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  1. #1
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    Thoughts on "Urban" hybrids?

    It's a general question, but I have a specific problem - my wife really needs a new bike.

    In a perfect world we'd go to the LBS, I'd show her the row of rigid 26ers with big apples and ~2x9, and that would be it. But I don't think anything like that exists, so I'm stuck.

    I priced out the perfect build and it's easily $1200, which isn't terrible but also seems silly for something so basic. And she's only 5' so finding a decent used frame would be pretty much impossible.

    Is a rigid hybrid with 700x42ish the best alternative?
    Or a basic mountainbike with a crappy rst fork and SB8s?

    She'll never commute on it or ride anything technical. But it would be nice to have something forgiving enough that an inexperienced rider wouldn't worry on gravel or dirt.

    I've got no problem swapping out components - I'm just not sure what section of the LBS to point her at.

  2. #2
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    Whats she doing on it?

    If she's going to be averaging a decent clip, get a cross bike or touring bike and throw some fatties on it. If she just wants something to put racks/fenders on and ride around town, go for the rigid MTB.

    Since your LBS doesnt have what you want, why not get something like a Surly Troll and let her build it up how she wants? It'll be a fun time planning the bike with her. Maybe set a budget and work with her to find some good deals.

  3. #3
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    This would only be for weekend-type use and occasional errands, so a crossbike is overkill. And instead of a Troll I was pricing an Inbred build, but either way that's how I get to at least $1200 (which isn't terrible, but is probably overkill).

    The main problem is that only the boutiquey brands make rigid 26ers nowadays - not that I can't swap a fork. I'm just not sure if an urban hybrid is a better bet?

  4. #4
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    The main problem is that only the boutiquey brands make rigid 26ers nowadays - not that I can't swap a fork. I'm just not sure if an urban hybrid is a better bet?
    It sucks that rigid 26s have disappeared from the new market.

    I`d think either hardtail or hybrid would probably work equally well for toodling around, so she`d be happiest on whichever style most pleases her eyeballs. Since you know your way around the bits and pieces, if anything on her pick looks hokey, you`ll be able to square it away. Have you discussed it with her at all? Maybe walk her through a bike shop and see if anything jumps out and grabs her attention? Now, if you`re going to buy a bike for ME, skip the bike shop and walk me through Kijiji for that 20 year old rigid, then give it a purdy new paint job
    Recalculating....

  5. #5
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    Since she's shorter, the biggest issue might be making sure the bike is not too stretched out for and uncomfortable. Especially for occasional riding and enjoying the scenery. I'm guessing this would favor a hybrid in general, but it will probably depend on the bike, model & size. On the other hand, if a MTB is comfy, I don't think a cheaper suspension fork is too much of a liability for that kind of use.

  6. #6
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    We haven't gone shopping recently. The last time we were browsing we stuck to the mountain bike section but it's pretty uninspiring - vbrakes and crappy fork, or disk brakes and crappy fork, or hydros and less crappy fork, and so on.

    I did realize that Electra makes some reasonably priced 26" rigid balloon bikes, so those might be an option. A bunch of their frames are "Classic Hi-ten Steel" which is ridiculous, but thankfully they've got some alloy ones too.

    Does anyone know what sort of tire clearances hybrids usually have? The internet is failing me - I'm seeing 32s and 35s, but I think the option of 42 or 50 would be good.

  7. #7
    jrm
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    Im not a marriage counselor or anything but im going to suggest going to your LBS and having her pick out a bike that she likes. Who knows she might even like it enough to ride it more if you let her pick it out.
    Wreck the malls with cows on Harleys

  8. #8
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    The last time we were browsing we stuck to the mountain bike section but it's pretty uninspiring - vbrakes and crappy fork, or disk brakes and crappy fork, or hydros and less crappy fork, and so on.
    Cantis on a nice fork!
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    Recalculating....

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    Cantis on a nice fork!
    to centrepull cantis. I'd replace those with Vs in a heartbeat.

    Quote Originally Posted by jrm View Post
    Im not a marriage counselor or anything but im going to suggest going to your LBS and having her pick out a bike that she likes.
    And that's fair, although it didn't work so well with her current bike. But basically, if I'm a noob, and my wife is experienced with skis or kayaks or violins or whatever, then I'd really appreciate some guidance beyond "pick one that looks nice." She's going to get my opinion anyway, and I'd rather steer her away from the worst-of-all-worlds lifestyle hybrids towards something that will work for her.

  10. #10
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    Thoughts on "Urban" hybrids?

    There are some nice hybrids that are a little more rugged and fit fatter tires (like the cannondale quick cx) but with your wife being so short I am not sure a bigger wheel is the way to go.

    There are also some very nice urban bikes like the scott sub series and the cannondale bad boy line. Those are basically rigid mtbs with slicks

    The electra may be a good choice for her needs. Has she taken one for a spin yet?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    ...the cannondale bad boy line.
    I was thinking about those. But what is up with the frame on the bad girl:


    And it's still 700x28. It's bizarre that if you want fat tires you have to get suspension, and if you don't want suspension you can't get fat tires.

