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finding a commuter bike for beginner under 60,000 yen? recommendations?


Oct 17, 2010
Hi all,

going to start cycling to work for first time in yokohama 12km one way as a way to get fitter and spending more time outside than in. Im a total beginner to cycling (well i can ride a bike but thats it).

My budget is limited at 60,000 yen which is I know is low. Im wondering what are some good options at this price range either new or second hand.

Im not looking for bells and whistles but i dont want a piece of junk whose gears jam constantly etc. If this budget isnt feasible then perhaps i could just get some cheap BSO for now and save up for something maybe in the 90,000 range if my new hobby takes off.

Bike wise i think a road bike, cyclocross would suit me well although they could be overkill for my needs. Ill be sticking to tarmac and wont be doing any trails etc. There might be the odd cheeky curb hopping now and again.

Im 6ft, 74kg.

Can anyone give me any recommendations on brands that might be available at this price range.
Fuji Newest 4.0!


In your price range, lots of features not found on similar priced bikes such as triple crankset, adjustable stem although it does come with old school down tube shifters.

If you are prepared to spend an extra 13,000 you can go with the Fuji Newest 3.0 that has STI shifters.


Oh if the new hobby takes off I will lay money that you'll tripple your budget ;) On a side note, there is very little difference between a 60,000 bike and a 90,000 Yen bike. The huge differences is when you hit the 190,000 mark. If your hobby does take off and you have limited budget would be to upgrade the groupset on the the 1st bike to Shimano 105 and invest in a good set of wheels.
I was considering a MarkRosa for a commuter bike for a while.

Heavy (weighing in at 16kg!) but fenders, six gears, not too relaxed geometry, place for a bag/basket to put my lunch...

Not a good bike to transition into the mountains if you hobby takes off; it's probably hard to get up a small hill. But looked like a good commuter and only 35,000 at some shops. I don't know how long they last or how long it takes before the brakes become deafening, etc.

Good luck!
I was considering a MarkRosa for a commuter bike for a while.
There's a coincidence. I was looking at the same model to get around at work.

What put me off in the end was the lack of structural support for the basket bracket - the traditional mamachari vertical girders from the front wheel hub nuts are absent. I would want to fit a huge basket to take my toolbox. Probably not sturdy enough. Weird chainguard too.

--HF Mike--
I got this one from Wiggle for my rainy-day commutes. 90.000yen.

Highly recommend the one Thomas posted..... Wiggles own brand and manufactured by a freind of mine.
You could look at a hybrid bike with thick tires (28 or 32 mm) and front susp. like this (Giant Glide R), if the high speed is not your priority -


Very comfy, sturdy and stable, I don't remeber ever having any troubles, including punctures, on a similar build monster when commuting from Yokohama to Tokyo along rt.246 (15km one way) 2 years ago, and it has really taken a lot of bashing from me, although, not too light - 13.5 kg. Depends on where and how you plan to ride it, If you plan to jump into traffic, dodging cars & scooters every day, this is not the best choice.

Minuses for this one - suspension seat post is an overkill, imho, and tyres are 35mm - a bit too bulky, also imho.
You could look at a hybrid bike with thick tires (28 or 32 mm) and front susp. like this (Giant Glide R), if the high speed is not your priority.

I have always had a proclivity toward Giant's F series (F for flat bar?), the cheapest one below comes at 79,000yen. They're basically aero-type road bikes with flat bars.

There was a previous thread which mentioned it, but it is worth checking out Sports Authority. My wife wanted a hybrid and picked her up a Giant Escape R1 in their sale for 60,000 (1/3 off retail of 90,000). Weighs in at 10.1 kg with a carbon fork, SRAM X-7 drivetrain (triple 27 gears), mounts for mudguards and panniers, 28 mm tyres. I was riding it whilst I waited for my bike to arrive and no major complaints: handled the hills (even the 20%+ gradients we have round here) with no problems.
Thanks everyone for the suggestions really appreciate it.
The road bike suggestions look good esp the defy 4 as ive heard nothing but good for that range and its great for my budget too.

