Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

/usr/include
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Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

Postby /usr/include » Sun May 20, 2018 3:08 pm

I am relocating to Sydney from Perth to start my new (grad) job from August, so quite a bit out of pocket at the moment.

I would really not prefer buying secondhand if at all possible, as I don't have a great understanding of bikes, and fear that I'll end up with a lemon or worse yet a bike that has been damaged and will cost me a lot to repair. A friend of mine had a bad experience once.

I don't want a bicycle to last me a lifetime, 2-3 years will be good enough. And I won't be using it outdoors much. I plan on riding to my nearest train station (~8 KMs everyday), riding with it to work at the city and some recreational riding around the CBD/ suburbs I'm living in. But I don't want to get a bike that falls apart in 2 months.

I was considering the following:

Pedal Messenger Gotham for $279 + $5 membership
https://www.99bikes.com.au/pedal-messenger-gotham

Progear Fixie Black for $199
https://www.progearbikes.com.au/collections/fixie/products/fixie-black

Reid Harrier White for $249
https://www.reidcycles.com.au/harrier-white.html

2018 Giant Boulder 2 for $377
http://giantsydney.com.au/giant-boulder-2-2018/


If I did stretch my budget to maximum I'd be able to get the 2018 Giant Boulder 2 on clearance for $377. I am a bit scared because I haven't read too many reviews for the Boulder 2, even though Giant is a well known brand.

I also don't know if mountain bikes would be comfortable to ride on-road. But I'll be living in relatively hilly areas in the NorthWest. Don't know if it would be suitable/ comfortable to use a fixie. I do plan on cycling extensively.

Would be great if you could add more suggestions :)

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Defy The Odds
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Re: Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

Postby Defy The Odds » Sun May 20, 2018 5:56 pm

Firstly, I would personally avoid a fixie/single speed bike for commuting.

Out of those 3 the Giant is by far the best.

If you can though, stretch the budget to $500 fpr much better bikes.

Although having said that the Giant will be the best bang for your buck and reliable too

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Re: Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

Postby /usr/include » Sun May 20, 2018 6:32 pm

Thanks for the response. How does the Boulder 2 stack up against this:
https://www.bikebug.com/silverback-scen ... 44279.html
Silverback Scento 3 for $400.
It's a hybrid bike, so I suppose its better suited for on-road usage than a MTB that would be slower... But that being said I can't find any reviews for Silverback. But this was the cheapest hybrid I could find.

I'll visit a few local bike stores tomorrow to get a better understanding. I went to a TREK and Giant outlet, felt like walking into a BMW dealership.

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10speedsemiracer
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Re: Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Sun May 20, 2018 6:38 pm

Reid are having a fairly large sale on bikes at the moment, and for the money, the Vintage Roadster is actually not too bad. Is fairly basically specced and has one or two cost-cutting components however should do fine for the light usage you're describing :

Image

https://www.reidcycles.com.au/reid-vintage-roadster.html

Most importantly has guards and a rack and a fairly simple driveline with only a single chainring and twist-grip shifting. The tyres and brake calipers would be the first place to gain some improvement, but not urgent.

Keep it clean and serviced regularly, and should do the job.
Mmm, SunTour

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10speedsemiracer
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Re: Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Sun May 20, 2018 6:40 pm

Or the Reid Transit :

Image

which is more hybrid-oriented but still reasonable for the price.

https://www.bikeexchange.com.au/a/hybrid-bikes/reid/nsw/newtown/reid-transit/103454305
Mmm, SunTour

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Re: Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

Postby /usr/include » Sun May 20, 2018 8:25 pm

Shame I didn't look too much into Reids earlier. Seem great bang for the buck..
I saw that they had the Reid Blacktop on sale for $400, which is $100 less than their usual price, since the Reid Transit or Vintage Roadster aren't on sale, is the Blacktop a better bang for the buck?

$400 is my max budget, exactly the amount I have in cash I put aside just for buying a bike, anything more would screw up my other plans/ budget allocation, as I don't start work till August. I have heard local bike stores can work out deals for bike + lights/ helmet/ locks.. Does anyone know if Reid outlets do that?

