City Errand Bike

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  • 07-22-2014
    Van G
    City Errand Bike
    Traffic in my area and the city's change in policy on parking for scooters has me looking to buy a bike for getting around the city.

    Hoping for some feedback on my criteria. LBS carries the Specialized Sirrus and Giant Escape City for about $550.

    Currently ride Giant Anthem 1 on trails. 6'3", 220 lbs, 40+. Live in Toronto and won't ride in winter.

    I don't commute but want something I can ride on errands/leisure (light groceries, family ride, meeting friends) and get around fairly quickly without a flashy bike that will have crackheads gnawing through my U-Lock and cable.

    Fenders - assume this is a must unless you want the street stripe? Likely wouldn't ride in rain but is their a definitive on this one?

    Component Group - what level should I go with for quality and durability?

    Rubber - tire type and size for street and paved path riding?

    Brakes - are disc a must?

    Payload - rack and bags on the back the way to go? seems like it would easily accommodate light errands.

    Haven't contemplated this before in a city. Wouldn't be locking up for extended periods or in questionable areas.

    Any thoughts/experiences are appreciated.
  • 07-22-2014
    KentheKona
    both bikes look like pretty typical city hybrids meant for utility.


    Fenders - Depends on the street conditions of Toronto. I like fenders because even in the summer they keep the unique street crud you may run over off you and the bike. Seems most underpasses in my city have odd puddles of water and pigeon crap even days after a rain, so I appreciate fenders. If you have a rear rack that'll go a long way to protecting your back.

    Component Group - not my area of expertise

    Rubber - I ride on 28s or 32s depending on what tire is on. I find its alright, you might like a smoother ride from a larger tire. Depends on what your bike fits.

    Brakes - You said this will be a fair weather bike, rim brakes will be more than sufficient.

    Payload - rack and bags on the back the way to go? Should be able to carry most stuff, there are a variety of options. For groceries, I just U bolts and bungie cords to put milk crates as panniers.
  • 07-22-2014
    Harold
    One of my spring commutes had me riding underneath a lot of mulberry trees. Look at the underside of my fenders and fender flaps. Plastered with berry guts that did not wind up on me. Fenders are NOT just for water.

    For the kind of riding you want to do, I would choose the specific trim/model that offers a set of components that would be optimal for the use you intend to put it through. Meaning, distances, frequency, conditions. Lower end components work fine for low mileage, low frequency, good conditions riding. If you ride a decent bit, then better components will be appreciated for their durability. Also, if you value snappy, precise performance in all your bikes, you probably shouldn't get low end stuff on this one.

    Rubber will depend on the characteristics you want. If you want speedier, go with less tread and a narrower casing. If you want more comfort, the ability to take it on a wider variety of surfaces, and don't mind as much about speed, then get something a little wider with more tread. Don't worry about that on the bike out the door, though. Most hybrids have much narrower tires than they are capable of accepting, and can also accept narrower ones.
  • 07-22-2014
    Flamingtaco
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Van G View Post
    I don't commute but want something I can ride on errands/leisure (light groceries, family ride, meeting friends) and get around fairly quickly without a flashy bike that will have crackheads gnawing through my U-Lock and cable.

    And you want to spend $550? You can't have unattractive and cost more than $100 in the same bike.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Van G View Post
    Fenders - assume this is a must unless you want the street stripe?

    Yes, unless you are riding in a mid to upper scale suburb. I ride in one of these areas, and it is a damn clean ride except when wet. I know where the berry bushes are located, and avoid them when necessary. Downtown is relatively clean as well, but in the west end, where the residents don't care about their neighborhoods and the city cuts costs, is a sticky-icky flats zone. Judge your riding area.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Van G View Post
    Component Group - what level should I go with for quality and durability?

    Road, Hybrid: Shimano 105=great affordable, Ultegra=best durability
    Mountain: Deore=great affordable, XT=best durability.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Van G View Post
    Rubber - tire type and size for street and paved path riding?

    As stated, you need to examine the comfort you desire and condition of the roads you will be riding. 1.5" tires are more comfortable than skinny road tires, and some of us ride fat urban tires in 2.1-2.3 sizes.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Van G View Post
    Brakes - are disc a must?

