Jun. 4th, 2008 11:08 am
fyfer: (Default)
[personal profile] fyfer
I'm hoping to rely on my bike to commute to Caltrain (starting in the fall). I have a nice shiny hybrid bike, a Giant Cypress DX, that my parents bought me at the start of grad school. It's sort of heavy: extra features like fork and seat shocks, a thick mountain bike-style frame, huge knobby tires. Carrying it up the BART stairs has been annoying.

So I've been considering replacing it with something sleeker and lighter, but I feel bad doing so because it's a perfectly decent bike.

On Sunday, Nick and I were walking around Hayes St and I fell in love. A cute girl was sitting outside a cafe with an equally cute glossy black vintage ten-speed. It was a 1970s Motobecane touring bike. She let me pick it up and it wasn't that heavy, despite the older materials (probably a steel frame).

I just searched craigslist and, by chance, someone is selling the identical bike, except in a much less exciting color (grey):

The price is rather surprisingly low, but I can check for obvious frame or rim damage. The frame is nominally my size but I have odd proportions so I'd have to try it in person, of course.

Would it be stupid to buy it? Can I get it repainted glossy black or does that ruin the vintage appeal? I don't want to paint over the name. But the black and red look of the one at the cafe was really what I fell in love with. Maybe I should wait til an identical one appears. Can I justify replacing my bike? I could probably sell my current one for that price. Will I hate the skinny tires on SF's pothole-riddled streets [and do they have the annoying style of valve]? Will it actually be any lighter than my current bike? Do I really want to drive to Milpitas?

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion! (Most likely, I won't get it.)

Date: 2008-06-04 06:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've been thinking I should upgrade my trail bike to something better. I've put 4000 miles on it (!)* and things are breaking... the front shock has been frozen for over a year and a bike repair guy told me it's not really fixable and not worth replacing. And just yesterday I realized my rear rim is warped and rubbing on the brake, costing me significant momentum...

* wow, I kinda hadn't really thought about it but that's a lot!

Date: 2008-06-04 07:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is not strictly a recommendation one way or the other, but it's worth noting that I agree with just about everything here.

Date: 2008-06-04 07:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Interesting. The thing is, though, that I've had basically the bike he recommends, for five years, and I'm unhappy with it. But the things I'm worried about are exactly the things he mentions (skinny tires on SF streets, will a lighter bike really make the BART stairs any better [I disagree with his assessment, there], etc).

Date: 2008-06-04 07:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
(Heh, he even has the same concern about funky tire valves. I missed that at first.)

Date: 2008-06-05 03:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Having read that...I have a road bike and I love it. (I got it out of a garbage heap, have a broken gear shifter, and badly need new tires, and I *still* love it.) Totally light enough to carry up and down stairs, and it goes nice and fast. You just have to make sure to keep the tires pumped up and get used to a slightly more rattly ride. I don't really like drop handlebars, but the one you're looking at there doesn't have them. I think it's worth noting that in the last comment on that post, [ profile] jwz says he rarely takes his bike on BART, so he may not be worried about taking it up and down stairs because he never has to do so. IOW, YMMV, etc.

Then again, I've never had a nice hybrid bike. So, I don't know how it would compare to your current one.

Date: 2008-06-04 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As a data point, I had a bike that is not completely dissimilar from that (though I don't know if that an awesome brand of anything) that I bought for $50 and sold for $75. There was certainly plenty of interest in it at $75, but I didn't care enough to sell it for more. It certainly worked fine, so I'm not surprised by this price. (Unless it actually somehow super-spiffy that I don't know about.)

I've been riding my steel-frame Raleigh road bike form the 70's around Boston more lately, and so far I've been quite happy with it.

Date: 2008-06-04 07:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I meet three of jwz's four "don't trust my bike advice" metrics (fixie, bag that costs more than the bike you are considering buying, clipless) but here comes my bike advice anyway. I know a couple of people who ride that frame around and like it a fair bit. $125 is a good price if nothing is obviously wrong; if it fits you, I'd grab it. If you are unhappy with your current bike, it is worth trying a change. Note: Buying a bike on Craigslist risks purchasing a stolen bike. But that's true of almost any used bike, unfortunately.

(Also I think much of jwz's advice is wrong, but of course I would, according to him. Do whatever works for you :)

Date: 2008-06-05 07:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I only fit two of the criteria, but, dude, I DO take car advice from people who enjoy rebuilding carburetors! They know shit. Duh. (I've never actually rebuilt a carburetor. but I bet it'd be fun).


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