to the design of the rear suspension (my old Kona Kikapu would not clear a fatter 700x37 tire) but most hardtails should work fine. Check out the Cannondale Bad Boy. It comes stock with 700c wheels, but is made to accept 26er knobbies.
    Get on your bikes and ride!

  9. #9
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    My preference is something fully rigid & steel, which is fairly easy/cheap to come by in an road bike (or just put a fully rigid fork on a MTB). The steel is durable and makes for a softer ride, though I can see why in San Fransisco you might not want to have the extra weight, what with the hills.

    Just run tires that fit the terrain you'll be riding (for city riding check out Specialized Armadillos or some other type of durable tire) and make sure you've got comfortable bars -- I personally am ok with regular drop-bars, but do what's comfortable.

  10. #10
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    I would go with a commute bike. If needed buy a single speed, some are really reasonable. In addition to a mountain bike I bought a commuter bike by Forge called the M Street a few years ago. The bike is really reasonable and rides awesome, a great buy!

    Here's the link:
    http://www.forgebikes.com/mstreetbk.asp

    You can purchase on target.com, be sure look around for a coupon by googling target.com coupons. Hope this helps!

  11. #11
    Dirty High Desert Guy
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    I was recently in the same position, and chose the Kona Dew. I don't actually commute on the Dew because I have a company car, but I put decent mileage on it in town and around the neighborhood with the wife and kids. I've added a handlebar bag, mirror, and Greenfield kickstand (to help when using my daughters trail-a-bike.

    My local Specialized dealer didn't have the base Globe in stock and didn't expect any in. The least expensive thay had was $630.

    I tried the Smoke 2-9 and thought I had found the perfect bike...unitl I rode the Dew. Even the base model Dew is significantly faster than the Smoke. Granted, the Smoke has fenders and other commuter-friendly goodies, but it's also 5 pounds heavier. It also feels sluggish due to the tire size. I'm also not a fan of twist shifters.

    That doesn't make the Smoke a bad bike by any means, but if you look at Konas give both of them a look before making a decision. So far the Dew has been trouble free and provides a very satisfying ride. For me it was a great bike to get started with, and the price was right. It's funny, I'll spend 2K+ on an MTB but I really didn't know if I would get into the hybrid experience so I really watched the cost. After nearly a month of ownership I'd make the same choice again without hesitation.

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