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Bikes for the rest of us

by Richard Masoner

Freewheeling Spirit has been writing a series of posts on Bikes for the rest of us. He’s exploring the availability of regular, old utility bikes that are not aimed toward the “enthusiast,” athlete, or weekend warrior. He wants bikes that you can hop on without lycra or cleated shoes. He wants bikes can carry stuff. He wants bikes that are fun to ride that have function and style.

In his quest so far he’s looked at Breezers, Electras, the Specialized Globe, and the ever popular Raleigh One Way.

We’re all about those kinds of bikes here at CBB. What bikes do you like or would like to know more about?

Helkama Ainotar Finnish bike

 
Burley nomad 229

56 Responses to “Bikes for the rest of us”

  1. Jennifer says:

    I’d like to know more about hybrids that don’t suck. Surely they exist somewhere?

  2. Fritz says:

    I saw the Coffee Cruiser a couple of weeks ago and liked what I saw.

    . Schwinn Coffee Cruiser

  3. freewheel says:

    Good looking bike — and I like the price!

  4. sam says:

    I test-rode the Dynamik, one of the new Rans crank-forward bikes the other day and it seemed like it would make a terrific commuter bicycle. Extremely comfortable seat, flat-footed stops, and no pressure on the back or wrists. It was also surprisingly efficient and fun to ride. Too bad the cheapest one is pushing $1000. I may pick up the Zenetik road model once my piggy bank gets fat enough. http://www.crankforward.com

  5. Mike Myers says:

    Performance has the Schwinn Coffee in their latest catalog for $250. That’s a deal. Just too bad they specced it with 700c wheels. I think that bike calls for 26 inchers.

  6. Efried says:

    Uaahhh!!!
    Utility Bike does not mean that old fashioned low quality bike.
    If you search a little bit you will finde real useful and high quality bikes like

    http://www.radlager.info/images/Kopenhagen_Dame_Rot.jpg
    http://www.gazelle.nl/de/imagebank/fietsen/2007_impala_groot.jpg
    http://www.bikeshops.de/Bikes/400/19638.jpg
    for the elderly:
    http://www.vonderpalette24.de/072175a.jpg

    for the techie
    http://www.r-m.de/?id=71

    If you think about carrying your cargo in handlebar mounded basket – forget it- its dangerous.

    Efried

  7. Ghost Rider says:

    Sam, the Crank Forward concept is also used by Electra’s line of cruiser bikes…it allows for a full leg extension during pedaling AND flat-footed stops. And, it’s a good bit cheaper than those models you suggested. Either way, it’s a useful concept!

    European city bikes RULE! I hope that American companies realize that it is possible to make a good bike for around-town errands that also doesn’t break the bank. Some companies are seeming to “get it”…like the Schwinn. Others, like the dreamy Gary Fisher 8-speed city bike with front rack, understand the concept but the final bike price is just too much for the average utility biker.

    Maybe we’ll see a wave of “conversions” the way the fixed gear crowd has resurrected a heap of classic 10-speeds — the new “cool” conversion might be a city bike configuration with racks and baskets!

  8. Mike Myers says:

    Jack—what is, in your mind, the target price for a utility bike?

  9. Matt S. says:

    I bought a used Specialized Globe. Here in Florida, beach cruisers are the “default” bikes that people seem to get (as opposed to mountain bikes in other places I’ve been). The cruisers were just too laid back for me, and never really seemed fun to ride.

    When I took a trip to Chicago, I rented an Electra Amsterdam because I was considering one for my wife. I don’t know if it was because it was an abused rental, but it seemed like a real piece of crap. The coaster brake did work better than I expected, and I liked the internal shifter. But the thing was constantly rattling, and the side mudguard thing fell off during my ride. Although I’m sure it was not treated kindly by previous riders, I don’t think the bike would fare well after a few years of use.

    My Globe was an upgrade from a Target mountain bike after it fell apart. I got into bike commuting to save money and increase my fitness. I never expected it to be so much fun. I think my next bike will be a road bike, because I keep wanting to go faster. So cruisers aren’t for everybody, but I think a practical hybrid like the Globe can be a good gateway into cycling.

