Lokimg for a new bike, any tips?

Discussion in 'General Bike Discussion' started by spikybreak, Dec 7, 2017 at 6:58 AM.

  1. spikybreak

    spikybreak New Member

    Yesterday I decided that I need a new bike. So as winter is coming, I was thinking that I need something fast and at the same time safe for winter. Not a lot of people in my country- Latvia rides a bike in winter, but I am one of those rare people. :cool:

    So I did a little research on google and found a cool article about tips on how to buy the best commuter bike.
    Well, I wanted to share this with you guys, because im probably not the only one who searches google for some tips on buying a bike.

    Maybe someone has some other tips that are not included in this article?

    You can see that article here

    Have a great day guys and stay safe on the road. :)
  2. rola643

    rola643 Two skinny Js Staff Member Admin Staff Tavern Member

    Made the min post to post a link like that...

  3. spikybreak

    spikybreak New Member

    If my purpose would be just for posting a link, then probably I would not ask for other tips. :confused:

    I have nothing to do with that blog or a website.

    I am open to tips for a good bike for winter. Please do not answer, if you have nothing good to say or advise me with.
  4. maelochs

    maelochs Old, fat, and slow

    No idea what is available in Latvia (I think I could find Latvia on a map, except it might be Lithuania or Estonia) and no clue what your budget might be.

    I looked at a Haanjo Tero for a while. For a commuter it looks pretty indestructible, but I have not heard great things about the Lyra brakes.

    Basically you need to decide what works for the roads you ride and the way you ride.

    First off: flat bar or drop bar? For short rides with a lot of traffic, a lot of stop-and-go, a lot of road hazards and pavement changes, a flat bar can be a plus. You can sit up just as high on the tops of a drop bar, but the tops are narrow, and steering is compromised. For really bad urban terrain, a flat-bar is hard to beat. You can consider bar-ends for more hand options.

    On the other hand, you will have to work harder to get under the wind and after a while you might prefer the varied rising positions offered by drop bars.

    The other thing is tire width. This is again a function of terrain: if you are going to ride massive pot holes, torn-up pavement, occasional grass and gravel, you will want wider tires. For most stuff 28 mm is okay, but if you are going to be bashing around, 35 or better .... they will slow you down some, but make the ride smoother.

    Other than that, racks and bags, and good Removable lights. You don't want to park the bike some where and come back to find someone has removed your non-removable lights.

    Then off course a couple spare tubes, a small pump, tire levers, and a mini-tool, four or five quick-links for the chain, a couple spare cables perhaps. Your boss won't tolerate you calling in too often with a broken bike, so you will need to be able to fix most stuff roadside in a hurry (at least well enough to get to work.)

    A lot of people swear by fenders to keep some of the mud off .... I never bothered, but I always did a complete clothing change before work. if you plan to ride in your work clothes you will need to consider how that will work on rainy days.
    newleaf150 and Dos_Ruedas like this.
  5. maelochs

    maelochs Old, fat, and slow

    Also ... Winter? I was going to ask if Latvia wasn't a bit far North for winter commuting ... and I am pretty sure it is.

    You do realize how incredibly risky winter urban commuting can be, right? Black ice, ice under snow, packed snow which freezes, packed snow which gives way ..... Lots of ways to fall into traffic and get run over.

    Plus, the roads are narrower, as a rule, because snow is plowed to the edges ... into the space where a bike would normally travel.

    If I were winter commuting I would buy an old, steel or Al rigid mountain bike and get two sets of wheels, and mount one with studded tires. I would count on grit and salt and meltwater to destroy the thing in a couple seasons or less.
    Dos_Ruedas likes this.
  6. spikybreak

    spikybreak New Member

    Thank you very much for your opinion.

    Budget is not limited because im looking to buy a bike that will last me for quite a long time. I don't think cheap one will last couple years. :D
    I started thinking about tires. I think i need wide tires because our roads are not the best quality, a lot of bumps and holes..
    newleaf150 likes this.
  7. spikybreak

    spikybreak New Member


    Yes i know how risky it is. Thanks for the concern. But thats what i need to try out. :D
  8. cwtch

    cwtch Well-Known Member

    I commute on a Trek Crockett and in my opinion cyclo-cross bikes make great commuter bikes.
    The advantage is they are nimble and fast, have wide tyres so they take up road vibration and handle off road if need.
    Some take racks but some don't so look close at the brand.
    Just my thoughts but it will be a better bike with less maintenance and more versatile. Get a good factory brand cyclo-cross and ride.
    spikybreak and superj like this.
  9. superj

    superj still learning Tavern Member

    I think those cycle cross bikes are so cool. same look and function of a road bike but you can use it in the dirt and off road. that's what turned me off to road bikes as a kid, you couldn't do anything but ride on the asphalt. I rode everywhere and had to be able to go from surface to surface with no worry of digging in or sliding out.
    spikybreak and GT-Tempest like this.
  10. newleaf150

    newleaf150 Deranged Touring Cyclist Tavern Member

    Way to go and welcome, Spikybreak! Just ran across this thread. Though I've not managed to commute by bicycle, I am a bicycle tourist, meaning I share a lot of interests with commuter types.

