What recommended tire width for a trekking-city bike?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by ludwigmass, Jul 2, 2014.

  1. ludwigmass

    ludwigmass New Member

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    Hi

    Im gonna buy a trekking (mountain)-city bike. Im gonna run on tarmac and loose surfaces. The bike will be also used to carry groceries and my books (12-15 kilograms). What tire width would you recommend?
     
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  2. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    To commute on you don't need a mountain bike unless you plan on doing heavyduty off road excursions. A cross bike is probably more up your alley, these will generally have a 700c x 32 which is ideal for commuting to school, and cross bikes are just that they do both road and light off road.
     
  3. Owboduz

    Owboduz New Member

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    I'm still a bit miffed that the LBS I went to for my first bike (I don't go there any more, I found another LBS) didn't recommend a cross bike. They sold me a hybrid instead. Now, I have a road bike.

    If you don't mind the drop bars, get a cross bike for tarmac and light off-road.
     
  4. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I hear issues all the time with LBS's doing crazy stuff, usually because they have a higher profit margin on one bike over another so they'll push it to make more money, sometimes they need to get rid of the bike for one reason or another. The 84 Fuji Club I bought with just 5 miles on 3 or so years ago I got from the original owner who got the bike on a closeout end of the year sale and the LBS fitted the bike to him...fitted? the bike was so tall he couldn't straddle it without using his crotch to rest of the top tube and his feet missing the ground by an inch! He took the bike back but the LBS said that's the way road bikes fit! And wouldn't give back the money, so he stored until I bought it.
     
  5. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    With good shops it's because the dealer didn't understand the customer's requirements. I've had customers ask me why I'm recommending one kind of bike when another shop tried to sell them something very different. I say, it's all in the way I'm interpreting what you're telling me. For instance, someone will say he's doing triathlons but also wants the bike to work for his commuting, some of which happens to be over dirt roads. Do you recommend a tri bike, a road bike, cross bike, or a "gravel racer."

    The profit margin of a single sale shouldn't mean squat next to customer satisfaction. Selling bikes is a lot more competitive than it was in 1984.
     
  6. Owboduz

    Owboduz New Member

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    I normally wouldn't go and derail the thread, but since the OP hasn't been here in a few days, I'll go for it.

    Frankly, I don't think I understood my own requirements. I originally got it for commuting and shopping in town. I told them that I expected the occasional light off-road. But they set me on a hybrid that was in the shop and said "you should take that one." I guess I didn't ask enough questions or do enough research.

    Within a month, I had gotten into endurance riding. If I'd had a CX bike, it would have been a much easier transition.

    Within two months, I had found the gearing somewhat limiting on descents. I took the bike back in to the shop and asked what I could do to deal with that. They said "pedal faster." While I appreciate that, in general, novice cyclists do not pedal at a high enough cadence, I was unimpressed by that answer. I later found out that the cassette on that bike was a freewheel, not a freehub, so I couldn't realistically improve much on my 14-34 cassette.

    This same LBS was required to do a 6-week service because of the cycle to work scheme under which I got the bike. They said they wouldn't do it. I pointed out that they were required to and, eventually, they gave in. When I got the bike back, its brakes were so tight that I couldn't acutally release them, and they rubbed because the wheels weren't trued.

    The thing that really drove me away from that shop is that I had paid extra to have mudguards added, and I bought a rack and fitted it myself. Then, a while later, I went into another LBS and found another hybrid with all the bits I had added and better gearing (24 speed, rather than 21) for less than I had paid for just the bike and mudguards. Combining that with the cassette being a freewheel, which, it seems, only goes on bottom-of-the-range bikes, I just felt a bit ripped off at the end of it.

    I don't know what they should have recommended based on what I told them. I guess I wish they had asked me something more personality-wise, like "When you ride, do you push yourself to go faster?" That might have sussed out the possibility of putting me on a road bike or a CX bike.
     
  7. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Not all bike shops are crappy, and it sounds like you do a good job of trying to find out what the customer needs. But most bike shops that I've been in just ask the customer what they are looking for in a bike and then hand them a bike to go test ride. They never go into more questions to try to figure out if the first thing out of the customers mouth was adequate to ascertain whether or not they're going to get the right bike, and a lot of customers are new riders and they really don't know what they want but think they want a certain bike only to find out later they needed something else. This is why a lot of bikes get sold on Craigslist, people figure out after the purchase they needed a different type of bike...or hate riding altogether which in some circumstances goes back to the LBS because they didn't do a good enough job of asking questions to find the right bike...or the right size even!