  10. Ghost Rider says:

    Mike, I’d like to see something fully outfitted for utility cycling for $500 or less. The GF is supposed to be around $800, isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, a more expensive bike than my “target” price would be well-worth it, but might just deter some folks who are on the fence about giving utility bicycling a serious look.

    There’s a nice meaty area between too expensive and a Walmart “bike-shaped object” that bike companies really need to shoot for.

  11. Mike Myers says:

    Jack, I’d like to see that, too. Sub $500 for a bike with everything one would need to get around would be very nice, indeed. I’m wonder why they can’t do it.

    I’m waiting for Bikes Direct to spot the trend and introduce their own utility bike in a Motobecane/Mercier branding. I know they could do it. But that would still be primarily targeted at the enthusiast market, which is who seeks out a company like that.

    The Simple City is MSRP $799 for the 8-speed, according to GF. BUT—the 3 speed is about half that and the basket is available separately.

    Raleigh has the Detour Deluxe, which is fully specced, but it’s $750. It does come with a dynohub and a decent light, though. That surely raised the price. So what is the essential spec for a utility bike? I would say that fenders and a rack are a necessity, a basket or included panniers would be nice, internal gearing also would be nice, and lighting is optional. Can someone bring that in for less than 5 hundred? And would bike shops want to stock something that turnkey, since they would miss out on selling accessories?

  12. Quinn says:

    Personally, I would like to see more content on trailer, they have been around for Years, Can be great for those that don’t want/don’t have room for a UTE/Xtra and yet the general public is amazed at every one they see.

  13. Matt S. says:

    Here’s the commuting rig I got on a $500 budget:

    Bike (used Specialized Globe Sport) $350
    Rack 25
    Freddy Fenders 25
    Lights 40
    Rack trunk/pannier thing $35

    Grand total of $475. Of course I cheated by buying used. And it has derailleurs rather than internal gears. You could use Reelights and still stay under $500. So I guess the question is: can the manufacturers make a sturdy, fun bike for less than $350? I don’t see why not.

  14. Ghost Rider says:

    Mike, I think you hit it on the head with your essential spec list. A 3-speed internal hub is really all most around-town utility cyclists need. 7 or 8 speeds might be expensive overkill. Other than that, you’re right: fenders, a rack and some sort of carrying device (basket or folding wire pannier), some lights…maybe a chainguard. Heck, a brand-new Wald wire front basket is only about $15.00 retail — and rear racks are a dime a dozen. The essential parts are out there, and they’re amazingly inexpensive, especially when purchased in bulk by a big manufacturer.

    I KNOW that bike companies could do this at a very reasonable price point. I don’t understand why they, for the most part, are not choosing to. And you’re right about bike shops not wanting to miss out on the lucrative accessories sales when a turnkey solution is presented, but that’s one of several somethings that needs to be figured out in order to bring the concept of utility biking to the unwashed masses!

    I just put together a derailleur-based 1×6 city bike for the princely sum of $28.00. Salvaged parts (check the bike co-ops!) , a Wald front basket and a handful of new cables and casings were all I needed. If I can do it, the heavy hitters in the bike industry can surely figure out something more elegant but still below the stratosphere of excessive price!

  15. rick says:

    Honestly I don’t understand why cost keep coming up as a major hinderance to getting more people on bikes. It’s not the cost! It’s peoples priorities. Flat panel televisions are selling in record numbers, XBox 360s and Playstation 3s sell for more than what you can buy a quality bike for, gas prices keep going up, the cost of driving a car continually rises. The cost of even a $750 bike pales in comparison to the yearly cost of commutting by bus or train. A montlhy bus pass where I live is around $90. It has nothing to do with whether employers supply a shower facility either. Do all the people that go for runs during their lunch hour have a shower at work when they get back?

    It’s about peoples will and desire. The diet industry is worth billions of $$ a year. I’ll bet it cost more to join Jenny Craig than it does to make a VISA payment on a $1000 bike. Where there is a will there is a way. There just is no will. North Americans aren’t fat asses by accident. There are plenty of choices available to the consumer right now. Any quality mountain bike with lights, a rack, some panniers and slick tires will do the job more than adequately. We need to stop waiting for the manufacturers to build the perfect bike. We have literally dozens of bikes that will do the job available now.