    Among other things, winter riding. I live in the US State of Colorado, which gets a fair amount of snow in the winter. I have ridden on studded tires every season for the past 5 or so winters, and I love them. Mine are made by Nokian, the model Hakkapeliitta W240. The number stands for the number of carbide studs in each tire - 240.

    Other models are available with ~110 studs per tire. These are naturally lighter, but only suitable for smooth ice vs. frozen ruts and foot or vehicle-churned, re-frozen wastelands. Since I ride both on and off road, I went with the higher number of studs and have never looked back. There are also some models available with 300+ studs which claim suitability for use on frozen singletrack.

    Between the studs and the low-temp rubber, my tires' traction is flatly unreal. With them, I've ridden up and back down ice-covered hills I'd hesitate to attempt on foot. I've ridden through mile after mile of snow, relishing the distinctive crackle of carbide studs on ice as I passed over hidden icy spots with nary a problem.

    I've ridden over frozen patches marked with warning signs which could easily have served as skating rinks. I'd have walked around, but I rode straight over without a second thought thanks to the studs. The only reason I haven't been out bicycling the local frozen lakes in the winter is that I'm the only one I know who's crazy enough to try it, and playing on ice is the kind of thing where you really need a buddy available with rope and the like, in case things go wrong.

    It's critical to remember that when you're bicycling in traffic on icy roads, the fact that you have traction does not mean the cars around you have it, too. It is all the more important to have a rear view mirror of some sort in the winter, and to be even more aware of the traffic around you. Cars may slide into you from behind or the side. I've seen them break traction in this way at random, though not usually while bicycling. If you're in the saddle, it's well to have contingency plans for what to do if you stop and the car behind you proves unable to do so. Same thing for if the guy passing you abruptly breaks traction with the result that the car comes at you laterally, or from the side, without any warning.

    In practice, poor road conditions seem to inspire most motorists to pass more slowly and with more clearance than usual. I usually feel safer on the roads in winter than I do in summer. There are always exceptions, of course, and though I believe I could find Latvia on a map, I'm sorry to say that I otherwise know very little about it. Drivers there may respond very differently than ones here.

    In any event, I ride a so-called expedition bike, which is basically a heavy-duty touring bike designed for both on and off road use. It was designed and sold by a domestic company called Novara which has since changed its name to Co-op. I'd definitely recommend it - the model was called 'Safari', except for the fact that it's likely hard to find outside the US, and the wheels are likely a bad fit for your locale.

    My Safari rolls on 700x42c wheels, which I understand to be hard to replace outside of Western Europe and the US. If that is the case for you, I might recommend looking into Surly brand Long Haul Trucker bicycles. These are available with either 26" or 700c wheels. Based upon what I've read, I'm guessing you'll have better luck with 26" (classic Mountain Bike or MTB) wheels than with 700c come time to find spares and replace parts. I may certainly be wrong, though. What types of wheels do you ride out that way in terms of size? If both are available, it's maybe time to talk advantages and disadvantages. If not, the choice is simple :).

    Regardless of the size of your wheels, I definitely recommend the use of full-coverage fenders. They not only catch snow, ice, and mud, but even seem to cut down on dust when I play on dirt roads. I especially like rolling through muddy, half-frozen slush at speed without having to taste or wear it. Bear in mind that your shoes will still catch spray, so shoe covers or some other moisture barrier are a wise choice. If you ride through more than ~4" of water with any speed, your lower body will get soaked. Slow down a bit, and only your shoes are likely to get wet.

    Others have covered flat and drop bars. You also have the choice of so-called trekking or butterfly bars, which offer multiple hand positions like drop bars, but in a completely different configuration which is more suited to playing off-road. You may also want to look into the Jones Bar.

    Are you new to cycling, or looking to enjoy it in a different way? Either way, I wish you all the best in finding your perfect ride, and enjoying it!
    spikybreak and maelochs like this.