    You're right, the profit margin shouldn't mean squat but if you've been in the business for any length of time then you would know that with most LBS's it's all about the profit margin, as it is with most other types of businesses too. The main LBS in my town sells poorly made off brand mini pumps that were cheap to get wholesale, but they sell them for more or the same price as better ones you can find on the internet, the same is true with some of their lights and other products. I saw a pump called Orgin8 there for $26, it sells on Amazon for $12; or a RavX with a gauge that sells on Amazon for $14 yet they want $34, but the sales rep sure was pushing that Ravx because it had a gauge. Neither of those pumps are well like on the internet but it's all about profit, they got them wholesale for $6 to $8 each. They tried to sell me some cheap Kalloy post that retails for $8 on Amazon for $42 for one my older bikes, instead I went online and got a Nitto for $60. They charged me $8 for a seat post bolt for my old TTT seat post and it was used claiming they're hard to find and new they cost $16..for a bolt? Standard Specialized tubes are $15 they don't even carry the ultralight Turbo tube; and another LBS in town carries the cheap Sunlite tube and charges $12 for a $6 online tube...but hey they're cutting the big LBS prices! Needless to say I buy very little from them. So no, things have not changed much at all from the 80's.
     
  8. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Ah, accessories and parts. That's another story. This is where the margin is, and, yes, I'm sorry, a lot of shops fall short here. Some of this is also part of the package, though, from the suppliers. For example, I'd like to carry Lezyne pumps, but we're kind of stuck with Bontrager, so . . . For this stuff, come in, scope the joint, ask for a little free advice, I understand, just do it on a quiet day, please, and understand that I have to suggest you buy something even if I know you won't. I'm used to it.

    One big change I'm seeing is the lack of closeouts. Brands used to over-produce, resulting in too many bikes at the end of the year, resulting in big clearance sales. A lot of shops specialized in buying closeouts, throwing big sales and still enjoying decent margins. Those days are ending with more accurate market projections and manipulating the rollout dates of new models. And in my area I'm seeing customers being savvier about closeouts.
     
  9. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    There is one difference between bike retailers of the pre 90's and todays retailers, bicycles themselves have a much greater average profit margin of 36% vs just 15% prior to the 90's, and bike manufacturers themselves are seeing much larger profits per bicycle. Why is that you scream? Because of the cheap Asian labor and material costs. Please note I said average, some will have more especially high end, and others will have less of a markup. This is why when there is a end of the season closeout you'll see high end bikes marked as much as $1,200 off, the LBS isn't losing money on that sale, just losing the larger profit margin they would have liked to seen. Of course the profit margin is needed to pay for shipping, floor space, the mechanic to assemble it (though that doesn't take long, it took me an hour including unboxing and wrapping it with no experience of ever building a bike so a pro probably about 20 minutes and we know how little a mechanic gets paid!), insurance etc. But all of those expenses have remained unchanged over the years it's the profit margin that has increased allowing bike shop owners to make more money on bike sales. And the bigger the bike shop is the more profit margin they have due to volume buying.

    Actually prior to 1975 profits were pretty good for bike sales, it peaked in 1975, then the profits started to drop as the margins decreased forcing a lot of bike shops out of business in the 80's and 90's. Total number of shops went from around 7,000 prior to the drop off to just 4,000 which seems to have remained stable over the last 15 years, But those 4,000 shops are seeing much better profits now with everything made in Asia and components that doesn't last as long as they use to.

    I think today a bike shop could make even more money then they do if they would embrace e-retailing like Niagara Cycle and a few others, but if the remaining larger stores embraced e-retailing they would really boom. Funny Performance started out as a internet sales company and now their establishing retail stores. I wish I had the money to start a Performance Bike store here in Fort Wayne, I would love to put a huge dent in the largest bike retailer in town!!

    Speaking of internet, internet sales has not put any damaging effects on retailers, this is a scare tactic that the LBS's scream about all the time. The fact is there has ALWAYS been either online or mail order discount places and those sales have remained fairly constant. The largest percent of damage is actually coming from the big box stores which is still isn't that much but it is a small dent.

    You can read better info then what I just said here: http://www.sbdcnet.org/small-business-research-reports/bike-shop-2012 Probably should have just posted this site instead of all the above crap!! LOL
     
  10. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    I like Niagara, BikePartsUSA, and Ben's. The problem with e-retailing is that you need a web site, and that entails data entry, database administration, shipping and handling, and storage. We had a small shop in town that was trying to be an e-business, too, and it was getting him into trouble because he couldn't provide the service. He closed.

