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Which Bike??


Aug 2, 2008
Ok, I am just starting biking and will be commuting to work. I am looking for an all purpose sort of bike, good on the road but is ok doing a bit of cross country if necessary. I am also quite short! 5'3" female. Any suggestions on a couple of bikes....and where to get one. I am living in Ebina, so far the nearest shop seems to be Yamato.

Thanks for any help offered!
Always a difficult choice to have a bike for multiple purposes.
Off road = MTB. May as well get one of those.
However it won't be much good for commuting.
Cross bikes... good for commuting, good for touring around town...not much good for anything else.
Road bikes...get you there the quickest if you stick to the roads. (my choice for commuting).

I'd even consider a 10 speed super mama chari with shopping baskets if I lived a little closer to work. Problem for the city though is they are heavy and probably easy to steal if left outside.
My back pack is quite comfortable but it's nice to ride with a free to the wind upper body...

If you are worried about rain and would like to catch a train sometimes those tiny fold up bikes are very fast as well.

Will you be leaving the bike outside or do you have somewhere safe to put it while you work?

Sorry to have thrown all that out there... I've seen a lot of people buy a bike for commuting and a few months later they end up buying a road bike....wondering why they didn't in the first place.

I'll think that 90% or more of commuters on this site would be using a road bike too.
Hybrids ("cross bikes" in Japanese, not to be confused with cyclocross bikes) can be a good choice as all-purpose city commuters and grocery-getters that are also able to take you on the occasional long rides. The tendency does exist for people to then get more serious about cycling and dump the hybrid for a dedicated road bike, but that doesn't necessarily mean they made the wrong choice initially... They are a much better way to go, IMO, than the full-suspension MTBs with giant knobbies that you see folk riding around town, 12 km/hr @ 300 watts... I think that just puts people OFF cycling :)

For sizing, you're in the right country (being at the other end of the scale, I have about zero chance of finding a bike in stock in my size). I imagine most local bike shops have experience fitting riders your size... That said though, I do see a lot of women here on bikes that are obviously too big for them, so it's probably worth shopping around to make sure the shop isn't just trying to shift whatever they have in stock.

Just to add a couple of actual suggestions, Giant has a big presence here and they tend to be good value for money. I had one of their Escapes, which I liked:

Agree with Phil on hybrids. My friends use flat bar bikes for commuting, as well as for longer tours in the mountains in summer.

They are thus pretty versatile. Also, in comparison to road bikes with drop bars, flat bars allow you to see more and also be more visible (due to sitting higher up) than using drop bars. I also find them more maneouverable that drops, which is good for riding and weaving through traffic.

Another brand, for instance, is Scott:

Major advantage

of a hybrid in town is manouvreability and access to brakes at all times, right under your finger tips. Plus the higher riding position. I am probably at my most agile and reactive on this bike.

My Scott Roadster S1 inherits the cast offs from the road bike and is now pretty hot with 10speed 105 at the back and a full size Ultegra crank at the front plus Ultegra wheels. This is a very quick machine and a pleasure to ride in its own right. Biggest day out for me was 110km up and down Tamagawa. Painful shoulders at the end though !

I'm a novice, too, and had to do a lot of homework before I bought a bike. Here's a good primer to start your research:

It took months before I decided on and found a bike I could be happy with---Jamis Aurora (a most excellent bike but I'm not happy with the saddle). I bought it online and it was delivered to my home completely assembled.

Another great all-around bike is the Surly Cross-check. It's a do everything bike. Specialized Sirrus (a flat-bar) and Sequoia (touring) are also worth checking out.

You should also consider the "sports" bikes such as the Specialized Tri-Cross Sport and the Cannondale Synapse Sport. They are considered "comfort bikes" that allow easier postures than racing bikes. Both have "sissy brakes" like mine. They also have the brazons to easily attach racks.

2 other things to consider, you should start out with flat pedals especially if your commuting in town and will make a lot of stops. Clips will kill you, literally. :eek:uch: You can just remove them if your bike comes with them. You should use fat tires, at least 28mm, for comfort over bumpy roads. I don't know how some guys can ride on city streets with 23mm tires at 140 lbs psi or more pressure. :eek:uch: (mine is 32mm at 75psi max :p).

Hope this helps. Good luck on your hunt. :)

AL Try a Mama Cheri ! They are quite civilized. Come stock with all the stuff. Fenders rack chain case lights lock bell basket 3 speed under 30000 Y. True the lock is not too secure but this is Japan so I think your 90% safe and it IS handy having it built on the bike.
I got one thats too small for me that I got 300 bucks into but if your interested I would let you have it for 20000 Y. PM me 4 details.
Another thought is a mountain bike, keep the knobs for if you want to get dirty sometime and put some skinny slicks on. Pretty fast. It really annoys the racer boys when you can hang in their pace line on a mountain bike esp. when you ding your bell.
Yes as noted NO PROBLEM in Japan finding a bike your size. Me am 6 3 and the biggest bike shop here don't have a single bike in my size. Thats kinda a good thing as I have enough bikes.
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