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Looking to buy my first decent bike

Charles Barkley

Aug 24, 2008
Hi, I was just referred to this site and was hoping someone could help me purchase a new bike. I spent the last two years out in the inaka on a cheap mamacharin but will be moving to Tokyo soon and would like to get something decent for getting around/possibly commuting.

I want a comfortable bike that I would mainly use on roads but that is able to go on sidewalks without blowing a tire. I would not be doing any kind of offroad biking--I just want to get around in style while getting some exercise. I also want to leave open the possibility of doing some touring trips. As far as I can tell, this pegs me as a hybrid man.

As far as budget goes, I dunno 5-10man? Obviously I don't want to throw away money on features only a really serious biker is ever going to notice, but I would like something decent.

Any recommendations on the following would help me out a lot:

-bike model
-how to avoid getting it stolen (i.e., lock, outward appearance of bike, etc)
-shops/websites where I could buy the bike (I will be living in western tokyo)
-anything else I need to know?
Hello Charles

A similar question was posted not long ago:

The thread has a couple of tips for hybrid bikes.

For avoiding punctures, I use Specialized Armadillo tyres on my mountain bike, and in a year of riding I only had one puncture. That was from a 3" nail! I don't know if anything similar is made for narrower wheels though. (maybe http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCEqProduct.jsp?spid=35705)

Anti theft? How about rust stickers?
I bought some from the artist, but decided to keep them in the package (as a piece of art!). Easier to apply than a grunge paint job.

A black frame, with no flashy brand name, might also deter thieves who are looking for 'quality'. A drunken missed-the-last-train type won't care what they are stealing though.

I am in the minority here, in that I ride an MTB, but I think everyone would agree that buying a cheapie bike would be a mistake - unless you are sure you just want a run-about. If you find you enjoy riding, you will soon wish you had got a better bike. I would suggest buying a bike with as good a frame, and as good a fit, as possible ~ leaving you free to upgrade components as time goes on.

Obviously I don't want to throw away money on features only a really serious biker is ever going to notice,

I think you would notice them! ~ but maybe you could live without them. However, the more you ride, the more you will appreciate them. ;)

I started to ride about a year ago, with the same kind of aims as you. However, I plumped for an MTB as I really don't like riding on roads (car-phobic!), and I have easy access to a network of rivers and highways with wide (but crappy) sidewalks. I am happy to ride 60 miles on my MTB, and have no regrets I didn't get a roadie - but I am a little extreme in what I enjoy!
I got a Bianchi Brava (entry level bianchi racer) about 5 years ago and still love it, though the steel frame is heavy. But then again I don't have the beer gut to get up the hills that some of the guys with super lights bikes have... I just did a 1000km+ tour on it and it did well. If you are set on touring someday, I'd recommend a roadie and look for where you can screw into the frame.

When I was just starting and 30miles was still a lot for me--i.e. I wasn't in good shape--, I invited a friend who runs marathons to go for a ride with me. He had a mountain bike and though he was in MUCH better shape, I was always in the lead.

Some old school people swear by steel frames for long distances, but technology is better than it was 5 years ago and steel isn't a popular choice anymore.

My bf recently bought a Giant OCR3 and really likes it. It has brakes that are accessible on the flat top part of the handle bar, which was important to him in making the switch to a roadie.

As for flats, personally, as long as I keep the tires inflated I haven't had many problems. In the beginning when I forgot to check the pressure once a week or so, then I had problems.

I taped over all the Bianchi logos on my bike to ward off thieves and always lock it to something to ward off drunks. I used basically black duct tape. First sticky side out/up and then tape over that so only a little tape is actually sticking to the bike. That way if you change your mind or want to sell it you can take the tape off easily.

have fun! look forward to seeing you on the road.
I ended up getting a cannondale quick/fitness (don't remember the exact name). The weather hasn't been great and I have been busy so I haven't had much of a chance to ride it yet, but when I have--damn, big difference between that and the mama charin.
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