I thought importing from the UK was going to be uber expensive especially when i saw 90quid quoted on wiggles for delivery but then the price of the defy4 in yen including the delivery came to 60,000yen roughly.

Ive looked around the net re the defy 4 and it seems it and the whole range get nothing but thumbs up. But a popular comment is to pay the small extra to get the defy 3 as the gears aint so good for hills. Ive looked around for defy 3 in sale but cant find one in my budget range nor second hand. The difference therefore when taking into account the sale price on this defy 4 aint so small no more.

There will be some hills in my short commute (12km) so perhaps this isnt so much of a problem. Is this comment re: gears something only hard core cyclists should ponder?

Also can mudguards and some small on bike storage be fitted to this?

Very close to pulling the trigger on this one.
That Giant

Comes with a triple crank which gives you a 30/26 low gear. That's as low as you would ever need on a road bike.

The frame has mounts for mudguards and/or a rack, judging from the picture on the Giant website. Might be best to check with Wiggle cycles though, just to be sure.
My father in law (late 60's) got his first road bike - the Defy - awesome ride! he walked away from his LBS in Aomori for around 6man including small upgrades and a full kit (jerseys, gloves, helmet, shorts, base wear). If you are really commuting, vs. just hopping on the bike now and then, having a decent, supple, roadbike will make or break the experience. Make sure you put enough into your budget for proper wear. This will probably make as much difference as the bike. Don't worry about the gears - in my opinion, the fewer the better, and unless you have something more than 6-9% grade for more than a km or so, you are likely not to have any difficulties other than huffing a bit on the first few rides. It DOES get easier!

Besides the bike:
1) Fenders
2) Rainwear (top and bottom)
3) Gloves
4) Helmet
6) Pump or CO2 kit

HF Mike has the coolest tailbag I've seen -- a simple clamp-on unit that gives you all the space you need. And it expands easily to hold even more - like groceries from the store, etc, on the way home.

Another option is a semi DIY using a decent frameset and building up with a Shimano Nexus internal hub. The more you can reduce the external parts, the less maintenance you'll have.

And lastly - don't forget the mini-velos! A little more compact and easier to store in awkward places. Plus they are also great commuter bikes.
It DOES get easier!

Lies, it never gets easier! You just get faster ;D

but seriously Tim has hit on some very good points
HF Mike has the coolest tailbag I've seen -- a simple clamp-on unit that gives you all the space you need. And it expands easily to hold even more - like groceries from the store, etc, on the way home.
That would be the Topeak MTX Beam Rack and Trunkbag DXP. The only thing that I've failed to fit in there is an identical bag! It even takes a 68-key electric piano.

--HF Mike--
I want to second the Topeak recommendation. Their gear has never let me down.
I have the DynaPackDX, which you can just as well attach to any seat-post. For a commuter bike, having the right bag is also of some importance.
With a regular non-bike specific bag, it usually slides around from your back to the front. A messenger bag holds fast, but at least in summer will leave his mark on your bag. Having storage attached to the bike in a way that you can easily take it off into the office is definitely more convenient.

You might be interested with my Look 555 with 105 bicycle. Not sure if it's great for commuting though, but I am thinking of selling the bike since I don't use it anymore and is taking a lot of space at home. We can negotiate the price, let me know if you are interested.

By the way, what is your height?

I was looking at the Defy (also on sale in Sports Authority) before my wife specified her preference for a flat handlebar. The 3 has a better drivetrain (but same gearing as the 4) but it`s not stuff you would want to keep long term so I wouldn`t bother too much about that. Btw, the gearing is the same as on my wife`s bike and I didn`t have a problem with the hills here.

In the UK they do the 3.5 and whilst it has the same components as the 4 you get the carbon composite fork and that will make more difference to enjoyment. That way, you get the same frame and fork as the Defy 1 so when finances improve and if you find yourself getting addicted to this cycling lark, all you have to do is upgrade the components and viola: a perfectly good road bike.

Remember, if importing from the UK you don`t pay UK VAT (17.5%) but there is a 5% customs tax for imported bikes in Japan, though it doesn`t seem to be always applied.
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