What bike for campus life?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by metomeya, Apr 19, 2005.

  1. metomeya

    metomeya New Member

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    I'm going to a very large university this coming fall. So I'm looking for a bike to get. I don't really know anything about bikes (last bike I had was in 6th grade, and i have a spinner bike at home that I use everyday, but thats it)

    So my parents are getting me a graduation gift and I was thinking about a a bike (they'll probably get me on under 500). So I'm wondering what bike I should get. Here are some things i'm trying to factor in.

    The campus is flat, but I like to ride standing rather than sitting (thats how I ride my spinner bike at home). Do I want shocks even if it is flat land i'm riding on? Hybrid, BMX, and all the other types what are the differences? Are there are any new cool features I might wanna get? What material that are light and tough? Do any make bikes that fold up? I might have my car on campus, its a pretty big car, but I don't know if a full sized bike will fit in it (I have a newer impala).

    Anything else I should consider before getting a bike? Also what is the best way to lock my bike on campus? Thanks :cool:
     
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  2. Eden

    Eden New Member

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    I would say don't spend to very much on any bike you want to take to school. I had mine stolen while locked up with a U lock and inside a building. My husband had his rims trashed by drunk frat guys tripping over the bikes locked up on a bike rack. So unless you can take it everywhere with you or you live in a very very polite country don't get anything you will miss to much.

     
  3. lokstah

    lokstah New Member

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    Sounds like you're just looking for something to get you to and fro, correct? I mean, you're not interested in using this bike for serious sport use, are you? There are a billion and one options for simple, sturdy commuter-type bikes of all flavors. Even in this category of casual-use bike, you could spend over $1000. Luckily, you don't have to.

    As far as special features, nah, not really, not in the sub-$500 price range. For that amount of money, what you're looking for is the best-made bike available. There's a lot of junk sold for $200-$500, stuff which can break down or literally fall apart if you his a curb wrong. You'll want to pick up this bike from a bike shop, first off; don't let your parents head to a toy store or the local Walmart.

    A number of reputable companies make good commuter options which can be found new, or slightly used, for not too much dough. Here are two of completely different attitude, both worthy:

    The Kona Smoke, HERE (under ASPHALT), is a no-frills, fairly badass little number. It's burly, fitted with fenders, and looks like fun. Goes for $350 or less in US dollars.

    Something like the Trek 7300 FX, HERE, represents the basic hybrid, widely in use for low-key fitness riding and commuting. Bikes like these are inexpesnsive (the 7300 FX goes for under $420) and easy to ride, which makes the popular. Be advised, though, that the jack-of-all-trades approach which hybrids offer means that there's often a value compromise in the parts spec.

    It depends on your plans, your style, and what you're looking for. Personally, in this price range and for this purpose, I'd lean towards something with attittude.
     
  4. RC2

    RC2 New Member

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    Definitely agree with Lokstah -- buy from a LBS (local bike shop) -- and be sure they spend time fitting you to the frame. I'd spend a day going from one to another in your area riding several different things in your price range to get a feel for what you'd be happy with. But in general a flat-bar hybrid or mountain bike would do well on campus. The bike shop can point you towards the right lock/etc too.

    And in response to your suspension fork question -- in that price range especially I'd stick to conventional forks. Good suspension forks cost a ton of money, and poor ones add weight, perform poorly (diminish ride quality in my book), take away from the $$ invested on the rest of the bike (given a fixed $$ budget), and aren't required for the type of riding you're talking about.
     
  5. roadhog

    roadhog New Member

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    I agree with previous responses, and add this as well:

    When considering how much to spend, keep this in mind:
    1.Theft is rampant around large universities. When my wife was in school years ago, her bike was stolen off the 3rd floor balcony of her apartment AND it was locked to the balcony AND she was home at the time!
    2.Vandalism is also rampant, especially on dark nights with drunk kids everywhere. If they can't steal it, they might just damage it somehow "for fun".
    3.Any lock can be defeated if the prize is good enough.
    4.A lot of times dorms, etc, won't allow bicycles inside for storage, which relegates you to the uncovered bike rack outside which will result in a rusty piece of garbage in no time. Or you can sneak it into your room. Or maybe your school has better rules. Bottom line..research your storage options.

