Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Rossimelons
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Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Postby Rossimelons » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:18 pm

Hi guys,

I'm looking to buy my first proper bike. I used to live in a small town and got about on a $80 Kmart bike. I never rode very fast or very far and it did the job. Now I'm moving back to that town and am looking at buying a bike to ride everyday to work. It's pretty flat and depending on where we move to it could be between 1-5/6kms. Not a great distance. My husband has suggested I look at spending more this time on a bike as I'll really be using it everyday (at least that's my plan - fitness isn't my strong point...)

Here's my dilemma: I have always loved the retro style step-throughs with a basket! Girly, cute and fun! I have been telling myself that when we move and sell the car I can buy one. They usually go for between $200-$300 - think a Reid or the like. I know that's not much in terms of serious bikes - but for me it's a lot of money and considering I haven't even sat on a bike in 6 years, I'm nervous about dropping a lot of cash on a bike that I may not use as much as I hope I will. But then today I went to my local bike shop and the guy there was saying that for what I'm looking at doing and the terrain I'll be on I should seriously consider a Hybrid. He suggested a Merida Crossway 10 at $599. It's a bit out of my budget but I could see what he was saying about ease of ride. If I buy a retro style but find it too heavy or clunky to ride then I'm less likely to ride it. Something light and really functional like the Merida would be a much better ride.

But I had my heart set on a pretty bike.... Totally lame I know, and I'm seriously thinking I would have an easier time of the hybrid. But a vintage step-through with basket would make me smile.

Anyone own either of these? Any suggestions? Can a vintage style bike be a nice, easy, functional ride or should I go for a hybrid? Thanks in advance!

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Thoglette
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Re: Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Postby Thoglette » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:53 pm

Rossimelons wrote: But then today I went to my local bike shop and the guy there ... suggested a Merida Crossway 10 at $599.

Rossimelons wrote:It's pretty flat and depending on where we move to it could be between 1-5/6kms.


Let me guess, he had one or two on the floor? Maybe he is well intentioned but given what you say about the local terrain I think not. 1x7 gearing will eat that sort of terrain, especially if you've got something like a rear cassette with 30 to 12 gearing (which the Reids either have or can have for an extra $25)

Firstly, we all use things we love. If for you that's a chic step through with basket get a chic step through with basket. And love it to death.

If you've got spare $ (thanks to hubbie) then make it extra chic. :D

More seriously, CroMo or aluminum will (should) make it lighter, (eg. Reid Vintage Classic vs Lite) but for shopping duties you're not going to notice that against the 2kg of potatos and onions. And bottles of wine. Sorry "Milk". And cutting weight costs money -

If you really want to start to spend (on looks an functionally) then you a "decent" frameset is going to cost more than a complete bike from Reid (or Cell or ..).
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redsonic
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Re: Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Postby redsonic » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:21 pm

Buy the bike you like; you are more likely to want to ride it every day. As long as the gearing is OK for the hills you are likely to encounter, the retro step-through will be fine.

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Re: Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:26 pm

Pretty much what the gents above have said.
I'll expose some biad and may be quoting outside your financial comfort zone but methinks the Giant flourish range looks pretty good. Being Giant, I know that value for money factor is high.
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Mububban
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Re: Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Postby Mububban » Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:42 pm

No need to apologise for liking what you like, we all have different preferences.

My wife is after exactly the same thing - step through vintage look frame, with mudguards, minimal gearing, rear rack and basket at the front. Malvern Star make a model for $399 with 1x7 gears and all that you're looking for. We were seriously looking at one of those, or the Reid, but then she found a vintage Indi 500 for $30 like she had when she was a kid, so she's going to pick that up tomorrow :-) Even if we drop $80 on a good service and it needs new tyres etc, it should still be fairly cheap for exactly what she wants.

So second hand might be an option if you feel confident buying a used bike. I'm sure there'd be some ladies bikes out there that haven't been flogged as hard as a racing or mountain bike might be.
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Rossimelons
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Re: Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Postby Rossimelons » Thu Dec 10, 2015 6:59 am

Thanks so much for the advice already. I've seen the Malvern Star wisp and that looks pretty nice. I've always loved the look of the Reid bikes but all the reviews I've read say although they look good they are clanging bits of junk. My sister actually has one she's never ridden so I'm going to dust it off and take it for a spin.

