Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts
I was interested in buying a bike to ride to university each day. I will be riding quite a distance. I was interested in the Giant OCR 3 and the CRX3 and CRX4. However I can't understand the differences between the bikes. They appear to all have the same frame but different components. I was also interested in the Vivente novara sport & elite. However I haven't been able to find any weight spec's on any of these bikes.
Does anyone feel they could offer insight into my cycling dilemma?
Welcome to the forums. How far will your commute be? Do you want to carry books or materials with you? If you yes, you might want to consider panniers and I suspect that the flatbars would be a better option unless you get a touring style bike with dropbars.
I have a CRX 1 and am very happy with it. I would go with it over the lower CRX models unless they have carbon forks and seat posts.
Just some thoughts.
Welcome to the nuthouse Jim. I assure you, this forum is far more real than University, and the opinions expressed much more accurate
(don't go making assumptions about me, yes, I do have letters after my name and from more than one university)
Now, your question. Under $1000? Hmm, bottom end road bikes.
Riding to Uni. Okay, you want a bike that can carry a load - backpacks have their place but sooner or later, you will want to carry something more than a few notebooks. Your bike will be left chained to something solid (won't it ) through all sorts of dreadful weather. What's more, there will be times when your return to your abode will occur later than expected and with rather more than the legally aoorived intoxicating chemicals inside the rider. University, no matter what subject studied and no matter who the student is, will be, at times, a place of stress.
I think you are doing the right thing by buying a bike to commute. I did so myself ... on the old White Bike, lovely old thing she was.
I'm going to assume that $1,000 is your max budget for this lunacy. Even if you do have more money to spend, you can still apply this thinking.
First off, buy yourself a helmet, gloves (they work well when sliding along the ground), a good backpack and a spray jacket. This is the minimum you will need, especially as I can't imagine anyone enjoying uni dressed in cycling clothes. It's street clothes and I would suggest toe clips rather than messing about with any of the clipless systems. If buying new, buy them when you buy your new bike because you'll usually get discount
Take what is left of your $1,000 and buy yourself a good, second hand bike. That's right, a pre-loved ride.
For starters, you will be able to do it a lot more cheaply, you will get more 'bang for your buck'. The bottom end of the cycling chain is indeed bottom end and while they are good bikes, you can do better.
If you are riding any distance, I would steer you clear of hybrids or mountain bikes - buy a road bike with drop bars. That doesn't mean a full on racing machine, but those bikes are the ones designed to cover distance. Hybrids are more a short, slow ride machine and while they can be provoked to do more, long and fast is outside their design brief.
You don't need a carbon fibre frame, but if you're buying aluminium, carbon forks are well worth having. However, buying an aluminium bike with any carbon at all, leaves you in the position of having to replace the bike should you have a half reasonable accident. I think you need to consider this as you do not want to find yourself without a ride.
My personal suggestion is to find yourself an old steel framed road bike ... with lugs so you can fit a carrier when you discover they are a really good idea.
You will do this for considerably less than your $1,000.
Such a bike will not be attractive to thieves and there is nothing worse than returning to your pride and joy ... and finding she's not there (BTDT).
You will be looking at older technology in the form of shifters and number of gears, however, those old girls were more than capable of doing the job you will be asking of it. They are also easier to look after and handle being left in the rain better than more complex machines, though this is a very minor point as any bike on the market today is pretty reliable if you look after it.
The steel frame will take all sorts of abuse - rough roads, accidents, pranks, theft attempts - without suffering and probably without noticing. A ding or bend in any tube can usually be ignored - you can not say that for aluminium or carbon, though it should be realised that any frame can be destroyed if sufficiently tormented.
But, a cheap old roadie, will do the job with aplomb ... and you won't mind leaving her lying around at Uni, at the pub and down at the shops.
If you seriously get into riding, you will want something better than any of the bikes you have mentioned. Your old roadie will help you decide what your riding habits are and hence give a better idea of what you need to buy. It will also serve as a useful backup for the new beast.
Your first bike can nearly always be considered a 'one year' bike - in a year's time, no matter what you buy, you will want something better/different. So buy your first bike with that in mind. Let it teach you how you ride and what you want to do with your bike, then let it continue to serve as a backup. This is where the best 'bang for your buck' really pays off.
But if you choose to ignore all that, take all of the bikes you've suggested, plus a few more, for test rides and buy the one you fall in love with. THAT is the bike you need to buy. Apply rational discussion to the final choice and you'll wind up buying your second bike sooner than you hoped.
I had a good bike ... so I fixed it
I find myself once again in 100% agreement with Richard. This place is a nuthouse~
Also, buy a used bike for commuting to uni. Right tool for the job and all that .... In this case, perfection is a nice old (>5yrs) touring bike that nobody will steal and trade for their next carton. You'll want panniers - a laptop in a back pack with text books is not much fun.
