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Bike for my daughter in college?

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Bike for my daughter in college?

Old 10-16-15, 05:22 PM
  #1  
TimothyH
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Bike for my daughter in college?

Maybe y'all can help a feller out...

My daughter is a freshman at college and it is pretty clear that she is gonna need a bike, maybe not immediately but next semester for sure when she lives further from her classes. Starting to think about it now.
  • Bike will be outside all the time.
  • She will carry lots of books.
  • She doesn't know how to spin a wrench. I will teach her the basics like how to take a wheel off, fix a flat, etc. I live 1.5 hours away and am really not into traveling from the burbs to ATL to maintain a bike.
  • She likes to speed and wants gears. I mentioned single speed for ease of maintenance. She frowned but gears kinda make sense as the campus is hilly.
  • Obviously don't want to spend a lot of money and thinking about a craigslist fixer but not if it is going to cost me more in the long run. I can do any work with the exception of pressing a headset and building wheels.
  • Expected lifespan of this bike is 3 to 4 years.

Guys in the SSFG seem to be very realistic about commuter/utility/townies and I would appreciate any thoughts.
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Old 10-16-15, 05:41 PM
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Get a cheap beater because a female freshman in college has other things on her mind than securing her bike.
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Old 10-16-15, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Maybe y'all can help a feller out...

My daughter is a freshman at college and it is pretty clear that she is gonna need a bike, maybe not immediately but next semester for sure when she lives further from her classes. Starting to think about it now.
  • Bike will be outside all the time.
  • She will carry lots of books.
  • She doesn't know how to spin a wrench. I will teach her the basics like how to take a wheel off, fix a flat, etc. I live 1.5 hours away and am really not into traveling from the burbs to ATL to maintain a bike.
  • She likes to speed and wants gears. I mentioned single speed for ease of maintenance. She frowned but gears kinda make sense as the campus is hilly.
  • Obviously don't want to spend a lot of money and thinking about a craigslist fixer but not if it is going to cost me more in the long run. I can do any work with the exception of pressing a headset and building wheels.
  • Expected lifespan of this bike is 3 to 4 years.

Guys in the SSFG seem to be very realistic about commuter/utility/townies and I would appreciate any thoughts.
Mine rode a mid-80s Miyata 710. She was a terror, and commuted on that bike during the winter too (snow). Four years, no accidents worth reporting to dad. With nice tires and saddle, I probably had $350 into that bike, it looked like hell but rode like budda.

However, our thought process was a nicer, pretty bike would have been jacked. This proved to be an accurate assessment, the wheelsets were liberated, front wheel stolen twice. So, a few hundred dollars went into the bike over the years to replace stolen parts. Same with my son, though his college was 3000 miles away from my daughter.

If you think the bike won't be messed with, you are not being realistic.
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Old 10-16-15, 06:02 PM
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You might be able to find a decent 80's-90's road bike in good shape on craigslist for a reasonable price. There are also several inexpensive singlespeed bikes on bikesdirect.com that you might want to check out.
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Old 10-16-15, 06:59 PM
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Home Depot/Lowes/Ace Headset Press

I've used min many times. Works perfectly.

one of these



one of these



and a few of these

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Old 10-16-15, 08:19 PM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Elvo View Post
Get a cheap beater because a female freshman in college has other things on her mind than securing her bike.
Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
If you think the bike won't be messed with, you are not being realistic.
Yeah, I know. I've walked around the campus quite a bit and the kids at Georgia Tech seem pretty good about locking up the bikes because the surrounding neighborhoods aren't that great. On the + side are the campus cops, who from what I hear, don't take any garbage.

Originally Posted by seau grateau View Post
You might be able to find a decent 80's-90's road bike in good shape on craigslist for a reasonable price. There are also several inexpensive singlespeed bikes on bikesdirect.com that you might want to check out.
Cannondale T400. Its more of a touring bike. I might go look at it over the weekend. If it was a size bigger then I'd buy it and put racks on it for myself.



