New flat bar commuter - what to look for

AdelaidePeter
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New flat bar commuter - what to look for

Postby AdelaidePeter » Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:50 pm

Those who have seen this thread viewtopic.php?f=34&t=97349&p=1438434 will know I think it's time to replace my bike. I have a ~22 year old flat bar hybrid. I'm thinking of getting something similar, which a couple of years ago was around the $600 mark at my local bike shop, because:
* I don't care if it's not the fastest or lightest bike - I commute for exercise, so a heavier bike just means I exercise more :) ;
* I don't like spending lots of money;
* I don't want to leave an expensive bike locked up outside my work place all day.
Ideally, this new bike will last me another 20 years. (Or at least 10, because for about half of this bike's 20, I hardly rode it).

Anyway, what sort of things should I look for in that price range bike? I know to look for visible features like mud guards, room for a carrier, and how many gears it's got. I'm looking for advice that might not be obvious, "Don't get style X brakes because they don't last more than a year", or "any more than X gears is a waste" (my current bike has 3 x 7 gears, and I never use the smallest setting on the front gears).

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Howzat
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Re: New flat bar commuter - what to look for

Postby Howzat » Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:10 pm

...if you solve the problem of where you can park the bike at work, then you can look at allocating a miserly, penny-pinching capital budget of say $100 a year for a bike that will last 20 years. :D

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10speedsemiracer
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Re: New flat bar commuter - what to look for

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:29 pm

AdelaidePeter wrote:Those who have seen this thread viewtopic.php?f=34&t=97349&p=1438434 will know I think it's time to replace my bike. I have a ~22 year old flat bar hybrid. I'm thinking of getting something similar, which a couple of years ago was around the $600 mark at my local bike shop, because:
* I don't care if it's not the fastest or lightest bike - I commute for exercise, so a heavier bike just means I exercise more :) ;
* I don't like spending lots of money;
* I don't want to leave an expensive bike locked up outside my work place all day.
Ideally, this new bike will last me another 20 years. (Or at least 10, because for about half of this bike's 20, I hardly rode it).

Anyway, what sort of things should I look for in that price range bike? I know to look for visible features like mud guards, room for a carrier, and how many gears it's got. I'm looking for advice that might not be obvious, "Don't get style X brakes because they don't last more than a year", or "any more than X gears is a waste" (my current bike has 3 x 7 gears, and I never use the smallest setting on the front gears).


$600 these days doesn't buy much bike.
Would you perhaps be better off doing a refurb/upgrade of the existing (wheels, cassette, cables, BB, chain, bearings) ?
Should be able to do this easily within $600 with some astute online purchases. May help to know what you are riding now, just so we know what the baseline is for comparison etc..
Mmm, SunTour

am50em
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Re: New flat bar commuter - what to look for

Postby am50em » Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:06 pm

I replaced my 20 year old commuter with a Reid Urban X3. Hydraulic disc brakes and Deore components. Works well.
$750.
X2 version is in your stated price limit. $550.

AdelaidePeter
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Re: New flat bar commuter - what to look for

Postby AdelaidePeter » Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:39 pm

10speedsemiracer wrote:
$600 these days doesn't buy much bike.
Would you perhaps be better off doing a refurb/upgrade of the existing (wheels, cassette, cables, BB, chain, bearings) ?
Should be able to do this easily within $600 with some astute online purchases. May help to know what you are riding now, just so we know what the baseline is for comparison etc..


My current bike is called a Kojima Activa, 21 speed hybrid. You can see a picture here of one very similar to mine: https://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NjAwWDgwMA== ... 3/$_20.JPG . There's a thread about a different Kojima model here: viewtopic.php?t=20858

I was guessing $600 is possible, based on this recent thread: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=97287 . In reply to the post immediately above, $600 is a guideline, not a hard limit.

gregp
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Re: New flat bar commuter - what to look for

Postby gregp » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:01 pm

Hi AdelaidePeter, what size bike frame do you fit? I have an X-Large Avanti Blade1 flatbar bike which I purchased new 5 years ago and haven't ridden more than 300 km in that time. I'd be willing to sell it if you're interested. I'm located in Adelaide N/E.

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10speedsemiracer
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Re: New flat bar commuter - what to look for

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:06 pm

I remember Kojima road bikes, all named after birds (Pergrine etc), and they were ok bikes, if a little on the heavy side. Have never played with the MTBs and didn't know they made a hybrid (which reminds me of a Shogun Metro).
Maybe something like a Giant Cross City or a Fuji Absolute would be suitable, like this :

Image

Is well priced, seems like ok spec, and sounds like it would suit your ride.

https://www.bikeexchange.com.au/a/urban-bikes/giant/sa/o-halloran-hill/cross-city-2-equipped/102878217

This one is just a suggestion though, there are lots of bikes from makers like Trek (Trek Fx), Fuji (Fuji Absolute) and others in this bracket that would do the job.
Mmm, SunTour

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10speedsemiracer
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Re: New flat bar commuter - what to look for

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:38 am

Or for maybe $180-200 you could have your wheel rebuilt and probably go another 20 years on the Kojima. Can buy pre-built 700c hybrid wheels for both screw-on freewheels or cassettes but are usually fairly cheap-ish and use low end bits. Safer to have yours relaced with new spokes if your hub and rim are ok (as long as the LBS does a good job).
Mmm, SunTour

1Rowdy1
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Re: New flat bar commuter - what to look for

Postby 1Rowdy1 » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:39 am

I got a 2016 Cannondale Quick5 for $600, the best bike I have ever had, and I have had a few over my 50 years

AdelaidePeter
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Re: New flat bar commuter - what to look for

Postby AdelaidePeter » Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:46 pm

Thanks everyone. I got a Merida Crossway 10V, a hybrid which is a little bit more off-road-ish (slightly thicker tyres, and a little front suspension) than my old Kojima. $549, then over $600 once I got a carrier.