Good luck with it,
I have calculated out the distance and it is about 25km their and another 25km back. Most of the way is on bicycle or dual share track and I have ridden almost all of this section before so I can say it is a quiet smooth piece of open track.
I understand your point of view Richard but I am a bit of a sucker for the "shiny" new look. I currently have a Giant Boulder. But as you can gather it isn't really suitable for trekking so far each day. One of the reasons I am wanting to commute by bike is the severe lack of parking at the university. I also enjoy the relaxing ride so I am hoping to use the pleasant ride their along the Swan River to relax as well.
Also I will have a look at the CRX1.
Thank you and keep your suggestions coming,
Unfortunately, so are the theives.
Forgot to ask: Are you a student or on staff? If you can keep the bike in your office, then a new bike might be okay. If you need to lock it up outside, you better spend another $100 on a good locking system (ie two separate and different lock types).
Student. It will be locked in the library court yard of the university. Don't worry if I am going to spend $1000 on a bike I will have it secured by motion sensors, lasers, Lara Croft and anything else I can find.
Ah ha, we poke and more muck comes to the surface.
25km is an interesting distance. You can do it on your mtb with slicks and will not suffer one bit. In fact, I would suggest you do it that in the short term.
Your mtb in the bush is comfy and at home. Give her a dirt track, some rocks and a creek and it will rise to whatever you ask of her.
Sadly, she will not feel quite so happy on the road, but with slicks, over 25km, she will do the job.
Flat bars. There are people here who like flat bars (g'day Andrew ). I am not one of them. Why? On a mountain bike, charging across a creek and making a frantic effort to mount the bank on the other side, flat bars make a lot of sense. That is why they are fitted to your Boulder. However, for some of us, try to use those bars on the road or the smooth trail, and we find that our wrists are cocked at a weird angle, we find that our our elbows must protrude past what might be considered comfortable or elegant in the mature bear. In short, flat bars for me are bloody horrible contraptions that only make sense when I'm riding a single wheel track through the bush ... and I've got them on my mtb and my horrible hybrid.
Oh, why do I call the Sow's Ear a horrible hybrid? Because she's flamin' horrible.
(you will note that I am particularly verbose tonight - this is due to the imbibing of Bundy and a lack of interest with the tosh on telebox)
25km is an interesting distance. It's one you can do on your mtb as it is, though you will enjoy it more if you fit slicks. It is a distance that will find every flaw in your cycling armoury and force you to consider elimating that flaw. It is a distance that will seem like a mild morning dash to lectures on some days yet on others, will be an insurmountable obstacle. A proper road bike will eat that distance, yet it is not quite far enough to justify putting yourself in financial pain to ride it.
Fit your Boulder with slicks and ride her to Uni - realistically, you already own the '80's roadie' that I raved about. At the same time, start putting money aside for a 'good' bike. That doesn't mean one with acres of carbon or wafer thin steel. You will enjoy that ride more on a bike designed for it. A top level hybrid will make that ride a pleasure, a low end hybrid will offer you nothing your Boulder can't already give. A good level road bike will turn that ride into a joy that will be hard to resist. But, do you want a racer or a tourer, a randoneur or a cyclocross? It's hard to tell. Personally, I'd be looking at a steel framed bike fitted with modern components, a carrier and either 28mm or 35mm tyres (ie wide tyres on skinny rims or narrow tyres on fat rims), but such bikes are outside your budget unless you buy second hand.
But where is this commuting going to take you? It might only ever take you to uni, and that's cool. It might take you into doing more road riding, it might make you buy a better mtb and search out deeper mud.
Kit out your Boulder - slicks, rack, decent clothes, computer (because the inner nerd loves numbers) - then work and save for a good quality bike of the sort your heart desires.
Of course, the most sensible move would be to buy an 80's roadie and convert her to a fixie, but people would accuse me of bias if I suggested that
I had a good bike ... so I fixed it
I can see your point about just getting some slicks. But the Boulder is getting older now and as I haven't used her for a while and she needs a service, a new chain and a lot of Rust Buster. It would probably take me two days to fix her all up and I wasn't sure whether it is really worth it. I mean by the time I have her serviced, put on a new chain, Rust bust and readjust her and I am supposing I need new rims to go with these slick tyres. I could be up for a hefty bill anyway. So I thought it would probably be cheaper just to buy a new one. Any thoughts.
And besides I want to feel like a fighter pilot as I reach NASA like speeds on my daily trek.
Last edited by Jim on Sat Aug 18, 2007 10:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I need to pull you up on this point for the sake of safety Richard. My first MTB was a Boulder, and I can tell you from experience that the bike is not suited to real off road use. By that, I mean creeks and rocks. My first trip onto rocks and creeks on my Boulder was my last, and it made me buy a real MTB designed for riding on tracks more advanced than fire roads.
We now return you normal programming .....