    Our bike shops are also really stingy about test rides, and stocking S or XS stuff. That's why I'm trying to preplan a bit.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    I was thinking about those. But what is up with the frame on the bad girl:


    And it's still 700x28. It's bizarre that if you want fat tires you have to get suspension, and if you don't want suspension you can't get fat tires.

    Our bike shops are also really stingy about test rides, and stocking S or XS stuff. That's why I'm trying to preplan a bit.

    1) C'Dale makes a good bike, but that thing is uglier than Jimmy's little sister.

    2) Walk into the LBS and wave a wad of cash at them (plain green paper works if you do it fast enough ), and tell 'em they can have it once she's satisfied that that bike will work for her.
    The ridiculousness of cycling clothes increase exponentially in relation to the distance from your bicycle.

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    yeah, that bad girl is fugly.

    I am also annoyed by the trend of offering bikes in fewer sizes. The Bad Girl 1, MSRP of $1,780, only comes in small and tall. wtf? That's really going to help people like the guy who came into the shop the other day who was 6'8" and was too tall for the biggest bike we could even get (we ended up sending him to a local custom builder - at least he wanted a quality bike and willing to spend for it), or your 5' tall wife.

    It really might be worth finding an old steel mtb frame, then building it up rigid with fat slicks. Getting it painted up would at least make it feel new to your wife.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    It really might be worth finding an old steel mtb frame, then building it up rigid with fat slicks. Getting it painted up would at least make it feel new to your wife.
    I volunteer at the local bike coop and was really hoping that might work - it's how I built up my fattire cruiser. But I've been watching for a year and the only small stuff we get is crappy kids bikes.

  15. #15
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    Supercycle 1800 Women's 26-in Mountain Bike | Canadian Tire

    $99 bucks ridgid womens mtn bike

    Buy...then ride to a great outdoor resturant...have a $100 dinner buy a nice merlot after and ride home....can't lose.

  16. #16
    Dorkimus Prime
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    I like this:

    SAB Sidney Hybrid Bike

    If she doesn't like it you've got a Deore drivetrain...
    "I love being on a bike. It helps me feel free. I get it from my dad", by Guillaume Blanchet

  17. #17
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    I had actually looked at that, but it's 17". The whole reason she's currently got a 24er is because it's the only thing at canadian tire that fit her.

  18. #18
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    if I'm a noob, and my wife is experienced with skis or kayaks or violins or whatever, then I'd really appreciate some guidance beyond "pick one that looks nice." She's going to get my opinion anyway, and I'd rather steer her away from the worst-of-all-worlds lifestyle hybrids towards something that will work for her.
    There`s merit to that statement, but for the kind of riding that your description puts into my mind, I think fit is the only thing that`s really going to matter. That you know your way around a bike is going to be immensely helpful in keeping it rolling or doing any kinds of mods that might be needed down the road. Okay, I`ll stop harping on that now

    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    There are some nice hybrids that are a little more rugged and fit fatter tires (like the cannondale quick cx) but with your wife being so short I am not sure a bigger wheel is the way to go.
    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    On the other hand, if a MTB is comfy, I don't think a cheaper suspension fork is too much of a liability for that kind of use.
    ^^Agree with both these statements. And if you did decide to swap out a chinzy suspension fork for a rigid, it would be a very expensive proposition.

    +1 on the Bad Girl. How can C`dale make such an ugly mess of an ubercool bike?

    Weird that you don`t find any small mtbs. While they aren`t the norm in these parts, I see them frequently on my local CL ("metro area" of about 300K).
    Recalculating....

  19. #19
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    Marin Muirwoods 26". New, plenty good enough components, can put bigger tires on it, inexpensive.


  20. #20
    Dorkimus Prime
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    I second the Muirwoods. I had that bike and it was fun to ride and looked completely bada$$.
    "I love being on a bike. It helps me feel free. I get it from my dad", by Guillaume Blanchet

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by vaultbrad View Post
    Marin Muirwoods 26".
    Thank you! That's exactly what I was looking for. Good to know someone still makes them. It still only goes down to 15", but with a shorter stem that has potential.

  22. #22
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    I was going to mention the Muirwoods also because that seems like the last of its kind.

    I know Giant makes Escape 0 all the way down to size 14 for the women's model. The stock tires are 700x32 and many people indicate that at least the men's models will hold a 700x42, but I'm not sure how much bigger you could go. Maybe worth a look?

    Escape 0 W (2013) - Bikes | Giant Bicycles | United States

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post

    +1 on the Bad Girl. How can C`dale make such an ugly mess of an ubercool bike?
    If I had to guess, I'd say they wanted to make a frame with a dropped top tube but maybe didn't want the structural compromises that come with it. I wonder why they didn't make something closer to a mixte.

  24. #24
    weirdo
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    ^^I suppose that makes as much sense as anything. Didn`t C`dale used to make some funky hardtails in "normal" sizes with a similar frame in the late 90s or early 00s?

    I don`t need a Muirwoods, but i`m happy to hear there`s still a bike like that available.
    Recalculating....

  25. #25
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    Does anyone know if the muirwoods 26er has disc hubs and disc mounts on the frame? From the pictures it doesn't look like it, which is...weird.

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