CANNONDALE T400 ROAD BIKE! GREAT SHAPE! PRICED TO SELL!!
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Old 10-16-15, 08:26 PM
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Looks pretty good. And judging by the handlebar angle, probably doesn't have many miles on it.
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Old 10-16-15, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by seau grateau View Post
Looks pretty good. And judging by the handlebar angle, probably doesn't have many miles on it.
Seems that some of the touring guys covet these a little bit, or at least hold fond memories. Wasn't up 4 hours and he has a sale pending already. Lots more fish in the sea.
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Old 10-16-15, 08:48 PM
  #9  
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English 3-speed. Raleigh Sports or similar. Pletscher rack. Ugly custom paint job. Good Lock. Record the serial numbers.
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Old 10-16-15, 10:37 PM
  #10  
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Some campuses have a bike co-op to help kids keep their bikes going. My kids picked up cheapies off the local Craigslist, I think they each paid around $75. Bikes were trashed by graduation but they did the job and did not get stolen.
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Old 10-16-15, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Cannondale T400. Its more of a touring bike. I might go look at it over the weekend. If it was a size bigger then I'd buy it and put racks on it for myself.

CANNONDALE T400 ROAD BIKE! GREAT SHAPE! PRICED TO SELL!!
I very much like the older road bikes, but they do need to be maintained.
Also consider the Dolce.
Specialized Dolce woman's Road Bike

But, also talk to your daughter to get some idea of what SHE wants. BRIFTERS????

Here is an older Mixte.
Centurian Accordo 10 speed Mixte Frame road bike

Also consider an older MTB or Hybrid. Outfit it with fenders and road slicks, and it should be quite nice, and perhaps a bit more durable than a road bike (for short commutes around town). There are townie bikes too.
700c Schwinn Third Avenue Women's Hybrid Bike, Plum

Maybe an Internal Gear bike?
?REI Novara Transfer Bike w/ 7-Speed Hub Save Gas Go Green!
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Old 10-17-15, 07:30 AM
  #12  
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The Cannondale will be gone pretty quickly. Anything with a brand name and looks nice will be a target. I'd go with a beat up looking single speed or 3 speed of some sort. Make it look ugly. Lots and lots of stickers for easy identification in the rack and to keep it ugly. No quick releases. Put duct tape on the seat to cover non existent tears. A basket helps with carrying stuff and makes it look ugly. Also two seperate and different types of locks that require different techniques to open. U lock and cable is a common way to do it but there are others.
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Old 10-17-15, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by auldgeunquers View Post
English 3-speed. Raleigh Sports or similar. Pletscher rack. Ugly custom paint job. Good Lock. Record the serial numbers.
This is the right idea IMO.
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Old 10-17-15, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by auldgeunquers View Post
English 3-speed. Raleigh Sports or similar. Pletscher rack. Ugly custom paint job. Good Lock. Record the serial numbers.


In addition to the advice quoted above, I would also suggest looking for a bike with a fully enclosed chaincase. Since the bike will spend its time outside, a chaincase will pretty much make sure it's going to be fine with very little maintenance. Look for a used 3-speed Dutch bike. They're not fast or sporty, but they're comfy. They usually come with a practical front basket, a rear rack, lights, and the aforementioned chaincase.
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Old 10-17-15, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Bluechip View Post
The Cannondale will be gone pretty quickly. Anything with a brand name and looks nice will be a target. I'd go with a beat up looking single speed or 3 speed of some sort. Make it look ugly. Lots and lots of stickers for easy identification in the rack and to keep it ugly. No quick releases. Put duct tape on the seat to cover non existent tears. A basket helps with carrying stuff and makes it look ugly. Also two seperate and different types of locks that require different techniques to open. U lock and cable is a common way to do it but there are others.
This guy, right here, gets it.

Don't matter how you lock it or how many campus cops there are, any decent bike will be gone in a hurry.