But I'm worried that it's not a practical bike long term and if I bought one then I'd need to upgrade soon enough to something like the hybrid. I'll visit a couple more bike shops today.

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Re: Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Postby zebee » Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:31 am

Practical is all about using it.

Weight can be an issue for longer rides and hilly terrain. Friend of mine had an Electra Townie which is a heavy bike. She rode it for a couple of years then bought a lighter bike which made a lot of difference.

To me practical is
- is it comfortable to ride. Do I feel happy on it. Do the controls work for my small hands. Do I find the seat works at my usual speeds for the time I plan to ride.
- does it have luggage capacity. I use a bicycle for transport mostly, for commuting and touring and shopping. So it has to be easily able to carry a reasonable load.
- will it work in the wet. I have to get to work whether it is raining or not... so mudguards are important
- does it have the right gears for the riding I am doing. I have 6 gears on the Brompton and mostly use 3 on the flat. I do use the others on hills. I don't feel the need for heaps more. A few well chosen ones are all you need.

An old fashioned ladies bike will do all of those things. They aren't my thing (I'm a recumbent rider by preference) but if your list of what makes a bike "practical" matches mine there is nothing that a hybrid has that makes it more practical than the Dutch style.

About the only thing the upright bike doesn't have that the hybrid likely does is better riding position at speed. Is that on the list?

Seems to me that you are sortof trying to talk yourself out of the bike you want because someone whose expertise you think you should trust - the bike shop guy - has said you should buy something else. But how close to your list of practical is his list, and how much experience does he have of being someone like you? Plus he has the requirement to sell you what he has which isn't what you have asked for.

I have a rule when buying a motorcycle.... If it doesn't mug you and drag you out the door while throwing your wallet in the general direction of the seller then it isn't the bike for you. I don't see why bicycles are any different. If you don't love it now the chances are you won't ever love it, so don't waste money on it.

Zebee
- 2 bicycles and 4 motorcycles, so has been mugged often.

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Re: Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Postby bychosis » Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:57 am

Rossimelons wrote:My sister actually has one she's never ridden so I'm going to dust it off and take it for a spin.

But I'm worried that it's not a practical bike long term and if I bought one then I'd need to upgrade soon enough to something like the hybrid. I'll visit a couple more bike shops today.


Sounds like you've got a great option there. 'Borrow' your sisters bike long term. If she wants it back, so be it. You can then go and buy a bike armed with more knowledge of what your needs are. If your sister has never ridden it, and intends not to, then offer to buy hers, at a significant discount of course!

In addition if you aren't sure about a step through you can probably buy a reasonably new one second hand and if it doesn't work out, on-sell at nearly the same price then purchase what you need. Step through bikes are often an entry to riding bike, or a sign of good intentions that get moved along.
Last edited by bychosis on Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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koshari
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Re: Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Postby koshari » Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:00 am

bychosis wrote:Sounds like you've got a great option there. 'Borrow' your sisters bike long term. If she wants it back, so be it. You can then go and buy a bike armed with ledge of what your needs are. If your sister has never ridden it, and intends not to, then offer to buy hers, at a significant discount of course!

great advice.
after all thats what family are for :-)
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Rossimelons
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Re: Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Postby Rossimelons » Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:07 am

I like your thinking Bychosis - only problem is that my sister is 5 foot nothing so bought the extra small frame Reid where I am much taller. So as much as I'd like to borrow hers "long term" I don't think that'd pan out.

I just went to a different bike shop this morning and was told that the retro style bikes are great for comfort and a quick trip to a local cafe - but if at any point I want to ride 5ks plus then it's a waste of space. At this stage riding to and from work won't be that far - but I'm moving to Central Australia and there are some good bike trails around 15km that I would one day love to work up the fitness for. It's a stunning part of the country to drive through and I bet cycling would be even better. Today this guy suggested the Giant Rove 3... It's all so confusing for a newbie.

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bychosis
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Re: Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Postby bychosis » Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:51 am

Bummer about the size difference!