    No, but they sure are nice. They will make your bike more of a target, but boy, they are nice.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Van G View Post
    Payload - rack and bags on the back the way to go? seems like it would easily accommodate light errands.

    Yes, but trailers are more versatile in what and how much they can carry. Are you talking the occasional gallon of milk or bag of chips, or do you want to hit the summer sale at the mall? I use a bontrager interchange seat post system for local trips and commuting, but it limits me to 25lbs. If I actually ever felt I had a need to carry more weight, I'd get a trailer.

    Best bet is pick up a used bike. Anything that is new and shiny attracts all the fish. An old bike with worn paint can be 10 times a better bike than a new one, and no one will touch it. My white 84 Mustang GT350 can do 118, while my green 1995 Taurus SHO does 152. Which of these two vehicles do you think earned more than a handful of moving violations and speeding tickets, while the other has none, even though I average 5mph faster in it at all times? Yeah, even an unnoticeable Mustang (white-bleh) is an officer magnet.

    Regarding tires, don't be too keen on dropping width at the expense of comfort to gain speed. I ride my hardtail everywhere, they are not particularly slower than road bikes when using low rolling resistance tires. I use GEAX Evolutions most of the time, and can maintain 16-17mph on 30-50 mile rides. I switch to the Roadster (1.5") to pull down 17-18mph on centuries. Not for the width, but for the thinner rubber casing.

    You will lose a lot more energy through riding position, so if efficiency is part of your plan, start here, but most of all, get what you feel comfortable riding. Having occasional back aches may not be worth the two hours per year you will save.

    Hybrids are ok, but beware most are aimed at older, non-dedicated cyclists, and use heavy gauge, non-butted tubing and cheap parts to come in under $600. They tend to be heavy, and sport bottom end components. I've got bikes with Shimano 100 and 105 groupsets from the early and late 90's that shift a lot better than anything below 2014 105/Deore, with tens of thousands of miles on them, and you can pick up bikes like these for $150-200 all day long. Mountain bikes from this era make great about town bikes as they are light and have a geometry close to road bikes. Slap on a set of fast rolling tires, maybe put a cheap strut in the front and call it a day.
  • 07-22-2014
    Van G
    City Errand Bike
    Thanks for the feedback. Will ride a couple new ones and hit kijiji and pb for used.


    Cheers,

    Van G
  • 07-23-2014
    TenSpeed
    You want something that won't attract thieves, but are looking at big name brands like Specialized and Giant.
  • 07-23-2014
    Van G
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TenSpeed View Post
    You want something that won't attract thieves, but are looking at big name brands like Specialized and Giant.

    Those are the brands my LBS carries and I'm not that versed on what to look for.
    Exactly why I am looking at new as well as posting here: I just don't know that much about what to buy used (or new) when it comes to a 'get around the city' bike.
  • 07-23-2014
    Straz85
    Bike thieves typically don't know much about bikes. If it looks at all decent, they will steal it. Some people do stuff like cover their bike in stickers or tape to make it look like crap. I would say use good security measures (there's tons of threads about that if you search). You can get something like a Nashbar frame too that may not attract as much attention because the frame is just a plain color with no brand name.
  • 07-23-2014
    TenSpeed
    I think that bike thieves know enough now, especially recognizing big name brands like Trek, Cannondale, etc. I would try to disguise it if you end up going higher end like the Giant or Specialized. No name like the Nashbar frame is a good idea as visually it deters from what it is. Also a normal color like black or silver and nothing flashy will work as well.

    I don't look at locks and the such as security, I look at it as a deterrent for a thief. If they want it badly enough, they will find a way to take it. The quality of lock or method of locking it only slows them down, sometimes enough that they give up and move on.
  • 07-26-2014
    Van G
    City Errand Bike
    Took Giant Escape City for a ride today. Pretty good: 550 and it's got fenders and a back rack already on it. LBS also includes base tunes for the time I own it.

    Not many bikes XL bikes FS on Kijiji around me.

    Thinking the Escape and stickers over Giant badges will be the way to go.


    Cheers,

    Van G
  • 07-26-2014
    KentheKona
    Can always rattle can it. I think I might take mine to the driveway paint shop myself.