22 July 2008

What's the best bike for YOU?

How many people got out to the Bike Film Festival this weekend? Anyone? Also, did anyone else go to Glow in Santa Monica? If, like me, you skipped the film festival to get to Glow you may have been as disappointed as the rest of us. But at least the critical mass bike group doing laps on Ocean Drive at 1 am was having a good time!

But I digress.....lately I've been getting a lot of questions from people who are looking to buy bikes for themselves. My first response: yay! But to be honest, I am far from being an expert. My biking experience, although I commute about 30 miles a week, could best be described as "intermediate lite." Still, I love talking about bikes, so anything I can do to help steer people in the right direction, I will. So let's talk a little bit about bikes for the beginner to intermediate crowd for today, shall we?

(I have never ridden many of these bikes so in most cases I can't offer explicit endorsements. However, I have heard that these bikes work well for friends, and they are good brands, so I wanted to include them.)

One of the first things that people mention when they ask about buying a beginner's bike is cost: they don't want it to cost too much. The truth is, unless you want some piece of crap bike from Target or Wal-Mart (don't even get me started on Schwinn), you're going to have to spend at least $350-$400 for a decent bike. My roommate hadn't ridden a bike in 12 years; she recently decided to take the plunge, and she got this Kona Smoke 2-9 for about $350. She then proceeded to ride 15 miles on it! Kona is a great brand, with a large selection of bikes, and I think we can safely say that they have some for beginners as well.

Kona Smoke 2-9: $350

image courtesy of Konaworld.com

I would be remiss if I didn't mention my own bike. I own a Dahon Espresso folding bike, which cost me about $400 when I got it. The model has since been upgraded, along with the price, but it's a great bike. I've put it through way more use and abuse than I imagine it was meant for, but it's responded, and it just keeps trucking. Dahon has a full line of great bikes, for beginners to advanced riders, and all of them fold, which is super convenient!. I highly recommend this brand.

Dahon Espresso 2008: $449.95

image courtesy of dahon.com

Trek is a very well-known company with a full line of bikes, for beginners all the way to racing cycles. If you are truly, ahem, green to biking, you might want to start off with something super easy to ride, like their Lime bike. It's a comfort bike, which means it's not meant for intense biking, plus it uses an "automatic shifting" system, which I don't quite get, but OK. If you just want a bike to glide along sidewalks, take jaunts to the store, or go to the beach, then this is probably a great bike for you.

Trek Lime: $589.99 (as shown, Women's model)

image courtesy of yankodesign.com

If you're looking for something a little more road ready, the Trek Soho might be the type of bike you are looking for. It's lighter and faster than all of the previous bikes mentioned, plus it has thinner wheels which are better for road biking, and flat handle bars, which I find a lot less intimidating than the curved ones on the high-grade road cycles.

Trek Soho S: $549.99

image courtesy of Trekbikes.com

Last but not least, if you know what you're doing out there, and you know you only need a few gears to get where you need to go, another great bike for more intermediate road cyclists is the Swobo Otis. Unlike the previous bikes with up to 24 speeds and "chomper" brakes, this bike only has 3 speeds, and it uses a disc brake (like a car) on the front wheel, and coaster brakes on the back wheel. If you are going to purchase a bike of this caliber, it would behoove you to research just how many different types of brakes bikes use - you may be surprised!

Swobo Otis: $719.00

image courtesy of Swobo.com

Well there you have it.....some great bikes and I'm barely even scratching the surface! Let me know if you have any suggestions or if you own these bikes and you vehemently disagree with anything written here. Happy shopping!

1 comment:

garrett b said...

And if you want to ride in style, there is the Light Roadster by ANT.