There is no reason you can't ride a step-through bike around Australia if you want. The key thing that they are trying to upsell you for is speed. Apparently everyone must have the fastest to save time for our busy lives! If you are happy pootling along the 15km trails and taking an extra 30min or so enjoying the scenery then a step-through is fine. They are generally built strong/heavy rather than light/fast, but strong means it wont break. so what if you won't be fast if you have the time you'll still enjoy the wind in your face. Check this guy's posts out

If you intend on commuting more than the suggested 5km (which you have stated not) then potentially a faster bike will save you a reasonable amount of time. My 6.6km commute saves around 1-2min on a mountain bike vs a road bike to give you a comparison. Not a massive amount.
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Re: Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Postby Kalgrm » Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:52 am

Hi Rossi,

I'd also echo the guys above in saying you really should get the bike you love because you'll ride it more than something that's "not quite the one".

As for the move to Central Oz, cross that bridge when you get to it. Prove to yourself that the bike you buy today is not the right one for those lovely 15km trips when you get there, rather than planning for them now.

Besides, you'll soon learn the N+1 rule if you love cycling like we do. :)

Cheers,
Graeme
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koshari
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Re: Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Postby koshari » Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:02 pm

i gotta agree with the last 2 posters.

i would forget that rove, any bike with toy suspension up front is a fail in my book and me thinks the salesman is just trying to get it off the floor at your expense. you will ride with it locked out all the time and will be lugging round an extra kilo for nothing,

my wife has a specialized daily 2 step-through and she is more confident on it than any of the the other 2 bikes i have built up for her. initially i took the front basket off for her until she got some more confidence now she is happy with the basket back on and will carry stuff from the shops in it, its a 1x8 so there no mucking round with a front dérailleur and with 11-32 down back theses plenty of options for her to get comfortable pedalling.
she also likes how easy it is to dismount after stopping with the top bar clearance.
http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/ ... tepthrough
she got it from the LBS on runout for $500
she has no dramas doing 5km on it, and she only rides occasionally, if you are riding frequently you could do 20ks on it quite easily on relatively flat terrain.
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zebee
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Re: Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Postby zebee » Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:07 pm

I do have to point out that plenty of people ride Dutch style bikes much longer distances than 15km... in Holland!

And they did when those were the sort of bikes everyone rode too. No reason you can't take it long distance except as bychosis says the speed.

There may be a comfort issue if you are in the saddle for more than an hour but my Brompton's riding position isn't that much different to a Dutch bike for someone my size and I have ridden that for over an hour with the only issue being I prefer the recumbent! (Me I think anyone who rides one of those bent over curly bar things for more than 10 mins is a nutcase but people do and even say its comfortable....)

So yeah.. don't worry about long rides until you have tried them and they don't work.

(then come over to the dark side, we have comfy seats and headrests...)

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Re: Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Postby Fjenkins » Tue Jan 26, 2016 10:02 am

Anyone who tells you that a step through bike can't do more than 5ks is an idiot (or trying to sell you another bike)

I love my Globe Live Mixte - I've always had mountain bikes or hybrids with diamond frames previously but like you I found myself craving something a bit more comfy and sweet-looking. Those bikes were never beautiful. This one is beautiful :)

It is fairly heavy, probably out of your price range (but there will be good bikes within $5-600 I'm sure), and gives me absolute confidence to say get one, and ride it wherever you like.

I wouldn't take it on extended hill climbs or long arduous tours, but that's not what you're planning anyway so don't worry about it.

I regularly ride it 30kms around the city with no probs and really enjoy it.

I haven't read through the whole thread - but if you can borrow your sister's bike for a bit then do it. But don't ride a bike that doesn't fit you well.

Big priority for me - good sized, usable basket on the front. Not these small awkward little baskets you see - a nice big wide opening so you can easily chuck your shopping in there.

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kb
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Re: Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Postby kb » Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:12 pm

We used to have a Pashley Princess in the bike shed at work. Sweet looking ... tank :-). Bet it was comfy though.
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ColinOldnCranky
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Re: Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:06 pm

Worried about trading one off for the other?

You could consider a unicycle. There is no trade-off between looks and function there, it fails on both counts. :mrgreen:
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Re: Looks or functionality - can I get both?

Postby Kalgrm » Tue Jan 26, 2016 5:23 pm

Yeah, but Colin, YOU look good on it and that's what really matters! :)

Cheers,
Graeme
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