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New to cycling and I'm looking to purchase a bike. I'm not sure what questions I should be asking myself to figure out the type of bike I need.

Here are a couple things I do know:
- Main use would be for commuting (give or take 7miles)
- Would like to use it for longer rides (nothing over 20miles)
- Would like to keep the price under $1k

Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
 

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We need to know the following:

1) Will you be cycling up any serious hills or inclines?

2) What type of terrain will you be cycling on (paved or dirt roads)?

3) Would you prefer flat handlebars or drop handlebars?

4) Do you have any particular preference for frame material?
 

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Get a cross bike. Surly or Specialized Tricross.
Cross bikes tend to command a slight price premium...

So... an entry level road bike may be also a good option, leaving some $$$ room for a helmet, maybe a rear rack, etc...
 

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Definitely get a hybrid (shop employee here). The ?s you ask are the same ones I ask anyone who is coming in the door, how far do you want to ride and why, etc. Most brands hybrids are created equal but I'm partial to Trek as a Wisconsinite ;)
 

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Definitely get a hybrid (shop employee here). The ?s you ask are the same ones I ask anyone who is coming in the door, how far do you want to ride and why, etc. Most brands hybrids are created equal but I'm partial to Trek as a Wisconsinite ;)
You guys make a wicked chow mein up there! ;)
 

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I really like my Fuji Absolute for that type of riding. When I'm on bike trails, I take the hybrid over the road bike.
 

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A steel frame tourer, like a GT Corsa 2.0 (under $1000) is another option. I'd suggest riding both a drop bar tourer and a flat bar, before deciding which bar set-up you prefer. Most tourers can accept wider tires and fenders, for bad weather commutes.
 

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Just about anything is fair game. Primary concerns should be clearance for wider tires (wider than or equal to 28mm with fenders) and mounts for a rack. A relatively longer headtube will give a more upright position while riding in traffic which is desirable... bicycle types with such a headtube and clearance have already been suggested above (cyclocross, hybrid, touring).

Intro level (sub $1000) cross bikes tend to have the rack mounts while race oriented cross bikes probably do not; there are a lot of entry level cross bikes geared towards commuting (look at Specialized, Focus, Kona, Fuji, etc. just about any brand really). Any touring bicycle will do, but most are above your budget if bought new (two to look at are REI's Novarra line and Fuji. If you go used, search for the Adventure Cycling Association's buying guide for a full list of models). There are also plenty of appropriate hybrids if you like the flat-handlebar approach, just about every manufacturer offers at least one.
 

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Fascinating thread. Just about anywhere outside North America the default answer would be a simple upright city bike. For the OPs purpose why would anyone want a bike with external gears and brakes or an exposed chain that all require a fair bit of maintenance, may not work as well when wet, and that splatter **** all over your clothes? Only if someone specifically wants to race, do a lot of really long rides, or off-road would anything else (like above) be considered.

A Gazelle Tour Populaire or Workcycles Opafiets would be ideal but might be too expensive unless you can find one used. An Electra Amsterdam Royal 8i can usually be had for less than $1k but some people (me included) don't care for the too relaxed ride geometry. Azor, Batavus, and Velorbis have good city bikes for around $1k I think. What city are you in?
 

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Just about anywhere outside North America the default answer would be a simple upright city bike. For the OPs purpose why would anyone want a bike with external gears and brakes or an exposed chain...
True, location is a big part of it. There simply isn't much of a market for that style of bicycle in North America; you nailed it. Funny how we tend to forget that an entirely different world exists on the other side of the ocean. The bikes that we do have, along those lines, tend to have a premium cost. There are a handful, but just like the case for touring bikes, they don't tend to sell and dealers don't bother to keep them in stock.

Civia makes some nice city bikes, and they are based out of Minnesota... yet, I've yet to see a Civia bicycle in a shop? *shrugs*
 

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I think Angry Catfish stocks them. They may well be just the right bike for many people, but do lack a number key things such as fully enclosed chaincase, internal hub brakes, dynamo front hub, steering stabilizer, front & rear lights, etc. They don't include spats, but that's not important for a lot of folks. Their using rim brakes in Minnesota really surprised me. Not sure how their Kenda tires hold up compared to the more standard Schwalbe. Some of these seem like minor details, but all add up to making for a much more pleasant experience.
 