A Cannondale in Atlanta... Are you serious?
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Old 10-17-15, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
  • Bike will be outside all the time.
  • Expected lifespan of this bike is 3 to 4 years.
In my memory of college, a bike parked outside all the time had an expected lifespan of 3 to 4 weeks.
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Old 10-17-15, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
  • Bike will be outside all the time.
  • She will carry lots of books.
  • She doesn't know how to spin a wrench. I will teach her the basics like how to take a wheel off, fix a flat, etc. I live 1.5 hours away and am really not into traveling from the burbs to ATL to maintain a bike.
  • She likes to speed and wants gears. I mentioned single speed for ease of maintenance. She frowned but gears kinda make sense as the campus is hilly.
  • Obviously don't want to spend a lot of money and thinking about a craigslist fixer but not if it is going to cost me more in the long run. I can do any work with the exception of pressing a headset and building wheels.
  • Expected lifespan of this bike is 3 to 4 years.
I would look on e.g. Craigslist for an old English 3-speed, like the Raleigh "Sports:"



They're usually available for $100 or less, are virtually indestructible, have an internally geared three speed hub that protects the mechanism from the elements, and require minimal maintenance (a few drops of oil in the hub every month or so, lube the chain a couple times a year, pump up the tires as needed), and have fenders for wet-weather riding. Just add a rack and lights if the one you find is lacking, and you're set.
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Old 10-19-15, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by auldgeunquers View Post
English 3-speed. Raleigh Sports or similar.
Originally Posted by 50voltphantom View Post
This is the right idea IMO.
Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
I would look on e.g. Craigslist for an old English 3-speed, like the Raleigh "Sports:"

I think these guys all have the right idea, but they overlooked the following:

Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
She likes to speed
If she can compromise then I, too, second (or third, or fourth) the Raleigh 3-speed recommendation. Certainly, something with internal gear hubs given it will be living outside. If it has a fully-enclosed chaincase like the one Andersper posted, then so much the better.
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Old 10-19-15, 11:45 AM
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Some great advice on here. +1 on old mtb and throwing some slicks/fenders on there.
Have you thought about maybe upping the budget a bit more and looking for a folding bike that she can take inside?
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Old 10-19-15, 11:57 AM
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Bike preferences can change throughout a person's life. However....

If the goal is to commute a mile or so around campus, then the 3-speed should be fine.

One the other hand, if the person wants to get tied into local cycling groups and do longer errands, then a full road bike would be great. Or, for those off-road types, a MTB.

And, if one wants the ability to do 10 to 20 mile "commutes" later, then it never hurts to start getting practice early. One doesn't want to make a person think a bike is only OK for riding a half mile.

If a bike comes with a QR seat, at least change it to a bolt on (unless the person wants to take the seat with her overnight, which might not be a bad idea). QR hubs are fine as long as one has a lock that can catch both wheels and the frame.
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Old 10-20-15, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Bike preferences can change throughout a person's life. However....

If the goal is to commute a mile or so around campus, then the 3-speed should be fine.

One the other hand, if the person wants to get tied into local cycling groups and do longer errands, then a full road bike would be great. Or, for those off-road types, a MTB.

And, if one wants the ability to do 10 to 20 mile "commutes" later, then it never hurts to start getting practice early. One doesn't want to make a person think a bike is only OK for riding a half mile.

If a bike comes with a QR seat, at least change it to a bolt on (unless the person wants to take the seat with her overnight, which might not be a bad idea). QR hubs are fine as long as one has a lock that can catch both wheels and the frame.
I think you are selling the 3-speed a bit short. My daily commute is just over 4 miles with not quite 200' of climb (according to googlemaps) which I do twice daily. The 3 speed is not noticiably slower over that commute. On a 15 mile recreational ride, it may be 5 minutes slower - though, granted, I am not comparing it to a modern wonder bike, just to other old steel with deraileurs and 10 or 12 gears.

Running downhill, the 3-speed does run out of gears quicker than my other bikes, and uphill can sometimes be more "stand and slog" than "sit and spin", but the old boy does get the job done. And it is great to stop when whim demands - no need to plan and shift ahead of the stop.

The three speed is also the bike I will grab from the rack for errands most days - and usually the one I will take for a solo cruise.

Point is - the old Raleigh with it's 3-speed Sturmey Archer AW is much more capable than the mile or half mile you suggest.
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