Yes, fit slicks to the Boulder and ride that 25km.
The first thing a sensible person does to a bike that is to commute and be left on her own for long hours in full view of those with evil intent is to paint that bike with cheap housepaint. Over the years, many a top class frame wearing state of the art componentry has been dressed thus.
A chain costs stuff all.
Tyres a bit more.
Cables are a trifle.
Some love and care and oil will get everything working.
Yes, I know you want a new bike, but you don't have the budget. Get the old girl working for you and spend your cash on something truly deserving ... in the meantime, your old Boulder will continue to be faithful.
I had a good bike ... so I fixed it
If you have a look at what people are commuting on, you will see that there is everything under the sun being commuted on. In the end its personal choice.
I commute on a 2004 OCR2 or a late 70's racer (when its working). I prefer racing bike handlebars for commuting because the hands are in a more natural position and I prefer the lower riding position because my body doesn't act as a parachute.
A helmet saved my life
Ditto on the idea of getting an old steel frame bike, you should be able to pick one up for less than $100 in pretty good nick, you'd probably get full mud guards & a rack as well if you are lucky, two things I think that are essential for commuting.
If you are really keen on a new model and don't mind buying online, check out cell bikes as they have some nice roadies that are pretty cheap compared with more popular brands. I have the Cell Blade which I guess is around the level of the ocr3 for $650, I'm quite happy with it so far apart from the standard saddle which I didn't find comfortable. I rarely commute on it however as I can't lug enough around.
G'Day Jim, hasn't this chat been fun
If that's the case Jim, get the OCR3, it's got rack mounts for the pannier and a turn of speed that a flatbar can't match.
Get some tools, get your hands dirty and use the Boulder with slicks for six months and save some more so you're looking at a $1300-1500 dropbar roadie, something capable of warp factor 5 This game is more addictive than chocolate wrapped nicotine, the more you ride, the more you want to ride.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
For what it is worth BB Cycles in Osborne Park had a 08 Giant CRX 1 (horrible gray in my view) going for $1385 and have 30% off all 07 models on the floor. If you decide to still go new, it might be worth checking them out.
With next year's models filtering into the market from now until Christmas, keeping an eye open for sales and a bit of patience could easily put you up into the next the level for much the same price.
I had a good bike ... so I fixed it
Thanks Guys for all your input. I will fix up the old Boulder and keep on saving at least this way I can start riding without spending too much.
I will continue to keep my eye out for a good bike. Do you guys have any suggestions to what I should be looking for later on, just to give me some idea so I can keep my eye out for an awesome bargain.
Also after a lot of thought I think that it will be nice to get back on the old boulder again after so long. A bit of nostalgia of days gone by.
I reckon you want to look for a road bike Jim - drop bars, not flat if you've any pretentions towards speed at all.
Your budget will determine what you buy. If buying new, buy something with a Tiagra groupset - they are a good, all round groupset, but you'll be paying more than $1,000. Settle for Sora only if you find you have to buy a bike or not be riding. Sora works well, but if you're mobile, try for the next level up.
But I'd keep my eye on the second hand market. For a grand, you should be able to do quite well. If the frame is aluminium, look for something with carbon forks, but don't buy a second hand bike with carbon if the carbon looks like it's been dinged or scratched - carbon fails from the inside out and fails catastrophically. Don't buy an aluminium bike with any dings in it - unlike steel, ally doesn't stretch and can't be bent back. Steel is probably the safest buy in second hand, but there's no need to limit yourself to steel unless you've got some mad desire for it (like a lot of us do, just as a lot of people want carbon fibre). Look for a bike that's been maintained, not just tarted up for sale. If the bike hasn't been ridden much, try to work out why - it might be a real pig in disguise. On the other hand, a bike with a lot of miles on it may be worn, but someone obviously enjoyed riding it.
I had a good bike ... so I fixed it
I'd have to agree here. I did some serious off road touring on one, and it is not suited to serious off road work even with the modifications I made.
My lbs in Brisbane Epic cycles has a Vivente World Randonneur one on display at the moment. Looked very similar to the Mongoose cannot remember if it is still black but had the racks already on.
They are having a sale to get rid of 2007 stock which is why I was in there. Looking at road bikes around the $1000 mark hoping to get one with Tiagra in the sales.
Merida 903 Road Lite 18
Mongoose Crossway 225 Hybrid
Thanks, (picks myself up off of the floor), I fell out of my chair. They do exist then. Did it have a price on it.
I have seen the Viventi in Canberra. I think it was priced at abt $1400. Comes with racks, a hub powered light.
Tiagra equipped I think.
Its a nice looking bike, too bad I did not ride it. A few days later I saw the LBS guy test ride around the corner of the shop. He later remarked it was a heavy bike, and preferred the Aluminum Mongoose.
Then again the LBS guy is the racing sort of person.
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