    Bikes are inexpensive!! People are lazy.

  16. rick says:

    Oops wrong thread perhaps sorry

  17. rick says:

    Sorry folks I intended for response # 16 to be posted in ‘How do we get more people on bikes?’ subject heading. Trying to do too many things at one time without paying enough attention. Again sorry about that.

  18. Mike Myers says:

    I like the looks of the Schwinn Coffee—it’s retro cool enough to appeal to hipsters, and it’s cheap enough so nobody will feel bad about beating it up a bit. So which way do you go as a manufacturer? Assuming they can hit the price point, do you go techie and modern, or do you stick to the old faithful design and go retro cool?

    Trek is putting out some pretty cool bikes. The Soho and the SU series look like nice bikes. Price is up there, but not awful. The Soho 1.0 is priced at $699 which is a bit much for a bike with no accessories—but that’s probably because Trek saw fit to spec it with disc brakes. Flashy but not necessary—but flash sells. Same for the SU 2.0. Techie and modern.

    I remember when Trek brought out their fully loaded commuter bike. It bombed BIG TIME. Was that a matter of the market not being ready, or was it because the dealers didn’t know how to handle the product?

    I would like to see some sales numbers from Performance on the Coffee, now that they’re selling it at $250 AND Performance has a 10 percent off code for bikes on their website. $225 plus shipping puts it well under $300, and Team P members would get 10 percent back, to boot. It’s tempting me, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. It is just too bad that Schwinn’s reputation took such a hit and so many dealers dropped their line when Pacific Wal-Martized them. How many years of reputation were thrown away, and how many loyal dealers felt screwed? It may have been profitable in the short term, but losing the bike shop market was not wise.

  19. Peter Wang says:

    I put fenders, a rack, and lights on my Specialized Sirrus two years ago, and it’s just about perfect for commuting. The search is over, as far as I’m concerned.

    There’s nothing wrong with coming into commuting from a racing / recreational point of view. Commuters want to go fast, too. As you ease into commuting, you learn what you have to give up in terms of performance in order to get the utility you want.

    I agree with Rick, people don’t commute because of the lack of good bikes, people don’t commute because they’re lazy, and to that I will add uninspired and unimaginative.

  20. Russell says:

    The Kona Smoke 2-9 is worth a look. Comes with fenders. All you need is a bag and lights. Check it out, only $369! http://www.konaworld.com

  21. freewheel says:

    I’m in the process of moving my “bikes for the rest of us” series to a new blog called Bikes For The Rest Of Us (http://bikesfortherestofus.blogspot.com).

  22. Shanyn says:

    Okay, where can I find details on the front rack for the Gary Fisher Simple City bike? I have looked everywhere! I really need that groovy rack! Can someone help me out?

  23. Fritz says:

    Oh yeah, speaking of the Simple City — my spies from Trek tell me the Simple City will be available this spring complete with the pretty front basket.

  24. Johnny says:

    I have a hybrid that works great for getting me around town. I paid less than $400 for it, new. Maybe if hybrids were a little more expandable, they might work better as commuter bikes. I went through hell getting my rack on, though Giant fixed this issue for the next year (doh!). No fender eyelets on the front still, but I’m working on it. I don’t think my clip-ons are very effective.

  25. Jennifer says:

    Thanks, Freewheel!

    And ditto on the hybrid bikes–they have a lot of potential to be fine commuting, errand, and general getting-around-town machines, especially if you start as a weekender on a budget and work your way up from there. What I don’t like is that so many (e.g., mine) are designed for pleasant jaunts along the bike trail every other sunny summer weekend, instead of a daily beating in sloppy weather and more miles than I would have thought possible two years ago. I don’t need 21 speeds and a shock in the fork; surely those expenses could have gone toward more durable components, or a rack and fenders, or a lighter frame, or something? I don’t think such things would have compromised any of its appeal as a bike-trail bike. But the market research must have said otherwise.