    In my area we have Excel Sports with a showroom, service, and the e-business. Real estate is too expensive for massive showrooms and warehouses. There might be too many bike shops for the cycling population, but I think most riders are finding what they need through a combination of internet and local shops. Complaints are aimed at individual shops. Sometimes it's mistakes and sometimes it's just insisting a shop be something that it isn't. These people would be happier just going to another shop. Many complain that shops don't handle used stuff, but that just takes too much time and real estate for the money that's in it.

    Company policies can be a problem. For instance, our last service manager was very open about sending customers with old bikes in need of parts that have been long out of production to the local non-profit shop. He was handling time-holes and potential dissatisfied customers pre-emptively, but store policy now says that's turning people away, and we don't do that. It's a fine line.

    Performance started long before the web. I remember faxing them my order for a full Super Record kit (with Ambrosio Montreal rims) around 1982. For a while they had a web-based SCUBA business, too. They sold the same store-brand neoprene booties to divers and cyclists.

    I'll check out sbdcnet. Sounds interesting.
     
  11. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    ^^ Back before the internet I didn't do any mail order stuff for my bicycles, it was just too much hassle in my opinion, so I just went to bike shops, but now I do almost all my buying off the internet, I get small stuff at LBS's but otherwise I save too much money on the internet to go into an LBS. I do FROWN on someone going into an LBS, pick their sales staff brains over something, then leave and buy it off the internet, that's just plain rude and in very bad taste, not to mention it screws the sales rep out of time it took to teach someone something and the commission he could have gotten off another customer. If I go in and have to pick the brain of sales person then I'm buying it regardless if I know I can get it a lot cheaper online...but that's pretty darn rare for me not to know what I need.
     
  12. doctorold

    doctorold Member

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    Cyclocross bikes generally have longer chainstays and higher bottom brackets that don't tend to make a stable road ride. That's why they're CX. It would be OK but you can do better. A relaxed road would probably be best. As for the OP, I say run 32s.
     
  13. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    CX bikes don't make a stable road bike? Don't you realize that CX bikes are actually more stable handling and more stable when hitting or clearing obstacles like curbs, potholes, etc? Not to mention a smoother ride? Of course the steering is a tad slower than a road bike but that "slowness" translates into a more stable feeling to the handling. A road bike is a more or less a racing bike with quicker handling but a harsher ride, like a sports car say a Corvette, whereas the CX bike is smoother riding more on the lines of a Subaru WRX, the Subaru is a dirt road rally type of car that can do pavement just fine but a Corvette is a fast road handling car that won't do well on dirt. The extremes would be a touring bike design for mostly the road with a slow handling feeling but very comfortable ride like a Jaguar vs a mountain bike that would feel sluggish on the road due to it's fat knobby tires but would rein off road like a Jeep CJ.

    A cross bike is great bike that can do mild off road and road use and do well at both, and hold up to the rigors of both for a long long time.
     
  14. doctorold

    doctorold Member

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    No doubt. The CX is fine. I think what I'm getting at is that I find that most folks who talk about doing some rough surfaces invariably end up on the road more than anything else. And in road riding these days, depending on where you are, handling is key to negotiating traffic, etc. The bike I built recently is more along the lines of a CX but is definitely a tweener. It was built to do exactly what the OP is talking about.
     
  15. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Negotiating traffic? You can't negotiate traffic on a CX bike well? If that's true then it's highly doubtful you can negotiate traffic well on a road bike either! Not trying to be smart but the handling on a CX bike is barely noticeable in the difference vs a road bike. I have a touring bike with a longer wheelbase and taller BB area than most CX bikes and have no problems negotiating traffic or even an emergency maneuver; I have a friend who rides one of those comfort Electra bikes, talk about a laid out design with slow handling, and yet he has no problems with emergency handling even though one would think that bike would be the worse! What I want to know is why would anyone post insinuating that a CX bike may be hazardous to ride over a road bike? Don't you realize that CX bikes are used in CX racing events which includes sections of pavement? Sections of pavement with fast turns, emergency handling situations due to riders getting to aggressive, etc, etc, etc. If a CX bike can handle a race I think they're more than capable of handling any street emergency.
     
    dhk2 and Owboduz like this.
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