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10speedsemiracer
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Re: Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Sun May 20, 2018 10:46 pm

The Blacktop has a 3sp Shimano Nexus internal gear hub. Nothing really wrong with these but the steps between gears is fairly pronounced, and with a 44t chainring, 3rd gear is almost unusable in normal riding if it has the standard rear sprocket. Is an ok bike, but think you would be better served by one of the others. Just my opinion though, you would do best to go into Reid and ride all 3 back to back. I would recommend doing this in any case from a sizing perspective as well in any case.
Mmm, SunTour

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Re: Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

Postby /usr/include » Mon May 21, 2018 2:46 pm

Went to test ride a Reid Urban X0 and a Transit the
They were extremely fast, as I've never riden a city/ hybrid bike before, and nearly got T-boned by a car because I didn't break in time (going downhill fast, my fault) and managed to stop breaking hard using the hand breaks and the bike squeaked hard.

I haven't ridden a bike for a decade, so was a bit shaky. But I felt much more in control when test-riding their mountain bike. The customer service there was also great, the guy was extremely helpful trying to find me the best bike.

I'll definitely need to practice a bit in the suburbs before moving to the city. I'm not familiar with gears either (ughh wasn't so complex when I was riding as a 10 year old).

Still haven't made my mind up, how is this one in comparison (Polygon Path 1 for $419)?

https://www.bicyclesonline.com.au/polyg ... NAEALw_wcB

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10speedsemiracer
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Re: Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Mon May 21, 2018 3:17 pm

/usr/include wrote:Went to test ride a Reid Urban X0 and a Transit the
They were extremely fast, as I've never riden a city/ hybrid bike before, and nearly got T-boned by a car because I didn't break in time (going downhill fast, my fault) and managed to stop breaking hard using the hand breaks and the bike squeaked hard.

I haven't ridden a bike for a decade, so was a bit shaky. But I felt much more in control when test-riding their mountain bike. The customer service there was also great, the guy was extremely helpful trying to find me the best bike.

I'll definitely need to practice a bit in the suburbs before moving to the city. I'm not familiar with gears either (ughh wasn't so complex when I was riding as a 10 year old).

Still haven't made my mind up, how is this one in comparison (Polygon Path 1 for $419)?

https://www.bicyclesonline.com.au/polyg ... NAEALw_wcB


I was going to suggest the Polygon bikes, but were out of the initial budget. A better option than the Reids we've been discussing, and fairly good value at the price.
Mmm, SunTour

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bychosis
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Re: Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

Postby bychosis » Mon May 21, 2018 3:36 pm

/usr/include wrote:I would really not prefer buying secondhand if at all possible, as I don't have a great understanding of bikes, and fear that I'll end up with a lemon or worse yet a bike that has been damaged and will cost me a lot to repair. A friend of mine had a bad experience once.

I don't want a bicycle to last me a lifetime, 2-3 years will be good enough. And I won't be using it outdoors much. I plan on riding to my nearest train station (~8 KMs everyday), riding with it to work at the city and some recreational riding around the CBD/ suburbs I'm living in. But I don't want to get a bike that falls apart in 2 months.


These two comments really do add up to buying second hand. Bikes aren't that complex, ie if it works when you pick it up, it is likely to keep working for a long time. You should be able to get a basic 'bike brand' bike (Trek, Giant Specialized etc) for your budget and have plenty of coins left over for maintenance. I understand your reservations regarding damage, but unlike cars, a bike is unlikely to have been repaired on the cheap and have hidden damage. Check it over, if it looks to have original stickers and is straight and only has minor scratching it is unlikely to have major damage. If it looks shiny, hardly used it should last your 2-3 years and you can sell at the other end as well. A cheap new bike will be worth less at the end of your ownership, and effectively cost more due to the depreciation.

Check your area, there may be a bike repair community centre or similar that can help you adjust/repair for virtually no cost as opposed to paying for labour at a shop.

Definitely get gears for your hills, fixed gear is hard work both up and down the hills. Single speed is hard only on the ups.

/usr/include wrote:I went to a TREK and Giant outlet, felt like walking into a BMW dealership.

Ha ha!. Unfortunately your budget is below a new bike in a 'bike' brand'. It is enough to get you into a budget brand like Reid, but you get what you pay for.