    That’s another thing–I think companies rely too heavily on market research. I think the current market has demonstrated that people may say they want one thing in a bike, but when it comes time to buy one they realize that they really want something else, and it’s not there.

  26. Mike Myers says:

    Shanyn—the Simple City will be released in late March or early April, according to customer service at Gary Fisher. The basket WILL be available separately.

    Fritz—I emailed Fisher about the Simple City. The 8 speed will come with the basket(or only the 8 speed will be specced with a basket, not sure which exactly). MSRP on the 8 speed is $799.99.

  27. Alexander says:

    I noticed the photo above shows a Helkama from Interbike. Anyone know if these are available in the US?

  28. Fritz says:

    Good eye, Alexander. I’ve just sent an email to Helkama and I’ll post the answer.

  29. jj says:

    GR, the RANS crankforward is well worth the extra money when compared to anything made by Electra. Electra makes good frames, then shoddilly outfits them with the worst components on the market. I know several people who bought the townie thinking they were getting a deal compared to RANS, only to regret the decision later.

    Sam, the Zen Road is a killer bike for a killer price. I’m springing for a Zen Pro in March.

  30. wannaCmore says:

    Russell, I was looking at the Kona Smoke 2-9 before I even knew that this site even existed… Was looking at Specialized Globe City and Giant Tran Sport, but then I started looking at all of the different brands available locally in Tulsa, and I found the Kona. Thinking about the Kona Dew as well, though leaning towards the Smoke (not crazy about grip shifts). Looking for anything really that is durable enough to handle pot holes, yet light enough to jump a curb. This thread has opened me to other component/accessories that I had never really considered like chaincases and internal gearing. Think that any commutable/urban bike should come with at least full fenders, racks front/rear (or least the brazeons for them), and a good light system over any suspension crap.

  31. Russell says:

    wannaCmore:
    I always look at the frameset first and determine how long it will last and ride quality. The Kona is definetely the best of the three you mentioned due its being made of steel, the others are aluminum. It’s a guarantee that it will ride better. A sweet ride for the price.

  32. wannaCmore says:

    Russell: So steel would be preferred over aluminum for this type of application? I have posted this question on another site and the only response so far was based on the aesthic. My eyes have gotten to the point where I should not be driving, per the doctor, but he has no problem with me riding a bike. Used to ride before I got married (she won’t get on two wheels unless it has a motor on it). So this intial investment is crucial. She wants me to shop Walmart ( I KNOW BETTER), because all she is looking at is price point.

  33. Fritz says:

    Cmore — Aluminum won’t rust, while steel can. Still, a good steel frame can last you a good 30 years or more with care. Al is stiffer than steel, so steel will give you a more forgiving ride in general.

    I have bikes made of aluminum, CroMoly steel, & carbon fiber. By far my favorite riding is on my steel bikes.

  34. Russell says:

    wannaCmore: Everything Fritz says is true. I’ve always had steel bikes and am still purchasing vintage steel frames for urban riding. I have a Bianchi Volpe from 1985 that I use to race Cyclocross. I bought it a garage sale for $15 last year. Steel bikes will last forever if taken care of and ride better than anything else. Take a look at what Sheldon says: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-materials.html#ride
    Many times you can find very unique bikes at pawn shops or garage sales that are steel and perfect for your daily commute. A much larger percentage of older bikes have braze-ons for racks. You can build a bike that you will enjoy for years. Mr. Brown’s website is a priceless tool for anyone wanting to know more about bikes and maintenance.

  35. wannaCmore says:

    Russell, Fritz-Thanks! I stopped by the local Kona shop and took another look at the Smoke, and they had a Smoke 29er next to it. Did not get to ride though due to the weather.

