Got Questions? Need advice?
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I have been riding my partner's Trek Mountain Bike for the past 6 months and now want to buy my own bike and am not sure whether to get a mountain bike or a cruiser.
I ride approx 9km each way to work Mon-Fri. Most of the ride is on bikepaths and has a few hills (Tuart Hill to West Perth along the freeway for anyone that knows the area). I do not ride particularly fast (ie all the people on road bikes overtake me along the way)
I like the idea of the comfort of a cruiser (one with gears) however having never actually ridden one other than a quick test drive in a flat car park,I am worried about the following and wondering if anyone can offer advice:
Are they generally heavier than mountain bikes? I need to lift it up onto the bike rack at work.
Will it be much harder going up hills and slower going down hills?
I am prepared to spend up to $750. I like the idea of the Electra Townie despite being outside my budget - does anyone have experience with these or can anyone suggest something similar?
Thanks in advance for your advice
G'Day Suzie, welcome outside.
Do you have plans to ride other than the commute? I'd be tempted to let that dictate the choice. If not, maybe some sort of hybrid? There's plenty available at your pricepoint. That way you can have most of the fat tyred comfort of an MTB or Cruiser AND most of the fast rolling efficiency of a road bike. I won't mention specific brands because I'd be here all day and probably be accused of bias.
Sorry to add one more option to the mix.
London Boy 29/12/2011
Some random thoughts.
You have a budget to spend that is a good start.
I often ride the Freeway bike path into the city from Stirling.
I would suggest a bike with slightly wider tyres than a road bike (23mm). I have ridden my road bike into the city many times and many others do every day. I prefer the ride when on a bike with slightly wider tyres. I also like puncture resistant tyres for that surface.
If you ride to work every day eventually it becomes "work" IMHO so eventually you want to go faster.
A Townie is a very upright bike to ride.
I usually leave the bike path at Lake Monger and ride up Blencowe Street ( i think) which is quite a steep little hill then into the city along the train line. A heavy bike will be harder to ride up hills but will be quicker going down hill. Steep hill means you will love extra gears. Riding to commute I would go for a lighter (but still sturdy) rather than a heavy bike.
You don't see them in Perth much but something like a Kona Dew, Dr Dew etc would be my choice for a commuter. Kona Dew maybe Anaconda Stores.
A bike with an Internally geared hub will need less maintenance.
If your after a small frame then Masi Soulville is a very good price.
The Townie is a completely different riding position to an MTB, as you have no doubt experienced. They are designed for "Cruising", not for Hill Climbing. The Townie comes in all sorts of variations, from Single Speed up to a 24-Speed with racks etc all standard. I have a Townie 21D (as does my wife), which I use exclusively for "Cruising" or going up the local shops.
To answer your questions:
1) Are they heavier than an MTB? Well, "it depends". Personally, I don't think there is a huge difference, but the Townie has a longer wheelbase and this makes it a larger bike. What sort of bike rack are you having to lift onto? I don't have any issues with our Townies, but we also use the kick stands most of the time (swapped the standard issue ones for twin-leg ones instead)
2) Are they harder going up hills? Yes and no. Yes, because the riding position is relaxed on a Townie, you don't have the same leverage on the pedals. You can't stand up and pedal on a Townie (well, you can try, but it is not very stable!). I have climbed some pretty nasty hills on my Townie, with my son sitting in his BoBike seat on the handlebars. I was spinning like crazy in a ridiculous low gear that I would never use on an MTB (22x34) and doing about 7km/h, but I got up the hill
As for the downhills, you won'tbe breaking any speed records, but I have personally done close to 50km/h without concern. Just replace the oem brake pads before you do it! You'd probably go faster if the stock 2 inch wide tyres were slimmed down a bit.
I rode an Electra Blanc et Noir for a while. Sooo much more comfortable than a mountain bike for me. It was a bit of a struggle up hills. And as you say, it's heavier, and so I found it a bit of a struggle to get in and out of tight spaces. But the comfort just meant that I actually enjoyed riding, and ended up riding much often. I'm not sure about the Townie, but my Electra bike was so beautiful to look at, it made me want to ride it all the time (I've since moved on to a recumbent Bacchetta Bellandare for comfort). The Electra bikes are also fabulous for practicality - nice touches like skirt guards, enclosed chain-guards, etc. I found that made a huge difference, allowing me to just jump on the bike in any clothes at all.
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