Help needed: choosing between two bikes


New Member
Jul 29, 2017
I'm about to buy a new bike and need your help :)

1. home-work-home - 30 min riding each side - quite easy road - 3 times a week
2. traveling on weekends - trails - once a month

Based on my budget and the store I have I now have two option:

The specialized are very good for women shape, while the haro has a better spec

Any inputs that can help me make the choice?

According to what you described as your riding preferences I would stay away from a bike that has a suspension fork. Why you scream? First off a bike that cost under $1,000 will have a suspension fork that isn't suitable for technical, rough, fast off road use; on that note you won't be doing technical, rough, off road stuff according to what you said. Suspension forks, especially low cost ones, are heavy and problematic, also since suspension forks do cost more money than a rigid fork the bike manufacturer has to cheapen other components and or the frame to make the bike fit the price bracket, thus you get cheaper quality components and or frame along with cheaper quality fork. And with your riding habits a suspension fork will actually take away quite a bit of power that you're applying to the rear wheels making the bike more difficult to ride the more miles you ride on any given day.

I use to ride a rigid mountain bike on trails in the mountains of southern California and never once felt I needed a suspension fork, of course I wasn't racing and that's why I didn't need anything suspension related. But those trails still got pretty rough and fast as you can imagine what a mountain trail would be like.

Bicycle Planet does have a few nice rigid bikes (rigid meaning no rear or front suspension), one such bike is this one: This bike is a fat tire bike, fat tires use less PSI thus the tires do all the suspension work vs the fork and thus a lot less to go wrong and their cheaper; but again based on your riding habits I don't think this bike is really something you need either. But I showed you this bike if you're stuck on having some sort of suspension because maybe you might find yourself on rough trails, or very loose gravel and or dirt, these fat tires will float over anything and isolate a lot of shock. Surly is an excellent brand too.

However based on your description of riding I think a hybrid may be more suitable, a hybrid offers more road speed than a suspension bike or a fat tire bike, and it has wide enough tires to do mild to moderate off road trails; also you can switch up tires depending on where you'll be going, for example if you're only going to be riding on pavement then you could put on smooth tires for faster rolling, if you're going to be on a dirt trail you could switch to a tire with a more aggressive tread design (knobbies), of if all that tire switching sounds like a pain you could get a tire with an almost smooth center profile but more aggressive knobbies on the side.

Also consider commuter bikes at Bicycle Planet, these are really hybrid's, anyway here's a list of them: One of those bikes even comes with a rear rack if you need to be able to carry some stuff to work in panniers, most of the hybrid/commuter bikes do have connections for panniers but the rack will have to be bought separately, also most of these bikes can be fitted with fenders so in case you get caught in the rain you won't have a brown rooster tail up your back and the bike will be less dirty. Some of the listed bikes have suspension forks, again you don't need that for commuting or light to moderate trail use. I would probably be looking at the Specialized brand in that commuter category I gave you, I'm not familiar with the Liv brand so I would probably stay away from that one.
Hi @Froze! Thanks for the detailed response!

A few more details -
1. I'm 5'4'.
2. I realized that I wasn't completely clear - when I said road, I meant mostly paving sidewalks. Also, by trails I mean mostly packed-earth or packed-gravel trails.

The only bike in the store at my neighborhood that fits for women and that is in my budget is Specialized Crossroads Step Through

So according to the additional details I provided, do you think that the Specialized Crossroads Step Through would be better for my needs than the Specialized Jynx 650b? Would I be able to use it for packed-earth/packed-gravel trails as well?

Thank you so much for your help!
Yes, that Specialized Step through should work, but first you need to test ride it to make sure you're comfortable, and ride for as long as they'll let you, hopefully for at least 20 minutes to simulate your commute, that ride time should tell you if you're going to be comfortable riding it for that length of time. So make sure they get the bike set up to fit you before you ride off. Some people like those comfort bikes and others don't, so ride it first.

Before pulling your money out find another LBS that will probably be outside your neighborhood of course, and ride at least one more, that way you're not kicking yourself for not trying some others. It's like buying a car, you don't just buy the first car you see, some people might if they have a very specific car they want and find it, but most don't do that, they'll try out several cars from various dealers before they settle on a car, you kind of have to do that with a bike.

And the Step Through will handle the kind of riding you're wanting to do, look the kind of riding you do I sometimes ride those same conditions on a bike designed for fast road riding! What I mean is I use a bike with 23mm to 25mm tires on grass, hard packed dirt, hard packed gravel and have no issues, the tires on the Step Through are 45mm wide, that's at least 20mm wider of a tire than what I use for the same sort of riding, thus you'll have no problems riding on the surfaces you describe.

Commuting does present possible problems that are more frequent than a car, and those are flats. Make sure when you buy a bike that you learn how to repair flats if you don't already know how, if the bike shop will teach you great, if not what about a friend? if not that either then You Tube has at least a couple of dozen videos showing how it's done, watch as many as you can especially for the rear, and then practice on the rear where the mechanicals are so you get the hang of how to handle the mechanicals, how to pop on and off the tire, once you learn how to fix the rear the front is a piece of cake. You can prevent most flats by having the shop install a tire liner in both tires, those help reduce flats, but those are not flat proof but they will prevent most flats. Also when your tires wear out you can get better flat resistant tire along with the tire liners. In light of the possibility of flats you need to leave for work about 20 minutes earlier than you thought you would need to for riding in, in case of flat you have to have time to fix the flat so you won't be late getting to work, bosses won't like an employee being late to work too often.

Of course in order to fix you need to buy some tools, the bike shop should be able to select the stuff you need, like a pump that can handle high volume tires without stressing you out physically, tire irons, patch kit, and a spare tube, then a seat bag to put the stuff in.

If you're going to be commuting on surface streets you should consider getting at least a 70 lumen tail light, and you might want to consider the very nerdy dorky unfashionable but somewhat effective low cost (under $20) neon green, or neon orange (orange works better if you'll be riding where there is a lot of heavy foliage) safety vest with wide bands of reflective strips (these can be found at any home improvement store). You may also want to consider fenders in case you encounter rain so you don't get that brown rooster tail up your back and look strange at work.

You also need to maintain your chain at the very least, again You Tube videos to the rescue. But for all weather riding I like ProGold Xtreme chain lube; but before you apply the lube you have to clean the chain, and the easiest way to do that is to get a cheap sponge and some Dawn for Dishes, get the sponge damp put a little of the soap on, dampen the sponge some more and wring it out then get it damp again and start scrubbing the chain down by holding the sponge on the chain and spin the pedals backwards about two dozen times, rinse out the sponge real well, keeping it damp but free of soap wipe the chain down to get the soap off the chain, and then use a clean dry rag and continue to wipe the chain down to get any leftover water off the chain, let chain set for 12 hours and apply the lube per instructions.

Lastly, though not really, anyways you need to keep your bike maintained, so once a year take to where you bought it and have it maintained and checked out. I commute to work myself on a bike, it's not as bad as I made it sound, I haven't had a flat in over a year but you have to be prepared just in case.