  36. Coffee Joe says:

    I test rode both the Bianchi Milano Parco and the Schwinn Coffee as a commuter bike with a retro look. Both bikes have a 3-speed in the rear hub, easy to use, and lets you shift even when you are stopped. 3-speeds is more than adequate unless you’re in a lot of hills. Both felt pretty light and agile. Both steered and shifted and rode fine, and . The Coffee has a rear coaster brake AND front and rear caliper brakes, a little unusual, but the coaster brake is great in the rain, where caliper brakes lose a little effectiveness. Plus, you can’t have too much brake. The Coffee has a useful rack and metal fenders and chain guard, and at $369 is a good deal.
    Beware, some people found Performance Bicycles selling the same bike at $250 – it is not the same – it is a single speed only! I called Schwinn and they said Performance had some made just for them as single speeders.
    The advantages of the Milano are that it is available in different frame sizes and colors, and it has 26″ tires that you can fill at a gas station. The Coffee’s bigger 700 size tires roll with less friction, but require a special pump, or at least an adaptor to fill. That’s a pain, and that means you’ll fill it less. The Milano rode a little nicer, but has plastic fenders and chain guard. No big deal, but they have a cheap feel, not to say that the Schwinn oozes quality either. The Milano also has a drum rear brake, but is activated by the brake handle, and feels a little mushy. Biggest drawback of the Milano was price at $499. For the extra $130, I could get lights and a good lock, and have a rack to carry the lock.
    Neither of these bikes are “cheap” in either the cost or quality. I’ have a serious mountain bike and have ridden a lot of bikes, and the cheap $100-200 department store or “comfort” bikes have a heavy, disconnected feel. They don’t like to roll because of cheap bearings, the y steer funny and are hard to pedal. You will hate yourself for buying one, but you won’t know good from bad until you ride a good one. Take my longwinded advise – buy a reputable brand, test ride a several bikes at a good bcycle store, even ones that are more than you want to spend. A good shop will adjust the seat and bars to feel right.
    In the end, I bought the Schwinn and am pretty happy with it after a couple weeks.

  37. Fritz says:

    Coffee Joe, thank you *VERY* much for the in depth overview of those bikes and the info about the Performance Bikes version of the Cruiser.

    That surprises me that Schwinn/Pacific would spec Presta valve tube on the Schwinn. Schraeder tubes are available for 700C size tires, though you might need to drill the rim hole out a little.

  38. Coffee Joe says:

    Thanks Fritz. Wow, I didn’t even look at the valve stems – they are Schraders!. I didn’t know they made 700s with them, just assumed Presta. Even Better!
    Guess I need to check tire pressure more often…

  39. Coffee Joe says:

    I went looking at the crank-forward bike website Sam mentioned:
    http://www.crankforward.com
    I haven’t ridden one, but they remind me of cruiser or chopper motorcycles, and have some of the same drawbacks. It looks like they may be initially comfortable, but they don’t allow you to shift your weight. If you’re climbing a hill, you can’t stand up and put body weight on the pedals. Also, when you’re going really slow like when stopping or taking off, you’re foot is farther away from the ground, making it hard to dab. Last thing is, when you see a big bump, you can’t stand up and avoid the big jolt – you won’t be riding off any curbs.

  40. Chris says:

    I am looking for a bike to ride on pavement at a leisurely pace (not racing), but I would like to ride long distances (up to 20+ miles at a time mostly on bike paths). Most bikes for distance seem to be geared to competition, so I am so glad I found this site! I might do some local group rides, but only the easy ones (and not hilly ones).

    The number of speeds doesn’t matter much to me (three would be fine if I could find the other features I want with a 3-speed), but I do want aluminum for rust prevention and lighter weight, and as upright as possible with handlebars that sweep back toward me, and a ladies’ step-through frame. I also like to have fenders.

    (I definitely don’t want a mountain bike. My ancient bike is a Univega Tri-Star and has a good bit of rust – but the set-up is just the way I like it. If I could purchase a clone of it in aluminum, I would definitely do that! It was apparently a clone of the old Raleigh 3-speed Sprite.)

    But from what I’ve seen, it seems that the features I want are mostly found in hybrids, yet I have also read that hybrids are too heavy and uncomfortable for riding longer distances. So I am confused.

    I did come across this bike, so I’m wondering what people think of it:
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/gazelle/dutch.htm

    Maybe it is similar to the Schwinn Coffee Cruiser but comes in aluminum (and has more speeds, though I would be just as happy if it came with 3-speeds). It also comes in a step-through frame. But the handlebars don’t appear to curve back at all (at least they don’t curve under), so I’m wondering if you can achieve the same upright position without the handlebars curving back a little toward the rider?

