Lady commuter - need a bike recommendation

Beating the system - the cycling commuting section

Lady commuter - need a bike recommendation

Postby newiebikegirl » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:54 am

Hello

Brand new to this forum, and to being a bike enthusiast generally!

I have just moved to Newcastle (NSW) and have started commuting to work (about 12kms). I have a heavy old hand-me-down bike and I think it might be making my commute harder ... well, that's my excuse anyway!

As I have been enjoying this commute, I was thinking of buying a new bike. I will still need to drive to/from work a few days a week so I don't want to spend too much (maybe around $500?) as I don't think it would be justified to spend much more... at least initially.

My main priorities are comfort and that the bike is quite light - I don't really know what else to look for. I would appreciate some help.

I have looked (online) at the XDS ladies retro bike/s with the alloy frame... these look gorgeous but are they any good?

Your advice is much appreciated!

Penny
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by BNA » Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:18 pm

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Re: Lady commuter - need a bike recommendation

Postby Nobody » Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:18 pm

newiebikegirl wrote:...commuting to work (about 12kms). I have a heavy old hand-me-down bike and I think it might be making my commute harder ... well, that's my excuse anyway!

As I have been enjoying this commute, I was thinking of buying a new bike. I will still need to drive to/from work a few days a week so I don't want to spend too much (maybe around $500?) as I don't think it would be justified to spend much more... at least initially.

My main priorities are comfort and that the bike is quite light - I don't really know what else to look for. I would appreciate some help.

I have looked (online) at the XDS ladies retro bike/s with the alloy frame... these look gorgeous but are they any good?
Hi Penny,

Your current bike is most likely harder to ride because it's gearing range might not suit the terrain. The bike might not fit you properly, or the tyres are difficult to push. It also might have quite an upright position which causes aerodynamic drag if you are trying to go faster (the main drag on a rider and bike). It could also be weight, but weight is usually a fairly minor consideration against the combined other factors.

You need to determine whether you want to be more efficient (with a road bike) or look good (with an upright retro styled bike). You usually can't have both. At your price point, light weight should not be high on your priority list in my opinion. The heaviest junk bike is going to be about 16Kg and a thousand dollar road bike is probably going to be about 9Kg. Unless you are extremely light, you probably won't notice a couple of kilograms anyway.

Maybe start looking at flat bar road bikes, as drop bar road bikes are generally going to be out of your price range.
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Re: Lady commuter - need a bike recommendation

Postby simonn » Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:42 pm

newiebikegirl wrote:I have looked (online) at the XDS ladies retro bike/s with the alloy frame... these look gorgeous but are they any good?


Investigated these when looking for a bubba transport bike. Never ridden one, but have picked one up. Heavy - I doubt it will be much lighter than your hand me down, could be wrong though. They are also not particularly low geared for hills which may or may not be a problem for you.

At the ~$500 price point (and if you did not want to carry a kid in a front mounted kiddy seat :)), I'd have a serious look at the Trek Allant WSD as per my blog link above. Nice looking, feminine, practical, good gearing and set up to commute with (mud guards and front rack) from the go.
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Re: Lady commuter - need a bike recommendation

Postby Lizzy » Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:15 pm

Hi & welcome, newiebikegirl :)

I do a similar length commute on a hybrid that I got within that kind of dosh (which I bought with no idea how often I'd be riding), so I'm sure you'll find something that works for you. If I'd had my time again and was bike shopping for the same purpose and budget I might have looked at a Giant Transend or, to push the boat out a bit further for the sake of looking purty, a Trek Belleville WSD. Basically, something with factory fitted mudguards and rear rack as simonn says - because once you add those things you will wonder how you ever got by without them.
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Re: Lady commuter - need a bike recommendation

Postby newie » Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:25 pm

Welcome to Newcastle!
Hope you plan to add some weekend tootles along the Fernleigh track in addition to the commuting. On a day like today it is just magic.
You'll find the bike shops in Newcastle are pretty helpful and will point you in the right direction for something suitable for your needs.
The weight will only be a real issue if you have hills. Where is your commute?
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Re: Lady commuter - need a bike recommendation

Postby AndrewBurns » Sun Sep 30, 2012 6:13 pm

A friend of mine also lives in Newcastle and also just started commuting about the same distance. She also used to have a heavy old (and way too small) bike. She ended up getting a schwinn sporterra comp which is kinda like a flat-bar road bike. It's pretty light with an aluminium frame and carbon fork, has MTB triple style gearing so plenty of low-range to get up hills and can take a rack and mudguards (although having a rear rack and mudguards at the same time proved tricky to fit). She loves it and really enjoys riding now which is really good to hear :)
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Re: Lady commuter - need a bike recommendation

Postby newiebikegirl » Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:36 am

Thanks so much for all your responses - a bit to work with and I might do a tour around the Newcastle bike shops this coming weekend to see what they say, and take with me your recommendations!

My commute is from Whitebridge into town - so along the Fernleigh Track and then through Broadmeadow, etc. It is great on the way in - lots of nice downhill bits along the track - but that first 3kms of the Track are a bit tough for someone as unfit as me, just that constant uphill really gets to me!! Hopefully it will get easier as I do it more often! :lol:

I don't think I'm ever going to be super fast so probably not too worried about getting a speedy road bike - comfort is key for me!

I like the look of the Trek Allant so will hopefully find somewhere around that stocks them so I can have a squiz in person.

Lizzy, what kind of hybrid do you have?

Thanks again everyone!

P
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Re: Lady commuter - need a bike recommendation

Postby newie » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:45 am

newiebikegirl wrote:
My commute is from Whitebridge into town - so along the Fernleigh Track and then through Broadmeadow, etc. It is great on the way in - lots of nice downhill bits along the track - but that first 3kms of the Track are a bit tough for someone as unfit as me, just that constant uphill really gets to me!! Hopefully it will get easier as I do it more often! :lol:

P


That gradient at the start of Fernleigh is enough that you will want to avoid anything really heavy. But overall you don't have any major hills on that commute, so a hybrid will be perfect. And Yes, if you do it regularly you will be surprised how quickly it get's easier and you get faster! I bought my hybrid from Avantiplus in Kotara. They are open to 7pm on Thursday night, so you could drop by on your way home..... If you are looking at the Giant bike, you will have to go to Hadleys. You might find it handy to have your current bike with you when shopping, so you can directly compare set-up, weight and so on. Don't forget BikeFest is on this weekend down at Honeysuckle - I am not sure what is happening, but maybe you will be able to get some ideas.

See you out on the "the Track" sometime!
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Re: Lady commuter - need a bike recommendation

Postby Lizzy » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:57 am

newiebikegirl wrote:Lizzy, what kind of hybrid do you have?


I have basically the equivalent to this from 6-7 years ago. I test rode several fancier-looking and more expensive bikes, but that felt the nicest to ride. I've added a rear rack and full length mudguards among other things, I've done probably 12,000km on it and it's suited my needs just fine.
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