Again, your budget is quite healthy for second hand. You can get a decent bike in good condition for as little as $100-$150 which leaves plenty for repairs that may not be needed. If you are mechanically minded you could probably spend a few of the leftover $ on tools and get stuck into youtube and do a lot of work yourself too.

I understand the draw of new though.
bychosis (bahy-koh-sis): A mental disorder of delusions indicating impaired contact with a reality of no bicycles.

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Thoglette
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Re: Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

Postby Thoglette » Mon May 21, 2018 4:09 pm

10speedsemiracer wrote: for the money, the Vintage Roadster is actually not too bad.
Image
https://www.reidcycles.com.au/reid-vintage-roadster.html
Most importantly has guards and a rack


Hear! Hear! (a.k.a. +1) Plus decent size tyres. If you pick your day correctly, it's often "on sale".
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Re: Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

Postby Jmuzz » Mon May 21, 2018 6:30 pm

For a commuter under $500 I would get secondhand.
Remember to budget a lock too, even on a cheap commuter you need a decent $50+ lock, no flexi cable waste of time, solid D or at least chain like Hiplock. You need to be able to leave a commuter in some dodgy areas. Pump, spare tubes, multitool, bag to carry them.

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Re: Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

Postby Thoglette » Mon May 21, 2018 6:56 pm

Jmuzz wrote:You need to be able to leave a commuter in some dodgy areas.

E.g. TransPerth bike cages at the train station. :-) but "a good bike lock" is recommended by both TransPerth and the punters.

Oh, is that 8km per day or 8km each way?
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/usr/include
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Re: Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

Postby /usr/include » Mon May 21, 2018 7:09 pm

My nearest station is 3 KMs, so I decided to ride to the one next to it which is approximately an 8 KM ride (to Quakers Hill station), mostly going through suburuban roads. Luckily train stations here have bike racks as well that requires Opal card access, and are frequently used, so really hope it doesn't get stolen. So I'll be riding 8*2 km a day during work from August.

Perth had dedicated bicycling paths, really going to miss them now.. Also it was relatively flat which made rides fun, Sydney is extremely hilly, I need to get better at going downhill as some of the slopes are scarily steep :/

Very lucky I didn't get a fixie

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Re: Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

Postby /usr/include » Mon May 21, 2018 7:21 pm

As it was the most recommended bike, I ended up getting the
*Drum rolls*
Reid Transit.

My test ride on it was very pleasant. I felt like having a good relationship with a local bike store and having 2 free servicing in a year was a plus. I'll definitely try and get more of an understanding of bicycle servicing myself, as I have a nill understanding.

I am 1.74 m and weigh 105 KG, and I felt it offered a really good seating position. I'll be extensively riding it around as I intend to lose weight.

Maybe I'll spray paint the frame to a matte green color, I've got some rustoleam camo green paint lying around. I really found the matte frames on the bike shops really sexy. Obviously I'll do that once I have a better understanding of how to disassemble a bike.

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Re: Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Mon May 21, 2018 7:29 pm

Well done, hope the bike serves you well. Now it's a case of when and what you buy for your go-faster bike in about 6-8 months time.
Maybe that could be the matte green/camo stealth bike (I do like a green bike for some reason, don't know why).
Mmm, SunTour

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Re: Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

Postby /usr/include » Tue May 22, 2018 2:12 pm

The V-break cable came loose. And also the handle bar seems slightly assymetric
https://imgur.com/a/xOyfM8r

Dunno if I should take it back to the store. I'd need to walk my bike for a kilometre, which is a huge downside.

Edit: I was riding my bike with the front wheel turned the wrong way. Realised this after riding 100m... (I'm a noob)

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Thoglette
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Re: Help me choose a commuter bike for $250-350

Postby Thoglette » Tue May 22, 2018 3:39 pm

/usr/include wrote:The V-break cable came loose. And also the handle bar seems slightly assymetric
https://imgur.com/a/xOyfM8r

Dunno if I should take it back to the store. I'd need to walk my bike for a kilometre, which is a huge downside.


As long as you have one brake, ride it slowly. They should be accommodating.
/usr/include wrote:(I'm a noob)

The late, great Sheldon Brown's website is a good place to start. E.g. Brakes
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