Checklist for buying a bicycle for city commuting

Discussion in 'Cars, cycling and transport' started by Brendan Burgess, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016
    I am in the market for a new bike, so will update this Key Post Buying a Bicycle - city centre cycling by way of a checklist. It's a personal checklist, others may have different priorities.

    Upright handle bars - more comfortable and safer than drop bars
    Internal dynamo - no need to worry about bringing out lights with you
    Simple gears - 3 x 5 , rather than 2 x 7
    Sturdy without being too heavy
    Tyres - somewhere between wide mountain bike and narrow racing tyres
    Tyres - Kevlar

    The following can be added, but are usually integrated on a city bike
    Chain guard
    A saddle for attaching panniers

    No need for/avoid
    Suspension - not needed and only adds weight
    A racer - too lightweight and fragile

    Other issues to consider
    A comfortable saddle - but this can be changed easily
    A basket
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016
  2. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

  3. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

    My current bike is a Kellys, so I may well get the same brand. This one looks perfect for me in terms of the handlebars being higher than the saddle. I like their blurb which describes my current bike well.

    Bicycles were invented mainly to serve you.
    To get you from Point A to Point B. Today this idea is reaching new – green – dimensions, where bikes are becoming in many cities an alternative to cars. And this has been incorporated into our Tour model line. We have constructed a solid means of transport for any occasion, regardless of weather or lighting conditions. Reliable and convenient, these bikes will not only get you through the urban jungle but also take you along rural roads. We’ve put great emphasis on ride comfort, easy handling, safety and minimal maintenance. Accessories include fenders, rack, kickstand and lights, while some models include an integrated sprocket cassette in the rear hub. An ideal addition for city intersections is a dynamo with a battery in the front hub that keeps the lights on even after you stop. Kellys Tour Bicycles will reliably work for you.

  4. Leo

    Leo Moderator

    Some of the higher end hybrids / city bikes are starting to offer disc brakes now. They add a little more weight, but offer better performance, particularly in the wet. May be overkill if you generally travel at the more leisurely end of the speed scale though.

    Regarding gearing, 3x5 will likely offer no more range than a 2x7, but will add weight, and the need to more frequently change between front derailleurs which is generally more cumbersome. A 1x9, 10 or 11 setup will offer a similar range with less weight, fewer moving parts, simpler shifting and more readily available and cheaper spare parts.

    Another consideration, tyre size/ clearance. A lot of hybrids will come with 28mm tyres, but if comfort is a high priority, make sure the forks can accommodate a 32mm tyre.

    I'm a big fan of Canyon bikes, they're very hard to beat for value and do a couple of interesting city/commuter bikes.
  5. twofor1

    twofor1 Frequent Poster

    dereko1969 likes this.
  6. Brendan Burgess

    Brendan Burgess Founder

    Hi Leo

    That's very interesting. I had 2 x 7 on a racer, and I didn't like it at all. I wonder if that's because I was used to the 3 x...?

    The old Sturmey Archer 3 speed used to be enough for many of us. Actually, a lot of bikes had no gears when I first started cycling.

  7. John Locke

    John Locke Registered User

    I've bought a bike a couple of years ago with internal hub gears and would highly recommend it for commuting.
    It's a Shimano Nexus 7-speed unit. Like Dublin bikes but with 7 gears instead of 3.
    Pros: the chain never comes off, the chain can be easily enclosed as it doesn't move, gear changes are smooth, gears can be changed while stationary, low maintenance.
    Cons: heavier than a derailleur, more expensive, if something does go wrong, it's more complex than a derailleur.

    I've also got shimano roller brakes, same as on dublin bikes. Braking performance isn't quite as good as standard rim brakes or disc brakes, but they are essentially maintenance free. Very convenient!
  8. willyfones

    willyfones Registered User

    I like the look of the Carter 30 for commuting. I think suspension is a good idea on bad Dublin Roads myself,, it does add weight but if you are commuting less than 6 -8km (which I would say most are) each way I don't think its much of an issue.

    Upright handle bars are better on flat areas,, so depending on how many hills you go up and down I would consider this. I really think its a good idea to take a few bikes around the car park from the bike shop before you decide,, I was surprised on how I researched a particular bike,, but then wasn't happy with it when I tested a few as a comparison.
  9. John Locke

    John Locke Registered User

    I don't think 3 speeds are enough for most people, but I find 7 speeds covers nearly everything for commuting, it's rare that I'm looking for another gear at the top or bottom of the range.
    You can get 8 or 11 speed internal hubs too. There is a german company that does 14 speed hubs, but I think they're pretty expensive.

    Unfortunately, Irish bike shops don't seem to sell too many models with hub gears. It's a pity, they're very suitable for commuting.
  10. John Locke

    John Locke Registered User

    One other thing I'd recommend, Schwalbe Marathon (or Marathon Plus) tyres.
    I've never had a puncture since I got them. I think dublin bikes uses them too.
    dereko1969 likes this.
  11. cremeegg

    cremeegg Frequent Poster

    Drop bars allow you to change position. Being stuck in the same position can become uncomfortable.

    Brilliant idea

    3 front rings tend to give more trouble than 2, there is less possibility of "cross chaining" The more rear wheels the better, because the distance between them is less. Generally the largest and smallest are similar on a 5 or 7 set up. The change is smoother with more gears in the middle.

    Every extra kilo has to be pushed. If you are 100kg then 1 extra kg is 1% more effort. If you are 50kg its 2% extra effort.

    Rolling resistance depends on tyre width. If the tyres are twice as wide thats twice the effort. This makes a huge difference, far more than the weight.
    A bike cannot be too light.

    Fragility depends on the material the bike is made of. The more rigid the better as well. A more rigid material transmits more of your effort to turning the wheels, wastes less in flexing the frame.
    The strongest, lightest, and most rigid is titanium, insanely expensive of course.
    The original is steel, strong, cheap, rigid, heavy.
    Then aluminium, not so strong, not so heavy, least rigid, not too expensive,
    Carbon fibre; stronger, lighter, more rigid, more expensive

    In summary I suggest narrow tyres and a steel frame, (despite the extra weight, it is more durable and more rigid than aluminium). Happy cycling.
  12. dereko1969

    dereko1969 Frequent Poster

  13. huskerdu

    huskerdu Frequent Poster

    Always have two locks of different types.

    For some reason mudguards are not standard on a lot of bikes these days so should be on the list. Its easy to forget.