    Any thoughts on this bike would be so appreciated, or suggestions on a bike that might even be closer to what I’m looking for, without excessive expense. (I do like the price on the gazelle, and when you click on pictures, the ladies’ frame looks pretty nice too!)

    Thanks for your help!

  41. Russell says:

    Chris,
    The Bianchi Milano is the best ladies bike that I know of that fits your description (Aluminum/3-spd). By modern standards it’s a great deal as well. You cannot go wrong with a Bianchi. I have seven of them. The ladies version is in the upper left corner. It comes in White or Celeste. I hope you like it. http://bianchiusa.com/08_milano_parco.html

    Russell

  42. Coffee Joe says:

    The Gazelle looks like a great bargain – lots of low maintenance aluminum, not too heavy looking. Bars are easy to change, and there is a Raleigh style bar here –
    http://www.velo-orange.com/touristbar.html

  43. Chris says:

    Thanks for the responses – the Bianchi looks like a good bike, but I’m not too fond of the beach cruiser look, and the fork is not aluminum.

    And now I’m having second thoughts about the Gazelle since it has a suspension fork (extra weight) – I’m not sure how much I should be concerned about that. Other than that, I like the look of the Gazelle (the white one with the ladies’ step-through frame).

    Though I don’t really need many speeds, I would be okay with more than three (as in the Gazelle) if all the other features I’m looking for are there.

    Thanks again for both of your ideas, and the handlebar link (invaluable no matter what bike I end up with). I would welcome any additional thoughts also!

  44. Fritz says:

    Ooh, those Birias look nice. Kind of reminiscent of Sun’s ultra low step through Streamway bikes, but the Birias look nicer and have a more finished appearance.

  45. jj says:

    Coffee Joe says “”

    “I haven’t ridden one, but they remind me of cruiser or chopper motorcycles, and have some of the same drawbacks.”
    If you haven’t ridden or owned a bike you opinions aren’t valid in my opinion, but I’ll add my experiance.

    “It looks like they may be initially comfortable, but they don’t allow you to shift your weight.”

    I find that shifting my weight on the seat does alot to keep me comfortable on long rides. There are many places to sit on the seat without even adjusting it. There are angle adjustments so you can vary the seating position on centurys. Also there is the option to add padding under the sit bones for those ultra-sensitive riders like myself. I’ve ridden every style of bike available to me locally and nothing comes close to the long distance comfort found on the RANS. There is no need for bike shorts, so they make the ultimate comfort commuter.

    “If you’re climbing a hill, you can’t stand up and put body weight on the pedals.”

    This statement isn’t true, but I’ll pretend that it is. When you sit with your feet in front you can pull off the bars, thus mirroring the act of standing up. Most people who own crankforward bikes notice an increase in climbing performance versus their former steeds.

    “Also, when you’re going really slow like when stopping or taking off, you’re foot is farther away from the ground, making it hard to dab.”

    This statement isn’t anywhere close to accurate. Dabbing is way easier to do on a crankforward because your butt is closer to the ground. No more ackward stretching to reach the ground, and you can stop flat-footed while your butt stays on the seat. Stopping and slow speeds are far easier on the CF’s I own.

    “Last thing is, when you see a big bump, you can’t stand up and avoid the big jolt – you won’t be riding off any curbs.” I find the opposite is true. I go out looking for things to jump on my Dynamik. The extra supportive seat adds suspension, while eliminating the saddle to the scrotum syndrome that plagues many cyclists.

  46. Anonymous says:

    I currently ride 10-15 miles a day in Manhattan. My beloved Bianchi Milano was stolen last week. It is a great commuter, and I especially liked being able to click down a gear while stopped at a light. After 2 hellish days on a beater, I was shopping around again, but this time I wanted to find something low-budget. As always, I wanted something that looks like a classic women’s bike, step-thru and upright, but able to perform with good nip and pickup for urban riding, and can also haul groceries. The Schwinn Coffee and KHS Green both have a cool yet populist feel (and price) that helps to promote cycling in general, but ultimately a 3-speed just doesn’t cut it for me because NYC is stop-and-start, and I end up starting up in high gear, which is hard on my knee.