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Fascinating thread. Just about anywhere outside North America the default answer would be a simple upright city bike. For the OPs purpose why would anyone want a bike with external gears and brakes or an exposed chain that all require a fair bit of maintenance, may not work as well when wet, and that splatter **** all over your clothes? Only if someone specifically wants to race, do a lot of really long rides, or off-road would anything else (like above) be considered.
I'm with IL on this one. If you won't be riding over 20 miles, there's no need for a road bike or even a "performance" hybrid (aka: flatbar road bike).

There are some good city bikes available, you just have to look for them. Assuming you're in the US, I'd start with Raleigh. Civia can be ordered from any shop that uses QBP. Torker offers some decent bikes, as well as electric hybrid bikes. Biria has some nice bikes, but can be hard to find unless you're in a major city.

For $1000, you could probably get a shop to custom assemble something for you.

Sturdy wheels, Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires, 7 or 8 speed IGH (internal gear hub) with roller brake or disc, dynamo front hub (if you'll be riding at night), and a good set of fenders are the main ingredients for a reliable (U.S.) city bike.
 

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Fascinating thread. Just about anywhere outside North America the default answer would be a simple upright city bike. For the OPs purpose why would anyone want a bike with external gears and brakes or an exposed chain that all require a fair bit of maintenance, may not work as well when wet, and that splatter **** all over your clothes? Only if someone specifically wants to race, do a lot of really long rides, or off-road would anything else (like above) be considered.A Gazelle Tour Populaire or Workcycles Opafiets would be ideal but might be too expensive unless you can find one used. An Electra Amsterdam Royal 8i can usually be had for less than $1k but some people (me included) don't care for the too relaxed ride geometry. Azor, Batavus, and Velorbis have good city bikes for around $1k I think. What city are you in?
-Did he or she say they live in a city? Must have missed that part.

-I've used a hybrid in the city for years and never had any of the problems you mention and I appreciate the ease of changing a flat compared to many city bikes with internal gears and chain covers.

-City bikes are boring to ride.....under 20 miles or not. If the op just wants to go from point A to point B that doesn't matter. But for all we know he wants to enjoy the ride a little and having something a little sporty might help with that.

-You're Euro bit is always cute......but you generally don't know what you're talking about. Yes, city bikes are very common there....but it's by no means a given that someone in Yurp would pick one to ride under 20 miles.

OP, Just go test ride some bikes. If someone you work with commutes via bike see what they have to say. If you'll be in city traffic you probably do want something upright. But if you live in the country and can open up a bit you'll probably appreciate something a bit more sporty.

Many new cyclist envision themself riding 20 miles or so for fun.....but once they get a little fitness and get hooked (if it happens) they soon realize 20 miles is nothing and get bored with an upright bike and want to go longer and/or faster. It's tough to predict where you'll go with riding but try to keep that in mind.
 

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Craigslist,craigslist,craigslist ........... figure out what you are looking for and then look to Craigslist and get a lot of bang for your buck! There are a lot of bikes out there with hardly any use do to the original owner deciding they are simply not into it or have enough time for it! I have 3 awesome bikes, 4 if you count the wifes bought that way. (well one was built from ebay but I digress). Did I mention check CL? LOL
 

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- A bit over 80% of the population lives in cities so a reasonable guess. If I'm wrong he can simply say so. No biggie.

- Hybrids can work well for many people. I had one for a few years and liked it. But without chainguards and fenders they don't work well for everyday clothes, particularly if the roads are wet. It's also really convenient to be able to down shift when stopped if you weren't able to before you stopped. Flat repair on city bikes (at least those with Schwalbe Marathon's) is extremely rare and if it does happen you simply pull the tube out, patch it, go on your way.

- You may well find them boring, many people quite enjoy them. I still ride my road bike and enjoy that, but for the majority of my riding I choose my city bike. I enjoy sitting upright and being able to see stuff easier and it's more comfortable. I can always ride in whatever I have on - I don't have to clip my pants leg or worry about getting grease or road grime on anything. I never have to worry about my lights not being charged. For basic riding it's just a lot easier.

- Thank you, I like being cute. No, it's not a given that someone will pick a city bike for the type of riding the OP mentioned, but it is an extremely high probability. About 1 in 20 bikes in northern Europe are hybrids or semi-hybrids (city bike w/ derailleur) and maybe 1 in 5 in southern Europe are. Likewise, fixies have been a trend there for much longer than here so you see some of those as well. But it's not just Europe, it's Asia as well (though the trend there right now is folders). BTW, why don't I know what I'm talking about?
 
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