    Sounds like you're spending a reasonable amount anyway. My point is just be realistic about how this bike will fair.

    I have what I consider a "nice" bike (road bike) but won't let that come close to the campus I go to every day. I instead ride my 10 year old mountain bike on my 7 mile commute from my house to campus. It cost 400 dollars (ten years ago). I also agree front suspension would be mostly crap at this price range.
     
  6. leslierc8853

    leslierc8853 New Member

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    I have no opinion on what type of bicycle you should get for college. My only suggestions are that you consider getting a used bicycle or one that you won't mind losing. the reason I am suggesting that you get something "disposable" is that I am assuming that conditions have not changed that much since I was a student when bikes were more commonly stolen than flatware from dining halls. Thieves got to mine through two locks, not including the locked door it was behind. Don't spend a lot on your college bike!
     
  7. spacefuzz

    spacefuzz New Member

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    Im in college at a large university with rampant bike theft. I just got a $50 bike from walmart and a $10 lock. Its not good for anything but riding around campus, but for that it works great. Can leave it in the rain and outside with the drunks and it doesnt matter because its so cheap. Also with the beater bikes there are usually bolts holding on the wheels instead of quick releases so you dont have to worry about anyone walking off with your wheels.
     
  8. bikeguy2004

    bikeguy2004 New Member

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    I had a cheap and old road bike when I was in college. And I used a backpack to carry my books and stuff.

    I agree 100% with those who have responded about bike theft at college. Walking out of a building to my bike (chained to a street light pole) another student asked; “Is that your bike?” I told him, yes and asked why do you ask??? I was told a guy was trying to steal it a few minutes ago.

    So my suggestion is go to a bike shop and pick out a used road bike (I personally would rather ride a road bike with drop bars) or a used mountain bike, etc… something that is CHEAP. I’m talking cheap enough that you don’t care if it’s stolen. BUT still lock it up or it will be stolen.

    I used a big chain looped thru the frame and both wheels and a pad lock. And I wore that over my shoulder while I was riding.

    After classes for the day (I always signed up for my classes that started as early in the day as possible) then I’d go for a ride for 2 hours in the afternoon, out on the roads around the college. Or I’d ride to the gym and play full court basketball for 2 hours. I was 6’4” and 190 pounds back then, I’m still 6’4”, but 235 pound now (not a good weight for trying to stuff the ball) and haven’t touched a basket ball for 20 years
     
  9. roadhog

    roadhog New Member

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    hey bikeguy, where are you at? I'm in Champaign, grew up in Spfld.
     
  10. RC2

    RC2 New Member

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    Totally understand the 'buy something cheap' comments and that bike theft/etc is rampant at most college campus (it was at mine!).

    That said, I was very into mountain biking in college, and took pleasure cruising on my MB1 around campus, jumping stair cases, etc, as well as riding offroad. I was Very Careful of course, to not leave my bike locked up after dark or even during the day in non-populated areas, and always kept it in my apartment with me. I did have it stolen from my car once, but got a new MB1 from insurance (actually upgraded from a '91 to a '93 this way!). It can be done if you are careful, but yes there is always a risk as the other posters make clear.
     
  11. insung

    insung New Member

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    One think you can do to keep your bike from being a target from vandals and theives is to spray paint it matte black or gray and cover it with duct tape. I know this sounds drastic, especially if your parents just dropped $500 on your ride, but a shiny bright red bike just screams "steal me" on campuses.

    If you buy a used bike, it might be easier for you to give it a custom paint job.
     
  12. triguy98

    triguy98 New Member

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    Thieves will steal anything, including the matte black duct tape crap if its accessable. I was lucky enough to make it through my one year on campus without my bike being lifted.

    $200 motobecane from a LBS. It worked, and when it didnt, they fixed it for me under warranty.I would suggest finding a $50 used bike, and just cleaning it up, new cables, chain. And a new model U lock that's not so pickable.
     
  13. bikeguy2004

    bikeguy2004 New Member

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    Lived in Villa Park (western suburb of Chicago) till 1978. College 1973 to 1977 in Milwaukee. Living now near Streator.

    I learned how to ride the roads in the Chicago area. Rode for 4 years in Milwaukee, kind of interesting riding in an urban area. Now I ride the roads thru and around Streator.
     
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