    If a 3-speed is all you need, KHS Green deserves a test ride, it is a bike that is making a strong statement at $299 or less, but fenders, bell and kickstand are all extra, making it the same as the Coffee.

    Long story short, I bit the bullet and got a Giant Tran Send DX W for $450. No chainguard on the DX, but extras such as the compass and birchwood panel and strap on the rear rack, plus bell, fenders, reflectors etc, and a gorgeous and lightweight design, make a girl like me have an instant crush on a new model bike. So good-looking it screams “steal me” tho, a fear I wouldn’t have with KHS Green. Compared to the Milano, the TranSend frame feels almost too light and compact, but a little more cobblestones and curb-jumping action and I’m sure I’ll be convinced of it’s sturdiness. And in regards to the Milano, well, my LBS no longer carries Bianchi because the brand has unfortunately been reduced to made-in-asia, plastic-component pieces of crap supposedly, but my 2005 was a total dream ride (sniff). Besides, there are cheaper options. Hopefully KHS will come out with an 8-speed Green. meanwhile, check out the Giant Tran Send and tell me it’s not worth a little extra.

  47. Jeannie Ceciliani says:

    I just bought a GIANT TranSend DX-W; and I’m “going crazy” wondering if THIS is better than the Townie Commuter 21 or not. The shifter on the DW-W are SRAM 3.0 comp twisters and the Electra has the Sh.Revo twisters. Townie comes with fenders, rack, lights and the front hub somehow makes the front light stay lit.

    $599 Electra
    $390 GIANT – I now have to add fenders, lights, rack, basket, etc.

    Any/all feedback is appreciated. From what I read, the GIANT may have slightly better components??
    Thanks for all replies.

  48. Coffee Joe says:

    I think you did fine, the Giant is a better bike. The Giant has 21″ wheels that roll better, and does not have that fork that adds weight and not very useful on this kind of bike – you put very little body weight on the bars. You can always add a rack and fenders and LED lights with rechargable batteries and still be ahead. Both shifters work equally well, and that generator in the front hub is not only heavy, it is adding drag whether the lights are on or off.

  49. Jeannie Ceciliani says:

    Thanks Coffee Joe; What do you mean by 21″ wheels? both have 26″ tires (sorry, I’m just getting back into all this)

    Here’s the DX-W specs

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/bikes/women/1271/29320/

    ———————–

    Here’s the Electra

    http://www.electrabike.com/townie/

    It’s the Townie Cummuter 21 – the red ladies one, for specs you must click on ‘specs’ – they’re near the rear rack on the picture of it.

    Thanks,
    Jeannie from Oregon

  50. Coffee Joe says:

    I’m sorry, I meant 700c tires, not 21″. Did you get the Suede or the Tran Send:
    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/bikes/women/589/29359/

  51. Jeannie Ceciliani says:

    I got the Giant Suede DX-W (road-gray color).

  52. lady clay says:

    My husband has been riding a KHS Urban X for the last couple of years, and it’s been rock solid – chain guard, fenders, rack, and it all comes to $439 at current prices.

    http://www.khsbicycles.com/06_urban_x_09.htm

  53. Chris L. says:

    I ride a Specialized Hard Rock ($300?) with an upgraded Shimano chain. ($30?) Part of my commute is light off road (i.e. grass median for 1/2 mile) due to an area being under construction. I used to ride this bike on single track off-road trails (over 300 miles worth). Truly it really isn’t quite up to the task of being a true off-road bike but it will do that if you force it to. It makes a perfect urban cruiser though. Overall I’ve put around 1000 miles on the bike. I’m thinking about getting new shifter cables.

  54. Paul Barrow says:

    Hi guy’s,

    Greetings from the UK. I’ve got a decent hybrid, an Optima Richmond, made by the Falcon Company. It’s got 18 gears (twist grip Shimano) and comes with mudguards (fenders) and rear luggage rack. All I bought were lights. I paid.£140 last summer and the shop owner even threw in a lock. I cycle to work and back in Canterbury, about seven miles each way plus other trips with no complaints or problems.

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