It seems like a nice bike. I hope nothing goes wrong because it has one of the most incomprehensible manuals I've ever seen - it seems to be the same manual for every single bicycle Merida makes, and then you've got to work out which parts apply to your bike (with no "key" to match up your bike to the manual).

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10speedsemiracer
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Re: New flat bar commuter - what to look for

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:15 pm

AdelaidePeter wrote:Thanks everyone. I got a Merida Crossway 10V, a hybrid which is a little bit more off-road-ish (slightly thicker tyres, and a little front suspension) than my old Kojima. $549, then over $600 once I got a carrier.

It seems like a nice bike. I hope nothing goes wrong because it has one of the most incomprehensible manuals I've ever seen - it seems to be the same manual for every single bicycle Merida makes, and then you've got to work out which parts apply to your bike (with no "key" to match up your bike to the manual).


I had one of these (a 2017 Crossway 40) in my hands recently. Surprisingly well made but with dreadful tyres, which I swapped for Schwalbes before I flipped it.

I think you'll like it..
Mmm, SunTour

AdelaidePeter
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Re: New flat bar commuter - what to look for

Postby AdelaidePeter » Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:12 am

10speedsemiracer wrote:
AdelaidePeter wrote:Thanks everyone. I got a Merida Crossway 10V, a hybrid which is a little bit more off-road-ish (slightly thicker tyres, and a little front suspension) than my old Kojima. $549, then over $600 once I got a carrier.

It seems like a nice bike. I hope nothing goes wrong because it has one of the most incomprehensible manuals I've ever seen - it seems to be the same manual for every single bicycle Merida makes, and then you've got to work out which parts apply to your bike (with no "key" to match up your bike to the manual).


I had one of these (a 2017 Crossway 40) in my hands recently. Surprisingly well made but with dreadful tyres, which I swapped for Schwalbes before I flipped it.

I think you'll like it..


Interesting you say that, because my one minor misgiving has been about the wheel/tyre width. On my last ride I was thinking, "Nice to ride, but maybe I should have gone with the other model in the store with thinner tyres - these tyres are much thicker than the ones on my old bike". But then when I had a look, they're not much thicker at all. So maybe the tyres are too mountain-bike-ish and a swap is worth considering.

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10speedsemiracer
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Re: New flat bar commuter - what to look for

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:17 pm

AdelaidePeter wrote:
10speedsemiracer wrote:
AdelaidePeter wrote:Thanks everyone. I got a Merida Crossway 10V, a hybrid which is a little bit more off-road-ish (slightly thicker tyres, and a little front suspension) than my old Kojima. $549, then over $600 once I got a carrier.

It seems like a nice bike. I hope nothing goes wrong because it has one of the most incomprehensible manuals I've ever seen - it seems to be the same manual for every single bicycle Merida makes, and then you've got to work out which parts apply to your bike (with no "key" to match up your bike to the manual).


I had one of these (a 2017 Crossway 40) in my hands recently. Surprisingly well made but with dreadful tyres, which I swapped for Schwalbes before I flipped it.

I think you'll like it..


Interesting you say that, because my one minor misgiving has been about the wheel/tyre width. On my last ride I was thinking, "Nice to ride, but maybe I should have gone with the other model in the store with thinner tyres - these tyres are much thicker than the ones on my old bike". But then when I had a look, they're not much thicker at all. So maybe the tyres are too mountain-bike-ish and a swap is worth considering.


The tyres that were on the Crossway 40 were (from memory) made for Merida by Kenda. I dislike Kenda generally so I swapped them for Schwalbe Marathons in 35mm :

Image

and it transformed the bike.
Mmm, SunTour

twowheels
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Re: New flat bar commuter - what to look for

Postby twowheels » Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:24 am

I've got Vittoria Randonneur 700 x 32 on my flat bar. Been happy with these, can usually be found at reasonable price.

AdelaidePeter
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Re: New flat bar commuter - what to look for

Postby AdelaidePeter » Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:44 pm

10speedsemiracer wrote:The tyres that were on the Crossway 40 were (from memory) made for Merida by Kenda. I dislike Kenda generally so I swapped them for Schwalbe Marathons in 35mm :

...

and it transformed the bike.


How?

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10speedsemiracer
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Re: New flat bar commuter - what to look for

Postby 10speedsemiracer » Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:00 pm

AdelaidePeter wrote:
10speedsemiracer wrote:The tyres that were on the Crossway 40 were (from memory) made for Merida by Kenda. I dislike Kenda generally so I swapped them for Schwalbe Marathons in 35mm :

...

and it transformed the bike.


How?


The simplistic answer is, by not being Kenda tyres.
In more detail, the tyres I fitted were more responsive, and felt more supple/forgiving and the ride quality improved, running 75psi. Can only attribute this to the heavy rigidity of the Kendas which I took off (think Tractor tyre sort of rigidity). Didn't really notice whether braking was better or worse, not a zoomie sort of bike. Didn't actually get enough speed up to test adhesion under braking or hard cornering. Don't forget I was flipping this bike, so presentation was important, and a nice set of new-looking Schwalbes makes a bike much more likely to sell than some non-descript Kendas.
Mmm, SunTour

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